Monday, March 17, 2008

Moral High Ground or High Horse?

Sometime around May 1, 2007, Son and Thing 3 got into a scuffle at school. Thing 3, a known instigator, decided that he was going to see how far he could push Son that day. Son reached his limit after lunch and physically responded. Both boys went to the principal's office for a lecture.

I called the principal to discuss, and I found out that Thing 3 had said some very rude things to Son about our family. I advised Son that this was a showstopper as far as Thing 3 being welcome in our home until we received an apology to our whole family. Since Son had been involved in a little bit of poor behavior over at Thing 3's father's house on an earlier occasion, and I made him apologize, I figured that we'd soon see the end of the issue with a contrite Thing 3 telling me that he was sorry, and that would be that.

No such luck.

Son's birthday party is coming up. He wants to invite a couple of friends to stay the night with pizza, cake, video games, etc. GPop advised Son that if I agreed, Thing 3 could be on the B-list if any of the A-listers couldn't make it. I do not so agree.

I told Son that until Thing 3 acknowledges that he was a jack@ss and apologizes for that behavior, Thing 3 is not welcome in our home. I am not telling Son that he can't be friends with Thing 3, since I don't think parents can or should force that issue, but I can control who has access to my home. Son told me that Thing 3 said that he had never done anything wrong, and he doesn't have anything for which to apologize.

So, blogosphere, help me out. I'd ask the Google, but she's kind of a "Google helps them that help themselves" kind of gal, and I want real opinions. Am I sticking to my principles in a good way, or am I carrying a grudge that needs to be dropped off at the grudge recycling center?


CrankyProf said...

Oh, boy.

Were I in your place, I'd hang on to that grudge with fierce intensity, and there's not much that would make me drop it.

Most disturbing to me is that Thing 3 probably said some pretty hateful, bigoted things, and believed that he has nothing to apologize for.

HOWEVER....Son was the (primary) wronged party. GPop already sort of allowed for Thing 3's inclusion...

I think you may have to let it go, but make it clear to Thing 3 if/when he comes to your house, that he is on probation. One comment, and out he goes, never to return.

And make that clear to Son and GPop.

Wikinite said...

If I were in your shoes I would stick to my guns. While you can't really make people live up to your expectations, you can choose who you associate with. If you choose to associate with this person the (I feel) you are accepting his behaviour as legitimate.

To paraphrase Cedric the Entertainer: You are a grown-ass man. There is zero reason for you to put up with behaviour that you find intolerable.

Angry Professor said...

I would stick to it. I would also express to my Angry Kid my surprise and disappointment that she still wanted to be friends with someone who would say nasty things about her family and then refuse to apologize.

As long as Thing 3 has your son's friendship, he thinks, at the very least, that his words must not be so bad. Clearly his parents approve of his attitudes; they won't change until they have real social consequences.

Angry Professor said...

Oops - dangling participle... "his attitudes won't change until they have real social consequences."

Shay said...

Stick to your guns. Thing3 needs to learn that there is free speech, but there are also consequences.

Mike said...

Stick to your guns. Son needs to learn that just because someone is willing to be your "friend" that they are not always worthy of your friendship. If thing 3 asks why he wasn't invited to the party I would coioach son to tell the truth and say that my dad is upset about the things you said about him. That way thing three can connect the consequences to his actions.

Knowing thing three, it will be a better birthday party without him.

GDad said...

Thanks, everyone. I think I'll keep to my principles. If Thing 3 ever apologizes, forgiveness will be immediate. Until then, he's persona non grata in the Lastname homestead.