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A heathen?? You know little kids who run a mock and get in trouble. Maybe it is a Catholic thing. The nuns in school always yelled at us not to act like heathens at recess. You really have never heard that?? I never said anything about an atheists either!

 

Noun
derogatory. A person who does not belong to a widely held religion (esp. one who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim) as regarded...: "bringing Christianity to the heathens"
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Guest inoubliable

I'm an atheist raised in an atheist household, or rather agnostic, and I have heard and used that word. My mom didn't use it but we kids used it humorously. Perhaps it's generational. I'm 36 and I remember in high school, making fun of ourselves, and others, using that term.

 

For example, someone forgets to take their shoes off in the home. They may be told by roomates, in a friendly joking voice, "Take your shoes off you heathen!" (I blame our Asian and German heritage in this area for the popularity of slippers in the home.)

 

I'm not trying to defent ClarkAcademy's post, which I found bizarre, to say the least, but the lighthearted use of "heathen" is the least of her problems. It's along the lines of hooligan or rugrat.

 

I'm 34 so I don't know if it's a generational thing.... maybe regional? Eh. You're right - her use of the word is hardly the least of her issues. Still offensive, though.

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Honestly, I think it's only offensive in context. I've called my own children heathens and rugrats and hooligans. They have called me mommy dearest. None of these terms were said in anything other than a lighthearted fashion, slightly poking fun at some mildly inappropriate behavior, e.g. eating rice with their hands, or in my case raising my voice about being late to the bus. Not our best moments. I assume we've all been there.

 

I think that everyone's shock at her lack of contact colors everything else she is saying. That's happened to me before on the Internet. Once I was sarcastic with my stepson. I used an exclamation point. Then I realized perhaps I'd gone too far, and posted on the Internet. Holy cow. You would have thought I'd have punched that kid in the nose, from the reactions I got. I had already apologized to him at that point for responding to him so irritably, but people were insisting he'd grow up permanently damaged.

 

I think refusing to speak with another relative for years is wrong and harmful.

 

BUT I can also imagine a situation in which many parts of what ClarkAcademy is saying are getting blown out of proportion because that one fact about her behavior does make her seem monstrous. But the reality of their lives is probably not nearly as horrible as we are imagining it based on a few posts.

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Heathen can also be a derogatory term for a pagan. Notably of the Norse persuasion. We have some on here. Many have taken it in as their own term with pride. So it depends on context. It can be used in a hurtful manner.

 

Clark, I hope we just have a whole lot of confusion over the issue here. Perhaps clarifying what you meant in your OP? Because a lot of people are rightfully upset by the advice given.

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I'm an atheist raised in an atheist household, or rather agnostic, and I have heard and used that word. My mom didn't use it but we kids used it humorously. Perhaps it's generational. I'm 36 and I remember in high school, making fun of ourselves, and others, using that term.

 

 

I'm a lot older than you.  I think it's regional.  For me as a Brit.... well, it has nasty colonial overtones.

 

L

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Guest inoubliable

Honestly, I think it's only offensive in context. I've called my own children heathens and rugrats and hooligans. They have called me mommy dearest. None of these terms were said in anything other than a lighthearted fashion, slightly poking fun at some mildly inappropriate behavior, e.g. eating rice with their hands, or in my case raising my voice about being late to the bus. Not our best moments. I assume we've all been there.

 

I think that everyone's shock at her lack of contact colors everything else she is saying. That's happened to me before on the Internet. Once I was sarcastic with my stepson. I used an exclamation point. Then I realized perhaps I'd gone too far, and posted on the Internet. Holy cow. You would have thought I'd have punched that kid in the nose, from the reactions I got. I had already apologized to him at that point for responding to him so irritably, but people were insisting he'd grow up permanently damaged.

 

I think refusing to speak with another relative for years is wrong and harmful.

 

BUT I can also imagine a situation in which many parts of what ClarkAcademy is saying are getting blown out of proportion because that one fact about her behavior does make her seem monstrous. But the reality of their lives is probably not nearly as horrible as we are imagining it based on a few posts.

 

Oh aye. If I'd heard it in another situation, I probably wouldn't have paid any mind. Her previous posts were so of the wall, so overreactive, so bizarre, though. It's colored her use of the word for me. She obviously has an issue with kids behaving like kids, in a certain way at least. To go and describe those sorts of kids, the kids she clearly disdains and refers to as nasty, as "heathens"...?  

 

I totally get the Mommie Dearest thing. My oldest likes to call me that whenever we pass an aisle in the store with hangers...

Heathen can also be a derogatory term for a pagan. Notably of the Norse persuasion. We have some on here. Many have taken it in as their own term with pride. So it depends on context. It can be used in a hurtful manner.

 

Clark, I hope we just have a whole lot of confusion over the issue here. Perhaps clarifying what you meant in your OP? Because a lot of people are rightfully upset by the advice given.

 

Yes, exactly. Anyone not belonging to a mainstream religion could be offended here. It's hurtful in the way it was used.

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ClarkAcademy,

 

I never said you flipped out over diaper and vomit.

I said that nasty things are part of life and used those things as examples.

 

I meant that if you can tolerate nasty things like diapers and vomit (as all parents do) that you should be able to find a way to handle much more minor things like spit.

 

You said you have OCD. If you don't, don't say that. If you do, it is by definition a disorder requiring mental health treatment and adaptive techniques. Don't say you have a mental health disorder and then get your nose out of joint when people suggest mental health treatment.

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Today I learned that "heathen" is still a touchy subject for some non-Christians. As a non-Christian (and non-white person) myself, maybe it's because I don't live in a religious area, but we are totally over it. I guess it's a very particular brand of gallows humor.

 

I will be more sensitive in the future, though.

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I wasn't insulting any ones religion. Heathen was used around me to describe behavior as long as I can remember. My dad even used to call us that because we got so dirty when we played. I have never heard of an atheist being called a heathen either. It was a name my parents and every parent I grew up around used when we acted crazy. I am surely not the only person on this board who uses words differently than what a dictionary calls them. I would never judge any ones beliefs or for not believing or whatever so if I offended by use of that word I do apologize. I am sure we all grew up with little odd sayings here and there. My mother to this day calls me Charlie Brown I am not a fictional character on a cartoon!!!

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I think people need to step back on the Clark Academy discussion.  She thought the kid was being babysat, not boarding with auntie.  The child was licking a baby (she's not the only person who finds that awful) and defying commands to stop (also not highly popular).  She believes that being sad isn't an excuse for every kind of behavior.  "Act the heathen" is a popular saying (I've heard it many times, my sister says it about her kids) and in that context it has no religious connotations any more.  Similarly, "nasty" just means "yucky."  Putting a repeat offender on the porch for a while to wait for her parents (assuming they are coming) is not such a terrible thing.

 

CA admitted right up front that she has OCD tendencies and her feelings about kids' goo are much stronger than most people's.  It grosses her out to see kids' fingers up their noses.  I don't feel the same way at all, but it's how she feels.  I don't think it makes her a monster.  People can agree to disagree without being such nasty heathens.  :/  Oops I mean without being unkind.

 

 

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Holy crap people are so damn prickly these days, on all sides, in so many threads.

 

I'm taking a risk; there are at least 3 words in the above sentence for which people like to jump on others.

 

:banghead:

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Holy crap people are so damn prickly these days, on all sides, in so many threads.

 

I'm taking a risk; there are at least 3 words in the above sentence for which people like to jump on others.

 

:banghead:

Really?

 

I counted four.

 

Maybe we should review basic math with you?

 

:P

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I think people need to step back on the Clark Academy discussion.  She thought the kid was being babysat, not boarding with auntie.  The child was licking a baby (she's not the only person who finds that awful) and defying commands to stop (also not highly popular).  She believes that being sad isn't an excuse for every kind of behavior.  "Act the heathen" is a popular saying (I've heard it many times, my sister says it about her kids) and in that context it has no religious connotations any more.  Similarly, "nasty" just means "yucky."  Putting a repeat offender on the porch for a while to wait for her parents (assuming they are coming) is not such a terrible thing.

 

CA admitted right up front that she has OCD tendencies and her feelings about kids' goo are much stronger than most people's.  It grosses her out to see kids' fingers up their noses.  I don't feel the same way at all, but it's how she feels.  I don't think it makes her a monster.  People can agree to disagree without being such nasty heathens.  :/  Oops I mean without being unkind.

Thank you. I am still sorry for any of those who feel I insulted them. I would never do that. My mom just called me and she has my little girl and told me she is out in the yard with the dog and both were acting like heathens!! I just couldn't stop laughing!!!! They are playing in dirt that the dog is digging up. My poor mom who followed us around with a wash cloth most of our lives LOL!!!!

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Guest inoubliable

Holy crap people are so damn prickly these days, on all sides, in so many threads.

 

I'm taking a risk; there are at least 3 words in the above sentence for which people like to jump on others.

 

:banghead:

 

You're right. I find the words "prickly", "sides", and "threads" to be immensely offensive.  :cursing:  :boxing_smiley: 

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Thank you. I am still sorry for any of those who feel I insulted them. I would never do that. My mom just called me and she has my little girl and told me she is out in the yard with the dog and both were acting like heathens!! I just couldn't stop laughing!!!! They are playing in dirt that the dog is digging up. My poor mom who followed us around with a wash cloth most of our lives LOL!!!!

 

My dad always told me he was going to drop me at the Home for Wayward Girls.

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Are you seriously going to come on this board and use such trashy language?

Rubbish!

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Potty mouth!

Runs in the family.

 

Last night when I turned out her light and asked 9yo DD the Younger if she was ready for a good night's sleep, she replied, "F*ck yeah!" with considerable enthusiasm. I managed not to laugh, and calmly told her that while I allow her to swear in her room, I'd prefer she didn't do so in conversation with me. She apologized, and we moved on. No soap.

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Runs in the family.

 

Last night when I turned out her light and asked 9yo DD the Younger if she was ready for a good night's sleep, she replied, "F*ck yeah!" with considerable enthusiasm. I managed not to laugh, and calmly told her that while I allow her to swear in her room, I'd prefer she didn't do so in conversation with me. She apologized, and we moved on. No soap.

You can come sit by me. I have the 6yo who keeps cursing at church.

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My mom worked at the psych center so that one didn't scare me a lick!

WOW!!!! I think that would have scared me actually!! Be good or mommy will take you to work dear LOL!!! :lol:  She did used to say she was going to keep me in the bathtub for the rest of my life. I think I was like 13 and she got me a bath pillow and said it was time to go to my home!! My daughter went to school late one day and told her teacher she was late because I keep losing the keys to her cage!!!! The teacher and I actually went to college together but played it off very well when she loudly announced to the class all children who won't keep their rooms clean should live in a cage!!!! This was her first year in public school after being homeschooled so the kids didn't really know her and it became a thing that my daughter lived in a cage because she wouldn't clean her room! I still get shocked that 6th graders would believe it.

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I wasn't insulting any ones religion. Heathen was used around me to describe behavior as long as I can remember. My dad even used to call us that because we got so dirty when we played. I have never heard of an atheist being called a heathen either. It was a name my parents and every parent I grew up around used when we acted crazy. I am surely not the only person on this board who uses words differently than what a dictionary calls them. I would never judge any ones beliefs or for not believing or whatever so if I offended by use of that word I do apologize. I am sure we all grew up with little odd sayings here and there. My mother to this day calls me Charlie Brown I am not a fictional character on a cartoon!!!

 

I think you made your point well. I think we all get it - you meant no offense (never crossed your mind it could be offensive). I think you get it - whether or not you are familiar with this particular offense, others are. It's courteous to avoid offending people when you can. Now you know. Now others know. I appreciate your apology, and I doubt I am alone.

 

Just for personal edification (not just you), some people experience more social ostracization than others. Not being associated with a mainstream, Abrahamic religion is seen by Americans as being more dangerous than rapists. We are understood to be untrustworthy and incapable of believing beauty and awe and wonder. Six states still have legislation that denies public office to those who are not religious in at least some way. Your comment includes the idea that we are incapable of behaving in socially appropriate ("civilized") ways. Whether or not you intended it, that comment makes a visual statement, one that is untrue and ultimately still harmful

 

[/geek]

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Yeah, my parents used to threaten us with the Jones Home (the nearby orphanage) and they would tell us stories of how they chained kids up in the attic and beat them with whips and other things.

 

My dad also used to say there was a baby monster in the basement, and he would threaten to feed us to it when we were naughty.  He remembers one time carrying me down there, but at some point he thought better of it as he was rapidly losing clumps of hair in the process.  ;)

 

That probably wouldn't go over well nowadays . . . .

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Yeah, my parents used to threaten us with the Jones Home (the nearby orphanage) and they would tell us stories of how they chained kids up in the attic and beat them with whips and other things.

 

My dad also used to say there was a baby monster in the basement, and he would threaten to feed us to it when we were naughty.  He remembers one time carrying me down there, but at some point he thought better of it as he was rapidly losing clumps of hair in the process.  ;)

 

That probably wouldn't go over well nowadays . . . .

 

Revisit the Chicken Heart as a parent in the 2010s...

 

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And that's the thing-most parents I know make joking threats (hanging them up by their toes, selling them to gypsies (yes, I know, some consider this offensive), etc.).  But that's a lot different than actual extremely punitive or bizarre discipline.  I wouldn't bat an eye if someone threatened to feed their kids to dolphins, probably.  My kids might giggle and argue about whether or not they're fishy enough to pass as dolphin food. And tone is hard to "get" online. 

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And tone is hard to "get" online. 

 

Offline too. I once joked about beating one of the girls for pestering me in the kitchen at a dinner party we were hosting, and someone new to the group thought I was serious. It was notion we quickly disabused him of... but you have to make sure you know your audience, intended or not.

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I kind of hate to interrupt all the baby-eating heathen talk, but throwing in my two cents in case mathmarm is still sorting through this ;-)

 

come brush her teeth-- She brushes her teeth with supervision but does the motions mostly for herself. Once a day she gets a dry or water-only brushing that is meant to clean and remove build-ip

put her toys away-- Is it really unusual for a 3yo who is healthy, verbal and speaking fluently, as well as a little physically advanced to put their own stuff away? She doesn't have a bunch of toys and she has a basket that holds the majority of them that is accessible to her. Maybe I'm just feeling stubborn but it doesn't like that "Kayla, its time to put your toys away so that we can eat/go/bathe/sleep/etc" should be a declaration of war. I feel like this is reasonable. Some of you more experienced moms, please check me if I'm wrong.

put her clothes on the chair-- we haven't given her a laundry basket yet and so I asked her to put her dirty clothes on the chair so I'd remember to wash them and she refused and gave me sass.

hold still so I can fix her hair-- What is a reasonable alternative? She wears her hair out at night but wants braids each morning. I would never cut her hair, so getting it shorter isn't an alternative.

get dressed (which she can do, just fine, all by herself)--With help, she picks out her own clothes out the night before for the next day whether she has school or not. Her mom lets her wear what she wants to, and I've been following that. Niece has a lot of solid color clothes and "obviously an outfit" clothes so not matching isn't as big of a problem.She has been moving gradually toward getting herself dressed for almost a year and can, as of a couple of months ago, go from wet and naked to dry and clothed (sans shoes) in under 10 minutes. She prefers to dress herself, but when I tell her to go and get dressed, I get lip. (Actually, maybe a schedule or routine chart for different parts of the day will help, here. Maybe...)

eat her food-- I know for a fact that this girl eats like a grown man if allowed. She isn't a picky eater and like our mom did with us, her mom (my sister) has never allowed her to waste food by playing with it or throwing it. I don't know why telling a 3yo who can use a spoon or fork to eat their food is viewed as too much. We grew up poor and food was precious and to be eaten. We went to bed hungry for as long as we wanted to until we were ready to eat. It honestly didn't take us long because our school didn't serve lunch back then and we eventually got hungry.

get your bag--

pick up your crayons--

put your plate away--

So how long before I should reasonably expect my niece to be able to follow simple commands, such as the above? I mostly get annoyed because she can get the bag, pick up the crayons and put her plate away (we've been eating off of paper plates so that we can keep the dishes low since Jr. was born and they can be thrown in the trash)--but she chooses to argue and defy instead.

 

"No, you do it" (Kicks the bag instead of picking it up)

"I don't want to. You can't make me." (throwing the box of crayons after I insisted she pick up the crayons.)

"Leave me alone" (Walking away from the table.)

My daughter is three. You just described a normal day here, and most people who know her and are familiar with three year olds think she is an angel. A three year old has no internal motivation to do any of the things you mentioned. Until they're old enough to develop their own reasons to do these things, supplying some motivation goes a long way. I don't know how long your niece is with you, and the strategies I've developed are specific to my daughter and come from knowing her well, so YMMV. Find her motivations.

 

Brushing teeth - we use a 2 minute timer so that DD knows how long she needs to brush for. She really wanted to have mouthwash, so I found a children's version. She is only able to use the mouthwash after brushing her teeth, so she now brushes her teeth. Totally a win/win on this one!

 

Getting dressed - I don't require that she get dressed unless/until we're going somewhere. She loves going, no matter where, so this is plenty motivation for her.

 

Picking up - hahahaha. This one can be such a battle. I finally stopped making it one - anything not picked up by bedtime gets put out of reach for one week. She gets one warning on this before bed. I do help and picking up is usually a team effort. At a minimum, I make sure that I am actively doing a chore of my own during picking up time so she doesn't feel like she is the only one working. Sometimes I bribe her with use of the Swiffer. She loves the Swiffer, most young kids do. "If you pick up all your toys on the floor, I'll let you Swiffer the floor" is not only effective, but one of the best win/win situations I've found because then I don't have to Swiffer the floor!

 

Eating - just don't make an issue of it. If she isn't eating, then she isn't hungry. We put leftovers in the fridge and usually make 1-2 meals a week "leftover meals". Even though my daughter isn't picky, on occasion she just doesn't want what we are having. No problem, it gets put up and there is one shelf in the kitchen with no-prep healthy foods like fruits and applesauce that she may have at any time. I do not prepare anything to order, but she still is able to eat if she finds herself hungry a while after the meal is cleared. If she were deliberately making a mess with her food instead of eating, I would remove her plate because she is obviously not hungry enough to eat.

 

I do not respond positively to commands from my daughter nor do I give her commands. "Could you get dressed so we can go to the grocery store?" "Brush your teeth so we can read your bedtime books." "Help me clear the table so I can come play with you sooner." are all examples of ways I get quick compliance from her. Well, usually. She is still a three year old and sometimes has meltdowns for no apparent reason.

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I used to sing this to my son when he was about 3, it's a favorite by Shel Silverstein

 

Someone ate the baby it's rather sad to say

Someone ate the baby so she won't be out to play

We'll never hear her whiny cry

or have to feel if she is dry

We'll never hear her asking, "Why, why, why?"

Someone ate the baby

 

Someone ate the baby it's absolutely clear

Someone ate the baby 'cause the baby isn't here

We'll give away her toys and clothes

We'll never have to wipe her nose

Dad says, "That's the way it goes."

Someone ate the baby

 

Someone ate the baby, what a frightful thing to eat

Someone ate the baby, though she wasn't very sweet

It was a heartless thing to do

The policemen haven't got a clue

I simply can't imagine who would go and (burp) eat the baby

That was copywork today. Ha! :)

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My dad always told me he was going to drop me at the Home for Wayward Girls.

 

My parents did send me to the Home for Wayward Girls. It was actually called "a home for runaways and throwaways..." I wasn't a runaway, so I guess that only left one other option.

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My mom's friend was placed in a home for troubled girls by her dad.  Her mom was not present - can't remember if it was due to death, illness, mental illness or what - but her dad had trouble raising her so she went to the institution.  My mom used to visit her there, and she thought it was a pretty good deal - nice bedroom, clothes that were not rags, etc. (in contrast to my mom's life with her parents).  It was a temporary situation and I never heard any party complain about it.  I think it's probably good that places like that existed, but obviously there was lots of room for corruption and abuse.

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At my house, 3 year old would get a spanking for defiant behavior by not stopping when told to do so. 

 

Do you often hit children that are not your own?

 

The idea of hitting a little 3 yo, who has had her life disrupted and has been separated from her parents through no fault of her own, seems pretty heartless to me. Not to mention that what she learns from this "lesson" may be: "licking is bad, but hitting people smaller than you is OK" — I certainly would not want to risk seeing how that plays out around the baby.

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Did I miss something? People keep telling OP that this behaviour is normal because she's still a 'baby'.

 

I thought I read in a later post that this child was going to be 4 in a few weeks? This seems to be a lot of negative behaviours to excuse from an almost 4 year old.  How old IS the niece?

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Did I miss something? People keep telling OP that this behaviour is normal because she's still a 'baby'.

 

I thought I read in a later post that this child was going to be 4 in a few weeks? This seems to be a lot of negative behaviours to excuse from an almost 4 year old. How old IS the niece?

3 is young. 3 is very, very young to be separated from home and family for an extended period.

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