Perfection in children

Jodi - posted on 06/06/2012 ( 42 moms have responded )

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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.

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I never understood forcing a child to apologize. I mean, they really are not sorry, so it just seems like it would teach them to ignore their own feelings to appease society.

I saw this a lot: Kid A takes a toy from Kid B. Kid B cries. Mom pulls Kid A away, has a little talk, then forces Kid A to say "I'm sorry." Kid A stomps over to Kid B and says "I'm Sorry!" in a sulky tone because he/she is not really sorry, he/she just wants to appease mom. Mom either gets frustrated and makes Kid A say it over and over again until the inflection is right, which just goes on forever and ever and ruins the whole playdate because Kid A is just building resentment. Or the sulky "I'm Sorry!" is fine and we move on with everyone knowing that Kid A is not really sorry.

When J upset another kid, I always took him aside and asked if he was happy that the other kid was upset. 9 out of 10 times he would say no. I would then ask him if he knew why the kid was upset. He usually did, if not, I told him. Then I asked if he wanted the kid to feel better. He always said yes. Then I asked him what would make him feel better if he were upset, and he would go apologize on his own or do something else to cheer the kid up (he did not always apologize because sometimes, though he was not sorry, he didn't want the kid upset). Four questions, usually took less than 2 minutes. I think it worked so well for us because J is a bit of a control freak, and this put him in control.\

Btw, if he told me he was happy the other kid was upset, we left. Not because I was angry or "punishing" him, but because if he wanted the other kid upset, he could not have also wanted to play and have a good time with him, and that means the whole rest of the playdate would have just been one battle after another. Sometimes we just don't mesh with others, you know. As adults, we have the power to limit our contact and exposure to them, but kids are at the mercy of their parents, and they don't have the control over their emotions that we do. I think forcing them to express emotions they don't really feel might mess with their natural learning process (but I have nothing to back that up, just a personal thought.)

Elfrieda - posted on 06/07/2012

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I think that sometimes when it looks like fighting, the kids are actually playing. Especially with toddlers, who are quite awkward socially. I think stealing a toy is okay if the other kid doesn't seem to mind.



There's a little girl at my church who is half a year older than my 2 year old. My son was following her around and she turned around and yanked the paper out of his hand and pushed him away. I wondered if I should go and help him (he can be mean, too, but has zero idea of what to do when other kids are mean to him), but watched for a bit instead. She threw it up in the air, my son picked it up, she snatched it away (he backed up fast so he wouldn't get pushed) and threw it again. They both laughed hysterically, my son picked it up and gave it to her, she threw it. They kept that up for a while. Turns out there was no malice there, they're just toddlers trying to figure out how to get along. Now they play together every time we're there. I'm glad that her parents didn't see the pushing, because I think if they had interfered, the two kiddies wouldn't have become friends.

Jenny - posted on 06/06/2012

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I know a mother like this! She drives me nuts! She has a 2.5year old and comes over sometimes (rarely thank GOD) to play with my 3.5year old boy and 2year old girl.



She watches him like a HAWK! He is not allowed to do anything to assert himself over my kids. She always makes comments like "So sorry, X doesnt know how to share, he doesnt have anyone to share with." And she is so embarrsed of his behaviour. Gosh, my kids dont know how to share and they've been stuck together since birth lol. They're not going to share at that age. I honestly don't care if X takes a toy from my kids, they do that to each other all the time, if my kid did not cry, I think its all just part of play, im not going to over-react and judge their play. If they're happy I'm happy. They're still so young and have a lot to learn, let them be I say.



What really irritated me is when X took a toy from my DD and the mother made him "sit in the naughty spot" and then forced him to say sorry to DD. He really did not want to say sorry! lol. But she forced him to and I was so sad for him :(



I think that lady you're talking about is weird for telling you that actually your daughter didnt play well! lol. Ah well, look at this way, at least she was being honest and that gave you an opportunity to explain to her why you think she played well. I think you are really good for her, she will learn to lower her expectations of her kids. She needs mothers like you! Don't give up on her yet.



This is all part of a new person coming in to the group and it takes time to adjust and find where she fits in. Let her speak her mind, and you speak yours, it will be a learning experience for her. At only one month in, its too eary to give up.

Elfrieda - posted on 06/06/2012

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I hope you keep welcoming her to your neighbourhood events, it sounds like she needs a bit of perspective, and you might rub off on her!

I know people *without* kids who feel that children shouldn't need guidance (like being upset if they do something impolite instead of just saying, "No, you're not allowed in that room." or "Only take one helping until everybody has had a turn."), but usually having children fixes that!

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I agree with Elfrieda, you might rub off on her.



I was a lot like her when J was younger--I had never been around children, and I hold myself to rather high standards and expected him to do the same. It was through spending time with more relaxed moms that I learned his limits and how to "pick my battles" so to speak. I didn't understand why he was throwing toys after I'd just told him not to do so a week before. I didn't understand hesitated obedience, crying, or expressing anything I thought should be private--such as anger or frustration.



You all know I researched the crap out of parenthood--I read every book, clinical study, and article I could find--but I needed experience with REAL parents to learn it. I didn't have parents or other family around growing up, so I only saw the part of the persona people show to the general public. Perhaps your friend has a similar back ground and you can help her.

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My son is 5 and is quite big for his age. I think sometimes I expect a bit too much from him as he does seem quite mature at times and then he does something silly so I get frustrated with him. I've been having many talks with his pre-school teacher and she said words to this effect:" At this age the kids are still learning their social skills. Just like learning to read and write, they don't all get it straight away and some kids get it at a younger age than others. We help them by reminding them when they need it, reassure them when they are trying and recognising them when they get it right. Just because we tell them something on Monday, doesn't mean they will remember it on Tuesday. It's a learning process and it takes time."

I think the Mum referred to in the OP could use some of this advice as it sounds like she is trying too hard to produce "robotic" kids. :-(

Sylvia - posted on 06/08/2012

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Heather, I think I agree with Janice. (I will say, though, that because my own kid is skinny and until quite recently was always short for her age, I have a tendency to overestimate kids' ages when they're on the big side -- the kid who's bigger than my kid may very well *not* be older.) Unfortunately it's still true what used to be true when we were kids: if you never get any positive attention, you start doing stuff to attract negative attention :(

But maybe it was just a bad day.

Janice - posted on 06/07/2012

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Hmmm Heather. Thats a tough one. I think by age 3 (if they have been around other kids) they know its not something they should do but may still do it just to see what kind of reaction they get. I think by age four that type of behavior is really unacceptable. I mean if the two 4 year-olds get into an argument and one of them looses their temper and throws a toy at the other that is normal- it needs to be addressed, they need to be taught- but 4 and 5 year olds still have a lot of maturing to do in the temper department. But just going up to another child and bashing them over the head for no reason at age 4 is not "normal." Just MHO

Stifler's - posted on 06/07/2012

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Exactly Elfrieda we don't need to be on them every time they do something.

Jodi - posted on 06/07/2012

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My 3 year old knows not to throw things. For her though, it's impulse control, when she gets mad she loses it sometimes and will throw something. That is pretty normal for a toddle, she's starting to phase otu of that and is getting really good at saying "I'm really mad right now!" and going to her room for a bit of breather space.

From the sounds of it, this child was old enough to know better...but the question is; was she *taught* better? Or perhaps it was just a freak thing, lord knows my 3 year old has done things she KNOWS she sin't allowed to do like hit someone or steal a toy. It happens, I try not to freak out when it happens to my kid, but it's really easy to be quick to judge that the parent is lacking or something!

Lady Heather - posted on 06/07/2012

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Okay, on this subject I really have to know: at what age us normal for a kid to know not to deliberately throw something at another kid in a violent manner? I'm not talking about accidents or whatever. Today my daughter was in a sandbox with her back towards this other girl. The other girl who was much bigger and likely older than my three year old picked up this large plastic toy, walked right behind Freja and threw it at her head as hard as she could.

I gotta say - shit like that shocks me. Sometimes the kids get bumps and bruises be ause they play together kind if roughly, but in this case it was so one-sided and deliberate. I'm really not sure if this is a normal thing or if my daughter is unusually gentle. I told the kid off because the mother was checked out.

We don't do forced apologies. She always feel bad so I say "are you feeling sheepish?" and she nods and then she gets a present for the hurt person. She started doing that at home. When she's here she makes an "I'm sorry sandwich" in her kitchen. So I know when she feels bad because I get a pretend sandwich. Ha.

Sylvia - posted on 06/07/2012

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That's a great story, Elfrieda :) Sometimes toddlers are a lot like lion cubs ...

Sylvia - posted on 06/07/2012

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I think that mum in the OP is expecting too much. Of course, every kid is different, and many different parenting styles work just fine, but if your kids act like they're afraid of you? Ur doin it rong. (Note I am NOT saying "be your kid's BFF" or "don't discipline your kid". But discipline means teaching and guiding, not terrorizing into submission.) Also, I am really curious how her kids behave when she is not around to hover over them ...

Kids are LEARNING. Everything they do, and everything you do with, to, or around them, teaches them something. It sounds like what these kids are learning from their mum is that nothing is OK to try unless she explicitly says so, and almost nothing is OK to try, period, and frankly I think that's very sad.

Like some other people have said, I've known lots of people who had totally unrealistic expectations of kids before they became parents (I think that's pretty normal, actually, especially if you haven't spent a lot of time around small children), but almost all of these people mellowed out enormously once they had their own kids, and I doubt any of them would ever have made a snarky comment about my kid just because she had to be reminded to share when she was 3, FFS.

I don't think parents should just shrug when their kids do something inappropriate. You're responsible to some extent for what kind of person your kids grow up to be, and nobody wants to raise a kid who thinks it's perfectly OK to hit people in order to get what you want. But some things aren't moral failings or defiance or malicious behaviour, they're just things little kids do when they're still learning how to be people. Correct and redirect and explain? Absolutely. Punish? Not so much. I also detest forced apologies, which I don't think are any more satisfying to the "victim" than they are to the "perpetrator". I love Kelly's explanation, which is very similar to what I used to do when DD was small. DD is an energetic, exuberant, somewhat hypersensitive, active, articulate, challenging little drama queen, but she is consistently gentle and kind with babies and small children, so somebody at some point did something right...

Janice - posted on 06/07/2012

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I didn't start time-outs until my daughter was about 2 years (22/23 months maybe) because like you said Jodi it really is not age appropriate. With little ones -redirection is best IMO. So when they do something wrong you tell them its not okay and then give them an alternative. Of course you do that with older toddlers and pre-schoolers too, but they may also need a time out or other punishment - especially if they are button pushers like my 2,5 year old.

Jodi She has even started saying these things to her sisters, just yesterday they were coloring at the table and Jaelyn says "You used a lot of colors baby! That makes it pretty!" I was so proud!
Awwwww! That is cute. My kids are 2 years apart also and its so awesome when you hear/see the older one who is still so young themself being kind to their sibling and emulating how you speak to them.

Janice - posted on 06/07/2012

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I do ask that my daughter says sorry and she always has done it and with actually "sorrow."

Sometimes it is an immediate sorry other times it comes after a time out. My daughter 2.5 and is beginning to say sorry on her own now. I do also constantly model the behavior of saying sorry when I do something wrong too.



I'm much like Sherri. The play dates are not just for the children. Currently I am a SAHM. I NEED to have the occasional "mom date" If my child ever said they weren't sorry than they would not be allowed to keep playing with the group, but we may not necessarily leave.



In life we do not have to like everyone. But we must learn to be polite and kind even to those we don't like very much. I may not like a co-worker but that doesn't mean I should go home for the day or quit my job because we have a disagreement. I might not want to say sorry because I generally do not like the person but if I did something wrong I still need to recognize my mistake and say sorry.

Jodi - posted on 06/07/2012

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"When J upset another kid, I always took him aside and asked if he was happy that the other kid was upset. 9 out of 10 times he would say no. I would then ask him if he knew why the kid was upset. He usually did, if not, I told him. Then I asked if he wanted the kid to feel better. He always said yes. Then I asked him what would make him feel better if he were upset, and he would go apologize on his own or do something else to cheer the kid up (he did not always apologize because sometimes, though he was not sorry, he didn't want the kid upset). Four questions, usually took less than 2 minutes. I think it worked so well for us because J is a bit of a control freak, and this put him in control."



This is what I do and it works great. I actually havn't had to even ask my daughter to say sorry for quite some time. She says sorry if she bumps her sisters, or steps on my toes or hurts another child's feelings. It also sincerely helps that I apologize to her for bumping into her, for hurting her feelings (like the time I threw away the broken red car that she was apparently really attatched to!) or what not.



"And the only reason why I think its this way now is because I made a concious effort to talk to my kids politely, with a focus on saying please, thank you and I'm sorry." Yup, do this too!



"must admit I'm not a fan of praise for nothing, especially the phrase "good job." So I will often say "thank you for sharing nicely today" or I will praise an actual action when it occurs. However, that is how I personally choose to do things. I would never say anything to another mother. That is completely rude and unnecessary. "



I used say good job for everything, but since I started saying things like "you were such good listener today!" or "You worked really hard on your sandcastle, and look how great it is!", she responds to the praise better. It's not just empty praise that I can say without looking or paying attention. She knows that mommy sees and hears what she has said and done and is proud of it, and that makes her proud too! She has even started saying these things to her sisters, just yesterday they were coloring at the table and Jaelyn says "You used a lot of colors baby! That makes it pretty!" I was so proud! lol



I have to mention, I do not put my twins in time out yet. they can't verbalize their anger (which is pretty much the only time they hit), so when they hit, I tell them no, that it hurts. I show them how to display their anger whiel at the same time teaching them the words (not in that exact moment, this is a daily thing). One day, when they can verbalize and display their anger appropriately, then they will get time outs, until them, I really don't feel like it's fair. As for taking toys, redirection works 99% of the time so I can avoid time outs while at the same time teaching them they have to wait their turn or share (by saying something like "Johnny is playing with that toy right now, let's go play with this until it's our turn!")



As for hanging out with this mother, I won't be mean and I wouldn't dream of being so rude as to leave a social setting where she is or not invite her and her children to one at my house. But I doubt there will be any one on one play dates with her until, at the very least, she can keep her thoughts to herself about my parenting.

Krista - posted on 06/07/2012

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When J upset another kid, I always took him aside and asked if he was happy that the other kid was upset. 9 out of 10 times he would say no. I would then ask him if he knew why the kid was upset. He usually did, if not, I told him. Then I asked if he wanted the kid to feel better. He always said yes. Then I asked him what would make him feel better if he were upset, and he would go apologize on his own or do something else to cheer the kid up (he did not always apologize because sometimes, though he was not sorry, he didn't want the kid upset).

I like this. I like this a lot. I may steal this trick, Kelly.

(My kid is normally great with other kids, but was a total turd yesterday -- he had the lid off of the big box of Duplo and had another toddler pinned to the ground with it, pressing it against him. The edge of the lid was against the back of the other kid's neck, for pete's sakes. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but it was definitely not one of his finer moments.)

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 06/07/2012

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I do not force my children to say sorry. They get an explanation of why it is a good idea and they get a choice to do so or not. If they choose not to, then they are simply not ready to go back to playing fairly. They can either play on their own or sit with momma.



I agree with Sherri. It is a life skill and it must be taught. I don't think she said she forces them to do so, just that if they choose not to, then they don't get to continue to participate in that play until they have thought about it and understand, they have hurt another's feelings. No one likes to say sorry. it simply means you were wrong. However, it is important to be taught when it is required and that yes, you may feel some discomfort by it BUT how do you think the person you acted against, feels? Probably discomfort for being made to cry.



ETA:

I also never ever give empty threats. I am a mother of my word. I do exactly as I say I will, always. Perhaps this is why my children do not over step the boundaries. They know that when they have come close, they will lose. I have a lot of patience BUT I can have low tolerance. Act appropriately for your age or choose to have consequences.

Janice - posted on 06/07/2012

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This mom does seem extreme. Kids do need guidance so I don't completely step back but I certainly don't step in when it isn't necessary. Kids will be kids! I do reprimand my daughter during play dates but only if she is having a repeated issue. My friend and I both have time out spots and we have no issue with putting our kids in time out at each others home if necessary, but it is rare.

My daughter is 2 1/2. I do not hover but if I do witness her taking a toy with out asking I will make her give it back and ask for it or if the other child was actually using it to ask for a turn and then wait.

I must admit I'm not a fan of praise for nothing, especially the phrase "good job." So I will often say "thank you for sharing nicely today" or I will praise an actual action when it occurs. However, that is how I personally choose to do things. I would never say anything to another mother. That is completely rude and unnecessary.

My MIL feels the need to say "good girl" when my daughter does the smallest good thing, like listening when I say "get off of the table your gonna fall." I want to shout "She's not a dog" but instead I keep my mouth shut.

Stifler's - posted on 06/07/2012

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I think it's overparenting to be honest. If my kids have play dates me and the other mums have a cuppa and they play. We just watch and barely say anything unless one of the kids is crying we don't interfere. Big deal if one dumped some blocks out or whatever or snatched a toy. They'll learn to deal with it themselves. I'd never relax or have any fun if I was on all the kids about everything. Obviously if one kid is snatching and pissing everyone off I'll say something to them about sharing and blah blah play with something else and wait your turn. but if the kid doesn't care and gets something else and runs off then who cares. Nothing shits me more than empty threats of spankings, going home, going to the car for the rest of the visit etc.

Jenny - posted on 06/07/2012

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I love what Kelly wrote. I think the key to it is her attitude towards the situation and teaching her kid to have empathy without force.



With my oldest kid I used to force him to appologise too. I thought it was the right thing to do. But along the way it started to feel wrong and I did not like what it would take for him to appologise: lots of tears, me getting more angry with him because he couldnt say this one simple word, nuddging him towards the other child, him pushing back, such a power struggle. So I stopped doing that. I would appoligise for him instead, and demonstrate what empathy looks like.



Anyway, recently my kids have been saying please and sorry all the time. If my daughter accidently bumps into me while walking past, she says a quick and easy "Oh, sorry!" It comes so naturally for her. And the only reason why I think its this way now is because I made a concious effort to talk to my kids politely, with a focus on saying please, thank you and I'm sorry.



I know that parents can get this sort of result from kids by giving them a time out and forcing them to be sorry until they finally get into the right pattern and it comes naturally for them, but my pledge here is why do it the hard way when there is an easy way to do it?

Michelle - posted on 06/06/2012

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We don't have play dates, my daughter goes to daycare but she plays with her uncle and aunt (who are around the same age) her aunt needs a good smack in my opinion she is a bully and she gets away with it, but this means that I need to be firm with my daughter when they play together to ensure that she listens to me and stops copying what her aunt is doing (her aunt is 5), however when we are at the doctors or just out where there are other kids my daughter gets multiple warnings, if she doesn't listen and I get annoyed at having to warn her (she gets more than a hand full of warnings) she then has to come and sit with me for a little bit.

Erin - posted on 06/06/2012

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I don't expect perfection from my kids, but I'm also not a huge fan of parents who give the kids too many warnings or "chances" or who's threats are empty. I see too many moms who want to be their kids' best friend and not parent. I also see a lot of kids who flat out need physical discipline. As I have aged I find it less appealing to spank unless they get out of control over a period of time. I do think physical punishment has legtimate uses. For instance I use this example: Better for a child who does not understand a verbal command to have their hand slapped when trying to put a fork in the light socket, than to not understand the command and stick the fork in the light socket.

I do think that age should be a consideration when deciding what a child should or shouldn't do, or know, but sometimes it isn't always clear to all parents or with all kids what they should or shouldn't know. I believe each parent should be respected for their own choice in parenting however I wouldn't want to be around parents who's kids are running a muck everywhere making messes to no end and have no supervision. So it can go both ways. The mom in the OP seems to paranoid and judgmental it's one thing to defend her own style of parenitng but rude to have been so bent out of shape over a child who sounds like did real well at that age. Kids have to be taught all day everyday not just once and never get to mess up again.

Kelina - posted on 06/06/2012

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I don't expect my kids to be perfect but I do expect certain things from them that other parents probably think are too harsh. Like leaving the rocks on the ground at the park which my MIL drives me nuts by encouraging them to throw the rocks into the water. I too would have been proud of my kids for listening and behaving like that at the park. That is my eyes is good! Not having to go home, or be threatened to go home, or be put on time out is a good day is my eyes!

Jenny - posted on 06/06/2012

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I'm probably not describing it well, but it really was no big deal, I have a gazzilliion toys, they were all reaching for toys out of the box, look at it put it down until they got to the bottom of the box, he took one of them it really was not a big deal. I think it was too much for her to harp on him, my kids did not get upset at all by his behaviour, if he had taken the toy away and my kid cried because he really wanted that toy, then fine, but if my kid doesnt care and moves straight onto the next toy WHO CARES??? What is the point in making a big deal out of nothing? There will be better opportunities to teach this to him, when someone actually gets upset by what he does, then she can be like, look that was not nice, now Y is upset because you took her toy. In this instance the only person that got upset was Mummy and i think that is over reacting.
Im telling you she was watching him like a hawk and they did not get to have any free play because she was policing his every move. It was no fun and made it awkward because every second minute she was telling him off and dealing with him. "No X, put that down, no leave that toy, here play with this one, come sit here, don't yell, oh you are making such a mess, no more toys, thats enough." Relax woman!

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 06/06/2012

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Sherri--If my child did this even at one I would make them have a time out and apologize too this too me is good manners.

If my child hits automatic time out we start time out at 1yr. 1 min per year of life.


Yes, I do agree with this. I do the same thing, here. There is no "taking" a toy and not having a consequence. Now, the first time it is a reminder and an apology to said kid, by my kid. Second time, it is the same but with a time out (as long as the year of age they are).

My son hits, he gets a time out but first he is told that it hurts and we do NOT hit. He is told this at his eye level, while he looks at me. Then he is told he has to have time out for hitting. He no longer hits and he didn't do it for long. ;)

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 06/06/2012

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Anyone who thinks their child(ren) should be perfect are going to lose the battle. Their child(ren) will become distant over time. I was expected to be perfect and by golly, I was and still am far from it. I make sure to not expect my chilren to be perfect. This has taken some time for me, though. I did at one time, expect my daughter to be just that. She was so little and I was young and a new Mom. I only knew what I was brought up with.



I have learnt over time, that it is more than OK to make mistakes. Since, mistakes are what you really learn from. As long as their is someone to show you, the mistake. ;)



I truly believe in age appropriate discipline. I am a firm disciplinary but I also do not over step my own boundaries, there. I do allow my children to be children (of their age and development). If they do something that is not so appropriate for their age, I will correct them. Whether it be by reminding, talking to them or simply guiding them in the right direction. If they fail to follow the guidence, then there is consequences. Again, according to their age and development. For my son it is time out or redirection. For my girl it is loss of privileges or grounding.



I have learnt to relax a lot, over the years. My son actually brings that out of me, more and more. I am older now and I just want to enjoy every single aspect of him (and my girl, even though she is much older now).



Yes, pick your battles. Otherwise, you will be battling everything and in the grand scheme of things, some of them are just not worth it. ;)



It seems this lady is either a control freak (I can relate...lol) or she has had a harder upbringing (I can relate...) or she is just a bitch. I agree with Elfrieda. Maybe she just needs to see what a "real" mommy does. Maybe, you will rub off on her, Jodi. Sounds to me, you did the right thing with your girl. It's how I would've done it, too. A child will be more willing to learn and listen when they have more positive reinforcement than negative.



ETA:

BTW - My children are very good kids. Their shit DOES stink but I truly could not ask for better kids. ;) They are however kids, so I am going to let them be just that. They grow up soooo quickly, before you know it they are young adults. Then they are leaving your home to venture on their own. For me it is important to take in every single moment, the good and the ugly. heheee

Lady Heather - posted on 06/06/2012

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I think I sometimes have higher expectations of my older daughter than I should. She is really articulate for her age so I often forget that she is only 3 and she doesn't understand everything I say. Yesterday she started screaming at playgroup because another kid wanted to share the toy kitchen. So I have her a hug and told her I understand it's upsetting but we have to share with the other kids. And then I added that it was probably karma getting her back for stealing her sister's toy earlier that day. She gave me a confused look and wandered off.

I think some people are really overly concerned about public appearances. They think it's only their kid having the tantrum or throwing things or whatever. Another mum last night was mortified when her year old threw a toy at another kid. Now she didn't punish him. She did tell him no. But she was just apologizing over and over and we are all like "don't worry about it. Someone will peg him in the head one day too."

Experience does help and maybe this super strict lady will soften when she realizes how normal "bad" behaviors are. I can't say I've ever encountered someone like that though, with the commenting on your kids and such.

Becky - posted on 06/06/2012

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Oh lord, if I expected my children to be perfect, I'd have a nervous breakdown, because they are sooo far from it! And I'm far from a perfect mother too, so how can I expect more from them than I expect from myself? I totally agree, children are learning how to behave in social situations, how to share, respect, etc. Personally, I would rather have my children learn internal motivation for good behavior - because it's right, because they care about others, because it will help them succeed in life, etc, then do only behave correctly because they're terrified of the consequence if they don't. Yes, sometimes I have to exert some control and discipline them for their behavior, but I don't want everything they do to be done under duress!

I don't think I would probably have much interaction with someone like you're describing either, especially if she wanted to comment on my children's behavior and my parenting!

Johnny - posted on 06/06/2012

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To me, it is important to provide guidance and correction so that kids know what their boundaries are, what constitutes acceptable and preferred behavior, and what is not okay as well. But unless they choose not to listen to that guidance and correction repeatedly, punishment such as a form of "time out" is not at all necessary. So I agree with how you handled things completely. Kids are learning how to handle themselves in social situations, it takes time and patience. It also bothers me when I see parents punishing kids for making mistakes that they weren't aware they were doing and having highly unreasonable expectations.

I do not expect perfection at all from my child. I do expect her to listen to my guidance and attempt to remember how to behave. If she chooses not to, that is when I will hand out consequences. When she was about 2 1/2 or 3, I remember having to warn her about her behavior a great deal. And once in a while she ended up going home early or sitting with mommy for a while. But now that she's going to be 4 soon, I honestly don't think I've had to do either of those things in at least 6 months. So it worked. She is often complimented by others on her pleasant nature, good behaviour and listening skills. And yet she is very much a free spirit and has a great love of play. I just received her "progress report" from her preschool and the comment that made me the most proud was that she was an empathetic child who cared about the feelings of others. That made me feel like I had disciplined in a way that let her know what the boundaries were while respecting her level of understanding and learning process. She knew how to care for others because she had seen it in action.

Krista - posted on 06/06/2012

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this woman really seems to think that children should really never have to be told not to something, or to do something, or be reminded of the rules.

Is she high? Seriously? The woman must have had a miserable childhood and/or must have never spent any time around kids if she has such ridiculous expectations.

Jenni - posted on 06/06/2012

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I definitely believe in age-appropriate discipline and trying to distinguish between something they will naturally grow out of and is just a phase or something that needs more attention. If you're nit-picking every little behaviour, kids will just learn to ignore you and discipline measures tend to become inaffective. "Pick and choose your battles". I also think it's important to use actions (such as natural/logical consequences and modelling behaviour) rather than always correcting with words. I still remember my own mother going: blah blah blah blah blah or sounding like the teacher in the Peanuts.



My kids don't have to be perfect. I'm not perfect and neither is anyone else. I think people who care too much about appearing "perfect" or their children appearing "perfect" are not comfortable in their own skin or are very insecure.



I fall somewhere in the middle I guess. I have expectations for my children but I keep in mind their age and ability. They have plenty of time to grow and learn, no need to rush them into becoming mini-adults behaviour-wise the moment they exit the womb. They're going to make plenty of mistakes and there's nothing wrong with that as long as they learn valuable lessons from them for the most part.

Michele - posted on 06/06/2012

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@Jodi - reminds me of a very wise nurse who ran a baby group. She told me that it takes 850 repetitions for a toddler to learn something. I have learned it applies to teens too. :)

Michele - posted on 06/06/2012

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If I expected perfection, my life would be miserable.

My older kids attended a middle school that encourages parents to let kids mess things up and start to take responsibility for their own lives. Better to learn that in middle school than high school, or worse, college.

It is hard sometimes to watch them make mistakes (my son's grades took a dive 2nd trimester), but that is the best way to learn. So instead of shaming him, he and I talked through possible strategies for keeping up with his work and why showing your work (math) is important. He did much better the last few months because he decided what he thought would work best for him. I told him he needs to remember this in the fall.

Overall, my kids behave pretty well - at least for other people. I catch the worst of the attitude usually.

Jodi - posted on 06/06/2012

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This is the first time I've ever encountered something like this to this extreme. I have certainly been around parents who are much more strict than me, and more strict than I think is even remotely neccessary, but this woman really seems to think that children should really never have to be told not to something, or to do something, or be reminded of the rules. Hell, most adults can't accomplish that! lol It's just very interesting, and a little sad to witness.

Amy - posted on 06/06/2012

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My mom tells me I'm too hard on my kids, and I sometimes admit that I forget they are 2 and 6 because for the most part they are both very well behaved. I don't think I demand perfection from them by any means and as far as disciplining goes my doctor gave us the best advice when my oldest was starting to test his boundaries, "pick your battles" and that is exactly what I do. If it's going to cause death or serious injury I'll step in but otherwise they are free to explore and figure things out on their own.

I don't think I've ever met a parent as extreme as the one you are describing, I have seen parents at the opposite end of the spectrum those who let their kids run wild without discipline or intervening when things get out of hand. I would never make those comments to another parent, it's not my place to comment on how someone is raising their kids, I completely agree with Krista she sounds like a bitch. I also avoid parents who's parenting is extreme to mine, most of my sons friends parents have a very similar parenting philosophy to mine.

Krista - posted on 06/06/2012

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I agree with you. It's all part of the learning experience. Do we punish children if they fall down after taking their first steps? Of course not. We know that it will take time and practice and mistakes in order for them to learn that skill. Social skills are no different.

Frankly, she sounds like a bit of a bitch to me, if for nothing else than the fact that she saw fit to offer her unsolicited, critical commentary on YOUR kid's behaviour. I feel sorry for those poor little boys, if she is so stringent with them.

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