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To not want to punish ds for this 'rudeness' when visiting relatives?

(323 Posts)
woundedplacerias Sun 15-Jan-17 10:03:22

I took my dc, aged 9 & 7, to visit my parents and another elderly relative last weekend. It is a 3 hour drive away and we went straight to a pub where they were buying us lunch. Obviously, a pub meal straight after a long drive wasn't ideal, but logistics meant it was the least worst option.

Dc took books and small figures to the pub and were really very good. However, the eldest wasn't very talkative, perhaps to the point of coming across as a bit rude. He was always a very talkative child and loved talking to adults. However, as he has got older he has become a little more circumspect, and we don't really see these people often, especially the elderly relative as she doesn't travel anymore, so I think he felt a bit awkward.

He sat with his back a little to her, though I kept telling him t turn around, and didn't look at her, or the others, when talking. This made it harder for her to hear him, and a couple of times he spoke and she didn't hear, so he kind of gave up. He has a habit of not making eye contact when he's uncomfortable, and of course it exacerbates things as people don't then realise he is actually talking to them. Meanwhile, ds2 was right on form, holding forth on all manner of topics and generally being really chatty and engaging. It was like they had done a role reversal from how they were a couple of years ago, when ds1 used to talk non-stop and ds2 was incredibly shy. I feel like ds1 will have been very aware of this and comparing himself unfavourably to ds2, as there is a lot of competition between them at the moment and he is struggling a bit with accepting that ds2 is just as good as him at a lot of things. I am obviously working on that with him.

After lunch we went back to the elderly person's flat, where things carried on more or less the same. I allowed ds1 a bit of time on his tablet as no one was really talking much to him anyway. Elderly relative is absolutely lovely, but not really up to engaging a child who is being quite hard work anymore sad and my parents are not that great with children tbh. I feel like he needed one of them to go and sit next to him and get him talking about a topic he is really interested in, but no one did.

Now I have just spoken to my mum on the phone and she has gone on and on about what is 'wrong with' ds1, I shouldn't let him get away with being so rude etc etc. I feel like he felt uncomfortable, and wasn't being rude. No one made an effort with him in fact (I only blame my parents for this). AIBU?

KateDaniels2 Sun 15-Jan-17 10:07:05

He was rude though. Turning his back and givung up talking to an ekderky person when she cant hear him.

He isnt a toddler.

Maybe they felt they had tried and he wasnt interested. It sounds like they tried to chat with him. Are they exoected to keep on trying indefinitely? Because some peopke would be annoyed if people kept doing that to their children.

AML84 Sun 15-Jan-17 10:12:43

Tricky. I feel this almost describes me at some points in my childhood. Is he an introvert? I am, and situations like that made me feel uncomfortable as a child. He just needs more visits with them and he'll open up.

Perhaps have a quiet word with your son about making an effort - let him know that as we get older there are all sorts of social situations we have to tackle head on whether we feel like it or not - and ditto with your parents, they should be a little more understanding - it could be just be an awkward/shy phase after all.

harderandharder2breathe Sun 15-Jan-17 10:15:09

He's 9, he shouldn't need figurines at a meal out or an iPad while visiting.

He was rude, not looking at people (doesn't have to be eye contact if that makes him uncomfortable, but looking in their direction) and then sulking when they don't realise he's talking to them.

You could've brought him into a conversation you were having easily, not waiting for an elderly relative who isn't used to hard work children to go and talk to him.

ThePinkOcelot Sun 15-Jan-17 10:17:17

I would expect better from a child of that age tbh. Why isn't a pub really ideal after a long drive?! They're not toddlers. I think you need to start teaching some manners. Rude.

PaulAnkaTheDog Sun 15-Jan-17 10:18:05

He was rude and you're trying to find ways to excuse it. He is nine, not two. Take the tablet and toys and tell him to be polite.

DearMrDilkington Sun 15-Jan-17 10:19:04

Yabu. His 9, not a baby. I wouldn't have allowed him to sit on the tablet round your relatives house either, it's completely sending him the wrong message on manners.

It's fine to be a bit quiet but turning his back to the elderly relative and not speaking to her is really rude.

Soubriquet Sun 15-Jan-17 10:20:30

Why on earth does a NT 9 and 6 year old need colouring books and tablets to sit through a meal?

They should be old enough to understand patience by now

AgentProvocateur Sun 15-Jan-17 10:20:55

But he was rude - he sat with his back to an elderly relative and didn't turn round when you asked him to.

Slimmingsnake Sun 15-Jan-17 10:21:10

I expect mine to behave ..I'd of spoken to child at the time and nipped it in the bud..mine is 7 and wouldn't of got away with that behaviour

Trifleorbust Sun 15-Jan-17 10:21:22

Agree with other posters. He is old enough to be punished for such ignorant behaviour. He doesn't have to chat up a storm, but looking at someone when they are talking to him is fairly basic manners.

AmeliaJack Sun 15-Jan-17 10:21:25

I agree with harder I have 9 yos. They wouldn't be allowed books and figures at a pub lunch nor would they be allowed the iPad.

Learning how to sit and look interested in the conversation of others (even though it's boring) is an excellent life skill.

Turning your back on someone at a meal is deeply rude.

If your son needed help to enter the conversation then that responsibility lies with you or your DH. Not with anyone else.

I wouldn't punish him, but I'd have a chat about why his behaviour was rude and what was expected next time.

EastMidsMummy Sun 15-Jan-17 10:21:34

Rude. He's nine, not three.

rogueantimatter Sun 15-Jan-17 10:25:15

I feel like DS1 will have been... comparing himself unfavourably.. Ask him what he was feeling. Explain how his behaviour made the elderly relations feel. Sympathise with him being bored and uncomfortable but also point out that the next time he's in this situation he will feel better if he makes the best of it rather than deciding that he's bored and decides to feel sorry for himself - if those were his feelings.

The best thing for him in the long term is to find ways of dealing with situations like this even though he might or might not be unjustly perceived.

Bluntness100 Sun 15-Jan-17 10:25:25

I'd agree you're looking for ways to justify rude behaviour and blame others. I don't think uou should punish him but you should discuss with him how to behave in public.

cherrycrumblecustard Sun 15-Jan-17 10:27:05

I do think turning your back on someone and going on a tablet is rude.

I do sympathise and understand to a point but a firm, "DS, Annie is struggling to hear you because you're sitting at an angle. Turn around properly. Thanks." would have diffused the situation.

Boomerwang Sun 15-Jan-17 10:28:54

Rude, yes, but he's only 9 and I wouldn't expect him to be able to disconnect his emotions from his behaviour. At that age old people are boring and smell weird.

I would stand up for my kid against the accusations and then in private try to talk it through and work out the problem with my child, and then try to avoid it happening in the future. If I couldn't get it sorted out then I'd have to say 'this is how he is right now' and they could take it or leave it.

Trifleorbust Sun 15-Jan-17 10:31:31

If I couldn't get it sorted out then I'd have to say 'this is how he is right now' and they could take it or leave it.

I'd leave it. No way should a 9 year old be allowed to get away with this level of rudeness on the basis that 'this is just how he is'. This is just a cop out for not teaching him how polite people behave.

stonecircle Sun 15-Jan-17 10:31:55

Gosh what harsh responses! Sounds like a pretty miserable day for the kids - a long car journey, a pub lunch and sitting in an elderly person's flat.

When my kids were that age my dad would have taken the kids off for a run around when convenient during lunch/taken them off to the nearest park during the visit. But he was great with kids. My mum wasn't bad either. I agree your parents could have done more. Turning his back was a bit rude of your DS, but if he didn't feel like being sociable you can't really force it.

bonfireheart Sun 15-Jan-17 10:32:05

You expected the adults to get up and go talk to your child rather than the other way around?

woundedplacerias Sun 15-Jan-17 10:32:45

Ok, maybe I'm wrong then. I just felt he was unhappy at the time. I did speak to him at the time - I took him to get something from the car and had a word with him, and he did improve a bit after that. Kind of slipped back a bit when we got to the flat though. I agree the turning of his back was rude. He kept moving when I told him to, but then slowly moving round again.

He didn't have figures (I know that's what I said blush, just ds2 had 3 dolls that were Christmas gifts he wanted to show people. I thought I was going to get flamed for taking them for long meals with nothing to occupy them, bit it's gone the other way smile. I feel a three hour long drive, a 2 hour long meal followed by 2 hours in a small flat isn't ideal for children really. I know he's not a toddler, and he didn't act like one, but I did feel bad for him that being his Saturday. By the way, he hasn't got an ipad - don't know how people afford them. It's a very basic tablet he has and was on it for about 15 minutes.

I know it doesn't excuse rudeness, but, as I say, I felt he was uncomfortable. I know as well that it's my responsibility (no dh, we're divorcing) but don't think it's too much to ask that adults who are supposed to love him could help a bit, rather than criticising (I mean my parents, who could make more effort if they tried).

Tissunnyupnorth Sun 15-Jan-17 10:33:27

I don't mean to upset you, but your post is a whole list of excuses as to why your DS was rude. He was sulky, non communicative and you are excusing it with every reason you can possibly find.

PaulAnkaTheDog Sun 15-Jan-17 10:33:27

This is just a cop out for not teaching him how polite people behave.

Yuuuuup!

PurpleMinionMummy Sun 15-Jan-17 10:33:43

Wow, I totally don't see an issue with kids having a colouring book or figures at a meal! If it keeps them happy and stops them getting bored and playing up surely it's just common sense?

I understand where you are coming from. My ds gets very anxious in such situations, it's not deliberate rudeness, he can't handle them and no I don't punish him for daring to find some situations in life more difficult to deal with than others.

Amethyst81 Sun 15-Jan-17 10:33:59

Definitely no tablets when visiting family, its just not necessary. I would have taken him aside there and then and told him to look at people and be polite. Its OK for children to be quiet but its not OK for them to ignore people or refuse to engage by turning their backs or not making eye contact. He's 9 he's old enough to learn social skills.

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