Monday, November 18, 2013

Grown Brother Cannot Stop Teasing His Sister, Influencing Her Children

Dear Tazi:

I am a woman in my thirties with a young family. I am trying to teach my children good manners, and to be genteel little beings in order to raise them right. My problem is my brother, “Jason”. The man never grew up – he thinks fart jokes are funny, and will crack on my disgust every chance he gets, usually in front of my children.

Every family dinner closes with Jason commenting how he “has to go take a dump” – something my young boys find hilarious, but is upsetting to me and my husband. We feel this kind of talk is not appropriate at the dinner table, or anywhere else for that matter.

With the holidays upon us, there will be several family gatherings in a short period of time, and thus much exposure to my brother’s sophomoric humor. My husband has asked me to speak to him, but every time I do Jason tells me I am being too serious, that I am raising my children to be “nerds who will get picked on”, and he lays the humor on even thicker than before. My boys are now 7 and 8 – old enough to know better, but still too young to understand why these jokes are inappropriate. My husband has told me that if Jason starts in with the fart jokes and comments about defecation that he will say something to him directly – and that it will settle the matter once and for all. I do not wish for my children to see their father and uncle arguing, so I am looking for a way to ease the tension before it starts.

Genteel Lady

Dear Genteel Lady:

For some reason, kids find fart jokes and references to poop funny. I think it is because humans place such a strong taboo on these subjects. I find nothing at all funny about a dirty littler-box, yet that is something that is filled with poop!

Or other random objects that defy explanation...

I suggest that you stop trying to parent your brother and work instead on teaching your children that such subjects are not considered polite to discuss; ask them how they would feel if you invited the family in to watch them while they were using the toilet and tell them that this is basically what they are doing every time they talk about what they do in the bathroom, and what they are doing to someone else if they make fun of that person for passing gas or having tummy trouble that requires an extended trip to the bathroom.

Children – both boys and girls – like to push the limits of good taste when they do not understand why those limits exist. By explaining to them on a level that they can understand (and you know better than I what that level is) you can get the point across to your boys that there is a time and place for everything, and that the dinner table is neither the time nor the place to make crude jokes. Let them know that that your brother is making these jokes because he likes to tease you – I am sure they understand that this is how siblings sometimes interact – and that normally a gentleman does not make those kinds of jokes in front of a lady. By doing this, you are letting them know that your brother’s behavior is unacceptable but the reason for it is the sibling relationship between you two, and not that your brother is no gentleman (even if that may be the case, allow him to save face in front of the children).


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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