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ARRRGGGH ! MIL cut my boys' hair ! - Page 7

post #121 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greaseball
That is true. And people can say "Being molested cannot be compared to having your hair cut" all they want, but maybe this haircutting incident is the worst thing that has ever happened to these boys.

And maybe the MIL is still a threat. We don't know what she said to make the boys react that way. If my child started swearing at an adult I would be more concerned about what the adult had done.
I totally agree with this. If I ever heard my son say "f*** off, b**ch" on the phone, I'd be much more inclined to wonder what the person on the other end said than to think of ways to teach my children to communicate more "appropriately." I'm on his side, and that's all there is to it.

What makes this argument so interesting to me is something in Gavin de Becker's book Protecting the Gift; he mentions that when you get into certain situations with other people, your instinct is often to say something particularly foul but most people suppress that instinct in favor of "civil" behavior. He talks about a woman standing in line at a movie theater with her daughter and a man talking to them. She was thinking something along the lines of "who the h*ll do you think you are, why the f*ck are you talking to me?" but what she actually said was "mmm." De Becker says that he tells adults all the time to use their words, that if you say what's actually on your mind you're much less likely to become a target because a predator can sense it if you're not willing to stand up for yourself, even verbally.

I'm really not surprised to see so many people arguing that the use of "foul" language is unacceptable, because that's very deeply engrained in our society. Still, I'd ask you to take a better look at it. Sometimes, such language is very appropriate. I would argue that perhaps there were no "better ways" for Shann's son to express himself. Perhaps "f*ck off, b*tch" was the most appropriate and reasonable thing for him to say. I would never in my wildest dreams consider chastising my son for using such language, especially if I didn't know exactly what was said to him to ellicit that resonse. I'd certainly ask him about the conversation, but only because it would be very obvious to me that he was very upset.

Using "foul" language does not mean that you are inarticulate or incapable of "appropriate" speech. It doesn't mean that you're uneducated or that your lower class or even that your friends are. There are professors of English who swear like sailors when they're around their friends; professionals of all sorts, really.
post #122 of 161
So I have read the entire thread (which I would suggest people do if they have not since it is much more than the original post).

Shann, did the boys discuss what the woman said to them on the phone? I'm thinking based on what she has said and done in the past it just wan't "Grandma misses you and baked you some brownies".

I agree with everything eilonwy said in her last post. I believe "foul" language can sometimes be the only way we can express ourselves when we are in the moment.

I support what you are doing in your family, you know your family the best and believe you are doing what is best for them. And somehow I think that anything were to get out of hand you or bf would step in. Maybe I live in my own bubble, but I don't see what is so wrong with what you are doing. And I have done the same thing in the past with my MIL (long story) but we did cut off contact for 1.5 years. She was poison and we treated her as such.

Kudos to you.
Marie
post #123 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
I totally agree with this. If I ever heard my son say "f*** off, b**ch" on the phone, I'd be much more inclined to wonder what the person on the other end said than to think of ways to teach my children to communicate more "appropriately." I'm on his side, and that's all there is to it.
Why is it an either-or situation? I'm always on my son's side, as well, and I know it's WAY out of character for my son to respond that way so I'd definitely wonder what's up. I don't think anyone here is saying that the kids weren't justified in being angry, but it seems like this sort of reaction is par for the course for them and totally okay with their mother as an end reaction to a situation. Obviously, as another person pointed out, it isn't meeting the kids' needs in full because they still want to exact revenge on their grandmother - for real, not just in fantasy (which I also would have no problem whatsoever encouraging for my son, so long as he know that we don't treat people that way... that it's up to us to be the "bigger" people; otherwise we're just stooping to their level). And I don't see any follow-through whatosever - no attempt to teach the children a healthier way of processing their anger so it eventually becomes a distant memory, rather than something they play out over and over again. And so they learn effective tools to work through their anger and address people who have wronged them in a way that won't alienate them from everyone around.


Quote:
I'm really not surprised to see so many people arguing that the use of "foul" language is unacceptable, because that's very deeply engrained in our society. Still, I'd ask you to take a better look at it. Sometimes, such language is very appropriate. I would argue that perhaps there were no "better ways" for Shann's son to express himself. Perhaps "f*ck off, b*tch" was the most appropriate and reasonable thing for him to say.
Hm. I can totally see that the boys likely still feel threatened by the grandmother. Like I said - I don't necessarily have a huge problem with the boys' reaction in this situation (though I do get the sense with these boys, particularly, that it might be less them feeling threatened than it is that this is how they know to respond). What gets me about the situation is Shann's reaction to them.

It's also not about the language, itself, it's about the use of the language - using expletives in casual conversation with peers is a lot different than hurling them at people like weapons. My son knows that he can use whichever words he feels the need to, but he also knows that a) they make some people uncomfortable, so he should be choosy about when he uses them about respect for those around him and b) we don't use them to hurt or belittle people. He also knows what to do if someone makes him uncomfortable and how to stand up for himself if someone tries to take advantage of him (work in progress, but it's something I'm laying the groundwork on). I don't think the two messages are mutually exclusive. There's a lot of middle ground between cursing a blue streak at someone and standing by, passive, as they make you uncomfortable.
post #124 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
What makes this argument so interesting to me is something in Gavin de Becker's book Protecting the Gift; he mentions that when you get into certain situations with other people, your instinct is often to say something particularly foul but most people suppress that instinct in favor of "civil" behavior. He talks about a woman standing in line at a movie theater with her daughter and a man talking to them. She was thinking something along the lines of "who the h*ll do you think you are, why the f*ck are you talking to me?" but what she actually said was "mmm." De Becker says that he tells adults all the time to use their words, that if you say what's actually on your mind you're much less likely to become a target because a predator can sense it if you're not willing to stand up for yourself, even verbally.
You can be confident and assertive of your rights without screaming profanities at people.
post #125 of 161
You know, I totally agree with the other posters who are curious what the grandmother said to elicit such a response. And I also agree that there are situations where screaming profanities is absolutely appropriate. And it sounds like this may have been one of those situations. I don't know. But I think what I was suggesting in my earlier post, and it sounds like other posters are concerned about, is that the boys have other tools to deal with anger and how to communicate effectively. And I'm also sure that they do.

I think on some level, I was thinking that the grandmother should know exactly why what she did was so wrong. That it isn't just the matter of changing the boys' hair, but a complete violation of their persons. I think it is a kind of molestation. But I also guess it is not the boys' responsibility to spell it out for her.
post #126 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by missbliss
And I also agree that there are situations where screaming profanities is absolutely appropriate.
I don't understand this at all. If we raise our kids with the understanding that hitting them is always wrong because it's violent and abusive, to me it is a contradiction to then say "But we can be verbally violent and abusive sometimes, and that's ok." To me that's like someone saying, "I had to hit him, it was the only way to get him to mind me." :
post #127 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by dandamomma
I don't understand this at all. If we raise our kids with the understanding that hitting them is always wrong because it's violent and abusive, to me it is a contradiction to then say "But we can be verbally violent and abusive sometimes, and that's ok." To me that's like someone saying, "I had to hit him, it was the only way to get him to mind me." :
Okay, you're bringing discipline into it, and to my mind that's an entirely different topic. For the record, I believe it is never appropriate for a mother to verbally abuse her child, or to physically abuse them.

We're talking instead about self expression and about a different balance of power. When a parent says something like "f*ck you" to a young child, they are wielding their size and age as a weapon against their child. When a child says it to an adult, they are trying to achieve a balanced relationship.

Whether you want to phrase it that way or not, this little boy was physically violated by his grandmother. He didn't hit her, he didn't seek her out and he didn't make the phone call; she called to speak to him. Not only that, but she didn't call him to apologize-- she called to try to make her case with him. I'm sorry, but his response was most likely completely appropriate. If someone owes you an apology (at the very least-- I'm not sure what kind of apology would be enough for that) and instead of offerring one continues to act the way they did in the first place, you would be well within your rights to tell them to f*ck off.
post #128 of 161
I don't think I was bringing discipline into it. I was trying to point out the inconsistency in trying to teach our children that hitting is violent and abusive and wrong but then turning around and saying that verbal abuse is ok sometimes. I wasn't framing it in the context of mother wielding power over child. I was framing it in the conext of what we teach our children, namely, violence is always wrong or violence is only wrong sometimes. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough in my previous post.

Also, we don't know what the MIL was saying to the child. Perhaps she was trying to apologize and the little boy was still so angry he told her f*ck off, b*tch, anyway. Perhaps she was provoking him further. But we don't know, based on the information provided in this thread.
post #129 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by dandamomma
I don't understand this at all. If we raise our kids with the understanding that hitting them is always wrong because it's violent and abusive
This is a discipline issue.

Quote:
to me it is a contradiction to then say "But we can be verbally violent and abusive sometimes, and that's ok."
We're not talking about verbal abuse, we are talking about verbal expression. I'll admit that the expression was a bit violent, but again I think that it was very appropriate to the situation. Sometimes violence is necessary; I don't feel that violence against children is ever appropriate, especially against your own, but that's entirely different from violence in general. It is occasionally necessary to be (verbally) violent in order to assert yourself, and this is definately one of those cases. This woman physically violated him, she held him down and altered his appearance against his will; if anything was coming out of her mouth aside from "I'm very sorry that I hurt you and I promise I'll never do anything like that again," (though I can't say I'd expect him to buy it) a verbally violent response is perfectly reasonable and acceptable to my mind.
post #130 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
It is occasionally necessary to be (verbally) violent in order to assert yourself, and this is definately one of those cases. This woman physically violated him, she held him down and altered his appearance against his will; if anything was coming out of her mouth aside from "I'm very sorry that I hurt you and I promise I'll never do anything like that again," (though I can't say I'd expect him to buy it) a verbally violent response is perfectly reasonable and acceptable to my mind.
I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree. I can't reconcile teaching my children that some violence is ok and some is not. I do think yelling "F*ck you, b*tch" into the phone is both violent/abusive AND unnecessary. If you're on the phone with someone and don't like what they have to say, put the phone down. I don't think there is ever a time when hurling profanities at people is necessary, and I do think that saying there is is very much like saying there are times when spanking is necessary. Both are violent; both are wrong.
post #131 of 161
I have a teenager who does cuss when he is with his friends. He has told me this. However, he knows not to cuss around me. I also tell him that because that kind of language is offensive to others he should not use it within earshot of others, especially young children. He seems to understand this, although I cannot say for sure what he does when I'm not around. I would be mortified if he screamed such a thing to his grandmother or anyone else.

I don't see how a telephone conversation warrants such an outburst. The child was not in any immediate or direct danger from his grandmother. I would not punish or admonish him for having such an outburst, though, because it is understandable under such circumstances and he probably doesn't have the knowledge or skills yet to know what to do instead. I would talk with him later about other ways he could have handled the situation. I would not encourage, condone or accept any kind of vengeful behavior. This is just not healthy.
post #132 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by dandamomma
I don't understand this at all. If we raise our kids with the understanding that hitting them is always wrong because it's violent and abusive, to me it is a contradiction to then say "But we can be verbally violent and abusive sometimes, and that's ok." To me that's like someone saying, "I had to hit him, it was the only way to get him to mind me." :
In my mind this is not a discipline issue. The boy was not trying to discipline his grandmother or get a behaviour out of her. It was all about self expression. It was not a gentle expression, but I have to agree with eilonwy about the balance of power issue. If yelling at her is what he, as a violated person, needs to do to regain his sense of power in the relationship, I think it is vastly different from, for instance, you choosing to use a similar expression with your children when they are being challenging.
post #133 of 161
I can't believe no one has brought this up.

The reason you help children to develop enough self-control so that they don't scream profanities no matter how angry they are is so they don't end up turned into hamburger by cops.

The moral issues brought up here are totally irrelevent. What's more, you can't judge something like this without knowing the family and the children. It may have been tremendously healing for those boys to scream what they did. If that's the only tool they felt they had to assert themselves, if that's the best way they could feel power over the person who violated them, then they did the right thing at that moment.

But they absolutely have to learn that those words aren't ok. You can't just teach children, "it's ok to use those words but in some circumstances there will be consequences" because the stakes are way too high. That's like telling children that it's ok to play in the road, but in some circumstances there will be consequences.
post #134 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by urklemama
But they absolutely have to learn that those words aren't ok. You can't just teach children, "it's ok to use those words but in some circumstances there will be consequences" because the stakes are way too high. That's like telling children that it's ok to play in the road, but in some circumstances there will be consequences.
My parents taught us that we could use certain words at home that we couldn't use in public. At 4 years old I understood that D*mn, sh*t, f*ck etc were all fine at home but not at grandmas and not at Kroger (namecalling never was OK though).

I never once said a swear word at school or at grandmas or at the store. Never once, though we were all quite creative with them at home.

Kids are so smart. They really can handle these types of distinctions. In fact, I heard an intervew with a sociaologist on NPR (Fresh air) about elementary and even preschool kids swearing around each other but not when adults are around. They already are making these distinctions . . .
post #135 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by urklemama
I can't believe no one has brought this up.

The reason you help children to develop enough self-control so that they don't scream profanities no matter how angry they are is so they don't end up turned into hamburger by cops.
...
But they absolutely have to learn that those words aren't ok. You can't just teach children, "it's ok to use those words but in some circumstances there will be consequences" because the stakes are way too high. That's like telling children that it's ok to play in the road, but in some circumstances there will be consequences.
You and I have very different opinions on this. I guess I have a lot more faith in a child's ability to learn to navigate through the world than you do. I'm absolutely certian that a child can learn that certain words are only acceptable in certain places. It's okay to play in the road but in some circumstances there will be consequences is true, but I would rephrase it: some roads are better to play in than others, and some times are better to play in the road than others. I suppose that's why I parent the way that I do.

I tend to use a lot of coloful metaphors around certain people and in certain places, but not in others. I'm at my IL's, and I haven't used the word "sh*t" once since I've been here, but I use it on a very regular basis at home. In fact, my not-quite-two year old son already knows that there are some people he can say certain words around and other people he can't, and his vocabulary isn't all that extensive. I've never heard him say so much as "dammit!" to his grandmother, but he says it at home a fair bit (as in, he drops his piece of cheese and says "Dammit, I drop a cheese!")
post #136 of 161
Let me be clearer; I wrote that very quickly. I shouldn't've said or implied that all children need to learn that those words are absolutely not ok and should never be used period. That's wrong. That's an individual family decision.

I do believe that children must learn that those words *should never, absolutely never, be used to express extreme anger* and absolutely need to be given other tools. It's a safety issue, ESPECIALLY for boys. You need to think about what your child is going to fall back on as a teenager.

I am basing this, btw, in experience. My experience has been that families who, with the best intentions in the world, permit this kind of language as a way of blowing off steam end up with teenage boys getting thrown to the ground by large adult men, and getting tossed into paddy wagons, because the first things that come out of their mouth under stress are "what the fuck?" And these are all good, decent families, who absolutely taught their children that there's a time and place for everything. If you asked any one of these boys in a time of quiet and calm whether they should mouth off to a large man with a gun they would have said of course not. But in the heat of the moment, how many of us lose control? Adolesent boys need EXTRA control, and the training has to come early.
post #137 of 161
Why are 'large adult men' throwing boys to the ground?

Is 'what the f*ck?' a misdemeanor or felony? Or just worthy of having violence against you?

I need to know because I say that phrase and if I am going to be thrown the ground by a large adult male, I want to know about it ahead of time.
post #138 of 161
Oh come on. I live in a city. Teenage boys get told move on by the police. If that's not part of your experience, great for you.

Another example: a friend of mine's son was crossing the street on Halloween and a truck ran a red light. He screamed at the truck "What the fuck are you doing, there are fucking little kids out here" and the guy pulled over and beat him up.

OBVIOUSLY I'm not defending police brutality or assault and battery. But pretending like this kind of thing doesn't happen is like not teaching your daughters never ever ever go up to some drunk frat boy's dorm room.

Boys need to control their tempers to keep themselves safe just like girls need to be wary to keep themselves safe. That doesn't mean anyone deserves what happens to them. It's no statement on the morality of cussing or anything else. It's reality. Boys are going to grow up in a world where they will have interactions with asshole adult men who will take any excuse to "teach that boy a lesson." It's absolutely horrible and disgusting that people will do that BUT THEY WILL. And it's triply, a hundred times worse when the interaction is with a police officer who knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that as long as there's no broken bones, he's gonna get away with it.
post #139 of 161
People who would beat up a kid for swearing will find some other reason to beat them up even if the kid does not swear. People who use violence against children (or against anyone, really) are messed up people and will be violent no matter how hard their victims try not to provoke them. The OP's MIL is an example of this kind of person.
post #140 of 161


Exactly, Greaseball.

If someone held me down and cut my hair off and then made me really angry on the phone, I would say "F*** you, b*****" as well. Call me unfrefined with an overdeveloped id if you will . Actually, I wouldn't say the b word because I have other issues with it, but that is a different story.

Of course, we teach our children to communicate effectively, but this is an extreme situation. I find it sad that there is such a double standard for children.
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