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March 20, 2007

Comments

lori

Wow, both of those guys acted like teenagers. But the man at the store was a real prick. (Another new vocabulary word for the kids!)

Brenda Marie

I don't understand people anymore. I find myself shaking my head so often. It makes me not even want to go out in public anymore.

Lisa Giebitz

Hahaha, what a great story about the teenagers! You should have asked your son to define the words for the obviously underinformed teen. And maybe use them correctly in a sentence? That'd teach the teen that cursing, in of itself, doesn't make you cool.

JoVE

Yeah, I'm with lori. I bet that guy in the store would have been exactly the same no matter who was in front of him. Actually, self-important prick is probably more apt. Like the guys who pass you on the road just to get to the stop light quicker and save themselves a whole second on their journey time.

Chris Corrigan

Dunno that they both acted like teenagers...I pretty much love teenagers...some of my best friends are teenagers...etc. etc...

Seems to me that it's more true to say they both acted disrespectfully, which isn't the same as saying they both acted like teenagers.

It's interesting that there are places in our world where the actual design of things doesn't encourage real human connection. I find malls like this. We stand in line, we commune with material, not people, not even in the coffee shops which serve as the last gasps of social conversational space in urban areas built for cars. I think people behave the way their environment encourages them to behave to some extent, and suburban malls do a poor job at creating connection between human beings. Your connection with the cashier should be celebrated as a beautiful thing in a gray world, like a dandelion coming up through the pavement!

As regards dealing with disrespectful adults, I have had a few times in my life where we've used the adult's behaviour to talk about respect and what it means. And we do it right in front of the adult. In your case, my daughter and I might have a conversation that goes something like "Aine, if you were behind someone in line who was taking some extra time to count out her money and you felt a little impatient, what would you do?"

Once my partner had the incredible experience of such an intervention resulting in the adult not only apologizing but becoming truly interested in the conversation about respect. He took his little shaming really well, and asked questions about how he could better communicate and so on. Both my daughter and my partner helped him brainstorm a little.

So you never know.

Elisheva Levin

I liked your insight about the lack of respect and attention toward children in public and the need for attention the teenagers were showing. Wow!

Shortly before I took my son out of school, we were waiting for an afternoon strategic games club to begin. The teacher who sponsored it was gone, but another teacher agreed to do so after his parking lot duty.

We were in the hallway by the office with a few little boys. They were fooling around together--nothing bad--but moving around a lot and talking, as kids will do when waiting. A staff member came out of the office and lambasted the boys loudly saying "stop it!" and "shut up!"

My son, who has AS, asked her: "Stop what?" and he was serious about the question. (He doesn't get the larger context of social communication). She glared at him and said: "Don't get smart with me, young man!"

At this point, I intervened and asked this person "What is the problem that you see here?" She glared at me, and made a comment about permissive parents and stomped off.

She was so self-important and so self-righteous that I had to laugh. The boys laughed with me and shortly after that the club began and I went home.

But that disrespect toward the boys bothered me. Here was a person that was supposed to enjoy being with children and who was supposed to have some experience and understanding of their needs. But all she could do with them was bluster and command.

That is one of many reasons I took my son out of school. Why should anyone have to put up with power plays like that?

Melissa

This was a really wonderful article! It really hit home for me, especially after a dangerous incident that was so insane that I am still shaking my head in wonder about it nearly two months later.

My sons and I were entering a bookstore on a busy Los Angeles street. My six year old son was kindly opening the door for me, as I was pushing my 2 year old in the stroller behind him. As he was reaching up to pull the door open toward him, a woman was exiting the store. There were two doors, she could have easily moved to the other side, but instead she looked at my son, made a face which clearly displayed her enormous disgust for children and SHOVED THE DOOR AS HARD AS SHE COULD! My son nearly fell back on to the pavement! Thankfully he hung on to the door as he fell and caught himself. I shudder to think of what could have happened if he hadn't caught himself the way he did.

The momma lion in me ROARED. I yelled "Excuse me, what on earth do you think you are doing?! He is a CHILD!" She stormed past me, but the woman who was behind her, whom I believe may have been her adult daughter, was ashamed and apologized profusely, helping my son to his feet. It was clear that she had witnessed this type of maniacal behavior from this woman before.

I was amazed at how my son, who is a very sensitive little boy, handled the situation. He only shed a two tears, and was more afraid of the face she made "Mommy," he said to me "I saw that she really wanted to hurt me. Why? What did I do?" After a very long, tight hug from Mommy we talked about why someone could behave that way. His reply "Maybe she has a sad life."

I'm still in awe of the way he handled that. I, however, still think of her as the obnoxious, hate filled, bitch who tried to shove my kid to the ground. I guess I have some time to grow before I become as mature and wise as my 6 year old.

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