walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

manners and doctors

Over at the NYT, there's an article about kids displaying bad manners at the pediatricians. Like virtually everything written on the subject of manners, the lack of precision is problematic. The Well picked it up, which is great, because I was curious about the response of readers, which is expectably substantial.


The author of the original article responds in-line to some of the commenters, clarifying her original remarks. No, she does not expect manners from 2 year olds and under (unlike, believe it or not, some of the commenters, who seem of the BabyWise approach to child abuse). A shockingly small number of people have even bothered to raise the possibility of Asperger's (which was sort of a red flag given the comment on eye contact in the original article, which just made me want to slap someone. Not that I would, because I have had vast self-control for decades now, but still). A variety of people are just making up straw-parents to vilify, and then preening themselves on how great their kids are turning out.

I could post something about how people I've met over the years who have done dastardly deeds -- some of them felonious -- while always being punctiliously polite. But why? I am, so far, incline to sit back and survey the landscape, taking mental notes in support of Why I Don't Work Hard at Setting Up Playdates. I don't need to hate my fellow human beings any more than I already do.

ETA: I've really been inclined to wallow in my pathology lately. Here goes:

Most of the people talking about what constitutes manners in the comments thread are even less precise than the original article. If someone _had_ been precise, we would have noticed that there are in fact several responses to the article.

(1) The child abusers who are willing to beat children age 2 and under to make sure they say please, thank you (for being jabbed with a needle) and otherwise complying with personal demands made by strangers after a long, uncomfortable wait while sick. In general, they think they have successfully extracted compliance from their children (if they have any). I'm not so sure, mostly because I know what I and my sisters are/were like and I know how we were raised. We looked compliant, but scary things happened. Q.E.D.

(2) The parents of children with some degree of developmental disorder: maybe they're sensitive and/or shy, maybe they've got language problems or a sensory thing. Whatever, they aren't NeuroTypical. This group further subdivides into parents who were like that themselves and therefore saw it coming and empathize, and those that have repeatedly banged their head against the brick wall that is their child and are only slowly learning. You really see this in the posts about kids who behave very differently at home vs. at school.

(3) Parents of NT kids who know people who have kids in category (2) and recognize that as real.

(4) Parents of NT kids who've run across kids in category (2) and _don't_ recognize that as real.

If these four groups had any clue what the other folk were saying, it would change what they posted dramatically. As it is, they are all talking at cross-purposes (except maybe #2).

ETAYA: This thread is begging for a social class analysis.
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