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DS has started saying dodgy things...

(41 Posts)
messyisthenewtidy Fri 10-Oct-14 18:57:44

Ever since he started a new school he's been coming out with stuff like "women aren't funny" , "girls shouldn't roll up their skirts if they don't want the boys to make comments", plus we had a chat about videogames and violence because someone in his class had made a comment about enjoying finding women and stabbing them (in the game) . When I said that was wrong he said "there's nothing wrong, it's just a game".

Every time I tackle it and talk about the complexities behind each issue I feel like I'm lecturing and we get into an argument. I feel like he's looking at the way the world is set up and coming to the conclusion that men are better. I'm not sure how to tackle these things without him thinking that I'm attacking men. Any ideas? He's 13.

Biscoff Fri 10-Oct-14 19:01:53

Fucking hell.

SevenZarkSeven Fri 10-Oct-14 19:07:45

Is it something you could raise with the school?

It seems his attitudes are coming from there, his comments are about things at school. and the children there.

Maybe they would consider doing something? Don't know what, my children are only little so I don't know how these things work.

messyisthenewtidy Fri 10-Oct-14 19:18:24

Sorry, Biscoff, are you shock at the stabbing comment? Because so was I. But I don't understand why is he just brushing it off as if it's not important - is that normal? He's always been such an empathic boy but lately has become so cynical. I think he's just trying to fit in at school but really I don't want him to become one of those privileged entitled people who can't see life from the side of people who haven't been as lucky as him.

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 10-Oct-14 20:29:05

I'm sure he is trying to fit in, I can't speak tor the dynamic of kids I can never met but it can be cool to be relaxed about everything to the point of daftness.

Might be worth asking the school if they address any of these issues in PSHE?

SevenZarkSeven Fri 10-Oct-14 20:33:03

Yes that thing PHSE that's the thing smile

If they are talking about stuff it's worth them knowing there are some shocking attitudes and maybe look to address that within the structure they have.

Littlebluebutterflies Fri 10-Oct-14 20:34:19

Is it a single sex school?

messyisthenewtidy Fri 10-Oct-14 20:37:23

No, it's co ed. I think I'll raise the videogame issue with them. Not sure wgat they can do but it's bad enough to warrant something.

Sabrinnnnnnnna Fri 10-Oct-14 21:31:56

What video games is he playing? Sounds like GTA or something 18+ that he shouldn't be playing at this age.

I feel your pain - my dh had a long chat with our ds about certain video games and why he shouldn't play them, and about how women and violence are depicted in them. It obvs went in one ear and out the other though, because we caught him sneaking GTA5 and COD in (lent by a friend hmm )

I guess we just keep plugging away and hope they get it eventually <sigh>

AcrossthePond55 Fri 10-Oct-14 22:36:57

I think I'd keep an eye ear on his friends. Have them over to play games or 'hang out' & eavesdrop shamelessly. Sounds more like things he'd hear from friends to me. You don't need to play GTA to hear misogynistic garbage from your mates.

It's so hard at that age, they get so defensive. I usually would try to not get too het up, but would personalize things for my two sons (now 30 and 25). As in 'Would you like someone to say that about me?" or "What would you think if someone did that/felt that way about (favorite girl cousin)?" which of course they wouldn't want, then "Well, then it's not right to say/do that to any female". It would usually get them thinking at least a bit. Discussing things in the light of the 'greater social issue' at that age usually got me an eye roll or (as you found) accusations of lecturing.

StickEm Sat 11-Oct-14 16:30:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StickEm Sat 11-Oct-14 16:30:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Biscoff Sat 11-Oct-14 17:02:32

I'm saddened that it starts so young. Makes me sad for my son and my daughter.

Optimist1 Sat 11-Oct-14 17:14:32

The school should be made aware of a) sexist talk and b) inappropriate games. For your part, you don't always need to relate the comments to females - for example "Stabbing someone for entertainment is vile, even when it's in a game." Being aware of how we treat other people is the first step to treating women equally, surely?

I agree with PPs that he's probably just trying to big it up with this talk, but don't let it pass unremarked, OP.

I sympathise with you, and thank goodness that my kids are past all the teenage bravado.

messyisthenewtidy Sat 11-Oct-14 18:12:39

Yes, I'm not sure why the idea of delighting in stabbing virtual women makes me more shock than killing virtual men, that's one for feminist therapy!

The funny women thing, he watches a lot of all-male panel talk shows with the odd token female thrown in. He thinks that Jo Brand is funny and did concede that Sue Perkins was hilarious so at least that's something.

I reminded him of all the times he has to sit through me and my girlfriends laughing our heads off, bored out of his skull cos he doesn't understand what's so funny to demonstrate that there are just different types of funny. But what we see on TV is usually what men find funny.

Thanks for the sympathy! I think I have to hunker down and brace myself for the teenage macho bravado!

FuckOffFerret Sat 11-Oct-14 20:17:37

That would all really upset me sad Luckily my boys are still young so not a worry yet.

"What would you think if someone did that/felt that way about (favorite girl cousin)?

I'm not sure if I agree with ATP55s post though, but I see where they are going. Rather than having your son identifying women with a family member of his I think it is important he identify with the women as people in their own right.

Go through the statistics with your son about how 90% of murder and 98% of sexual violence is perpetrated by men. And is how would he feel if he were the "second sex" and that was a genuine worry for him. Would he see it as just a game then? If he went out to play football with his male friends and one of them found him sexually attractive, would it be OK if they made inappropriate advances or comments about him because he had his shirt off? Women really do get sexually assaulted and comments all lead up to people thinking it is Ok. He needs to understand that.

FuckOffFerret Sat 11-Oct-14 20:18:05

That would all really upset me sad Luckily my boys are still young so not a worry yet.

"What would you think if someone did that/felt that way about (favorite girl cousin)?

I'm not sure if I agree with ATP55s post though, but I see where they are going. Rather than having your son identifying women with a family member of his I think it is important he identify with the women as people in their own right.

Go through the statistics with your son about how 90% of murder and 98% of sexual violence is perpetrated by men. And is how would he feel if he were the "second sex" and that was a genuine worry for him. Would he see it as just a game then? If he went out to play football with his male friends and one of them found him sexually attractive, would it be OK if they made inappropriate advances or comments about him because he had his shirt off? Women really do get sexually assaulted and comments all lead up to people thinking it is Ok. He needs to understand that.

Purpleflamingos Sat 11-Oct-14 20:22:46

Not going to help much but I recall in my psych degree that the range of emotions recognised by children can narrow in teenage years and empathy is one of the first emotions to disappear. They do eventually get it back, but no reason for you not to keep reminding him of it.

LumpySpacedPrincess Sat 11-Oct-14 20:28:49

I would mention something to the school and I would come down on it like a ton of bricks. Just tell hem he can leave his small minded prejudice at the door. sad

ClashCityRocker Sat 11-Oct-14 20:39:48

Not going to help much but I recall in my psych degree that the range of emotions recognised by children can narrow in teenage years and empathy is one of the first emotions to disappear. They do eventually get it back, but no reason for you not to keep reminding him of it.

I think that's a really interesting point. I remember some of the things me and my closest friend as a teenager/young adult used to not give two hoots about doing when we were younger - such as smashing a prostitutes head in a car door repeatedly on GTA...nowadays, I think it's horrific and can't believe there is allowed to be such 'role play'.

OP, continue challenging him on his behaviour and providing a good role model. I just wanted to make the point that it isn't just teenage boys. It's girls as well, which is sad.

Momagain1 Sat 11-Oct-14 20:46:34

In my experience (11 schools) it is almost never the nice kids who are welcoming to new kids, it is almost always the kids on the margins. If you are lucky, it is a nice, but awkward kid who isnt popular. If you are unlucky, it is a kid who has issues of varying scariness, that you can never be sure is the cause or result of their marginality.

See that he has other friend-making resources such as sports, church, volunteering, scouts, special interest classes and clubs. Speaking to the school might help them find him and involve him in groups other than the group who has taken him in. And what about the men in his life? Are his dad, uncles, grandads etc.useful as counterexamples of how men think?

My cousin got his son's reading this: www.artofmanliness.com/
his goal was just to get his older teen to give a flip about dressing like an adult, but overall, there seems to be a lot of advice on how to be a modern man.

Gina111 Sat 11-Oct-14 21:40:04

Making the school aware of your concerns will be important however it may be difficult to judge the enthusiasm and quality of the response.

Are other parents aware of similar issues? If so maybe a group approach would be more effective.

Has the school always been co-ed? Equal numbers of girls and boys? Many schools are changing from all boys to co-ed and that can unmask significant problems.

Is there any unconscious sexism at home from family members? It may be difficult to spot as considered normal.

Challenging the sexist remarks made by your son will be very important however it will be a balance between enlightening him and avoiding coming across as a broken record so perhaps choose clear examples (the desire to stab virtual women sounds like a good one to explore) and perhaps mobilise other members of the family so it is not always you having to do the challenging.

messyisthenewtidy Sat 11-Oct-14 22:14:38

To be fair, I don't think DS would ever say the stabby thing himself but it was the way he rolled his eyes and couldn't see the problem. I do worry though, because he's never been a popular kid as he has special needs and is so desperate to make friends that he might be easily swayed.

I feel like I've brought him with such a pacifist and feminist perspective that he's suddenly rebelling and pushing my boundaries. He even used the word "feminazi"! Jeez I never realised how silencing that word was - because you're caught between answering back and actually proving them right or shutting up to prove them wrong. Double bind.

Gina111 Sat 11-Oct-14 23:15:09

His need to make friends could be a big factor and almost certainly the things he has been saying have originated from his peers. It sounds very difficult for you. Maybe step back and let others gently challenge?

StickEm Sat 11-Oct-14 23:17:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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