Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Burning down the house

My phone rang tonight while I was making dinner.  I didn't recognize the number, so I let it go to voicemail, but minutes later I heard Super Dad's phone ring.  Here's what I heard:
"Hello?  Yes, this is Nate's dad."  And then a looooooong silence.
"Okay, I'll talk to him about that, I know he's been on the receiving end of that and he didn't like it."
More silence.
"We'll talk about it with him.  Have a nice night."
Uh oh.

So I'm thinking that my kid has called a kid a name or excluded them from something.  Super Dad explained that it was much more dire: Nate has burned down someone's house.  In Minecraft.

We had a talk with Nathan and he confessed to the virtual arson, telling us he did it in retaliation when the kids (brothers) blew up a chest containing his valuables.  We discussed the golden rule, how revenge is never a good answer (c'mon kid, we *just* finished watching Moby Dick didn't you learn anything?) and how I never wanted to hear from another (overbearing) mother about how he destroyed something in Minecraft...on a private server run by a family friend, which Nate invited them to play on.

All was said and done until SD told me that the mom had told him that she planned on contacting the school about "this behavior".    WHAT?

I called the lady back and she told me "oh, I just spoke with your husband". 
"Oh, I'm aware" I said "I just want to follow up."

I explained to her that he had done it retaliation.  She insisted that her kids would never do that (for the record I hate when parents say 'My kid would never..."). Clearly my kid was Minecraft Satan running around and burning down the creations children had toiled over.   She told me that her precious snowflakes had been working on this particular creation for months (funny, since they've only had access to the server for a few weeks) and they were devastated.

I assured her that we had spoken with Nate about not retaliating.  That if someone were to destroy his things in the future that he would ignore it.  I also explained that they were playing on a PvP server, and sometimes people - often not Nate - would break things.

I then delicately asked "So...my husband mentioned that you were going to speak to the school about this.  I was wondering what you were hoping that would accomplish?"  She said that she wanted the school to talk to the "kids who were doing this" (my kid) about being kind and not destroying things the other kids (her kids) had worked so hard to make.  I told her that I really didn't think that the school could do anything about what happens in a video game.  She explained that before they came to this school they never had a problem with people destroying the kids' Minecraft stuff, and that because "some kids" at this school thought that kind of behavior was funny the teacher should talk to "those kids" who were doing the damage. I offered that I thought the way that we were handling it - parent to parent - was the appropriate way to handle an issue, and that ideally the kids would work it out themselves.  I assured her that if there were to be another issue like this that she could call me at any time and I would speak to Nate and give him appropriate consequences if required.   I don't think she's going to call the school.

The last time I had to call a parent was when his kid inappropriately touched my kid.  A slight that happened in videogame - as long as it didn't involve bullying - falls firmly into my "work it out yourself" policy.   What do you think?

5 comments:

  1. I think that other mother sounds like an asshole.

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  2. No parent wants to admit their kid is like any other kid and trying to find their feelers in the world. They want to believe their kids will INSTANTLY know what it's like to have done wrong and never do wrong because they just know.

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  3. Wow, this woman is setting her kid up for failure. If she is their to cushion the fall for something as little as a video game, then he's really going to have a hard time when something serious happens and he has to deal with it on his own. A gross overreaction, in my opinion.

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  4. Great,how could you find that,thank you for your sharing,
    cookie monster minecraft skin

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am a teen into minecraft and what your son did is called griefing(to destroy ones stuff for fun to watch them suffer), though as your son did so in retaliation to the true griefer(her son) your son is not a griefer and her son is the one who should be punished. Also she is one of the reasons bullies can often do whatever they want. Also if you think your son is being bullied but he won't say who, just offer him $10 for giving up the name and all info.

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