Print Story Ah yes, drama.
Diary
By nightflameblue (Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 10:27:32 AM EST) (all tags)
Oh how I've missed you.


There is a subject that I try to skirt around most times here because, well, I'm on the wrong side of it you see. This is a place of parents and children and joy and happiness.

Not that I think all parents are as oblivious as some I know in the meat-space world. I know better than that, but it's easy for someone who is a parent to hear any negative thing said about any parent and immediately jump to the "you have no idea" stance on a guy who doesn't have children himself. I just don't want this to come across as an attack on all parents everywhere because, frankly, I'm not that dude.

That said, there is a certain mindset amongst a certain contingent of The Modern Parenting Brigade that seems to believe the job of a parent is to protect a child, at all times, from any possible negativity. At all.

I like my niece. I think she's a good kid with a shit-ton of potential that's slowly being eroded away by a family group that seems to pretty consistently not get it.

The vibe began to sour a few visits back. Most every time I see her now something will happen where she strikes out violently, I get hurt, I ask her to stop, and in the end I have to apologize for being mean. The last couple times it was pretty bad. The most vivid was her standing on my chest and then jumping up and down repeatedly as I asked her to stop, finally ending with me reaching up, taking hold of her so she didn't tumble down hard, then pushing her until she was standing on the floor. Stomped off angry, and next thing I know I'm being told by mommy to apologize.

So it wasn't exactly a shock when Mrs. NFB told me her sister had a request for me. She framed it with, "I don't want to start a big fight, but something needs to be done about this." See, in my family, you do that, you're essentially saying, "you wanna? Bring it, bitch." In her family, this is essentially saying, "we're not going to argue, and this is how it's gonna be." I'm aware of that, but it raised the hackles to begin with.

Then the strange list of demands.

It seems niece is extremely sensitive and gets her feelings hurt very easily. It's my supposition that this has something to do with the fact that no one is allowed to say or do anything slightly negative around her without being told they must apologize, but I digress. The impression niece has of me at the moment is that I'm really, really mean. Like, REALLY mean. Let me add at this point that I am the last of her five uncles that will even be in the same room with her. The rest of them are obviously smarter than me.

So, anyway, I need to make extra efforts to be sure not to offend her. Here is what I have been told to do.

  • Never try to get her to eat food she's not interested in. This demand because I asked her if she'd try a bite of my jambalaya instead of only eating pie a few weeks back. My insistence level was pretty much, "hey, you wanna try some of this?" She said no, I shrugged and moved on. I can see where this is a serious problem.
  • Never correct her or scold her, no matter what she may be doing. It's especially egregious to ask her to stop doing something physically violent to me. Instead I am to simply extricate myself from her and leave when she becomes violent. Not sure how I do that when the last couple times I've tried that I ended up on bended knee begging forgiveness for being such a meany poopy head. Outside of that I can't think of a correction I've attempted.
  • Do not refer to her by any name but her own. Kid, princess, goofy or brat (admittedly harsh, and I probably shouldn't have on that last one) are not acceptable.

I stopped the "conversation" at that point and said I'm good. When asked if I wanted to hear the rest of it I said, "nope. Don't have to worry about it. I'll sit with the rest of the uncles at the family functions from now on." It's sort of an ill-defined naughty table time-out situation. I should fit right in.

I'm not gonna go into a big psycho-analytical thing here, but I do find it interesting that absolutely no women have been relegated to the meany, poopy head list. Only men. Yes, interesting indeed.

Mrs. NFB was also informed that trying to plan a large family gathering where niece would be front-and-center right after this little chat was probably not the best move to make. Tension, yes.

Outside of that and the facebook family meltdown initiated between the females, it was a pretty uneventful weekend. Facebook can die now. k thnx bye.

< Dunno if I've diarized this story before. | I don't even know who won the Super Bowl. >
Ah yes, drama. | 44 comments (44 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Speaking as a parent by Herring (4.00 / 2) #1 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 10:34:39 AM EST
Life is harsh and unfair. And it's your job to prepare your children for life.

The unspoken disagreement I have with Mrs. H. is over how she treats SD. But compared to your niece, SD is living in a Dickens novel.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

I thought by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 11:35:18 AM EST
that's what English boarding schools were for.
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[ Parent ]
Nope. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #30 Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 05:24:40 AM EST
Midnight feasts bought from the tuck shop, followed by a couple of rounds of soggy biscuit.


[ Parent ]
Ah yes. by Phil the Canuck (4.00 / 2) #2 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 10:59:36 AM EST
My b-i-l and his wife went through a phase where they considered it abusive to tell a child no.  They did grow out of it though, but only after some massive problems.  

Wow by lb008d (4.00 / 4) #3 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 11:00:21 AM EST
That kid is going to be a monster in no time. Be sure to bring up the "never correct or scold her" to her Mom when she's 13 and uncontrollable.

Only child, right? by iGrrrl (4.00 / 5) #4 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 11:04:22 AM EST
I have dear friends who did this to their son. He is incapable at 21 of surviving in the world.

I consider what they're doing to be much more harmful than spanking.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

has to be an only child by gzt (4.00 / 4) #6 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 11:38:03 AM EST
This couldn't last five minutes if there were another kid around.

[ Parent ]
Yep. by nightflameblue (4.00 / 5) #7 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 11:39:22 AM EST
Mommy made daddy get the snip the week after she gave birth.

We're already witnessing some of the fallout from their current course with niece. She's had some difficulties in school in getting along with others and listening to her teachers. When asked why she doesn't do what the teachers tell her, she responds, "I do when I'm not busy with other things."

It's gonna be a really tough life if they don't figure it out soon.



[ Parent ]
tough for all of them by iGrrrl (4.00 / 2) #14 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:19:55 PM EST
I know people who have only one, so that they can concentrate their energies. I really wanted two, so that I wouldn't inadvertently end up with a spoiled brat. I can usually spot an adult who was an only child, because of two characteristics. First, they've never had to share their most important resource--the parents. They don't understand why they don't get your attention right the instant they want it. Second, they've never seen another human with the same environment turn out different and make different choices. Therefore they tend to act as if their experiences and attitudes are the laws of Nature.

Neither of these are restricted to only children, but they're more pronounced, in my experience. Which is, of course, in concordance with the laws of nature. Just ask my brother.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
As an only child by nightflameblue (4.00 / 1) #18 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:32:15 PM EST
I would throw a tantrum right now, except for the fact that I'm the only only child I know that isn't a complete pile of dog-shit of a human being as an adult.

I was lucky. My parents were big believers in making sure I knew things weren't going to be handed to me on a silver platter. They made their share of mistakes, sure, but they got that right. Most only children aren't that lucky, but think that they were luckier. Until it came time to deal with reality outside of home.



[ Parent ]
Come on dude. by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #25 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 05:56:30 PM EST
Show some fucking solidarity at least.

The Ass Hat prize is largely awarded due to personality, and I don't think that being an only child makes you an automatic winner.


I usually don't even tell people I'm an only child to avoid getting pre-judged. Kind of sucks.


Gedvondur

"I have a high threshold for taking it in the bum..." - MissTrish
[ Parent ]
I'm with you to a point. by nightflameblue (4.00 / 1) #27 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 05:59:24 PM EST
I don't tell people I am either for the most part. It rarely comes up.

But there are a large number of only children that are absolute self-centered pricks. I'm not defending that group just because I happen to be an only child.



[ Parent ]
Not only onlies by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #28 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 09:28:11 PM EST
Describes my sister to a 'T', both in upbringing and in result.  She's only 20 months younger than me.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
It's an "in general"... by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #29 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 10:21:22 PM EST
...and "in my experience." I wasn't looking to make anyone feel the need to defend. And it's one of those things I tend to ask about much later in the acquaintance, but am generally correct IRL. As UCB says below, those two characteristics are not the province only of onlies, nor do I believe they are true of all singly raised children. It depends on how the parents handle it.

It's just the stuff you were talking about in the post just makes me sad for the kid, as well as for you who have to navigate these family waters. As I said, I've seen the results at 21...

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
I've seen it at 42. by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #40 Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 10:31:01 PM EST
My sister is like that.  In consequence, my mother is mostly raising my niece, sadly in much the same way.  It's become a real issue as we don't really want the kid around as she's a bad influence on our son.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Right On. by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 4) #21 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:47:38 PM EST
Egocentricism defines the poorly-raised only child. It's more than just a social or emotional handicap -- it stunts their entire intellectual outlook, too.

Just ask my half-sister (young enough to be effectively an only). Her upbringing has brought her the idea that anything she doesn't care for (people, environments, stimuli, media, conversations, textures) is something she cannot be compelled (or expected) to tolerate in any amount for any time. This is a sixteen-year-old whose arguments are founded (expressed with dumbfounded shock that the universality of her message isn't instantly appreciated) on the sole lament, "But I don't like that."

My answer to her these days is, "Who asked what you like?"

To which she replies, "Don't be mean. Just change everything for me."

My prediction? She'll be living at home well into her thirties.


Science-fiction wallah, storytelling gorilla, man wearing a hat: Cheeseburger Brown.
[ Parent ]
Bad news for China? by chuckles (2.00 / 0) #33 Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 02:31:39 PM EST
An entire generation of "Little Emperors"...

"The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin [...] would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities"
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I suppose you are trolling a bit by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #34 Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 02:54:43 PM EST
...but, potentially yes. I work with a lot of scientists born in China, and there is a slight shift in their attitudes for those born after the One Child policy. Although it could be reasonably argued that the question is more one of maturity.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
I never troll... by chuckles (2.00 / 0) #35 Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 03:55:18 PM EST
But I suppose Chinese youth get the "you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake" smackdown they need from school, in contrast to the American model of raising self-esteem and promoting diversity.

"The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin [...] would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities"
[ Parent ]
not as much as you might think by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #38 Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 06:59:56 PM EST
In fact, I was reading somewhere that the government's stress on Confucianism was trying to counteract the snowflake, because the philosophy is all about social order and fitting into it. Doesn't mean they're like Ammerikan rugged individualists, but between being the object of their parents' investment in the future and the change in the economy,  a major generational difference seems to have been established, and is widening.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
Yar by duxup (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 01:25:58 PM EST
There is no way that kid survives with another kid in the house for long. 

____
[ Parent ]
My brother's 21 by sugar spun (4.00 / 1) #22 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 03:42:39 PM EST
and just like this. The decade between us left him to be raised by wolves parents who thought of him as their miracle baby and who didn't want rain to ever fall on his snowflakey parade.

Children like this need object lessons and boarding school.

Actually, perhaps the Duggars could give the clown car a rest and make some money on the side taking in egocentric onlys to reeducate them into the ways of being one among many.

[ Parent ]
Hey now by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #24 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 05:53:54 PM EST
Not every only child had turned out bad.

I might be biased here, but I don't think I turned out to bad.

And I know plenty of selfish assholes who have brothers and/or sisters.

Being an only child doesn't make a person an automatic Ass Hat prize winner.


Gedvondur

"I have a high threshold for taking it in the bum..." - MissTrish
[ Parent ]
I'm an only child too. by nightflameblue (4.00 / 1) #26 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 05:57:30 PM EST
I still think most only children are ass hats.

[ Parent ]
You turned out by littlestar (4.00 / 3) #32 Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 01:27:05 PM EST
GREAT! I bet your parents are lovely people. And that's what so much of it is about really, many PARENTS who only have one child are similar in how they treat their one child, not ALL parents of one child. Likewise, all kids raised in this sloppy way are not going to be awful selfish and arrogant humans, because part of it also depends on how the one child reacts to it. With so many variables I don't think anyone is pretending it's a black and white picture.

But, I bet it is annoying having to deal with people thinking about you a certain way your whole life because of ho many children your parents chose to have. I get judged because of my sex and people are mostly wrong too, so, you know, I get your drift.

*twinkle*twinkle*


[ Parent ]
judged because of your sex by gzt (4.00 / 2) #36 Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 04:32:31 PM EST
happens to me all the time. why do people have to hate on people who have great sex? and how are they even finding out?

[ Parent ]
You should probably keep those videos private. by nightflameblue (4.00 / 3) #37 Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 04:40:29 PM EST
Just a thought.

[ Parent ]
the live feed... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #39 Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 08:17:11 PM EST
...masks, and guns are part of what make it, and America, great.

[ Parent ]
Same here by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #31 Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 01:19:24 PM EST
CBB's step-sister is never going to be able to live on her own. Stupid parents.

*twinkle*twinkle*


[ Parent ]
Personally by Driusan (4.00 / 3) #8 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 12:44:15 PM EST
I find that firmly saying "No!" while spraying with a bottle of water is an effective way of disciplining young 'uns.

But my child is a cat, so your mileage might vary.

--
Vive le Montréal libre.

That works with kids, too by georgeha (4.00 / 3) #9 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 12:55:09 PM EST
and dogs.


[ Parent ]
I dunno. Some Dogs, any attention is good. by wiredog (4.00 / 3) #13 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:10:31 PM EST
I hear some kids are that way. Some adults, too.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I dunno by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:31:18 PM EST
I find that the damn things figure out how to use the spray bottle and attempt to turn the tables.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Help Them Navigate by duxup (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 01:14:49 PM EST
I've been a parent all of three months so you know, IANAL.  I certainly got that painful protective feeling as my little dude was sick for the first time this past weekend, sniffling, coughing and so forth. 

Having said that when it comes to social stuff I like to think my job as a parent is to help them develop the skills to navigate the world as best they can rather than clear the icebergs like an ice breaker. 


Anyway from your short description it sounds like that kid is ####ed, but with a parent like that I don't think you've got any way to help.

It does seem odd that she would if you're so terrible, even bother to interact much with you.

____
That was sort of my feeling. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 01:19:05 PM EST
But, as stated, I'm the last standing uncle. Sort of a case where I was the last dude that would play with her at all. Fixed that right up.

[ Parent ]
If she asks... by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #15 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:22:26 PM EST
Are you going to tell her why you refuse her invitations to play?

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
There won't be any asking. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #19 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:33:44 PM EST
Mrs. NFB will act as a shield in the cases where it's necessary, and I'll be doing all I can to avoid niece-centric activities for a bit. As the other uncles did when their time came to back off.

[ Parent ]
There's a kid... by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #43 Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 10:31:55 PM EST
So, after our Friday adults class in TKD, the preschoolers come in. One of them is a spoiled only child. His dad tries a bit more than his mother to not pamper him, but I'm seen stuff that people with two-plus kids just don't have time for. Last week I had an opportunity to reinforce one of Dad's messages about being able to accept something different from what you want (his "spot" on floor), but I kept my mouth shut. I asked the dad if he wanted another grown up to back him up.

To my surprise, he said yes. "He looks up to grownups who do karate, so if you give him the same message, it'll mean more than coming from just me. By all means, please do."

By all means, I will.

The niece simply may not know that her behavior is what drives people away.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
The inherent problem in this situation by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #44 Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 10:06:14 AM EST
is that the niece's mother is actually doing the driving. I can deal with kids that have bad behavior. It can be reformed through careful application of explanation. Once that option has been removed, as it has in this case, I have no further need to come in contact with said kid.

[ Parent ]
Huh by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #16 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:29:27 PM EST
Sounds like my niece.  Though as an actual parent, I insist on the right to tell her she's a brat if she's in my house.

Every time my son and her get together it takes a damn fortnight to get him whipped back into shape.  So no, I am hardly going to jump on your back in some sort of solidarity with crappy parents.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Please Excuse My Child From Social Propriety by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 5) #20 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:38:32 PM EST
It always amuses me when someone decides to intercede on behalf of someone else to ask for more latitude. "By the way, for reasons X and Y you're not to hold Person Z to the standard you would hold for any other human being."

There are three human beings in my life for whom this kind of special pleading is made. I find it mystifying, especially since I know the people who are the objects of discussion (or at least 66% of them) would be repulsed if they knew what deals their "ambassador" was trying to arrange for them. Likely, they would be humiliated to know the subject of their social and personal shortcomings are the subject of third party discussion and strategizing. The rub is, of course, that if they weren't so socially maladapted the discussions could happen to their faces instead of behind their backs.

Sadly, it sounds like your niece may grow up to be one of those people -- incapable of digesting criticism, insulated from the effect they have on others.

For my money, the children of other parents should be treated the same way you would treat a pushy stranger on the subway -- politely but firmly, giving the benefit of the doubt but also clearly marking lines that cannot be crossed. You don't want the crazy stranger on the subway to knife you, but you also don't want them to think pawing through your bag uninvited is acceptable. Where comprehension exists, boundaries can be explained; where none exists, a solid thwap with a rolled-up newspaper will do.

Personally, I have zero tolerance for children who don't say "please" and "thank you", who interrupt, or who fail to shake my hand when introduced, or won't lay off when clearly told. I treat them with the same candour I would the crazy guy on the subway or, if they are especially obnoxious, the way I might treat a friend's untrained dog. If somewhere were to deny my right to react to children's bad behaviour in this way, I'd probably make them the public butt of a joke about bad parenting and then fart on their favourite pillow and pee on the toilet seat.


Science-fiction wallah, storytelling gorilla, man wearing a hat: Cheeseburger Brown.
zero tolerance apologies by gzt (4.00 / 5) #23 Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 03:44:53 PM EST
an important addition to your list of the sort of things from a child you will not tolerate: not apologizing. a kid who doesn't apologize for doing something wrong is pretty terrible and will never learn to apologize because she doesn't believe what she is doing is wrong.

depending on age, I can accept a child who waves instead of shakes hands when introduced, but you're canadian, so it's different.

I once made the grave mistake of not greeting a small child with kisses on the cheek in France because it was so awkward to get down there - I am very tall. I felt terrible a second after and it haunts me to this day. I feel compelled to confess it here. That girls probably hates Americans now, and rightly so.

[ Parent ]
brat by Phil Urich (2.00 / 0) #41 Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 04:00:22 AM EST
admittedly harsh, and I probably shouldn't have on that last one ...no, "brat" sounds like it's a pretty damn fair description, no apologies necessary. If anything that might turn out to be one of the most constructive things people tell her in her childhood (although that's in the optimistic hope that she might someday get over this).

Sadly, by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #42 Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 07:55:08 AM EST
it was also strictly forbidden.

[ Parent ]
Ah yes, drama. | 44 comments (44 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback