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Family members, beliefs and children -- What is appropriate?

Posted by on Aug. 4, 2014 at 10:17 PM
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Last week my daughter was at a family member's house when adults started discussing racial things ("Did you know that black people can run faster than white people because they have an extra bone in their foot?")  

She felt uncomfortable, so she walked away.  (I wasn't there.)  

Later, my nephew, (age 12, same as my daughter) somehow wound up on the topic of homosexuality.  He was talking about how wrong it was.  

Again, she felt uncomfortable (because she disagrees with him) and so she walked away.  

I'm proud of her from walking away from things that made her feel uncomfortable.  I just wonder how to talk to her about other optional, proper responses--if I even need to suggest alternative responses, should she ever be unable to walk away.   I'm completely fine with her speaking up and saying things like "No, it's not wrong to be gay." (etc.)  but I also understand the desire to avoid conflict.  

What's right?  Do you feel it's a problem to avoid the topics?  Would you encourage your child to speak up? Even if it was going to cause a problem with family?  

by on Aug. 4, 2014 at 10:17 PM
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by Whoopie on Aug. 4, 2014 at 10:25 PM
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I never wanted my kids to make waves within the family, so I just said that you might hear things that you do not agree with, ignore or walk away. My folks have some very old fashioned notions and habits (80 yos), but they were really good about holding their tongues until the GCs were older. Now my kids would just roll their eyes and walk away. I think my dad might say some of this stuff for shock value. My mom thinks things but remains silent.

by Platinum Member on Aug. 4, 2014 at 10:27 PM
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My brother and I disagree on about 95% of everything so my kids have seen that it's OK to disagree with family. I always tell them it's OK to speak their mind but they have to be respectful of ther person's feelings/beliefs while voiving their own or they can walk away. It's their choice.
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by Maya on Aug. 4, 2014 at 10:38 PM
My family and I disagree on 99.9% of things. They spank, I don't. They're religious, I'm not. They think that homosexuality is an abomination, I'm gay. You're supposed to wait until you marry to have children, I have two kids out of wedlock and I never plan on marrying anyone. You're not supposed to live with your SO unless you're married to them, my ex and I lived together all of my adult life except for the past ten months. They believe in God, I'm an atheist. They're moderate democrats, I'm a liberal. They're pro-life, I'm pro-choice. They're anti-gay rights, I'm pro gay rights. I think that you can see where I'm going here. LOL

I have taught my children to RESPECTFULLY stand up for themselves and what they believe in. My youngest is two (she'll be three next month) so she tends to go with the flow. My oldest is six. She has had unpleasant encounters with family members because of the fact that my girlfriend recently moved in with us, and is apart of our family. My six year old has shut down adults that told her that her mama is going to hell because she's gay. Like me, she's talkative, feisty, and can hold her own when she chooses to.

But, at the end of the day, we ARE family. It's OK to disagree with family. Although my family and I have our differences, I can honestly say that we WILL put those differences aside when someone is in need. We love each other, and we do like to argue with each other at times. But, that's what family is about, at least mine anyway. Lol
by on Aug. 4, 2014 at 10:41 PM

Some of my in-laws are racist homophones. I walk away when they start doing their thing.   When I can't and my children overhear, I have a discussion about my opinion afterwards. If they want to speak up, they can, but like me they don't like to. We all know we can't change their minds and it'll be a waste of breath.

by Ruby Member on Aug. 4, 2014 at 10:44 PM
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Sounds like your daughter is doing what she is comfortable with in walking away.  You can respect a persons right to have an opinion without respecting the opinion expressed, or even listing to it.  Your daughters ability to walk away is something many adults struggle with.  

by Platinum Member on Aug. 4, 2014 at 10:46 PM
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My children (tween to teens) have no problem explaining their opinion and why they believe what they do.  We encourage them to read/watch/listen current event/news. Then we ask them what do they think and why.  For about the last 3 years we have asked them to come to the dinner table (yes, we still have dinner together every night as a family) with a current event topic they learned that day and discuss their viewpoint. They can use any source they want.  And we will question them on their choice of a source.  And they do the same to us.  It's fun. And it prepares them for having discussions in public beyond the peer social scene. 

My husband and I love watching and listening to them grow. 

by Mahinaarangi on Aug. 4, 2014 at 10:55 PM

This bemuses me.  Family members should take topics and opiniions of said topics at face value and up for great discussions.  My neices and nephews and my own kids love being in the discussions and like to vocalize their opinions whether they are the flavour of the month or not.

The subject of black people having an extra bone I would of placed in the interesting trivia box....not the racial box.

I would worry more about a child that is unwilling to share their view because it may rock the boat....even though I have a few of them myself, its still a worry with me :-)

by Gold Member on Aug. 5, 2014 at 12:12 AM

Mine WOULD speak up without compunction. Ignoring social niceties is a "feature" of Asperger's! 

I shudder to think what would have happened with my dad had he lived to Tony's teen years; Dad was a bit of an Archie Bunker and my son has no problem telling people when he thinks they're stupid!

by Silver Member on Aug. 5, 2014 at 12:15 AM
You know, I think it's really neat that she has the ability to walk away, it's tactful. I do think its important that people stand up for themselves, but I also think that speaking up isn't always the right thing to do in certain situations. I would just give her a few phrases to give when she wants to avoid conflict but doesn't want to he a part of the. conversatoon
by Bronze Member on Aug. 5, 2014 at 12:20 AM

I do not feel it is wrong to avoid certain topics to maintain the peaces.  Even if you are the only one ingnoring the discussion.

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