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

OHforDUCKScake Mon 25-Feb-13 22:45:17

Huge great big mountain.

Teeny tiny little mole hill.

You know what you should have done? Got some toys out, played with the kids to distract them from the stairs and not posted a thread judging your friend from about 20 different angles and hope that she doesnt use MN!

AnyaKnowIt Mon 25-Feb-13 22:46:46

Erm, its all a bit of a fuss over nothing tbh

Let them have biscuits and no climbing on stairs

HildaOgden Mon 25-Feb-13 22:49:03

It might be a good idea to meet on mutual 'territory' in the future (eg a playcentre) and abide by their rules.That way it won't turn into a battle of wills (because it looks like it's heading that way!).

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 25-Feb-13 22:49:43

Yes I would have in this one occasion asked my ds not go climb the stairs

However the biscuits thing is just :0 how cruel for two adults to eat biscuits in front of children yet tell them they couldn't have one (or a suitable alternative if for example they had nuts in or something

Of course YANBU allowing your son a biscuit.

Did your friend eat one? I assume there are no allergy issues. My ds used to have a problem with artificial sweeteners so wherever wecwentvi took juice he could have in case. (At home he was happy with just water but I felt it unfair for a 2-3 year old to understand why he couldn't have dsimething others around him were having)

exoticfruits Mon 25-Feb-13 22:50:04

If you go to her house follow her rules- if she comes to yours then just do as you normally do. When in Rome.......... The DCs are young- she will find out that you can only control the environment in your own home.

Bluelightsandsirens Mon 25-Feb-13 22:51:00

On my 13 years of parenting this has never been an issue.

I treat mine as I did/do and others around me do the Same.

It's all over thought about these days.

mynewpassion Mon 25-Feb-13 22:51:10

She doesn't want him to eat biscuits or climb stairs. I think the no biscuit was a bit mean but she didn't want him to eat it so her choice.

She didn't want him to climb stairs but you undermined her. Your rule is fine to climb stairs but she, as his mother, doesn't. Nothing is stopping your son from climbing the stairs.

bumperella Mon 25-Feb-13 22:52:03

A mate of mine has v different ideas to me (her DS gets away with blue murder, my DD is (obviously) saintly and perfect :-).).
I do think is difficult as you make it. Opt out is always "you're not allowed to climb stairs when Aunty Thingummy is here becuase she likes being downstairs" or "These are very special grown-up biscuits". But really, you surely come across this all the time - at every toddler group or freinds house or whatever there's something that comeone does differently.

Anyaknowit: stair climbing Good, biscuit eating Bad.... but am sure we'd get around it....

LynetteScavo Mon 25-Feb-13 22:54:33

I think you did the right thing...but your DS will have to learn in her house it's her rules, and he's not allowed to climb the stairs.

I had a friend like this once. I eventually decided she was a toxic loon.

Yanbu and confused at we are not teaching him to climb stairs. likely to be a problem in future I would have thought unless they live in a bungalow.

NopeStillNothing Mon 25-Feb-13 22:57:47

The " It's ok I'm watching him" comment wasn't intended to undermine, it was more to let her know that he wasn't bothering me incase that was why she stepped in iyswim.
I never intend to be judgy. Infact there are several areas where her approach is far better than mine.

But yes you are all right that its not a big deal blush

foxache Mon 25-Feb-13 23:00:45

Yanbu at all. She will have learn how to relax her rules when visiting someone else's house, or at least warn them before she arrives.

Hissy Mon 25-Feb-13 23:43:44

You undermined her at every turn.

She was a bit bonkers about the biscuit, but you have to have known there'd be tears.

I doubt she'll be back anytime soon.

pictish Mon 25-Feb-13 23:50:29

I don't think you undermined her.
I think she's a bit uptight.

MortifiedAdams Mon 25-Feb-13 23:54:24

confused I really dont understand why someone wouldnt want their child to climb stairs? The sooner they can learn a safe way uo and down them the better.

She sounds a bit in need of a grip.tbh.

inchoccyheaven Tue 26-Feb-13 00:11:42

YWNBU although I too probably would have felt a bit mean for upsetting the child, but actually it wasn't you who did that it was your friend as she is the one stopping him doing the things.

Carry on parenting how you see fit and if you are at her house I would still follow your own rules in regards to biscuits and stairs etc just as she will at yours. I can't see how she can forbid you to let your child climb her stairs if you had need to go upstairs if you are being responsible for him and not asking her to watch him while he does it. Different if she was looking after him on
her own.

EeyoresGloomyPlace Tue 26-Feb-13 00:14:20

I don't think you "undermined her at every turn" at all, unless you knew about the no stairs rule beforehand in which case yes your comment was undermining, but the impression I got from your OP is that you didn't know in which case perfectly reasonable to have said you were watching him.

In that situation I might have said something like "sorry, didn't know you we're trying to avoid stairs, I need to pop up for a moment would you mind keeping an eye on both DCs downstairs, there's x/y/z toys they might like" so as not to upset either DS.

The biscuit thing is really just her prerogative, if you were getting them out with the intention of letting everyone have one, again not realising her DS wasn't allowed, then definitely not BU to do as you did. If you knew then perhaps to save tears keeping the biscuits in the tin this time would have been easier.

aldiwhore Tue 26-Feb-13 00:19:25

This is so difficult. Go for mutual territory. It's a no win situation.

I actually don't think YABU, even though you have made 'judgements' I needed to talk this through with someone when it happened to me!

You can't be expected to know or follow ALL her rules, but I guess with the most obvious danger areas, it wouldn't hurt to ask before you create a situation (ask if her child can have a biscuit before you produce them) on the other hand, I think when you're in someone else's house you either relax your own rules a little or go prepared...

I don't think you undermined her, though neither of you handled it perfectly. Hello, you're both human!

CloudsAndTrees Tue 26-Feb-13 00:35:52

I don't think YABU. Perhaps you could have prevented your ds from climbing the stairs that one time if he wouldn't have minded either way, but tbh, teaching your child not to climb stairs is so ridiculous that I'm not sure it's worthy of any consideration. By the time the poor child is old enough to comprehend that he shouldn't climb stairs, he will probably be old enough to negotiate them safely anyway.

NopeStillNothing Tue 26-Feb-13 00:37:44

Thanks everyone. I think the blips today were just to do with the fact that I didn't know these rules beforehand resulting in me feeling guilty (and then unfortunately defensive) about my decisions to offer biscuits/ allow up the stairs etc.

I'm sure it will be fine, we are both visiting another friend tomorrow so we'll both have to follow someone elses rules grin

BinksToEnlightenment Tue 26-Feb-13 08:45:39

She doesn't want him to learn to climb the stairs? Is she completely bat shit? At least let him practice so if he ever does escape and climb them alone he's less likely to fall.

And what harm would one half of one biscuit do once??

Nope, YANBU. I would have found that all quite awkward as well.

PessaryPam Tue 26-Feb-13 08:52:15

It's really nasty to eat biscuits in front of the boys and not let them have one. It's good to teach children to climb stairs safely. I think you are quite sane but I am not sure about your friend.

Patchouli Tue 26-Feb-13 09:04:46

This tricky stuff just goes on as they get older too.
I might let my DD paddle in the sea when we've got no towel, my nephew might get told 'no' etc
I seem to often be whispering, out of the DCs earshot, with other parents about whether or not we'll be getting ice-creams or whatever.
Children are so about what's fair or not fair.

Sorry I think YABU

I think you should have asked the mum before producing any biscuits in front of the DC -- you say you didn't know about any of her rules so assume you might also not have known if her DS had allergies, etc.

On the stairs, you admit your DS would not have been bothered by not going up the stairs, you were just digging in your heels. Um, why? What's the point?

Perhaps she is teaching him not to go up the stairs for safety reasons, because they have stairs that they can't block properly (our last flat had this issue).

I think the time not to compromise is when it would actually impact on your own child. Skipping biscuits and stair climbing is hardly any kind of hardship. You seem to be thinking 'but it's the principle of the thing', which is totally overthinking it.

youfhearted Tue 26-Feb-13 09:15:42

18 months and no biscuits? shock

however i agree that should have been disucssed out of earshot and no you adults shoudl not have brought teh biscuits out if the lo's werent allowed biscuits.
and they need to learn to use stairs, not be banned from using them.

VenusRising Tue 26-Feb-13 09:22:58

Meet on neutral ground if you are so conscious of her rules and your rules. That way you can scream all you like at your kids in public!
Seriously, grab a takeaway coffee, bring snacks for the kids and have fun in a playground.

But if children need to learn how to use stairs, why have stairgates at all?

I mean, I imagine everyone on this thread has had stairgates at some point. Now imagine you had weird stairs where you couldn't have a stairgate. Would you just say, oh well, they need to learn how to climb stairs... or would you teach them not to use the stairs?

They're 18 months, still little, maybe the mum has some reason for the stair thing. I wouldn't assume it's a bad idea without knowing more, personally.

youfhearted Tue 26-Feb-13 09:35:54

well the stairgates are a safety thing. since you cant be going up and down stairs with your lo all the time, but you can teach them, when you have time, as op does,

but op, i am sure your toddler didnt cry for long about not using stairs, and you could have made light of it,

piprabbit Tue 26-Feb-13 09:36:31

The Biscuit - I would have gone ahead and allowed my DC a biscuit, even if the other child was a little upset. The mad mum has made a choice not to allow her child biscuits (and probably other 'treat' items too), the consequence is that she will need to cope with an upset child on a regular basis until he has learned to accept that other children will have things he doesn't. This one is down to her to manage - not you.

The Stairs - Again, let your child do his thing while the other mum copes with her child's crying.

She isn't changing her parenting style to fit in with you - so why on earth show you be changing your to fit in with her. You don't want to be giving your child mixed messages, any more than she wants her child to.

BobblyGussets Tue 26-Feb-13 09:38:53

She is too uptight. She won't be making any concessions for the sake of your DS when you are at her house, I'd bet my baps on that.

youfhearted Tue 26-Feb-13 09:41:20

no, i think you should have accommodated her, she is a guest in your house. she wont be there all the time.

firesidechat Tue 26-Feb-13 09:44:18

What I really want to know is, did your friend have any biscuits?

I agree, youf

Basically it comes down to how important the friendship is to you, how much you want to continue spending time with them. If you do want to, then there has to be at least a little adapting, and usually it's easier for the less strict person to adapt. I mean, what would have really been required of you here? Not serving biscuits, and not letting your DS go up stairs when he didn't care either way. It's not like she's demanding you serve organic food and bubble wrap the lounge.

I have a very strict friend, I honestly don't mind adapting a bit when we hang out. I respect her choices, they're not for me, but unless it's actually depriving my own child or upsetting him, it's no problem really. It's not like we're together 24/7.

DonderandBlitzen Tue 26-Feb-13 09:52:31

When i've come up against this I tend to not let my children do whatever it is, just while the other child is there, as it's not fair on the other child to not be allowed to do something and then watch their friend getting to eat it or do it. I figure it does my child no harm to not get to do soemthing for a short while

pictish Tue 26-Feb-13 09:54:19

no, i think you should have accommodated her, she is a guest in your house. she wont be there all the time

And how would she do that then...use her psychic powers?? It's an impossible ask! You can't know what you don't know!

Fancy doing things your own way in your own house. Selfish or what?

Sheesh. This thread is proof that people really are so objectionable, that they argue that the OP should have abided by her friend's rules...even if she doesn't know them beforehand.


WannabeWilloughby Tue 26-Feb-13 09:54:48

I think as a friend visiting, I wouldnt kick up such a fuss. If I was that bothered about my DC not eating biscuits then I, as his parent, would ensure I bought another snack. If I, as his parent, was that bothered about climbing the stairs, I would have got off my butt when he left the room and fetched him back in so he didn't have to see the stairs. If you feel strongly enough to kick up a fuss about biscuits and stairs, then get in there before the situation arises!!

I have an 18 month old and he climbs the stairs (with me standing right up his bum) and he eats biscuits occasionally too!! Fortunately, my friends and I seem to parent quite similarly so have never had an issue when they have visited.

If it were me, i'd do as I always do in my own home. Your DC will wonder why all of a sudden he's not allowed things.

pictish Tue 26-Feb-13 09:57:31

I will always do what I do in my house as well, and I expect no different from others when I am the visitor.
Carry on OP. You're fine.

hatsybatsy Tue 26-Feb-13 10:05:08

this doesn't go away IMO - I have an 8 year old and a 6 year old and am quite happy for them to have lemonade when we eat out. Cue cats bum face from friend whose kids are only allowed water.

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.

No need to find 'neutral territory' to meet up - perfectly possible to have your own rules for your own kids when in someone else's house.

Bananasinfadedpjs Tue 26-Feb-13 10:06:23

I think YANBU, especially if you didn't know about either of these things in advance.

I think the other mother should have brought suitable alternative snacks for her child, if she is going to be restricting what he can and can't eat. It's mean for the others to eat biscuits in front of a child who has nothing, but I think it is up to his mum to give him something else in that case.

But are there no exceptions to 'my house, my rules'?

If you had someone over for dinner, for example, would you ask them beforehand if they have any allergies/are veggie, or would you just cook what you like and too bad if they can't eat it?

Because I don't really see the difference between checking if someone has allergies, and quickly asking the mum, can he have biscuits?

All this 'how can you possibly know her rules', well you open your mouth and ask, it's not that complicated.

youfhearted Tue 26-Feb-13 10:12:54

she was fair enough about stairgate, her toddler, her responsibility.

pictish Tue 26-Feb-13 10:16:23

You don't ask...if someone has rules they are keen to stick to when out and about then it's their responsibility to vocalise them if needs be. It's not everyone else's job to ask. That's just illogical and the wrong way round. We shall hear no more of this nonsense.

Op did nothing wrong. Next case please! grin

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 26-Feb-13 10:32:13

It simply would not occur to me to check about biscuits apart from making sure they were not nut ones. I would assume that any parent if a child with allergies would always have contingency as I did with juice.

Its sort of par for the course that you have a friend round - cup of tea - offer a biscuit.

Thumbwitch Tue 26-Feb-13 10:39:34

I think YWB a bit U, sorry. I wouldn't have let my DS have a biscuit under those circs, it's so unfair on the visiting toddler - but I would probably have checked with the mum first, before putting them down, whether her DS would be able to have one. I would, however, have been a bit hmm about her stopping her child having a biscuit while eating one herself - it's a bit mean.

Re. the stairs - I think you were less out of order on that one, actually - you were there, watching so I can't see why she wouldn't let him climb the stairs at that point, he has to learn sometime!

I do try to keep to the rules I set for my DS when we're out and about as well as at home, but I'm more flexible in other people's houses, especially where there's a conflict between mine and the other mum's ideas. Probably the only one I'm still pretty hardline about is that DS must sit down to eat (and really, how is that likely to upset anyone else - it's designed to reduce mess) and I try to enforce that with other visiting children too. Never had a problem so far. smile

TeeBee Tue 26-Feb-13 11:20:23

I don't think YABU in not wishing to change your rules. You bring up your child how you wish, she can bring hers up how she wishes. Up to her if she doesn't want to give her child a biscuit and he wails when someone else eats one. The problem is hers. I certainly don't change my rules because of someone else. Let her get on with it and hopefully she'll let you do the same.

TeeBee Tue 26-Feb-13 11:24:30

I suppose saying that, I'm quite lax on food because my kids eat pretty sensibly but I'm strict on good behaviour and manners. If I thought someone expected better behaviour at their house then I would wade in to make mine keep to the expected rules of the house. In the same way I wouldn't allow mine to forget their manners and good behaviour just because they were in a house where the parents are more lax.

greenfolder Tue 26-Feb-13 11:25:21

strongly suggest you meet at soft play and take fruit hth

Anjou Tue 26-Feb-13 16:15:35

Whether people here think you're BU or NBU doesn't really matter - it's not going to change yours, this friends or any of your other friends parenting styles.

When friends first visit with their kids, (avg. age about 2 years), one of the first things I ask is if they're ok with stairs, as we have 2 fairly steep flights of stairs in the house and most of my friends live in flats. If I'm serving drinks and snacks, I'll ask if their kids will have water, milk or juice and if they're ok with whatever toddler snacks I'm putting out. I think it's probably quite healthy for the kids to see the mums being open and asking if things are ok. That's just my opinion - I bet someone here will think I'm BU for doing that!

If I do something that the other mum calls me out on - let's use your examples of the stairs and the biscuits - I would just apologise and say that I know what their preference is for next time. I'll still parent my kids in my way.

If you're still concerned about this, ask your friend if she thinks you were BU and clear the air. If you don't want to do that, maybe it suggests you don't enjoy her company anyway? You're the best judge of that one, OP!

Hope it all works out. smile

Goldenbear Tue 26-Feb-13 17:20:00

I don't think you were being unreasonable about either but I wouldn't checked about the biscuits because of allergies. I think it is acceptable to expect you to accommodate allergies (obviously) but a blanket ban is a parental choice not a medical condition- I'm not sure why you are expected to change your rules any more than she should be expected to change hers.

I agree with whoever said it doesn't change as they get older. That being the case, what are you going to do- constantly fashion your rules according to the visiting friends. I think that level of inconsistency is very unsettling for a child and when they're young can be upsetting. Ok it is no hardship going without a biscuit but if there was a 'usual' occurrance of your DS accompanying you on the stairs then you should let him. IME if you don't continue with this usual occurrance your own child is confused and starts getting upset. I'm not sure why your child's upset is less valid than hers just because she has explicit rules? I had a friend that put her child straight in the buggy after a visit to the park as she believed she would get the wrong idea about the level of freedom to walk. I let my DD walk whilst pushing the buggy as she held my hand. It was what DD was used to so there was upset if I changed that so I didn't.

My brother and SIL insist on finishing all dinner before their DC get a dessert. I don't, so even when we stay I'm explicit about that. My SIL did once say in front of my DS to her DC that my son wouldn't have a yoghurt if he didn't finish all of his food. Luckily my DB said that he was a guest and could have a yoghurt despite not finishing his potatoes. They knew I didn't do this with my DS so if she had been that cruel I would have told DS that he would get a yoghurt later from me.

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 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!

FierceBadIggi Sun 03-Mar-13 09:20:43

I don't get the 'you can't have a biscuit if you don't allow your dcs to have one' idea at all
I am eating toast with honey on it at the moment - is the 10 month old getting some? No. I have eaten whole nuts in front of a 4 year old, and (not that often admittedly) have a glass of wine in front of ds1 without feeling the need to offer him any. This idea that if an adult can do it, a child can is wrong imo and leads to trouble. So I can't drive my car anymore unless I give dcs a shot?
I don't think regarding the stairs the OW was necessarily stricter - everyone has different ways of dealing with stairs, as the stairgates/no stairgates threads on here will show.
You sound very competitive with eachother, I can't imagine it is much fun for you to meet up. Could you bring a third person into the mix, might dilute things.

Tryharder Sun 03-Mar-13 09:21:35

This all reminds me of a colleague who bought her young children (twins) round once. Her children stood there in astonishment with their mouths literally open at DS2 helping himself to cheese from the fridge and drinking squash. They were on a strict water only and no food between meals regime.

In your case OP, I think you were both being a bit unreasonable (she was more U though). She is an inflexible loon but I don't think you should have allowed your son to have a biscuit and climb the stairs in front of the other child.

If I have visiting kids, I always ask the mother if the child can have a biscuit before bringing them out. A lot of people have very, very strict food rules for young children and its not worth the hassle, as you found out.

whoopwhoopbib Sun 03-Mar-13 09:32:43

FierceBadIggi I'm with you on the 'dc must eat biscuits,cake etc if adults are' mentality. My Dd is 11 months and has a biscuit very occasionally as I believe that the food she eats is to make her grow. She doesn't need to eat sweets and cake as part of her diet.

She had her first piece of cake yesterday as it was my birthday, had it been a normal day she wouldn't have had any.

Op yanbu why should you change what you do everyday for someone who is only there for a couple of hours?

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 09:44:53

Yes, sorry but I think YABU. I feel sorry for your friends DS,it feels like he was the one getting the brunt of it. But as a first time new mum to be I havent been in your position.

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