Jodi - posted on 06/06/2012 ( 42 moms have responded )
We have a new woman who moved in on our block. She is a SAHM like several of us, and while the others and I have known each other for years now, we are trying to include her in things. (It's really common for us to get all the kids together for a pool day at someone's house, or some other fun activity) she has lived here a little less than a month, and I've seen her probably twice a week, which is not much interaction with us by our scale, but we understand, or try to. Anyways, she has 2 children, ages 4 and 2, little boys.
In terms of parenting, I do not expect my children (girls ages 3, 1 and 1) to be perfect. They are *learning* how to be well behaved, it's my job to let them figure some things out on their own, and to help them learn how to navigate social situations and behavioral expectations. Part of my philosophy, is that in this toddler age, it's kind of mean to punish your kid for every little thing. For a 16 month old, hitting is pretty normal, I don't allow it, I tell them no while holding their hand, but to be angry or put them in time out or "punish" them for it? No, I don't, to do that would be like punishing someone for sneezing.
yes, my children misbehave, all children do. My children are not mean or unruly. I reward them for good behavior, and to me, that does NOT mean perfect behavior. This mother does not carry that philosophy. She expects perfection from her children, or so it seems. If they so much as appear to be thinking something even remotely mischievious, she cracks down. What I find, is watching them they appear too scared to "really" play, they seem very reserved, like they're scared to do something wrong, they just don't know what that wrong thing might be. My kids play all out, and if they do something a little naughty, I'll tell them they can't do that, if they do it again I'm much more stern, after that they've been warned and some sort of discipline will ensue. Usually sitting by mom and watching the other kids play for a few minutes.
She made a comment to me yesterday after I had told my 3 year old I was really proud of how well she played with everybody that my daughter hadn't really played that well. I asked how she meant, if my daughter was mean or naughty while I wasn't looking, I wanted to know. All she said was I had had to remind my daughter to share several times, had had to ask her twice to wait her turn. I told her that seemed pretty normal for 3 and each time she had listened right away, and I was proud of her behavior.
I'm not sure how much interaction I will continue to have with this mother, I'm not sure how much interaction I want to have with this mother. But, here is my question: do you expect your children to be perfect? Or, do you let them make mistakes without shaming them, helping them learn and navigate the world? How do you view parents with the opposite philosophy of yourself? Personally, having seen her children's reluctance to play and the harsh consequences to what I deem innocent mistakes or slips, I think it's kind of mean parenting, at least for this particular parent.