Monday, December 28, 2009

Taking action

Glad you and Katie made it home safely.  I hope it was with a minimum of aggravation.  Bet you'll be glad to sleep in your own bed tonight.

Look, I need to say something about something that happened.  On Christmas Eve you yelled at Scott and were very harsh because he was talking loudly in the front room.  It shocked me, first because he didn't seem that loud to me, and second, because on and off we'd been listening to Kate barking all day, and you yelling at her to be quiet, and we'd been nothing but gracious and tolerant about it. No one yelled at Kate, no one asked you to take her out.  And yet you spoke that way to an 8 year old boy who was excited about Christmas Eve finally arriving.  He'd been awaiting that moment for months.  Furthermore, he was in his own home.

I think you would feel offended too if we presumed to yell at Kate if we were in your home.

I decided to wait to say something so I could do it with some care. But the only thing that kept me from saying something right then and there was that it appeared Scott had not heard you.  If he had been hurt by what you said I would have spoken up.

You would never talk to my dad, or me, the way you did Scott.  I have nothing against setting limits, which is why I'm setting this one:  a rule in our house is that if we want something we ask for it respectfully.  I don't think yelling at someone in front of everyone qualifies.

I'm sending this with as much care and respect as I can,


Hi, Dad,

I'm glad you guys made it home ok.  I hope it wasn't too much of an ordeal.

I'm sorry that Connor offended you on the way to the restaurant.  If I'm understanding correctly what happened, he was telling a story and said something about being hit in the groin, only he used the slang that rhymes with 'walls'.

I suppose that incident is kind of my fault.  I'm not really offended by the word.  It's kind of like the word 'fart'.  Some people consider it a bad word, other families don't.   So I don't treat it like a forbidden word, like the 'f' word.  They're allowed to use it.   I have tried to work with Connor on being appropriate in terms of cultural and generational sensitivity and it looks like he had a tin ear last night.  But I don't believe he meant any disrespect.

I have to say though, that if we lived in an ideal world, the person you would have approached would have been L.  I can't say that he meant no disrespect when he yelled at Scott for being too loud after dinner on Christmas Eve.  He was truly the one to be disappointed in:  after more than 24 hours of listening to his dog barking, putting up with his dog being in the way as we moved around the house, and listening to him shout at her when she barked, he's yelling at my kid, in his own house, for being excited on Christmas Eve?  And I didn't even feel that Scott was being that loud.  And the only reason that I didn't say anything myself was that I don't think Scott heard him.

It's ok to disrespect a child, I guess.  There's no way L. would have spoken to you that way, or me.

And the inconsistency between you feeling you had to tell Gary you were disappointed in him for not saying something to Connor, and L.'s being allowed to do what he did...well, I just don't get it.  If I were to say something to L. about his behavior,  no matter how I bent over backward to be polite,  it would be considered to be unforgivably rude.  I don't get that either.

And frankly, I don't think it's right.



Mrs. Spit said...

Hoping this feels better.

You are such a great mum for protecting your kids.

Lavender Luz said...

Good on ya!

You've done a good job. Their reactions are now beside the point.

But still, I am curious how they react ;-).

Ailey said...

I think the emails were the way to go. Thanks for sharing your way of handling it all. You go gal!!

Love, Me

Quiet Dreams said...

I'm so impressed with these letters. So impressed.

excavator said...

Thank you, Mrs. Spit. I think it's part of healing, refusing to pass along the mistakes of our parents.

Lavender, they reacted pretty much how I would have expected them to, and their responses were also what I would have expected.

Thank you, Ailey, and Quiet Dreams. I felt a little like a coward for using the email route, but I didn't trust myself to act deftly--feared my ham-handedness might cause me to set off a few land mines!