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Thread: How do you deal with other ppls parenting?

  1. #1

    Default How do you deal with other ppls parenting?

    I swore I was never going to be "one of those" judgmental mums and I fear I am exactly it. We had dinner at a very good friends place last night. There were 6 of us, and my friend has just had her 2nd bub.

    We sat around the table in very awkward silence listening to her 6 wk old cry on his own in his room. I felt sick to the stomach. It just felt wrong with everything in me, he is just so young. Another guest said "is he ok"? and my friend laughed at our uncomfortableness and said that he just knows that there are people in the house and is unsettled from it. I say - rubbish. A 6 week old doesn't know that. All he knows is whether he's comfortable or not or hungry or not. All he knows is that he can cry and hopefully someone (i.e. his parents) will help him. He has no thought, just instincts.

    It was awful. And then they managed to patronise my husband and I by commenting that we are "just first time parents" and we will understand when we have our 2nd. I told them that it is not out of naivity that I parent the way I do, it is a choice. And an educated choice at that, though I didn't say that. It's not just a "feeling", it is based on evidence that young children are hindered, not helped, by being left alone in distress like that.



    I love my friends but I feel times are changing. I can't honestly sit through dinner with them again. I couldn't risk having to hear their baby cry like that, it feels so wrong.
    But I know I'm being judgmental. I've never told them how to parent. I just can't sit through their choices anymore...and I can't sit through being patronised like that as if I don't know what I'm doing with my own son. Or as if I just haven't "caught up" to where they are at yet.

    ARGH. Vent over. Sorry. Feel much better

    If anyone wants to help me with my judgmentalism feel free

  2. #2

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    I know how you feel, and yes it is really hard sometimes but I have learnt not to give advice/alternatives when it isn't asked for in situations like that because we all know how easy it is to feel judged for our parenting choices and if we were to do the same to someone else by saying something then we only perpetuate the cycle kwim? I do however vent about it afterwards because I can't keep it bottled up inside when something goes against what I believe. Instead of saying something that may be taken the wrong way, make an offer of help - like ask if you can hold the baby, or do you need a hand - they may take you up on the offer. Or alternatively when you see them again you could bring into the conversation alternative ways of doing things that you've found helpful. Good luck, it is never easy this parenting caper is it? Even when we are doing what is right for us, we are confronted with other parents doing what is right for them.

  3. #3

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    Rahjah
    To me it sounds like they are the ones being judgemental of your parenting.

    From their side of the fence, they probably feel exactly the same way as you do (well they obviusly do as they said it to you), and would therefore feel just as judged. As above, we're all doing whats right for us.

    I think the only situation in which I think I would not be able to restrain myself from intervening is if I felt they were doing something that was putting the childs safety at risk.

    I do find that it matter what aspect of how we parents DS it is, theres someone who questions it, tells me its wrong etc. And I always think to myself ' think what you like, but why the need to tell me?'. They know they wont change my mind.

    You dont have to sit through their choices if you dont want to, though it may mean losing that friendship. Do you want to keep it? It comes down to whats important to you.

  4. #4

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    Awww, that must have been really hard for you hon I think you did the right thing by not saying anything though. ANd who knows, maybe they were leaving the bub so long because they felt they might be judged by the others at the dinner party? I'm not saying that makes it a good decision (sp?) but it could be why. I know whenever my family come to Aus for a holiday they always tell me I shouldn't still be getting up for DD throughout the night and should be leaving her to cry. Perhaps they thought the same?

  5. #5

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    It's a tough one for sure.

    Within our circle of friends we have a wide variety of parenting styles.

    I am fairly upfront about how we are with our kids, to the point where I purposefully "take the mickey" out of myself in front of friends in order to let them know that I am totally comfortable with my style, regardless of what they think, so there is not much point in them ever trying to change me!

    For example, if friends come to dinner, I always preface the invitation with somethin like "As long as you remember I am the orginal hippy baby wearing Mummy, so I am likely to have a baby on my hip as I dish up dinner" ie so they KNOW I know our styles are different.

    Not sure if that helps any?

  6. #6

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    I can so relate - I was almost in tears at the shops the other day listening to a baby cry & the mother saying to her "Cry all you want I'm not going to pick you up". I wanted to go and offer to pick her up, 'cause (it sounded to me) all she wanted was to be reassured that someone was there for her. (I also wanted to find The Science of Parenting and give it to the mum telling her that the baby wasn't trying to manipulate her). I left the shop rather than do either of those things.

  7. #7

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    I love Lucy's approach, I do a similar thing. It is hard when styles differ, but the reality is its more likely than not. Just like all things everyone is different. I have been in the situation of a crying baby before and whilst it was hard, and it was, I managed and I'm sure you will too.

  8. #8

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    It feels good to vent hey Rah? Rest assured i would have felt the same way. I have to admit to trying to be a bit sneaky. When that kind of thing happens i try to address the issue from another angle. I might start talking about a "really good book I've been reading lately" and mention the Science of Parenting. I'd mention a few things in the book that I think might appeal to them and pray like anything that they actually go out and buy the book!!! Because it contains the best info on what leaving a newborn left to cry can do to them!

    I agree with the other girls, it's good you didn't preach. But try to find a gentle way of sharing the info that you know.

    To answer your original question; YES! some parenting styles bug me immensely to the point of it affecting the friendship. Most recently I had a Kinder friend (4yo son and his mum) over to visit. The boy ran amok and the mum said nothing to dissuade him. As we were saying good bye the child made his arm into a "rifle" and pulled a "trigger" with his other hand and "shot" me in the face. I chose to ignore it but his mum said "That's a funny way to say Good-Bye" and smiled at him. Um, err, that almost sealed the deal with me. My 4yo son never role plays shooting people and he's not going to start now. I wouldn't have minded if the mum had said "hey, we shoot targets not people"... grrrr (yep, I think this is judgemental too... but it's hard to avoid hey?)
    Last edited by Bathsheba; May 21st, 2008 at 04:19 PM.

  9. #9

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    Wow, you guys are so nice!!! I honestly think I would of left in tears. I HATE babies being left to cry, esp newborns. I would of been a mess.

    I am an emotional person, and hearing that for too long would of just been the end of me...I probably wouldn't of said anything, but I wear my heart on my sleeve, and they would know I was upset...You done well honey, I would of crumbled!!!

  10. #10

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    There's a lady at playgroup who always YELLS!! at her kids... "GET HERE!!"... or "are you sooking?... yu sook" (this was to the youngest of her two). Her kids are about 4 and 18mo... I have said something under my breath, loud enough for others to hear... and I saw a couple of the mums who she doesn't sit with look very shocked... I don't think it will be long and I will let something audible out!!

    As for the 6wo... maybe you should have said..."awww he's awake... I NEED a nurse!!"

    Very tough

  11. #11

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    A very hard situation to be in. Not quite sure how I would have handled the situation. Maybe asked if they were 'control crying' or somehting so I could understand the angle they were taking.

    I think parents are judgemental. I know I am, only because I am comfortbale with my parenting style. But that being said I live by the 'each to their own' style of being judgementaladn don't say anything in public unless it is a matter of safety.

    A friend of ours' daughter has just split with her bf and moved back home and I don't agree with some of the things she does with her son (14 months). But I bite my tounge when we are with her (I vent to DBF later, and he does to me lol). However, the other day they came around and she mentioned that our house is no where near baby ready. I thought the cheek of her! Just because she has a toddler she knows how to parent better than us! (our other kids are 12 and 15 now). I said of course it isn't. I'm not due until August and the babies not going to be on the move unitl christmas at the earliest, so why do I have to have safety gates, etc in place now?! She thinks we need to have every safty device known. Rather than let is parent our way, which is to have certain safety devices in place for sure (under the kitchen sink, cords, power plugs, etc) and teach the kids not to touch the other things. We have two other kids, not like we don't know what we are doing! Anyway enough of a rant there lol

    Bathsheba - I wouldn't have been able to say nothing there.lol. I respect other peoples choice to parent the way that they do, but there are rule in our house. Like it or lump it. No-one runs a muck in our house. In our house we do not point a gun (no matter how it's formed) at other peoples faces. This may offend some visitors but it is our house and we also have a parenting style that needs to be respected. I'm probably sounding quite tough here but I do say things tacktfully.
    I guess I don't have much of a problem telling other kids 'off' as I ran a Family Day Care business when my son was very small (started when he was 5 months old and ran for 4 years). So we had house rules, which were not only based on my personal beliefs but those of current psychology and child rearing practices. Parents new in advance what my beliefs were and what consequences there were for so called 'misbehaviour' (usually time out).

    Anyway I'm rambling now. lol

  12. #12

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    Thanks for your replies everyone - I really feel much better reading them! Sorry there are way too many good points here to respond to them all!

    Lucy I like your approach. I probably need to find a language that would suit me I suppose and just go with it. I was talking to my sister about how she deals with it. She commented that her friend would say something sweet and lovely and offer to help or something - but because she is sweet and lovely it would be taken appropriately! LOL. My sis thought if SHE tried that it would sound false and ppl would know she's actually anxious about it. So I guess we've all gotta find the way to address (or not) these things in a way that matches our personality.

    Bathsheba YES! It does feel great to vent . As for your 'gun' incident, I would hate that too! I don't mind Becci's approach that "our house has rules". I've had so many times where I've been pulling other people's kids off our stuff or out of our bedrooms - I'm not telling them off generally as much as saying "no, this is not what happens in this house". Maybe that would work too "we don't have guns in this house" as oppose to "You should not play guns".

    Purplemamma I'm sure it was obvious I was struggling, or they wouldn't have said "Oh you're just a first time mum". I don't know what I looked like, I certainly hadn't said anything so I don't know that I was hiding anything at all, LOL. But they do know what side of the fence I sit on re this stuff so to speak!

    Snowy Love it's almost like we need to buy mass coppies of the Science of Parenting and stand outside Maternity wards handing them out FOR FREE to get the message out there!

    Anyhow, my DS is starting to sound like a horse LOL which means he's tired so I'm off!

  13. #13

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    There's always the back-handed compliment Tell them how strong they are resisting those cries, coz you could never do it.. it seems too cruel. LOL.

  14. #14

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    haha LOL

  15. #15

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    Actually...I don't mind that idea except that it would make me seem "weaker" rather than informed and making a choice about how I parent. I think that's the bit they don't get. I don't 'pander' to my child...I go to him because it is instinctual and not out of some pop routine parenting book. I also go to him because I know that research tells us (as if we needed it to know) that babies need responsive parents for their healthy mental development.

    Oh gosh. I could rant about this all day I'm so opinionated about my parenting

  16. #16

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    Lol aren't we all Rahjah!!!

  17. #17

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    Like it or lump it. No-one runs a muck in our house. In our house we do not point a gun (no matter how it's formed) at other peoples faces. This may offend some visitors but it is our house and we also have a parenting style that needs to be respected. I'm probably sounding quite tough here but I do say things tacktfully.
    Ditto!!!

    Bath- I would have said something, I dont mind kids being kids but there are times when they need to be pulled up cause they are just going to over the top or disrespecting me/the items in my house.

    Deff no guns in this house either... I would hate for DD to pick that up.

  18. #18

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    OMG, Rah, I would have been livid if someone said to me 'you're just a first-time parent'! Good heavens, they must be insecure. I would have found that dinner incredibly difficult too, and I don't blame you for being reluctant to have that experience again in a hurry - I would be the same.
    There was a time we went over to DH's best mate's place, I think Natty was about 1 month old, and they had a 3 month-old. The mate’s wife was testifying about the benefits of CCing. Their 3mo now settled herself every night by sucking her thumb and didn’t cry… “And it only took 6 nights!” To me, that sounded so awful.
    But you are right, it is also none of our business, sadly. My mum told me that we didn’t spend a great deal of time with our cousins when we were little, as she and my aunt had very different parenting styles. But once we got a bit older, they restored their relationship and all is well now. Perhaps that’s how it works with friends too. If you were to spend less time with them when your children are all so little, then later on pick up again once you have more in common. (That seems naive, even as I write it, but you never know.)
    Hugs to you, babe, and to your gorgeous little man.

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