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A rant of epic length (apologies)

(36 Posts)
RyRysmum Thu 24-Apr-14 19:04:07

I felt heartbroken today when a friend of my 8yo DS came up to me and said, "my mum says Ryan is really naughty."

I was rather proud of myself. Instead of insulting his mother (though the air in my head turned a rather lovely azure colour), I grinned at him, and replied, "yeah, he can be, but who isn't every now and again?"

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to go on a huge rant about how my child is wonderful and amazing and could never do any wrong. He is wonderful. He is amazing. He is also one of the cheekiest, most mischievous little blighters that has ever walked the earth, and I love him for it. He pushes the boundaries of authority, granted, but I don't want to raise a 'yes man', I want to raise a son who is capable of independent thought, who isn't afraid to take initiative. I want to raise a son who has the ability to be a leader in his own right, rather than someone who does and thinks what he is told to. There are certain skills that he is struggling with, such as completing a list of tasks, and knowing when to curb his enthusiasm for (literally) everything, but I am working with the school to address these issues, which may of may not be simplified by judgemental mothers badmouthing my son to their children.

I'm of the opinion that a perfectly behaved child would be perfectly dull, and the little episodes of mindless chaos and devastation are what keeps me, as a mum, on my toes. However, I'm also of the opinion that, as a mum, I am to butt out of my son's friendships unless there's tears or bloodshed. It's not my place to push my options of others onto him; he needs to learn to choose his own friends wisely, and that ability only comes through trial and error.

The comment hurt, though. Especially as, not that long ago, my son had spent nearly 30 minutes hugging this boy, sharing his sweets with him and consoling him as his mum had broken the news that she and his father were splitting up. DS isn't perfect, but he is a kind, generous, sweet child. He doesn't bully, and he isnt violent. He loves his friends wholeheartedly, and has been in tears a lot recently as none of them have wanted to play with him and started to call him names. It makes me wonder if this boy's mum has said she doesn't want him to play with DS, and other children have just followed suit.

Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, and making connections where there are none to be made. Do you tell your children their friends are naughty/bad? Am I being overly sensitive and defensive?

I'm off for some much-needed chocolate *waves goodbye to diet

NoIamAngelaHernandez Thu 24-Apr-14 19:08:29

What is charming and free spirited to you may well be irritating and defiant to others.

Morgause Thu 24-Apr-14 19:18:27

As a teacher I can tell you that perfectly behaved children are usually far from perfectly dull.

They are interested in what they are doing, engaged in their work, full of creative ideas and a joy to teach.

NoIamAngelaHernandez Thu 24-Apr-14 19:24:44

And bear in mind that your wish that he does not do as he is told to do by those in authority will have consequences, at school and in the way he is viewed by his peers and in society. I also agree with Morgause; well behaved children are far from dull.

Littlefish Thu 24-Apr-14 19:41:02

Your desire to have him free spirited, not a yes man, as well as him pushing the boundaries of authority, being cheeky and mischievous sounds like it is being perceived by others as being rude and badly behaved. You've said that there are issues you are working with the school on so you are aware that there are problems. It sounds like it's also starting to impact on his friendships.

I think you need to take a deep breath and start to consider that before he can learn to be a leader, and all of those other admirable qualities you wish for him that he needs to learn boundaries of appropriate behaviour with both children and adults. You may enjoy chaos and mindless devastation as he's your child, but I'm pretty sure most other people would find it unnaceptable.

CPtart Thu 24-Apr-14 19:51:12

His behaviour is already, at age 8 , having a negative effect on the relationships he has with his peers, one of the most important things in his life.
Not something I would want for my child.

PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Thu 24-Apr-14 20:01:51

"Pushing boundaries of authority", "cheeky", "mischievous" all sound like alternative words for "naughty" to me.

LittleRedDinosaur Thu 24-Apr-14 20:11:07

Sorry but he does sound naughty...

Guitargirl Thu 24-Apr-14 20:30:44

Don't you think he is a little old at 8 for episodes of 'mindless chaos and devastation'. He's not a toddler any more.

I doubt whether other children are choosing not to play with your son because another mum has labelled your child as naughty.

RyRysmum Thu 24-Apr-14 20:57:13

Well, it seems that I am incorrect in my opinion of the boys' mother - it seems to be perfectly acceptable to be vocally negative of a child if the comments on here are anything to go by. Yes, I am now being defensive, but I do find it interesting how none of you have picked up on any of the positive traits I mentioned...

In response to your comment:

NoIamAngelaHernandez: At no point did I say I want him to disregard authority. I did, however, say that I want him to be an independent thinker. There is a difference.

Morgause: My son is intelligent, articulate, engaging, creative, and is as happy sitting, reading a book or writing a letter to his penpal as he is running riot in the playground. I have also been pulled aside by several of his teachers, who wished to tell me that he is their secret favourite due to his enthusiasm for his classes and the fact that he always wants to know why something is so, rather than just taking it as gospel because his teacher tells him it is.

Littlefish: Thank you for being the only person so far to actually add something productive to the thread, rather than just saying that I have a naughty child. I genuinely appreciate that.

I am aware of his issues, and I am working with the school, as well as some other professionals, to correct the behaviour in order for him to understand what is acceptable and what is not. I'm not saying I don't find him a challenge (find me a parent that doesn't find their child a challenge on occasion, and I'll give you a bottle of wine - open offer guys), but helping him become a free-thinking individual is more than worth the difficulties.

CPtart: And the acts of kindness he shows his friends every single day are, what, to be ignored? Are we to teach our children that the only time we have anything to do with anyone is when they're doing something for us and that they are to be ignored all the rest of the time, whether they are misbehaving or not?

LittleRedDinosaur: Thank you for such a productive comment hmm

RyRysmum Thu 24-Apr-14 21:03:33

Just wondering... is there any reason you have all been so keen to band DS a naughty child instead of answering my question about if you tell your child his/her friends are naughty?

RyRysmum Thu 24-Apr-14 21:04:10

*brand... crying too hard to type properly...

CPtart Thu 24-Apr-14 21:07:59

What names do his friends call him?

pictish Thu 24-Apr-14 21:13:08

Not sure what to make of this. hmm
Telling yourself that well behaved kids are dull is a bit cloud cuckoo land isn't it?

Do I tell my children their friends are naughty or bad? Well I have alluded to it before yes, but his mum is a very good friend and she is under no illusions as to her son's behaviour. He is 14 now and still a total handful.

ExBrightonBell Thu 24-Apr-14 21:17:28

I wouldn't say to my child that another child is "naughty". I would name their behaviour as naughty, but it is not helpful to label anyone as "naughty".

Also, your child's teachers are being unprofessional to take you one side and tell you that RyRy is their secret favourite. If that had been said to me I would have taken a dim view of this, and asked them why they feel they needed to tell me that. I may have "favourite" students that I teach, but I wouldn't ever tell them or their parents that. I would in fact be aware of the internal favouritism, and do my level best to make sure that no one was ever aware of it.

Morgause Thu 24-Apr-14 21:20:01

My DCs were perfectly capable of seeing for themselves if other children were naughty and sometimes they'd say something to me about it. I didn't know if they were, I wasn't in the classroom with them.

I did know if they were naughty when they came to play in our house and would tell them off if they misbehaved. But that hardly ever happened. To be honest if they did have a friend round who didn't know how to behave then it's not a friendship I would have encouraged.

Both my DCs were mostly well-behaved in class and both have jobs requiring leadership. One works in research so independent thought is vital. DCs don't need to constantly challenge in order to have independent thought. Most young people learn fairly young to pick their battles with authority.

If children are talking to their mums about how your DS is behaving then their mums might well remark that such behaviour is naughty (if it is) to make sure their own DCs don't think it's OK.

You have said you are working with the teachers about aspects of his behaviour so you must realise that there is a problem.

coffeetofunction Thu 24-Apr-14 21:22:30

Omg I'm so angry!! How dare anyone judge this mother or child!! She has clearly posted this for some support & possible advice!!

All children are wonderful & the teacher that have commented should find even challenging children a pleasure to teach!!

OP no child should be slated/call/ect by any other parent or child.... No parent or child is "perfect" contrary to popular belief.

A good parent are able to point out their child's faults as well as their good points!!

PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Thu 24-Apr-14 21:22:49

You seemed to dismiss his bad behaviour as though it is something endearing. To you maybe, but not to others.

To answer your question, and I apologise for not doing so earlier; My ds is drawn to the "naughty" child in pre-school. I have neither encouraged or discouraged this as they are very young. I would also never tell my ds that this friend was naughty, especially not at the age they are (3-5 years old). In ds's school the teachers do not use the word naughty at all. They will say things like the behaviour is making them very cross instead.

However I do tell ds that certain types of behaviour are naughty as he has a tendancy to copy the things his friends do at school when he is at home.

In case it makes you feel better, I was a proper goody two shoes in school (you'd probably have thought I was dull wink) but I have a feeling from ds's personaility at the moment that he probably isn't going to follow in my footsteps. I have no idea how I'll handle that when the time comes. I still cry when I think I've done something wrong, I'll probably be crying in the headteacher's office while ds looks at me like "Wtf mum? You're not the one in trouble..."

HarderToKidnap Thu 24-Apr-14 21:22:59

Terrible form for her to comment on your son in a negative way in front of her DS. I have a friend who does this... We were out for the morning with her four year old and my two year old. DS started to get a bit whiny after lunch and her DD said "is he always this whingey?" It was funny but her mum then rushed to correct her "oh no, hardersDS isn't whingey, we know someone really whingey, Tom is always whinging isn't he?". I was gobsmacked and asked her whether she was not worried that her DD would repeat this to Tom. Another friend is so careful never to comment on our mutual friends DD (who has terrible behaviour problems) in front of her DS because she knows how devastated mutual friend would be if her DS repeated anything. So horrible form from this boys mum in my mind.

However, I wouldn't take it to heart too much. It could easily have been a throwaway comment, if your son has some issues at school perhaps her DS was telling her and she just commented on that being naughty or something. Or perhaps it was said affectionately. I'd let it go and concentrate on cementing his friendships.

Good luck x

RiverTam Thu 24-Apr-14 21:23:17

people are focussing on the negative, rather than the positive, because it's the negative that will/is cause him problems. And because you were so dismissive of well-behaved children.

The mum may not have said this to her DS, by the way, he may have overheard a private conversation.

And a leader has to know how to take orders - otherwise how the hell do you think he can give them with any authority? You think that those commanding battalions aren't themselves taking orders from on high? Or a board of directors? Or shareholders?

To help your DS I think you need to revisit your views on this kind of thing, as it seems clear they are not helping him in the here and now.

And if a parent I knew thought DD was naughty I would not dismiss it out of hand, far from it - I would want to know more.

pictish Thu 24-Apr-14 21:25:12

I have also been pulled aside by several of his teachers, who wished to tell me that he is their secret favourite due to his enthusiasm for his classes and the fact that he always wants to know why something is so, rather than just taking it as gospel because his teacher tells him it is.

I do not believe this is so. I think you are hearing what you want to hear, or reading more into their words than there is. In my experience (three children, all very different), primary school teachers are complimentary about everyone's child.

Either that, or you have encountered the school full of the most inappropriate, unprofessional staff in the land.

CheeryName Thu 24-Apr-14 21:26:06

Aw don't cry OP.

Some of my DC friends are challenging free spirits or whatever you want to call them. I tell my DC not to behave like x, they know the rules and how to follow them and to set a good example for x and let's see if we can help them behave better as it's more fun for all of us.

All kids have their moments both great and terrible.

Guitargirl Thu 24-Apr-14 21:29:50

You mentioned in your OP that you don't want to raise your son as someone who does as he is told. That's all fine but can you imagine what that would be like to manage in a class of 30 children. I remember the children in my class in primary school who thought the rules did not apply to them. They were PITAs and not pleasant to be around. And no, they did not grow up to become leaders in their chosen fields or CEOs.

As for your question, no, I have not referred to any of my children's friends as 'naughty'. I have however referred to their behaviour in negative terms if their behaviour warranted it, e.g. bossy in some cases, unkind, rude. Usually in the context of, 'x was a bit rude today wasn't he, please don't behave like that when you go to someone else's house'. I have also referred to their friends' behaviour in glowing terms, e.g. generous, kind, sensitive, funny.

Morgause Thu 24-Apr-14 21:32:47

coffeetofunction as it happens I spent most of my career teaching children with challenging behaviour. It was a choice I made - to work with those excluded from mainstream school. It was occasionally rewarding and always eventful. But certainly not always a joy, unless you enjoy having a knife pulled on you by a 6ft 13 year old.

Not all children are wonderful all of the time and we don't help them by pretending that they are.

pictish Thu 24-Apr-14 21:46:58

I'd say I was similar to you guitargirl...I would shy away from 'naughty' or 'bad' and pinpoint the actual behaviour. It's not something I've had to do a lot of mind you - I don't come across notably bad behaviour with my kids friends...or my friends kids for that matter, very often.

I personally wouldn't use the word naughty, but I might say rough, bossy, or rude. I would tell my child that if they were to behave like that, I wouldn't be pleased.

I suppose one of my children might regurgitate that as "my mum says you're naughty".

The thing is OP - what is very telling, is that you are genuinely offended and upset by this (for which I'm sorry, I believe you are finding this tough) because really, if you were all that confident in his behaviour, this would not have rankled you so much as it clearly has. You'd have made your peace with it and moved on by now.
The fact that you need a rant of epic length about it says that you are putting quite some effort into keeping him on a pedestal, where none may tarnish his good name.

The rest of us, with our ordinary, dull children accept that our kids are little gits from time to time. Know what I mean?

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