Posted in Parenting and Random Shit

You Didn’t Thank Me For Punching You in the Face

On a somewhat serious note today because of a conversation the other day:

I am sure every girl can recall, at least once as a child,  coming home and telling their parents, uncle, aunt or grandparent about a boy who had pulled her hair, hit her, teased her, pushed her or committed some other playground crime.  I will bet money that most of those, if not all, will tell you that they were told “Oh, that just means he likes you”.  I never really thought much about it before having a daughter of my own.  I find it appalling that this line of bullshit is still being fed to young children.  Look, if you want to tell your child that being verbally and/or physically abused is an acceptable sign of affection, i urge you to rethink your parenting strategy.  If you try and feed MY daughter that crap, you better bring protective gear because I am going to shower you with the brand of “affection” you are endorsing.

When the fuck was it decided that we should start teaching our daughters to accept being belittled, disrespected and abused as endearing treatment?  And we have the audacity to wonder why women stay in abusive relationships?  How did society become so oblivious to the fact that we were conditioning our daughters to endure abusive treatment, much less view it as romantic overtures? Is this where the phrase “hitting on girls” comes from? Well, here is a tip: Save the “it’s so cute when he gets hateful/physical with her because it means he loves her” asshattery  for your own kids, not mine. While you’re at it, keep them away from my kids until you decide to teach them respect and boundaries.

My daughter is `10 years old and has come home on more than one occasion recounting an incident at school in which she was teased or harassed by a male classmate.  There has been several times when someone that she was retelling the story to responded with the old, “that just means he likes you” line.  Wrong.  I want my daughter to know that being disrespected is NEVER acceptable.  I want my daughter to know that if someone likes her and respects her, much less LOVES her, they don’t hurt her and they don’t put her down.  I want my daughter to know that the  boy called her ugly or pushed her or pulled her hair didn’t do it because he admires her, it is because he is a little asshole and assholes are an occurrence of society that  will have to be dealt with for the rest of her life.  I want my daughter to know how to deal with assholes she will encounter throughout her life. For now, I want my daughter to know that if someone is verbally harassing her, she should tell the teacher and if the teacher does nothing, she should  tell me.  If someone physically touches her, tell the teacher then,  if it continues, to yell, “STOP TOUCHING/PUNCHING/PUSHING ME” in the middle of class or the hallway, then tell me.  Last year, one little boy stole her silly bandz from her.  He just grabbed her and yanked a handful of them off of her wrist.  When I went to the school to address the incident, the teacher smiled and explained it away to her, in front of me, “he probably has a crush on you”. Okay, the boy walked up to my daughter, grabbed and held her by the arm  and forcibly removed her bracelets from her as she struggled and you want to convince her that she should be flattered?  Fuck off.  I am going to punch you in the face but I hope you realize it is just my way of thanking you for the great advice you gave my daughter.  If these same advice givers’ sons came home crying because another male classmate was pushing them, pulling their hair, hitting them or calling them names, I would bet dollars to donuts they would tell him to defend themselves and kick the kid’s ass, if necessary.  They sure as shit wouldn’t say, “he probably just wants a play date”.

I will teach my daughter to accept nothing less than respect.  Anyone who hurts her physically or emotionally doesn’t deserve her respect, friendship or love.  I will teach my boys the same thing as well as the fact that hitting on girls doesn’t involve hitting girls.  I can’t teach my daughter to respect herself if I am teaching her that no one else has to respect her.  I can’t raise sons that respect women, if I teach them that bullying is a valid expression of affection.

The next time that someone offers up that little “secret” to my daughter, I am going to slap the person across the face and yell, “I LOVE YOU”.

 

EDIT: One of my readers made a very astute critique of this post and I wanted to include his whole comment, rather than just make the edit.

Love it! Do have one small criticism
“And we have the audacity to wonder why women stay in abusive relationships?” I think could be better rephrased as “And we have the audacity to wonder why abusers are able to keep women in abusive relationships?”

One is a line of reasoning that blames the abused women “Well, she’s the one choosing to stay, I guess she’s getting what she deserves!” The other better illustrates that society’s conditioning may have made them better targets, but someone had to come along to take advantage of that.

Author:

I am a stay at home mother with 4 children. I drink a lot of wine and curse like a sailor.

1,636 thoughts on “You Didn’t Thank Me For Punching You in the Face

      1. I think that the ideas here deserve to be listened to and understood. It is unfortunate that the gueenofthecouch needs foul language to help get her point across. I would have more respect for her opinions if she spoke english with out the use of expletives.

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      2. I have to agree with Ed above here. While slightly amusing (I understand you’re trying to engage your audience) the foul language makes this lose a bit of its pizazz. While teaching your daughter respect and to be respected, I doubt you’re using this language with her.
        As a teacher myself I would LOVE to print this and give it to my principal and fellow teachers, but I can’t distribute this kind of language.

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      3. This is a fabulous post filled with just the right amount of vitriol for the incredibly lousy attitude it develops in children of both genders. My mother constantly taught me to “turn the other cheek”, to both male and female bullies, and I spent years completely fucked up and completely unable to take care of myself because I accepted the bullshit thrown at me by others for so long that I ended by believing it. All of it. Mind you, I love my mom like hell and I realize that she also has some issues that she passed down to me without any intention of doing so, but god DAMN did my life ever improve the day I learned that if someone is hurting me, it’s okay to tell them THAT IS *NOT* OKAY, DAMMIT.”

        Yeah, little rage left over. I’m still pretty fucked up when it comes to human interaction, and I can’t help wondering, from time to time, who I might have been if I’d been taught to have as much respect for myself as I was taught to have for others. If, the first time a kid had punched me, instead of learning how to hide in corners and find adults to stick around whenever I had to be around other children, I’d turned around and nailed her one right back.

        On a side note, fuck the whiners complaining about “bad language”. Oh no, a four letter word, my world, it is crumbling.

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      4. First you need to realize that when little…little…LITTLE boys do this they have no idea how to show a girl that he likes her. When we do grow up and decide to hit push blah blah all in all hurt a female it has nothing to do with how little boys display their affection. I dont see why women subject themselves to being punished for the sake of “love”. so when you get punched in the face (not saying its your fault) but its your fault if you let it continue to happen. there needs to be boundaries, thats where the woman comes in and tells her daughter that shit. SO ITS YOUR FAULT YOUR DAUGHTERS THINK THAT!

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      5. “You would make your point better without the foul language” means “I’m uncomfortable with your message but rather than argue it on its merits or disappear quietly into the woodwork like the fucking six-legged pest I am, I will insult your use of language to completely distract from the issue.”

        Shut up, Ed. And everyone who agreed with him can go step in front of a bus.

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      6. Yes Ed, Fuck off. You too Anissa! The language is appropriate to the level of bullshit that it is to tell this to a girl being treated this way. A boy punched me in the stomach in 4th grade. He then asked me to the prom later on in our lives. Did he forget that he punched me in the stomach…? Needless to say I went with someone else.

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      7. Anybody who’s got a problem with the language, there’s a handy thing called a word processor. With that handy tool, you can:

        Copy the text of this article and paste it on a blank document

        Format it to fit the page

        Edit the text. Possible ways of making it “school appropriate”? 1. Replacing the suspect word with ****s. 2. Replacing the word with a well known substitute. 3. Putting a [expletive] or [redacted] in place of the suspect word. 4. Erasing the sentence if it contains such suspect words and does not carry any additional information.

        Neat!

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      8. I’m with Ed. Though I wholly agree with you but the article would be better without the expletives. The rest who thinks expletives are alright when you’re frustrated, it’s not. That said, good to see someone addressing this long standing issue.

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      9. Actually Ed has a point. As an adult who cheerfully swears like a sailor I’m down with the content of this article, and have no problem with the language, but other people might, and if you want those other people to read it and actually take on the message (which, frankly, should have been said long ago, because it’s absurd that this claptrap still gets trotted out to little girls when they come home crying), why alienate them unnecessarily with language they don’t want to read? You can use language forcefully and persuasively without resorting to the word ‘fuck’.

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      10. @the undersigned @Thelma

        Oh shut the hell up both of you. I’m so sick of women acting like fucking thugs online whenever this type of conversation comes up. Drop the internet tough guy act.

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      11. What Ed is doing is called Tone Trolling. It adds nothing to the point discussed and in rather annoying ways deflect the discussion to all of a sudden be about ‘the tone’ of an argument rather than its content. Do not feed the Tone Troll.

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      12. Excellent, forthright and justified anger. This is the child version of the adult, “What’s the matter, can’t you take a joke?” or “I understand you are overly sensitive?” garbage men throw back at women when women set the respectful boundaries THEY need. The metaphor for this rage, and it should evoke rage, is the film “Kill Bill: Volumes 1 and 2,” in which the demeaned, denigrated feminine element (The Bride) takes corrective, honorable action, as any true warrior should. It’s not a film about violence, it’s a film about what will happen if we continue to dishonor our females and our mother earth.
        You go, girl!

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      13. So Ed doesn’t like the language being used and instead of going.. “Hmmm you’re probably right, there’s a better way to send this message.” You all gang up on him and tell him to f-off. Really classy guys.. glad the message of bullying got across.

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      14. Dana – the point with the language is that it contradicts the messages it’s trying to convey. The aggressive nature of the article seems an odd way to promote little boys learning to behave in a respectful and friendly manner.

        In any case, I don’t think someone who advises others to get run over by a bus, just because they have a different opinion, has much credibility when it comes to commenting on society.

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      15. Very well said and and also a very valid piece of work. it is an often looked over issue in modern society and its high time its adressed.

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      16. I never thought about it like that. Thanks QotC! I like ur “un-lady-like” language! Ladies are often expected to be quiet and pretty – excitable and accepting. Fucking let it rip ladies. I think I’ll punch someone the next time I want to show my endearment hahaha

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      17. @MaxG

        Okay, I don’t know whether I should laugh, or slap my forehead. You said

        “Oh shut the hell up both of you. I’m so sick of women acting like fucking thugs online whenever this type of conversation comes up. Drop the internet tough guy act.”

        Was this supposed to be ironic, or satirical, or what? Are you demonstrating the “internet tough guy act” for educational purposes, maybe?

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      18. I agree with some of the other comments that you raise a very valid point however the profanity expresses your anger but adds nothing to the quality of the blog.

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      19. What a great blog entry. I’d honestly never thought of it that way. Of course it’s a horrible idea to teach our children that abuse equals affection!
        Oh and your use of profanity was perfectly appropriate.

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      20. I know exactly what you mean! I see this all the time especially in the generation now, it’s just horrible. I used to see it alot in high school where a guy would call his girlfriend a bitch and it would be all okay and it seemed like she would love him even more the next day. Is that what they are used to now days? Is it really that bad?? I mean come on! And then when they get older they are still being abused and then it comes back to haunt them. I know the guys have alot to do with it but is it something the women are doing wrong too? Acceptance? To be accepted? Like its okay to call me a hoe and a slut because i know your just playing around (but hes really not) or do they know and let it pass? YOU are being ABUSED and dont even know it. Thats what I think! Great post! Good topic!

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      21. First let me say, great article, although I’m going to point out a few flaws, I think this is excellent insight. Mostly, I tend to agree with this, but I think it depends on if the interaction is playful or abusive, not all teasing, chasing etc. is done with power in mind, but maybe 90%-99% is. Also, I don’t think the response of telling an authority figure is always the best thing to do, actually I would say that this part actually harms women. It teaches them to rely on people other than themselves to take control of their situations and actually un-empowers them. Authority figures should be a last resort, not a first resort, only after other things have been tried. Cruel or not, the playground is a microcosm of adult interaction, and in the real world, there is little an authority figure can do until a man really crosses a line.

        Secondly, telling them to think it’s abuse (and report it) EVERY time someone teases them, both takes away their ability to determine how they feel about things for themselves and makes them hyper-sensitive and unable to take criticism. When women lose the ability to determine their own feelings they are open to abusive relationships where they can’t just go tattling to an authority anytime someone disrespects them. Making them think that every tease has the worst intentions makes them hyper-sensitive, pessimistic and almost unable to function in the real world because they can’t determine truth for themselves.

        The author talks comparisons between gender and how we wouldn’t tell a boy the things we tell girls when someone picks on them. This is a great point, but taking it a step further, we wouldn’t tell a boy to do things that this author is instructing her daughter to do. If you told your son to go tell the teacher anytime someone makes fun of you, most people would say you’d be raising a wimp who can’t stand up for himself and only invites more criticism with his actions. Granted, telling the teacher every time is better than being abused, but only slightly. The important thing is teaching women to be self-sufficient.

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      22. She wrote this on her blog, not as a message to be nationally distributed. If you want to make a media campaign out of it, awesome, but to ask someone to tone down the language on their own blog when they are telling their own story is just lame. And for those who suggested editing out words or entire sentences before distributing this, please do it in such a way so you are not plagiarizing the author’s brilliant work (i.e. unacknowledged edits are *not* cool). And always cite your source so someone can go back to read the original!

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      23. I have to agree with Ed. The message in this blog is awesome. Not only should we not teach our children that giving or getting disrespect is acceptable (something that goes for adults too!), by telling our children that someone who is abusive to them, either physically or emotionally “likes” them, tells them that it is ok to be abused in the name of love. How many battered women have been told “I only hit you because I love you so much I couldn’t stand it if you left?” The message of this blog is important… but unfortunately, the language that didn’t add to the message means that I can’t share it with those I would most like to, because of that language. Wishing something with a great message was packaged in a way that it could be more freely shared, isn’t wrong. Not everyone finds curse words acceptable. If you do, that’s fantastic, but there isn’t any reason to completely miss the point about respect in the article by being disrespectful to someone with a different opinion.

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      24. This post has a really good message, but don’t you think you’re limiting your audience by writing it in English? I have some Chinese friends and it’s really inappropriate to assume that they can understand this. I think if you really want to reach more people you should provide a Mandarin translation.

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      1. I think the problem some people are having with the foul language isnt that we are too sensitive as adults but that we are wanting to share this with the young women in our lives but you cant show this to children with the foul language involved. i mean i doubt that the author of this used such stong language when discussing this problem with her daughter. the language in this article ust hurts the ability to show this to young girls and their mothers and still look professional.

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        1. It’s been mentioned before by others who wanted to share this, minus the language, that Word has a search and replace function available. Several people have commented that they passed it on to family or friends after editing it to G/PG rating.

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      2. @queen of the couch
        thats what i plan to do before sharing this with my young neices and nephews. i support the message but i believe they are too young for the language (they are all 10 or younger).
        and by my previous comment was just explaining why i feel there are so many people having a problem with the language. it makes no since with people saying that its imature in this day and age the cussing doesnt matter, the only problem with it is when children are involved but like you said just edit the poor language out.

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      3. I don’t understand all of the people complaining about the language of this article citing that they can’t show it to their younger children / young women as references. Shouldn’t you take the job upon yourself as parents / role models to explain this in a manner your kid can understand rather than being lazy and using someone elses words to do it for you? Huge problem in our society.. everyone wants someone else to do something for them so they don’t have to put the effort in themselves.

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    1. very interesting issue you have made your judgement but don’t you think you are bias some how? aren’t girls who behave the same way those boys you called assholes behave? look, the issue is that some of this boys can’t actually do better than be violent on these girls because of their age. I think is because your daughter is involved that was why you sounded one sided though.your post is nice and I like the simplicity of your post, thanks for the information..

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      1. Dear God, what about the MEN? QOTC has violated the sacred internet law of writing something about girls and women without taking care of the other 49% of the population while she’s at it.

        As for the pearl-clutching and hand-wringing about “language”: Yes, yes – women’s anger at being society’s metaphorical AND actual punching bags must be expressed in a genteel manner! QOTC: I certainly hope you’ve learned your lesson, young lady! Now, smile! Why do you look so mad?

        AWESOME POST.

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      2. “They can’t do better because of their age.” That’s what you’re going with? While it’s true that children don’t always know how to behave appropriately (because of their age) that doesn’t mean they get a free pass. It means they get corrected.

        How about, when children hit (or are otherwise violent), they should be taught that it’s inappropriate and unacceptable? How about when children steal things, they should be taught that it’s also inappropriate and unacceptable?

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    2. As a mother, I am saving this.
      As an activist, I’d like to say I’m incredibly disappointed by the close-minded tone-policing of the people in this post who claim to be educators. If you are actually, in fact, involved in the education of our youth, I hate to have to tell you that people like you are the reason I will be homeschooling. If the language is inappropriate for the age group you teach, censor it. If it is for the use of the staff, I am even more disappointed that so-called “educated” adults can’t stomach “bad language”. How did you survive James Joyce, John Steinbeck or J.D. Salinger? Does the language in The Color Purple invalidate its literary value? How about To Kill a Mockingbird?

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  1. Everybody needs to read this…why would people EVER think it’s ok for kids to hit one another, no matter what lame excuse others can give?

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      1. HI, good notice. I am looking at the content of the article… we should stop teaching/telling any child (of any age) that that kind of behavior is ok/acceptable much less a sign of affection. I appreciate you perspective and will share it gladly.
        I see you have a daughter who’s been mistreated and prompted this. I bet parents of boys who have been also mistreated will appreciate as much as parents of girls.
        How I feel about your choice of language is not germaine here and as someone said can be edited as desired. @ Brandy… if you think your under 10 year olds have not heard that word you must be keeping them cloistered. Any child who goes to school has heard them.
        Thanks again QueenOTC for this enlightening thought. I will share it. (())TA

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      2. Sad to think that the person here teaching her daughter that violence is unacceptable, has no problem saying that she will slap the next person to use the said negative saying… hmm, parenting at its best.

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    1. When children are exposed to television from the cradle on, they are exposed to continuous violence, day in and day out. You think this doesn’t imprint their psyches? If we are going to use the TV for a babysitter, we should expect to be raising children with aggression disorders. All of the positive parenting in the world will not undo this. If you are going to raise non-violence prone children, place the TV and the GameBoy at the curb on trash collection day.

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  2. Bravo! I shared the FB post because I’ve seen a few friends say it to each other about their own kids… I remember being pushed around by the boys and people sayin “oh, they like her”, no, they didn’t. They liked that they could push me around and I didn’t fight back… and of course, I did one day… and I was the one in trouble. Go figure.

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    1. Oh, I remember that, too. I fought back, got into trouble and a lot of people told me (in these words or more ‘subtle’) that it was very un-girly (= unattractive and you’ll never get a man lke this?) to fight back. Assholes.

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      1. The EXACT same thing happened to me, 2 days suspension as well. All because some boy was picking on my friend and I decided to defend her.

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    2. A boy pushed me into a bookshelf back in 4th grade. I fell and books splatter everywhere. The substitute teacher helped me up, but I think the only “punishment” the boy got was having to pick up the books. I purposely stepped on his foot as payback in music class one day and the music teacher threatened to send me to the principal’s office. I started to cry and she accused me of pretending to be sad so I could get out of trouble.
      Ah, good times…

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    3. Ashley- not surprising at all. retaliation gets caught more than aggression. It is a weird quirk of the universe (you see it most frequently in sports). I had a reverse situation growing up; a big girl physically bullying boys who were trained to, on no account, strike a girl. Fortunately, I was not trained so and she got a rude surprise. I have passed down the training; my daughter just got her black belt last week.

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      1. Men are already told to fight back when someone pushes them around. Unless you mean men should read this so they will teach their boys not to act like assholes. And if that’s what you meant, thank you, but you’re hopelessly naive. SOME men will be inspired to teach their sons better. MOST men will get on her case for SWEARING, or will go “oh, what’s the big deal anyway” and go on about their lives as if nothing happened.

        Because IT’S NOT LIKE WE DON’T TELL MEN AND BOYS THAT THIS IS NOT OKAY. So why do we still have to have discussions like this one?

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      2. @dana – so i actually came back here to agree with your point that complaining about someone’s language is code for not being able to argue the point.

        but to the idea that men are already taught to fight back. bullcookies. especially if the aggressor is female. and in younger grades there is very little physical difference.

        does it somehow lose power for women/girls if we teach boys/men to treat themselves with respect too? not power – i didn’t say power – i said respect. i say no. in fact, if you want someone to act respectful the only way for that to happen is if that person respects him or her self.

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      3. @Dana: Your response implies that men are only fathers to boys. Rex McLess is just saying everyone should read this so both mothers and fathers will not say “he did it because he likes you.”

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      4. Dana, I think what Rex meant to say is that there are men out there raising daughters as well.
        And to be honest, I am raising a boy, and I still think it’s an important message to teach to him. Respect others, no matter their gender, size, age, skin colour, parents’ profession or what have you. And don’t let others disrespect you.

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    1. Holy goddamn hannah, the comments in response to that make me sick. “Ha ha, wimmin, amirite?” Yes, that’s the …whole… problem with… what… you’re reading … on… WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU???

      *ahem* Yeah, anyway. Not sure if disturbed more by original post or comments. Because 3 seconds into both, my eyes started blurring in a swift but still too late attempt at protecting my brain.

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    2. Are they…. I had to exit after just a few – I couldn’t take it. I found my way here by way of Facebook – a friend posted a link to this fine article, and I shared it, but then I came back and got engrossed in the comments. I would be willing to bet not one of the nitwits who posted those Chris Brown comments ever experienced physical abuse first hand, or even second hand. I recently called the police on a guy who was beating the crap out of his wife – saved her life, as he was choking her for the umpteenth but probably last time. He is now, finally, serving time because I helped her, finally, get the gumption to file charges. There is nothing ‘romantic’ about abuse!

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    1. I COMPLETELY agree that the “boys will be boys” junk is total BS. Boys will be obnoxious boys because they are allowed to be that way and taught it is acceptable. Boys will be boys who are respectful and kind if that is what is modeled to them.

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      1. You’re a tool. I’m a guy. I was raised to respect women and never once got away with the “he just likes you excuse,” (that I can remember).

        You just don’t get it because you are a privileged douche that can’t see past your own issues…

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      2. “If you respect women then there is something wrong with you.”

        And with that comment, you confirm Eli’s assessment of your character. In fact, I’d say that calling you a tool is an understatement.

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      3. It was the correct ‘your’.

        While I’m here I would like to say that I agree with the content of the post but not the swearing. To set an example one should phrase their ideas to suit the example they are trying to set, ie; do not set a violent tone when you are condemning violence.

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      4. Feresto, no, it was no the right ‘your’, just saying. He used the term your twice, once as the possesive ‘your’, and once as the contraction for ‘you are’. He used the spelling your both times, the second was incorrect.

        Also, your language policing is a sad attempt at taking away the credibility of something you are uncomfortable with but cannot find anything wrong with the actual substance of.

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    2. I think the article it has a ton of merit to it and is one of the many things wrong in society. Sadly this has well you know being going on for years. It’s sad though so many peeps are biting at the author for language or the one guy that agreed to share it. We have a supporter? So why not use him to further your cause rather then biting his head off? Maybe explain it better to him? A start is a start no matter how small. Even if you have to drill it into peeps skulls.

      The simple bit is bulling is just encouraged in schools and in life. It is worse for us yes but all around it’s there. You are told to turn the other cheek, you get beat on forever then fight back but you get punished because you were mad ‘n’ they were not, sadly fathers tell their lil boys be a man ‘n’ either fight back or suck it up. Which leads to anger taken out on others.

      I love the article. Sadly bullying has always been an extreme problem in schools dismissed in a huge variety of ways. When it should be taken down on all fronts. Nobody should ever be dismissed on it.

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      1. But you have to wonder a little if fetishes like that are partially derived by being influenced by these kinds of messages as a child.

        And this is coming from a guy who participates in Dominant/submissive situations.

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  3. agree, completely and utterly.

    I have actually considered doing a class for the little girls in my world to practice the yelling part. I know we teach them about stranger danger and we teach them *to* yell, but how often do we actually practice it with them?? kudos!

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    1. I think that would be a great idea! I don’t think we start early enough empowering our children to speak up when their boundaries are violated. Too often, I think we go in the exact opposite direction.

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      1. There is a great program called KidPower which does exactly that: teaches kids to react when their boundaries are violated in any way by a child OR an adult. This is a GREAT GREAT GREAT post by the way! I am looking forward to it being all over the place by tomorrow and initiating a long overdue discussion. Thanks!

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      2. This totally plays into my rant about making kids give hugs. How can we expect them to make the right decisions when we send them such conflicting messages?

        I would like to say that there *can* be a place for explanation, as long as it’s not being used as an excuse. Like when you work with toddlers. They hit when they’re angry. It’s understandable AND still wrong. So, you tell the one doing the hitting that while you understand that they’re angry, that’s not the right way to express being angry. And you tell the one being hit that the other one is angry AND that’s not the right way to say you’re angry. Explaining what people are feeling helps kids with their empathy, but feelings aren’t excuses.

        Does that make sense? I feel like that particular explanation might be tainted beyond usability, but sometimes explaining to the victim why a person hurt them can help them cope with it. And working with an abuser about what they meant to say is helpful to work them through it. Especially with kids who are so rarely assholes on purpose, and only because they don’t know better.
        Again. Not knowing better isn’t an excuse for bad behaviour, it’s a call for more education.

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      3. JMH–good for you for being willing to make that point. I agree. I work in a domestic violence court and what is probably the hardest aspect for people to get their minds around is that abusers are people too. And it HAS to be possible to accept that while completely rejecting the choices they make. Especially when trying to understand why people (women AND men) stay with people who abuse them. Being abusive is a serious problem and a major flaw. And it is possible to still love someone who is abusive. Which makes it very difficult to walk away. It’s very hard to hold those two opposing realities in our minds at the same time, but I think it’s really key to understanding both positions and therefore to addressing the issue. Programs for people who are abusive can’t work if we don’t make that assumption–that abusers can change and are worth the effort.

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      4. I completely agree that we need not demonize little boys (or call them assholes) to reject violent behavior when it occurs. We must never excuse violence. We need to put a stop to it immediately and make sure the victim is alright. And then we need to *teach* the perpetrator a more effective (and socially appropriate) way of expressing his (or her) emotions. I do think that many little boys feel conflicted about the feelings generated by their first crushes, and this can sometimes lead to violent acting out. This is an explanation, not an excuse. It should be taken into account when working with both parties. It is not wrong to discuss it. It is wrong to pretend that acknowledging it is enough.

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  4. I told my daughter (she was about 4 years old) that if the teacher wouldn’t intervene, she was to ball up a fist and hit the boy as hard as she could, right on the nose. Once she had this knowledge, oddly enough the boy stopped bothering her. I think she had a whole different attitude. =)

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      1. Even though it’s kind of embarassing to admit, I actually kind of agree with this old school advice. The real problem isn’t kids hitting each other. It’s helicopter parents intervening and depriving kids of the chance to work out their disagreements themselves.

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      2. Most of the time, they will only need one punch and they’ll learn not to pick on her because they know they’re going to get punched.. Once they learn that the victim fights back, they lose interest as most bullies target those who can’t/won’t defend themselves

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      3. When I was younger I was on the receiving end of one of those punches. I think I was about seven? Possible older/younger by a year, but I was teasing a girl by reaching up, lifting, and dropping her braid. The reason? Hell even I don’t remember now. It wasn’t malicious, and it’s not like I was kicking sand in her face, but apparently her parents had both taught her that ‘sock it to him’ advice, and she turned and caught me right in the nose. Now, here is where my story gets a bit more fair and realistic. See, my single mother of a parent, had always taught ME that violence=violence. So I swung up and caught her right on the jaw. Do you see how both sides of this were in the wrong? I wasn’t pulling her hair, hitting her, tripping her or pushing her. I was reaching up and playing with her hair. And her trained response, was to punch me in the nose because she saw that as ‘teasing’. This then triggered my trained response of ‘always fight back’. My mom never told me not to hit girls, she did tell me to respect them, and to never START fights with anyone male or female.

        So I ask you now, in this situation, who is wrong? The answer is essentially no one. Was I being a little ‘asshole’. No. Was she wrong in hitting me? Not necessarily. Was I wrong in hitting back? Also not necessarily. After reading most of the comments in this blog, I’ve noticed a horrendous biased towards women being infallible in these situations, which is idiotic in the first place, but also does nothing to help the (decent) message it portrays.

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    1. I’m going to teach my daughter the same thing. At a year old I’m already making sure she’s very active and used to rough(ish) play, when she finally hits the school yard those boys had better watch out.

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    2. My mom gave me exactly the same advice when I was in junior high and being harassed. Clocked a kid who felt the need to repeatedly snap my bra strap (multiple times a day and occasionally center front) and was warned that i was ready to fight back. Felt awesome and put an end to the harassment immediately. Plus I had the added bonus of punching the most obnoxious kid in our class right in the face. I wouldn’t hesitate to give my daughter the same advice. And I hope I raise any future boys to be respectful enough not to do it (and smart enough to duck).

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    3. I have to disagree, in the sense that OF COURSE abusers are real people too, but in my years as a professional (I’m a psychologist) I’ve never seen a relationship survive a truly successful therapy. When you, as the abuser, realise that you need help it’s usually better if you and the person you “love” and who loves you back part ways and work separately on your issues.
      A patient of mine confessed that, before she entered therapy, he’d tried to restrain himself from violence and treat her well – it worked for a few months.
      He ended up locking her in their bedroom and spitting on her, beating her up and having sex with her (I’ve no doubt in mind she wanted to describe the sex as consensual at first; after several encounters, she admitted he’d menaced to kill her and pushed her hair so hard she had a bald patch near her ear).
      Still, she blamed herself for provoking him, reinforcing his idea of a woman deserving to be treated like that when she doesn’t shut up at the right time.
      It’s a downward spiral that never stops if you wait for your partner to get better while you’re with him/her.
      We have to stop this mentality of staying close to the person we love no matter what: these are serious issues, from both ends, which can end up in permanent injuries and death.
      When you are in this kind of unhealthy relationships you’ve got to leave your partner, seek professional help and rebuild your life, ’cause these episodes are bound to happen again if you don’t make a clear cut and break the circle.
      You CAN’T save your loved ones just with the power of love, it’s naive and dangerous to think like that.
      Back to the main topic, great post! Mothers and fathers should teach children respect and civil civic rules.
      Sorry for my bad english and punctuation, I’m french.

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  5. I completely agree with you that that is NOT an okay way to show affection and that girls should NOT tolerate it and we should NOT feed that line to our daughters.

    However, I do want to mention that children DO have odd ways of showing affection and I think that a lot of young boys don’t know how to act when they encounter feelings for a girl in their class. I think that parents and teachers need to do a better job at trying to listen and respond to boys, like we do with girls. I feel like there is a lot of emphasis on teaching girls to express themselves and be okay with their feelings, but we do boys a terrible disservice when we label them as “assholes” rather than modeling appropriate behavior and actually trying to have conversations with boys about how to treat others.

    I also think it is interesting to note cases like JB mentioned- I think that when girls stand up for themselves, it is a great learning lesson for the little boy. Sometimes, I think they continue the behavior because no one tells them not to and they are trying to figure out this crazy world as much as every other kid.

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    1. I don’t think for one second that society is better at listening and responding to girls rather than boys. I think girls get the shaft here too. I have one daughter and THREE boys. I listen to all of them. I don’t tell my boys they aren’t allowed to cry or prevent them from expressing themselves. You can’t imagine how much flack I caught from family and friends when my oldest son used to carry a purse a few years ago, as a preschooler, because, obviously, such a permission would “make him gay”. Sometimes my kids fight, sometimes they even hit. I don’t just chuckle it off and say “oh well, kids will be kids”. Yes, all children will act out at one point or another but the children of parents that do nothing but rationalize the behavior with excuses like “it’s signs he has a crush on her” are doing their child a disservice. I hate to break it to you but with four children, ten and under, I can attest to the fact that some parents have created little assholes because they refuse to show them how to respect others bodies or property. If your child hits mine, tries to break my kids’ toys and calls his mom a bitch when she laughs and gently says “can you be nice?”, (I know this kid!) you can bet your bottom dollar I am judging your parenting and I think you are bringing up a little asshole.
      The point is, YES, children will act out and children may not know how to properly express their feelings for one another. The only time, however, we chuckle off agressive behavior between children, it seems, is when it is between a boy and a girl. Too often, the little girl is told this “secret” and we have the expectation that they accept this truth and, not only, accept the behavior but to find it endearing.

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      1. I totally agree. I have one daughter and three sons, and it is imperative to teach all of them the right way to handle their feelings. Yes, boys tend to hit when they like a girl. But they will learn quickly not to if we handle the situation and let them know how serious it is, rather than letting it go and giving them the message that it is fully acceptable or even “cute” behavior. Ignoring it not only gives the girl in the situation the wrong message, but also doesn’t teach the boy anything about respect and how to show affection. Sometimes, letting your son get punched in the face by a girl he assaulted might be the lesson that sticks.

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      2. I couldn’t concentrate on much of your comment because of that one statement about your son “carrying a purse might make him gay”. I’m sorry that you have such ignorant people in yours and your children’s lives. I have two teenage sons…one gay and one straight and neither of them have ever punched anyone for any reason. My gay son gave a swift kick to the goolies of a boy who had been able to get away with bullying him for two years (the school did nothing that was effective, every attempt I made to speak to the kid’s parents was futile, ignoring the behaviour didn’t work, in the end he took matters in to his own hands (foot) and that did work!!). As someone who volunteers at a women’s domestic violence refuge however I think we need to start educating boys much more on what is acceptable behaviour instead of all the onus being on the girls. They are already the one’s who have to flee their homes, get out injunctions, press charges, go to court etc. All for something that has been done to them. Hitting back at the boy who pulls your hair is much easier as a child than as an adult.

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      3. Well said. Children learn how to act from their parents and other social interactions, which start at a very early age. RR’s comment is the boo hoo thing of how males are sooo victimized by, what, the system they created that supports harassment of girls and women? Sorry, not gonna buy that sob story.

        I highly suggest a book called, “The Gift of Fear,” by a man named Gavin DeBecker. Cheap paperback, easy to read. He discusses all the ways women overrule their own gut instincts of situations that are wrong for them and walk right into the traps of violence and rape males set up. He talks about how our ‘guts’ responding to correct fear, lead us into those places of respect and safety for ourselves, not someone else’s idea of what they want for us. A must read for any mother, then give it to your daughters.

        RESPECT + TRUST = LOVE. Girls need to start practicing the first two with themselves, for themselves before we can find sacred relationship.

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      4. “instead of all the onus being on the girls” wonderfully said, Spacecat! and not to mention that they also are the ones who end up getting murdered as young adults instead of doing the murdering, as all stats globally will confirm. The emotional socialization of boys and men has been far too long neglected. As well as the assertion of girl’s rights.

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    2. Completely agree with RR. While it is not appropriate behaviour for any boy to be abusive in any form to a girl (or boy), there can often be reasons for it beyond it being abuse for malicious reasons. That’s not to say any teacher or parent should ignore it or be flippant about it, it should be addressed properly, but it is often true that children (as this is not exclusive to boys) can be horrible to others because they don’t know how to properly deal with the emotions that they’re feeling. So yes, the abused should be protected and the abusers should be punished, but reasons should be sought and it would be wise to educate all children about how emotions can manifest themselves and the appropriate ways to handle them.

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    3. I agree with RR. We need to teach both sexes what is right -not just get angry and respond with an action that is just like the reason that you are angry in the first place. Then you just get a vicious angry circle!

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    4. As someone that:
      a) has two sisters I adore and have protected when needed…
      b) has three nieces I would die for…
      c) have committed my life to fighting for the rights of enslaved women (victims of human trafficking)…And
      d) work with children every day in my 9-5 job…

      My assessment is KIDS in general do, naturally, not understand proper ways of showing affection, or for that matter, frustration or anger.

      That’s where we, as adults, the parents, uncles/aunts, relatives, even unrelated observers, intervene and TEACH. Those ate teachable moments. We were not born with all the right relational tools, we are taught most of them. So, teach when a moment comes up, don’t just classify a child as a beast or Satan because he is not acting as annexing would. (By the way, Bobbi Brown anyone? Thank you).

      I’m all for a solid punch to a boys nose if he’s out of line, followed by mature adult guidance afterwards.

      And while you may be upset, or even angry about the subject matter (no denying you’re passionate about it)…I couldn’t help but be turned off by the way you expressed your message. Profanity isn’t necessary, especially in a post that deals with your calling for maturity from a segment of society. Any segment.

      I agree, it’s not acceptable behavior to be violent. But it’s an age that calls for those moments to be moments of teaching.

      Just my opinion.

      http://tr4f.wordpress.com

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      1. There is something fundamentally broken about a person who is disgusted at the notion of another person using profanity when they feel strongly about a serious subject, like someone’s life or safety or mental health being put on the line by careless behavior. Especially when the someone is the speaker’s SMALL DAUGHTER.

        If it’s beneath you to ever have strong feelings about *your own kids,* by all means, if you can live with yourself, knock yourself out. But you don’t have the bloodline to put your nose in the air over ANYONE else’s language.

        Profanity is one of the ways we convey that we have strong feelings about something and, as far as I’m concerned, is an acceptable alternative to breaking an offender’s nose. And research shows that people who don’t swear very often can actually lower their blood pressure by indulging in it every now and again when they are particularly ired about something, and can markedly reduce their pain when they are injured. You could try it once in a while. Bet you’d feel better.

        As for profanity being “immature”–they call it “adult language” for a reason.

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      2. Dana, the difference here is that the OP, and others following, are not directing that profanity at the perpetrators. The way a message is communicated has consequences. One can be angry about this fact, or act in a manner more conducive to their interests. If you’re angrily directing energies meant for specific people who have caused harm into a semi-public forum, you really don’t have a place upon which to stand when one gets angry (again?) when hearing ‘your profanity is getting in the way of the message’.

        I have small girls. I don’t disagree with the message in general, though I still get stuck on the general point that violence isn’t an appropriate answer to violence. That’s not an absolute. Lots of people have had many experiences where the right things were not done by the resident authority. Turning to the A Team’s AK-47s when the sheriff is in on the fix isn’t immoral, but when these teachable moments come up it’s sometimes that context is sacrificed for brevity. Or, worse, sometimes it’s lost to the need to have surrogates work out problems you didn’t, or weren’t able to. That’s not justice either.

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      3. Eh, Dana, not really much into Internet fighting, but I’ll indulge for a few.

        1) You have no idea about my bloodlines, so try another insult when you have an idea of what/who you’re trying to insult.

        2) I’m broken. Newsflash. We all are.

        3) Profanity IS “one of the ways” to convey you strong feelings. But it’s also a way that is universally looked upon NY an educated society as a lower form of communication. Not only that, but as this very thread points out, if you alienate potential receivers of your message based solely on language, then…might it not be a wiser path to take, using one of the “other”forms of stating your anger/opinion? Just saying…

        4) I like to drop the occasional f-bomb and many others…but I know the right forum. And “adult” language is a joke. I’m an adult, and I don’t swear like that in everyday communication, nor would I on my blog.

        Every time you speak you alienate people & insult people on here. Stop it.

        That’s all I have to add, I’m sure you’ll get the last word. Make it a juicy “adult” one.

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    5. i have to say i agree with you… and make note that when i was a little girl there was a boy who picked on me A LOT (hair pulling, teasing, and such)! through middle school and high school he stopped picking on me, but seemed rather indifferent to my existence. many years later, i ran into his mother… long story short, she told me that he had had a crush on me since the 1st grade. so if he LIKED me in first grade, why was he pulling my hair? and in middle and high school why was he indifferent to me? it was (according to his mother) because he was too shy and nervous to talk to me. that when we were little, he was trying to get my attention, and when we were older he couldn’t get up the nerve to talk to me at all.

      sad part is, i found out too late (i’d always had a bit of a crush on him too)… he passed away a year before i found out.

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    6. I think the message to the offenders in this situation should not be “You are an asshole” but “You are acting like an asshole, quit it dude.” If the majority of people acted that way in response to something like this, it wouldn’t escalate, because the boy received consistent negative feedback for it. If he continued/escalated anyway, then the message would evolve to “Wow, you really are an asshole.”

      I do think that one of the really lacking things in common attitudes is the idea that you really can’t control how a boy will act because “they will be boys”. Girls would act just as rambunctiously, rudely, and inconsiderately as some boys act if they did not face negative reactions to it. (And I’ve seen girls act this way if they don’t receive negative feedback.) Its not so much that its a huge deal if someone pulls your hair or throws small sticks at you; the big deal is that kids’ boundaries should be respected. When they are expressing that someone is violating their boundaries, it should be treated as important. (That statement is aimed at annoyances more than actual dangerous acts, obviously.) Its nice to be able to defend yourself if you need to, but really, you shouldn’t have to deck somebody to have your voice heard.

      I believe that strong language is appropriate in many situations, angry or not – I’ve worked in industries where it is the norm my entire life. I understand that there is a such thing as appropriateness, but I don’t think her intended audience was one that required more decorum. She could definitely write a cleaned up version of this that would be appropriate for the opinion section of a major news site- the sentiments would still be appropriate. But I read this more as a personal story, a vent of frustration, and intended at other parents who didn’t necessarily start cringing at curse words the instant they became parents. You can argue that she should have catered to a more general audience, but I think she was appropriate for the audience she was probably envisioning when she wrote it.

      As an aside – I’ve got a vocabulary on me, I appreciate and can use literary device. I know words that are insulting that aren’t “asshole”; words that add emphasis that aren’t “damn”, and words that have emotional range that aren’t “fuck”. When I reach for a curse word, its not because I didn’t know enough other words. I reach for “asshole” when asshole is exactly the word with exactly the connotation that I wanted to express.

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      1. @rika9: I too have worked my whole life in venues where off color language was regularly used and your post was spot on. Exactly the points that needing making. Great blog post qotc! Much thanks from this new mom…

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  6. Again, I completely agree with you. I am only pointing out that as a society, I think we fail our boys too. When people tell girls this “secret” it hurts boys too- it does not teach them anything and lets their behavior continue.

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      1. Society is not failing our sons and daughters, WE, as parents, are failing our sons and daughters. Last I checked, it isn’t society’s responsibility to make sure our children know right from wrong.

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      2. Stephanie, WE are society. Society is not some weird alien “other” out there that we run into every now and again. WE ARE IT.

        And yes, it IS society’s job to teach SOCIAL behavior.

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    1. It fails to teach them a different way to express what they are (presumably) trying to express.. which means that whenever they eventually do learn that lesson, it won’t be something that was ingrained in them, but rather something that needs conscious thought to work against what is ingrained.

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  7. As a recipient of this mistreatment AND the “he likes you” comment long ago (I’m 65), this was an eye-opener. Thank you for posting this. I’ve spent most of my life dealing with low self-esteem issues- this sheds some light on it.

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    1. Here’s what I meant to say with correct grammar! 🙂

      Thank you for posting this. I am a therapist works with women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Based on my work with this population, I believe it’s never too early to let girls know it not OK to accept ANY type of abuse.

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  8. This article should not only be distributed to all parents of girls but to all parents full stop. As a man I am constantly bombarded (quite rightly) with messages about domestic abuse and violence against women being wrong (and, also rightly, as unmasculine.) This message is, however, the polar opposite of the way that young boys are taught (mainly by a lack of negative messages) to treat girls, too quickly they are excused violent behaviours because they “cannot express themselves.” Maybe, just maybe, parents of male children should teach their children not only to express their emotions (that there’s nothing wrong with FEELING,) they should also teach them something that seems to be rather lacking in our “civilisation’, something forgotten: VIOLENCE IS NEVER ACCEPTABLE

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  9. Whilst I agree that this type of behaviour is totally unacceptable, I do also agree with the poster above that says this behaviour often IS a way of trying to make contact, get attention, make a connection, etc. The important part is that it is an unacceptable way to do so …. AND that all children need to learn alternatives.
    Boys (and girls, who sometimes make a ‘snide comment’ as a way of making contact, and that is also abusive … or either/both/anyone for that matter) need to learn to say “Hurting me is not OK, please say ‘Hi!’ when you want to get my attention” “I felt you were crowding me when you grabbed me like that, please wave / say before you hug me / whatever … to say hello!” “I really like it when you call my name before you hug me” etc.
    I’ve been working on this with my 6 year old autistic son, because the girls at school are leading a hug revolution, but are then offended when he grabs them unexpectedly … or doesn’t let go quickly enough … or – to an adult – he seems to be pulling them around … yet he feels he is responding to their behaviours … if they run away he chases after them because HE loves to chase …
    Sometimes there is behaviour which is totally accepted between the girls but considered abusive as soon as a boy joins in … Ok, the boys are often a little more rough, but EVERYBODY needs to learn about personal boundaries and respect.

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  10. Way to give it to ’em straight! We need to empower our children, boys and girls, to fully respect one another and to demand respect. Love, love the last line of your post. Awesome!!! So happy one of my friends shared your post with me!!!

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  11. Great read, parents do need to teach their children about abusive behavior, however, there is so much that can be done, kids are kids and they do not really have a value of what is happening nor are fully aware. Assholes are everywhere and you really get to know them when they are children. Next would be to teach your daughter to kick their balls when they touch her.

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    1. The cluephone’s ringing: Ball-kicking = abusive behavior.

      If a little boy pulls a little girl’s hair and she hauls off and socks him, it hurts to be punched, but usually you’re OK afterward. Enough kicks to the groin and your parents will be lucky to become grandparents. And it HURTS a lot more.

      I have to agree with guys I’ve run into over the years who are really offended at the way guys on TV and in movies get kicked in the nuts for comedic value. That’s not a behavior I feel should be modeled.

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      1. If a boy repeats this behavior enough to cause sterility from all the kicks to the nuts, it only means his behavior makes him unacceptable to reproduce. If you don’t teach that abusive behavior is unacceptable, there should be lifelong consequences, just as there are lifelong consequences from what abusive boys do to girls. Teach your sons to be respectful to women or take the risk of not having grandchildren!

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      2. I wouldn’t consider that “abusive” behavior, in that scenario it would be self-defense.

        If someone is physically hurting you, you should make them quit, especially if yelling “stop” doesn’t work (I don’t know about anyone else, but saying “stop” NEVER worked for me on the playground). We’re not talking about repeatedly kicking them- one swift kick to the balls is usually all it takes- and we’re not talking about kicking a boy in the groin for laughs. We’re talking about girls defending themselves. I don’t think that’s a bad thing to teach.

        The center where I used to take karate as a teenager had classes called “tiny tigers,” karate lessons for children 4 and 5. Aside from being adorable to watch, it taught children self-defense, self-discipline, and respect. And those children were the most orderly bunch I’d ever seen. Not to say all kids should take karate lessons, of course. My point is that self-defense taught properly doesn’t have to be destructive or abusive.

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      3. This line of thought has to be the most obscene thing I’ve seen on the internet in a good long while. To even suggest that a preteen “…boy who had pulled her hair, hit her, teased her, pushed her…” should suffer sterilization as a result is deranged. And to inform a preteen girl that a knee to the groin is a panacea for any conflict with males, or to imagine that she will exercise the requisite restraint to only use this technique in situations where she is truly at risk, is irresponsible and naïve.

        Self-defence must be a measured response to the threat, not the most expeditious means to score a “knock-out” however devastating to one’s opponent. Kneeing a boy who pulled hair would be a major escalation and, if she didn’t get it just right first time around, the boy would certainly respond with increased violence, perhaps even kicking her in the groin, which is no picnic for females, either.

        If, on the other hand, the girl caused a rupture, then the boy could die from hemorrhage, shock, or something secondary such as a reaction to anaesthesia during surgery to either repair or remove the damaged testicle(s). Were she an adult, she could face manslaughter charges as a result of her actions.

        But they don’t normally charge children, do they? It has something to do with children not having the requisite judgement to be able to form criminal intent. Following the same theory, a boy certainly should not be maimed in retaliation for, as QOTC puts it, “playground crimes” — we can safely presume a child of that age is incapable of maintaining an adult level of judgement, control, and restraint. That’s why we don’t counsel ten-year-olds to gouge eyes as part of their repertoire of defences. That’s why we don’t arm preteens with .22 cal pistols for self-protection.

        Good Lord, you’ve let your misandry eclipse your humanity… we’re talking about CHILDREN here. You really should seek some professional help.

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      4. By the way, one kick to the groin can sterilize a boy, so what might amount to castration for a first offence of shoving a girl during grade 4 recess is an appropriate punishment? That’s barbaric!

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      1. Thank you for saying that. While I temper my language in public and at the office, when in my own home, blog, Twitter, whatever, I feel that as an adult I should be able to cuss as much as I please without fear of chastisement.

        As for the article… fantastic! It makes me think of the beginning of the movie He’s Just Not That Into You and it makes you realize how damaging this kind of thing can be throughout a woman’s life. It also makes me more proud of my now 17 yo daughter for punching the boy in grade school who wouldn’t stop pushing her around. She STILL doesn’t let them push her around, though these days the pushing is pressure to use drugs or alcohol, and to have sex.

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    1. Awesome tone policing, Jane. And an awesome example, too, of how women are conditioned to be nice and sweet all the time when telling people who hurt us to back the fuck off our asses, check themselves, and shut the fucking god damned hell up.

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    2. @Jane

      Telling another blogger how to phrase her argument, in her blog, in a way that *you* value, worthy of respect, not so much. Think about it

      (Sorry, couldn’t help myself. But the people who come here to whine about the language drive me up the wall. How does the mere appearance of these words change the message — one you agree is good, or at least worthy of consideration? Some people have such a knee jerk reaction against swearing. The argument I see all the time is that “it shows a lack of intelligence” or “there’s other words you can use!” but it’s pretty obvious that the OP is thoughtful, can string together many other words to develop her argument, and is using the swear words merely as emphasis. Because she is angry. You don’t have to like or use swear words yourself, obviously, but it’s up to you to either deal with it or move on when someone else does.)

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    3. Hey Jane,
      And how exactly do you determine what is a “swear” word and, therefore, not acceptable? Poo is ok but shit isn’t, for example? Why is that? I suspect you just have a list of words that traditionally, for you, have been considered swear words. Sounds pretty fucking arbitrary to me.
      How about you just worry about the intent of words rather than applying your Victorian prudery when deciding whether what someone says is acceptable or not?

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  12. Whilst I agree with everything you’ve said I must say, the ‘chuckle off’ does apply to boys also.
    When my eldest son was 8 he was on the receiving end of unwanted attention by a group of six girls. He didn’t like it, was embarrassed about it and the public & aggressive nature of the attention (to the point of approaching me to tell me how much each of them ‘loved’ him & wanted him to be their boyfriend) made him very uncomfortable. When I approached his teacher it was laughed off and I was told he will be wanting that type of attention when he’s a teenager. Well he wasn’t a teenager, he was a innocent 8 year old child who didn’t understand (nor did he want to) why he was getting this type of attention. He had no interest whatsoever in girls in that way (and nor should he have) and I was infuriated by the lack of empathy for him. I had to remind the teacher that if the roles were reversed, and 6 boys were making 1 girl uncomfortable with unwanted attention then I was sure the school would do something about it before the matter was taken a little more seriously.
    Regardless of gender, we need to teach ALL of our children to respect one another and not to encourage them growing up so quickly.

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      1. I did also feel it was fairly one-sided, although I tried to avoid that in my initial response. As a man who, as an elementary aged child whonwas extremely shy, I received pretty harsh attention from girls. It’s not just boys doing it. And don’t forget, at that age girls are oftentimes just as big/strong as boys.

        I appreciate you acknowledging it’s not just boys behaving poorly. As a man in this current culture of male-bashing/neutering, I am not afraid to speak my mind and defend men, even 7 year old “pre-men.”. 🙂

        http://tr4f.wordpress.com

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    1. Unwelcome attention is a problem any old where, but she has a daughter, not a son, and so her daughter and all daughters were her immediate concern because that’s what she’s got in her life. Also, statistically, or at least insofar as people are willing to report (by the way, if you want to add to the statistics, a random stranger’s blog is not the place to do it–go find a researcher, if you can), girls are more often victimized in this way at the hands of boys than vice-versa. Don’t get me wrong, girls sometimes seem uniquely capable of some of the worst forms of cruelty, especially the verbal kind. But if you’re an epidemiologist and you’ve got a population of 10,000 with ebola and another population of 300 with the common cold, guess which group you’re going to focus on first.

      Every damn time I see a discussion about bad stuff that girls and women are especially victimized by at the hands of males, and have been for centuries or millenia now, some chucklehead’s always got to come along and say “well, that happens to males too.” OH NO, REALLY? But I’m not a guy. And I don’t see enough guys speaking out against this stuff HAPPENING TO WOMEN. And for that matter, when it DOES happen to males it is *more often at the hands of other males,* and I don’t see guys speaking out against abuse of guys by guys either! Why are women always, ALWAYS held responsible for this shit?

      Ebola versus cold virus, yo… ebola versus cold virus.

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      1. @Dana – That analogy sums up my problem with the feminist point of view on domestic violence. Violence is violence…period. Regardless if it happens to a man or a woman IT IS THE SAME! If you don’t see it that way, you are wrong.
        In other words: It’s like 10000 women with ebola and 300 men. You don’t just treat the women because there’s more of them. You treat the DISEASE.

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      2. Exactly, Dana. Many males, particularly of the new age gaggy kind, love to talk to posture in front of women claiming how they feel “so protective” of us. My answer is, well, then, why don’t you go out and DO something about REMOVING the need to protect us. Like, for instance, telling your guy friends you won’t tolerate them beating, raping and depriving women (and children) of resources to get their way. THAT would be helpful, not standing there thinking you get karma points for saying something chivalrous and doing nothing about the root of the problem. GREAT film that addresses this is a dutch one called, “Antonia’s Line.” Highly recommend.

        I also want to undo this myth that kids don’t really get things. As a child psychotherapist for many years, as well as the director of a sexual abuse treatment team and a former investigator for sexual harassment in a human resources department, children are very, very aware and savvy with regard to relationships, at least girls are. Their level of sophistication is far above what parents here (mostly the men) believe, which may simply be a reflection of the male level of ability for relationship rather than a fact about children in general. After all, the girls described here know full well that they are being harassed and demeaned, too bad the little boys don’t get it. That’s where the examination should take place – why aren’t these boys getting the right messages about relationship?

        A great book to understand this is, “Meeting at the Crossroads: Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development,” by Carol Gilligan and Lyn Mikel Brown. Really wonderful book about how girls are socially and culturally taught to stifle their authentic selves and ways we can help them develop self-esteem and self-respect and retain their authenticity as they mature.

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    2. Oh wait, my bad, I looked down the comments and she’s got sons too. Missed that somehow (or she didn’t mention it? It’s late… I need to sleep.)

      Regardless. It’s offensive by now, I have seen it *so* many times. “Sorry that girls/women go through this but you didn’t mention boys/men so your point is invalid.” Go write your own blog post about how much life sucks for boys and men if you think the subject is under-addressed. It’s that *tone* that gets to me, the imperious thing like it’s women’s job to fix all of men’s owies. Not something we need more of, we get too much of that already.

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  13. Whilst I agree with what you’re saying, it’s a shame this article comes across as a gender specific thing. Girls at that age act exactly the same as boys do and as a boy I was told “It just means she likes you”.

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    1. You know, you are right and this has been mentioned in several comments. I didn’t mean to make it seem as though this only happens to girls because that isn’t true. I’m working on a follow up to this post to address that point. I don’t want to glaze over the fact that it can and does happen to boys too.

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      1. I don’t think you glazed over anything. You were just pointing out the dangers of letting our daughters believe that abuse of any kind equals love. And while I’m not surprised that it goes the other way, I’d bet that this behavior is a hell of a lot more prevalent with boys->girls than it is with girls->boys.

        And perhaps girls do it because they’ve had it done TO them and have been told that this is how you show affection. Whatever the case, it needs to stop, for all of our children’s sakes.

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      2. And right there – you rock. You’re not compromising or apologizing for what you said up there was nothing wrong with it but you considered feedback. Thanks

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      3. I’m glad you are going to address that, the same thing came to my mind. As a girl, I remember more incidents personally happening the other way around (girls would tease the boys they liked, etc.) when I was growing up & I admit I felt a little defensive on my sons’ behalves reading this. Thanks for acknowledging it can go the other way around, the stereotype that abuse is boy->girl has always bothered me.

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      4. While I completely agree with this post I want to point out that as a girl I acting out this kind of behavior to boys much more than it was done to me. As a child it was fun and for me at least was about expressing my feelings. As an adult I obviously know this is completely inappropriate and wrong behavior no matter the gender. All in all, I disagree that it happens more to girls than boys based in my experiences as a child and now that I have my own child too.

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  14. Admittedly, sometimes when boys do this, it is because they’re interested in a girl and just have no idea how to relate to said girl or deal with those feeling. However, that doesn’t mean it should be endorsed or overlooked. Maybe that is the reason some boys pick on girls, but you’re absolutely right in that the girl should not have to endure the situation just because adults can’t be arsed to do something about it.

    As a victim of schoolyard bullying (and for the curious, I’m not talking “schoolyard bullying” as in I was teased a little and people would poke me with pencils occasionally; I mean I had my head smacked against a brick wall, rocks thrown at me, and my ass grabbed on more than one occasion, all before I was 10 years old), I applaud this post! And I love that there are people like you out there who think this way and will stand up so that this sort of attitude can’t and won’t reach every level of society! Bravo!

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    1. This is an extremely one-sided post. Most of you seem to missing what this is really about. Bullying and abuse. Gender has nothing to do with it. Take out the gender from all the posts and you would have fair points. Why do you have to emphasize which gender the child is. It doesn’t matter. In the playground all children can be just as bad as each other regardless of gender. And for those condoning violent behavior (i.e punch the boy in the nose – effectively you’re saying fight violence with violence) – how is this a model for children? Saying it’s okay to be violent as a child but not as an adult won’t help when they land themselves in court as an adult for acting on what they were taught as a child. Think about it. If a boy was hit by a girl bully, is it okay for him to go and ‘punch her squarely on the nose’ as a form of settlement? Well that’s what you’re saying is an appropriate response if it were a boy bully hitting a girl. Equality is the same rules and punishment for all, regardless of gender, race and class. Please get off your gender high horse.

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      1. I don’t think this is entirely about gender you know. The whole essence of the story is how to tell kids to defend themselves when such situations occur no matter what at what age do they experience this.

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      2. Boys and men haven’t been systematically given the societal shaft for centuries, Sam.

        It would be an equal gender issue if historically the genders had been equal. They haven’t, they aren’t. It is absolutely valid for her to discuss this in terms of the gender issues it presents, and the larger feminist context. To insist that she address men equally is both derailing and sexist. It’s not your post. It’s about women and girls. Pipe down and let the lady talk, and quit explaining to her how to do it.

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      3. I’d like to point out that in my comment, I didn’t mention being female. I mentioned being a victim of schoolyard bullying. I happen to be female, but quite honestly, my being female was probably the least of the reasons I was bullied.

        But as much as you do have a point that the crux of the issue is bullying and abuse, gender does play a part. If a boy shoves a girl and people react by saying, “He just has a crush on you,” then the bullying issue is being overlooked because of the gender of the victim and the abuser. You can’t remove the mentions of gender from the post because doing so would remove the handwaving that happens when adults decide not to step in and stop the problem.

        And I know I may stand in a minority here, but if a girl is abusing a boy, then yes, I feel that he has the right to stand up for himself. Just as if a girl is being abused by a boy. And in all honesty, some boys may be in just as tight a spot if they’re being abused by girls, because I’m willing to bet that most of the adults around will be looking for the boy to “man up” and to stop “letting girls pick on him.” Opposite-gender bullying puts everyone in a tough spot. The point is that it shouldn’t. The problem is that it does.

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  15. It’s not okay for boys to do it, yet its okay for girls to do it?
    Seems a little bias.
    Besides preventing all kids from inflicting physical violence against each other is probably not a great idea.
    Thousands of years of progress has shown that letting them run around like that worked, we just don’t have enough data to say that preventing them from fulfilling their more animalistic urges is a good thing.
    But I agree, violence shouldn’t be a way of showing affection, try and take a less offensive viewpoint next time.

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    1. Where did I say it was okay for girls to behave this way, pray tell? Nowhere.

      Honestly, your entire statement is almost gibberish.”Thousands of years of progress has shown that letting them run around like that worked?” What progress has shown this? Is it the rates of domestic violence against women? Is it rape statistics? Is it how in cases of domestic violence and rape, society often blames the victim?

      If you find my viewpoint offensive, you are free to leave my blog. I stand by every word.

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      1. Nice parenting advice coming from someone whose photo is of her all dolled up holding a gift packaged bottle of Jack. Where’s your daughter? At home crying for mommy who’s out getting drunk and finding her next abusive boyfriend? Great job

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      2. Moms are not allowed to drink or wear makeup, even when the kids aren’t around (of course, they’re probably not allowed to be away from their kids either — hiring a sitter is practically child abuse). Got it.

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      3. i disagree with his approach. and i disagree that you said girls were free to behave that way. but, as a mother of sons, i can relate to the frustration a bit. having heard the message of the natural evil of boys so many times it begins to be omnipresent.

        you included the line that you would teach your boys to accept nothing less than respect and i commend you for that – truly. but i know for myself that i came to this blog by way of a friend posting ‘teach your girls not to take this crap and teach your boys not to do this crap’ and then one of her friends passed it on this same way.

        the idea that boys are little assholes that girls need to be protected from is so pervasive. the assumption that everyone already does treat them with respect is also pervasive. conversely that little girls are innocent of these kinds of things. one of the other commenters even pointed out that her daughter is being bullied by another little girl.

        i was watching my son very closely at 3 and 4 as there was a little girl in his preschool who every day told him what to do. “sit here, draw this etc” and he did it every time. and everyone said the same thing – aw she likes him. he came home one day and told me this girl informed him that he was to be her wife. i didn’t get upset with it because mostly it was cute and all indications were that he was willingly participating BUT i had to keep my eye that he wasn’t being bullied. after all, at 3 and 4 there isn’t exactly a physical advantage is there. imagine now that a little boy starts bossing a little girl around like that – even if she was willing i can’t imagine us saying it was cute

        i’m really not busting your stones; at all. i don’t think any of that was your intention. i think you were just responding to a particular thing and i agree with you. when i was a kid that went both ways – i remember hitting a boy because i liked him and because i was a tomboy. and yes, i was taught it was inappropriate.

        i respect what you’ve said and i hope that comes through; i just wish we could expand the message. i don’t think this idea that a lot of people seem to have (again, not blaming you) that boys are naturally abhorrent is helpful. respect for others starts with self respect. we have to teach this to our girls and our boys.

        oh, and disney is not fricking helpful in this regard.

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        1. I totally understand and agree and I am making a spinoff to this post, because of the way it was received (mistakenly) to be vilifying little boys. As a mother of three sons, including one with a disabilty, that was not my intent. I was speaking, strictly, from my experience with my school age daughter, as i haven’t had any experience with bullying with any of my three sons (11wks, 2yrs and 6yrs). My oldest boy is in kindergarten and he has a genetic disease and is legally blind. I know, at this point, the additional services he requires in school has gone unnoticed but it has the potential to make him a target for bullying from boys and girls in the near future. I didn’t intend to dismiss that boys can be the victims of bullying, including from girls under the guise of affection. I was just blogging about my experience to date. Thank you for reading and for sharing your dissent in such an understanding way.

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        2. I totally understand and agree and I am making a spinoff to this post, because of the way it was received (mistakenly) to be vilifying little boys. As a mother of three sons, including one with a disability, that was not my intent. I was speaking, strictly, from my experience with my school age daughter, as i haven’t had any experience with bullying with any of my three sons (11wks, 2yrs and 6yrs). My oldest boy is in kindergarten and he has a genetic disease and is legally blind. I know, at this point, the additional services he requires in school has gone unnoticed but it has the potential to make him a target for bullying from boys and girls in the near future. I didn’t intend to dismiss that boys can be the victims of bullying, including from girls under the guise of affection. I was just blogging about my experience to date. Thank you for reading and for sharing your dissent in such an understanding way.

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  16. Really lady? Get over it. When I teased a girl in school, it WAS because I liked her. Does that mean I abused her when I got older and beat the piss out of her? No! At that age, most boys think girls are “Eewwwy”. Does that mean they will turn out to be gay? No. In some cases, yes boys can be overly cruel, but not all the time. That was a part of growing up. I am about to have a daughter for the first time and guess what, I’m going to give her that same ‘line of crap’ as you so delicately put it. Now, if she comes home saying a boy punched her or physically did harm, then yes I will have words with his

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    1. parents, but it’s also up to the parents to decide when it’s appropriate to intervene. I’m not going to have my daughter be one of those girls who has to have mommy or daddy constantly fight her battles for her. Sounds like YOU need to learn about being a better parent. I have an assignment for you: why don’t you go around the nation a ask EVERY single woman you come across if they were teased by boys growing up and if they wound up in an abusive relationship. Until then, SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU WHINEY LITTLE BITCH!

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      1. You showed me. You sound completely stable and level headed, not at all like an abusive ass. Of course, with an email handle like “Beefcake Travis”, I wouldn’t expect any less. I am sorry for your daughter that you don’t feel it is your role to be her advocate and that you are going to teach her to endure abusive behavior.
        If you don’t like the musings of this whiny little bitch, feel free to close the page on your browser. (learn to spell—shit, you’re on a computer, learn to use spell check) Now, run along and take your meds.

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      2. In response to Queenofthecouch’s response: (It wouldn’t let me reply directly.)

        You know your a liberal feminist when you bitch and moan about society and then when someone argues with you rationally, your response is… Well if you don’t like my opinions, close your browser window, you mean old testosterone ball.

        So your saying that if everyone who posts doesn’t emphatically agree with you, that they have no business commenting? Sure sounds like it.

        I, for one, am not a feminist. My 13 year old daughter had a boy at school making fun of her and she CAN take care of herself. I don’t think that making fun of or even hair pulling will turn someone into a wife beater. But that’s my opinion. And as a woman, my conservative opinion doesn’t add up to yours. I’m not saying that its “right” to explain it away to your children the way its done. But its not something mean as malevolently as you try to make it.

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      3. @Jewess: On what planet are the words “SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU WHINEY LITTLE BITCH!” the closing line of a rational argument? Particularly when said ‘rational’-arguer is explaining how he used to tease girls but now he’s such a classy, stand-up guy.

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      4. @John Doe

        Just curious, do you end all of your offline discourse with those you disagree by saying, “SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU WHINEY LITTLE BITCH”? (Screamed, with neck veins a-poppin’ I’m assuming, to match the all caps.) That a message you’re going to pass on to your daughter?

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      5. Jeeze, Jewess, if “SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU WHINEY LITTLE BITCH” is what you consider a polite and rational argument, I’d hate to hear what you consider to be crossing the line.

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      6. “Jewess” states she is not a feminist, which by definition means feels that women should be treated equally, so I suppose she feels women should be walked all over. That certainly appears to be her view. I just feel bad for her daughter being taught that she is not equal to men and that they can get away with abusing her. You may not think that boys hurting girls will make them abuse their wives as adults, but I don’t think it’s a very good sign. How anyone can be upset with a mother telling her daughters not to put up with abuse is beyond me.

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    2. John – maybe its time we stop teaching boys and girls to view each other as “ewwwy”. My 6 yo hass never uttered anything remotely like that. He may resonate with boys more but he still has the ability to understand tha girls are not “ewwwy” – they’re people. That could go a long way in a lot of areas

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  17. Abso-freakin-lutely.

    This is the way I was raised in school — someone hits you, HIT BACK!

    I never even told my parents about any of this bullying and the boys weren’t about to run to the teachers to rat that a little girl was fighting back.

    And my parents would have never said: “He likes you because he hits you”

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  18. LOVE this. Kids really need to taught better than “if he punches you in the throat and cuts your braid off, it’s because he likes you”. That’s kinda…weird.

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  19. Beefcake, we haven’t all ended up with husbands who punched us, but I guarantee that 100% of us would say that we’ve been confronted with disrespectful, intimidating behavior from men. ALL of us have, and how we deal with it depends entirely on whether we have been conditioned to accept it or reject it.

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    1. First off, let me clear this up. The email is an email I created over 15 years ago. Now I use it for spam and other bullshit that I don’t want flooding my normal email. Secondly, ‘whiney’ can’t be spelled either with an E or without. Check the dictionary, uneducated pompous, self-righteous bitch. I’m not going to let my daughter have to come have mommy and daddy fix all her problems. For one, I WILL teach her to fight back when necessary. I’m not going to hinder her confidence by doing everything for her which includes fighting her battles. Kids need to learn to do things on their own with a few guidances from their parents. You, on the other hand, are saying it’s ok to reward violence with violence by basically saying if the teaser’s parents give you the excuse that ‘it just means he likes her’, then you’re going to assault them? Go ahead. If a parent came up to me and the same thing, I’d have them arrested for assault and battery. What a role model you are.

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      1. queenofthecouch, I really like your article, the issue is an important one to raise. However, the way you are dealing with John Doe’s comments by implying he is either mentally ill or has learning difficulties and then mocking this is really offensive to me. It seems a shame to write such a great article and then use unpleasant prejudice in your comments. Just wanted to put that out there to consider. People with mental health problems can be thoughtful considerate parents too.

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        1. I am not making any judgments against parents struggling with mental health issues. I know of plenty of wonderful, capable and loving parents with mental health disorders and I am in no way stereotyping. I am referring to Beefcake’s obvious hostility and anger, resulting from my blog post and his need to lash out at me and call me names. Beefcake claims to have a daughter on the way and says he will expect her to subjugate to playground bullying and abuse. Nothing about his irrational ranting screams “sane” to me.

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      2. Wow, cranky bully is a cranky bully.

        That said, don’t feed this troll. He’s getting off on calling you names and in general acting like a whiny/whiney bitch. He’s tiresome, used up, and a sad little man. I’d say more, but I’m bored of him now.

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        1. His novelty wore off with me, as well. Some of his friends stopped by too, I just stopped approving the posts that were limited to “shut up fukin bich” or “ur a psyycho-go take care of ur kidz bitch”. I am interested in those that want to make relevant contributions.

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      3. QOTC:
        To quote from The Bloggess:
        “When your wrong, your wrong.”

        And John “troll” Doe is wrong. (And yes, folks, I get the irony of the quote I used. IT pains me to type it that way.)

        I have a 10 y.o, daughter, and I JUST CAUGHT MYSELF replying, “Well, he probably likes you” when she told me of a boy teasing her. I shall sit her down tonight and have a discussion to clear this up.

        Thank you , you cursing Queen of the Couch. We’re (nearly) all grown-ups here and (mostly) can handle your uncensored thoughts. This is a really good conversation (mostly).

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      4. Is the poor woman who’s womb your daughter is currently nested in aware that you spend your time on the internet calling other women ‘bitch’ as a means of normal communication? I really would not like to be a girl in your household.
        Bullying is far more than just a punch in the face and it can leave LASTING scars that take a lifetime to heal from. I hope to all that is good that your daughter never needs to experience the many-colored spectrum that is being teased and bullied by boys (before it gets physical). Snapping bra straps, attempts to throw things down girls shirts, lewd remarks … sexual harassment between peers can start as early as elementary school. What I went through wasn’t simply “because they liked me” … because they didn’t, and no matter how many times people used that line, I knew it was wrong, but here I am years later still struggling with my physical self and how I relate to people. So for the sake of your daughter, please grow up.

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      5. Oh wow. You definitely have me pegged. I DO get angry when washed up old hags such as yourself and your lesbian butch feminist friends blog about such a one-sided argument. I’m not saying in going to subject my daughter to abuse. You need to read a little more and see that I mentioned that it will depend on what happens to my daughter when a boy teases her if I feel the need to contact the parents. Nice image you painted of me with my veins popping out as I ‘TYPED’ in all caps. Couldn’t be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, your post doesn’t upset me as much as the Afghans lobbing mortars and random ass rockets over the wire and hitting some of my friends and acquaintances. You’re just a petty nobody who blogs for attention. I feel sorry for you and your pathetic followers. I’m done with you.

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        1. OH NOOOOEZ! Don’t leave, Beefcake!

          And save me the “I’m too patriotic because i know people in the military” line. My husband and I are both Air Force Veterans. My husband served in OEF and OIF. So, while you sit back and verbally assault women on the internet and defer to your “friends” in the military in an effort to get credit for their sacrifices and rationalize your hatred of women, we actually made the sacrifices for our country. Now, fuck off, dipshit.

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      6. I usually have a policy against replying to comments, but – dear wonderful Queen of the Couch, and I do adore this post, by the way – I am fascinated by our John Doe’s behaviour. In essence, I don’t think he’s realized how problematic his own biases are.

        He has used the terms ‘lesbian,’ ‘butch,’ ‘feminist’ and ‘hag,’ all in very negative contexts. He did so as part of the same comment in which he tried to argue that he respects women – or at least believes that they should stand up for themselves. This seems a bit fishy.

        John, I myself am a well-adjusted gay man – what you may or may not call a ‘fag,’ ‘homo,’ ‘pussy,’ ‘fairy’ or ‘queer’; I can’t be certain given the tone of your previous comments – and whether or not you think I’m flinging mud at you, if you’re going to read nothing else with any seriousness, please read this:

        I think you seriously need to examine your own prejudices, because I 100% believe that you are going to want the best for your daughter, and if you truly feel comfortable hurling phrases like ‘feminist’ and ‘lesbian’ around as insults (neither of which should be), I am very concerned that you could unconsciously provide an environment for her in which women are simply inferior.

        I realize, on the other hand, that you could simply be trolling, in which case these words will mean little or nothing to you. But on the chance that you’re taking this circus of a discussion seriously, please at least spend some time thinking about the perspective you plan to pass on to your daughter.

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      7. Please don’t fear for me – honestly, I feel badly for you that you’ve been met with so much vitriol yourself. People are very careless with the manner in which they criticize.

        From my end, any issues I’d have had with this article were raised already, and you’ve graciously addressed them. Furthermore, I happen to be one of those saintly people that can recognize sarcasm/hyperbole when I see it. You’re an excellent writer, and it’s clear that you’re also a devoted mother and a willing learner. It’s a pleasure to have read your article. 🙂

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        1. You are my favorite kind of reader. Were it not for the threats of violence directed at me and even my children, it could be funny. I am a bit shocked at how ugly and vile people can be over a blog post. Thank you for reading and understanding.

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  20. I used to be quite cynical about reading peoples opinions on random things.

    but.

    this is the best thing I’ve read on the internet in a while. People are assholes, and hitting people is a moral low for anyone,

    ” Well, when I was kid. My father was a missionary. I spent the first 10 years of my life in China. There, I learned how to fight as you could imagine. I remember going to my martial arts teacher, He said, “Why you come to me?” and I say, “Ah, to learn how to fight.” And he’s like, “Oh, so you wanna hurt people, but you wanna be great.?” I say, “Yeah, I wanna be great. “Then first learn how to heal people to be great, to hurt people is easy”

    very fitting quote, if a little on a tangent.

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  21. As a father of 1 boy and 2 girls I soundly agree. However, I would go so far as to say, it is the failing of the parents of the boys who use abuse and mistreatment as affection. Let us not lay it on the boys, but on their parents. If they taught their young men how to be just that, young men, and not only respect women, but learn to control their own behaviors, we would take a LARGE step forward as a society. I am not the perfect father by any means, but I do all that I can to teach my children that every action you make is by personal CHOICE! There is no force on this planet that makes you do anything, any action you take cannot be blamed any further than your own mind. Anyone who tried to excuse poor behavior off on any reason, is silently encouraging said behavior as an accepted modicum of communication. Parents, raise your children right, if you would like to see the next generation of our society grow up with the gumption to face and overcome the challenges of this ever-changing world. Otherwise, accept the fact that things will take even longer to change, because you didn’t have what it took the be the parent your child NEEDED, not the one they wanted. Remember back to when we were kids, and although you may not have liked your parents each day, you loved and respected them, and after you matured you realized that they were right in nearly every action they took, because those actions made you a better person. If you think I am wrong, and that your parents were mean, evil, cruel, vindictive people, there is a chance you might be right, or…you may still need to grow up a tad, and change your perspective some.

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  22. …and when I or my kids are fed up and call them out – the other kids parent/s (like John FUCKING Doe above) try to turn it around like it is somehow my/our fault. Your kid was an asshole to mine and the fact that you are a family of mother fuckers isn’t my fault. You assault us and think we are jerks for being pissed off and calling you out on it? FUCK YOU!!!

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  23. I think the hardest thing for me was that all the abuse I received was verbal. Snide remarks made over and over for 4 years of my life (4th-8th grade was the worse). And unlike bruises, words leave less evidence. But even then I was told by my mom, “Oh, he just likes you.” or “Oh, he is just intimidated by you.”

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    1. Great point. Having worked with many children and their families as the director of a sexual abuse team, the “incestuous” family is often more difficult to work with than the overtly sexually abusing family. And, many of the children who come from incestuously unboundaried families have a far more difficult time first identifying the invisible wounds, taking them as absolutely legitimate and then healing from them. Your description of the wounds you received from constant demeaning comments from others, without the physical bruises, is a very important issue in understanding how we culturally and familially, often unconsciously, support and condone the social message that girls and women are less than their human counterparts.

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  24. As others have said, boys have difficulty relating to girls, sometimes the affection they feel translates into outwardly hostile actions. It is important to educate thour children that it is not the affection that is bad but the way they display it. We need to teach our kids alternative ways of expression and that doesn’t just mean to teaching the boys either. There were several times when I was a kid where I was physically attacked by girls who would grab my penis until I agreed to be their “boyfriend”.

    Also while I understand your feelings on the matter, threatening physical violence against someone is not acceptable for you to do either.

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      1. I understand fully that you would want to defend your child from harm, But I was referring to your comment in the original post about you threatening to hurt someone who offered up the advice you disagree with.

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  25. Not condoning the violence. As a matter of fact my 9 yr old daughter ( http://goo.gl/p89ni ) wouldn’t take it either, shed kick his ass.

    We all go through emotionally confusing times in our lives though and little boys don’t know wtf to do with those feelings. It’s important we don’t condemn the child for lack of coping skills, there are plenty of adults who don’t have them either. It needs to be carefully addressed, the proper way to handle the feelings shown to the child and then we all move forward. Judging by the passion with which you addressed the topic I’d say you or someone close to you have/has/are experienced/experiencing this type of thing at a more grown up level, that’s a whole other can of worms. While not excusable childhood hair pulling can be addressed and should be forgiven, a man putting a fist in someone’s face should not.

    Emotional confusion happens, look at how many men and women claim;
    Oh I only cheated on you and slept with X because I was confused.
    Oh I only slept with X because I thought we were in love.
    Oh I only dated X for years because I just wasn’t sure.

    Are the above emotional scars any less. No, they are not, their origin is simply less violent.

    It could also be viewed as having this violence against one’s daughter is the best time to make sure this teaching opportunity doesn’t go unused, and a ponytail tug is a lot easier to deal with than some jackass who slaps or punches your daughter as a teen. It helps you to show her there need to be boundaries and explain how stringently these need to be enforced.

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    1. This is CLASSIC undermining of a woman’s self-expression, seen it many times. It always goes something like this: “Oh, gee, you have such strong emotions, something really, horribly awful must have happened to you when you were younger, older, or whatever. Therefore, I pity you {pity is a form of condescension} and do not take you seriously.” Big Ew. Go try that on someone else, rahlquist. Your other examples simply are out of the ball park, another tactic called “diversion” often used by, well, not very aware or sophisticated folk who want us to look somewhere else besides the point.

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  26. While I agree with much of what you say here, I think you should consider that most of the points you make are not contradicted by the claim: “that means he likes you”. It may well be (I don’t actually know whether it IS or not but I can imagine it might be) that the kind of abuse you describe *does* actually signify some kind of affection. This doesn’t make it any more acceptable and we shouldn’t teach our daughters to accept it, but it may still be true.

    This, of course, begs questions as to what we should be teaching our sons.

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    1. The point wasn’t whether or not children expressed themselves this way, due to not knowing another way, but more about the fact that the behavior is often ignored and universally accepted. Rather than talking with the child about how to more effectively convey their feelings, we just expect the receiver of the treatment to accept it and to be flattered by it.

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      1. See I was always told that as a way to explain why they acted that way not to explain away their behavior… it’s much like how a toddler will bite to get a toy, acceptable, no… understandable, yes… and they need to be taught not to do that…

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  27. Well said. I don’t have children, but I heartily agree with you 100%. My mom was actually ahead of her time, back in the 70s. She got called to the school because I punched a boy who had punched me first and was furious that I was in trouble when I had just defended myself. I don’t think the principal was very impressed with my mother, but I was!

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  28. That’s so hilarious, I was literally just talking about this with my husband. When I was little, I had a boy dangling rubber rat toys in my face and when I told my mom, “sounds like he just likes you!” Needless to say he did not actually like me, I was just being picked on. But my husband, although he was raised never to hit girls, he was still the little boy who tried to gross girls out. Not to be mean, he said, but it was cute when they got grossed out and he did like them. He never hit girls, but he would eat bugs in front of them or show them worms. Hahaha. I think even if its gross, that’s sorta cute. As long as nobody is getting hurt. But little boys love doing that to mom too. They love to creep girls out.

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  29. First time reading your blog.
    Couldn’t agree more with the sentiment that boys need to be taught how to express themselves so that they won’t be little assholes – or later on BIG ones.
    But I find your multiple variations on “I’ll use force on you if you say X or if your kid does Y” to be wholly unacceptable. It’s not funny nor acceptable for any man to threaten, hit or abuse a woman EVER – nor is it acceptable the other way around.
    Not funny. Not acceptable.

    Also, maybe you’ve already discovered that your children *will* say and do some pretty awful things in the process of growing up, regardless of how good you are as a parent – the experiential part of growing up and putting socialization into actual practice takes quite awhile and frequently some lessons must be repeated until they sink in.

    That doesn’t make them assholes, it makes them ignorant of how to do it in an acceptable manner. We, as parents, aunts/uncles/grandparents must teach them by example, explanation, and when necessary by correction.

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    1. Again, people need to recognize the difference between what is meant literally and what is not. For the record, the comments like “I will slap you across the face and yell ‘I LOVE YOU'” are intended to be ironic, to demonstrate how ridiculous it is to tell a child that he/she should accept being verbally or physically mistreated as a sign of affection. Now, with that said, when it comes to my children, I wouldn’t hesitate to, literally, become physically violent in the name of protecting any one of them.

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      1. And now you’ve lost me. Father of three boys. Try really hard to raise them right and violence is NEVER ok in our house (or anywhere else for that matter). But for you to say you will become physically violent in defence of your children? Not ok. If you hit my kid, or me, I will press charges. My kids are good boys, but they screw up sometimes because they are still learning. You are a grown up and should damn well know better.

        There are avenues to deal with this so that children can learn from what is happening and learn to process what is going on inside of them and deal with it in such a way that they know how to respond next time. Hitting them doesn’t help. It’s abuse no matter who it comes from or why.

        I agreed with most of the article. But you aren’t allowed to hang out with my kids.

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      2. Satire is a dangerous business, isn’t it? People are always bound to miss where the line is between your serious point and your satirical overstatements. I did it here, too, and was really upset about how you turned around and seemed to advocate violence in the name of standing up against ignorance about bullying behavior. Now after reading all your responses, I have a better idea of what you really meant!

        One thing that I think causes some confusion is that we’re talking about a whole wide range of behaviors and offenses here. When there’s a pattern of verbal attacks or physical affronts, then yeah — that’s a problem and a reason for someone to defend herself and teach the kid a lesson (and of course for adults to step in with strong action too). But some commenters here seem to be diving off the deep end: one young kid giving a single tug on another one’s hair, or teasing verbally, is a far cry from a pattern of physical or psychological attacks. It’s an opportunity to end the behavior before it becomes more of a problem! I hope we’re all willing to let the “perpetrators” learn from their mistakes and grow to be responsible adults. Hitting and punching doesn’t really teach that (though it can be an effective defense when things really get out of hand). Thinking of a kid (a kid!) as a “little asshole” defeats the whole purpose of teaching and raising our kids, even when they behave poorly or ignorantly. Even though I think you would claim to have used that language satirically, I was dismayed that you even thought of using that characterization for a child!

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      3. @woodsthroughthetrees – I think there is a very clear distinction between violence and self defense ( or defense of those that can’t defend themselves). The law agrees with me

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  30. Thanks for this–my daughter is only three so she hasn’t come up against this yet, but I bet it will happen. And I’m not going to let it go if anyone pulls that crap on her. I had an older boy bully me when I was eight or nine–I’ve always been extremely tall, and this boy was older than I but I was taller. I think that was part of the issue. One day he decided to run me down with his bike when I was skateboarding. He knocked me down, then laughed, so I picked up my hard plastic skateboard and whacked him with it. I hit him in the shoulder area; as a veteran of fights with my siblings, I knew how to hurt without inflicting serious damage. He went and got his dad, who rode over to my parents house on a kid’s mountain bike. He was a fat guy and looked totally ridiculous. He went yell at my mom, with that “my son was just fooling around, he probably ‘likes’ your daughter…” but my mom totally ripped him a new one about how his son was a bully targeting a younger *girl* and had started it and he should be a better parent, etc., while I tried to look young and fragile in the background, totally failing, I’m sure, as I was a tall and sturdy kid. The guy slunk off home, looking like a clown on his little bike. I was very proud of my mom, although she did tell me not to hit people with my skateboard anymore as I could really hurt someone.

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  31. Reblogged this on The Social Sciences & Me and commented:
    This raises some interesting questions around how this behaviour became to be accepted in society, and how it may impact adult lives. Is there a link between these kind of childhood experiences and living with, or accepting domestic abuse in later life? Is it simply a contributor or less still as genuinely ‘harmless’ as many make it out to be?
    *some adult language*

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  32. What a chippy, self-indulged individual you are, and what a thoroughly arrogant and obnoxious piece you’ve written here. I don’t know what world you inhabit, but I don’t seriously think this is as common an issue as you’d have us believe. In fact, I think it’s utter fantasy, crap even.

    My advice, is to get over yourself, and quickly.

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      1. Your sarcasm is awesome, truly! I’m betting that some of these commenters that are insulting you were some of those kids that picked on girls when they were kids. Maybe they still do it in some capacity as adults (assuming they are adults), as they seem unreasonably angry about and possibly insulted by your post.

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    1. D-tone:
      Seriously? YOU SERIOUSLY don’t think this is common? How old are you, 109? You don’t remember grade school/junior high/high school?

      That being said, PROPS TO YOU for bringing the word “chippy” back from the 19th Century.

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  33. Thank you! I was harrassed by idiot boys in school and I knew it wasn’t because they liked me even though that’s what people told me. My son, who is now 2.5 and my sweet little snuggley kid, knows that love is gentle, even though he’s a boisterous little monkey. Of course, the same goes in reverse, anyone pestering / punching / hurting / playing mind games with him is not showing affection – s/he is a little shit.

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  34. I’m sympathetic to wanting to protect your children from any and all harm, and to the notion of instilling self-worth and a sense of self-respect in kids, but I don’t agree with the way the blogger is suggesting it’s a smooth and slippery slope from kids teasing each other to individual or societal tolerance for abusive relationships. Obviously there’s a spectrum and at the far end lies kids who should be in special classrooms for compulsive violent behavior, but to lump together all childhood squabbling and pathologize it just kind of misses out on the fact that children are young animals, and just like other young animals they engage in play behavior as a part of the socializing process, play which can sometime lead to someone getting a scraped up knee and/or ego. Zero tolerance policies, whether for drugs, petty theft or childhood bullying are often well intentioned but are really just ways to avoid responsibility for making judgment calls based on the individual subtleties of a given situation and result in people getting labeled as deviant (or imprisoned for 25 years for stealing cookies in one three-strikes case). Childhood is messy, life is messy, attempts to sanitize it and compartmentalize it into a series of easy to follow pathways will inevitably fail because they’re not based on the reality of the facts on the (play)ground.

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    1. You missed the point, almost completely. I didn’t say it was a “smooth and slippery slope” from point A to point B. I said that we unwittingly condition our daughters to be accepting of certain treatments from early childhood and then we ask why women stay in abusive relationships. I didn’t say ALL GIRLS THAT ARE PICKED ON WILL END UP IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP AND WILL NEVER LEAVE. I didn’t say ALL BOYS THAT PICK ON GIRLS WILL END UP BEING WOMAN BEATERS. There are obvious variables that lead to either outcome, to many to list, but to believe that these seemingly benign interactions and responses in our childhoods don’t have the potential to have profound affects on our childrens’ psyche is naive, to say the least.

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    2. I see your slippery slope [fallacy] and raise you a straw man [fallacy].

      Straw man: when instead of making a valid criticism to an argument, you distort that argument, and then attack the distortion. Your comment reeks of it.

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  35. Same thing happened to me growing up. Except I’m male and there was smacking, verbal abuse and scratching that drew blood. This cuts both ways and boys need to be taught that this isn’t acceptable when inflicted on them. Period.

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    1. What gets me, on the flip side, is how I can watch a woman hit on a man, slap one or knee him in the crotch, and the immediate response is he probably deserved it and him being in the position of hitting her back being wrong because she’s a ‘girl’. Man, it isn’t right to hit people. Period.

      I wouldn’t immediately say, either, that it is necessarily horrible if a little boy smacks a little girl because he likes her and isn’t sure what to do, it’s when this begins to happen and nobody does anything to educate them or CHANGE it. I imagine that was where this was all going anyway; teach your kids to be respectful. They ought to know that hitting people doesn’t make friends, I thought we taught them that normally, but the double standard or blow off is silly. Does it matter that it’s because he likes her? I was picked on a LOT by boys and, sadly, it was because they didn’t like me. I know people would say otherwise to make me feel better, but no. It was because I was overweight, wore glasses, introverted, and anti-social. They picked on me for fun and to laugh with friends.

      This definitely isn’t a disagreement with any of what you have said though, more an amen from here, but then just because a rant doesn’t include All Options Ever, obviously, it doesn’t invalidate everything else. That’s just silly.

      And to the two or three guys here having shitfits over this, you might want to fucking relax a bit. You aren’t making yourself look good throwing an enormous tantrum, seriously. Nobody will take anything a raving jackass says seriously, even if they have a point, because they are being a raving jack while saying it.

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  36. I very clearly remember a boy doing this to me at church youth group in junior high. My dad was the leader. He warned the kid, “If you keep doing that, she’s going to punch you.” And I did. Right in the jaw. My dad? Said, “I told you so.”

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  37. This post just made me a follower of your blog. I have a five and a half month old daughter and when I was a kid I heard this all the time too. The boys who did this didn’t do it because they liked me or any other little girl, it was done because they wanted to make us miserable and they enjoyed bullying and causing pain.

    I’m not going to teach my daughter that if a boy does this it’s because he likes her and I will teach her to stand up for herself and so will her father. I love this post, you deserve not just a drink but a whole damn round! You rock!

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  38. Preach it, woman! Snaps, UP!

    As the parent of a little boy, I am teaching him that when he likes someone he should speak politely and treat them kindly, with respect. Fortunately, he has a father who models these behaviours every day.

    Abuse and insults have *nothing* to do with romance!

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  39. For some reason, over the past hundred and fifty years or so, it has been the norm in much of US culture for boys under the age of puberty to band together, even if they are otherwise fairly solitary introverts, in expressing a common distaste for girls. Girls have “cooties”. This is little more than organized misogyny disguised as early male bonding, but because it is manifest in children, who were extremely marginalized during the Victorian era when this behavioral trend began, and otherwise regarded as ‘cute’ and ‘harmless’, it was left unaddressed. Victorian moralists who might have noticed the trend were less concerned by the disrespect shown by this behavior and more impressed by how it seemed to discourage ‘inappropriate’ interaction between boys and girls.

    Boys dare not express affection for girl classmates; to do so invites ridicule, even into the beginning of puberty. Even the mere implication that some boy might harbor feelings of friendship toward a girl can result in behavior among the other (jealous?) boys approaching hazing of the boy. Thus, the boy must ‘prove his solidarity’ with the others by showing them just how much he does not at all have any affection for the girl, by engaging in the proto-violent behavior discussed in your article.

    By that reasoning, then, it is probably true in a very tortured and roundabout way that a boy who treats a girl poorly might actually be making a public display of compensation for having been seen by his peers as liking her.

    It doesn’t excuse the behavior. But it does explain the thinking behind the common use of the explanation by others *as* an excuse.

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    1. Thank you! I was thinking of this the whole time I read the original blog, and the comments. As a 50 year-old woman, I remember the playground misogyny in grade school in the 1960s was heavy duty – jeering, bullying, humiliation, the cruel remarks during the mandatory folk dance classes, which I dreaded… And, yes, the “it’s because he likes you” crap. It was always regarded as cute. As an adult, I have always looked back and resented that. It wasn’t cute. It was pathological.

      Next on the list, following closely on the heels of the misogyny: the state of being female used by boys as an insult. They called each other “woman” or “girl” or “sissy,” “you throw like a girl,” what have you, and it was not lost on me that this implied that being female was inferior. This continues to the present day, with drill instructors yelling “you ladies” at the male recruits, or saying “he cried like a little girl.” In this age, there are ads raising awareness regarding using “gay” as an insult, and I myself am chided by friends for calling something “retarded,” even in jest, and even when there are no mentally disabled people around to feel insulted. Yet, never, not ever, not even once, can I recall any woman ever objecting to males using femininity as an insult.

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  40. I’m guilty of making excuses for others, bulling my girls. Never once did I look at as I was teaching them to be accepting of being abused. Thank you a million times over for these enlightening words. You have changed me what a glorious day.

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    1. Your girls are lucky for having an open minded mother. I am far from a perfect mother. I have made countless mistakes and I will make a bazillion more but being willing to consider other perspectives and learn from our mistakes is what is most important. When we know better, we do better.

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  41. The sentiment that girls shouldn’t put up with physical abuse is, of course, a valid one. That said, I fail to see how saying “He’s just doing that because he likes you” is the same as saying “Just accept it.” You can tell your child that the boy is doing it because he likes her (which may indeed be true) AND tell her that this is unacceptable behavior. So while well-meaning, I feel like you’re a little off the mark with your ire.

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    1. The problem is that you’re implicitly telling her that it’s normal behavior for males who have romantic feelings. And that’s wrong. I can definitely see how that leads to abused women who say “he hits me, but it’s because he gets angry because he loves me so much…” Bullshit.

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      1. I think “Close, but..”‘s point is to explicitly deny that this is normative or acceptable behavior. He’s saying you can preserve the explanation (“Oh s/he probably likes you”) and still communicate that no one should put up with that kind of treatment (“But what they’re doing is not ok, here’s how to effect change…”).

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  42. I loved this. I don’t have a daughter myself, but I am a teacher and I also am a woman with Asperger’s, a type of autism. I know bullying well. I especially know the kind of bullying boys heap on girls, and I know that it does not mean they “usually” like a girl. It usually means the boy is fearful and insecure about his social standing (usually among other boys) and is looking for someone to bullying and demean to make him feel more powerful.

    This is not isolated behavior–it is a PATTERN of behavior that, if not addressed, will continue and be cyclic. Kids who bully as kids and never face serious consequences for their bullying do in fact become bullies as adults, and if they have kids, will pass it on to their kids. I see it all the time as a teacher. I even lost a good teaching jobs because I wouldn’t let a parent bully me when I punished his kid for bullying. My principal was someone who bowed to bullies, both children and adult ones, so she refused to back me. So I lost my job.

    I understand kids who bully need intervention. But tolerating or excusing bullying behavior in anyway is unacceptable. Bullying wounds its victim. There’s no reason for us as adults to stand around and let kids get hurt, to let them feel vulnerable, violated, unprotected and powerless, just because we don’t to be too harsh towards bullies. That makes the victims of bullying double the victim–first by the bully, and then by our own rationalizations, willful ignorance and inaction.

    And while it is true girls can be bullies too, I know from experience both as a girl who was bullied by boys and as a teacher who tries to intervene when I can, that boys are not held to the same standards as girls. Bullying by girls is seen as “unladylike” and thus offensive and unacceptable, while bullying by boys is often excused away or intentionally overlooked. I frequently see boy bullies cuddled and protected, even indirectly encouraged, by teachers, schools administrators and parents–some of these adults may even think on some level that bullying is advantageous for a boy, as it will help them later in life! Meanwhile, I’ve seen girl bullies get excessively punished and even openly shamed, thus making them resentful and feeling like they’ve been treated unfairly (because usually they have been), which can perpetuate their bullying, but for very different psychological reasons than with boys. Kids aren’t stupid–they know when they are getting a sweet break, and they know when they’re getting a raw deal. And both of these adult mistakes only adds to the problem of bullying. So I think it is important to acknowledge a serious gender bias here.

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    1. Very true. I wasn’t a bully ( in fact I was teased a lot – read that as a huge understatement). But I was a tomboy and I was tough as nails and when I got picked on I reacted how boys reacted and I beat them up; which I def needed to be taught not to do but it was not handled the same way it was with boys. Conversely, since rough housing was affection in my house (like i think it is for many boys ) I would hit a boy I liked Which, again, I definitely needed to be taught not to do. But unlike the way boys were taught this – they assumed I must have actual mental problems.

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  43. Yes. Yes. A million times yes! I have two young boys and they know better than to pull those games. You show people you like them by doing things for them not to them. This applies to boys and girls of all ages. Yes, boys may actually like the girl they are picking on and vice versa but that means they have not learned to communicate appropriately. It is not cute.

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  44. My dad once told me a story about my older sister. When she was little (2nd grade or about that age) a little boy in her class was constantly teasing her and pulling up her skirt to embarrass her. When she told my dad this, he asked if she’d told him to stop (which she of course had, and he already knew that). Then, he told her the next time he does it, punch him in the stomach as hard as you can. There was none of this “he has a crush on you” BS.

    The next day, the little boy tried it again. Five seconds later, he was laying on the ground after getting hit by a girl so hard that it doubled him over. Needless to say, he didn’t try that shit again.

    And before someone lectures me on how violence isn’t the answer and what a bad parent my dad is, he didn’t tell us to go solving all our problems by hitting people. But sometimes, a person just has to stand up for them self.

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    1. When I was 20, I was walking through a club with one of my friends and, as we were walking, a guy slid his hand up the back of my shorts. I grabbed his hand and pulled it off my ass and I punched him in the face. If I could go back, I would do the exact same thing.

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      1. I was a cocktail waitress, and managed to throw a 6’4″, 210 lb. guy up against a wall and hold him there when he tried that with me. I would do the same thing today, though I think I also would have told the bartender. He was so mad when he found out, he turned purple and jumped across the bar. It probably would have been fun to set him loose on the jerk.

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      2. I was walking through a bar on my birthday when I was in my twenties, and I felt a guy behind me grabbing my bum. I threw an elbow straight into his chest before I even turned around, and when I did turn, I saw it was actually one of my best guy friends gasping for air. He was in pain, but actually proud of me for doing that and apologized for sneaking up on me. I would do it again if I ever needed to. 🙂

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  45. HERE HERE! I, too, have been dealing with less than intelligent teachers for my first grade daughter! She has been getting bullied for two years by the same girl and they think they can stroke my ego or better yet, even have gone so far as to blame my kid for it! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! These schools are ridiculous! Love you post on this!

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  46. How about something more honest and realistic: “It probably means he likes you, and that he’s a jerk. Also, he’s going to grow up to be a complete jerk who will probably continue to insist that he loves women that he’s abusing. Don’t put up with it from him or anybody else. Ever. And if he keeps this up, kick him in the stomach and tell your teacher I told you to do it, and to call me if they have a problem with that.”

    And I say all that as a guy with a daughter. It’s the same reason I feel like I have to deconstruct Disney movies with her.

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      1. Why on Earth would you deconstruct Disney movies for your kids?!?!?!?! Oh my God it’s one thing to be a good parent and showing your kids what’s right and wrong and to not follow or believe everything they see or hear, but Disney movies are supposed to ENTERTAIN your kids! Thank God my mom was not like you in that aspect at least, Jesus Christ, you’re killing their imagination that way, next you’ll be telling them there’s no such thing as Santa Claus or the tooth fairy!!!

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      2. As mother of two sons, I banned Disney from the house when they were about 8 and 10. I had them read the original stories that Disney messed up. I also taught them to be respectful of women, and had to help my oldest son deal with an aggressive girl who was running her hand up his leg at youth group.As an adult, I also witnessed a junior high girl being sexually harassed at a school bus stop right out in the open and am ashamed to say I did nothing about it. The boys were grabbing her breast and laughing as she tried to fend them off. I bet she never told anyone. And she was much smaller than the group of boys, so probably would have been hurt badly if she tried to fight back. Having experienced similar behavior myself as a young woman, I wanted to help her, but even as an adult was afraid. Please, please, if you see this happening, step in and protect the child! I so wish I would have done so!

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  47. Speaking as the mother of both a daughter and sons, I agree that there’s an added level of injury and insult when the aggressor is male and the victim female, but would add that in cases of male/male bullying, the “advice” given by society is just as often “boys will be boys.” Violence and abuse can only be stopped if BOTH genders are encouraged to respect themselves and others, and if adults get their heads out of their asses, recognize AND STOP this stuff, each and every time it occurs.

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  48. Sigh.
    *flame protective suit on*
    I would bet that very few of the girls that were told “oh, he just likes you” were told that it was acceptable to be hit/pushed/etc. The comment is generally a statement of truth. Young boys that tease female classmates generally ARE trying to show affection, only they don’t know how. It’s not right for them do those things to female classmates (or anyone, for that matter)… but since our society generally tells boys that showing affection is bad, they really have no other way to signal that they want to be friends. Of course, IT IS NOT RIGHT that boys do this… but don’t shoot the messenger. It is not the “they just like you” messenger’s fault that people raise boys like animals. Energy would be better expended convincing boys that it’s ok to be friends with girls and that their emotions are not horrible things to be excised than hitting people in the face just because they’re stating a fact of life. Certainly an unfortunate one that we need to change, but is true nonetheless.

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  49. I could not agree with you more!However,most of the girls of today that “I know” don’t even buy into that load of crap!They are just as terrifying as the boys!!When were growing up we were often told boys will be boys,and yes,the boy just likes you.My daughter for one, wasn’t having it,she’s 18 now ,but I can still recall when she was smaller, if the little boys”liked her” they often were the ones running to the teacher. I taught her better by example as well.She’s never seen mommy getting hit on,because mommy wasn’t having it.Not to say I can/would beat up on,or kill someone(hopefully it never goes to that extent),but ,rather first take necessary legal steps to eliminate the problem before anything else(not that it always works,we have butt-wipes everywhere). I am a tiny woman,she is a small young lady, and neither of us are fans of pain.

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  50. Bravo!!! *claps hands*
    If only every parent were so intelligent as you. Thank you for this, it hits home for me especially (no pun intended.) I grew up in a home were this kind of “abuse” was deemed acceptable. “don’t worry honey, your father had to beat you till you couldn’t walk. Its how he shows his love and respect for you. It teaches you how to behave in society.” no, what that teaches, is FEAR; of him, of making mistakes, failing, embarrassment, of not being perfect. And finally it perpetuates that stupid line, “he only hurts you because he loves you.”

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  51. I absolutely agree with where you’re going, although I think – to a certain degree – you fall into the ‘children are just like adults, but smaller’ trap.

    Should we be teaching our children (both boys and girls) how to properly respond to their feelings (ie through friendly words and actions, not aggressive words and actions)? Absolutely.

    But is a six-year old a ‘jerk’ or ‘bad’ for teasing somebody the like? No, they just don’t know any better yet – there’s no mens rea. A six year old hitting somebody they like is emphatically NOT the same as an adult hitting somebody they’re in a relationship with.

    The solution is to teach our children to be better – not to shame them for what comes naturally to them.

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  52. While I see the point, I didn’t bother reading past the point where it says “boys hit girls”! I know plenty of girls that hit my son, and he doesn’t hit back because he just is not that type of child. I have always taught him that it is not okay to hit anyone period.

    This perspective just created another stereotype that we as a society do not need to share because I found this offensive and it angers me actually.

    Next time, please write for an entire audience before blasting young kids and putting them in another box so you can take your child out of one.

    And while I know other people probably addresses this issue before me. Thank you for sticking up for your kids. This is irresponsible writing.

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  53. I remember when I was in 6th grade, my mother told me that a certain boy was pulling off my stocking cap on the playground because he liked me and was too immature to know how else to express his interest. She told me to either ignore it or tell him to knock it off–and let her know if it continued. I wasn’t interested in him but at least I understood where he was coming from and didn’t feel hurt or abused. Knowing that was empowering. Also, I learned a valuable lesson: Don’t work up a frenzy of rage and create a drama over something that’s just mildly annoying. Ultimately, as I recall, I said, “Yeah, whatever, Jason,” and waited until he dropped the cap before retrieving it with an air of nonchalance. The behavior stopped.
    The reality is that boys do act this way–and girls can set firm boundaries without sending cortisol through their systems as they talk themselves into the idea that they are victims. THAT to me is a much bigger problem that a little bit of an annoyance: The message to wear the mantle of VICTIM and embrace one’s powerlessness.
    I actually do like the little card; it’s true! Boys can be immature in how they express affection. Heck, even as men, they punch their friends in the arm to be cool! But we should be compassionate toward them as people even as we set boundaries. Pulling a girl’s pigtail isn’t on par with punching her in the face and it’s not healthy to teach your girl that it is. What matters is that a girl knows she can say “CUT IT OUT!” and be heard and that she can CHOOSE not to blow things out of proportion.

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  54. To all the parent’s saying “children express themselves this way sometimes (sic.)” well, when I was in the first grade my best friends were two boys, named George and Steven (I still remember!). If parents raise their children to view the opposite gender as an alien life form -well- that hurts the empathy process, it’s better to just raise children as children. Not “little men” or “little women”….In fact I didn’t even know racism was a thing until a few years later as well. what I’m saying is, maybe violence could be avoided altogether if children could just relate to each other as people….it’s not a maybe even, it’s true!

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  55. I fucking love this!! I endured having my ass grabbed daily on the bus for years, and got “protection” from a football player which I then felt obligated to go on a date with. I didn’t have a problem telling him NO but then my “protection” vanished as well. If my daughter told me that something like this was happening to her, I’d be on that bus myself ASAP, if not punching those little assholes in the face myself!

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  56. I stumbled across this post via Flipboard and I just wanted to leave a comment telling you how much I AGREE! I have a 3 yr old son and we are focusing on raising him to be a gentleman and to respect himself, his peers, us (parents), his teachers, etc. He has been very fortunate to have a wonderful upbringing so far with two great male role models in my dad and my fiancé. We talk about our feelings with him regularly, are strict about rules, and we are teaching him manners. To us manners include general manners, table manners, and gentleman manners (walk a lady to her car, open the door/hold it open, etc.) So many children we are around are not being taught how to respect themselves, their parents, their teachers, their peers, etc. I have witnessed little boys actually hitting their mothers!!! NOT acceptable! My goal as a parent is to raise a confident gentleman who sticks up for himself, the picked on & abused and who is respectful without being a doormat. If we happen to have a daughter in the future, my goal will also be to raise a lady who has self respect, confidence, and who doesn’t take crap from anyone. If I fail at those goals, I fail as a parent. It is our job as parents to teach our kids by example and by having open communication with them about what is acceptable and what is not. So many parents out there aren’t actually taking the time to parent! It is wonderful to know that there are other parents out there with the same views and opinions as us!

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  57. I don’t buy for one minute that this is a double standard. At my Elementary school, there were countless incidents of fifth-grade girls going up to third-grade boys, socking them in the face, and when the boys were about to retaliate, said in a sing-song voice, “Boys can’t hit giiiirrrrls!” It happened to me once. I told several teachers about it; two of them said that it meant she liked me, while another laughed at me because, hey, what’s funnier than a boy getting his ass walloped by a girl?

    Men and boys nowadays live in total fear of women and girls. They’re afraid to express their true feelings for them due to draconian sexual harassment laws, they constantly check their speech to make sure that nothing they say could even remotely be taken as offensive by any women or girls in the vicinity, and if they dare to defend themselves against a woman assaulting them, they’ll be locked up.

    You say that you plan to teach your sons to respect women. Why not also teach your daughters to respect men? Few parents ever consider this, and we end up with a bunch of wimpy, ineffectual men who think that their being able to sit there and take abuse from a woman is a sign of their strength, and a bunch of selfish, entitled women who don’t know how to communicate with a man through any other means than their fists.

    Respect is a two-way street. I sincerely hope you realize that.

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  58. There os a HUGE difference between a kindergarden boy pushing a girl because he doesn’t know how else to express affection and a grown man abusing his wife. Even between the kindergardener and a ten yr old. Ten year old boys are being abusive and it should have been addressed. Younger kids need to be taught by their parents. Ranting and swearing on a blog does not solve the problem. Communication with your children will.

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    1. No one’s saying the actions of the kindergartner or the ten-year-old are the same as those of an abusive adult — but condoning the sometimes physically violent ways kids act in the name of affection can set a very dangerous precedent for them later in life. The simple message is that it’s important to communicate with our kids from an early age about how we relate to and treat others.

      And blogging about problems doesn’t tend to solve, well, ANY problems. Not directly. But that’s not why blogs exist. They’re for ranting, discussion, and other expression.

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  59. have you seen the movie “He’s Just Not That into You?” They address this in that movie. My daughter got the crap knocked out of her in the 4th grade by a boy on several occasions and that’s what the school tried to tell me. It wasn’t until I threatened to go to the school board that it stopped. He literally punched her in her shoulder while wearing a sling b/c she had broken it. He kicked her in the leg when on crutches (yeah, she had a lot of injuries that year), picked her up by her shirt, etc… Maybe he did like her but I will never teach my daughter it’s okay to be with a boy who abuses her. you go!

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  60. I think the same thing, and have told my girls as much before. I think there is a grain of truth to the idea that “he just likes you”, messed up as that may be. But all that means to me is that we need to teach our boys better how to handle emotions and relating to other people. It certainly does not mean that we should be teaching are girls to explain it away and accept poor behavior. Hopefully, that boy will learn. In the meantime, let’s teach our kids to find the ones that already treat them well.

    This does happen to boys, too, as some have pointed out here. (It happened to me more than once.) But, let’s be realistic. In a society where the boys are [still] taught to be the aggressors, this happens a lot more often to girls. I’m usually pretty sensitive to arguments that leave out the male side of whatever is going on, and have been accused of derailing once or twice. But I don’t see this as one of those arguments. Just as the beginning of the discussion. You wrote from your experience without (IMO) any denial of anyone else’s.

    Thank you.

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  61. And the church says: AMEN. I’m sure that if I told my brothers that some boy hit me that’d be the last time that kid drew breath. We must said better messages to our children. Our girls need to know what is affectionate and boys need to know how to display their affections properly.

    Kudos.

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  62. While I agree with almost everything this post addresses, I would urge the author to lay off the Ani and consider shaving her legs more often. Interesting she would condemn children for not knowing how to deal with their emotions but advocate slapping a person in order to get her point across. Can’t have it both ways , Einstein.

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  63. Any activities by young boys that would best be described as bullying should of course be dealt with as such and not tolerated. But in the sometimes case where a boy actually does like the girl, he are trying to relate to the girl in the same way that he relates to other boys – through roughhousing. He probably isn’t mature enough to be able to think of a different way, and to just label him as “an asshole” does not do him any justice either.

    In this instance, saying “oh he just likes your daughter” may be accurate, but the conversation shouldn’t stop there. The answer as I see it is that the boy’s parents and/or teachers need to help the boy see the more socially appropriate way to play with, and relate others who do not appreciate the rough play. That is what will help the boy to mature into someone who understand how to relate to different types of people.

    IMO of course.

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  64. Holy crap, this lady is a psychopath.

    “I want my daughter to know that the boy called her ugly or pushed her or pulled her hair didn’t do it because he admires her, it is because he is a little asshole and assholes are an occurrence of society that will have to be dealt with for the rest of her life.”

    It’s more likely because he’s a 10 year old, and that’s an awkward stage of life for boys. Or, hell, anyone.

    When a boy hits/shoves/pushes a girl he likes, it should definitely have consequences, and it’s not OK to brush it off as affection. But if we can’t deliver the consequences without calling a kid a bunch of expletives and acting like he’s a junior monster, than he’s not going to get any better.

    Kids are horrible sometimes, because they’re still learning not to be. We deal with it as best we can, and hope they’ll grow up to be well adjusted adults. Better so, at least, than the author.

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    1. Having read through the entire post and most of the comments, yours most closely relates to how I feel. I am the mom of 3 boys. And say whatever you want about it, but boys are very different animals than girls and some of it has not a damn thing to do with how we raise them, but more with how they are wired. I think all kids go through an awkward stage where expressing themselves is difficult at best. I think automatically condemning them based on one act is crazy and inappropriate. Just as crazy and inappropriate as the behaviors queen is pissed off about.

      @queen, I was teased and bullied, and I remember even back then knowing the difference between the one who was awkward and trying to get my attention, and the one who was just plain mean. I followed the proper channels with the school back then and in jr high it wound up with me taking it to the school board because of two boys who would not leave me alone. The schools response had been that I must have been egging it on and that boys will be boys….The final response from all of them was to tell my mom I needed counseling. I have never wound up in an abusive relationship, my husband and I have been married for 10 years and as I said earlier have 3 boys, but we wrestle with them, and play with them and yes we tease them….and we are extremely playful with each other…so if my young son were to tell a girl he thinks she is as cute as his lizard, he isn;t being mean, he is paying her a high compliment in his book, and its a shame when you aren’t bright enough to tell the difference and instead respond that he is just being an asshole.

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  65. I completely agree with your point; however, I also teach my girls along with respecting themselves they do not need to resort to constant swearing either. When one has self-respect one does not need to resort to foul language to prove a point. Also an adult calling a child “little asshole” is not acceptable either. I’m sure if you found out some mother called your daughter “a little bitch” you wouldn’t be to fond of that. You seem like an intelligent woman and I don’t think you need to use foul language to get your point across. I just find it all very distracting.

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  66. I agree that this is, of course, a ridiculous and disturbing thing thing to tell children, and any teacher passing this old chestnut on needs to have its absurdity pointed out.
    But I believe it’s also important to remember that the child who engages in this behavior is not an “asshole,” but a kid in need of guidance and intervention about the proper way to relate to others. I’d hate to see a 10-year-old written off in that way. At that age, they’re still young enough to learn better.

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  67. Are you or were you ever married? Pity the male. Your “handle” implies QueenoftheRoost. And just a comment, you have a bit of a foul manner of speaking. Kids will be kids both boys and girls. It is their nature to seek attention and establish their self worth and authority. This is intially done through gender peer groups. Some carry this to the extent of bullying. Laws will never stop this. Nor will police in schools. These measures will only criminalize childhood and set these individuals on a hard path.
    Kids do this because they have not been wholely molded to adult life and responsibility. This is the parents job and to a lesser extent the schools when in the role of loci parenti.
    Agree with Kelli quite a bit.

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  68. The sad thing is that it might actually be the only way the little boys know to give a girl attention. This sort of behavior can’t just be stopped by educating little girls, parents need, as you said, to educate their sons as well, that this is not acceptable.

    This type of thing also sounds like an extension of adult dismissal of bullying.

    Also just to point out, it’s a two way street in a way. I know first hand that if a girl abuses a guy, even up to teen-hood, an adults reaction is to say “it probably means she likes you”.

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  69. Reading all the positive responses, I’m not going to reiterate praise in relation to respecting interactions between people, etc.
    However, I do want to say that it probably is beneficial to your daughter that she know that not all the boys in class don’t like her, it’s important that she understand that they are misguided in their attempts to show affection and their behavior is unacceptable, but that they are most likely attempting to show affection—I think it is equally important for a young child to know they are liked by the people around them as it is for them to learn to avoid those who can’t show feelings in a respectful way.

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  70. Bravo!!!

    I’m 6 months pregnant with my first child – a boy – and this will definitely be something I keep in mind when he gets to that age. I would be horrified, and insanely angry, if anyone ever tried to tell him or me and my partner that violence = love. Conversely, I will also teach him that any physical violence he experiences from any girls (or boys) will never equal “liking” someone.

    Thanks for putting this out there!

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  71. Thanks so much for your essay. I was horribly bullied in elementary school, and the “they just like you” line allowed the treatment to continue rather than being addressed.

    I’ll definitely be taking a route like yours should I have children.

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  72. i love this. and yes, explain all this to the girls… and explain some things to those boys, as well! That is not how you treat a girl you like.. they may be on hormonal over-drive in some situations, they need to know to channel it.
    great post! *sharing*

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  73. I was on the receiving end of this type of attention from a boy 2 years older when I was in kindergarten back in the mid 70’s. I vaguely recall at this point how he used to get in my way during recess. Essentially his MO was interfere with my play to get in my way to wreck whatever I was trying to build enough so that other kids got annoyed that he had attached himself to me and didn’t want me to play with them. I gather it went on for a month before I laid him out. I do recall he stepped in my way one more time and I hauled off and punched him in the face. His ass hit the ground. I got a detention and my mother got called in. She told me later the teachers had been watching this go on for a month or so and were surprised I lasted as long as I did. But they had a no violence policy and so they had to give me a detention but she asked my mom not to be too hard on me.

    I have no problem with what I did. He had it coming. He was thwarting my freedom of being and it was harassment. Part of me is of the mind that kids are losing the ability to learn how to take care of themselves and negotiate solutions with how much hovering our generation is doing. But in my instance.. why did this crap go on for a month? Why was I left to my own devices to solve this problem and get in trouble when I finally did. Frankly I really believe he should have gotten the detention for being a nuisance and had harassment explained to him. And for the record I really don’t have a problem with kids inflicting violence on others in the name of self defense. It is an acceptable response in my view and frequently ends the problem faster than anything else has, it just shouldn’t have to get to that point. He just likes you as a pat answer to unwanted attention is really unacceptable. And no girl or boy should ever have to put up with it.

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  74. Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic. So glad there is at least one parent in the world like you. Thanks for everything you do for your children and for the world.

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  75. Bullying and teasing are different things… still, well said. But the sad thing is, I believe there is some truth to the idea that a boy who picks on a girl likes her. The real problem here is less about what we say to our girls and more about what we say to our boys. Everyone should be teaching their BOYS from a young age that if they like a girl they shouldn’t pick on them!! Instead boys are taught that girls are “icky” and that being sweet makes them “sissies.” So if they have affectionate feelings towards someone, they act out and harass the thing that’s making them feel mushy, because no one ever told them how or what to do otherwise or that it’s okay to feel otherwise. The little boys aren’t assholes- their parents are.

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    1. Amen again! When i worked as a conflict resolution expert for our school district (superintendent’s representative was the title) dealing with discipline inequity, i must have called the central office 100 times after a case to report, “let’s just give the kid a new name and ‘lost records’ and start him/her in a different school with some good remedial relationship training — but can we arrest the parents?!?” They co-facilitated and made excuses for so much evil and then put down their kids they supposedly were defending. I once had to order a parent NOT to call his own son a son-of-a-bitch anymore in my hearing room. And how many times did i see a kid who was acting out being the adult when their dysfunctional parent was in the room? I think all parents should be required to pass tests and renew their license every year… just ‘cuz ya got gonads doesn’t mean you should be allowed to raise your poor offspring.

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  76. For the debate on whether boys “understand” that their behavior is inappropriate…when they get socked in the nose for hitting a girl, they’ll learn. They’ll learn very quickly

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    1. and even if they ‘don’t understand’ does that mean we just accept it? When my son hit a girl i didn’t say “that’s ok, he just likes her’ i talked to him about why it’s wrong to hit girls, because parents are supposed to teach their children right from wrong, how else are they going to learn and grow to understand why it’s not appropriate?

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  77. I believe it has more to do with the stage of the neurological development cycle, and not that it’s ok to let boys hit/tease/etc girls.

    At that point, boys generally are not able to express their feelings in the adult way, and are transitioning from the “girls are the same as boys, and are gender neutral” or “girls are gross” stage to the “girls are cute, I want a girlfriend” stage.

    And, girls have been known to do the same exact thing at that stage of development.

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  78. Oh man, you are so right!
    I taught my daughter @ age 3 to respond to this by holding the boy by the shirtfront and yelling full blast into his face “YOU CAN’T DO THAT TO ME!!” She hasn’t had a problem since. She has, however been reported for ‘anti-social behavior’ for defending herself against this kind of violence. That’s society for ya.

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  79. I have two children- a son and a daughter. Abuse is not acceptable period. The shitty thing is that it was my son who was abused last year by some amazon kindergarter who got jealous because he decided that he didn’t want to play with her. He told me that he kept asking him to chase her, and he didn’t want to. He took another girl up on her offer to play somewhere else. When amazon girl saw that he was walking away to play with another little girl, she flipped out, picked him up by his feet and dragged him across the playground. I still have photos of the cuts and bruises. His whole ribcage was swollen on one side with welts. Unfortunately we live in a society where treatment is NOT equal. Girls rarely get punished for their crimes the way that boys do. This little girl got a “talk”. Had my son done the same thing- he would have surely been expelled. Funny how someone said “She probably just likes him” to me. I feel just as furious about it as you do.

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  80. This should be posted in CAPITAL LETTERS at EVERY school, household, oh this should be EVERYWHERE!!! Cheers to you my friend! What an amazing woman you MUST be!

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  81. Well, this has been interesting reading. Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with this anymore, but someday I’ll have grandchildren (Lord willing). I hope that I can help their parents instill a sense of self-worth without their feeling they have to report every childish infraction.

    I was that girl. You know the one….. in 3rd grade, I chased boys to kiss them. In 5th grade, they chased me to kiss me. In 7th grade, I was the only girl in my school wearing a C cup, they had absolutely no idea how to handle it (cuz you KNOW they wanted to handle them), and it just got worse from there. The boys? They picked on me because they had raging hormones and no FREAKING idea how to deal with them. I just smacked them back, I didn’t go tell my mom. I knew what was going on. When their buddies weren’t around we were friends, but when the guys were together they were pretty much socially unacceptable until we were Seniors(and then it was iffy). I dated a few of them in high school, and they acted like gentlemen and treated me like a lady.

    So yes, I will educate my grandchildren, as I educated my children. They will not accept abuse as normal, but they will also understand that not everyone has the same parents, not everyone has the same culture, and that stupid, childish actions are not always the precursor to a penchant for dispensing abuse. And yes, I will tell my granddaughters that sometimes he smacks you on the arm because he likes you and has no idea how to express himself. That doesn’t mean you sit there and take it. That also doesn’t mean he’s going to beat his wife, it probably means that he thinks girls are still supposed to be icky and doesn’t know why he feels all funny inside. I have a son – we talk at length, and I had to educate him on the proper way to express these feelings.

    By the way, I’ve talked to those guys at our high school reunions, and they are wonderful, caring fathers and husbands, and we are still good friends.

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  82. I’m always trying to find the fine line between teaching boundaries and preventing narcissism. I’ve seen parenting go too far in either direction…

    But I know you are absolutely right on this matter.

    I work hard to teach my two daughters (2 and 3 yrs old) to talk through every dispute. “Did you ask her to stop pushing you? Tell her it’s not ok. If she doesn’t listen to you, then come tell me.” I want their first impulse to be standing up for themselves, and speaking up when they feel mistreated.

    So when they come home and share a similar story with me, I will absolutely be all over it. I expect them to learn to stand up for themselves. But if it doesn’t work (face it, they’re kids. They need help.), I want them to know from example that injustice is not to be tolerated.

    If I had boys, I’d teach them the exact same thing.

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  83. I was an bookish, skinny, mildly Aspergery kid. I stood out, and it wasn’t ever good. I had traditional, but intelligent and loving parents. I knew about the boys who teased the girls they liked. I knew about how to deal with a bully, not that I ever had the self confidence to ever put that knowledge to work. I knew what was reasonable, and what I wasn’t going to be able to explain away.

    I say all this because I was “the problem” that we’re talking about. I poked a couple girls and pulled their hair, exclusively because I had a crush on them. I had a crush on a lot of girls, so I have a bit more first-hand knowledge about this than I’d like.

    I could have told you 10 seconds before, as well as 10 seconds after pulling someone’s hair that it was inappropriate behavior, and I earnestly would not have desired to do it. WITHIN those moments, however, there is no internal logic that could have directed me away from doing it, it was just what was going to happen.

    I don’t consider that bullying, a bully in my mind is about a pattern. I was to no one what any of the bullies in my past were to me. I crossed a line of appropriateness, occasionally, that I had to learn not to cross, and I did.

    I wanted to say I couldn’t imagine ever grabbing a girl and taking something from her. I never did anything that inexcusable, but I can see how it could unfold. I would have gotten in more trouble than I could have possibly processed, and it would have been justified. From that, like so many other things about growing up, I would have learned just enough FEAR to keep me out of trouble until I matured and experienced enough to UNDERSTAND why it was wrong in the first place.

    I guess I’m just saying there is a balance to be found:
    Be careful not to expect, or teach your daughters to expect, a level of control that isn’t reasonable from our sons… but don’t you dare let them think they have to tolerate it.
    Boys can grow up, but we aren’t born men, and we don’t get to maturity as fast as girls… but you don’t let your sons ever use that as an excuse for behaving badly. There is a basic level of respect we extend to each other, always, NOT having that is not ok.

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  84. You have negated your entire point, which is, I think, how to be a better parent on this issue, with your foul language. You had me until the first “F” bomb. As PTA President, I can not share this message with my fairly large network of teachers, parents, mayors, and councilors because of the profanity. Good writers know you can send a very strong message without cursing. (I am also a full time published writer) Yours could have been a good one, but you negate your “good example” by setting a bad one. I have to agree with other commenters who are not alone in thinking this piece of ‘writing’ is self indulgent and obnoxious.

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    1. Really, a PTA President and published writer (whatever that means in this digital age of self-publishing) can’t edit this blog post to remove the profanity if desired? It can still be shared as “based on” the original work, or even with a note saying “Edited for language” with the web address of the original post provided.

      Get off your high horse. I agree with you that her point could have been made without the cussing, but it’s her blog- she can be “self-indulgent” if she wants to.

      Related but slightly off-topic (because really everything I would say has been said), what I don’t get is the pervasive idea that, if teasing bothers someone, they should “get over it” because it was “just meant as a joke”. So?? If it was just meant as a joke, then the appropriate response is to apologize and not do it again, because hurt feelings were not your intention. Whoever is being teased is not required to grow a thicker skin. They may choose to in order to affect their social interactions, but then it’s THEIR choice.

      And oh my god, people, if you want to be listened to learn how to spell. I can handle cussing, but trying to dissect poorly written comments is a waste of my time.

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    2. Lady, pull the stick out of your ass and think for a second. You don’t have to pass around this particular article to get the message out. In fact, if the rest of your community is as uptight as you are, it would probably be best to repackage the message. Either way, the point is the same.

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    3. “You have negated your entire point, which is, I think, how to be a better parent on this issue, with your foul language.”

      Why? Why is the entire argument negated by F-bombs? There’s no reasoning whatever given for it, I just keep seeing people state it as simple fact that Swearing is the Worst and We Shouldn’t Listen to You if You Use It!

      In any case, the OP didn’t write this article for the consumption of your PTA, she wrote it for her own blog, where tones tend to be less formal, so those of us inclined to swear often do so. Because it’s still essentially our personal space. And I think good writers (as diverse, elusive, and subjective a category as that may be), linguists, and anyone who spends some time thinking about language must also realize that while there are myriad ways to express oneself, and while one obviously doesn’t have to swear, there is no real replacement for swear words and their power. No synonyms that have the same impact. That’s why they’re swear words — so, perhaps ironically, to really give them power you have to rarely use them or they become commonplace. This is rapidly becoming a tangent, but I think it is so ludicrous when people say that we should simply use other words (in someone else’s personal forum, no less), because those other words don’t exist. Not ones that achieve the tone the author probably wanted, anyway.

      To get back to my original question, if you find something worthy in this article on ethical, logical, moral, etc. grounds, something that would have made it worth sharing with the aforementioned PTA, how are those traits lessened any by the swearing? If this were a post on “How to be a better parent by not swearing ever” then yes, the f bombs would perhaps be a little bit hard to swallow. As it is, those other points still exist — you simply have to excise some of the language you find objectionable.

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  85. Too true, and I love your “slap, I love you” response. I also taught my daughter that if a boy hit her, she was free to hit him back. Then when confronted (because you know an adult is going to jump down on her for that) look confused and say “oh, I thought we were playing the hitting game”. she has brothers, trust me, she can hit pretty hard. And before someone disagres that violence should not beget violence. When boys are held 100% accountable for their actions, then we can get to the subject of like kind retialiation.

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  86. When I was in fourth grade (circa early 1980’s), there was a little boy who was hitting me on the playground on a daily basis, hard enough to bruise my arm. My mom told me that he probably just liked me and that I need to tell the teacher about it when he does it. My dad said, “This is bullshit. Here is how you make a fist. Keep your thumb on the outside and go for the nose first. You don’t allow anyone to hit you like that.” Although it might not be the politically correct response in this day and age, one slug back and the kid never hit me again.

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    1. Violence doesn’t solve everything, but it does solve some things. Some boys seem to think it’s ok to resort to violence and hit girls, so why should girls be prevented from responding in kind?

      Oh that’s right, girls are meant to be ladylike and just cop the abuse “because he likes her”

      Bollocks

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  87. As a new mom to a little girl, I hope that I have your insight and courage when she deals with assholes in their various forms. Thank you for this post! I retweeted and I am going to send to friends!!

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  88. Can I take this one step further – and add that it’s not acceptable for girls to hit boys out of “love” either? I had someone tell my son that a girl was making fun of him because she liked him. Really? I don’t want to believe that is a sign of a healthy relationship and, should he meet a girl who believes it is, he should run the other direction. My children (3 boys and a girl) are all taught that affection is gentle and loving and never involves hitting, belittling or teasing.

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  89. Sadly enough, it even goes the other way…the next time I hear my son’s dad ask, “is she cute?” I think I’ll give him the same affection…My son is constantly reminded that everyone needs to always keep their hands, etc. to themselves-however, when out on the playground it seems to be a free-for-all…he’s 9 and I find it HORRIBLY offensive that when he goes to a teacher to ask that they please help him to stop the girls chasing, pinching, etc that he gets told to “stop tattling and go play”- My son has been taught to stand up for himself, no matter who is standing in front of him…I always tell him that if he gives respect, he will get respect…too bad some other parents weren’t told the same along the way…

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  90. I think the simplest way to express this is this: “Violence and harassment are never acceptable ways of showing affection.”

    School administrators should be told, “You have a responsibility to teach kids that violence and harassment are never acceptable. It doesn’t matter if the kid thinks he’s being friendly, or funny, it’s not acceptable.”

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  91. So much agree. I’ve seen this manifest in so many different ways, none of them pleasant. Given my social awkwardness and gender variance, I was a fairly easy target for ridicule throughout school, especially by boys. My mom dismissed my complaints with “they probably just like you” for a long time before realizing what was really going on.

    It seems like “it’s only because she likes you” is applied to girls too, sometimes in cases of abusive behavior but also in cases where a girl is trying to express active dislike and a wish to be left alone and it bleeds into the idea of “playing hard to get”. “Leave me alone, you jerk!” is somehow parsed as “I want you to keep bothering me” way too often, and sometimes the two sides get combined (“he only bothers her because he likes her/she only retaliates because she likes him”.) Gross.

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  92. This is honestly something I hadn’t really thought about and now that I have I’m so angry. I’ll definitely be passing this on and am so glad a friend passed it on to me. More people need tools like this in preventing their child from growing up to accept violence, thank you.

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  93. WTF its not only boys that pick on girls i remember when i was in school girls picked on boys the same fucking way this fucking oringal post is nothing but a sexiest cunt.i used to get beaten up by girls when i was in elementary school so wtf and there kids for fuck sake they dont kno any better at all wow what a fucking sexiest cunt she is and yes am a adult am allowed to swear if u dont like it GO FUCK UR SELF WITH A SHARP POINTY STICK

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    1. Yes, as an adult you’re allowed to swear… but as an adult you should also learn how to spell and use proper grammar when posting in a public forum and expecting people to listen to your point of view. Otherwise, you just come off as ridiculous and uneducated.

      The author never stated that this never happens to boys, so you obviously misunderstood the whole point of this article. Because how often do you hear about women battering men? Sure, it happens… but is it as common as men battering women? Or how about rape? Do women rape men often?

      The sad fact is that lessons learned in childhood, whether they come from good or bad experiences, can follow us into adulthood. That was the point of this article, to not teach young girls that it’s okay to be insulted or abused in any way.

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  94. I’ll chime in and say it goes both ways.

    When that sort of thing happened to us boys, we got told it was just cause you “girls liked us.”

    People need to be taught on all sides…

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  95. Calm down. Your focusing adult levels of aggression at a problem for children. And from the sounds of it your a few steps away from coddling your child into a simpleton who wont be able to defend themselves, let alone think for themselves with mom the lioness watching over. You cant be there forever. So calm down and think it over.

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  96. You know, the pinching and the hair pulling and the name-calling do usually mean “I like you and I don’t know how to express it. My feelings make me confused and awkward and I act roughly because of it.” I can understand that feeling, of searching through the social toolbox to try and find the thing you know how to do that will get the attention of the person you want to notice you.

    The thing is, every interaction we have with another human being is training us. When I speak to a friend one way, and she reacts negatively, she is training me not to speak to her that way. If I then change the way I speak to her, I am training her to communicate her expectations to me that way. It’s not a conscious thing in most cases; it’s just a matter of feedback and interaction.

    Where I’m going with all this is that even IF the bullying behaviour means one child ‘likes’ another, it’s an opportunity for training. If you pull my hair and I tell you I don’t like you, then maybe you will take ‘pulling hair’ outta your toolbox because it *didn’t work*. If you call me a nasty name and I stop being your friend, you’ll take that out of your skill set. If you tell me “I think you’re cute” and I say “Thank you, I think you’re cute too,” then I’m training you to communicate compliments honestly. If you react positively, you’re training me to accept compliments with sincerity (this, by the way, is why I do not compliment friends who invariably respond with self-deprecation. They have trained me not to be complimentary).

    Instead of teaching children “teasing you means he likes you,” let’s teach them to respond to abusive teasing with the simply stated “You’re a bully and I don’t like you,” while getting teachers to tell the bullies, “Maybe you should try a different way to get (kid)’s attention?” If boys and girls give clearly negative feedback, the awkward little bullies will have to find new tools for their toolboxes. You don’t have to defy or be aggressive. Just say, “I don’t like that,” and walk away as well as you can. Tell kids it’s OK to respond to teachers who say “I think he/she just likes you,” with “I only like people who aren’t jerks to me.”

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  97. It’s amazing how many responses to this post argue that we should view boy-on-girl violence interpretively, and yet lack the interpretive skills necessary to understand that the author doesn’t actually advocate punching grade school administrators.

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      1. There’s a good reason Brits consider us N Americans “irony-impaired”, sarcasm-incompetents and Olympic level Masters of the Obvious. If you don’t spell things out and point out the point that you made (like the good Methodist sermon that tells you what i’m going to tell you, makes those 3 points and then tells you what i told you), people miss it.

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  98. When I was a kid and was told that a boy being a jerkoff to me meant he ‘liked me,’ it simply didn’t compute. This made NO sense to me at the time: how could that be? If they ‘liked’ me, they would be nice, not dicks or physically hurtful. I remember thinking about it, wondering if that meant the approved method of showing interest in someone, was to be a jerk myself. But it didn’t FEEL right, so I stopped trying and stuck with what did feel right; not being an asshole. Not hurting others.

    As I got older, I paid more attention to what I saw happening between younger children, and could see that *sometimes* it was indeed, true. But not always, and the children who did like someone never actually intentionally hurt the object of their affections. Often enough though, it was just bullying, or a kid – male or female – acting out their own private issues against what they perceived as an easy target that could not or would not fight back. I sincerely hope I never make the mistake of answering a child’s complaint with a condescending “that just means they like you”. I could well be utterly incorrect.

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  99. Your Majesty,

    Your position is the kind that gets 4th graders suspended for “sexual harrasment” when they don’t know what either word is. Children at this age have neither the knowlege of what their doing nor why they feel like doing, and lack a pre-frontal cortex to figure it out. You are judging children by adult standards which are literally impossible for them to meet. Permit me to suggest that you take a developmental psych class.

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  100. I am ashamed that I didn’t realise this before reading your piece. I have an only son and would hate to think that he expresses “affection” through violence. The parents of boys really need to read this.

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  101. Bravo!!!! And please remember that this goes for boys being treated with no respect from bitchy little girls too! I have seen so many more girls being nasty with boys and other girls – than I ever see boys being nasty to the girls. Girls get away with the “she’s a girl” so she’s allowed to be whiny and bitchy. NO thanks! Please, as long as you are encouraging your girls to be confident, kind women, please don’t allow all the drama to begin when they are young. It is not cute.

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  102. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying here, but I think you’re focusing on playground mistreatment as THE end-all-be-all reason women stay in abusive relationships.

    You said: “When the fuck was it decided that we should start teaching our daughters to accept being belittled, disrespected and abused as endearing treatment? And we have the audacity to wonder why women stay in abusive relationships?”

    Women stay in abusive relationships for reasons that have nothing to do with believing abuse is a sign of affection. They stay because they have little or no self-esteem, they stay because they are irresistibly attracted to the bad boy image, and many more reasons. You’re making a good point here, but you went a little over-the-top with it.

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  103. Is there no distinction between teaching a little girl how to INTERPRET the actions of the people around her versus how to RESPOND to the actions of the people around her?

    I think the explanation as it being affection is by and large and accurate one nonetheless. Your eye-for-an-eye mentality concerns me. She’ll pick that attitude right up from you, Mom.

    Obviously, I don’t think it’s appropriate for PEOPLE to abuse other PEOPLE physically or emotionally, but that goes in all directions. Let’s not be hetero-normative please. It seems like you’re implying that women have no ability to abuse others because they’re such gentle, fragile specimens. Let’s not perpetuate a male-dominated society.

    Truly I do agree with the idea that its wrong for girls to accept being mistreated and put down. No question. But there’s more than just that in my opinion.

    Much love 🙂

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  104. As the father of a little girl, I couldn’t agree with you more about girls needing to not tolerate violence and disrespect. My only concern is your response to the violence and disrespect directed at your daughter is you directing violence and disrespect towards someone else. “If you try and feed MY daughter that crap, you better bring protective gear because I am going to shower you with the brand of “affection” you are endorsing.”. Remember children learn what is acceptable and what isn’t, from home and that sends the message “violence and disrespect is wrong, if someone does that, then be violent and disrespectful to them”.

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  105. holy cow, i remember being told that as a kid and accepting it and it honestly never occurred to me until right now how absolutely stupid and wrong it it. thank you for this. i will make sure my son knows the difference between loving and abusive.

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  106. this is hillarious i have a daughter. I know that it actually means that he does like her because when i was small i did the same thing. I used to hit girls that i liked. but now that i have grown up i understand it is wrong and i dont hit my wife. when you are a little boy it is easier to hit then talk to and that is all part of childhood. but if your daughter is so weak as to allow this to ruin her life then by all means shelter her from this ongoing childhood evil. in my books you are way way over reacting. either that or the boy that used to like you doesnt anymore and your just pissed.

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  107. love it! my mother never fed me that load of crap when i was younger!!! my little sister was getting notes saying i hate you and youre not my friend and got BIT by another girl (so hard it actually left a mark)and she was afraid to say something cause they have a “dont squeal unless its a big deal” policy. finally she told my mother but as soon as she realized my mom was calling the teacher, she freaked out and said she bit HERSELF! and then the teacher BELIEVED HER! and told her not to lie even though the bite mark was clearly in a spot where she couldnt have done it herself. the teacher said the other girl only said mean things to her cause she “Wanted to be friends but didnt know how to ask” load. of. crap. love this article. i agree that this should be read by everyone

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  108. As long as you also teach your daughter to look for the nice guys who don’t slam into her for attention as possible dating material as well.

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  109. As the father of two girls, can I just say how much I love this?

    Pure awesomeness. I was so glad to have had this passed on to me, and you better believe I am sharing the hell out of this.

    Thanks so much!

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  110. Anyone who hurts her physically or emotionally doesn’t deserve her respect, friendship or love

    I was with you 100% until that line. Please, whatever you do, don’t reach your daughter to be self-righteous and selfish enough to think that every time she feels bad, it’s the other person’s fault.

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  111. This is a load of crap. Nothing exists in a vacuum in this world. Sure sometimes it is merely a boy being mean, but other times it is merely a boy who does not know how to express his feelings. So why don’t most of you women friggin relax and judge each situation on its merits….ya know like you were raised to do or at the very least have figured out after growing the F up and becoming an adult.

    PS – I argue for a living so just save it……

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    1. You know, I *would* save it but I’m tired of the whole, ‘keep your mouth shut and don’t cause trouble’ kind of mentality that women in my age group were conditioned into adopting as we grew up. Also I don’t recall seeing any of us women reacting with anger and belligerence to this article… only men. Interesting, yes? Maybe if *you* had grown the F up and become an adult, you’d be able to argue without ranting and looking irrational.

      This article isn’t about judging boys who don’t know how to express their feelings. Like the other guys who have blown this way out of proportion, you see this as an attack on your gender. It’s not. It urges us to NOT teach our daughters that it’s okay to be treated poorly, for whatever reason. You and the others who have left abusive comments are treating the author of this post, and any other women who agree with her, poorly. Perhaps you just don’t know how to express your feelings properly.

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      1. I don’t agree entirely with all of the points you’ve made but I was just noticing that myself – the women who have either disagreed or felt that it was in some ways unfair to oys did not go apoplectic to get that point across

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