Tuesday, 18 July 2006

A child can be rude, but do you have to boast about it?

I was more than startled to read this article in today's Times. If any of my children, at the age of 12, had come to give me a 'good morning' kiss and then, unprovoked, told me that "I’m fat, my hair needs cutting, that the bags under my eyes are the size of suitcases and that my breath stinks," I'd have told her that sort of gratuitous offensiveness is unkind and not acceptable (I'd have been awfully hurt too, whether it was true or not). Kate Figes seems quite proud that she has brought up her daughter to be rude (or, as she calls it, 'outspoken'). Sure, in the heat of an argument, an adolescent says hurtful things, but unless Kate is exaggerating wildly - and in that case she is being offensive to Grace - she seems to have taught her nothing about tact, thoughtfulness or respect.

I was completely out of my depth during my daughter's teenage years and if I'd had another girl, I hope I'd have done better; adolescent boys are quite different. Even when we did have rows though, there were several things about all my children that I only became aware of when I talked to other mothers.

They never scored points off each other. If one was arguing with me, the others kept out of it.
None of them ever sulked. They would walk away (whether slamming the door or not) and on their return the matter would be over, or we would talk it through.
They were not unkind. Occasionally there was a hard personal truth, but that was rare and it was never gratuitous.

Anyway, sorry Kate, I won't be buying your books. If I were your daughter I wouldn't want you to be writing about me as a teenager or yourself as a menopausal mother, and I don't want to read about it either.

7 comments:

greavsie said...

The cult of 'individuality at all costs' continues by the sounds of it.

diamondweeza said...

Kate sounds depressed. This article is more a cry for help than anything else - she even refers to herself as a punchbag. I think she's clinging onto a hope that her brats' are going to become intellectual Tracey Emin type Uber Females.

What a funny aspiration for one's daughters.

How do we know said...

i agree with you on the ideology.. children need to be given some old fashioned values.. obedience, courtesy, respect, and thoughtfulness.
somehow, all of us want our children to grow up that way.. and i am not sure how many of us succeed..

Geena said...

That child needs to learn about loving diplomacy...and plain old good manners..ye gods I'd be upset if my boys spoke like that...but then I don't let thm.

Z said...

Hello everyone, good to hear from you. I started out thinking 'silly cow' and ended up thinking 'poor silly cow.' Yes, she does sound depressed, but it's hard to sympathise when she has brought it on herself and is now embarrassing the daughters further by writing articles and books about it.
Maybe she should tell her children to mind their manners, leave them to sort themselves out and go and support her husband instead. Who sounds like he has a mid-life crisis going on too.
And stop blaming hormones.

Mary P. said...

I always told my lot, from the time they learned to speak, that they were free to disagree with me, but that they had to do it politely. Period.

Not sneering, nor dismissiveness, eye-rolling, contempt, insults, sarcasm, or personal shots. I don't do it to you, you don't do it to me. Only fair.

My children are 20, 17, and 13, and my stepkids - 5 of the little wretches - range from 18 to 10. Not a one of them indulges in the behaviour outlined by that poor, silly woman.

In fact, my own three often come home with horror stories about their classmates. "Zoe is AWFUL, mum! You wouldn't BELIEVE how she treats her mother!"

Warms my heart, it does. :-)

Z said...

Thank you Mary, I do agree with you, as with the others. Why does she not expect respect from her children? But also, why does she not give it back to them. I would not tell tales like that about my family, even if they did behave badly.
Wow, 8 children between you - that's magnificent. What lovely family parties you will all have for evermore. I come from a small family; one sister, no aunts or uncles, and I would love to have had lots of relations.