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Old 04-21-2002, 02:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yesterday afternoon around 3:30 my dh, ds (4yo) and I went to a 55th birthday party of a female German physician (Fr. Dr.) who is an aquaintance/friend. She has 4 grown children, and one of them, a SAHM daughter (J) lives with Fr. Dr. - along with J's husband who is from Jordan (but he says his homeland is where Isreal is now (on his map it is still called Palestine) because that is where his grandparents were born before the land became Isreal - you know the story), and their 3 children ages 6, 3 & 9mo. I won't go into the details of the family. The entire afternoon I spent worried and controlling my temper, not because of the political element, but because of the differences in raising of the chldren. One reason was because the 6 yo son (S) kept showing my ds toys and not letting ds play with them (no correction from other adults) correctly saying, "They're mine." Ds would say in a pleading voice, "Share - -you play with it, then I, then you . . ." But the boy would refuse, Ds would play with the stuff when S wasn't playing, and S would hit ds. I step in and tell S that he was too rough and he has to apologize, no way, so I took DS outside and talked with him and hugged him until I calmed down. After a while DS goes back in to play with S. and when he gets enough abuse DS hit S in the back, BIG LOUD crying from S, my ds goes over to S, kisses apologizes without being told. They go outside where the father of S is "watching the children". J, the mother had told them it was ok to play with the matches and candle wax. So 2 older guest-kids (13 & 9), and S (except for mine) were playing with fire . . . and I was labelled an "overly nervous mother". I went back in because it was too much for me and sent my dh out. Later I went out to see what was going on because all the grownups were inside. I was told by S "Get out of here we want to play and you're ruining it for us". Then S & DS get in the Mercedes convertable of the father (they are only recieving social services, suposedly) and listen to music really loud, where I worry about their ears. Ds was in the back window calling me so I'd go to the car and was told by S "Get out and shut the door!" Towards the end, when it was 8pm and no one had eaten yet, S & DS were really hitting each other hard - "rough housing" DS naturally getting the worse of it (he's 2 yrs younger and a little short for his age). DS said he liked it. I felt like I had spent 4 hours holding in my worry and just being stunned by the behavior of S. All the other Aunts Uncles, Grandparents, greatgrandparents were all there and S's behavoir seemed perfectly normal and acceptable to them. I just snapped ds up and said we were getting out of here, to which ds was screaming like crazy. By now he was tired, hungry, half deaf, wound up, he called me all the names in his little nasty vocabulary book (poopy, bad, etc.) said he wanted to kill me, hated me etc. By the time we had gotten to the tram, he had calmed down and I could talk to him. I told him how much it hurt me everytime S hit him, and also when he hit S, we talked a lot. DS went on for a while hating me - and really hating me. I told him I could understand why. I hugged and kissed him as much as I could, and with the distance and getting out of there he began to get back to normal. I took him home, made dinner, and we went to bed. I THANK G_D that we are a family bed family!!!!! All night long ds was restless and even cried, and I could just reach over and touch him and that calmed him down immediately. I, though, as of 5 am this morning couldn't sleep. I feel confused and poisoned. Was I just being overly protective? Is this rough housing just typical boys stuff? Is it OK for 6 yr olds to be playing with fire?

:

Is there no advice out there? It really is making me wonder about myself.
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Old 04-21-2002, 05:55 PM
 
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revmami,

Sorry for not posting sooner, I have been limiting my time here.

First off, IMHO, you were not being over protective. You were trying to protect your child from harm. It is not normal for children to play with fire. It is dangerous. You were right, the other adults were wrong.

In regards to rough play, I think every parent has their own comfort level. If you have a no/low tolerance for this behavior then you will set those limits with your child. When I was teaching four year olds, it was hard for me to permit the rough stuff. It took 7 years of teaching and many conversations with directors to become comfortable with the idea. The directors at my school believed rough play (with rules, parameters and space) was necessary for children (once they are old enough to understand the rules of rough play - around 4 years old). It was how they tested their physical limits and was a natural part of development. It helps formerly egocentric children learn where their bodies end and another child's begins. When there aren't any limits set on this type of play AND the other child is much larger then yours, I can see why you would feel uncomfortable with it.

One of the parts of your story that bugs me the most is the way S spoke to you in front of your ds. I find that very disturbing. It must have made both you and your son feel badly. I would have said to that child, "I do not like what you said to me. And, I am not going to listen to your words if you are going to speak to me that way."

I am sorry you had such a stressful experience. I probably would have left with the fire incident. You had much more patience and tolerance than I would have in the same situation.

Just know that you are not off base.
Hope this helps,
Laura
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Old 04-21-2002, 06:22 PM
 
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Revmami, I know how you feel. I have been in many situations before where I was critized for being an overprotective mom, which made me question my own instincts. No, I believe you were very justified in your reactions, it appears to be simply a question of different parenting practices/philosophies. Frankly, "S" sounds like a brat! Could there also be cultural differences there??... You were right to go w/ your instincts. Sounds like you should write it off as a very bad evening and stay away from that family...
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Old 04-21-2002, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much, it really did. In the mean time I've been carrousing other threads relating to violent kids, and problems when one thinks the caregivers of another child who is being abusive to your own do not appear to take responsibility. Your point about testing their physical limits gave me a shimmer of hope because I could not imagine why on earth my ds would want to fight so roughly. Ds was born with huge muscles, and is very strong and coordinated, and I sometimes think he feels a drive to test all his strength - which I can understand in a way - he is discovering life and wants to live it to its fullest. My dh plays a bit rough sometimes - but ususally it is tickling and such - not actually wrestling and hitting hard with "weapons". I really don't have a no tolerance level for roughplay, but I guess I feel I should. I think that is why I'm feeling so confused, I've never felt so insecure in my parenting until now. Like, if I take the gentle disipline approach, and allow my son to be rough, am I sending different messages? If I put too many limits on his behavior now, will he revolt all the more when he is a teenager? How can I control my worry? Arghhhhh
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Old 04-22-2002, 04:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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MamaLuna,
I guess our posts crossed paths, I didn't see your post until this morning. The question about the cultural differences is why I added the history of the family. I've been told that arabic families tend toward more leniency. My dh says he wonders if matches seem like nothing in comparison to the real guns the children are playing with in middle east nowadays, but the father is from a pretty weathly educated family in Jordan - not such a prevalance of weapons/war there, that I know of - but it may be a cultural thing. I also thought it was that they have 3 children and the oldest is acting out trying to get attention. And no one says anything because they are afraid to get the father upset - he is rather testy these days . . . he's been interviewed numerous times by the police here . . . gee, I wonder why - on social services and driving a mercedes . . . .
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Old 04-22-2002, 05:50 AM
 
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oh revmami, sorry, didn't even see the thread - I would have responded right away. I have very limited time online as it costs a fortune....
As far as your dh's comment is concerned I have to agree - and spending a lot of time in Morrocco I saw a whole different idea of "childhood" with little kids working in the streets, acting like mini-adults, relating like adults..... however you are not in Palestine or Morrocco and you have every right to insist that your child doesn't play with matches and to feel uncomfortable with, as laurajean says, this rough play without any boundaries, and with a bigger older kid who is insolent to you and who frankly you don't trust. Your little one is really little....I feel lucky here having a daughter and not having run into this problem....
I think the thing that would have disturbed me had I been in your position would have been the fact that your son himself didn't want to go and resisted you. That must have been painful and made you question what you were doing?? No easy answers. I guess that he was confused by different desires, maybe something was pulling him away from mummy and towards the boys, and something was pulling him back..... you did well to let him expresss his "hatred" and resolve it in bed. You must be exhausted though...
As far as "mixed messages" is concerned, I don't think gentle discipline means that you can't tolerate any roughness in kids, it may be a phase they need to go through when young and not store up for later, to be guided through from the sidelines. You model another way of being, but your little boy is in a completely different situation from you. He'll still absorb what you're doing, and it will show later, I'm sure. Hope that makes some sense, and as mamluna says - write it off as a bad time and don't go back!!!!


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Old 04-22-2002, 12:03 PM
 
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revmami-- I think it is insane to allow and encourage children to play with matches. I also think that the way that S treated your son and spoke to you was abhorrent. I would have left immediately, and if it were me, I would refuse to socialize with them again.
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Old 04-22-2002, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone! Technically we were there for the Grandmother of S, and since I left in a huff I need to go back and retrieve my pot - as in cookware - which I will do w/o my ds! She is a parishionser, and things are delicate with her right now (ex-hubby just remarried - I'm doing the church service ), but I won't be bringing my ds into this situation again. It is a strain on all of us. I really do appreciate the strong reactions, too - because it really reinforces my inner voice which was ready to boil over! Thanks, I'm feeling better now - your encouragement, naps, hot baths and herbal teas helped.

PS: serenka - I got your PM, will write soon - ds wants outside and it is finally a nice day!
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Old 04-22-2002, 01:41 PM
 
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I would just pick my kid up,make an excuse and leave.You are his protector,and need to keep him from harm as much as you can.I would remove him from situations like the one you described,because it sounds both physically and emotionally dangerous to your child.You really have your hands full lately,eh? Here's a huge ((((((((((((((((((((HUG)))))))))))))))))))))))))
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Old 04-22-2002, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Saige, I really needed that. I do feel like I've had my hands, my legs, my soul, my body my everything full lately. Yesterday I felt overwhelmed and stunned. There is a german phrase called "feeling like you are in the wrong film" - and that is how I've been feeling lately - like I'm suddenly living on another planet! You know, my husband was telling someone the other day how pityful it is to see me watch a movie because I get so empathetically involved it is almost painful - - - and I think I've been thrown for a loop since 911, and the the stuff in mid east, and so on . . . . and tonight I'm a little drunk so it is more extreme - the joy, the saddness. . .

anyway, thasnks
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Old 04-22-2002, 06:34 PM
 
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Oh,sweetie!! This sounds like you need to pack up your family and move to somewhere safer for you'all! Is that an option?
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Old 04-22-2002, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's in the works - I've already said as of October this year I won't be working here, and it looks like I'll be in Berlin, but whether or not I'll be riding the train every day or we'll move ther is still in question.
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Old 04-27-2002, 04:56 PM
 
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revmami,

good luck to you in your move!

i don't think you overreacted at all. if someone hurts my son & is not reprimanded by his or her parents, you can bet i will get my son out of the situation.

we are their protectors!

((((((((((HUGS )))))))))))))))))

love, jenny
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Old 05-17-2002, 05:45 AM
 
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Revmama-

I live just outside of Zurich in Switzerland and have two boys ages 3 and 7. I find that it is a cultural thing here allowing children to be aggressive to wards each other without consequences (for example, if my younger son is hitting and won't stop, I remove him from the situation). The opinion seems to be one of, "they need to be independant and work through these thigs themselves". What's frustrating is that it is just a breeding ground for aggressive behaviour amongst the children.

My 7 year old son is in 1st grade in our local Swiss school. He is constantly telling me about fights that break out between his boy friends. He stayed out of them until one day in March when one of his friends grabbed him by the shoulders and was shaking his head into the wall in the changing room after sport class. Sam then lost it and threw his backpack at the kid.
One day we were in a playground near us and some kids were not letting others onto the merry-go-round. Sam spoke up saying that nobody is the boss and theat everyone can play. The kid's response was to grab him at the throat and choke him. These are Swiss kids doing these things not kids coming from war torn countries. I told the kid not to ever do that again! Very few adults step into these situations. Usually the foreigners like me, and then I have heard stories of them being told off by the offending child's mother for stepping in!
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