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Not to change my rules for the sake of my friends DS

(79 Posts)
NopeStillNothing Mon 25-Feb-13 22:41:14

Sorry this is long. Had a moment today where I felt incredibly mean and would like the MN jury to enlighten me on whether IWBU.
My friend and I both parent our Ds' very differently (18 +20 months). Although these differences are quite noticeable, I'd like to think we don't judge each other and things have run pretty smoothly as the boys are growing into 'toddlerhood' together.

Anyway, friend and her Ds came over to visit today and I brought out tea and biscuits for the adults. Her Ds immediately reached out for a biscuit and I did the whole 'ooh you'll have to ask Mummy' to which she responded with ' No Ds you know you're not allowed biscuits'. My DS then did the same and I gave him half as I have no problem with him having the occasional biscuit. Cue, hysterical crying from friends DS and me feeling like an absolute bitch for upsetting him. Because of this I put the biscuits away and say No to Ds having the other half. ( He had a bit of a whinge but not upset about it)
Later on in the afternoon, I went to go upstairs. Even though I have a stairgate DS likes to climb the stairs and if I'm not in a hurry, I tend to let him go up before me. Friends Ds followed me into the hall and began climbing ahead of me and I allowed him as I would my own Ds. Next thing I know, friend is next to me pulling her Ds back and telling him off for climbing the stairs. I tell her "It's ok I'm watching him" but she responds with " No, I'm teaching him not to climb stairs, he knows he's not supposed to!"

Then typically, My Ds comes in to the hall to see what the commotion is, ( Friends Ds crying) sees the stairgate open and starts to climb. Now I'm a little bit peeved by this point that I'm having to prohibit my Ds from doing things he would normally do to prevent upsetting friends Ds. It's fair enough if you want to be a strict parent but I didn't want to acommodate this. So I allowed Ds to climb. Again cue hysterical crying and glare from friend.

Now I do believe my friend is too strict and Ishouldn't have to change my usual rules to keep everyone happy but part of me feels that all my stubborness achieved today was upsetting a little boy sad Should I have just stopped Ds from climbing this one day so I didn't have to upset friends Ds? Im sure Ds wouldn't have even noticed tbh so it wasnt to keep Ds happy it was more me digging my heels in.

Oh god Iwbu wasn't I? sad

maninawomansworld Fri 01-Mar-13 08:54:47

No, your house, your rules, your child. If other parents want to forbid (or allow for that matter) their children doing certain things that should have no bearing on whether yours is allowed to.
Kids need to learn that they can't have / do everything that their friends can do, I think you did the right thing - although I would have let him have the other half of the biscuit like he would normally have been allowed.

diddl Fri 01-Mar-13 09:02:37

I'd have put the biscuits away tbh.

And I wouldn't have let him climb the stairs unless he needed to-wouldn't want the responsibility!

exoticfruits Sat 02-Mar-13 08:17:46

I wouldn't put the biscuits away. Unless she stays at home all the time she will go to toddler groups etc where biscuits are offered. It is her problem- leave her to deal with it.

Wishihadabs Sat 02-Mar-13 08:41:26

We had this all the time about stairs. We moved when dd was 21m and never put stairgates up in the new house. Lots of our friends have younger dcs and I'm afraid I just let the parents take responsibility for ensuring their own dcs safety. My dcs were able to go up and down as they wished.

About the biscuit thing, I can be quite strict on this one. We have a no sweets before lunch rule. I always stuck to this even if others were getting ice creams or whatever. I would just say "we don't have treats.before lunch, you can have one later". My dcs are older now and totally accept the other children are allowed stuff they aren't.

MrsLouisTheroux Sat 02-Mar-13 08:41:28

She sounds like hard work.
Second guessing her rules/ regulations/ can do / can't do will be exhausting.
Meet at a play centre.

Imaginethat Sat 02-Mar-13 08:48:57

I think your friend is going to find parenthood increasingly stressful as she tries and fails to control all environments!

exoticfruits Sat 02-Mar-13 16:36:20

True Imaginethat-it takes some parents a while to realise they can't!

AllDirections Sat 02-Mar-13 18:23:46

IMO you have to stick to your own rules for your kids. But respect the differences - I would never order lemonade for her kids for example.

I agree with this. My DC are older and I started off trying to accomodate other people's rules when out and about with friends and family, (it's obviously different if we're in their homes) but it wasn't fair on the DC. My DC know now that I decide what they can and can't have or can and can't do no matter what is happening with the other children. I go away with friends a lot and nearly all of them make their DC eat everything on their plates and I don't with my DC. Some of them let their young children stay up very, very late and my DC stay up a bit but have to go to bed at a reasonable time. Things will never be equal and there's no point in even trying.

YANBU OP, I've had friends like your friend. You're not a mind reader and I agree with the poster who said that people need to be more vocal about their needs/requests, especially when they're expecting you to behave in a certain way. At least then you can either do what they want or tell them that you're not going to do what they want, e.g. I won't make other people's DC clear their plate and they need to know that if they leave me in charge of their DC.

Dinkysmummy Sat 02-Mar-13 19:24:36

No ywnbu. I'm the same if I'm honest. (I probably would have asked if the other mum wanted biscuits and if DC could have them too, but sometimes it's just easier to grab the biccies while you are there and not have to shout through).
The stairs thing, I would have done either the same as you or left dd downstairs. Either way it is her rules that upset her DC not you letting your DC up the stairs!

This works the other way for not allowing other peoples DCs to do things they are allowed to do at home. I asked my friend not to let her DC crawl under my table as there was always clean washing behind the table and I didnt want it getting pulled down, also my dd was not allowed and would copy. My friends DC went under anyway and when I asked her to call him out she said "oh but he is allowed to at home!" well not in my home!

So as far as the title goes no you should not change the rules for friends DCs and if it continues them soft play/park might be the better alternative to save disagreements.

FBmum Sat 02-Mar-13 20:39:12

I have had really similar experiences and like you, I adjusted my rules to accommodate the 'stricter' parent. The result? Two very confused DCs who were usually allowed to do stuff like eat a biscuit or watch a certain film, who were suddenly being told that they weren't allowed to. I used to tie myself up in terrible knots trying to parent according to other parent's rules and ended up feeling guilty and sad that I didn't have enough faith in my own parenting to say "well this is what I allow and this is what we will continue to do". As others have said, why should you be the one that compromises your parenting decisions?

It's okay to move meetings to the park etc but this may not solve the issue - what happens if your DC is allowed on the big roundabout, but your friend's DC isn't? Or if your DC wants a snack but your friends DC isn't allowed because they don't do snacks at that time????

The thing I didn't do was discuss issues like this with my friend and I regret that. Why don't you bring the issue up so that in the future if it happens again, you both know the strategy and both of you are happy?

coldcupoftea Sat 02-Mar-13 21:03:03

YANBU. However to make things easier, when she said he wasn't allowed a biscuit, if she didn't produce an alternative snack I would have offered him a banana or breadstick instead (but still given my DC one biscuit if they asked).

With the stairs thing I probably would have said to the friend lightheartedly sorry, I didn't realise, we let DS climb the stairs if we are with him. But then when your DS came along I would havd tried to distract him, or carried him upstairs if he wanted to come.

You soon figure out how to act with certain people. I have a friend who won't let her 18mo DS watch tv. As a general rule I don't put it on when we have guests anyway, but the other day she wanted to pop around after school when my kids were both knackered and needed some down time, so I just said I'm going to put the tv on for them, but we can take your DS into the other room to play if you like. She let him watch it in the end.

I do just tend to follow the rules of the house we're visiting tbh though, and find it a bit odd if others don't do the same.

coldcupoftea Sat 02-Mar-13 21:17:23

Actually this just reminded me of the time I was with a friend and our 3yo DDs just leaving the house to go to the park when my DD tripped and scraped her knee quite badly, she was howling. I whipped her back into the kitchen to clean her up and the other little girl followed us in. To cheer DD up I gave her a mini chupa chups lolly we had from a party bag, and as there were 2 I gave the other one to friend's DD. Finally walked out of the house all smiles again, friend took one look and whipped the lolly out of her DD's mouth saying 'you're not having that!'

Cue a totally miserable trip to the park with the little girl sobbing all the way while DD merrily sucked her lolly and kept asking why her friend couldn't have one sad.

stifnstav Sat 02-Mar-13 21:41:18

I would have done the same as your friend with the lolly coldcup but I'm paranoid about choking.

If that was her reason, she should have explained it.

stifnstav Sat 02-Mar-13 21:45:07

By that I mean she shoild have explained it to not look like a loon. I always ask the parent's permission before giving a child anything.

It might be daft but DS has terrible wind after cauliflower and will scream the house down. So I tell everyone who looks after him that he is not to have it.

Sometimes MIL will puree stuff for him without checking and its only afterwards that I figure out what he's had.

<makes note that I realise I am a loon too>

coldcupoftea Sat 02-Mar-13 21:56:50

I usually do ask the parents, but this was one of those spur of the moment things and shameless bribery to get DD to calm down I don't think I was necessarily in the right, but I do think my friend was a bit heavy handed.

But then I also expect my kids to understand that just because they get something as a one-off at someone's house, or at a party, doesn't mean they will necessarily get the same thing at home. It's also about balance- one biscuit/lolly/ice cream will not ruin a child forever!

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Sat 02-Mar-13 22:09:38

YANBU - but I fear it's going to be the start of a very difficult period and I generally find that those people are the ones I don't actually get on with that well anyway.

Once they're older and can understand that you have different rules it's OK (well, there's often some complaining, but at least you can explain) at this age it's very hard to be with people who parent very differently.

I try to work around other peoples rules when I can so that none of the children are upset - so, if she came around again I'd ask if there were any snacks her DS was allowed and offer those if I had them, I wouldn't put biscuits out for the adults. There's usually another option your child would be happy with - so no need to upset the other child. If we went to her house I'd pack a snack my child likes, but not biscuits. If I needed to go upstairs and my little one wouldn't be upset if I went without them I'd just go myself - but if they'd be upset I'd let them come with me and just say to the other child 'Sorry, Mummy says you can't come up' and leave her to deal with it... bending over backwards is fine, until you reach the point where it would upset your child instead.

Wingdingdong Sat 02-Mar-13 22:21:36

Hm, I have to say I think you were possibly not the best or most diplomatic host but your friend's not the most gracious or flexible guest! At home, I don't allow either DC to have biscuits before lunch (3.7y and 12m). If we have visitors, I ask the parent which snacks/drinks would be appropriate BEFORE producing them and then adapt accordingly. If that means that cheese and apple slices get offered when DD's hoping for a biscuit, then tough - if she's hungry, she'll eat them and not care. And if she's not hungry enough to eat them she didn't need a snack anyway.

If we're at somebody else's house, it's their rules. As far as I'm concerned, it's the exception that proves the rule and if DD gets offered a chocolate biscuit at 10am, it's not going to kill her, make her obese overnight or counteract the nutrient intake from the rest of the day's food. It will, however, reinforce what's 'normal' and what's a treat - and treats mean/require best behaviour. Win-win.

However, DD has various medical issues, gastro-intestinal, eczema, asthma, etc, and is waiting for allergy tests, so I would appreciate being asked first. E.g. I know for sure that some foods, which she loves, such as parmesan cheese, red peppers and others, mean that she will get an outbreak of eczema, diarrhoea and bowel bleeding. I do get really pissed off when other parents offer those foods to her without checking because I have to deal with either the tantrum or the resulting crying from pain a couple of hours later and neither's fair on DD. I don't think gluten's an issue for her but I am so aware that for another child it might be that I always check everything, no matter how apparently non-controversial.

As for stairs - your friend's bonkers, but it's her child. When it comes to safety, I expect every parent to take responsibility for his/her own child and therefore they set the rules. Since DS could climb - and fell all the way down - the stairs at 8m with no lasting side-effects and at 12m can pull himself up on top of the stair gate, I'm of the opinion that a) he's rubber and b) he bloody well needs to know how to climb/descend safely and the more practice the better. But all children are different - he's 98th centile, DD's 2nd centile. Because her legs are so short, she couldn't physically climb the stairs until she had the mental understanding to do so safely. Each parent needs to gauge their own child's ability. I wouldn't let another child go in front of me up the stairs if that meant putting myself between a parent and their DC.

yanbu. you can't change the rules on a toddler. it'll cause stress and confusion.do you think your friend is stressing because she didn't change her rules to not cause a problem? kids have time learn that different parents have different rules

MerylStrop Sat 02-Mar-13 23:26:55

I think I would have checked re biscuits before putting them out (though NONE of the parents I know wouldn't have let their DC have a biscuit, especially if they were having one themselves).

YANBU re the stairs. Kids never learn if they don't try. Nonetheless I might have breezily whisked both DC off to play something somewhere else.

foreverondiet Sun 03-Mar-13 07:14:43

Your friend sounds loopy! The biscuit incident is madness - I hate my DS eating anything between meals as if he does he eats nothing at mealtimes but at a friends house I'd have to allow - also not totally not reasonable for him not to have if adults having. Re: the stairs - wtf she is teaching him never to climb stairs shock why? Don't get that. Is he going to be 5 and not allowed to go up or downstairs? Don't put any further stress into this.

toddlerama Sun 03-Mar-13 07:44:44

YANBU and I say that as the loopy friend. Not literally.

I'm pretty strict with my children. I don't expect anyone else to pretend they are because we're visiting, but equally it undermines all of the work we've done if I just say "oh someone else's house. Free for all!"

I wouldn't have eaten a biscuit myself if I wasn't going to allow my DS one. Did your friend? Them being available does not automatically mean they get one. It's not loopy to avoid junk food. As for the stairs, she may be using a blanket stair ban for a few more months because grandma has dangerous open backed spiral staircase with no gate and they go there several times a week. No stairs is safer than "you can use them here, but not here" with an 18 month old.

I know that my children have felt outraged briefly by having a different set of rules to others. I just think the sooner they learn that the better. As they get older, there will always be someone with more freedom and it will become more important that they don't need to have everything their peers do.

SpanishLady Sun 03-Mar-13 07:53:27

I have to agree with posters who ask if the mum had a biscuit as would think that odd if she had one and not allowed her child. Agree also that given a child has to learn how to climb up stairs it's odd to ban him! When exactly will she decide he is old enough?

exoticfruits Sun 03-Mar-13 08:13:43

You would hope that she didn't have a biscuit herself- if she did it won't be long before the DC picks up the hypocrisy of it. DCs do as you do and not as you say. The only message that he will pick up is that biscuits are desirable and he can eat as many as he wants when older!

cansu Sun 03-Mar-13 08:44:20

It is really down to her to enforce her own rules or not when out and about. If your ds is allowed a biscuit then get out biscuits if she wants her ds not to eat biscuits then she should provide something see and suck it up if histrionics ensue. Same with stairs really. It was fine for her to say. No to her ds climbing stairs but it is also equally fine for your ds to go up with you. She will have to get into the habit of saying that her rules are different and then live with the fall out. I don't think you did anything wrong. She sounds a bit mad. The only exception to this would be if her dc had an allergy or something that meant biscuits were dangerous for him then it might be kinder to keep them out of sight.

nextphase Sun 03-Mar-13 09:07:25

My 2 seem to have no problem with following the rules of the other house - that usually means less freedom in the destruction / mess causing, and more freedom in the artificial sweeteners, juice, sweets department.
And yes, I stick with my rules at home for guests and my kids.
If the biscuits was a first visit, and you invite her round again, I'd ask what snacks would be OK, and go with them, if they might have been on offer here - ie if she says only lotus paste sesame seed bread is Ok as a snack, I'd go my own way, but if she said yoghurt or fruit, I'd stick within her rules.
And, yes, I've just contradicted myself - my rules, but consider flexing slightly for her!

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