The other day while online, I was reading an advice columnist. A woman wrote in about an incident with her boyfriend’s parents. The mom made a comment that she thought was rude. She responded with a sharp remark. When her boyfriend told her that what she did was rude, she didn’t believe him, hence the need to write into an advice columnist for an unbiased opinion.
The columnist sided with the boyfriend. The woman’s response was indeed rude. I agreed with the columnist but when I read the comments below the article, it seemed many other readers didn’t agree. Some of them even thought the woman should have been more direct. They thought she should stand up for herself rather than let the rude comment stand.
I didn’t read all the comments but none of the ones I read sided with the columnist. And I thought, “This is what is wrong with society.” The fact that the mentality was all about getting even or putting people in their place seemed wrong. Since when did two wrongs make it right? Yes, the parent’s comment was rude. She may have spoken without fully weighing her words. But instead of just brushing off the comment or maybe even bringing it to her boyfriend’s attention for an explanation, this woman chose the path of giving back what she thought she got in the first place.
There are many times that I tell my kids that they should not do back to the other one what was done to them. If one of them hit the other, it doesn’t mean you should hit back. An insult does not require an insult back. Being rude does not justify being rude back. I repeat the adage I heard from my own childhood – “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Jase was having issues with a few kids at his school teasing him. My husband talked to him about ways to handle it. On a few of them, Jase said that the response would be the same as bullying. He knew right away that he shouldn’t do back to the kids what was done to him. But it is all too easy for people to want to fall back on that. It is easy to lash out with equal amounts of anger or rudeness and justify that as you are only responding because it was done to you first.
When one of my kids runs to me and says the other was rude or mean, I remind them that they cannot control that person. They cannot control their actions or words. The only thing that they are in control of is their own actions and reactions. So when Jase is rude to her, instead of snipping back at him, she needs to stand up for herself without being rude. She can state that she doesn’t want to play with him when he speaks to her this way, or she can ignore his remark as she knows he is only trying to get a rise out of her. (Because don’t siblings always know how to push our buttons?)
It is a tough thing to learn and obviously based upon the comments to the advice column many people are in need of learning it. But I can’t control them. All I can do is set a good example for my kids and remind them that “two wrongs don’t make a right.”