Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On raising a MAN

Hello, everyone! Welcome! C’mon in and get comfy. Don’t mind the mess…our cleaning lady had a bit of an accident so she’s been off for about a month. We’re picking up the slack, but not as well as she does! I *did* manage to do the dishes, so if you wander into the kitchen for a snack, there is nothing in the sink. Also, I made sure to stock the fridge, so feel free to grab a bite. Stay as long as you like. As I said, I did some cleaning so you’re welcome to wander ALL around the place. Oh - and feel free to turn off the music so you can read in peace. Or, if you're an 80s fan like me, turn it up!


Today, The Boy did something wrong. He scolded a 4-yr-old boy when he should not have. The child's mother completely freaked the fuck out mildly overreacted. I was inside working at the time so I did not witness the event. The Boy came right to me and asked if we could talk...it was serious. I put my work aside and listened as he recounted the story of his being accused of swinging a baseball bat at another child's head and later scolding the 4-yr-old. I explained to The Boy that I understood he was not swinging a bat at a child's head - that he was playing with a wiffleball bat and there were other children in the same area but that he was not being malicious. At the same time, though, I explained that The Boy was, indeed, wrong for scolding the young child and it was inappropriate. I told him he would have to apologize to the neighbor, making sure to be clear he was apologizing only for wrongly scolding her child.

The Boy was very upset by this but did as I asked and went to apologize. Just a few minutes later, he returned (in tears) to tell me the woman ran him out of her yard and would not even give him the opportunity to apologize. (Actually, The Girl came to tell me this but The Boy came home and told me as well.)

At this point, I'd had enough. I was at a good stopping point at work so I decided to confront the neighbor about her not allowing The Boy to apologize. The neighbor denied running The Boy off and instead, brought up her claim that he was swinging a wiffleball bat maliciously around other children. She claimed it has happened multiple times in the past and this was the last straw for her. I told her I was extremely upset to suddenly learn this was an ongoing occurrence since this was the very first I'd heard of it...she agreed she should have spoken to me sooner. (I maintain she could not have because this has not ever happened before but it was not worth arguing.) I explained I was not there to witness the alleged wiffleball bat incident and refused to take sides (although she constantly accused me of taking "a 9-yr-old's side over hers" - um...hello!! That 9-yr-old is, in fact, a 10-yr-old and, incidentally, MY SON! What did she think I was going to do?!). Her 6-yr-old son was now there and having his own little tantrum. (I should mention here - and not to be rude but to be honest - that her son is extremely prone to hysterics and often overreacts to...um...EVERYTHING.) I was not interested in this argument and tried to make that clear but she was very intent on keeping it up.

Finally, I told the woman that the reason I'd come over was not to debate the wiffleball bat incident; I did not believe my son was wrong in that case. I came over because I was extremely disappointed that she was not willing to allow him to apologize for his wrongdoing in scolding her child. She finally let him apologize but by then, the apology was half-hearted, as was the "acceptance" thereof.

I am trying my best to raise a MAN...not just a male child. A man does what is right and admits it when he is wrong. Unfortunately for The Boy, his apology fell on deaf ears. I only hope the lesson was not lost on him.

I would also like to point out that I am NOT one of those parents who believes her child is incapable of doing wrong. I live with these guys and know exactly what they are capable of! I have told each of their teachers since they first started school that I would not doubt anything they told me the kids did at school! If anything, I am a bit too hard on my children because I sometimes am to willing to believe the worst about them. This is not one of those instances. I know The Boy was not being in any way malicious and that the neighbor has serious issues she needs to work out!

80 comments:

  1. Man, what a neighbor you have been blessed with. Sometimes I think the world would be a much better place without people in it. ;)

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  2. At least you tried to do the right thing. That's worth major points right there. Poor little guy should have been given a fair chance to apologize.

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  3. Stopping by from SITS and I must say your neighbor seems like a piece of work. Good for you in staicking up for you so!

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  4. I wish she had been more understanding. I think that what you did with having your son apologize is wonderful, there are too many kids out there NOT getting raised to do those things, and it's really annoying when other parents won't help.

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  5. good lord. A mom who won't let a child apologize?! Yikes.

    Glad you're raising your boy right.

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  6. Raising good men is so desperately needed in society. Keep up the good work.

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  7. Kudos for you raising a well mannered and honest man. Poor guy living next to the nutso the neighbor sounds like. That made my blood boil just a tad - I am not a fan of people with that nature. Kudos for how you handled it. I might have picked up the wiffleball bat... wait nevermind ;-)

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  8. Some people think kindness shows weakness. That's ignorance!

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  9. Some people think kindness shows weakness. That's ignorance!

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  10. "I am trying my best to raise a MAN...not just a male child" - what a brilliant notion and oh how I relate to it!
    I too am determined to make sure my boy is polite and understanding of others and grows up to be like, well, like his dad.
    Sounds like you're doing a grand job.

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  11. I have five "MEN" to raise..
    Doing a pretty good job..two are teenagers now..
    sorry to hear your neighbour was such a drama queen.

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  12. Great to hear you are trying to raise your little man to be responsible if only your neighbor did thee same thing.

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  13. Geez, it was a wiffleball bat, not a Louisville slugger.

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  14. Hats off to you for being a great mom and making the right decision.

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  15. Wow.

    I always complain that there aren't any other kids around (we live in the land of retirees). Maybe I should count my blessing that I don't have to deal with neighborhood drama.

    I am also trying to raise a man. It's hard work.

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  16. I can't even imagine running a kid out of my yard while he's trying to apologize. So sad when you are trying to teach him the right thing to do. Sounds like your neighbor is a real piece of work! Glad I live in the middle of nowhere!

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  17. This is why living in the sticks has amazing peace!

    Tonya

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  18. EEERRRR. Annoying. I think you handled it well.

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  19. Sounds like you have one of "those" neighbors. We have one like that too.

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  20. Wow, oh the drama that awaits me when Evie is old enough to start playing with other kids and running around outside! I applaud your attempt to teach your son about giving an honest apology, that's great.

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  21. Sounds like someone needs a time-out! And I don't mean your son either. BG

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  22. If your neighbor's son is prone to hysterics and major overreaction, I can give you one good guess as to where he learned that from. That kind of behavior is nurtured in some way for it be continue.

    It's too bad mothers like this can't grow up once they have kids.

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  23. Sucks to be the other kid....the one who's mom is NOT raising a man.

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  24. Sounds like you are raising a really good kid!

    He'll be better for it...can't say that much for the other one.

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  25. Stopping by from SITS. So glad your raising him right...What is it with people today?!

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  26. you sound like a great mom. my dad was somewhat "harder" on me, and i think it made me a better person. too many people nowadays raise their kids to think they can't do anything wrong, and it sets them up to fail....

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  27. oh, i forgot to say happy SITS day! :)

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  28. As a woman raising 2 teenage boys who have a lying, cheating, asshat for a father, raising men does not get a whole lot easier.

    It does however reap tremendous rewards, when you see those young men make the right choices, even when mom is not there.

    Keep it up!

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  29. Wow! You are bold, Mama!

    I can't stand any kid of confrontation. My ears ring and I feel like I'm going to toss my cookies, but man you handled that brilliantly!

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  30. As the mom of two daughters, I always think that moms of sons have the tougher job of preparing their boys to be men. Sounds as if you're doing great. Keep up the good work.

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  31. I'm a mom of two daughters as well and I've always thought God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave me girls because I honestly don't think I could handle boys - I don't know the first thing about them!

    Then again, my two girls are this close to driving me utterly insane so ... six of one, half dozen of the other, I guess!

    Good for you for at least attempting the apology! A lot of mothers most likely wouldn't have even gone to that extent ... your neighbor included.

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  32. Visiting from SITS. I hope you haven't had anymore run ins with you neighbor. My best friend is experiencing a similar situation right now and is so frustrated, especially since she has to see the lady every day at the bus stop!

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  33. Don't you just love adults who have the judgment and attitude of two year olds having to get *their* side in instead of just letting the poor kid do his penance? Sheesh, what are people thinking sometimes.

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  34. You gotta love neighbors...LOL! Good for you for trying to raise a good "Man." I've got two little boys that I'm trying to turn into awesome Christian men. It is a task, but it is soooo important in today's society.

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  35. Visiting from SITS!
    What a peice of work your neighbor is, what kind of an adult runs a young child away from her when they are trying to apologize? I feel for the womans son!

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  36. Good for you, at least you tried to do the right thing! With so many crazy parents in the world, it's no wonder our society is such a mess!

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  37. You did the right thing. Stick to your guns. If nothing else, your son learned that it is important to make an effort to do the right thing, even if the other person isn't.

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  38. I'm trying to raise 2 good men myself which is why I try and focus more on being kind to one another rather than being obsessed with how many hours they watch Spongebob.

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  39. Ohhh, those situations can be so frustratingly uncomfortable. We had a similar situation with some neighbors, and I never felt comfortable to let my children play in their yard again without my being there. I feel like I go overboard now trying to be friendly to ease the tension when we run into them.

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  40. i think you make a great point here. raising a man, not just a male. very important!!! great post, congrats on being SITS FB!! be blessed!!

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  41. what I've noticed, and you have stated in your banner is just that "it is what it is". you just do your very best, and that's all you can do. she apparently has her own issues! good for you doing the right thing!

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  42. Sounds like a great neighbor:p.

    Good for you for sticking up for your son. Some people make everything difficult!

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  43. Overreacting runs in the family. I think you handled it perfectly!

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  44. Yikes! Neighbor relationships can be tough. Bravo to you for seeing your son as a man-in-training and helping him to take responsibility for his actions.

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  45. Love this post! I'm over from SITS :) Congrats on being featured!!

    I have a 2 year old little man and am currently teaching him the importance of being held accountable for his actions..ie..the naughty spot/time out..lol..It's such an adventure with boys! My daughter was so different! :) Can't wait to read more stuff from you!!

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  46. I think you were definitely handled it well.

    I think also that your little man realised what you were trying to teach him.

    Don't worry, sounds like you are doing a good job!!

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  47. You're doing a great job... another less included that some people won't just "accept" something without still blaming someone else. There's always those people out there and it's the effort that counts sometimes.

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  48. I think that so many parents forget that they are raising thier children to be responsible adults. We have a neighbor who is mean to my older daughter. I don't get it. But we just work on trying to stay away.

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  49. Hey! I think I know that neighbor!

    Also, I love that you call your son The Boy and your daughter The Girl. I do the same on my blog - you know, to protect the guilty from unnecessary prosecution!

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  50. Ah Wendy, you did the best you could. I think the lesson will not be lost on your son. And he is learning how to deal with unappealing people too.

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  51. Ack! I think I'd run away screaming! (okay...I wouldn't but still). I guess it's one of the good things about not having any neighbors.

    I'm impressed on how you're raising your son!

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  52. Sounds like you did a great job...your neighbor on the other hand..well...not so much.

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  53. Oh... You are a woman after my own heart. I am raising three men, and I, too, always assume mine are capable of whatever I am told... of course... like you... I listen to their side too.

    If I had a daughter... I would want her to marry a man like you are raising...

    Great job...

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  54. Amen SITSta! I love that you made him do the right thing. There are so many parents (like said neighbor) who apparently aren't old school enough.

    I'm the same way. I'm trying to raise two gentlemen who understand respect and responsibility.

    Kudos to you, and I hope that he understood even though it fell on deaf ears (like you said)

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  55. Some mother's are ridiculous. I wish we could just support one another in the most difficult job ever!

    Glad to know there is another mom out there like you doing her best to teach what counts

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  56. Sounds like issues we have with one of our neighbors! She is raising her grandkids and they are horrible and mean to ALL the other kids. But heaven forbid if anything, no matter how small, is done to them, they run and tell her then 2.2 seconds later she is beating down the door with "their" story and she believes EVERYTHING they say!! Even if an adult witnessed the situation she will ALWAYS believe them and they will lie through their rotten little teeth. I don't like my kids to play with them because my kids will get blamed if anything serious were to happen! One of the many reasons I am not overly neighborly!

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  57. Sheesh! Some people. At least you tried, and so did your son.

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  58. Oh YUck. What an unpleasant situation esp when it's your neighbour! I think you handled it very well! Well donE!

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  59. that stinks that it had to be with a neighbor...if it had to happen at all. but...you tried to do the right thing and that's the ONLY thing you can do!!
    here through sits!

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  60. Wow, what an ordeal! Way to stand up for your boy though and way to go on teaching him right from wrong regardless of the way that woman behaved.

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  61. So glad THAT lady is not my neighbor, else I'd have gone swingin' myself!

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  62. Wowser! What an ordeal. I would say,just the mere fact that the boy CAME to you to tell you what happened proves he was not a) being malicious and b) [probably] doing nothing wrong!

    Then again I'm biased against crazy over reactors. Think maybe her sons out bursts come from a mother figure?? ;-)

    btw-- I'm all for "outnumbered2to1" idea of a world without people LOL

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  63. Wow....I am amazed you were able to stay as calm as you did. I can't believe anyone would refuse to let a child apologize. I suppose it's only a matter of time before I'm dealing with the same thing with my 9 yr. old son.

    There's a lot of crazy parents out there, huh?

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  64. Awesome...I too had an incident re: protecting my 10 yr. old son, and @ the same time making him realize that he had to take responsibility for his actions. Check out my 2 posts from September 30, 2008: "Protective Parenting 101" and "No, I'm not in jail for beating up playground supervisors". I NEVER plug my own stuff, but this was a great story about raising your son to be a man. Take care:)

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  65. I feel your pain. It does seem hard to raise a young man when people won't allow him to step up. However, your example and guidance will go a lot further than hers.

    Congrats on your feature! (and have fun reading all the comments)

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  66. I still think it's a good thing that you expected your son to apologize, told him as much, and then stood up for his right to apologize...even to someone who wouldn't listen. You go, Mom!!

    - a SITSta

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  67. As soon as I write this comment I'm going to jump of my couch and run next door to hug my neighbors and thank them for being great.

    Too bad he wasn't really given the chance to apologize, amazing how adults can be the ones acting like children. I think it's great you are raising your children to take responsibility for their actions.

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  68. I admire your attitude on raising your son - I just had a little boy myself and want the same thing for him. I have had a neighbor like that in the past. Karma comes around - and she'll get hers.

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  69. This. THIS is why I don't like people. Totally passive aggressive and showing immaturity in front of kids. Bleh.

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  70. What is wrong with some people? Seriously! Who doesn't let a kid apologize? Grow up, neighbor lady!

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  71. Sorry the neighbor was a jerk! Props to you for making your son do the right thing and also believing in and defending him.

    I'll never forget looking out my window when we lived in Ohio to see the neighbor boy annoyingly shoveling my driveway. My husband was out of town and the boys mom made him come and shovel. I tried to pay him and she said "Oh no, he is a teenage boy, and we're neighbors. This is what neighbors and gentlemen do" She emphasized gentlemen to her son.
    I give kudos to parents raising kind, responsible kids.

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  72. I think it's great that you want him to be responsible for his actions and crappy that your neighbor tried to turn it in to something else. Way to stick by him.

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  73. Sounds like the drama apple didn't fall too far from the tree.

    Ugh. I'm doing my best two boys myself. I love the line about raising a man, not a male child.

    Lord knows the world could use a few good men.

    I'll keep trying with you! Congrats on being Saucy.

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  74. A not my angel type of mother...she sounds like a real peach. Hope you don't have to deal with her very often.
    Heather B (not that Heather!), from SITS

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  75. Oh wow, sounds tough. It sounds like you were trying to do the right thing and help your child to take responsibillity (by having him apologize). Some parents are so hard to deal with.

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  76. I think it was great that you had him apologize. He'll remember that lesson, and hopefully understand later why he should do that.

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  77. You attempted to do the right thing and that git of a woman should be slacked upside the head. Nothing irritates me more than parents like that! You and your son know you both did the right thing and that's all that matters.

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