To find it annoying when people tell me I'm lucky to have well behaved children?

(288 Posts)
alisunshine29 Fri 15-Mar-13 12:08:26

My eldest is 5.5 years old and youngest has just turned 9 months. Today we walked to school then I took youngest DD to a baby/music group. On the way to school we saw eldest DDs mum drive past, DDs friend was hitting her mum while she was driving and she was struggling to fend her off. We caught up with them at the car park and the mum was talking to her child as though it had never happened (I wasn't mistaken - they'd stopped in traffic so could clearly see) and 2 mins later her daughter started having a tantrum about taking a toy to school and slapped her 2 year old brother in anger. The mum barely reacted and in the end let her take it and left it for the teacher to take away and deal with the consequences. Younger brother was trying to climb out of pushchair so mum passed him her iPhone with a tv show on to keep him still and he threw it in the road! Mum just smacked him and retrieved it. After the eldest children had gone in to school, she excused her daughters behaviour by saying that she's tired because she went to sleep fifteen mins late last night and had to walk from the car park - it's about 300 metres!! She asked where I was parked and I said I'd walked from home, she was amazed as its almost two miles away. She then commented on how lucky I am elder DD is so well behaved and can cope with the walk.
At baby group, it was chaos as they have organised music activities where parents and kids sit in a circle and do actions etc. The leader specifically asked children are not allowed to run riot like last week, when some damage to the building was caused and pointed out a separate room where those not wanting to join in could go for a chat and cup of tea. Still, mums let their babies crawl/toddle everywhere, older toddlers were running around and pulling notices off the wall leaving pins on the floor etc. Their mums either ignored them or tried to pin them still on their lap. Again, a mum commented that I'm lucky that my daughter is well behaved.
Of course my youngest is only tiny and has no rules as such, but if she wasn't interested in the music group I'd have gone in the other room and kept her happy/occupied. I'm quite strict and very consistent with my eldest DD hence the reason I believe her to be well behaved - it is not luck. Special needs excluding, I think it is inexcusable for a child to hit a parent like DDs friend was this morning - particularly while she's driving, it's dangerous for everyone. To not do anything about it I believe is the mum neglecting her duty to her daughter. Her DD was going crazy in the school foyer about the teacher trying to remove her toy and her mum just shrugged and left them to it like its normal. AIBU to be annoyed when people say I'm lucky to have well behaved children?

MoominmammasHandbag Mon 18-Mar-13 14:33:15

Yes Cory my strict friend's kids are shockingly sneaky. If my kids want to do something I am unhappy about they will argue their case and we will come to a compromise. Her kids would just be shouted down and then go behind her back anyway.

HenD19 Mon 18-Mar-13 14:37:34

Surely it has to be a bit of luck and hard work. If not I give up now as I am working really hard at getting my monkey DS 2.3 to behave and mainly failing. I challenge the OP to come and live with us for a week and try and sort his behaviour out. I have to say it's mums like you that make me and my parenting efforts useless....

HenD19 Mon 18-Mar-13 14:38:13

Feel useless

TheRealFellatio Mon 18-Mar-13 16:30:42

I have a friend like that too Moomin. He DH is a surgeon and they have four children. Two are very high achievers academically, one not so much, and the other is pretty bright but not top drawer. Although I know when the time comes he'll have a full complement of A* GCSE's because she will see to it that he does, even if he doesn't leave the house for a year, except to go to school.

They are lovely children, but there's just something unsettling....I know exactly what you mean. While I do get fed up with mine arguing back, being all teenagery etc, I am glad they have a bit of backbone, at least. It's not normal to be quite that biddable, is it? confusedgrin

Still, I suppose I'll be hmm ing on the other side of my face when three of them are doctors and the sweet but slightly dim one is married to one.

LaQueen Mon 18-Mar-13 17:27:39

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for some spirited debate, and I'm quite happy to hear our DD's objections/reasoning...the very last thing I'd want are DDs who are meek and mild, and nervous of their own shadows.

But, I think it is possible to raise children with plenty of joie de vivre/whatever - but who are also respectful, and well behaved.

And, I would argue that with pre-teen children, at least, their joie de vivre/sunny dispositions can stem from the fact they feel totally secure and safe, knowing there are firm but fair boundaries in place, and that a firm but fair parent stands between them and the rest of the (sometimes scarey) world.

Show me a young child, that is constantly battling/kicking off/running rings around their parent - and chances are that is a secretly unhappy child, who feels very vulnerable, and deep down is scared that they can control/manipulate their parent to such a large extent.

TheRealFellatio Mon 18-Mar-13 18:26:15

Yes. ^ That.

CoffeeChocolateWine Mon 18-Mar-13 20:48:08

I think that as you've only got one well-behaved child and one who isn't old enough to know how to misbehave (as do I), these comments may be a little premature. You may regret making these comments when your very well-behaved 9mo hits the 2s!

Also, you've made some pretty big judgements about the child and the parent based on a snippet of something you saw in a car. You've pretty much assumed that these kids get no discipline whatsoever. Probably not the case.You don't know what the hell was going on...perhaps the mum had a bug in her hair and the daughter was trying to swipe it out? Clutching at straws but it's possible. Or perhaps as she said, her daughter was overtired. That can do horrible things to a child!

Brings to mind an incident last week...I was in Sainbury's and my DS (4) for the first time in his life (because I have a very well-behaved child too, don't you know) had a full-on meltdown. Proper on the floor screaming and thrashing around, lashing out at me and although I'm pretty good at not giving a shit what anyone else thinks, I could feel everyone around me staring and making judgements about my gorgeous little boy (no doubt labelling him an out of control spoilt brat) and probably assuming that I was some incompetent mum who didn't know how to control my awful child. Both wrong. What they didn't know (and neither did I at the time although I suspected something was wrong as it was so out of character) was that he was going down with a horrible virus that knocked him for six for the best part of a week.

Maybe seem like I'm veering off the subject, but my point is, don't judge somebody's child and parenting skills based on 2mins of something you see. It's not fair. There are any number of explanations for the episodes you saw this morning. Or perhaps the mum was just having a bad day. Some of us inferior mums do.

EffiBriest Tue 19-Mar-13 15:00:05

Oh, OP, I could have written your post when my DC were small. I must have come across as insufferably smug. My DC were incredibly well behaved, and put everyone else's to shame. I put it all down to my fabulous (strict) parenting.

Then they started school, and it was all downhill. They discovered all kinds of behaviour that they had never been in close contact with before (I was at home with them; they didn't go to nursery/pre-school, so had only me as their shining example to follow).

At school, they discovered stroppy, argumentative, rude, defiant, foul, revolting behaviour (and it was a lovely prep school, so don't think you can avoid it that way). I think it was rather on a par with 18 year olds going to university and suddenly discovering freedom. They tried it out at home and got a dusty response, but my older one is still regularly trying it now (they are 9 and 11). My 9-year-old is, as it happens, still pretty much perfect. But if I am going to put this down entirely to brilliant parenting, I'd equally have to put the 11-year-old's foul behaviour down to rubbish parenting. This makes me think that there may be personality involved too.

I suggest you return to this thread when your child (or maybe children by then) is/are older, and see what you say then!

EffiBriest Tue 19-Mar-13 15:01:31

Sorry - I see you have two. My mistake.

cory Tue 19-Mar-13 17:41:13

"Show me a young child, that is constantly battling/kicking off/running rings around their parent - and chances are that is a secretly unhappy child, who feels very vulnerable, and deep down is scared that they can control/manipulate their parent to such a large extent."

It could equally be a young child who is vulnerable and scared for some other reason. Casting my mind back over children of my acquaintance, the children who were constantly kicking off included:

the child who knew that his mother was terminally ill

the child who had been traumatised by adoption

the child who was in constant pain with an undiagnosed medical condition but did not know that this was not normal because he had never thought to ask so nobody else realised anything was wrong

the child who was worried that a medical condition would leave her permanently unable to walk

the child whose physical condition had been misdiagnosed as psychosomatic

the child whose childhood was dominated by a sibling with MH problems

the child who was later diagnosed with Aspergers

the child who had been moved between foster parents

the child who had missed out on important stages of social development due to glue ears causing undiagnosed deafness

All the above had very good and firm parents/carers.

Show me a child who is constantly kicking off and I will know that there could be all sorts of reasons for the behaviour.

Ineffective parenting could be one of them but it could equally well not be.

Most of the children above came out all right in the end but there were many difficult years for the carers to get through first- and a lot of judginess from people who saw snapshots and jumped to conclusions.

I do remember a particularly hairy experience of the whole family being pursued down an Italian street by a horde of hags women yelling in Italian "beat him, beat him" at my father who was trying to control db during a meltdown. Obviously a bunch of women who made a snap judgment- but the time was hardly suited to a longer explanation.

LaQueen Tue 19-Mar-13 19:55:34

Yes, like I said cory ...'chances are...' I didn't say it was the only, imperical reason.

As you say, there could also be other reasons.

Bobyan Tue 19-Mar-13 21:26:19

DS = Devil in Baby Gap
DD = Angel in everything

DS is the elder and frankly OP you are full of it.

nooka Wed 20-Mar-13 02:21:36

I've always been rather pleased when people have commented on my children behaving well (not quite sure how a 9 month old could be described as behaving well but never mind). I have felt that it was a credit to them rather than to me really. dd has always been a people pleaser, but no one would have said that ds was well behaved when he was small. All very well having rules etc, but if you have a child that can't process consequences in the moment of frustration then you can be as strict as you like and it will make very little difference.

I used to be very judgy of some of the parents at my children's school and thought that the children's problems were surely caused by poor parenting (the school had a special unit for children with behavioural problems). But then I learned more about learning difficulties and recognised that many of the parents were struggling with many of the same issues themselves.

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