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“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#1 Sep 13, 2012
DEAR AMY: What do you think about a parent who smashes and completely destroys kids' electronic games and equipment (these were parent-approved gifts to these young children) because the kids were fighting over them?

That kind of equipment can be expensive, and it seems to me that it might not be the best example of how to teach a child to deal with frustration.

It actually sounds borderline violent and abusive to me!-- Concerned Neighbor

DEAR NEIGHBOR: You must not be a parent. I agree that the behavior you describe sounds violent, but chances are you do not know what went on before the violence: i.e. repeated entreaties and warnings that a parent would commit electronicide if the toys created conflict.

Obviously, it would be more effective for these parents to remain calm in the face of a Nintendo attack, but when it comes to this sort of behavior, context is everything.

I think back to a conversation I once had with Linda Ellerbee, the legendary writer and broadcaster. Ellerbee had warned her kids about their television-watching habits and then, one day -- when she was trying to talk to them and they were ignoring her and watching the TV -- she pitched the television out the second-story window.

Violent? Yes. But it did the trick.

DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I have been together for five years. We live together and are both middle-aged. We are basically happy except for some communication problems. One problem surrounds the word "why." If I ask him why, he gets defensive and wants to know why I am questioning him.

Here's an example: I went to lock the front door. From the couch, he said to leave it unlocked. As I left it unlocked and started to walk away, I asked, "Why?" He got very angry and asked me to just do it and asked why I always have to question him. He says I am treating him like a child. My take is that I am just curious: Is someone coming over? Does he need to go somewhere?

I just wanted communication. I don't want to offend him, yet the word just jumps out when someone tells you to do something and you are curious as to what's going on. Should I phrase it differently? Or is he being insecure?

We can't seem to get past this silly little word.-- Wondering

DEAR WONDERING: Would you be able to issue a directive and have your guy follow it without asking, "Why?" I doubt it.

Your reaction sounds reasonable, but the way out might be for you to step into his shoes and acknowledge how he interprets your queries, even if you find his interpretation childish or invalid.

When you are frustrated with the way someone else is communicating, the place to start is to change your own behavior to see if this nudges the other person into another direction.

If you didn't ask, "Why," immediately, there is a good chance that after a few moments he would supply the explanation you were looking for. It is worth a try. Once he spoke, you could say, "Thank you for telling me. I was wondering."

During a peaceful moment, you should discuss this ongoing issue and both commit to finding other ways to talk.

I like the book, "Communication Miracles for Couples: Easy and Effective Tools to Create More Love and Less Conflict" by Jonathan Robinson (2009, Conari Press).

DEAR AMY: "Sad Daughter" was upset because her mother had only included one grandchild in her will. It is time to demand to either leave all grandchildren out or put them all in.

Years of watching this occur has proved to me that playing favorites is a control game by the adult, and the inferior children need to be sheltered from these people. Change the will, grandma -- or it's goodbye.-- Protecting My Kids

DEAR PROTECTING: A will is not an entitlement. And while I agree that it is best to leave everything equally, no one has the right to expect (or demand) it.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#2 Sep 13, 2012
1- Destroy your own sht all you want. But you destroy anything *I* got you and it will be the last time I get you anything. But I agree that destroying toys isn't proper parenting. And it's a good thing that TV didn't land on a passerby!

2- Sorry, but your middle-aged boyfriend is an immature whiny jerk. Wishing you much luck and many years of happiness!

3- I'll leave my money to whomever I want, thank you.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#3 Sep 13, 2012
L1: I think it's stupid and wasteful. If anything, take it away and give it to someone else. Or stop overindulging your kids with things they don't take care of or treat with respect, or share appropriately. Destroying things seems immature and setting a poor example for kids.

And Amy, your comment about the LW not being a parent is uncalled for and probably WRONG. Obviously, parents vary greatly in parenting styles. Just because this person is a bit horrified by another parents' behavior doesn't mean he or she doesn't understand the frustrations of parenting.

And as for your Ellerbee anecdote: Parenting fail. She could have turned the TV OFF.

L2: He's treating YOU like a child. I would want to know the reason "why" as well. I ask my boyfriend for his reasons behind things he may suggest to me or do himself. I don't do it with an inappropriate tone of voice, just out of wondering what his reasoning is, or sometimes as a "What am I missing here" sort of thing. Your boyfriend is immature and defensive.

Also, your boyfriend DOESN'T GET TO TELL YOU WHAT TO DO. Next time, lock the door. If he wants it unlocked, he can either (1) give you a reason why he wants it unlocked, or (2) get off his lazy behind and unlock it.

L3: Wow, Amy got it right! And yet, it's rehash. I'm glad I have an extra ketchup packet at my desk.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#4 Sep 13, 2012
LW1: Sounds like the dude with the video shooting his daughter's lap top.

LW2: If all of these events are similar to the one you described, your BF is an a-hole. He thinks your treating HIM like a child? Its the other way around. He's expecting you to do what he says without question. Adults don't get treated that way. Children do. And only for so long.

LW3: What Amy said.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#5 Sep 13, 2012
Mister Tonka wrote:
LW1: Sounds like the dude with the video shooting his daughter's lap top.
I forgot about that! While I generally think it's unwise/stupid to destroy valuables, I think his video was excellent.

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#6 Sep 13, 2012
L1: Should have packed it up and put it in the attic or sold it on Ebay.

L2: He sounds like a jerk and I wouldn't want to be with him but the LW sounds as if she does. Next time ask, "Is someone coming over?" Frame a complete question. If he gets angry at that, you might want to rethink living with this guy.

L3: Yep.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#7 Sep 13, 2012
LW1: That sounds like a parent having an adult temper tantrum. There are *much* better ways to take away a toy or otherwise punish the child/children without destroying it.

LW2: He sounds like a jerk. I wouldn't put up with too much more of this if I were you.

And what Angela said.

LW3: I don't expect to have any money to leave anybody.

Since: Nov 10

Danielson, CT

#8 Sep 13, 2012
LW1- I'm a parent and found that disturbing. Don't be surprised when they destroy the house as teens.
PEllen

Chicago, IL

#9 Sep 13, 2012
Toj wrote:
L2: He sounds like a jerk and I wouldn't want to be with him but the LW sounds as if she does. Next time ask, "Is someone coming over?" Frame a complete question. If he gets angry at that, you might want to rethink living with this guy.
How come?

Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

#10 Sep 13, 2012
L1: I'm not a parent, but I find this extremely childish, inappropriate, wasteful, and wrong. Like you guys have said, confiscate the game, give it away, sell it, but destroying it is a waste of money and sends a really bad message, IMO.

L2: He's either paranoid or hiding something - dump him.

L3: So far, I'm on pace to do what those authors suggested who were on Oprah years ago that I mentioned the other day. But not necessarily by choice....
animaniactoo

New York, NY

#11 Sep 13, 2012
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
<quoted text>
I forgot about that! While I generally think it's unwise/stupid to destroy valuables, I think his video was excellent.
I thought it was horrifying. He was pissed and resentful that she was ungrateful, so he destroyed something that was at that point *her* property? "You hurt me, so I'm going to REALLY hurt you?"

That doesn't sound like a parent to me, that sounds like an adult having a tantrum.

He could have simply cut off her internet access and refused to pay for or do any more work on her laptop for her. Those would have been effective actions that prevented him from feeling used in the future, while not crossing the boundary of respecting her stuff and doing permanent damage to it. As a parent, it's his job to continue to model the same respect he expects to get, enforcing that poor behavior gets a lack of help or benefits going forward, not the same kind of destruction that he won't stand for from her.

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#12 Sep 13, 2012
PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>
How come?
Because he overreacts to a simple question and it will lead to bigger problems.:)

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#13 Sep 13, 2012
animaniactoo wrote:
<quoted text>
I thought it was horrifying. He was pissed and resentful that she was ungrateful, so he destroyed something that was at that point *her* property? "You hurt me, so I'm going to REALLY hurt you?"
I'm of the mindset that if you didn't pay for it, you have it because *I* provided it for you (not a gift, per se, but "you say need this for school so I will be generous and buy it for you"), it's mine to take back when I think it's being misused.

I was on team dad all the way.

I have very little tolerance for spoiled, overindulged brats, of which his daughter is president of that club. Sure, he raised her that way, but hopefully he saw the light after that and made other changes.
Sam I Am

Schaumburg, IL

#14 Sep 13, 2012
1. Lazy parenting.

2. I am guessing that your example is worthless because it wasn't about the substance of that request. It was about your asking why frequently. I know a couple couples like this and unfortunately it is the girl in both cases who asks why about everything. Almost every request is met with a "Why?" and I can see how that would be annoying. The girls have to have every little thing laid out for them.

3. You greedy little pip. You will get nothing and like it!
animaniactoo

New York, NY

#15 Sep 13, 2012
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm of the mindset that if you didn't pay for it, you have it because *I* provided it for you (not a gift, per se, but "you say need this for school so I will be generous and buy it for you"), it's mine to take back when I think it's being misused.
I was on team dad all the way.
I have very little tolerance for spoiled, overindulged brats, of which his daughter is president of that club. Sure, he raised her that way, but hopefully he saw the light after that and made other changes.
It's much easier in my book (and my experience) to teach the kids to respect other people's property if you treat things in their possession as their property unless you have specified that it is theirs to use, not theirs to have.

It allows me to be consistent about rules even when they buy it themselves, and apply reasonable logical consequences for misuse of their property within our house.

Therefore when my younger son thought that he could blatantly continue to play a game that he was banned from playing at that point because he was behind in his schoolwork, continuing to play it in front of my face and ignoring my direction to turn it off, I could pull the plug on his computer out of the wall. He may own the computer (he had paid for it), but I pay the electric bill thank you very much, and I will refuse him access for that purpose.

I only had to follow through on doing that (after a warning) 2 to 3 times before he stopped thinking he could break the rules, blatantly, in front of my face, and have no consequences. He was concerned about potential damage to his computer - in that case, my point was that he had been given warning and the option to prevent it and I was not going to stand by and do nothing. It was a minimal risk of damage, and left me able to enforce consequences without treating him in a way I would not treat another person, or modelling behavior that I would not accept from him.

Since: Jun 09

Madison, WI

#16 Sep 13, 2012
I firmly believe, that as a parent, I have the right to take away ANY property that my child has.
animaniactoo

New York, NY

#17 Sep 13, 2012
fwiw, a large part of my thinking is that my house is training in how to deal with and react to authority figures and other people in general. Therefore, the consequences I enforce have to be the most reasonable kinds of things that they will have to deal with in the rest of the world. To give them experience in that, not to treat my house as a special unique place with different rules than the rest of the world they will be dealing with.

In my opinion, destroying something they have cause to think of as theirs is not a reasonable consequence they could expect outside of our house, for the level of offense that occurred.
animaniactoo

New York, NY

#18 Sep 13, 2012
cycle003 wrote:
I firmly believe, that as a parent, I have the right to take away ANY property that my child has.
Does that include things they have paid for themselves?

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#19 Sep 13, 2012
cycle003 wrote:
I firmly believe, that as a parent, I have the right to take away ANY property that my child has.
I believe you do, too. But for the reasons Ani mentioned, destroying that property does set a bad example.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#20 Sep 13, 2012
1 Bust their sheit! that'll learn'em!

2 Why do you have to question everything? Cant you just do something and not want it dissected?

3 yes! level the playing field, let everyone have some money, even the kid in jail, would be unfair to leave her out. If you dont make it fair for her too, then she will fail as an adult, quit school and be a drain on society.

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