To hate all 'Parenting Strategies'

(318 Posts)
christmasmum Mon 17-Mar-14 10:41:07

I probably ABU but I absolutely loathe parenting strategy books. Friends recommend them, I foolishly think 'maybe this one will be different' and give it a go.

They all seem to make you want to talk to your child like you're a robot. Does any parent actually say things like this example quote...

You (cheery): It's bath time!
Child: I don’t want a bath. I hate baths. Go away!
You (breathe): It sounds like you’re really mad. You look really frustrated. What’s bothering you most? Can you help me understand?
Child: It’s not fair. You’re always bossing me.
You: So if I’m hearing you right, you’d like to make more decisions for yourself. You feel like you’re ready for more responsibility. Is that right?
Child: Yes!
You: Well, I’m so glad you told me. I had no idea you were feeling babied. Let’s put our heads together and come up with a solution.

If I spoke to my DD/DS like this they'd look at me like I had two heads and STILL wouldn't get in the bath.

I get the techniques, fine. Listen, reflect, don't lose your temper and thrown them in the bath headfirst. But is it realistic? Does anyone actually manage to sound like this with their kids after a long day when you just need them to get in the bloody bath and go to bed so mummy can drink gin?

QueenofKelsingra Mon 17-Mar-14 11:26:32

I admit I'm a little against bribery - mainly because of my lifelong issues with food having grown up with 'if you are good you can have chocolate' etc.

i do expect good behaviour from my DC so wouldn't bribe them, but would reward them at the end if they had been particularly good.

i wouldn't judge another parent for using this method though.

GrendelsMum Mon 17-Mar-14 11:28:02

The other day I was at work (private area of public venue) and came across a small boy who'd escaped his mum and was messing around in an unsafe manner. The conversation went.

Me: Get down from there, please.
Him: (Screams) No, I don't want to. (More screams)
Me: I don't care. Get down.
Him: (Shuts up, gets down without killing himself)

I've a feeling this is a technique recommended by absolutely no parenting books (and certainly is not official line at work), but it worked absolutely great this time.

JennyBendy Mon 17-Mar-14 11:28:33

What's the French one like, bringing up Bebe or something?

I honestly think that all these "strategies" and fancy names for things is just what everyone was doing all along. Until someone decided to label it and make some money out of it grin

Counting to 3 is something my mum did with us and I did when my DCs were little. It didnt have a "name" then or a book about it.

everything has to have a label now. Like "baby led weaning"
We all did that you know. But back then it was just chucking a bit of finger food in the tray of the high chair grin

Now it's an actual "thing"

And "tummy time" and god knows how many other things that I read and think "oh I must have been way ahead of time when my DCs were little. Because I did that. Everyone did that. We just didnt call it anything other than being a parent grin

I honestly think that all these "strategies" and fancy names for things is just what everyone was doing all along. Until someone decided to label it and make some money out of it grin

Counting to 3 is something my mum did with us and I did when my DCs were little. It didnt have a "name" then or a book about it.

everything has to have a label now. Like "baby led weaning"
We all did that you know. But back then it was just chucking a bit of finger food in the tray of the high chair grin

Now it's an actual "thing"

And "tummy time" and god knows how many other things that I read and think "oh I must have been way ahead of time when my DCs were little. Because I did that. Everyone did that. We just didnt call it anything other than being a parent grin

EatShitDerek Mon 17-Mar-14 11:38:17

Grendals I don't care is also a response I use grin

Everything is labelled these days. You cant just be a parent. You have to be a parent who is doing this or that.

QueenofKelsingra Mon 17-Mar-14 11:41:00

Everything is labelled these days. You cant just be a parent. You have to be a parent who is doing this or that.

^^ this, exactly!

deakymom Mon 17-Mar-14 11:45:40

so far ive put one of my children into the bath still dressed and put him outside with no shoes on both because he refused to get dressed/undressed ive done triple p twice with him all the rewards in the world will not get this child to school/out the house/in the bath

GrendelsMum Mon 17-Mar-14 11:49:48

EatShitDerek - shall we market it as a strategy, then?

EatShitDerek Mon 17-Mar-14 11:52:37

Lets call it:

Don't Care So Children Will

grin

It depends on the bribery. If it's a short-term goal then I think it's fine, but if it's something long-term that you need them to keep doing and you don't intend to keep paying out bribes for the whole of their childhood then they are going to need to learn to do it without the bribe sooner or later, and sooner is probably good for several reasons.

I do have "I didn't ask if you wanted to; I told you to do it." on autorepeat, but I also found "How To Talk..." helpful. You can't do that for every conversation, but if something is becoming a flashpoint and you'd like it not to be (and there's not an obvious physical cause like the DC being hungry or overtired) then it provides a useful approach. You have to translate it into your own language, though, not book-parentese.

LondonForTheWeekend Mon 17-Mar-14 11:59:18

Bringing up Bebe is mostly awful.
I quite like parenting books in much the same way as I like cook books- it expands rather than limits my repetoire for want of a better word. No one is compelled to use any technique or even agree with the author.

Cogito's example up above would be quite Unconditional Parenting which normally gets an absolute drubbing here.

I just think that parenting is a very long job and that parenting for the long game is better.

Fifyfomum Mon 17-Mar-14 12:01:32

The worst ones are 'unconditional parents' which is a book written by a man who doesn't have children.

I hate it, I hate that it is okay to label the rest of the world 'conditional parents'

ergh.

The most brilliant thing was when the 'alternative parent' guru Naomi something-or-other who wrote 'raising our children, raising ourselves (barf) was discovered to have bought her PHD on the internet and actually didnt have any qualifications in child psychology that she hadn't bought offline

EatShitDerek Mon 17-Mar-14 12:02:19

I might give it a go then.

SooticaTheWitchesCat Mon 17-Mar-14 12:04:18

I have read a few of those books and they never work. You cannot reason with a small child, it just doesn't work.

Counting to 3 is far more effective, as are threatening and bribing wink

The unconditional parenting chap does have at least one child. But at the time it was written he only appeared to have one (so no need to balance the interests of multiple children), and not one who actually needed to be anywhere at any particular time (so if, say, she didn't fancy getting into her carseat, that was fine and they could hang around at home for days waiting for her to be in the mood). So there was very little of any practical import in there, I thought. (For those of a naturally UP bent but looking for a practical approach, Smart Love by Martha and William Pieper was a book broadly in the same vein but sounded like it had been written with the voice of experience).

I agree with LondonForTheWeekend -- I browse parenting books like cookbooks and pick up little bits here and there that I wouldn't have thought of for myself, while feeling free to ignore huge chunks that I can't see working for us.

Sootica, Tanya Byron's book attributes most modern parenting problems to parents trying to reason with children at a level above that which the child is cognitively equipped to handle. So clearly you are "doing" TB grin.

Fifyfomum Mon 17-Mar-14 12:11:57

Certainly when 'unconditional parenting' came out, Adolf Kohn had no children

Stinklebell Mon 17-Mar-14 12:12:26

My parenting techniques seem to consist of bellowing "do as your flipping' well told" several times a day, not sure which strategy that falls into grin

I bought a few books when my children were younger, only to discover I was doing bits and bobs of their strategies without knowing it/realising it had a special name - ie throwing chopped veg and toast at my daughter in her high chair was actually "baby led weaning", when she went through a phase of screaming when she was put down for 5 minutes and I put her in a sling while I did the hoovering was actually "baby wearing"

Stokey Mon 17-Mar-14 12:14:53

Am going against the grain here, but I do think the odd strategy works.

We've been trying out Calmer, Happier Easier Parenting and it has made our mornings a lot easier. We made a chart together with DD1 (4) showing her what she had to do each morning to get ready, and since then we've cut about 20 mins off dawdling time.

In that book she also recommends descriptive praise, saying "I noticed you did x, y, z .. well done", which makes you feel like a tool but does seem to work. Now when DD dose something good, she says "Did you notice I did this?"

Still haven't quite mastered descriptive praising instead of yelling when they're doing something properly naughty though hmm

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 17-Mar-14 12:19:34

I'm from the school of muddling along parenting. It worked for me, ds is 18 and is pretty fab.
I never read any parenting books or even mumsnet when he was growing up. It wasn't till I came on to MN (not for parenting advice) that I realised that there was so much conflicting advice out there.
What works for one doesn't work for others.

NotaDragonsEgg Mon 17-Mar-14 12:23:00

Parenting books are really useful if you have had a crap childhood.

My instincts are awful because DM brought up us with lashings of manipulation, sulking and tantrums. We didn't have much contact with other families due to her mental health issues. I don't really know how to set fair boundaries or talk respectfully to a child who is being a PITA.

Ive actually heard parents speak to their kids like this! In the playground mainly! They stand there reasoning and compromising with their 3 year old on why they dont want to go home, what would they like to do? Are they sure they want to do that? Do they not want to do something else? How about if they do something else first then they can do that later? Honestly its like a game of 20 questions. No idea who their trying to kid either. YOUR the parent, you tell them whats what.
I do it 2 ways- firstly 1,2,3 , secondly firmly. Always worked for me.

CorusKate Mon 17-Mar-14 12:23:49

Maybe society should change so a child's natural inclination to be a naked princess today is respected, Fixit. grin

"Certainly when 'unconditional parenting' came out, Adolf Kohn had no children"

Yes, he did. There are anecdotes about them in the book (at least about his daughter; apparently there are some about his son, although I don't remember those and I'm not going to reread it just to look for them even if I could remember where my copy has gone) and in interviews to promote it he mentioned having two children.

He didn't have any, AFAIK, when he started to develop his theory in Punished by Rewards. But at that point he was looking more at educational theory, with parenting more of a tangential interest.

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