Violent Shows versus Baby Shows

The other day, NHL confided something to me.  He said that some kids were making fun of him because he was watching “baby shows” and not shows that those kids liked.  I asked him what made those other kids’ shows non-baby shows. He said that their programs were violent and since he didn’t watch violent shows, he watched baby shows.  I calmly told him that the kids that told him this were wrong on many levels.

First of all, I let him know that he *does* watch some shows that are young for his age.  Notably, Oomi Zoomi, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and other Nick Jr and Disney Junior programs.  When programs are trying to teach simple patterns, colors, letters and numbers, it isn’t age-appropriate for an 8-year-old.  However, there’s a catch.  I reminded NHL that he has a younger brother.  He can’t just watch 8-year-old appropriate shows all the time.  Sometimes, he’ll need to watch 4-year-old appropriate shows.  This means that sometimes he’ll need to watch shows that are too young for him and sometimes it will mean that his brother will watch shows that are too old for him.

Next, I told NHL that he does actually watch shows with violence.  He’s a fan of Avengers, Batman: The Animated Series and has recently discovered Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.  These shows aren’t exactly violence-free.  In fact, in many ways, they are more violent than the benchmark show his school friends watch (Power Rangers).

Still, even considering these, I told NHL that he shouldn’t equate violence with age appropriateness.  He likes science shows like Mythbusters (which, though containing some violence in the form of explosions, also has a lot of science), The Looney Tunes Show (which resembles a sitcom with Bugs and company) and Family Game Night (a game show).

In addition, I pointed out to NHL that he isn’t defined by TV.  He has other interests.  He likes video games, music (including some very grown-up selections like Train, Lady Gaga, and Black Eyed Peas), reading, and playing on the computer.

In the end, I let NHL know that he couldn’t let his classmates define whether or not he was “acting like a baby” by a few of his actions.  If they were going to be so narrow minded as to not want to be his friend because he doesn’t like the exact same TV shows that they do, then it is their loss.  However, you can’t let yourself be defined what someone says is a negative aspect of your interests.

Aloha Friday: Bullying, Reactions and Friendship

I’ve been itching to write about this for awhile, but wanted to wait while we assessed our options.  (Besides, B already wrote about this last week, so I figured it was high time I address it.)  On Thursday, April 28th, NHL was punched in the stomach by another student in his 2nd grade class.  NHL was sent to the nurse with bruises on his stomach/ribs.

One interesting wrinkle to this story was NHL’s reaction.  While in the nurse’s office, he was crying, sad that he had upset the child and had hurt his feelings.  NHL blamed himself for the bullying incident even though he had done nothing that warranted a punch in the ribs.  He even, over that weekend, listed the child as his friend.  Yes, the kid that punched him in the ribs was still a friend to NHL.

As you may recall, I was bullied a lot when I was growing up.  One incident in particular happened in middle school  At the risk of retelling a story I’ve blogged about before, I only had one person that I considered my friend at the time.  That was RH.

The only problem with RH being my friend was that he would stab me in the back.  Literally.  With a pen.  He would bully me for awhile and then would play the victim, claiming that he had heard from a third person that I had said something bad about him.  Then we would be friends again until he decided to bully me again.

Why did I keep taking him back as a friend when he kept bullying me?  Simple.  I felt like I had no other friends.  If I admitted to myself that RH wasn’t my friend, I was left friendless.  At the time, a horrible friend seemed better than no friend at all.  It scared me to see this scenario playing out again in NHL’s school.

Then, in a display of good timing, I saw a tweet from @sociallysmart (aka Corinne Gregory) about the covering up of bullying incidents.  To summarize the article (which is a must read for all parents), school administrators across the country are turning a blind eye to bullying because it makes them look bad if they admit there is a problem.  Of course, this is a case of short term gain-long term loss.  What the school administrators gain in the short term (saving face and avoiding bad PR), the kids lose in the long term (higher incidence of bullying with little to no consequences).

The only solution is for parents to know their (and their children’s) rights and stand up for them.  It might be tough to do at times, but it is essential for our children’s well being.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: Have you or your child ever been bullied by someone you/they considered a friend?  How did you/they react?

Also, don’t forget to enter my Aerobie Sprint Flying Ring giveaway.  It’s ending in four days and has a very low amount of entries (as I write this).

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the McLinky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #87

Horrendous Hair Cutting Controversy

Recently, my wife and I have been having a disagreement.  JSL turned 18 months old last week and he has yet to have a hair cut.  I say that it is more than time for one.  His long locks love to snag in the snaps of his clothes and bibs.  JSL has also cultivated a cumpulsion to transform his hair into a culinary canvas with crackers, cream cheese, or whatever food he can come by.  B, on the other hand, wants to wait as long as possible before having his hair cut.  She’s still relishing the baby hair and doesn’t want to give it up.  B has consented to a trim, though.  So tomorrow we head to the salon to have Jacob’s hair cut for the very first time.

Here are some photos of JSL with his long hair.  What do you think?  Cut or no cut?  (The last two photos aren’t about his long locks.  They’re just cute photos of JSL that I thought I’d toss in the mix.)


Newlywed Advice

As this post goes live, my friend of 20+ years (G) is getting married to his fiance (possibly by now, his wife).  G and I have been through a lot over the years.  He’s the friend with whom I opened a short lived computer repair service.  Back in High School, when I was getting mercilessly teased, he was my only sounding board to express my frustrations.  When he saw the toll it was taking on me, he risked his own social standing in the school by talking to the bullies (with whom he was friendly) asking them to lay off.  They did and I’m sure it helped preserve my sanity.  We went to the same colleges and even worked in the same company for some time (though in different departments).

If you asked me back in college, I would have placed money on him being the one who would have gotten married first solely on the fact that I was so clueless about dating and G seemed so calm about such things.  I was lucky, though, to meet B.  She made things that previously reduced me to a twitching pile of nerves into a walk in the park.  (Get your minds out of the gutter.  I’m talking about simple things like asking her out, having a dinner with her, and stuff like that.)  G met L after B and I were married.

G has been a great sounding board and advice giver through the years, and I wish him luck in his marriage.  G, if you’re reading this, remember that any time you need marriage advice, just give me a call or e-mail.  And when/if you two have children (as I’m sure your parents will begin asking from the minute you say "I do"), feel free to call/e-mail B and I with questions.  Having two kids gives you some insight into these things (at the very least, it gives you knowledge of where online to look for answers ).

To start you out, here’s some unsolicited advice:

Know when you keep your mouth shut.

You’re sure to have arguments.  All couples do.  I actually think that any couple who doesn’t have any arguments at all has something seriously wrong with their relationship.  Some arguments are bound to become heated.  But know when to stop talking and just walk away.  Yes, talking is important in a relationship, but so is knowing when to stop and cool off before more is said.

Know when and how to compromise.

A marriage is all about compromise.  Two people cannot coexist without finding some middle ground.  You’ll find yourself doing some things that your spouse wants to do that you (by yourself) wouldn’t do.  Meanwhile, your spouse will find herself doing things that she normally wouldn’t do if you weren’t involved.   Finding that middle ground will be easy in some cases and more difficult in others.  Sometimes you will give in 100%, sometimes she will, sometimes it will be 50-50.  The important thing isn’t who compromises more (no keeping score!), but that you both compromise.

Find some "you" time, Find some "us" time.

Many things will go on in your life.  You’ll need to work on your house, pay bills, work, etc.  It will be really easy to go about every day as if you were just two people sharing a habitat.  Make sure you take time out every so often to have "us" time.  Go out to dinner, see a movie, whatever you both enjoy.  As long as you are doing it together (hey, minds out of the gutter!), it counts.

By the same measure, make sure you don’t lose yourself in the relationship also.  The perfect marriage (IMO) is one where both people merge into one unit, yet keep their individuality.  So you might want to have a poker night with your friends.  Meanwhile, she can have girls nights out.

And a warning about your future.  When you have kids, it’ll be harder to schedule "us" and "you" time.  That’s natural (and you might not get any "us/you" time for the first few months),.  Just make sure you keep doing it, even if it is at a reduced frequency.

What advice would you give to a newlywed couple?