My friend asked me the other day whether or not she should get her 12 year old son a PS4. Her son had gotten it in his head that the only gift for Christmas that would suffice would be a PS4. Anything less would be an affront to his year long good behavior and the world would be soooooo unfair (he has a tendency for hyperbole). Since I recently had this debate with my husband in regards to our 8 year old, I decided to share my thought processes into the decision. Get the whole story
Category Archives: Commentary
Do kids have the right to not be touched by other kids if they don’t want to be?
When I frame it like that, I’m pretty sure most people would give a resounding yes. In fact, I think anyone who isn’t some kind of freak would say “Absolutely!”
And yet, when I asked someone to keep the kids in her charge from pushing my kid around, I got the old “Boys will be boys” line.
Really? So, based on that logic, it would be okay if it was a boy or a man touching a girl or woman against her will? How about pinching her? How about kneeing her from behind? How about a good old fashioned shove?
That’s all okay because they’re male and that’s just how boys and men are?
As those folksy politicians love to say… That dog don’t hunt.
Here’s the backstory…
My son plays in a recreational basketball league. He’s about average size and weight for his age (7). The other boys are similar with minor variations but there are a couple of twins that are notably taller and bigger and I suspect they are either on the late end of six or possibly seven as they are a grade lower than my son. Another huge kid is eight already. How they are all on the same team, I have no idea.
My son is very mild mannered, easygoing, friendly and kind. He gets along with everyone and makes friends wherever he goes. He is NOT aggressive, obnoxious or the kind of kid that goes around pushing, pinching or shoving other kids. That’s not to say he won’t engage in some wrestling and sparring with his friends but those are activities where there are two willing participants.
Every week at basketball practice, I see both of those twins constantly putting their hands on other kids. I don’t get the sense that it’s totally malicious but when you go and pinch someone when they’re running alongside you minding their own business, it’s probably not going to be well-received.
When you take your place in line and intentionally shove the kid in front of you and make them run into the person in front of them, it’s f#$%ing obnoxious and uncalled for.
When you run up behind someone and knee them in the back, you’re crossing the line as far as this mom is concerned.
Never mind that they will block and take balls from kids on their own team during a game. Never mind that if they want a ball at practice they will just take one from someone else.
Those things suck and reek of poor sportsmanship but they’re not really hurting anyone.
But the other stuff? I watch it happen every week. Once when my son tried to tell the coach one of the twins was pinching him repeatedly during drills, the coach blew it off. I told my son the next time someone puts their hands on him, he should get right in their face and yell at them to knock it off but he’s not a yeller and even when he does speak up, nobody hears him in a loud gym full of bouncing balls.
So…I watched it happen again today and I’d had enough. My son doesn’t cry or complain about it but the fact that everyone blows it off is sending a message that I don’t want him to internalize:
It’s okay for people to cross your personal boundaries, put their hands on you and hurt you and no one is going to do anything about it. You have no choice but to take it.
Well, the world didn’t end on 12-21-2012, which is good. But then again, we have the Korean krazypants, Kim Jong Un, making threats and pointing his nukes at everyone so maybe I shouldn’t get too happy just yet, huh?
Right now, I should really be writing out my thoughts and feelings in the form of a letter (that I won’t send) to a friend who really hurt my feelings yesterday. She’s not just a friend, though—our 12 year old daughters have been friends since they were two. This complicates things immensely.
I won’t bore you with the details except to say that she made some incredulous claims about my motivations regarding a recent event..something that hurt her child’s feelings but that I absolutely did not do.
I don’t know what’s wrong got me so down but I have less than zero holiday spirit this season. Usually, I love Christmas and decorate the shit out of my house and bake cookies and do all that other Martha Stewart-y stuff that I eschew the rest of the year.
But this year, I just can’t muster the required JOY! to make all those things happen and I’m even feeling a wee bit resentful that I have to participate at all.
We’re supposed to decorate our tree tonight and I’m all “Can I just lay here on the couch and read my book?”
First let me start off by saying that I appreciate all you do, teachers, coaches and scout leaders. Really, I do. By and large, you have all been truly wonderful.
Okay, now that I’ve told you that I appreciate all you do (and I mean it), I’m going to put myself out there and risk being verbally crucified by saying that I’m OVER the gifts I am constantly being pressured to pony up for on your behalf.
When your kids have 7-9 teachers between them, the holiday gifts, teacher appreciation week gifts and end of the year gifts get expensive. I know I live in a nice part of town (in a very small and unimpressive house in a meh neighborhood, mind you) so all you people that plan these gift-giving extravaganzas think I’m made of money but guess what?
OMG…last night these people came to look at a car we’re selling and they TOOK MY KEYS with them. I realized it this morning when I couldn’t find them so I call the guy and I’m like “Hi, you came to look at our car last night. Do you have my keys?” and he’s like “Yes, I have them”
Um…OKAY. So when exactly did you notice that you had the keys to everything I own in your possession? We’re you planning on LETTING ME KNOW? Did it not occur to you that I might NEED THEM???? That I might be tearing my house apart looking for them so I could take my kids to school?
A friend recently mused over whether his children appreciate what is given to them after his younger child complained of not getting ice cream at the end of a whole day devoted to her and her wishes. This made me think a lot about my own children and whether they appreciate what they have, particularly as we’ve experienced the same type of ingratitude around here, too.
In my estimation, we live a typical middle-class (what’s left of it) life—we can’t afford a lot of luxuries but we are able to have most of the things we want and pretty much anything we really need. It should be noted, though, that my husband and I aren’t particularly materialistic people so our lifestyle may be modest by typical American standards.
Regardless, there are trips to theme parks and family vacations and modern computers and iPads and iPhones and Netflix and cable TV and super-fast fiber optic internet access and health insurance and quality organic food in the fridge and a scooter and two decent cars and big birthday celebrations and dance classes and t-ball and basketball and cheerleading and scouts and way too many Lego sets and several ridiculously expensive American Girl dolls and frequent outings for ice cream and the movies and a Wii and a Nintendo DS and a house full of toys.