Posts Tagged ‘nice’

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retaliate?

July 15, 2010

On Monday night I spent the evening with Mike and Caroline and their adorable 3 year old son Billy, and we had Dominos pizzas, played with Claire’s cat (they were house-sitting for her while she was on holiday for her boyfriend’s birthday) and watched TV.  Between the friendly insults between Mike and myself, the yummy food and the cute trots around the garden with Billy, we ended up having an interesting conversation / I watched an incipient argument between Mike and Caroline about whether it is right to teach your child to hit back when they are hit.

A bit more background to the story: Billy goes to nursery on afternoons during the week, and is in a class with various other kids who are the same age.  His initial reluctance to go to nursery has more or less faded now, and he seems to enjoy himself there and plays well with most of the other kids (as well as trying to sneak home toys in his socks!).  However, there are two little girls called Paris and Jayla who have behavioural issues in the group, and because of these girls’ issues with the rest of the group, they are currently under watch from the head of the nursery.  Now, I don’t really know too much of the details beyond the fact that these girls act mean towards the rest of the children, and Caroline said that she has observed Jayla (the girl in question) acting menacingly towards all of the children and trying to bully them into giving her their toys, or pushing them around.

On Monday, Caroline mentioned that she had asked Billy how he had got on with Jayla that day, and he said that she tried to take a toy away from him and snatch it out of his hands, but he held on to it; in addition, when they were lining up after playtime, she tried to push him out of the line several times but he just stood back in it.  Caroline was proud of this, as it meant that Billy had stood his ground without making a scene or responding directly to Jayla’s behaviour; at no point did Caroline suggest that the girl was personally targeting Billy; rather, it’s a case of her trying to dominate whoever is around in a childish display of power.  Nevertheless Billy has been one of the victims of her behaviour, and although he’s handled it well, who knows if it will escalate or how much it affects or upsets him below his happy-go-lucky demeanour?

Caroline and Mike were discussing this during the evening and it became clear that they had different viewpoints on how to handle this problem.  On the one hand, Caroline was pleased with Billy for turning the other cheek, but she was worried that Jayla might not stop harassing her son and that it might end up really upsetting Billy and ruining his time at nursery.  Mike was worried about the same, but his solution for dealing with Jayla once and for all was for Billy to push her back when she pushed him or tried to take his stuff. Caroline didn’t like this (for what precise reason I don’t know, though I think it has less to do with ramifications from teachers or Jayla’s mother – Caroline can stand her ground and apparently Jayla’s mother is your average young chav woman – and more to do with the ethics of teaching a child to counter violence with violence) and refused to tell Billy this course of action; Mike said that that was fine and that he would tell Billy himself, but it became clear that Caroline didn’t want him to do this either.

Mike could tell that Caroline was getting agitated, and said that responding in a more direct manner might nip the problem in the bud; he was adamant that Billy should not and would not remain unhappy at nursery, and pushing this girl back in retaliation was the best way to get her to leave him alone once and for all. He supported this with a story from his own childhood which resulted in him triumphing over bullies who had made his school life miserable in a similar way; however, in Mike’s anecdote he was 11; Billy is 3.  How young is too young to advocate violence? Is one child pushing another in retaliation considered “violence”?  Does it mean that Billy is lowering himself to Jayla’s level by responding to her intimidation in kind? What might happen if Jayla decides to step her threatening behaviour up a notch?

From the above questions, it might sound like I fall on Caroline’s side of the fence, but actually I don’t.  I am not a parent, and I have not met Jayla; nor is it my place to offer advice to Mike and Caroline.  However, the way that I see it is that Billy, to his credit, has already tried turning the other cheek (as do, from the sound of it, the other kids) and Jayla isn’t giving up. She is a nasty piece of work, and although I don’t think that Billy is a weak child, he is a nice boy and perhaps pushing Jayla back is a primal way of demonstrating that he has some grit to his character.  Moreover, in life you have to protect yourself by any means necessary; at this point Billy has already tried a non-violent approach which has been mature and classy, but it’s not working… now is the time, in my opinion, to send a short, sharp message loud and clear.  Like Caroline, I don’t believe in using violence to get your point across, but at the same time if someone hits me then I will hit them back and I believe that their attack gives me licence to do so.  In the context of retaliation, I don’t think there is anything wrong with Billy pushing Jayla – to sound schoolyard, she pushed him first. He’s tried the passive approach, now it’s time to send a clearer message using a different approach. Although I think that Mike is projecting somewhat when he talks about his own childhood and says that he doesn’t want Billy to be seen as weak (which I think is a little bit of over-psycho-analysis), the result is the same: the goal is to get this girl to piss off, and turnabout is fair play. Like Mike, I have a feeling that from the sound of her, Jayla can dish it out but she won’t be able to take it, and I’m in favour of Billy giving her a taste of her own medicine.

In my childhood, there was one instance in particular when I lifted a boy up by his shirt and ended up ripping all the buttons off it in the process; I was 6 years old.  However, although my mother and his mother (who, thankfully, were friends) did have to come and resolve the situation after class (and we had to sew the buttons back on his shirt!), I didn’t get in trouble because my teacher had seen that my action was a retaliation; the child who got his shirt ripped had yelled in my ear. The moral of this story is that teachers, good teachers know dynamics between their children, and I didn’t get in trouble for a simple act of retaliation. I think therefore that the teachers at the nursery know the score and they wouldn’t hold any retaliatory action from Billy against him; so although I would always go with Caroline’s non-violent, rise above it attitude first, if that fails then I agree with Mike and it is time to hit back.

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the rules of attraction.

October 4, 2009

So one of my close friends at uni started asking about my love life, and I answered honestly but somewhat evasively (as the “gay” thing hasn’t come up yet, and it looks like it’s going to be up to me to break the ice) that I’m not really focusing on that, I’m just concentrating on doing a good job of the course (which is going so so well so far!) and getting myself stable and sorted.  I mean, after my events this year where I realised I wasn’t into L when he was so into me, and then I fell for D too quickly only for his ex to snap him back up, and then R thought… well I don’t know what he was thinking, but I am not going to be anybody’s bit on the side; after all of that and more, I definitely am not eager to just run into somebody’s arms.

Nevertheless, I think that a lot of us can relate to the feeling when you’re on your own late at night, and you just wish that you could rest in somebody’s embrace and have them hold you until the morning. At uni with all of the straight older guys on my course, it’s really quite maddening because I know that girls have had crushes on me and find me attractive, and I can appreciate that all the guys on my course are older but they are really solid and normal and genuine-seeming and nice – their partners are really lucky!  Gay guys, by and large, are the total opposite of this – trying too hard to be something they are not, or abiding by the laws of a stereotype or rebelling too hard against it.  I guess maybe it’s a maturity thing (I’m the youngest by a fair bit – the average age of the students on my course is 30 or thereabouts), and I’m certainly a work in progress too, but I just want a guy who feels comfortable in his skin and can give me his all and accept my all in return without either playing games or clinging too much to me.

I was on msn the other night and suddenly B comes online.  By this point, it’s been a month since we even spoke, and I just presumed that he had gotten bored of me or wanted his own space or had better things to do.  After all, I have better things to do than just wait around for him to be in the right mood, so I guess our drifting apart was natural; I had moved on.  So he tells me that he has been meaning to contact me for a while and had felt bad for leaving it so long (what, was his phone broke? He had been online at the same time as me on other occasions in the interim, and I had noticed his online profile on the dating site I’ve been frequenting a lot less recently), and that he is currently seeking a diagnosis for adult ADHD.  He asked me to google it, so I looked it up, and I don’t for a second think he is lying – he’s been fairly upfront from the jump about his emotional and psychological instabilities. His current difficulties with a new job at his local salon (he was previously a mobile hairdresser so it’s a promising progression for him) and what I know of his previous problems all tally up – it makes sense to me, and I try to be as supportive as I can without crowding him or suggesting that he can rely on me – after all, although at one point it looked as if things were gonna get popping and that I was developing strong feelings for him, it fizzled out because he kept disappearing on me.  I mean, with a condition such as depression or ADHD, it is understandable and I can accept his excuses and reasons… but the question remains, What am I supposed to do about it?  What does he want from me?  Does he want just a friend?  Does he want something more than that?  Does he think that I am just going to wait around patiently while he sorts himself out and decides?

I don’t know what to do about it, but I guess the best thing is to do nothing.  I have uni to concentrate on, I have driving lessons to buy, I have my part-time job and my weight to keep down (still don’t know where the gym is going to fit into my current schedule :S) and my friends and family and my music.  I don’t need to worry about whether B is ok, when he’s going to talk to me next, and what he’s going to tell me.  I sincerely wish him the best, and maybe in the future something could work if our circumstances mesh and he comes correct.  Until then, I’ll chill with my new friends at uni, and wish that I could meet someone who was real and mature and funny and cool like them, but who would also like me back without being the wrong gender!