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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Have you ever had a similar conversation with your child or teenager?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (30614points) February 5th, 2011

Parent says, “That’s a really bad man on that TV show.”

Child/teenager replies, “Oh, he just has issues.”

Parent sits in bemused silence.

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13 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

in similar circumstances, my son said I was “awfully judgmental”, and I should find out his side of the story….

geeky_mama's avatar

We once watched an episode of Cops where a drunken man kept shouting: “Get behind me Satan..I’m a CHILD OF GOD” over and over.

Our kids (at that time 12, 9 and 5) not only called it on the nose: “He must be drunk.”...but made it a family joke for a time.

Me: “blah blah..do your your homework”
Kid age 9: “But..I’m a CHILD OF GOD!”
Me: “Child of God! Do your homework now.”
Kid age 9: “OK.”

We even took to calling them to the table <name>Child of God! Dinner!!

So. Um. I guess we’re the polar opposite…our kids thought worse of the person on tv (or realistic as the case may be..it was COPS after all)..and then made it a family joke.

WasCy's avatar

I would be the one suggesting that “maybe he had an unhappy childhood” or “he seems to have difficulty with authority” or “maybe it’s just a misdiagnosed hyperactive thing” and the kids would play along.

Bellatrix's avatar

I have learned over the years to never underestimate my children. I still make that mistake but they usually set me to rights. Our children have access to so much information these days and while they can appear to completely lack common sense in some ways, they are often wise beyond their years. Pity you were stunned, it could have been an opportunity for a deeper conversation with your child.

I remember asking my son to watch a series of documentaries about teenage recklessness, drug use, need for sleep and sexual behaviour. He declined and said, mum, we both know they are going to say don’t use drugs and they are bad for you and that kids have sex and not always safely. I don’t need to sit with you to watch that. I get it. We already had those conversations. He was right. We had.

Meego's avatar

To my amusement kids do this type of bewildering activity even in earlier childhood…
Child age 4 unexpectedly throws shoe out backseat car window and replies out loud “oh shit”. Yes my daughter did that…I was also bewildered LOL!

Fyrius's avatar

@hawaii_jake
@zenvelo
So your children reject the film’s judgemental Hollywood one-sidedness in favour of a level-headed assessment of the big picture.
If I were related to them, I’d be proud as heck.

zenvelo's avatar

@Fyrius I am very proud of my son, he has wonderful critical thinking skills,and is clever to boot! Now if I could just get him to do his homework…

john65pennington's avatar

Issues…......tissues! its up to you to distinguish the difference and to make an explanation. sure, the bad guy has issues, but that still makes him a bad guy and you should explain this.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Life used to be so much simpler. We didn’t make excuses for people’s bad behavior.

Fyrius's avatar

Life was always this complex, we just knew less of it.

MissAusten's avatar

@Dutchess_III I don’t think an attempt at understanding behavior has to be an attempt to excuse the behavior. Whatever the cause/reason, it’s still wrong and the person who does wrong is responsible. But if we never look deeper than that, how can we prevent it in the future? I think encouraging your kids to look at more than one side of a story is good for them.

Example: My daughter used to have a boy in her class who always seemed to get into trouble. He had “anger issues” according to my daughter this was second grade and met with the school counselor regularly. Still, they were friends and usually got along well. She invited the boy to her birthday party. It was a painting party at my husband’s studio and this boy’s mother came along. She was the only parent to stay for the duration of the party and she spent it sitting right next to or behind the boy, constantly telling him what to do and what not to do. He didn’t cause the least bit of trouble, but she harped on him non-stop. When the kids started painting, she told him what colors to use and exactly how to do it, then took the paintbrush from him and painted his project herself. When my daughter and this boy later had a falling out because of his aggressive behavior at school, she said to me, “I’d be angry all the time too if you never let me do things for myself and always nagged me, but I wouldn’t take it out on my friends. Just because he’s mad at his mom doesn’t mean he can hurt people. Sheesh.” She felt sorry for him and actually tried to be a good friend to him beyond what other kids would because she had some insight into what his life was like beyond school. She could be understanding without accepting or liking the negative behavior.

Soubresaut's avatar

I’ve had conversations like that with my parents!
They get very upset and start declaring some character in the movie/show evil, and are set on teaching us “kids” a lesson in who to avoid in our daily lives.
And me and my sister’s responses are usually either “Oh, he just has issues,” vertibatim, or some variant of it.
If they get more and more fervent and won’t let us alone, sure that we’re going to meet some horrible serial killer in real life because we pity them or whatever: “GEEZ it’s just a movie! Give it a rest!! It’s different in story than in real life!!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Profound, @MissAusten. Small kids see things so very clearly. They know right from wrong…but somehow they lose that clarity when puberty hits. (why is the ‘th’ in the word ‘that’ underlined in red???? Just wondering…)

I agree that it’s important to understand why people do things, but in the process we tend to hand them excuses. More than once, subbing in class rooms, I’d have a kid announce that he “couldn’t” behave because he was ADHD. One kid did nothing but act out…slam books and stuff. I finally got REALLY angry and set him outside in the hall. He was suddenly very quiet and well behaved because I WAS so angry. But not three minutes later a counselor came along, and just couldn’t believe I had disciplined him because he couldn’t help himself. She said it right in front of him. So, back to the room he came, and was even worse than before because he had adults on his side. Too many times we send the message that we shouldn’t even try to modify their behavior.

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