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ARRRGGGH ! MIL cut my boys' hair ! - Page 8

post #141 of 161
And I don't agree with this idea that people who swear as children will swear all the time as adults and no one will want to be around them. Most children swear. They may not do it around their parents or other adults, but they do it. And they don't all become filthy-mouthed adults. There are things that kids just do that they grow out of.
post #142 of 161
Originally Posted by playdoh
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.
well... technically speaking, you CAN get arrested for swearing at an officer. it is an old law, and it's details vary from state to state, but it's there... and it is a problem in places where police brutality is an issue, as it has been used as an excuse to abuse people. the reason the black panthers started calling police officers "pigs" was because of this law, and they didn't want to give the police a reason to arrest them.

more recently though (an example):
ACLU fights Pennsylvania police on profanity arrests

By The Associated Press


PITTSBURGH — Erica Upshaw was having one of those days.

The mother of three was rushing a load of groceries to her sister's house when she was pulled over by an officer who said she had made an incomplete stop.

When told her driver's license was suspended, Upshaw used a profanity to describe her day. She ended up in jail for her choice of words.

"It was so humiliating," recalled Upshaw, 28, who said she was trying to get home to tend to a 6-year-old daughter who had just lost a tooth.

The American Civil Liberties Union says that when North Braddock police arrested Upshaw in the summer of 2000 for foul language, the officers joined a growing number of police who have crossed a line drawn by the courts.

Upshaw's case is at the center of one of two lawsuits the ACLU filed last week in federal court in Pittsburgh, accusing area police departments of violating people's right to free speech. The lawsuits seek unspecified damages.

The lawsuits are intended to warn police across the nation, said Witold Walczak, executive director of the ACLU's Pittsburgh chapter. He said officers need to realize they create tremendous stress on people and should expect emotions to spill out.

Every state has laws against foul language, but the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have generally agreed that the words have to be used in a violent or sexually obscene context, said John Burkoff, associate dean and law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Uttering something vulgar or profane is not, in itself, grounds for arrest, he said.

In one case out of Michigan, Timothy Boomer, a canoeist who let loose a stream of curses after falling out of a canoe, was found guilty three years ago of violating a law against cursing in front of women and children. He was fined $75 and ordered to perform four days of community service. In April, though, an appeals court struck down the 105-year-old law and threw out the conviction.

Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police, disputed the notion that police are misusing the disorderly conduct laws. He said officers may feel it is necessary to arrest someone on a minor charge to prevent more serious crimes.

The ACLU said it has been receiving five or six complaints a year from western Pennsylvanians arrested for swearing. Last month, Pittsburgh police agreed to pay $275,000 to settle 32 cases brought by the ACLU, some of them involving profanity arrests.

In Upshaw's case, a judge threw out the disorderly conduct charge because her words were scatological but not sexually explicit. And a driving-without-a-license charge was dropped when it turned out that her suspension resulted from a computer glitch.

But she still ended up spending an afternoon in jail. She could have gotten up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine on the disorderly conduct charge.

Upshaw contends she was calm and swore only once. "They were really hostile," she said. But a police report said officers warned her five times to stop cursing, and described her as "loud and belligerent."

"Our police aren't out there just to arrest people who swear," said North Braddock Police Chief Henry Wiehagen. "There had to be a little more involved than just her vocabulary."

The ACLU's second lawsuit stems from the arrest of Amy Johnson, 27, a Chatham University student, and Gregory Lagrosa, 29, a University of Pittsburgh student. Johnson swore at a passing Homestead patrol car.

Johnson claimed that the car came dangerously close to the couple in a crosswalk.

A judge dismissed the charges, again because Johnson's words were not sexually obscene.

Homestead Mayor Betty Esper is standing firmly by the town's officers. She said preventing officers from making foul-language arrests could have a harmful effect on society, particularly when it comes to teaching children manners.

"If every kid can tell officers to go to hell and if police officers go break up a fight, can the kids say, 'Go stuff yourself?' " Esper asked.
post #143 of 161
Look, I swear all the time (I don't name call, there is a difference). I ALWAYS have (since I could talk). However, I have NEVER swore so otehrs could overhear in an public place, never been given a dirty look, never cursed at a cop or teacher. Kids can get this. They are amazing and so smart. They can get that you can swear when you are angry at home but not in public. I promise.

I really really think we don't give kids enough credit. I know part of me wants my kids to never see a commercial. But then part of me realizes that kids can get it - especially with some modeling and some explanation.
post #144 of 161
What I really don't get is this:
Quote: 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.

Lets face it, this guy was in the wrong and even if the kid would have said "You know you shouldn't run a red light especially when so many kids are arround." The guy probably still would have pulled over and beaten him up. Here in Dallas a 4 yr old little boy was shot while sitting in the back of his parents car because his parents pulled out in front of another car and that man had a gun. I really don't think cussing has anything to do with the violence we are expiriencing in America today.

And just so you know a man was sentenced to spend four hours a day for a week standing next to a pig in a pen on a busy intersection with a sign that said "Police are not pigs" because he called a police officer a pig. Again no cursing involved.
post #145 of 161

If you are still reading this you have far thicker skin than I (well, I already think that anyway, lol).

If you are looking for advice at this point, I would say...

Try to let it go. It's been three weeks (I hope the boys are feeling a bit better about their hair). Some people suck (MIL) and it sounds like you just need to cut her out of your life. I wouldn't let the boys talk to her for quite a while. I don't think it is doing them any favors to let them talk to her if it gets them so upset. You could tell her if *she* changes her mind/views to contact you, otherwise to just stay away.

And then I'd live my life as if she was never in it. Just another crazy lady that you will never allow to hurt your poor boys again.

They have expressed their hurt, their pain, their rage and it sounds like MIL is not hearing that, will not acknowledge her wrong...

post #146 of 161
Thank you, TiredX2
post #147 of 161
Thread Starter 
I thank you, too, TiredX2, and I also applaud you ! I think I agree with most of what you said in that last post. I do, however, have to make a couple comments to some people who have been so very negative in the latter part of this thread. I find it interesting that in the early part of the posts, I was getting so many "hugs" for what had gone on. Then I got suggestions, most of which were good (and I even accept the ones which weren't quite "so nice," cause I DID ask for comments and suggestions). What I find interesting is that many people said I should let the boys decide how to handle the situation. I thought that was a good idea, so I did that. It was the BOYS' idea to maybe try the "dirty hippy girls" suggestion (if they had said "no" that would have been the end of it---contrary to some people's belief in here, they WEREN'T forced into anything). But who got blamed and yelled at for that ? My bf and me, because we were "forcing" the boys to be "belligerent" or some such thing ! And when we let the boys talk to their grandmother on the phone (in full hopes that maybe they could patch things up---hoping maybe that she would say she was sorry) and SHE said something negative to them, and they lashed back at her, then we become the horribly bad parents who are not raising our sons right !!! *SIGH !* I guess there is no winning with some people in here ! First we were not letting the boys decide what to do enough, then we were bad parents for letting them take the initiative ! BUT I will say that the poster who suggested that my boys will be bad citizens for swearing or that they will have fewer friends REALLY got my dander up ! That was UNCALLED FOR ! I resented that very much (and most readers of my posts KNOW that rarely do I get overly upset at what is said to me in here --- but I tell you, I DID THIS TIME !) My boys know they are freely allowed to swear at home but they also know that they should maybe expect negative reaction to it when they are in public. But we feel that they were fully justified to swear at their grandmother when she called. We will continue to allow our boys to swear, but we will also continue to teach them when it is appropriate. To suggest that my boys are bad citizens for it or that they will have fewer friends really crossed the line in my opinion !
post #148 of 161
Out of curiosity, Shann, are you having a dialogue with your boys about generating ways to deal with their anger toward their grandmother that do not involve retaliation?
post #149 of 161
Thread Starter 
Of course we are, Dragonfly ! One of which is "avoidance." Unfortunately, she had violated that on the night of the phone call.
post #150 of 161
This is crazy! Shann, I'm still here giving you

On the one hand, yeah, it's shocking for most folks to hear of 16 yr olds being "allowed" to cuss, let alone 6 yr olds.... But not all people who curse like sailors are bad, and there's plenty of people with "pure vocabularies" who are rotten to the core.

Have some more trust in this mama and her two boys, please folks?? Let's get past the particular choice of words and figure out what horrid things the MIL said to elicit such words from the poor kids, huh??

I for one totally applaud you, Shann, for being so very trusting and respectful of your boys' feelings, opinions, and their general path in growing up...! It's a hard and brave thing to do, but imo definitely the right way

Now then.................what did someone say about how we must surely teach our kids that hitting is wrong, and thus teaching them that cursing is sometimes ok is incongruent??? HUH?? I don't teach my kids that hitting is always wrong in every situation--jeez. If someone was trying to kidnap them I'd surely want them to use their karate moves or whatever as best they could! Even hitting/physical violence isn't *always* wrong. What do you want your kids to do if they're being attacked? Try to politely reason w/the creep?? Even cuss words might not help in that situation lol

That said, I hope Shann and her dear boys are able to move on from this traumatic event with some perspective gained and lessons learned, and with their emotions and feelings intact and healthy too! Good luck Shann
post #151 of 161
Thread Starter 
For anyone still interested, I FINALLY found out from the boys what their "grandma" said to them on the phone that caused them to react with words that so many of you have criticized both them and me about. I figured I wouldn't press them to tell me and that they would tell me in their own time if they wished. They both said that she told them that she had done them a favor by cutting their hair and that both I and their dad were bad parents for allowing them to look like that (i.e. the long hair) and that we didn't deserve to have kids and that if they agreed with us that they were bad kids as well and should be ashamed of themselves for treating their grandma the way they were doing. In other words, she was belittling both us and them directly to the boys. So now I REALLY don't regret supporting them in what they said to her ! She deserved every bit of that and more ! However, I am sure there are those of you who will still say I am wrong and am being a "terrible mommy" for allowing them to cuss at her. Oh well !
post #152 of 161
Shann - I'm sorta on the fence about namecalling anyone - but it seems to me you really missed the point of the majority of the posters who thought the namecalling not the best reaction. It wasn't about whether the grandmother deserving it - it was the idea of giving someone his/her just deserts that was in debate. Maybe re-read this thread in the future sometime when the incident isn't so raw. And just ignore the very few posts that said snotty things about your mothering (these were in the minority - though I know they sting and are hard to see past).
post #153 of 161
I just read this whole thread for the first time tonight and I find it really fascinating, as a new member and as someone interested in human behavior.

Shann, I was horrified to hear what happened to your boys. I know you must be emotionally exhausted firstly over just experiencing and processing the whole experience within your family. Then to come here and read all the posts of people processing, discussing and sometimes being critical of the situation must compound the stress.

I sure can't speak for the others, but it is my strong sense that we all are appalled by what happened to your family, and are trying to imagine how we might deal with such a situation in our own lives, but of course, none of us are in your shoes.

(Having a mother who might do something similar,) I can only imagine how incredibly livid and reactionary I might be in this case, I'm certain I would WANT to do something like using profanity and venting by sending the picture. I hope however, I would breathe and model the kind of behavior that I would want to teach my children and also my MIL.

However, IT DOESN'T MATTER what I think I would do. The point being that I honor you as a mother and I know you are doing your best with your children the circumstances you've been dealt. That is all you can be expected to do.

What I mean is, The purpose of this forum is to support each other yes, but also to discuss amongst ourselves issues relevant to our lives and mothering with individuals from places far and wide,who may be very different from us and who may have opinions and experiences very different from our own. How cool is that???? VERY! Then we get to solicit advice, comments, suggestions, just like you did with your post. It seems important then, to weigh the input you receive against our own truth and reality, and act from there.

I love it that everybody gets to speak their mind here,I think it is fascinating and wonderful to hear all of how all of us respond to such a provocative issue. I do realize it can be challenging to stay removed enough that criticism doesn't affect you,especially when the subject is so personal and raw to you, it must be difficult to remember that although this virtual illusion is wonderfully created, that in fact , these people aren't your best friends and may choose to run their lives in very similar but also different ways! There are very wise and wonderful women here, but all of us are just doing the best we know how.

I hope, sweet Shann, that you are able to do just that. Weigh the input you get here, carefully and heartfully against your own truth, and continue to be the best mother you know how. Dismiss what is hurtful to you as coming from someone who, although well intentioned, does not stand in your shoes.

Peace and All Blessings to you!
post #154 of 161
Shann, I think you and your boys are well rid of your MIL!

mtnsunshinemama, that was a great post!!! to MDC!!
post #155 of 161
Thanks, Andreac and I echo your sentiments! I wouldn't want that kind of energy invited into my family life. Hopefully grandma will come to her senses one day, apologize and see the horrible mistake she's made.
post #156 of 161

I just wanted to clarify that in NO WAY do I think you have done anything wrong w/this situation.

I am just encouraging you, at this point, to cut ties with that woman and let that be that. She, apparently, is not going to see the truth of the matter (that the problem is her and her issues w/gender, clothing, etc...) and exposing your children to that type of person is not good for them. If I thought that she was changing in her dialog w/them that would be one thing, but doing *anything* with her just seems to be fuel for the fire.

I'm just glad that your DP is supportive and your whole family realizes that MIL is a crazy kook, lol.

How are your boys doing? Are they feeling any better about their hair? It is probably not helpful, but in some ways it is probably best that MIL really went off the deep end making it clear a cut need to be made instead of just sneakily poisoning your family for years.
post #157 of 161
Thread Starter 
Thanks to mtsunshinemama, tiredx2, and andreac for your good words ! I really do appreciate them.
As for the situation, we have indeed cut ties with her, and that includes my bf (her son). She has lost a family. The boys don't even want her mentioned now ! (Their choice, no our "force", but I still secretly say "YAY !"). As for their hair, it is growing back, but still isn't as long as it was before or as long as we all want it (them included). It was about 6 inches below their collar line before, and is going to be alot longer than that now.We sometimes trim it (very slightly !) once in awhile, but we aren't even going to do that for several months now...their reward for the trouble they went through.
REALLY long hair is the goal for them now...no haircut or trim for them in the foreseeable future ! She thought it was long before----she ain't seen nothin' yet ! (although she won't be seeing them anyway).
post #158 of 161
i can not even believe the nerve of some people.
post #159 of 161
Just wanted to say how much a feel for your boys! My son had long hair (past his waistband. He would occas. talk about cutting it, and I told him to be sure he wanted it. So this June, he actually was decided (and mentioned it for several weeks) so he donated it to Locks of Love, and even after all the forethought and discussion, he still had to cry and mourn his hair at bedtime that night. (He's happy with his "cool" look now) I can't even imagine how upsetting it would be for him to have that decision taken from him.

I'm glad you are giving them some freedom to feel and discuss ways to deal, instead of taking over for them, or encouraging suppression of feelings.

BTW I agree that kids can totally learn when and where swearing is appropriate. My mom used to say our house would be rated R for language, yet I have never used innappropriate language with superiors, even horrible teachers when I was an angry teen.

to your kids!
post #160 of 161
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Liawbh ! How old is your son, and how short did he get it cut ? That was a brave decision on his part.
And thanks for the understanding on the swearing. My kids also have VERY R-rated mouths at home, with our permission, but they also know that that won't always be met with as much acceptance outside our home.
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