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Thread: Saoirse's Primal Journal page 197

  1. #1961
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse View Post
    Anyway, so I led him away from the party, looked him straight in the eye, and put on my "I'm so pissed right now, i can only talk in this quiet, strained way" voice. In extremely few words, I basically said:

    "this is my baby. "
    awkward pause as i stared him down.
    "i heard that you were going to dump water on his head"
    more awkward pause.
    "you do not TOUCH my baby."
    stare.
    "are we clear?"
    he nodded.
    more awkward pause.
    "GO play."
    I'm not a parent, so I don't know what my opinion is worth here, but I think you handled this situation beautifully.

    One year in my classroom, we had a major (and majorly sneaky) bully and a practically non-verbal autistic five-year-old who could not defend himself in any way, shape, or form. (I call him non-verbal although he did talk - but it was just echolalia of TV and video games - no meaningful conversation whatsoever.) This kid clung to my shirt for the larger part of five hours every single day thinking I was a fellow character on a video game. If someone hit him, he couldn't tell me. If he needed something, he couldn't tell me. So I watched the bully like a hawk and made it very, very clear that he was NOT to touch this kid. EVER.

    And he didn't. We were supposed to have loving conversations about why Little Billy hit or spat or did the nasty thing with his booger, but I wouldn't engage. The loving conversations never made the slightest bit of difference. He did it because he liked it, and nothing changed that ever. But he was absolutely not to touch the kid who walked around the classroom holding my shirt and calling me Ratchet (from the video game - he thought he was Clank). Or the mouth of hell would open under his feet. LEAVE MY BABY ALONE. He doesn't even know what planet he's on.

  2. #1962
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    Humans are social animals. Therefore, we want to please the people around us at some level. From what you have told us, I suspect that he hasn't really gotten a chance to figure out 1- that he CAN do the right thing and 2- how good it can feel when he does. So he takes out his frustration on smaller people because that's the dynamic he knows.

    You can train a horse two ways. You can push it and punish it and dictate to it until it gives you the right answers. That horse WILL give the right answers because to do otherwise tends to be painful. However, it will only give you what you demand and it will be sulky if it retains any personality at all. The other option is to set it up to win. When you make a request ignore any wrong answers and praise any right answers. Make giving the right answer easy. That horse will give the right answer because it wants to please you which means that it will be far more likely to go above and beyond for you.

    So in this case- if you see him doing something that isn't good, but doesn't harm your kids, he gets ignored. (If he messes with your kids he get's Mama Beared because that's just the way the world works) If you see him playing nicely with your baby or (politely) moderating an argument between kids or anything that is a GOOD thing, you take a moment to praise him in some non-embarassing way.

    If that's their dynamic, a team would be tougher. However, he is going to have to deal with H's for the rest of his life, and he could start developing his skills now?
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  3. #1963
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    I'm not so sure about "learning to do deal with bullies for the rest of one's life", as an adult I really can't recall when I've been in a situation where I had to be around some one who was a bully, if some one is obnoxious I don't associate with them.

  4. #1964
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gay Panda View Post
    We were supposed to have loving conversations about why Little Billy hit or spat or did the nasty thing with his booger, but I wouldn't engage. The loving conversations never made the slightest bit of difference.
    this is mostly how i feel about the situation. most kids don't need to be told that you walk on eggshells around a baby/toddler. if a kid forgot that taboo and an adult mentioned it to him, the kid would generally be just simply upset that he messed up. this kid would obediently apologize and then just b more sneaky next time. i'm painting a pretty awful picture, he's not rotten to the core. i think he has a social issue and the challenge is to help him become enculturated without bruising the egos of his parents.

    hmm...so do you have any ideas about how to help my son and daughter deal with this? we've told them again and again to use force if necessary (and how to do that) but i think they know that they're outmatched and so they don't.

  5. #1965
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse View Post
    hmm...so do you have any ideas about how to help my son and daughter deal with this? we've told them again and again to use force if necessary (and how to do that) but i think they know that they're outmatched and so they don't.
    *cough* TASER *cough*

    seriously though perhaps some form of martial art...something using the opponents size against them with correct leverage and all. Sorry, I have no specific suggestion as to which but there has to be one out there somewhere. I assume just not being around the kid is not possible?

  6. #1966
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    lol@taser.
    when D punched H in the throat, ALL of the adults were nodding in approval, even H's parents.
    unfortunately not. hubby and i have been friends with his parents for years, and we're going into business together. this dynamic has been around for the entirety of our relationship, and it has always been a really difficult issue for me.

  7. #1967
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse View Post
    are you in the southern hemisphere?
    Yup. Of course, we get the worlds most awesome christmas holidays, so there's that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse View Post
    question for you guys.

    <snip>

    what should i do *if* he tests me here again?
    This is a tricky one. You've correctly identified it as a boundry issue and I think I would have done something similar to the conversation you had with him. That said, I kinda think that there are two parts.

    Firstly, I would take this opportunity to praise my eldest repeatedly for doing the right thing, emphasising that 'big people look after little people', and that I was proud of him, and that this was responsible adult behaviour.

    Secondly, in the conversation with the offending child, I would emphasise the same rule, that 'big people look after little people', and that I was disappointed in him and that he wasn't behaving like a big boy at all. I guess it's easier for me because I'm a man, and a simple frown or glare can sometimes carry with it a threat of violence. I also wouldn't take him off quietly to have the conversation. Ideally you would do it in front of his parents, since I wouldn't want them to think that you are spiriting their boy away to punish him. You actually want them to know what happened, how you feel about it,and what you said to their son.

    If they object then that gives you the opportunity to *calmly* relate the facts of the situation and the rule of yours which you believe has been has been transgressed. Building up a history of letting them 'own' their kids transgressions sets the stage for your future actions if he does something like that again. If they never know about this incident, then any future escalation you engage in will likely seem excessive and a bolt from the blue for them.

    Regarding what you do in the future if he tests you again, I think that the only thing which you can do is go through his parents, ultimately with something similar to 'I feel that your son bullies my children and I don't think they should have to put up with that.'. As long as you have reasonably and unemotionally explained to them the rules that have been broken on previous incidents, I think most reasonable parents will find your actions acceptable.
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  8. #1968
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse View Post
    so do you have any ideas about how to help my son and daughter deal with this? we've told them again and again to use force if necessary (and how to do that) but i think they know that they're outmatched and so they don't.
    This is foreign ground for me (no kids and wasn't allowed to recommend this to students obviously). My impulse for my own imaginary child would be role-playing these situations, with puppets or people or something, and giving the child the practice at yelling stop touching me or whatever message needs to be conveyed. And I might buy a punching bag for physical practice and to create a muscle memory, with the explanation that this is a last resort measure. But if someone WILL NOT STOP touching your body even though you've told them loudly and clearly to stop, Parent Panda has no problem with you hitting that person. Adults can't be everywhere and adults can't solve every problem.

    When you're young and angry and scared of a larger and more aggressive kid, often your parents' advice from calmer times flies right out of your brain. I'd hope that I could create some script the child was very familiar with both in words and actions to deal with this kind of situation. There was a particular boy who made my life a nightmare in school and to this day, I wish I had just punched him. But he was a lot bigger than me and more aggressive, and I was frightened of this over-privileged and well-muscled jackass and worried I'd get in trouble. Nice kids don't hit! But using my words certainly wasn't helping, turning the other cheek encouraged him, and the school didn't have any kind of bully policy. I should have just decked him, because I think that's the only thing he was capable of hearing.

    (Sorry, this probably wasn't helpful at all. I'm out of my territory on this.)

  9. #1969
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    This is a really tough situation since you are going into business with his parents and you already question some of their parenting. I don't envy your situation here at all because it means that you do need to engage. Damaging the relationship between the families will damage business. I'd try some of the ideas listed above as I think this kids may just need some simple ground rules and redirection/praise to improve. Sometimes only kids are not taught not to mess with little kids as the dynamic never presents itself or the parents are oblivious.

  10. #1970
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    What Panda said was how I was raised... don't ever start a fight, but you are welcome to try and finish it sort of thing.

    In the hallway at school when I was in about 5th grade a boy behind me, I believe a year older, in line at the water fountain groped my butt just as I started to lean over to get my drink. I told him very firmly NOT to touch me again. Then turned around and started to get my drink... and he just couldn't listen to a girl I suppose. He groped again. I came around with a fist and sent his glasses most of the way down the hall, and his nose was well busted and bleeding.

    I got suspended. Because "no matter what we just can't hit people", even though I had explained that he was touching me inappropriately.
    I did NOT get in trouble at home for this action, and just had a few days off school to ride horses and such.
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