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Author Topic: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!  (Read 16937 times)

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Mental Magpie

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Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« on: May 29, 2014, 08:58:35 PM »
I wish Inwould have remembered to use this on both occasions. In the first instance, I indeed shut down the conversation, but I think I could have handled it better. In the second instance, I'm afraid, due to feeling attacked, that I didn't handle it at all. Next time, I swear, I will use this phrase.

1) DF, Six, and I were at my cousin's wedding. Six has been having issues lately regarding respecting her belongings. She wore a white and yellow dress to the wedding and was kneeling in the grass in it. I gently reminded her to be careful of her dress and that fancy dresses (as we call them) are not play clothes. Cue RudeAunt (same one from my post about titles) inquiring as to what was so special about that dress. I thought perhaps we would have a normal conversation, so I explained briefly, much like I did here, that it was just a reminder. RudeAunt began arguing with me about Six being only six years old. I explained again that it was just a gentle reminder, that the dress didn't really matter, and that we were only trying to teach her to respect her belongings. RudeAunt told me, in a belittling tone, that we were much too strict (I interjected that it was merely a reminder), and that's just what kids to ad nauseum? I finally just said in a firm tone, "It may not be how you would do it, but it is how we are doing it. Bean dip?" I could have ended it much earlier with a simple, "So kind of you to take an interest." when it was clear she peasant interested in discussion but rather only in a lecture.

2) I swear in front of Six as does DF. She knows not to repeat what we say and that they are grown-up words. This has never been an issue in the past. During this mini-vacation for my cousin's wedding, my sister and mother, on separate occasions and on one occasion together, made it seem that grown ups should never swear ever, that it was Bad, and that she (Six) was allowed to call us on our swearing. As we (my mom, DF, Six, and I) drove to the airport to leave, I swore about something. Six tried to scold me about it and I, as calmly as I could, explained to her, as I have in the past about other things, that I am an adult and I get to make the decision to swear. Once we arrived at the airport, my mom pulled me to the side and scolded me about my behavior, telling me that I was sending mixed messages to Six. I admit my blood pressure skyrocketed. I told her that I had not sent any mixed messages, she and my sister had. Further, she and my sister do not get to tell me how to behave in front of my daughter, and they especially do not get to tell me in front of my daughter how to behave. I was floored. My mom tried to say she wasn't and hadn't and I explained that it was exactly what they had done. Any mixed messages had come from them, not me. When they both started in on swearing, days before this incident, is when I should have told them it was kind of them to take an interest but I had it handled.


PS: No one in my family said anything ever to DF. All criticisms were directed at me. I don't wonder why, I know why, I just have to figure out how to stop it in more effective manners.

JenJay

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2014, 09:05:33 PM »
I think you handled both situations appropriately. In retrospect you shouldn't have engaged your aunt, but you didn't realize at the time that she was looking for an argument and not a conversation.

lakey

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2014, 09:49:51 PM »
"I think you handled both situations appropriately. In retrospect you shouldn't have engaged your aunt, but you didn't realize at the time that she was looking for an argument and not a conversation."

That's the thing. Sometimes you can't predict that the person will turn this into an argument.
I do think that there is nothing wrong with using a direct statement, such as, "I am the mother, I decide."

zinzin

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2014, 01:29:12 PM »
Is it possible that this aunt and the child have over the six years had a closer relationship than you've maybe directly observed? Something to keep in mind is that your perception of her role/their relationship may not be the same as how your fiances daughter sees her relationship with her aunt.

Not to be harsh but maybe you aren't the only one thinking that boundaries are being overstepped?

Mental Magpie

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2014, 01:31:17 PM »
Is it possible that this aunt and the child have over the six years had a closer relationship than you've maybe directly observed? Something to keep in mind is that your perception of her role/their relationship may not be the same as how your fiances daughter sees her relationship with her aunt.

Not to be harsh but maybe you aren't the only one thinking that boundaries are being overstepped?

This is my aunt and my DF's biological daughter.  This is the first time they have ever met (they met the day before, but this is in totality the first time they have ever met each other overall).

zinzin

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2014, 01:44:53 PM »
Is it possible that this aunt and the child have over the six years had a closer relationship than you've maybe directly observed? Something to keep in mind is that your perception of her role/their relationship may not be the same as how your fiances daughter sees her relationship with her aunt.

Not to be harsh but maybe you aren't the only one thinking that boundaries are being overstepped?

This is my aunt and my DF's biological daughter.  This is the first time they have ever met (they met the day before, but this is in totality the first time they have ever met each other overall).

Ah got it - I thought I recalled you posting about his sister in the past and had my aunts confused - sorry!

lowspark

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2014, 01:47:40 PM »
Now that these people have begun to establish a pattern of trying to tell you how to raise your stepdaughter, you might want to come up with a stock phrase to sort of nip it in the bud every time they start up in the future.

When my kids were younger and sometimes had trouble taking no for an answer, I'd say, "I'll take it under advisement." They figured out that meant, "End of discussion."

It's along the same lines of "nice of you to take an interest". It's sort of just something to repeat when they begin to overstep to signal that you, at least, are done with the discussion.
Houston 
Texas 
USA 

Mental Magpie

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2014, 01:52:18 PM »
Is it possible that this aunt and the child have over the six years had a closer relationship than you've maybe directly observed? Something to keep in mind is that your perception of her role/their relationship may not be the same as how your fiances daughter sees her relationship with her aunt.

Not to be harsh but maybe you aren't the only one thinking that boundaries are being overstepped?

This is my aunt and my DF's biological daughter.  This is the first time they have ever met (they met the day before, but this is in totality the first time they have ever met each other overall).

Ah got it - I thought I recalled you posting about his sister in the past and had my aunts confused - sorry!

No worries, I did indeed post about his sister as well.


lowspark, that's what I'm trying to think up: a better response than mine. I like your suggestion and may just use it in the future.

PlainJane

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2014, 02:20:33 PM »
In regard to your mother instructing the child to correct you, she was so over the line as to be arrested for trespassing.

I do agree with her, however, in that you are sending the girl mixed messages (do as I say not as I do) regarding swearing. Children really don't learn all that well by being lectured to (nor do most adults) but are great little observers and mimics.

JenJay

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2014, 03:01:40 PM »
In regard to your mother instructing the child to correct you, she was so over the line as to be arrested for trespassing.

I do agree with her, however, in that you are sending the girl mixed messages (do as I say not as I do) regarding swearing. Children really don't learn all that well by being lectured to (nor do most adults) but are great little observers and mimics.

Not to change the subject or sound like I'm disagreeing with you, but that hasn't been my experience with my three.

DH has always cussed quite a bit and I'm no angel, although I do try not to and usually apologize to them when I do. I admit there have been times I've felt my use of a certain word was appropriate so I just let it fly. My kids have always known that there are times (we feel) it is appropriate for adults to cuss, but that it is not appropriate for kids. They're allowed music, books, movies, etc. with cursing but again, they're expected not to. It's never been a lecture, more of a "there are things adults get to do that kids don't" thing, like staying up till 4am and having ice cream for dinner. lol

When my DD turned 13 she asked for permission to curse a little bit and we said no, which she respected. Both of my older kids have told me that a lot of their friends cuss and think it's funny that my kids don't. In all honesty we kind of assumed they probably did at school, not that it's okay, just that most middle schoolers did when we were there. When I said "Wow, you really don't? Even with your friends?" They were like "Wait? We can??!" I told them I'd still prefer they didn't, however, I'm not so strict about it that I'd want them being teased, so they should use their best judgement and I trusted them. They both told me that they still don't because "It sounds wrong" and "I'm afraid it'll become a bad habit and I'll say something in front of an adult."

I suppose they might start when they feel they're old enough, and I'll probably let it slide for the most part. I've got great kids so it's not really a battle I plan to have as long as they're 15+. But I'm not going to tell them that.  ;)

Mental Magpie

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2014, 04:57:47 PM »
I get to do a lot of things she doesn't because I'm an adult. She absolutely understands this. I'm not going to stop having alcohol in front of her because she's not allowed to drink it. We've never had issues with her regarding swearing; it didn't start until my mother and sister spoke up.

Idlewildstudios

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2014, 10:38:47 AM »
My husband and I both can have potty mouths.  We tried to keep it to a minimum but swearing does  happen.  We just told our DD that those were words that grown ups used sometimes but were not appropriate for kids to use.

When my MIL would butt in with unsolicited parenting advice we would just say "thank you, we will take that into consideration". It made her feel like we weren't just dismissing her.  And we often did consider it, long enough to say to ourselves, "ummmm, no."  :)

I think you did just fine!

TootsNYC

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2014, 10:42:02 AM »
I think you handled both situations appropriately. In retrospect you shouldn't have engaged your aunt, but you didn't realize at the time that she was looking for an argument and not a conversation.

I agree, I think you handled both well.

But w/ Rude Aunt, I think you could have said, "Please do not interfere in my parenting decisions. Especially do not do so in front of my child."

Or there's, "This really isn't up for discussion."

Mental Magpie

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2014, 01:00:40 PM »
Thank you, all.  I'm just glad I didn't do what I usually do, which is resort to sarcastic, cutting remarks.  E-Hell Training is paying off!

Firecat

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Re: Holy boundary stomping, Batman!
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2014, 12:43:44 PM »
Both my parents used profanity in front of me when I was a kid, and I learned quickly that those words were for grown-ups. It wasn't unfair or confusing to me, just one of the things grown-ups get to do.