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When strangers get loud & foul-mouthed around your kids..


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It's one thing on the bus, out in the city - out in public spaces...

 

but yesterday I ran into something that tripped my trigger.

 

 

We were at our usual spot at the library, all spread out on a large table, equipment all spread out....and in comes a large group of teenagers.

 

Loud teenagers.

 

F this and B that and - well, you get the picture.

 

I spoke up and asked them to stop, there is a child present. They only acknowledged me with glares.

 

And it continued.

 

I packed our stuff up and left. Furious.

 

I stopped by the front desk to ask if there was a policy on foul language in their space. The staff member only said she'd speak to the reference librarian.

 

So, what's the right thing to do?

 

Do libraries ever have policies on what is appropriate? I never did find out.

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Most have policies about being disruptive to other people. My suggestion is befriend the meanest looking librarian there and if it happens again, let her handle it ;)

I would have said something too. A lot of teens use the library as a place to hang out because their parents don't actually know what they are doing, they just know they are going to the library and hope they are actually studying.

I hate it for you that you had to pack up and leave because of these kids. Just remember that every situation is a lesson for your children. How you respond or react teaches them how they should do it.

But sometimes, its hard to be the rational adult when you are dealing with disrespectful teens.

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I would have waited until someone came to kick them out. My kids know not to repeat what idiotic people say. I would not be bullied by anybody in a public library. If need be the police would deal with it, that's their job to recognize and keep track of people like this. Those teens are just going to keep being abusive to people because they think they can get away with it now. If management can't handle them then the police are called.

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I hold me ground and speak up, but then again, I'm used to dealing with teens on a regular basis (subbing in our local high school).

 

First, I'd politely ask them to stop.

 

Then I'd tell them I'm going to report them to the librarian if they don't (or call the police if I don't trust the librarian to handle it). I'd follow through if the threat didn't work (and yes, I called the police once at a Wendy's).

 

So far, it's worked at fast food places and the local skating rink - each time I didn't know the teens involved, but they ended up being the ones who backed down when I took charge as I do in school. Only once did I actually have to call the police and they did take care of it (kids left, but police still found them in the neighborhood and talked with them).

 

Kids who know me wouldn't start in the first place. ;)

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Our librarians would not have allowed it to continue. I would have spoken to someone at the library and asked them to put a stop to it, and I wouldn't have let them run me off. It sounds though, like no one at your library was willing to confront them. That's too bad.

 

I always made it a point to talk with ds when someone (regardless of their age) acted inappropriately in public. I used to tell him when he was younger, that some teens think it makes them sound cool or grown-up to use a lot of swear words. We had a group of rude teens in our neighborhood years ago. They never did anything illegal, but they were just unruly enough to give teenagers a bad reputation. I explained to him that not all teens are like that, and used a few of his then-teen cousins as examples of how many teenagers are nice, normal people who just happen to be in their teens.

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My dh has forbidden me from getting in fights with teenaged boys because you never know what they will do.

Wolf's done the same.

 

I had a situation several years ago where there was a group of teens picking on another just outside my place.

 

I went out to break it up.

 

They turned on me, yelling, swearing, etc.

 

It was frightening. I didn't back down, b/c I figured it would only provoke things to a worse degree, but it was nuts. I remembered being a teen and if an adult showed up, you scattered. No way did you stand there and confront the adult...but now?

 

Yeah. Safety issue.

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In most cases, I've found that a simple "Hey, guys, can you watch the language a bit since my kids are here" works. It has worked most of the times I've tried.

 

I'm sad that groups of teenage boys represent a threat. I'm not arguing against it; I just think it's sad and complicated.

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In most cases, I've found that a simple "Hey, guys, can you watch the language a bit since my kids are here" works. It has worked most of the times I've tried.

 

I'm sad that groups of teenage boys represent a threat. I'm not arguing against it; I just think it's sad and complicated.

I think it's truly horrid that a group of kids have to be assessed from a safety pov. Shouldn't be the case. Sad, yes. Complicated, probably. Something I have the ability to sort out? Not so much, unfortunately.

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I've had good luck in asking young men to stop the swearing. It seems appealing to their manliness actually works. "Please, gentlemen, there are ladies and children present. Would you please clean up the language a bit?"

 

A gaggle of girls? Forget it. They'll just get louder and more vulgar. I tend to just move if it is a bunch of high school girls.

 

If a group (boys or girls or mixed) are flashing gang signs and language, I don't say a word. I leave with my kids. And yes, that is frequently the case in my city.

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I ran into a similar situation last summer with my kids at a local ice cream shop. It's the type of place you stand outside at the window and order and then wait by the picnic benches out front while your order is being made. There were a bunch of teens acting ugly and using lots of foul language. I sent my kids to the car and told the teen I didn't appreciate their filthy mouths, especially around my young kids. They just laughed and acted like they weren't doing anything wrong.

 

It seems like the level of disrepect is so high in circumstances like these that even if you do say something it probably won't help. If they're willing to act like that in front of mothers and young children, they probably won't care or stop when called on it.

 

If my husband had been there, they probably would've stopped. Something about a man standing up to these little brats makes it different.

 

As far as the library goes, I would have certainly spoken to the person in charge and tried to have them removed.

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I'm pretty sure the librarians would have squashed that behavior post haste around here. :glare: Our library has rules about volume and behavior.

 

Yep, ours does too. In fact, there's even a security officer who was hired to police the library in the afternoons after school. (The library is right across the street from a school, and it's a gathering place for kids to wait for their parents to get off work and pick them up.) All libraries I've ever patronized have behavior policies.

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In most cases, I've found that a simple "Hey, guys, can you watch the language a bit since my kids are here" works. It has worked most of the times I've tried.

 

I'm sad that groups of teenage boys represent a threat. I'm not arguing against it; I just think it's sad and complicated.

 

It is sad, but there are very good reasons for it.

 

Funny. I have that same rule.

 

And a specific reason, just like me, probably?:tongue_smilie:

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This is the main reason why we don't go to the library during the after school hours. We do have security guards at the library who escort disruptive teens off the premises, but I just prefer we not have to witness or hear any of that stuff. It is so sad so many young people today need to behave this way.

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Teens (or adults for that matter) in a pack are different than individual teens or even teens in pairs. I'm willing to bet that most of those teens would have been contrite and respectful if approached individually. I've had to approach teens in a pack on a couple of occasions (once when they were bullying my elderly mother) but it was a very tense situation. I used my teacher voice (as Creekland does) and did not back down. And I've taught at juvenile corrections centers and don't scare easily. I was lucky that they backed down because honestly you don't know how it could go. (Though probably in a public setting like a library it would go in your favor simply because there are other people there to call the police or to come to your aid.)

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I ran into a similar situation last summer with my kids at a local ice cream shop. It's the type of place you stand outside at the window and order and then wait by the picnic benches out front while your order is being made. There were a bunch of teens acting ugly and using lots of foul language. I sent my kids to the car and told the teen I didn't appreciate their filthy mouths, especially around my young kids. They just laughed and acted like they weren't doing anything wrong.

 

It seems like the level of disrepect is so high in circumstances like these that even if you do say something it probably won't help. If they're willing to act like that in front of mothers and young children, they probably won't care or stop when called on it.

 

If my husband had been there, they probably would've stopped. Something about a man standing up to these little brats makes it different.

 

As far as the library goes, I would have certainly spoken to the person in charge and tried to have them removed.

 

*respectfully*

 

It might have been different if you had framed their behavior as age-expected instead of disrespectful and bratty in your mind and approached them with an expectation that they will honor a reasonable request.

 

Teens are self-centered; younger minors being around probably wasn't on their radar. The language probably was not disrespect; it was teens going through an expected phase. They experiment with language (just like toddlers/preschoolers, but on a higher level and with more access to variety ;)). Most will not grow into their career and professional years with that being part of their vocabulary. They "bond" and "connect" and establish group norms with language, and set themselves apart from adults that way. It's ok, and not necessary (or accurate) to read too much into it.

 

Honestly, I have gotten respectful and willing compliance from a range of teens using a "Hey, guys, would you mind toning it down a bit while my kids are here" approach than I would have had I assumed disrespect or approached them like they have made a mistake. Teens called out by strange adults don't typically react well, and with the group strength (humans are more inclined to be bold in a group in ways they are not alone), they are likely to react strongly.

 

So, it becomes a matter of do you want to be right or do you want your library, park, ice cream store experience to be free from excessive bad language.

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*respectfully*

 

It might have been different if you had framed their behavior as age-expected instead of disrespectful and bratty in your mind and approached them with an expectation that they will honor a reasonable request.

 

Teens are self-centered; younger minors being around probably wasn't on their radar. The language probably was not disrespect; it was teens going through an expected phase. They experiment with language (just like toddlers/preschoolers, but on a higher level and with more access to variety ;)). Most will not grow into their career and professional years with that being part of their vocabulary. They "bond" and "connect" and establish group norms with language, and set themselves apart from adults that way. It's ok, and not necessary (or accurate) to read too much into it.

 

Honestly, I have gotten respectful and willing compliance from a range of teens using a "Hey, guys, would you mind toning it down a bit while my kids are here" approach than I would have had I assumed disrespect or approached them like they have made a mistake. Teens called out by strange adults don't typically react well, and with the group strength (humans are more inclined to be bold in a group in ways they are not alone), they are likely to react strongly.

 

So, it becomes a matter of do you want to be right or do you want your library, park, ice cream store experience to be free from excessive bad language.

Sorry, but disrespect isn't age expected...in fact, I'd say by the time someone is in their teens, the knowledge and ability of how to appropriately conduct one's self in public should be age expected.

 

Teens aren't toddlers.

 

Perhaps that's part of the problem, lowered expectations.

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I might ask them to stop depending on whether or not I felt they were approachable and might listen to me. I would give them a few minutes to see if they might quiet down or move somewhere else.

 

Otherwise, I would keep my things at the table and talk with one of the librarians. If she seemed indifferent, I would ask for someone a little higher up, or I would go and find someone who could direct me to a person that was in charge. I would continue until someone either did something or basically told me that this type of behavior was acceptable, which I would then explain why it's not.

 

And IMO, it's not just about the language. It's also about being disruptive.

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Sorry, but disrespect isn't age expected...in fact, I'd say by the time someone is in their teens, the knowledge and ability of how to appropriately conduct one's self in public should be age expected.

 

Teens aren't toddlers.

 

Perhaps that's part of the problem, lowered expectations.

 

:iagree:

 

I completely and totally agree!

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Sorry, but disrespect isn't age expected...in fact, I'd say by the time someone is in their teens, the knowledge and ability of how to appropriately conduct one's self in public should be age expected.

 

Teens aren't toddlers.

 

Perhaps that's part of the problem, lowered expectations.

 

Adults have been complaining about teen language and behavior for generations, including the supposed good ole days of manners and courtesy.

 

Which is my point, teens in a pack act like teens. Experimenting with language is a known stage. It will pass.

 

As far as "expectations", the teens I have reminded (but not judged) have almost all toned it down immediately; often with an apology and a "yes; ma'am".

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Good policy. I ignore it. I'm not concerned if my kids hear foul language (not like they aren't ever going to hear it). I talk to them after about not acting like such idiots themselves in public.

 

Now that my kids are older I have this attitude but in the library I expect everyone to be respectful and would speak up and say something calmly. If that didn't resolve the issue I would talk to a librarian (i know 90% of them)or in the case of our library the police officer on duty.

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Sorry, but disrespect isn't age expected...in fact, I'd say by the time someone is in their teens, the knowledge and ability of how to appropriately conduct one's self in public should be age expected.

 

Teens aren't toddlers.

 

Perhaps that's part of the problem, lowered expectations.

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

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Yeah, but when you live in a scary place where shootings are regular occurrences you just don't know... I'm too afraid to speak up. On the upside it wouldn't likely happen in our library because there is always a police officer inside.

 

We live right on the border of Cleveland in a very socio-economic mixed city. I can usually sense when it's "safe" to say something and when it's not. There are certainly times when I wouldn't say something to a teen and those are usually the times when I just leave the situation anyhow. The funny thing is that I find worse behaving teens in the better areas of town.

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First of all, I curse. A lot. Cursing in and of itself doesn't bother me.

 

That being said, there's a time and a place for everything. Loudly cursing and carrying on in the library? Not cool. That would have irked me. I would've said something to the teens and if I felt unsafe would have at least spoken to the librarian about it.

 

I once had a similar experience on the playground at a school picnic when my ds was in kindergarten! After I said something did get a little afraid when it seemed like the teen and her mother were gesturing rather angrily towards me but luckily we were in a crowded public space, LOL!

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Ya, this place isn't exactly Mayberry, but it's not inner-city Detroit either.

 

I honestly didn't trust myself to do anything more than leave..because..well..you know that menopausal thing - doesn't take much to turn my body into full scale offensive Grizzly Bear mama mode...

 

It'd of been okay had the kids apologized or straightened up, but that's not what happened.

 

I'm laughing now, but is there such a thing as Library Rage?

 

Is there a nice way to ask at the library to ask again about a written policy without putting them on the defensive? Maybe I just got the wrong person that day.

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It might have been different if you had framed their behavior as age-expected instead of disrespectful and bratty in your mind and approached them with an expectation that they will honor a reasonable request.

 

Teens are self-centered; younger minors being around probably wasn't on their radar. The language probably was not disrespect; it was teens going through an expected phase. They experiment with language (just like toddlers/preschoolers, but on a higher level and with more access to variety ). Most will not grow into their career and professional years with that being part of their vocabulary. They "bond" and "connect" and establish group norms with language, and set themselves apart from adults that way. It's ok, and not necessary (or accurate) to read too much into it.

 

Honestly, I have gotten respectful and willing compliance from a range of teens using a "Hey, guys, would you mind toning it down a bit while my kids are here" approach than I would have had I assumed disrespect or approached them like they have made a mistake. Teens called out by strange adults don't typically react well, and with the group strength (humans are more inclined to be bold in a group in ways they are not alone), they are likely to react strongly.

 

So, it becomes a matter of do you want to be right or do you want your library, park, ice cream store experience to be free from excessive bad language.

 

 

:iagree::iagree:

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Naw, I don't think this place is big enough for that. It's small potatoes.

 

As a funny side-note story...

 

After we were leaving, I stopped in the library used book store (oh man, it is delicious! 2 books for a quarter!) ...I needed some materials for a History unit I'm building.

 

There were 3 paperbacks on US citizenship tests, fill in the blank study books. I was comparing them back and forth..which one should I get?

 

These two darling old ladies come in the bookstore (it's a fairly tiny room in the front, maybe like 12 x 12) and one of them is standing near me in this little tiny aisle..

 

and she rips one...I mean loud as a aircraft engine!

 

"Man," I thought to myself..."She must really be feeling much better now.." :lol:

 

She twittered and went about her business like nothing had happened - nor did her friend make any notice of it....

 

But then...

 

it hit.

 

"It" being the evidence of garlic, onions and broccoli maybe? Super strong, and just deadly as heck.

 

So ya, time to get out of there too..but I did think to myself...."Man, this lady..I should befriend her quick and take her back by those kids.."

 

I'd of paid her twenty bucks to blow one their way. She was vicious and certainly knew how to clear a room. :lol:

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Oh Duh.

 

It's posted on the net, the policy - right there on their website.

 

Cool.

 

• Abandonment or leaving of young children unattended

• Behavior or language that is offensive to others

• Bringing pets into the library (service animals are allowed)

• Entering library without shirt or shoes

• Excessive noise or language that disturbs others including use of cell phones

and other personal devices

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It's one thing on the bus, out in the city - out in public spaces...

 

but yesterday I ran into something that tripped my trigger.

 

 

We were at our usual spot at the library, all spread out on a large table, equipment all spread out....and in comes a large group of teenagers.

 

Loud teenagers.

 

F this and B that and - well, you get the picture.

 

I spoke up and asked them to stop, there is a child present. They only acknowledged me with glares.

 

And it continued.

 

I packed our stuff up and left. Furious.

 

I stopped by the front desk to ask if there was a policy on foul language in their space. The staff member only said she'd speak to the reference librarian.

 

So, what's the right thing to do?

 

Do libraries ever have policies on what is appropriate? I never did find out.

 

coming in late, I'd have NOT left. I'd have gone up to the front desk and complained that there was a goup of teens being loud and disrespectufl and I had already asked them to quiet down and now someone offical needed to. Then I'd smile and stand there and wait for someone to deal with it.

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This. It's kind of like The Untouchables. "What are you prepared to do?"

And it's different when you've got kids with you.

:iagree:

Former schoolteacher here... I have seen many a situation even as a schoolteacher in junior/senior high go bad if the teen wanted to save "face" with his peers. I would not confront such a group. Inform the librarian and move elsewhere. Teens can be idiots. ;)

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Naw, I don't think this place is big enough for that. It's small potatoes.

 

As a funny side-note story...

 

After we were leaving, I stopped in the library used book store (oh man, it is delicious! 2 books for a quarter!) ...I needed some materials for a History unit I'm building.

 

There were 3 paperbacks on US citizenship tests, fill in the blank study books. I was comparing them back and forth..which one should I get?

 

These two darling old ladies come in the bookstore (it's a fairly tiny room in the front, maybe like 12 x 12) and one of them is standing near me in this little tiny aisle..

 

and she rips one...I mean loud as a aircraft engine!

 

"Man," I thought to myself..."She must really be feeling much better now.." :lol:

 

She twittered and went about her business like nothing had happened - nor did her friend make any notice of it....

 

But then...

 

it hit.

 

"It" being the evidence of garlic, onions and broccoli maybe? Super strong, and just deadly as heck.

 

So ya, time to get out of there too..but I did think to myself...."Man, this lady..I should befriend her quick and take her back by those kids.."

 

I'd of paid her twenty bucks to blow one their way. She was vicious and certainly knew how to clear a room. :lol:

 

LOL That chick needs to be in charge of that group!

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My dh has forbidden me from getting in fights with teenaged boys because you never know what they will do.

 

I also am somewhat afraid of teenaged boys, especially bad mouthed ones who are trying to impress their friends. I would've just packed up and left w/o saying anything to them. They obviously knew people could hear their language and didn't care. I'd have also probably given the librarian a descriptive tip about the language being used.

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:iagree:

Former schoolteacher here... I have seen many a situation even as a schoolteacher in junior/senior high go bad if the teen wanted to save "face" with his peers. I would not confront such a group. Inform the librarian and move elsewhere. Teens can be idiots. ;)

 

teens can be stupid -- i have worked with so many of them -- but teens can also go to juvinal and go to court. I don't back down -- I am not going to pick a fight per se -- but I am also not going to back down and act scared -- that just feeds the teen 'tude.

 

back down, or way from a drunk in a parking lot, yes -- a teen in a strore, parkl, lib, etc -- nope. i am the adult

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This. It's kind of like The Untouchables. "What are you prepared to do?"

And it's different when you've got kids with you.

 

:iagree:

Former schoolteacher here... I have seen many a situation even as a schoolteacher in junior/senior high go bad if the teen wanted to save "face" with his peers. I would not confront such a group. Inform the librarian and move elsewhere. Teens can be idiots. ;)

 

Exactly to both of the above posts.

 

Adults have been complaining about teen language and behavior for generations, including the supposed good ole days of manners and courtesy.http://www.ourbestbites.com/2011/02/baked-oatmeal/

 

Which is my point, teens in a pack act like teens. Experimenting with language is a known stage. It will pass.

 

And some teens are being raised (or not) by criminals and gang members and will eventually wind up in jail.

 

As far as "expectations", the teens I have reminded (but not judged) have almost all toned it down immediately; often with an apology and a "yes; ma'am".

 

There are teens who will react that way. There are also teens who will break your car windows by throwing rocks at your car. I agree with other posters that you can *sometimes* get a sense of how it will go. But, *in my experience* it has nothing to do with how the adult in question comes across.

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I would start out by asking them very nicely with an attitude that says, "Hey, you honorable looking young men probably didn't realize it, but there are young kids over here. I would be ever so appreciative if you could help me out by toning down the volume and the vulgarity since, of course, younger children obviously look up to young men like yourselves."

 

If they acted rude about it, I'd act bewildered as though there must be some confusion because of course they're good young men who would have complied if they'd heard me right. I'd appeal to all of their best instincts and qualities.

 

If they pushed it further, however, I would chew them out up one side and down the other. There'd be much said about the importance of honor, integrity, dignity, manliness, respect, etc etc etc.

 

ETA: But this, of course, is my answer within my community where I could be assured of a certain level of socialization. Throw in some other variables, and I don't know. Maybe I'd go to the librarian to contact security. It depends.

Edited by Parker Martin
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We live in a mid size suburb. Twice now when I have had a large teen group acting badly in public, I will pick one of the kids, look straight at them and say "Remember, X is such a big town, you should make sure that there is no one around who knows your mother before you act like that. Have a nice day, I have a phone call to make." and walk off. Even though I don't know any of their mother's, it is fun to cause a little panic:lol:

 

My other method if I have time when I am in the car, and someone cuts me off. I look hard, get that oh I recognize you look on my face and smile and wave. For some people they will spend the rest of the day thinking, oh how do I know that person, and it will drive them a little crazy trying to figure it out.

 

Can you tell I enjoy tormenting people:D

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My dh has forbidden me from getting in fights with teenaged boys because you never know what they will do.

 

My hubby has explanded that to any male acting crazy in public. For the most part I try to comply unless someone is being abused. In that situation, it's probably best to report it to someone in authority and let them handle it.

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We live in a mid size suburb. Twice now when I have had a large teen group acting badly in public, I will pick one of the kids, look straight at them and say "Remember, X is such a big town, you should make sure that there is no one around who knows your mother before you act like that. Have a nice day, I have a phone call to make." and walk off. Even though I don't know any of their mother's, it is fun to cause a little panic:lol:

 

My other method if I have time when I am in the car, and someone cuts me off. I look hard, get that oh I recognize you look on my face and smile and wave. For some people they will spend the rest of the day thinking, oh how do I know that person, and it will drive them a little crazy trying to figure it out.

 

Can you tell I enjoy tormenting people:D

 

That might have worked here a generation ago. In my area, I'd never assume that any teen wouldn't say, "I don't have a mother," or "my mother ran off," or "I live with my Dad, my mom's in Houston," or something like that.

 

I'd also never assume that his mother wasn't sitting nearby (or about to arrive) and the type that would be ready and willing to kick my behind for daring to speak to her kid.

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My hubby has explanded that to any male acting crazy in public. For the most part I try to comply unless someone is being abused. In that situation, it's probably best to report it to someone in authority and let them handle it.

 

I am sure my dh intends for it to be interpreted that way. But, I will call the cops when necessary.

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We live in a mid size suburb. Twice now when I have had a large teen group acting badly in public, I will pick one of the kids, look straight at them and say "Remember, X is such a big town, you should make sure that there is no one around who knows your mother before you act like that. Have a nice day, I have a phone call to make." and walk off. Even though I don't know any of their mother's, it is fun to cause a little panic:lol:

 

My other method if I have time when I am in the car, and someone cuts me off. I look hard, get that oh I recognize you look on my face and smile and wave. For some people they will spend the rest of the day thinking, oh how do I know that person, and it will drive them a little crazy trying to figure it out.

 

Can you tell I enjoy tormenting people:D

 

Woman, you get a GOLD star!

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I hold me ground and speak up, but then again, I'm used to dealing with teens on a regular basis (subbing in our local high school).

 

First, I'd politely ask them to stop.

 

Then I'd tell them I'm going to report them to the librarian if they don't (or call the police if I don't trust the librarian to handle it). I'd follow through if the threat didn't work (and yes, I called the police once at a Wendy's).

 

So far, it's worked at fast food places and the local skating rink - each time I didn't know the teens involved, but they ended up being the ones who backed down when I took charge as I do in school. Only once did I actually have to call the police and they did take care of it (kids left, but police still found them in the neighborhood and talked with them).

 

Kids who know me wouldn't start in the first place. ;)

 

:iagree:

 

 

I called the police on a young (older elementary) gang of kids bullying others on the playground when they did not respond to me. The police responded and did go looking for them in the nearby neighborhood where they headed after realizing we really were calling the police. I'd do the same for other age groups. It's one of the reasons I own a cell phone.

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