Mason County News
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In My Opinion
Time To Send the Kids To Their Rooms
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 • Posted June 12, 2013

I'm not a parent; but, I'm one heck of an uncle. As such, I don't have a lot of actual parenting skills. I have found that many of the disciplinary skills I use on my Dachshund are transferable to children; but, only up to a point.

Something I've noticed about kids is that they can be... well, childish, about how they handle disagreements. When one child hits another, the first response is usually retaliation. It's definitely "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" with kids. It takes years to develop the "turn the other cheek" strategy, and even then, getting even usually wins out.

The odd thing about children is that there isn't really a limit on their ages. The textbooks may say that children are between the ages of two years and sixteen years; but, I've discovered that childhood can often continue on past the teen years, even lasting into mid and later life.

I deal with a lot of those older children. Usually, it's in the form of the Letters, as people will write in to register their displeasure with something, or someone. The first letter is often followed a week later by a response to the original letter, and then I have to back everyone down until they all cool off.

When such exchanges occur with the Letters, I'm prepared for the situations that will follow, and I know exactly what to be looking for. I make sure that the attacks are not personally motivated. I make sure that the writer is addressing a situation that others in the community might share, and not just something that affects one or two people. And, I make sure that everyone stays as civil and polite as we can manage.

Occasionally, such exchanges occur outside of the Letters. There will be articles or columns in the paper that focus on issues or events that are happening in the community. The same rules of civility still apply, and I try to keep everyone on their best behavior.

Recently, there was something in the paper that started off innocently enough. It addressed no specific topic, , , until the final paragraph. Right there, in plain sight if I had been looking, was a sentence that included a reference to a specific person. The author had snuck in a personal attack and I had failed to catch it.

The person it was aimed at, however, caught it right away and they started contacting me to find out why I had let such a thing into the paper. I contacted the original author, who admitted they had done it on purpose, and told them that it had been inappropriate and unprofessional. I urged the author to deal with the situation outside of the paper and to leave us out of it next time.

Of course, I still had the offended party to deal with!

Fortunately for me, they had time to cool down at this point. But, I still felt they needed some justice, even though starting a war of words in the paper was not the way it was going to happen. The only tool I really have at my disposal is the column I write on a weekly basis; but, I didn't want to give either party fuel to keep their spat going, so I decided to leave their names completely out of the discussion. I also decided to remind both of them that all disagreements are capable of being settled peacefully, and without dragging others into the scuffle!

So, both of you behave or I'm sending the both of you to your rooms without supper!

It’s all just my opinion.

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