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AIBU to be surprised at hearing parents talk to their children about their social lives...

(24 Posts)
robobear Wed 17-Jul-13 16:17:02

...as if their children were their best friends?

I am going to get lots of YABUs here I bet blush but with my upbringing and work as a teacher (keeping a bit of a personal distance and all that), it just seems strange to me.

I'll give you an example. I was in a shop queue today and blatantly eavesdropped overheard a mum (who sounded lovely, I would have liked to have had a natter with her myself) tell her DD (who must have been a very mature 7 or so) in great detail about her social life, her friend's efforts at internet dating and her friends' love & work life..none of which was particularly inappropriate and it all sounded very sensibly put but I was just a tiny bit shock that she was speaking to her daughter as if she was having a gossip-fest with her best friend! Plus she mentioned how adults date by meeting up in bars and things which just seemed a bit of a seedy thing to say to a youngster (God, I really am judgeypants now, do bear with me).

I'd love to think my daughter will become my best friend in time but I wouldn't expect it of a pre-teen grin and my mum certainly never divulged anything personal like this until I was way older (probably around 16) unless I specifically asked. On the other hand, I thought it was great that her DD was getting an early lesson in how adult women get boyfriends and how they perceive the workplace etc. but couldn't help thinking it's a shame said DD has to be thinking of boyfriends at all at that age, let alone those of adults!

Go on, my DD is only 6mths so tell me I have all this yet to come in 7 yrs time grin

Teeb Wed 17-Jul-13 16:19:55

I actually think it's a good idea, so long as it isn't completely inappropriate for the age group you are dealing with. Anything that teaches children the world isn't like a disney film is good in my book though.

Ipsissima Wed 17-Jul-13 16:23:57

I am with you all the way, OP.
But then I had a narc mother, and had to listen and learn from every word about every minute of her social life and social critiques sad

I adore my adult DDs, and we are a 'close' family, but actually would not want to be my daughters best friends. I am their mum ....that says enough for me.

robobear Wed 17-Jul-13 16:24:01

Yes, guess I'm just having a bit of a panic about how I'm going to find a balance between the whole life-is-like-a-Disney-movie-and-you're-the-princess and shielding DD from the seedier side (I probably saw more of the latter as a child, brought up in as adult a way as possible which went overboard at times, and feel rather sickened by it)...it's hard!

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Wed 17-Jul-13 16:24:59

Hmmmm....I told my DD (4) today that I was going out for drinks on friday confused

So I guess I do it.

Don't really see the problem to be honest.

HairyGrotter Wed 17-Jul-13 16:29:36

I'm open and honest with DD, she's 5. I don't go into unnecessary detail about things, but if she asks what I'm song, or where I'm going, I tell her openly.

I wouldn't burden her with anything felt was inappropriate, but I also wouldn't want to shield her either.

Different strokes for different folks I guess

IsabelleRinging Wed 17-Jul-13 16:31:59

I think it is fine if child appropriate language is used and the dd is actually interested.

puds that sounds fine to me, what else wee you supposed to tell your dd you are doing on Friday?

LilacPeony Wed 17-Jul-13 16:32:22

It sounds like the mum was doing it in a chatty friendly way which sounded ok. If she was burdening her with her relationship problems (as my mum did) it wouldn't be ok.

FourGates Wed 17-Jul-13 16:32:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Thurlow Wed 17-Jul-13 16:36:42

Obviously you can't tell from a single conversation, but if a parent was doing this all the time I think that would be a bit unfair on everyone. And there's a big difference between mentioning you are going out with friends and telling your DC all the ins and outs.

I understand what you mean about being-friends malarkey. I don't want to be my DD's friend until she is much older. When she's an adult I hope we are friends, but while she is still a child I want to maintain a parent-child relationship. I see my job is to raise a child, not to be their best friend.

robobear Wed 17-Jul-13 16:36:52

I'm probably overreacting because of my own upbringing. It's really interesting to get it all down as you realise why you're reacting to something that seems innocuous...

My parents treated me like a little adult from the day I was born (I have evidence in the home videos!) and I can relate to what FourGates said - I ended up spouting off reams of adult-talk and phrases from my very controlling Dad in particular to kids at school which must have freaked them out a bit and explains why I had such trouble relating to people my own age (and still do a bit - I take things far too seriously at times).

In trying to treat me older than I was, I think ironically they delayed my social skills hugely because it just ended up making me feel weird and inadequate when I tried to speak to others in the same way sad

Bonsoir Wed 17-Jul-13 16:39:06

I don't censor my conversation around the DC and DD (8) has been pretty exposed to DSS2's love life and her friends' parents' divorces (some of which are quite ugly). And all sorts of stuff. We protect our DC but not from knowledge.

ClartyCarol Wed 17-Jul-13 16:39:36

I definitely wouldn't chat with my dds about those type of things in a gossipy way, because I know for a fact they would repeat stuff at the first opportunity! However, I don't see the issue with letting them know facts if they ask, without any value judgements attached.

cory Wed 17-Jul-13 17:42:51

I'd say it depends on how seedy your life is, how much would be inappropriate for your dd.

You included her worklife among the things that you were shocked to hear her talking about. What is this woman- a lap dancer?

I think you are overreacting because, in your case, being treated as an adult coincided with having weird and controlling parents. I had parents who were not controlling, but open and sensible and fun; long lectures about Old Indo-European phonetic changes at the breakfast table did me minimal harm, because I was also allowed to laugh at them.

The fault lay in the controlling.

I know a young man (now nearly a teen) whose parents have done everything to protect him from exposure to adult content, encouraging him to watch pre-school films and television well into double figures, never talking about difficult or emotional subjects and subtly censoring all conversation around him so he never hears anything inappropriate. He really struggles socially and other children simply don't know what to talk to him about because he doesn't seem to understand what they say.

robobear Wed 17-Jul-13 18:49:49

That's the key thing cory - I think it's brilliant if adults talk to children like adults as long as they understand and respect that children might take it less seriously than they would and will try and put their own stamp on things. It's important that we give children access to the adult 'world' but let them try and understand and internalise it their way.

I remember several examples of trying to take the piss out of whatever my Dad's latest lecture was and getting royally told off about doing so. I had to see the world his way - and got screwed up socially as a result. I see it all so much more clearly now, thanks MN grin

Tuppence2 Wed 17-Jul-13 21:57:40

YANBU, my sister treats her 9 year old dd as if she were her best friend. Now me and my mum are and were close, but my niece knows way too much grown up stuff... Let them be kids!
I only started to be included in conversations about my mum's social life/friend's dating etc when I was about 18 or so. There's no need for it IMO

catinabox Wed 17-Jul-13 22:23:08

YANBU How on earth is a 7 year old going to grasp themes of an adult social life. Why would a 7 year old care! It's bloody ridiculous.

It also really annoys me when parents have their children as 'friends' on facebook. Again. WHY expose your children to adult themes?

I talk to my dds like this they are 8&10. I love the relationship we have and there's not alot going on in our lives our dds don't know.

We go with talk and share with them now and they will with you later so I hope

I talk to my dds like this they are 8&10. I love the relationship we have and there's not alot going on in our lives our dds don't know.

We go with talk and share with them now and they will with you later so I hope

morethanpotatoprints Wed 17-Jul-13 22:36:35

I think its a happy balance too. Firstly though I refused to call dd princess nor did dh like this. it's important to teach them life isn't a bed of roses in an age appropriate way. She knows that one of dds friends and colleagues can't keep a wife or girlfriend because he drinks too much beer. He isn't violent or anything, just a big kid. However, if he were violent I would wait until she was older before discussing this with her, if at all.

cory Wed 17-Jul-13 23:18:33

Like morethanpotatoprints, I think it's all about balance.

And being able to communicate with your children in different registers: from silly jokey or cuddly protective over parental authoritative to adult discussion- gradually shifting the balance as they grow older, but never entirely losing any component.

As I said, the parents I know who have tried to stay entirely in the silly jokey/protective cuddly register have floundered just as badly as the ones who tried to move straight onto the adults only.

One of the worst things that have come to my attention lately was a boy whose parents never told him that they were not actually in a relationship, that that had broken up when they were expecting him, and that they were now just friends who were sharing a house and holidays for his sake. He found out when he was 15! If they'd just told him matter of factly when he was 5, I am sure he would have been fine. But to let somebody find out at 15 that everything he had believed in was a lie- I think that's really indefensible.

To them it was just something he didn't need to know about because it was adult stuff. To him it was finding out that nothing in his world was what he thought it was.

KobayashiMaru Wed 17-Jul-13 23:20:02

I talk to mine about all kinds, but in an age appropriate way.

littleoaktree Wed 17-Jul-13 23:31:22

I agree with the previous posters who said it was about balance. Ds1 is only 4.3 but he asks lots of questions if I go out in the evening (doesn't happen often!) and I always answer in an age appropriate way - eg 'I am going to meet my friends x and y for dinner' - that's discussing my social life but not IMO 'oversharing' anything that's too adult. If for example friends who were a couple split up ds1 asks questions about why are we not seeing friend b anymore why are friend a and b not living in the same house now etc so again explaining and discussing in an appropriate way is important I think.

I think it's important to show your dc that you also have friends etc and a social life as they will learn about friendship from what you model.

Obviously going too far the other way isn't good. My father's mother was guilty of that - telling her young dc about her sex life - mucked them both up.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 17-Jul-13 23:36:03

It also really annoys me when parents have their children as 'friends' on facebook. Again. WHY expose your children to adult themes?

That's so you can see what they are up to online.

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