To expect a mother to teach her child to stop being a little shit

(279 Posts)
Loopyhasanotherbean Fri 19-Apr-13 21:07:46

We go to a toddler group and there is one child who attends who persistently gives an evil stare to other children before running at them and pushing them over. This has resulted in tears from the other children almost every week for months on end. He is 2 and is doing this on purpose and the others are too nice and kind to retaliate, not that we would want them to really. He also snatches whatever toy he wants from any other child or baby, using whatever force necessary to get his own way. None of the other children do anything to provoke this, they are all gentle well behaved toddlers and getting very upset and not knowing what they have done wrong to mean they get hurt.

She never apologises on his behalf and he won't say sorry (he isn't at all sorry). Are we all being unreasonable to expect her to start disciplining him, taking responsibility for his behaviour and teaching him how to behave towards the other children?? We don't know what to do, but I am not sure I can bite my tongue much longer. She is as far as I know a nice woman, but she does not tell him off and he doesn't go to nursery do there is no one else to discipline him....

He is 2. What exactly would you like her to say that would get through to a 2 year old.

Perhaps shes embarrassed at his behaviour. Isnt sure how to deal with it. Who knows! Not everyone sails through being a parent.


mrsjay Fri 19-Apr-13 21:11:03

tell him off she will soon take note of him he is only 2 you know he doesnt know what on purpose means , but I think it is ok to tell him off if your child is being hurt,

CognitiveOverload Fri 19-Apr-13 21:11:57

What I would do is teach my child how to respond appropriately. Good life lesson. There will always be children/people like this and you won't always be there to protect your child.

5318008 Fri 19-Apr-13 21:12:05

He is 2, calling him a little shit is horrible

suebfg Fri 19-Apr-13 21:12:34

YANBU - there are lots of examples of bad parenting around - this won't be the last you encounter.

EleanorFarjeon Fri 19-Apr-13 21:12:34

I don't think calling a child 'a little shit' is a good start.

UnscentedStillRomantic Fri 19-Apr-13 21:12:36

Yanbu to expect her to intervene, not at all.

I suspect calling him that on here though isn't going to strengthen your argument.

VinegarDrinker Fri 19-Apr-13 21:12:46

YABU to call a 2 year old a little shit.

BedHanger Fri 19-Apr-13 21:12:57

He's two - YANBU to expect the mother to discipline but YABVU to call a toddler a 'little shit'. sad

HollyBerryBush Fri 19-Apr-13 21:13:11

Come back in 3 years when he's at school when he has been diagnosed with ADHD.

MoaningYoniWhingesAgain Fri 19-Apr-13 21:13:12

He is a 2yo with an evil stare and snatches toys sometimes??


I don't know any 2yo's who are brilliant at taking turns/sharing. The evil stare sounds cool interesting.

CognitiveOverload Fri 19-Apr-13 21:13:42

Yes at 2 he is not going to be able to control himself that much.

dontmeanto Fri 19-Apr-13 21:14:01

How old is the mum? Next time he does something naughty, point it out to her loudly to make sure she notices and has to do something. "Sorry, but your little shit boy just hit that child/snatched away that toy/pushed that little girl over."

mrsjay Fri 19-Apr-13 21:14:20

do you think he is plotting to take over the word moaning grin

no 2 year old plays with anybody you do know that OP right

flippinada Fri 19-Apr-13 21:14:45

How on earth does a 2 year old give an "evil stare"?

And why are you ascribing adult motives to a little boy who is behaving like a normal 2 year old?

Forwardscatter Fri 19-Apr-13 21:14:47

Most two year olds snatch stuff, they're too small to understand ownership - everything is theirs.
Appreciate your frustration but its not nice or fair to refer to a 2yo as a 'shit'. For that, YABU.

suebfg Fri 19-Apr-13 21:15:18

To be fair to OP, she is probably just expressing her frustration at the mother who is failing to discipline her child.

thornrose Fri 19-Apr-13 21:15:30

That thread title makes you sound like a great big shit!

"He is 2 and doing this on purpose" and you know this for a fact!

ChairmanWow Fri 19-Apr-13 21:16:00

He sounds like, well, a 2 year old. Toddlers are not renowned for being angels. My DS is 2 and is a lovely boy most of the time but I've seen him snatch toys and push other kids. I do however challenge him and ask him to apologise.

She should be setting boundaries so YANBU on that front, but the tone of your post suggests you are judging and blaming a child who is too young to fully understand the consequences of his actions.

DebsMorgan Fri 19-Apr-13 21:16:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

joanofarchitrave Fri 19-Apr-13 21:16:35

could you have a session of the toddler group where you all play 'run from one end of the hall to the other screaming'?

Find an interesting/physical thing to play with (bubbles, balloon?) and a space away from the other kids, and play with him?

SherbertStraws Fri 19-Apr-13 21:16:44

Do you understand children at all, the level of responsible blame you are apportioning to a 2 year old is staggering as is calling him a shit. I very much doubt the others are as well behaved as you imply. It sounds most unlikely

VinegarDrinker Fri 19-Apr-13 21:17:12

How do you know he isn't sorry?

pollyblue Fri 19-Apr-13 21:17:41

Have you spoken to whoever runsthe group and asked them to have a word with the mum re giving back toys he has snatched/telling him firmly 'no' if he pushes a child over?

YABU to expect a 2yo to apologise and YABU to call him a 'little shit'. If you start refering to a child in those terms you will grow to expect the worse of them, all the time.

ThoughtsPlease Fri 19-Apr-13 21:18:37

The other children are 'all gentle well behaved toddlers' really?

All of them?

I have never been to a toddler group like that!

PuffPants Fri 19-Apr-13 21:18:46

YANBU to think she should tackle the issue.

It makes it very hard to teach your own child right from wrong when other parents don't bother.

He's 2.


LadyBeagleEyes Fri 19-Apr-13 21:20:16

An evil stare hmm?
Is his name Damien?

JeremyPiven Fri 19-Apr-13 21:20:36

And the others are all nice, kind, gentle and well-behaved?

They are 2 FFS, 2yr olds just do , they are impulsive. If mother isn't intervening/distracting that's not great, but you are attributing way too much meaning to the children's behaviour one way or the other

CloudsAndTrees Fri 19-Apr-13 21:21:51

YANBU, although you are being too harsh about a small child. Direct your understandable anger at the mother, not the child.

She should pick him up and remove him when he does things like that. Two year olds understand the word no, and there is no excuse for her allowing her child to hurt others.

Complain to the group leader.

mrsjay Fri 19-Apr-13 21:22:03

An evil stare ?
Is his name Damien?

\i was thinking stewie griffen grin ( please say you watch family guy )

flippinada Fri 19-Apr-13 21:22:04

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TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 19-Apr-13 21:22:05

Loopy - I totally understand how you feel. A friend of mine has an aggressive child and refuses to discipline them. Said child attacks other children to the point no other child wants to be near them.

I get why you called him a "little shit" although please note that his behaviour is completely down to how he is being parented and not the child's fault. You need to speak to the mother and explain that her child's behaviour is not acceptable and she should at least be seen to be trying to do something about it. All parents have problems with their children but if you are seen to be trying to sort the situation other parents are more sympathetic/understanding.

I don't think 2 is too young to start discipline. Obviously every child is different in their understanding but they need to be guided to behave in a nice way.

pollyblue Fri 19-Apr-13 21:22:06

mrsjays comment about no 2yo playing with anyone else is right on the nose too, at that age they are very much doing their own thing or playing alongside other dcs and if they want a different toy, for example, they'll do their level best to get it, even if it's being clutched by another child. The singlemindedness of the average toddler can be awe inspiring grin

seeker Fri 19-Apr-13 21:22:15

If I hear/see the expression "little shit" applied to a small child, is witch off instantly.

PuffPants Fri 19-Apr-13 21:22:16

FGS people, it doesn't matter that he's 2. If your child shoves another child, you remove them from the situation, reprimand them sternly and make them apologise. It's as important for your own child as it is for the "victim" to see justice done.

PS. Calling a 2 year old a "little shit" is not really acceptable in my opinion.

He's not much more than a baby.

And I hate the "are we all" this that and the other - you are ALL talking about her behind her back. Seems bitchy and horrible to me.

flippinada Fri 19-Apr-13 21:22:47

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pollyblue Fri 19-Apr-13 21:23:17

obv pushing/shoving/rough behaviour needs to be checked, but i really doubt he's the only child there who's snatching and refusing to share

A whole group (bar one) of lovely, kind, well behaved and gentle toddlers who never retaliate to being hit or provoke any other child? Where is this made up toddler group?

AngryGnome Fri 19-Apr-13 21:24:32

An evil stare? How intriguing.

And where is this toddler group where all toddlers are well behaved, sharing, kind and never shove, push etc? I want to come, as I have never been to such a place!

AngryGnome Fri 19-Apr-13 21:25:26

An evil stare? How intriguing.

And where is this toddler group where all toddlers are well behaved, sharing, kind and never shove, push etc? I want to come, as I have never been to such a place!

mrsjay Fri 19-Apr-13 21:25:28

I do agree his behaviour needs to be checked he cant go around hurting other children in all seriousness his mum should be intervening but I do think if she isn't a gentle telling off or No dont do that from other parents or group leaders is ok

VinegarDrinker Fri 19-Apr-13 21:26:01

I think most people agree the Mum should do something - even if just remove the toddler from the situation (though I would say a very firm no and expect an apology from my own 2yr old).

But it was the tone, the description of the child and the ascribing adult motives to a toddler that most people are responding to from what I can see.

DebsMorgan Fri 19-Apr-13 21:26:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dontmeanto Fri 19-Apr-13 21:27:40

I took the "little shit" as jokey exasperation...seriously doubt OP uses the term loosely on a daily basis.

I would be extremely frustrated if a toddler kept misbehaving like that without ANY parental intervention.

JeremyPiven Fri 19-Apr-13 21:27:43

puffpants of course you do, the point most people are making is that you don't attribute anything to the personality of the child by this behaviour,mwhich is perfectly normal. And I don't believe the other children are so angelic. I have never met a 2yr old that doesnt snatch toys

thornrose Fri 19-Apr-13 21:28:16

Vinegar - that is spot on.

mrsjay Fri 19-Apr-13 21:28:43

it does sound like you are ganging up on the mum and singling her little boy out as the bully do these gentle toddler all waft about on air or something because the toddlers i work with are wild and all over the place

mrsjay Fri 19-Apr-13 21:29:44

But it was the tone, the description of the child and the ascribing adult motives to a toddler that most people are responding to from what I can see.

yes the words evil stare little shit and on purpose is not on when describing a 2 yr old

CarpeVinum Fri 19-Apr-13 21:30:28

He is 2. What exactly would you like her to say that would get through to a 2 year old.

How about something radical like "no pushing", "no snatching", "say sorry". Or if prefered "we use gentle hands" and stuff like that.

I doubt people would expect an overnight miricle, but amazingly enough when set out basic ground rules for sucessful spcial interaction at two year old a not insignificant number of toddlers become 3 and 4 year olds with a decent enough grasp of how to behave most of the time, with the occasional reminder when necessary.

It would also acknowledge that the behavoir is understood as undesirable by his mum and demonstrate empathy for what the other mums are feeling when their kid is being upset. Which will probably go some way to lowering the heat and irritation in respect to her and her son. If she wants other kids for her son to play with she is going to need other mums to be willing to be in his company, so some kind of gesture on her part, as a nod to their sentiments, would be a good idea.

Startail Fri 19-Apr-13 21:31:04

If she won't tell him no you do.
Sorry I have no patience with this only a child's own parents are allowed to speak to them rubbish.

If a child knocks mine over and it clearly wasn't an accident I'd tell him off.

In fact, according to his DM, I once terrified a child.He'd knocked DD1 flying quite deliberately. He was 4.5 not two. I couldn't believe it when he went crying to mummy. He wasn't even her PFB. Yes I shouted at him, it had been a long day and DD1 had been on the receiving end of a whole lot of nastiness, as normal, but I was certainly not even vaguely scary.

Floggingmolly Fri 19-Apr-13 21:34:08

If he's the only 2 year old in a hall full of 2 year old's behaving like this, then yes, it's a bit beyond the norm and she should be intervening.

mrsjay Fri 19-Apr-13 21:34:43

orry I have no patience with this only a child's own parents are allowed to speak to them rubbish.

If a child knocks mine over and it clearly wasn't an accident I'd tell him off.

^ ^ it takes avillage and all that

madmacbrock Fri 19-Apr-13 21:35:26

I have a 20mth old who likes to push his cousin around, best i can do is a firm no and remove one of them from the situation, only for it to happen again about 30 mins later! it is just the age and unfortunatly some children go though this. On the otherhand I have a nephew(now 4) who has done things like this since the same age, his mum does nothing but follow him round saying no! its now just white noise and even more anyoying than the childs behaviour! You can really win untill they are old enough to understand so yes im afraid YRB(a little)U.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Fri 19-Apr-13 21:35:43

Way to go Mumsnet. Completely missing the point as usual and berating the op on her choice of language brought on by frustration at someone else's badly behaved child.

If my two year old behaved like this continually I would be embarrassed. Not all two year olds are like this all the time. They might do it occasionally on a bad day but certainly not all the time. It is naughty and spoilt and indulged. God knows how badly behaved your children are that you all seem to think this is acceptable and the op is being unreasonable.

If you're fed up that much op it would be perfectly alright to say something next time. Obviously I'm sure you wouldn't call him a little shit in front of his parent but if he makes you feel that bad you certainly need to tell him off because clearly the parent isn't capable. If you do it, she might notice and realise that she needs to keep an eye on him a bit more. I wouldn't hesitate to say something along the lines of a gentle telling off, particularly because I would want my children to realise that it is naughty and not copy it!

FacebookWanker Fri 19-Apr-13 21:36:37

YANBU. At the play groups I've been to children have always been taught that it's not nice to snatch toys whatever their age. I've always made DD gives toys back when she's snatched them. The y don't know they're doing wrong, so it's up to us to show them. They don't need to be shouted at/ punished etc. Just encouraged not to do it.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FacebookWanker Fri 19-Apr-13 21:37:29

Ilovemydog, I'm pleased you see sense too.

bedmonster Fri 19-Apr-13 21:39:08

The little boy you describe could almost be mine. Though my DS is 18m and doesn't do an evil stare when he takes other childrens toys, he does a cheerful grin as he appraches them and whips the toy out of their hands. I do my best and always remove it, give it back to the child, apologise and tell DS that we say 'sorry' when we upset others, and that we 'share nicely'. He has absolutely no idea what i'm wittering on about, so politely lets me go through my spiel and then toddles off to take something else. It's draining. And tbh, I am incredibly tempted to stop taking him to our toddler group as I feel I spend the entire 2 hours telling him off and trying to distract him sad I find it quite upsetting that he doesn't play nicely or play with the others.
However, I also know that at 18m, he almost definitely has no idea what he's doing. He still doesn't talk so i don't know what he understands.
At 2, the little boy you are talking about possibly doesn't really know what he's doing either, but I do think his mother should at least be making some effort to correct him and tell him what to do and what not to do.

dontmeanto Fri 19-Apr-13 21:39:25

Ilovemydog, exactly.

Loopyhasanotherbean Fri 19-Apr-13 21:41:47

Thanks carpe and startail.

Yes I am frustrated and no I would never call him that in real life, but this behaviour has happened non stop for as long as we have known him. He really is as bad as I describe, I wish I was exaggerating but I am not. My child is a gentle, thoughtful, kind one, who understands right from wrong, and says sorry if he thinks he has done something wrong, even if its just a case of doing something by accident, and if anything we have to say sometimes that he has nothing to say sorry for. He knows better than to snatch a toy as I have taught him that you don't do that and you wait for your turn. He is polite, says please, thank you, excuse me, bless you, pardon me etc. so yes, there are good 2 year olds out there, and all the others in this group are kind and well behaved. This child repeatedly hurts the others, and at the last meeting, he pushed my child and another child 3 times within a minute, all unprovoked. I just don't know what is reasonable to do or say. If it were the other way round, I would be apologising for my child's behaviour, doing all I could to teach him how to behave, and getting him to say sorry/mean it....

foslady Fri 19-Apr-13 21:43:22

I can understand your frustration - used to have an older child like this in our playgroup, and can vividly remember watching her take run ups to toddlers and side barging them flying to get to the dolls pram they were pushing, and even sent another flying off a trampoline and landing off the crash mat because she's run with such force.....all whilst mum smiled and drank tea.......
When she repeatedly snatched off my dd I sat and played with my dd and waited for her to snatch again. At that point I turned my back effectively blocking her from dd and said in a loud voice 'Don't worry dd, we'll find something MUCH nicer to play with'. Within a minute said child shyly returned the toy (to which I thanked and praised her for for returning it). Never had a problem with her again.

Problem child is now one of the nicest girls in the school!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

How's about instead of you ALL talking about it behind her back, as in :

"Are we all being unreasonable to expect her to start disciplining him, taking responsibility for his behaviour and teaching him how to behave towards the other children??"

How about the next time he does it, instead of bitching and talking about her and the 2 year old behind her back, how about you either talk to her or say No to him?

SolomanDaisy Fri 19-Apr-13 21:46:47

Your child sounds fictional. It's only in fiction that some 2 year olds always behave well and some are evil.

ohforfoxsake Fri 19-Apr-13 21:47:19

Many children do this at some point, yours may still yet bite, snatch, pull and hit so dont be too judgemental.

The difference is you'll be all over it and teaching your DC what is and isn't acceptable. It's not nice calling a 2yo a little shit. Save it for the crappy parenting.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 19-Apr-13 21:47:28

Loopy - is anyone friends with the mother? It might be better coming from a friendly face rather than a gang of you. Alternatively, can you not ask the group organiser to say something? Whoever approaches the mother needs to be tactful and friendly as it may be the mother is embarrassed and/or at her wits end with her child's behaviour.

Or you could, as one or two others have suggested, gently tell the child "no" yourself. If the mother sees someone else stepping in it may kick start her to intervene. I took to gently telling my friend's child off and it did encourage her to start doing it.

VinegarDrinker Fri 19-Apr-13 21:48:27

Crikey I am lucky my 2 year old is pretty chilled out and has never really done the grabbing/pushing/biting thing (I say lucky as I honestly think at that age it is just down to luck) but yours sounds saintly to the point of being abnormal tbh.

FacebookWanker Fri 19-Apr-13 21:48:31

Loopy, your DS sounds like my DD. She's always apologising for things she doesn't to apologise for. She makes me feel quite guilty sometimes. She can be quite timid at times and I'm always trying to get her to be a bit more assertive. She just lets people push past her at the park and just stands there looking defeated. sad

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Fri 19-Apr-13 21:51:16

FacebookWanker I always see sense. grin

Love the name btw.

Mumsnet is often like this. You come on for some genuine help and advice, you use one wrong word and you get ripped to shreds for that whilst everyone spectacularly misses the point. No help whatsoever.

We have a little boy like this in dd2's preschool. He's four now but he has always been naughty. His parents struggle with him and he's always being told off by the teachers. I once dropped dd2 off and watched as she went in with her favourite toy from home held proudly aloft and he snatched it, stuffed it in a box, sat on the box and then grinned at her. She cried, he just sat there. The teacher had to intervene and lift him off the box. He is like this. All. The. Time. You can see it in his face. He bloody knows what he's doing. Some kids are just really hard work. I completely sympathise with his mum, she's a friend of mine, but sometimes they're just hard work.

VinegarDrinker Fri 19-Apr-13 21:51:31

I would also love to know how you "make them say sorry *and mean it*" at 2. Or any age in fact!

dontmeanto Fri 19-Apr-13 21:52:28

Soloman, I (respectably!) disagree. I've volunteered at playgroups several times and seen consistently well behaved children of all ages. It's different personalities, different little characters. Some are worse than others but it doesn't mean there aren't reeeeally well-behaved two year olds out there.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 19-Apr-13 21:53:05

Golly Loopy - I'd just be very glad your own 2 year old is so incredibly well behaved and fingers crossed you don't end up with a slightly more challenging one at some time in the future wink

But to be fair if my child was being naughty - I would say no to them and if necessary remove them from the situation. However sharing is a very difficult concept for many many 2 year olds and you know adults so really go easy on the judging and the language.

Loopyhasanotherbean Fri 19-Apr-13 21:53:29

I didn't say he was a saint, but he knows how to behave and is well behaved when we are out....he saves his occasional tantrum for when we are at home, and just because he has a tantrum doesn't mean he isn't still kind etc. I don't see what is wrong with him behaving well. He is a very happy child, who plays independently or with other children and is very confident and popular with everyone we know through groups and at nursery. I am proud that he does not snatch or send other children flying to the floor.

Facebook wanker, your dd sounds v similar. My child just stands there wondering what the hell just happened and what did he do to deserve it, breaks my heart.

marjproops Fri 19-Apr-13 21:53:37

OP this child may have some sort of disabilty/mental difficulty?

cant you talk to the mum in a friendly way? maybe shes embarrassed to admit theres something 'different' about her child?

could just be an out and out brat but always good to try a different perspective?

Cherriesarelovely Fri 19-Apr-13 21:55:15

I agree with Ilovemydog. It is nonsense to say all 2 year olds do they don't. The parent ought to be watching her child more carefully and reminding him how to behave. If she doesn't it is bound to cause bad feeling. The only solution is to tell him off or ask her to. I totally disagree that the OP must be exaggerating it, I've seen this sort of situation many times at toddler groups.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 19-Apr-13 21:55:47

Ilovemy dog - come on - calling a 2 year old a little shit is never going to end well on here is it?

In similar situations I've just done the generic 'come on everyone gentle hands etc' spiel - I don't see that its really that hard to do.

VinegarDrinker Fri 19-Apr-13 21:55:59

As I said, my DS happens to be similar. "Well behaved" etc. Difference is, I put it down to luck rather than superior parenting at this age.

If you were talking about a 5 or 6 year old I'd be mire inclined to agree.

FacebookWanker Fri 19-Apr-13 21:56:49

My name was supposed to be temporary after someone said that Facebook is for wankers but I've stuck with it now.

My DD is well behaved about 95% of the time. Even the CM has commented on it. She went through a bit of a naughty phase when we moved her bed time, but we moved it back and her good behaviour returned. I think it's just her nature...nothing we've done. I just don't think it occurs to her to be naughty. I'm not complacent though, she's only 3 so I'm sure it will come soon enough.

5madthings Fri 19-Apr-13 21:57:25

The boy is two, yes he needs to be told its not OK to snatch/push etc but at that age he won't be being malicious.

A firm no and tell him/show him to be gentle, encourage turn taking etc and distraction and intervention before it happens are your best bet.

As an aside my 28mth old dd is very polite, says please and thank you and says sorry, she also wallops her elder brothers and screams like a banshee if she doesn't get her own way, so fairly typical of most toddlers.

They are learning and it takes time, they aren't 'little shits' and they don't do it because they are spoilt or indulged but because they are two and don't know any better.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 19-Apr-13 21:57:54

Loopy - you need to start teaching your child to tell other children to stop doing things that upset him. Really you do - he shouldn't just accept things being snatched off him - its not fair.

But equally - I've seen many children who've been 'challenging' at 2-4 years old but have grown out of it. And I don't think its at all on to call them names.

FacebookWanker Fri 19-Apr-13 21:59:20

Loopy it breaks my heart too. I was going to say that but I thought I'd be accused of being over dramatic.

5madthings Fri 19-Apr-13 21:59:24

And a two year old that doesn't push etc doesn't not do it because they are 'good' and know its naughty, it just hasn't occurred to them/they haven't had that impulse yet.

Not all toddlers do this but most do something similar at some point.

CarpeVinum Fri 19-Apr-13 22:01:35

An evil stare? How intriguing

Actually it rang a bell for me. I've only ever seen it once. Taught easily a few hundred teeny tinies of pre school age over the last couple of decades. But just in that one case alone have I seen a child so young (he would have been a few months shy of three) actually engage with that kind of look/stance.

I don't know what was behind it, or if he grew out of it etc. The contact only lasted about six months. But he would fix his "prey" with this intent stare, and (given his age) it was really disconcerting the look that went with it. He would wait, maintaining a malevolant stare on the kid he had in his sights. Then he would attack. A push, a wollop, a snatch of a toy, all fairly normal kinds of toddeler style physical stuff. But the look and the real sense of him picking a victim and waiting for a good moment to pounce, with that look on his face, made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Cos it was totally unlike anything I'd seen before, or since.

It didn't go unnoticed by mums, staff, and "evil" was used to describe the intense stare. I can't reconcile evil with a 2 year old, but there was something.... extremely unsettling, about the way all the elements came together and that look in his eyes was the clincher that took it way out the ordinary.

It might well be that the OP is seeing more than is actually there cos her view is coloured by having to see her kid get hurt or upset without parental intervention. But it's not impossible that it's an emotive, but not altogether unbelievable description of what she is observing.

With any luck the kid is just going through a Stare of Death phase.

Gives me the willies just remembering it. It was so wierd, and looked all wrong for a kid so small to have the ability to use his face and eyes like that.

Sokmonsta Fri 19-Apr-13 22:04:00

He is 2. Do you have a son or a daughter? I only ask because with the best will in the world, you cannot understand a boy unless you have one. Or at least in my experience that has been true. I suspect this mother has got herself stuck in a rut where she has maybe over disciplined him and is now going in completely the opposite direction. I suspect she may feel judged whether she disciplines or not because, well there are people like you out there who think her ds is a shit.

Not so long ago my son went through very similar stages. It's perfectly understandable once you realise these few pointers;

2yo's only have a concept of 'self'. No one else features unless they want something.

2yos do not have the best grip of language. He's hardly likely to come out and say 'oh I'm sorry my dear, but would you mind if I had a turn with that shiny fire engine/car/drum' etc. instead he sees, he wants, he takes. It's not limited to boys either.

Boys particularly are more physical. It's not an excuse to justify why my ds may push your dc around. But it probably means he needs a good run around to let off some steam. So get some physical games going - it doesn't have to be with anyone, throwing a ball and getting the boy to run after it and fetch it back could be enough.

By all means challenge the little boy with behaviour which is generally unacceptable. But empathise with his mother as no matter how perfect a parent you are, one day your little darling will be considered a shit by someone.

MsFlippingHeck Fri 19-Apr-13 22:07:21

Op yadnbu

This isn't normal, I go to toddler groups and there isn't anything like this going on. Any small disagreement between the children is delt with by an adult near-by. Just the usual stuff. Adults have to show 2yos how to behave if we all sit around and leave them to it with the excuse that they're only two then when will they ever learn?

I'm surprised at how you've had a pasting on here op. I second ilovemydog and facebookwanker

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Fri 19-Apr-13 22:15:59

MrsCampbellBlack you do realise the op didn't actually call the child a little shit to his face? She used the term on an anonymous adult Internet forum. We all understand her frustration. We've all been there. We get it. It's a perfectly apt description when the child or his parent have no idea it's been said. It perfectly conveys the dept of her frustration to us. Please try to keep up.

Loopyhasanotherbean Fri 19-Apr-13 22:18:39

He does that look every time, and then he runs and shoves his victim. It is not at all playful, he never smiles before during or after. Just this stare. Same look when he snatches toys. I'm more concerned re the shoving. My child knows this is wrong and he knows I wouldn't stand for him behaving like that towards anyone irrespective of their age, but then he sees this child do it repeatedly without any consequence.

cjel Fri 19-Apr-13 22:20:08

I run a toddler group and my first thought was why are all the mums of the perfect toddlers not helping this mum with her child? do you all help each other and just not her? Perhaps she knows exactly what her ds is like she is with him all day and night and is tired and worn down. Perhaps her going to toddlers is a time when she can relax and hope she gets some support. If it is done in a gentle friendly way it won't seem judgemental of her. OP sounded like it was them against the world it came across as a bit exclusive.

You have no idea what that kids homelife is like OP.

And to be honest, that's what happens to the average toddler that goes 'unchecked' i.e. it gets worse .

If you aren't prepared to say something to the mum then you're well within your rights to at least say something to the boy when he's just hurt your DC or to remove your DC from their immediate presence (maybe this will be a hint to the mum).

It's a hard one because you've come across very harshly, considering you don't really know what's going on with them & some people are just pure unlucky with their DC but it's irritating when you feel you have to protect your DC from certain kids at things like this.

Daffyboobface Fri 19-Apr-13 22:22:19

I had/have a 'difficult' child and spent years chasing him round playgroups teaching him not to snatch, take turns etc. It wasn't malicious, he is just impulsive (as all children are) and strong willed.

I used to dread going to these groups, because I could never just relax and have a cup of tea like the other mums. I'm also shy and I was scared people would be judging me.

I think that's why people have taken umbrage at the OP, which does sound a wee bit self satisfied. I'm sure you're doing a brilliant job, but I also think temperament plays a huge part in how easy it is to teach your child manners.

Not to derail the thread but Lunaticfringe, when you say your friends are in denial about their son, what is it that you expect they should do? Accept that their child is some kind of monster? Or perhaps hope that by treating him normally, he might learn normal paramers of behaviour?

Loopyhasanotherbean Fri 19-Apr-13 22:23:21

And I've known a lot of children over my lifetime and never encountered one like this, where he is clearly selecting a target and giving this look, without any reason or provocation. My child doesn't even talk to or go near this one, as he is already wary of him after seeing him push pretty much every other child in the group to the floor in the past.

Poppyhat Fri 19-Apr-13 22:23:34

This is exactly the reason I always hated taking my dc to any sort of play group ,
This child is 2,
For those out there who have perfectly behaved 2 year olds,it's not always down to sometimes just luck.
If anyone feels smug about their perfect 2 year old,that perfect 2 year old may turn out to be a ' little shit' 5 year old. Don't assume that you have any control over that,you might not.
I feel for the mother of this child, and very glad my days of play groups are over.
2 years old! He is still a baby.

thornrose Fri 19-Apr-13 22:25:26

Ilovemydog - many people on this thread have commented on the use of "little shit" to describe a 2 year old child, me included.

I'm intrigued when you say we all understand, we get it, we've all been there. Who are you speaking for/ on behalf of?

chocoluvva Fri 19-Apr-13 22:27:28

When my DS was 2.5 we moved to a different area and went to a new toddler group. DS marched in, spotted a (wooden) train set that he fancied playing with on his own, grabbed a bit of track and walloped the little boy who was playing with it on the head. Job done, the other boy went off crying (very understandably) leaving the train set all to DS. I was mortified.

I've actually just realised that this is kind of irrelevant as I apologised to the other mum profusely and told DS off very firmly unlike the mum at your group. However, DS's world had just been turned upside down and I knew no one , so grateful for toddler groups. Be advised in any group of children there's always ONE IYKMIM.

YANBU to be frustrated by this mum's apparent lack of intervention and by your child's distress.

YABU to expect all 2 year olds to behave as you seem to expect them to behave.

I have 4 boys, 2 of which were/are hitters/pushers/hairpullers. DS3(5) has now grown out of it, thank heavens! DS4(3) I still have to watch like a hawk when we are around other children. It is stressful and upsetting at times for me to go to our toddler group or the playground (I've had threads on here about him and whether I should stop going). I have been staggered by the shere speed and preparedness for physical violence at the drop of hat. As I don't have any girls, I have nothing to compare this to, but the do seem much more physical to me than what I have witnessed from toddler girls (gross generalisation).
I do discipline, I apologise to 'victim' and parent. At times, I helicopter-parents, but he is fast - often faster than me with a quick swipe connecting inspite of me standing right next to him.

I have high hopes that none of my children will grow up to be sociopaths. I don't think that there is anything wrong with you pointing out to his mother that you and your child find his behaviour distressing, however you do come across as expecting similar behaviour that you witness from your child from all other children. And expecting his mother to stop him - well, I've tried to stop mine. Tried really hard. IME, apart from being consistent/removing him from the situation/anticipating flash-points, the only thing that makes one tiny bit of difference is toddlers growing up a bit and turning in to children with a concept of empathy and how their behaviour affects others. See = want = take (by whichever means necessary). Whoever posted this upthread must have met my DSs... sadblush.

itsatiggerday Fri 19-Apr-13 22:29:30

How well do you know the mother? Do you have any kind of friendship with her or just mutual attendance at a group? Does she have any other children?

Please consider that it's early days for him, she may well be struggling with his behaviour but not yet know whether or not it's a phase he'll grow out of or whether there is something underlying it that is not yet identified. She may also have her own issues and struggle to know how to manage his as well in a group. She may even be attending the group because it's the only time she gets out the house in a week and desperately need friendship and support herself and with him.

If your child is generally happy, self sufficient and socially engaged, perhaps you could take the opportunity to spend some time getting to know her and see if there's more to it than what appears to be your current opinion that she's copped out of parenting him.

Re the look thing...They do think before they do, for a split second. Hence the look. I've known a few that do it actually. Mine even went through a very brief period of doing it for the sake of it and for the reaction. It is most likely a phase, albeit not a nice one.

He's at just the right age to have one & it almost always seems to be about impulsiveness & to get a reaction. Yes, the mum should probably hang close by if she knows she's been dealt this parenting card but she's probably knackered!

Hullygully Fri 19-Apr-13 22:30:25

That is NOT normal behaviour for a two year old. Of course some grab now and then or strop or push, but they do not consistently behave liek that, and the parent should be watchful and stopping it, trying to teach the child not to do it.

It's ridiculous to say it's normal two year old behaviour.

Just out of interest: is he a younger sibling??

I've often wondered how much of my darling offspring's tendency to violence was related to them having a fierce rivalry at home <<kitchen sink psychology>>

dontmeanto Fri 19-Apr-13 22:32:17

Think the point here is the mum not doing anything, not that some two year olds are difficult.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FacebookWanker Fri 19-Apr-13 22:35:53

Poppyhat I said that DD's behaviour is nothing to do with our parenting and that I'm not complacent. I suppose I should have added a 'yet' when I said it doesn't occur to her to be naughty, just to be clearer.

Loopyhasanotherbean Fri 19-Apr-13 22:36:39

I am not friends with her, others know her better and know that she does not agree with telling him off or upsetting him. He runs wild. I am sorry so many of you think my child is abnormal, but he is well behaved, and it is through me teaching him how to behave, not down to luck. We live in a nice area and all have similar attitudes with regard to how we raise our children, there is nothing wrong with his home life and from what I know of her his mother is nice. But her child is not. I have not once seen him play with another child. The others play, share, kiss, cuddle, chase, roll around, giggle, laugh, talk, sing etc. not him. He just snatches and shoves. I just want to know how to deal with this. I haven't felt like it was my place to say something but she is still letting it happen and I don't like the atmosphere it's creating, but wasn't sure if I should tell him off or what. Sounds like a few of you think that isn't a bad thing to do though?

CarpeVinum Fri 19-Apr-13 22:42:30

which does sound a wee bit self satisfied

I think that's a minimisation and reframing of how the OP most likely feels.

If somebody sees their kid getting pushed and treated roughly, in a setting where the genral social rule for not provoking adult tensions is "each parent takes responsibility for parenting their own child", it is perfectly normal for them to get all "frustrated mother bear" in defence of their tearful or fearful child.

There may the occasional, (somewhat warped if you ask me), mother who will happily trade her kid being persistantly upset or clumped in order to bask in her own superiority, but I bet they are rare. Far more likely, most who are getting frustrated and upset at seeing their child be persistantly hurt, wary or in tears would gladly share "OK mum" status with all around them in exchange for all the kids happily playing together unmolested, most of the time (cos I doubt many expect all and every toddler meet up to be utterly fisticuffs free).

MyDarlingClementine Fri 19-Apr-13 22:44:05

I have also known a DC like this!

You have been given a really hard time op, but I can appreciate your frustration. When you are trying to teach your own DC boundaries and how we must not hurt others. another comes along and causes havoc with no boundaries.

Infact two dc I have known like this, both extremely violent. One I only saw at toddler groups, I joined late and the other mums didn't seem to react except to comfort their battered DC ( Dc used to swing chairs at their heads, stand on trampoline so could get good kick into toddlers going by, took a running jump at Dc head on the ground.....etc), so I did think perhaps there was something else going there....that they all knew but I did I kept my DC away from that one DC - steering away as much as possible in as subtle a way as possible.

The other one, my goodness.....the DM just seemed so blind and oblivious, I saw that evil flash in the eye - and long thought out ways to harm, I saw a crying mother - cradling her baby - whom this DC had just kicked...and the DC Dm did nothing except get upset herself.

She dotes soo much and is sooo fussy about so many things, really anal and yet her DC has caused havoc time and time and time again, at nursery, parties, play centers!

Personally I used to watch my DC like a hawk at that age, and even if she occidentally bumped into someone or took a toy, I made her apologise, give the toy back etc. When we went through a difficult phase I just had follow through on threats and leave.

I just wouldn't want my dc making other DC as frightened as mine was sometimes when being hurt by the others.

KitchenandJumble Fri 19-Apr-13 22:46:49

Oh, come on, OP. You are ascribing all kinds of malevolent intent to a 2-year-old. Truly, he cannot possibly have reached the level of emotional development to have an "evil" stare or to hurt others "on purpose." He's an impulsive child, he wants the toys others are playing with, and he hasn't developed empathy yet. No child of 2 (not even yours) can be fully empathetic. There's nothing unusual about that. It's just the way humans are.

As for other children, it's great if they are "well behaved" at the age of two. But I would say that this is to some degree down to luck and temperament. I don't think that parental response and involvement are neglible, but I also don't think they are as significant as we sometimes tell ourselves they are.

Should this boy's mother respond to her child's behaviour? Absolutely. If she doesn't, it's perfectly acceptable to step in. Do people really just sit back and say nothing if a child is hurting other children? That seems so odd to me.

Of course, shouting at him or being otherwise unkind would be useless if you really want to teach him something. But some teaching and reminding and repeating how we need to be kind to each other may be the way forward. Don't expect things to change overnight. But surely it's better to step in than to ignore his actions and then complain about him and ascribe evil motivations to a tiny child.

MyDarlingClementine Fri 19-Apr-13 22:47:55

I agree Hully, I spent a good two years sat in regular toddler groups and they all had their moments, some loved to wrestle and people got hurt but it was good natured, not intentional, then the odd hurting, biting, kicking even...from nearly all of them at some time. But repeatedly every week two at different places would be on a constant mission of pain
( ours were slightly older though).

MyDarlingClementine Fri 19-Apr-13 22:49:10

I don't know Jumble, I would like to think so too, but the Dc I know I knew from 3 and now at 6 there is no difference.

Loopyhasanotherbean Fri 19-Apr-13 22:52:34

He does have an evil stare. Toys are not involved when he pushes others to the ground. The children are always stood around the room not holding any toys when it happens, and he runs towards his victim and shoves them. No reason at all and he gains nothing except hurting and upsetting them.

At no point did I suggest shouting or being unkind to him. I just wanted opinions on what others felt would be an acceptable solution in this situation as I do not want my child or the others to be continually subjected to this violence.

6625maria Fri 19-Apr-13 22:54:27

Loopyhasanotherbean I'm with you. Having had my little girl bundled and pinched until her face bled today "little shit" seems perfectly reasonable. I have far less patience than you. My opinion is that if the toddler is known to be very rough the mother should be there supervising. If the mother isn't with the toddler in my group I will personally be physically lifting this child away from my daughter if he makes another beeline and telling him that jumping on people is not what we do. If she has an issue with that we shall leave the group. My daughter is only 15 months and just starting to walk. Sod worrying about an atmosphere, there are plenty of great toddler groups to choose from. I want my daughter to be confident and happy, not fearful she will be hurt.
Have you raised this with the staff?
Good luck x

dontmeanto Fri 19-Apr-13 22:55:28

Loopy, does mother ignore the child when he does it?

KitchenandJumble Fri 19-Apr-13 22:57:49

I know you didn't suggesting shouting or being unkind. But your language WRT this child and your (understandable) feelings of being upset at seeing your child hurt could lead to you (or anyone) treating him unkindly. I was just saying that interacting with him in a gentle but firm way would be an option.

And once again, a two-year-old can't be evil. Really and truly. He hasn't yet fully developed empathy because he's two. He's simply too young to have reached that stage.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Fri 19-Apr-13 22:57:54

thornrose well, a bit of a generalisation yes, but kind of referring to the rest of the posters who agreed with my opinion and not yours.

Loopyhasanotherbean Fri 19-Apr-13 22:59:05

Mostly she ignores. He pushed my child, no action. He pushed another, no action. He pushed mine even harder into a wall and it was only when mine started sobbing that she went to get him.

Daffyboobface Fri 19-Apr-13 22:59:21

Lunaticfringe , that does sound awful. I had assumed when you said the mother was crying, she would also be doing something about it sad

But while I do understand you're frustrated with the mother's lack of interaction OP, I'm not feeling a huge amount of tolerance from your posts. Something in the we live a nice area and we all feel the same...

On a more practical note, if you are looking for advice, I would suggest stepping in at the next altercation and saying 'gently' and perhaps showing him how to negotiate. And expect to have to do the same on many occasions as children with a less malleable temperament take a lot of telling before they get it.

Loopyhasanotherbean Fri 19-Apr-13 23:01:48

It is a good group which is why we are still going. If it wasn't I'd stop going rather than try and find a solution. Like I said, the other children really are a pleasure to be with.

elQuintoConyo Fri 19-Apr-13 23:02:17

Welcome to toddlerhood. My 16mo doesn't share, pushes, snatches toys (ok, 16mo/2yo is a big difference, but still).

Wish he had an 'evil stare' sounds great, very Lex Luther.

You may have written 'little shit' in a fit of pique, but it's really horrible sad

Poppyhat Fri 19-Apr-13 23:03:20

My comment about smug parenting was not directed at you,I apologise if you felt it was.
There is a smugness on this thread,but its not coming from you.

Loopyhasanotherbean Fri 19-Apr-13 23:03:31

As a group we have been tolerant ever since he became mobile, this is a long term issue but I'm fed up with it and I don't want my child being hurt again.

Loopyhasanotherbean Fri 19-Apr-13 23:08:01

And i do not intend to sound smug, motherhood is dammed hard work, but I have taught my child how to behave and am proud of him and nothing will change that. If he sees another child cry, it upsets him and he will give them a cuddle or offer them a toy to make them happy, quite often his most prized possession, his teddy rag.

cjel Fri 19-Apr-13 23:13:03

I don't know how many DCs you have OP but your posts sound more and more judgemental Just because you live in a good are means nothing. I wonder what prince Harry was like I remember stories of Princess Diana despairing about some of his behaviour and I bet he was 'told' what was right!! I hope you never have a problem with your dc,As for being tolerant as a group you don't sound very nice at all.I can also assure you that sometimes you can 'teach' your dcs all you like and theystill have their own personalities, they are not robots they cannot be programmed

Why the fuck have you not just told him no? Don't do that? Be gentle?

Why are you ALL bitching about her behind her back instead of just doing something?

6625maria Fri 19-Apr-13 23:16:38

:-( horrible awkward situation. But if she chooses not to do anything and your child is being hurt or frightened then I think you are perfectly entitled to step in. Maybe if he other Mums see you correcting him some others might do the same and this boy might learn that at least at the toddler group roughness isn't ok. Never mind if he's as wild as an alley cat at home!

FWIW I positively encourage other parents to intervene as I think it helps to drive the message home that certain behaviours are not acceptable when that message comes from somebody else than 'just' me.

Still, I know how hard I've tried. I know what kind of values and behaviour we strive to instill in our children. I know how much effort I put in to engaging them/being consisten/being kind but firm. Yet still, some of mine have been more psychopathic harder work than others. And truly - what on earth has a nice area to do with it?? Enjoy your well-behaved/even tempered DS, but IME a lot of how kids are is to do with their personalities and stage of development. I don't mean to offend, but you do sound rather pleased with your parenting. I genuinely hope you will never have to be less pleased about your DS's behaviour.

cjel Fri 19-Apr-13 23:23:52

I don't see this as a situation to be 'entitled' in Surely it is better to treat all the children as one group - not a group and the 'little shit' If any other child did some snatching or pushing its just normal to say ooh careful ' little shit' be gentle, play nicely, share etc, etc. By all bitching and judging you are enabling bad behaviour. It doesn't sound a very nice group at all.

ForTheLoveOfSocks Fri 19-Apr-13 23:25:51

At the end if the day, the child is two. He is still a baby. Not that I am condoning his behaviour but he still has a lot to learn about social rights and wrongs.

Your issue should be with his mother. She is the one not dealing with his behaviour. She is the one who is wrong, not a baby FFS.

Why don't you challenge her behaviour rather than bitch about a child who has been on this earth less than two minutes?? To me it says more about you than about the child. Your not happy about how you child is treated yet you don't intervene hmm

Mamafratelli Fri 19-Apr-13 23:40:45

Guessing you have an only OP.

FWIW my cousins daughter was exactly like this at 2. My cousin was mortified and a very gentle person and did not know how to deal with it. Her daughter is not 7 and extremely clever and compassionate and lovely to be around. I think she was very bright and frustrated and took it out on the other children. She grew out of it. Perhaps you'll relax a little when you have a second child OP

toffeelolly Fri 19-Apr-13 23:46:54

Does not sound like the kind of group i would want to bring my child to. How the hell can a 2 year old be classed as evil or a little shit , you do not know what kind of problem's this child may have . YABU.

ohforfoxsake Fri 19-Apr-13 23:51:49

Of course it's not your job to discipline another's child, but by not intervening what message are you sending out to your child? Does your child stand there when pushed because they think it's ok as no one says otherwise? It's as much about setting boundaries for your child as to what is appropriate.

This is, IMO, what makes it your right to tell the child who is misbehaving a gentle, yet firm, 'No' when the parents won't or don't.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sat 20-Apr-13 00:36:52

The child in the OP could be my DS3. There is no way I could make him apologise for having knocked someone over. Mostly because he can't even say sorry. Or very much else, for that matter. But also because he just doesn't notice other people or things in his way (yes, his eyesight is FINE), he will run and fall over toy boxes, become focused on a toy the other side if the room and just run for it irrespective of who or what is in the way.

He injures himself whilst doing this, as well as any toddlers he happens to run 'through'.

Me telling him off for it would be about as much use as expecting a person from the amazon rainforest who has never spoken anything but the language of their tribe to understand French spoken by a Dane.

That's not to say that I don't say it, but it means that due to his receptive and expressive speech delay, he doesn't actually understand wtf I'm saying to him.

Most if his communicating is done in simple Makaton. He is still currently in the process of learning what I mean when I sign banana, and cannot yet connect the sign to an actual banana.

So telling him that he needs to be careful of other children is about as much use as trousers are to a kipper.

Not everything is as obvious as you think!

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sat 20-Apr-13 00:39:19

And the focusing on something across the room and rushing for it despite any obstacles in the way is probably connected to a combination of hyperactivity (dxd hyperactivity, not just a 'usual' toddler hyperactivity) and the possible Autism that he is being assessed for next month.

He is 2y3mo.

378 Sat 20-Apr-13 02:24:45

Why don't you just say firmly 'no pushing, pushing hurts' take him by the hand and lead him back to his mum and say 'X has just pushed Y'?

I do this all the time if mums don't do anything themselves as my DS is (currently!) very gentle and isn't sure what to do when things like that happen to him and while he is learning I want himto know I have his back, and what is unacceptable behaviour.

maybe other playgroup mums think I am interfering oops

dontmeanto Sat 20-Apr-13 02:28:20

OP you say your child will give other children his most prized possession, his teddy rag. What's a teddy rag???


LittleYellowBall Sat 20-Apr-13 02:47:06

dontmeanto I should imagine it's some sort of piece of cloth that looks like/represents a teddy. Why the hmm face?

MotheringShites Sat 20-Apr-13 03:52:36

I would hazard a guess that you and your friends who are discussing this child/mother are PFB mums ans she/he is not.

HenrySugar Sat 20-Apr-13 06:35:00

Don't really understand why this has got so complicated.

Part of how kids behave is down to the parents, and part is luck. If you've only had an easy gentle compliant kid you really can't understand what it's like to have a challenging one. (I have both kinds)

Some 2-year olds behave aggressively. If toddler pushed my toddler I told the pusher firmly "no pushing" and took him/her to the parents. I taught my own dcs to say "don't push" in a big voice.

That's all you can do. If the mum doesn't like that I couldn't care less. My own child needs to see me stand up for them and that's more important to me than the other mum feeling uncomfortable or annoyed with me.

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 20-Apr-13 06:45:12

Ilovemydog - honestly are you being deliberately dim - of course I know she didn't call the child a little shit to its face. But I still don't think its on to refer to a 2 year old as that even on you know an anonymous internet forum - thanks for pointing out to me that's what mn is though wink

NapaCab Sat 20-Apr-13 06:54:23

"My child is a gentle, thoughtful, kind one, who understands right from wrong, and says sorry if he thinks he has done something wrong"

Yes, I'm sure your child is a perfect angel, OP, who is entirely free of any character flaws and sent from heaven. Smug, much?

Honestly your tone is really nasty and you seem to have some attitude problem towards this woman and her child for some reason. Why not be nice and try to ask the mother how she's doing?

I think in this case, if it's true, the mother should certainly make an effort to be firm with her child e.g. 'no hitting', 'no pushing' etc and praise good behavior but other than that, what can she do? At one of the playgroups I go to, there was a mother last term with a 2-year old girl like this who just hit and pushed other toddlers if they came anywhere near her. Her mother was clearly exasperated and was trying all kinds of discipline but nothing worked. We were understanding about it because we know that 2 is a difficult age.

One day she brought her mother with her to class and she was clearly quite ill, I assumed with cancer as she had lost her hair. So who knows? Maybe this little girl was feeling the stress at home from having an ill grandmother?

You never know people's situation in life so don't be so quick to judge.

NapaCab Sat 20-Apr-13 06:59:51

Agreed *Henry Sugar*: temperament plays a part. Last term at Spanish class my son was the 'angel', so well-behaved and smiley. Recently, however, we've been having a hard time and he's getting more and more wilful. I was mortified last week when he pushed a child for the first time and started throwing a full-blown Category 10 tantrum later in the class.

Again, though, the other mothers in the group were nice about it. One mother asked 'is he quite strong-willed?' about my DS and initially I was on the defensive but then she explained that her elder son had been very wilful and hard to discipline and she found it really tough but her second child was much quieter and relaxed. She confided that she used to blame herself so much but with her second realized that temperament is half the battle.

I wish parents would lighten the feck up sometimes and give each other more support rather than judging and calling children 'little shits'.

Loopyhasanotherbean Sat 20-Apr-13 07:01:05

Not that it has anything to do with the issue we are facing but we all have more than one child.

My child was not easy, like I said its hard work, but I see it as my job to raise him with manners, to know right from wrong, and to be considerate of others. He is a happy, polite and confident child and would never hurt another child. He is like this because I showed him what was acceptable. He knows how to behave, he also knows to be gentle with babies and animals. He knows what to do at road crossings re green/red men. He knows to eat with his mouth closed and to not talk when he has food in his mouth. He is a very energetic child, and very demanding as he is bright and hungry to learn everything and anything, but just because he is hard work and not my only child doesn't mean I couldn't I still certain values into him. (And I am not bragging re him being bright, I haven't told people in RL as don't need the hassle, but nursery have said his speech is more advanced than children 7 months older than him and have commented on how tiring it can be as he never stops talking)

It sounds like enough of you think I should intervene next time and tell him how to behave when he shoves my child into a wall or to the ground. Thanks for those that gave positive replies.

MiconiumHappens Sat 20-Apr-13 07:25:13

Loopy - you know what comes before a fall?

We're all proud of our DCs, and most put lots of effort into all you describe. You do come across as smug, I don't want to be hurtful, but I feel you do. My point is if you do say anything you need to remove any trace of this or it will backfire on you.

Offer to help this mum......genuinely.

toffeelolly Sat 20-Apr-13 07:27:11

Good for you loopy, your child can do all this and is only 2 yrs great. But this other child of 2 yrs who you have called a little shit and is only 2 may turn out to be the best child and maybe even do really well at school , get a great job when older and your little boy may turn into a little shit. That's why you should never judge other people or their children because you never know what your own could turn out like.

princessnumber2 Sat 20-Apr-13 07:27:11

Any child psychologist will tell you that, disorders aside, behaviour at 2 is a mixture of innate temperament and parenting.

My first child had standard tantrums but never ever hit another child. Second is wilful, stubborn, aggressive, throws toys in frustration and pushes other kids (including whacking her older sister). I always say no firmly and take her away from situation for acts of aggression. I'd never sit by and do nothing. I also wouldn't have any problem saying 'no! please don't push' etc to someone else's kid. I've told off strangers' kids in parks, museums and public places for really harsh stuff like pushing other kids off a swing, hitting other kids etc. I'd give the parent a chance to do it first but if its clear they're not going to do anything (often because they're chatting to mates/on their phone) I'd tell the kid myself.

All this stuff about 'support the mum' I don't get in the OP's situation. If the mum was trying really hard to sort the kid out and the kid wasn't responding, then of course, sympathetic smiles and reaching out are in order. Someone sitting by while their kid bullies others? Sounds a bit slack to me.

seeker Sat 20-Apr-13 07:28:44

He is also two, loopy. There are many stages to go through before he grows up. And they are not all good phases. So be alert. It's like when they sleep through and you think- great, that's it for night waking.....

This is not the kids fault you know OP.

It's the other mum's. Though you should just say something to her/ask whoever runs the group to have a tactful conversation about it with her.

And plenty of kids do things like that purely for the reaction, because at that age empathy is in short supply, which requires better supervision from the mum.

idiot55 Sat 20-Apr-13 07:34:01

your use of the word "we" rings alarm bells to me, is it a topic of conversation with you and the other mums?

I feel sorry for the mum of the boy i really do.

If its that bad, stop going to the group.

MiconiumHappens Sat 20-Apr-13 07:35:07

The reason I said to help the mum (genuinely) is as the OP seems to think she has this all licked, why not pass some of that on, in a supportive way. I wouldn't be happy with someone else disciplining DC, granted I would not leave them doing the things OP describes. I really just don't see that option ending well.

NapaCab Sat 20-Apr-13 07:38:40

"He is well behaved, and it is through me teaching him how to behave, not down to luck."

Congratulations. You're a wonderful human being. Let me guess, when he's up there graduating from Cambridge with his first-class honours medical degree, you'll be that smug mother in the audience all teary-eyed saying 'you see, hubby? It's all because of me, I parented him so well and taught him right from wrong!!'.

You do realize that parenting is a little more complicated than teaching your children right from wrong and then reaping the benefits of your own wisdom and brilliance as they robotically follow you exactly all their lives? Good luck with the next 16 years of reality, OP.

WeakAtTheCheese Sat 20-Apr-13 07:39:17

Seriously op you're looking daft. My eldest is well behaved and kind. That is his nature, he never pushed a child, snatched a toy etc.

Then I had dc2 and dc3. You've got just the one have you? hmm

If you're the greatest parent in history so good at this parenting lark surely it should be easy to apply some of your great wisdom and skill to another child at a Playgroup confused

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 20-Apr-13 07:39:37

Loopy my friend has a son who does what you describe. He's being assessed soon for special needs. Lay off. You don't know the story here.

This sounds like my just-turned-2 year old DD. Well, apart from the "evil stare" hmm. She tends to have a great big smile on her face when she's pushing other toddlers over/snatching toys off from them etc.
I apologise to the toddlers/parents, return the toy etc, tell DD she mustn't push/snatch, leave the group early if she persists in doing it. I do ask her to apologise, but she doesn't - not because this is all part of her devious, deviant, bullying personality hmm but because she doesn't have many words yet.

She doesn't do it on purpose. It's got sod all to do with how she's been parented - FFS! She's acting pretty much like a standard 2 year old.

But i would question the parenting of someone who thinks it's acceptable to call a 2 year old a 'little shit.'

VinegarDrinker Sat 20-Apr-13 07:58:29

Yes, yes, my DS does all that too at 2y2m (apart from the "would never hurt another child, which is frankly unbelievable - all you can say is he hasn't yet), and if you want to get competitive with language/brightness I am happy to pile in with his achievements.

Obviously some of what they do is down to parenting. But the vast, vast majority is pure luck/temperament. My DS learnt colours/numbers/shapes/letters because you literally couldn't stop him. If he wasn't interested or receptive I could have sat him down for hours a day with Baby Einstein or whatever and it wouldn't have made a blind bit of difference. If your 2 yr old doesn't yet know green/red (which would be totally within the norm) then really, how the fuck do you teach them the Green Cross Code? Likewise if they hardly talk, trying to enforce "excuse me" or "please may I leave the table" would be a total waste of time.

Yes, this Mum should deal with the way her son's behaviour impacts on others. No one is saying differently. But please, give over with the smugness.

Yesterday I was in a room with a child of 24m and a child of 35m. They are both two but their cognitive abilities are obviously vastly different. That said, even the younger one has learned that if you make someone else sad or cross you adopt a contrite expression and say sorry.

If the child in the OP is nearly three he definitely can be doing things on purpose - that is, not maliciously, but testing boundaries and exploring other children's reactions, and enjoying doing so.

In a group setting it is absolutely acceptable to expect the mother to react when the child upsets or hurts others. At toddler groups I have attended, we have had an agreed code of conduct by which parents are explicitly required to deal with their children. Repeated failure or refusal to do so has resulted in being asked not to return.

It is up to the group organisers to make sure she knows what is expected of her. It's all about her reactions, and not his behaviour per se. If the other adults and children see that his behaviour isn't tolerated, they will be tolerant of him.

Whatalotofpiffle Sat 20-Apr-13 08:17:35

Gobsmacked! I am a childminder and no way would this be acceptable! 2 year olds do understand when you address the behaviour, even if just using words such as kind, gentle etc YANBU

I cannot tell you all how relieved I am that some others with challenging DCs have owned up to struggling with dealing with some of these behaviours.

And I agree with everybody who said, it's the mother's behaviour that seems a bit dubious, not the toddler's.

I also agree that much as Loopy should of course be pleased about how well-behaved her DS is, but please stop taking all the credit for this. He sounds like what is known around here as a 'biddable' child who is prepared to follow your guidance and example. Thank your lucky stars you have not been blessed with a Contrary Mary...

OneHandFlapping Sat 20-Apr-13 08:26:43

Frankly, most 2 year olds can be little shits, and it's our job as parents to show them this is unacceptable. It sounds like this mum is not doing her job.

And I really don't get all these posters saying "YABU to call a 2 year old a little shit". It's not as if you are calling him it to his face. It's just another of these Mumsnet stock responses (Baaa).

DebsMorgan Sat 20-Apr-13 08:45:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NapaCab Sat 20-Apr-13 08:54:28

You're wrong, OneHandFlapping. Some two year olds can be little shits because they have bad parents but the OP's two year old is not and never will be a little shit because she is a perfect parent who has taught her DS right from wrong.

Unlike these awful mothers out there with little shit kids who don't live in nice areas.

Lovelygoldboots Sat 20-Apr-13 08:56:41

There are some shitty parents, a two year old being referred to as a little shit is ok is it? hmm. I am not a sheep, I can think for myself.

OP, if the mum says nothing when her child acts up just say something to the child yourself. A gentle "no, that's not nice". Try to find ways of helping them all when they play together. If you take the lead the other mum might get the idea. I've got three and seen this time and again. It is just terrible twos.

CarpeVinum Sat 20-Apr-13 08:57:05

Someone sitting by while their kid bullies others? Sounds a bit slack to me.

Actually, based on some info above I think it might be an over enthusiastic application of a parenting philosophy like radical unschooling or Taking Children Seriously rather than simply slacking. It could be worth the OP doing a little further digging with her source to see if the original info came with certain key phrases like RU, TCS or "non coercive". If it did then that would point very strongly to a philosophy based strategy being in place. And becuase the philosophies themselves are quite extreme when compared to the more mainstream variety they can be quite fixed positions. If fixed, resolution or mutal understanding can be harder to come by with the more typical indirect "oh shall I parent your child for you? watch me do it" or direct "would you mind terribly stopping your child from walloping mine ?" because those can be viewed as actual persecution from wrong headed sheeple, while the natural irritation of parents watching their kids being regularly clonked gets minimised away to irrelevancy.

I personally wouldn't want to be stepping in and correcting the child directly when the mother does not under those circumstance ever again, because that can increase tensions dramatically and then it gets so much harder to resolve with any tactic other than voting with your feet because parental backs being massively up on both sides just polarises postions further.

Maybe wording an approach to mum along the lines of "I understand you don't want to coerce you child, but I'm sure you understand I don't want my child coming to see other kids as something he needs to be fearful of, can we talk about finding a way so both of us and both of our children can spend time here in a positive way ?"

(I know it's wordy but certain turns of phrases might reflect back the "fundamentals of philosophy" so they might get heard)

I think even somebody who has spent so long on certain parenting forums that they have absorbed a persecution complex by osmosis would find it a struggle to treat an approach like that as purely hostile to them and their value system.

I wouldn't put money on a solution actually being found, because to put it bluntly, the philosophy can be pretty cemented in place, particularly with younger children, but as a way to crack open the door to see if she will make concessions within her parenting philosophy in order to rub along bettet in a social settings I think it is worth a try.

If the OP gets feedback from her along the lines of "other kids are just going to have to suck up being collateral damage" in the name of her parental philosophy so her child doesn't become irrevocably damaged by the occasional redirection or the odd outright "No, stop it", then I think there are only two choices in terms of speedy resolution.

One is to take it up with the organiser and ask what their policy is when users of the facility never intervene when their child is persistently hurting other children and see if that gives the heads up that tensions are brewing and it's time to be a bit more proactive at communicating what is required of parents in their faciltiy before people start voting with their feet and warning others to give it a wdie berth.

The other is to vote with feet, or accept that being at playgroup means off chair, on carpet full time ready to provide a large human shield the whole time your toddler is there.

Not perfect solutions, but then easy perfect solutions are infrequently on the table when parental ideals and values clash in a social setting. And that reality doesn't melt away thanks to uninvolved outsiders bandying around "just" like it was a magic wand.

In the OP's postion I would grab a few phone numbers of the mums I liked best and go for meeting up indpendantly instrad. If playgroup is more stressful than it is nice for parent or kid, it's worth knocking on the head in favour of other socialble activities. It's a pity when the one local to you has issues that make it less than appealling, but unless the organisers are prepared to have ground rules for parents and remind people to respect them, there isn't really all that much you can do about it.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sat 20-Apr-13 08:58:39

YANBU to wish the mum would step in and do something about the child's behaviour. I agree that perhaps you should talk to the person that runs the group. I also agree with the BAAAAA comment above! Stock phrases one can expect from MN!

Loopyhasanotherbean Sat 20-Apr-13 09:01:31

I would never swear at or in front of any child, but quite frankly last night I was so sick of this repeated bad behaviour hence my posting. It has been going on since he could move, so over a year now. It has never improved, as he gets bigger he is getting stronger and hurting them all more and it is after biting our tongues for a while that it is finally getting too much. I am glad that there are at least some of you out there who are also trying to teach your children how to be good and kind to others, I just hope my child is lucky enough to meet such children when he goes to school. My child is no angel, there have been times where he has tried to do things he shouldn't, but I have always stepped in and told him how to behave and he knows now what is acceptable. I don't know any child who is born knowing how to do anything, I view it as part of the role of parent to teach your children everything about life, and how will they know what is right or wrong if not taught? My issue is that the mother has let him do whatever he wants for over a year now to the other children, and if something doesn't change soon, then he will start to cause serious harm to the others. I have never took it upon myself to discipline someone else's child and I have never told another parent how to raise their children, so I am wary of causing upset, but just wanted opinions on what others would do in this situation. That was all.

Re Cambridge uni comments, I don't care what any of my children achieve as long as they are happy in life and don't do anything illegal! Having gone through the grammar school system, I know plenty of academics who ended up miserable and ended up trading in their professional lives for other careers. I will never push him, but at the same time I will support them all and feed his learning hunger for as long as he wants me to.

Re colours, is it really not normal to know them? He knows, recognises and can say green, red, blue, pink, purple, yellow, white, black, brown, orange and also clear for transparent items.

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 20-Apr-13 09:04:10

Yes mn is such a bugger for the stock phrases. Not liking racism/sexism/toddlers being called little shits - all things that make some of us such sheep.

Honestly a 2 year old is a toddler, the parent does need to step up if he's hurting other children and the OP is perfectly entitled to tell the child if he's hurt her child.

But calling a 2 year old names even on an anonymous internet forum - well its just not nice.

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 20-Apr-13 09:07:52

Loopy personally if another 2 year old hurt my child and the parent did nothing I'd say something along the lines of 'now that wasn't very kind, lets use gentle hands and no pushing please' and then take child to the parent and tell them what he'd done.

It is hard I know though - good luck with it.

VinegarDrinker Sat 20-Apr-13 09:08:28

Yes, it's well within normal for a 2 year old (although you haven't specified whether this is a just-2 or nearly-3) to not know their colours. Some do obviously, personally my own child genius ;) knew them all by 18 months, but some just aren't at all interested until much later. Lots of children are barely talking at 2. Doesn't mean a thing in the long term, either.

kungfupannda Sat 20-Apr-13 09:09:16

I never understand how these situations apparently go on for so long without someone actually doing something about it. Your options are:

1) Speak frankly to the mother and ask her to monitor her child more closely to stop these incidents
2) Approach her every single time the child hurts another - every time, relentlessly, until she is so embarrassed that she does something about it.
3) Speak to the group leader and ask them to tell the other mum that she needs to supervise more closely or stop coming.

It's not complicated. I sometimes think people prefer bonding over a shared problem so much that they don't actually want to deal with it.

Lovelygoldboots Sat 20-Apr-13 09:15:50

I agree with kung fu panda. You really need to take the initiative here, it will be best for everyone. I have learnt a lot over the years just watching how other parents deal with things. Doing something is better than nothing.

MiconiumHappens Sat 20-Apr-13 09:35:09

Glad at least some people are teaching their children good manners & not to hurt others? WTAF? The majority of parents do this!

This whole thing is a massive stealth boast.

MiconiumHappens Sat 20-Apr-13 09:35:31

Actually it's not even very stealth smile

TheBigJessie Sat 20-Apr-13 09:38:19

I've been reading through this thread, and I think CarpeVinum could be right.

Daffyboobface Sat 20-Apr-13 10:16:46

OP the tone of your posts is really starting to stick in my craw. Not one person has come onto this thread to say that the little boy's behaviour is acceptable behaviour. But you seem tone making some fairly passive aggressive swipes about the parenting styles of those who suggest a more tolerant/proactive approach.

I understand that you are concerned about your child getting hurt. I would suggest stepping in, gently to correct the boy. Doing nothing an allowing your feelings to fester won't be good for anyone.

cjel Sat 20-Apr-13 10:23:01

I think the idea of all these perfect mums nearly biting holes through their tongues at this 'little shit' who has been evil for over a year since he could move really scary. Why have you not just said ooh gentle please not pushing and move your child? I have 2 dcs, One 30 and a mum of 2dds 12 and 6, One 29 and dad to Ds 7 and 17 months and dd aged 3. I have 17 nieces and nephews and 11 great nieces and nephews my dil has nursery managers qualification, I am a counsellor and run a toddler group and would be horrified at your arrogant smug behaviour. You will be very surprised one day that your dcs will do something you don't approve of Will you then take the 'blame' for their fall? You really are naive at best. For goodness sake stop bigging up your child. If you are really concerned for the behaviour of this other child what do you want us to say? Wow there is no excuse for this awful womans parenting and if only you could bully her into training her child to be like yours the world would be perfect.?

So now you're saying a BABY of a YEAR OLD had an evil stare?

I'm out.

sweetestcup Sat 20-Apr-13 10:36:10

I sympathised with you at first Op but as your posts have developed you are just coming across as very very smug.

Daffyboobface Sat 20-Apr-13 10:37:26

Oh. And in the process of teaching my child to be good and kind to others, I make special emphasis on not judging people based on whether they come from a 'nice area' or not.

crashdoll Sat 20-Apr-13 10:49:05

According to this thread, 2 year olds can:
- Victimise other children
- Bully other children that is, they are mean with the intent of being mean
- Give evil stares with genuine emotion
- Say sorry and mean it and also give vibes that makes their parent know that they mean it

Oh I do love MN!

Of course parents should parent their children but come on, some of the posts here are ridiculous. It's easy to be smug when your child is only 2, it would be interesting to see how angelic these children will be in 30 years time.

flippinada Sat 20-Apr-13 10:52:11

I've not read many of the updates, but has this turned into a parent of one small well behaved child who more considers themselves a parenting expert type thread?

lljkk Sat 20-Apr-13 10:54:06

YANBU although I wish you would stop talking about your own well-behaved child. Some children are shits in spite of parents' best efforts (guilty).

others know her better and know that she does not agree with telling him off or upsetting him

Okay, assuming that's true, that is pants and YADNBU to find it very frustrating. Why he should be entitled to upset your child and not ever be upset himself.

I went to a group with an overwhelmed young exhausted mom whose toddler was a biter; she was incapable of supervising him fully. I took it on myself to watch him like a hawk & try to intervene before he had a chance to bite. If I were OP I would chat with the other parents about doing something similar for the boy with inappropriate behaviour. See it as supporting the child to be a better person and if mom ends up throwing a fit then shrug her off because honestly, you are allowed to intervene to prevent behaviour that upsets your child, too.

flippinada Sat 20-Apr-13 10:54:41

"now considers".

Is this a smug op thread , can't face wading through the whole thing if it is.

mrsjay Sat 20-Apr-13 11:22:34

I went to a group with an overwhelmed young exhausted mom whose toddler was a biter; she was incapable of supervising him fully. I took it on myself to watch him like a hawk & try to intervene before he had a chance to bite. If I were OP I would chat with the other parents about doing something similar for the boy with inappropriate behaviour. See it as supporting the child to be a better person and if mom ends up throwing a fit then shrug her off because honestly, you are allowed to intervene to prevent behaviour that upsets your child, too.

I love these comments more support of childrens behaviour less judging and tutting is needed well said smile

5madthings Sat 20-Apr-13 11:24:26

Yes hobs it is.

I agree with pacific especially the 'biddable' comment. My gran always said to me how 'biddable' ds1 was. Very bright, talking under a yr, potty trained by 18mths. Could talk in sentences by 18mths and knew his colours, numbers, shapes. Didnt really tantrum, was gentle blah blah blah....then i had ds2!! ds1 is now 13; still bright, a model pupil at school etc but like many teens sullen and grumpy! Ds2 who was bloody hard work as a toddler can still be stubborn as fuck but is very kind and has amazing empathy, everyone comments on how good he is with others and how caring but as a toddler he was a thug!

Ds3 somewhere inbetween the two, ditto ds4. And now i am in the toddlerhood phase with my youngest. Lovely sweet, cute, polite and funny, great speech but she can walllop her brothers and throw a strop because she is two and still learning... She will get there but it takes time and consistency ime.

I am always sympathetic to parents having a hard time as i see the phases children go through and with the best will in the world most kids have challenging moments, some are def easier than others and that has a lot to do with personality of the chikd ime.

Daffyboobface Sat 20-Apr-13 11:31:53

Agree mrsjay. I don't think there's a child on earth who hasn't looked like a little shit to an outsider at some point or other. Trying to help, rather than judging, is so much more constructive.

GreenEggsAndNichts Sat 20-Apr-13 11:32:09

Children go through phases. Mine did. Don't strain yourself patting yourself on the back, OP.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MoodyDidIt Sat 20-Apr-13 11:53:05

oh god sounds like my mates DS

he is 3 now and exactly the same. she DOES "tell him off" but in like a really lame, ineffectual way

he really is horrible but she is lovely so i put up with it even though he whacked dd in the face with a stick recently

Wishwehadgoneabroad Sat 20-Apr-13 12:04:21


Bad parenting. When you say 'No' you should sound like you mean it. Although it doesn't sound like this mum says much at all (mother of the little darling I mean!)

Agree with comments about how he's only 2 etc. But imo, it's never too young to set boundaries about what is acceptable behaviour and make sure that your toddlers knows you disapprove.

moody makes a good point. Some people might think they've told their child off, but actually all the child has heard is whaayy whayy wahyy, because it's lame and ineffectual. You might as well not bother at all.

Let's hope there's a teacher in the room soon. When they say 'Stop that' it generally works grin

CarpeVinum Sat 20-Apr-13 12:20:21

Let's hope there's a teacher in the room soon. When they say 'Stop that' it generally works


But if an over enthusiatic application of TCS or RU (or similar) are in the room along with the parents and the kids it can also start WWIII grin

Op I was a bit smug like you when I had ds1 who was exactly like your ds. Dh and I were patting ourselves on the back thinking we were doing a great job as parents. Then along came ds2 who is totally different and challenging to discipline. So temperament had a massive part to play. I don't doubt you've worked hard at your parenting and it does sound like you are doing a great job but that isn't all of it and you would do well to remember this because despite agreeing with how frustrated you are you aren't coming across well.

As far as how you deal with it I agree with those on this thread that you discipline him yourself if his Mum isn't going to. Don't need to shout or be nasty but firmly tell him what he is doing is wrong - things like be gentle / no pushing / no snatching etc. otherwise what you are doing is telling your ds that he isn't allowed to do that to others but others can to him.

I was in this situation when ds1 was little and the daughter of a friend kept pushing him while his Mum did nothing. I decided that I'd rather lose the friendship than have my son think I wasn't going to stand up for him. As it turned out her Mum started doing the same so there were no problems. And as she got older she came out of this phase (which lots of children including my ds2 go through) and is now a lovely little girl.

And personally I think this child is being a little shit. He isn't a shit but he is certainly being one but that is a reflection of both his temperament and his lack of discipline. My ds2 certainly was a little shit (and still is) on several occasions despite mostly being a lovely boy. Most children are at times. Like the op there is no way I'd say this in the situation but I don't think she is unreasonable to use this description on an adult internet forum.

Snazzynewyear Sat 20-Apr-13 12:52:31

kungfupannda nailed it in today's 09.09 post. Three options: confront the mum yourself, intervene every time and firmly so he and she get the message, or speak to the group/venue leader and get them to have a word. But don't let it go on.

It's not the best thing in the world to call a child a little shit but they are all like this sometimes; this one seems to be one a lot of the time so I can understand the OP's frustration. People get away with a lot worse on here.

ToysRLuv Sat 20-Apr-13 13:59:20

doesn't sound to me like you'd be happy even if the mother told the child off. She'd still be that mother with that awful child. Only your op would be worded differently: Aibu to wonder if it would be wrong to ask this mum and dc to leave the group even if the mum is disciplining the dc? Even if you implement discipline it takes sometimes a long time to correct behaviour (at 2 years old some toddlers, well within the normal range, will not speak much and understand not that much more -anyway, empathy vs. Self centeredness is something kids work on until they are 5 or so, with some being slightly ahead of the curve, some behind).

Ds was pretty awful at that age, not quite as bad as the child you're describing, but would snatch and push to get what he wanted. I did correct him and remove him from situations, but only now at 3.6 he has calmed down somewhat. When he was 2 I avoided many situations with other children because I got such judgy vibes (and ds hated toddler groups). It's a shame really isn't it, but I'm sure you'll get a bit of perspective when dc goes to school and everyone knows their colours has learned empathy etc. They just all get it in their own time (also we could of course be talking sn, but here it's irrelevant).

mrsjay Sat 20-Apr-13 14:03:06

Agree mrsjay. I don't think there's a child on earth who hasn't looked like a little shit to an outsider at some point or other. Trying to help, rather than judging, is so much more constructive.

exactly we have all come across 'that child' but they really are only little children who honestly dont know any better they don't have evil stares or do things on purpose to be mean and nasty they do things like pushing and biting because they are toddlers they have no concept of sharing or whatever because they are babies,

ToysRLuv Sat 20-Apr-13 14:06:17

And, op, I do understand that you do not want your child hurt, but let's call a spade a spade, and not pretend that you're happy until the child leaves. That's fair enough, but when and where, if at all, should the mum socialize her dc and have "mum-chat time" herself?

ToysRLuv Sat 20-Apr-13 14:07:45

Perhaps she could go to a toddler group in a less naice area grin to be with other inferior children.

Wishwehadgoneabroad Sat 20-Apr-13 18:36:53

I do think the OP is getting a tough time here though! Of course, all kids have their moments, but it does sound as though this particular child is lacking any kind of parental direction at all?

The child may not be a little shit, but he is certainly acting like one enough times to merit such frustration grin

CarpeVinum Sat 20-Apr-13 20:40:33

That's fair enough, but when and where, if at all, should the mum socialize her dc and have "mum-chat time" herself?

There is the school of thought that if you choose to rigidly stick to an "all hail the lack of coercion" style of parenting, and flatly refuse to acknowledge that it is making you and your child somewhat not fun for other people to be around in social settings, then it is you, not the other "nasty" mums, who has denied your child willing playmates to socialise with and you, not the other "nasty" mums, who has denied yourself the niceness of adult company happy for a chat.

Back in the real world, you can't choose a "complete non interference" style of bringing up your child, ignore that it isn't aiding their ability to settle well into social situations and then optimistically expect everybody else...

-to take their lumps without seriously going off the dealer of the lumps

-to show a tolerance for and understanding of your sentiments/values, particularly when you demonstrably do not intend to reciprocate

-to be friendly and welcoming in the face of your indifference to their hurt and tearful toddlers

-to support you during the times you are overwhelmed by the behaviours you have allowed to flourish via inaction, all while you deny them mere acknowledgement when their child is on the sharp end of said behaviours

-to not groan inwardly and write this session off as a lost cause as soon as they see you and toddler approaching the door, while surreptitiously googling alternative groups cos they have enough parenting issues of their own to resolve each day without adding your parenting issues to the their load

Everybody gets to pick their style, but it has to be done bearing in mind the reality that you are also picking the consequences of that choice for yourself and your kid. Especially if you ignore that it has turned out not to be a good fit for you and yours, and people start withdrawing and rejecting the pair of you.

It is nonsensical to blame irritated, frustrated, cross and retreating people for being unwillingly cast as the consequences of another parent refusing to recognise that her preferred style and actual child go together as well as salt and coffee.

Snazzynewyear Sat 20-Apr-13 20:50:28

ToysRLuv I think you're jumping way ahead there and projecting a load of stuff onto the OP. There is nothing to say that she wants the child to leave the group - in fact if she does, then she's got a funny way of showing it since she has done nothing in response to his behaviour.

And with regard to " when and where, if at all, should the mum socialize her dc and have "mum-chat time" herself?" - she can socialise him right there, since part of socialising is intervening when your child is behaving badly and making them understand that. Once she's done that, then she can enjoy mum-chat-time - although it sounds to me like that's what she's doing at the moment at the expense of socialising her child.

ToysRLuv Sat 20-Apr-13 20:57:37

Fair enough, Carpe, but I have a very hard time believing that this mum actually does nothing/thinks nothing of the bad behaviour. If she really wants to do nothing about it, because of some twisted/misunderstood philosophy then, yes, sod her and her child. This is highly unlikely, though. Or maybe I live in the wrong area to have ever seen it (too naice? But I though those philosophies, supposedly, are for well off "lentil weavers" Oh..nevermind). Op, do what you please. You will anyway.

Smudging Sat 20-Apr-13 20:57:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ToysRLuv Sat 20-Apr-13 21:08:29

Doesn't sound like anyone's really talking to this mum, though. They are just passive aggressively (possibly unconsciously) trying to drive her out of the group (I guess that's what all the "we" stuff us about). If they wanted her to stay they would engage more, but I understand how it is.

It's correct that I'm only trying to guess at the full picture (none of us have it) from what it sounds like to me. And, of course we will all look at this op through the lenses of our own experiences. The op will have written it through her own lenses as well. I'm prepared for the op to correct me if I'm wrong.

grovel Sat 20-Apr-13 21:23:25

OP, I'm on your side 100%. If you take a child to a toddler group you've got responsibility for how your child affects the enjoyment of other children. It's that simple.

clicketyclick66 Sat 20-Apr-13 21:36:24

My ds was just like the little boy in the OP. I brought him to parent and toddler group at 18 months, I stayed right beside him but within 15 minutes he tried to hit a little girl! Straightaway, I brought him home.

9 months later, I took him again and this time he happily played along with the other children and had gone past the stage of hurting other children. It's amazing, but they can change in a short length of time.

No matter what I did, I couldn't stop him from hitting other children and he was so unpredictable so I just didn't allow the situation to occur by not bringing him anywhere.

I'm sure that little boy in the OP will become more sociable very soon, but in the meantime his mother should be keeping a close eye on him and remove him from the place as soon as he hurts a child.

AmIthatSpringy Sat 20-Apr-13 21:44:22

mrsjay Just what I was thinking

Was imagining him plotting to rule the world and calling his mother a vile woman grin

<realises thread is now at P5 and has only read the first page>

Froggy2013 Sat 20-Apr-13 21:51:00

YANBU. However, kids are hard to control at 2! Mother should at least say sorry though - if she doesn't = she doesn't care = she is BVU!

CarpeVinum Sat 20-Apr-13 21:51:24

I have a very hard time believing that this mum actually does nothing/thinks nothing of the bad behaviour

Like "there is no such thing as a two year who can do an evil stare and show every sign of hurting, becuase the hurting is the intent" the fact that something is outside of your own experience does not make it non-existable.

google Taking Children Seriously, see also Radical Unschooling, those are just two of very many theories where some (not all, some parents and kids do very well and turn out lovely on this sort of parenting stratagy cos it suits their temperaments and the parents do it well) practitioners take avoidance of "coercing" their child to the point of no action and reaction regardless of what they are doing. I've even had a real live actually in my living room person tell me that it is less harmful to let children have their teeth rot (natural consequence that child can take on board, or not, if desired) than it is to insist on teeth brushing. If somebody is prepared to allow their own child to rot their teeth or refuse life saving medicine, then is does sort of explain why another kid getting clumped doesn't really register as a big deal.

People who believe they will damage or limit (in a bad way) their child if they so much as have an expectation (as in have a thought in their head, not actually verbalise it) in terms of behaviour, exist.

For them the idea of twitching when their kid does something unsociable, let alone intervening, just wouldn't be considered suitable, desirable or helpful.

I don't think fuck her to the mum. I'd rather hope she isn't the type to rationalise and reframe the cat's bums mouths and rejection they are going to keep coming up against as "persecution of the free thinkers by the sheeple who sausage factory their children into mindless automatons, they are just JEALOUS! and I make them feel inadequate in comparison, so they are nasty to me cos they have ishooos" cos then there is the possibility that she'll get less sure of the believed perfection of the style and start to use parenting theories as tools instead of chains. In which case she and the kid might have a better time of it in the longer term. As will the people around them.

With any luck she might not be in that deep and it won't be so much an adopted philosophy, and more of a sentiment or sensation where she can't bear to upset him by telling him off, so has rejected reacting to behaviour as a strategy to avoid having to be "unkind". I think that might be easier to step back from than a sense of identity that has become entwined with a parenting theory. Especially if it's one that came with promises of fabby outcomes "if you just trust your kid" and praise for being clever and special enough to pick it.

I give the OP credit for hanging on in there a year without exploding with repressed frustration, pissed offness and end-of-tetheritus. If my son (thankfully much older than pre school age) hadn't turned around as we left our "special interest" group muttering "I don't want to come back, please don't make me" I reckon I would have got to the six week mark max before coming here and spluttering wildly in enraged, expletive and hyperbole infested incoherence. And then I would have descended into utter atomised rage further down the thread as you all accused me of being horrible and utterly unreasonable. grin

GogoGobo Sat 20-Apr-13 21:54:40

OP Why don't you offer to give her some parenting lessons?

ToysRLuv Sat 20-Apr-13 22:04:13

: I know there might be people like that out there, even if I have not encountered them personally. Just saying it's unlikely. It's not psychologically normal behaviour to ignore human suffering (as an adult - not as a toddler), but then it becomes also a discussion about mental health..

ToysRLuv Sat 20-Apr-13 22:06:03

That beginning was meant to be "Carpe:" stupid Kindle deleted the beginning.. a nightmare to write on this piece of crap.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Sat 20-Apr-13 22:07:05

Yanbu. I'd have said something to the mother by now.

CarpeVinum Sat 20-Apr-13 22:20:36

* Just saying it's unlikely. It's not psychologically normal behaviour to ignore human suffering (as an adult - not as a toddler), but then it becomes also a discussion about mental health*

That's true. It's not normal if you see getting hit as worse than the pain of being told off, or told "no, don't", or being stopped.

If you truely believe that either...

The damage of being clumped by another kid is insignificant compared to the tremedous and possibly undoable damage of having your behavoir overtly or covertly corrected, limited or stopped..


You overvalue avoiding your own pain at causing your child upset by telling them off (or making stop doing something, or pointing out that they are doing something unacceptable) and make that personal pain avoidance a priority..

then, it makes more sense to you to let the lesser damage (a clump or a shove to another kid) slide, to avoid incurring the greater damage.

Do you see what I mean ? There is a logic to it if you see things through an alternative lens.

As for well or not, that'd take a psych consult or nine in the flesh with a qualified professional to work out.

CarpeVinum Sat 20-Apr-13 22:22:04

a nightmare to write on this piece of crap

An iPad is no picnic either. My poor spellecheker is close to a nervpus breakdown.

level3at6months Sat 20-Apr-13 22:27:05

It's hard to see it happening to your DC but you're going to have to be proactive now about speaking to the mum AND develop a thick skin because there will always be a child in your child's group/class like this and you won't like it. In this situation, it may be that Mum does nothing about it (which could be for reasons not apparent to you but more complicated than you could imagine). In the future, it could be anything - lack of boundaries, behavioural difficulties, learning difficulties... lots of reasons which will not be apparent or explained to you and you're going to have to learn to be tolerant and teach our child to be tolerant too. I am sympathetic, it's horrible seeing your child upset but others just aren't as lucky as you are. Put yourself in that mum's shoes - what would help you?

ToysRLuv Sat 20-Apr-13 22:45:51

I understand, and if that's how this mum really is, it certainly doesn't sound normal or very well to me (I do have some psych credentials). I have no easy answers for this. Nothing ever is as clear cut as it seems.

No, the Kindle is the worst. Deletes and adds letters in random locations willy nilly. Aargh! I want my laptop baaaaack dh!

cory Sat 20-Apr-13 22:53:53

Loopyhasanotherbean Fri 19-Apr-13 23:08:01
"And i do not intend to sound smug, motherhood is dammed hard work, but I have taught my child how to behave and am proud of him and nothing will change that."

<whispers very softly>:

pre-teen hormones, pre-teen hormones

Manyofhorror3 Sat 20-Apr-13 22:58:54

I have a funny, charming, thoughtful and kind friend. And she has one child, and believes body and soul in TCS. It's extraordinary to see in action, and impossible to reason with. Her cold is the same age as one of mine but despite this I've had to make the decision to either see her without the children, or not see her at all. Maybe my friend isn't doing it properly, but it seems to me to be a philosophy underwritten with a subtext of "my child is infinitely more important than yours."

Manyofhorror3 Sat 20-Apr-13 22:59:25

Child, not "cold"

ProphetOfDoom Sat 20-Apr-13 23:21:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CarpeVinum Sat 20-Apr-13 23:23:19

Maybe my friend isn't doing it properly


All the parents who claim their children are a joy are doing it right.

All the parents who complain/worry/admit that actually their child isn't turning out such a delight or doing so well...are doing it wrong. If they followed the philosophy to the letter verbally and physically, then it will be down to those pesky "expectations" that are lurking in their head and mind reading children.

Doing it wrong is easy to diagnose. Becuase if the child isn't the joy promised on the tin, the parents must be doing it wrong, cos the method is fail safe. And works for everybody. All of the time. As long as they do it properly.


I think the first rule to avoid a bit of a pickle is to ask yourself regularly "is this a good fit for my child? Is it a good fit for me ?"

If you are not sure, look for retreating potential playmates, friends who now only visit sans kid and a good number of cat's bums mouths when your and your kids are in the vicinity. And then try very hard to beat down the inclination to launch in the the "persecution by jealous inadequate sheeple" spiel so you can take a second to mull over if that is a sign that perhaps the chosen method needs to be more of a tool in a varied box, and less of a yoke squashing the family underneath it.

SpanishFly Sat 20-Apr-13 23:27:19

Yanbu to be annoyed at his mum.
Yabu to call him a little shit. (Imagine someone talking about your dc like that behind your back?)
Yabu to all be bitching about them.
Yabu to keep saying how you're from a nice area etc - wtf has that got to do with anything?
Yabu to assume your kids' behaviour is all down to their upbringing.
Yabu to not have said anything to the child or mum before now.
Yabu to ask for advice then get pissed off at anyone who gives it to you.

SpanishFly Sat 20-Apr-13 23:29:18

PS my 2yo knows his colours, can use a knife and fork, says please and thank you, talks in astounding sentences, and is fucking gorgeous. Do I win?

cory Sun 21-Apr-13 00:32:25

Don't worry SpanishFly; by the time he is 13 he will be eating with his fingers and dribbling ketchup down his front grin

SpanishFly Sun 21-Apr-13 00:34:25

Like my 8yo then grin

TattyDevine Sun 21-Apr-13 10:38:39

I have had an experience with the "evil stare" type behaviour.

One of my son's friends was like this from age 2 or so. It was very disconcerting knowing he was about to attack. He also had a sort of glazed look on his face which would come over him when he was being told off and any reprimands would just wash over him, or would seem to.

There was a time where I could barely look at him because he was so unpleasant, and this is a child I'd known since birth, it was sad and scary a feeling.

His mother would discipline him and for quite a while absolutely nothing worked. Several times she turned up, gave him a "final warning" that they would go and he'd just do the glazed look, and 5 minutes later the "stare and attack" and that'd be it, they'd go, 10 minutes after they arrived. Even then he wouldn't cry, he'd just run away and struggle and make it incredibly difficult for her to get him in the car. She would sometimes be in tears over it and admitted on several occasions that whilst she loved her son very much, at that time, she found it difficult to "like" him (which is very different to love of course)

Anyway he's gradually come out of it...still has some antagonistic traits but much easier to communicate with and responds better to discipline, might do a stubborn pout but the glazed look is gone. He had a lot of pent up aggression, no idea where it came from but I think the timing of his sister being born wasn't great for him as a person.

I'm sure he will grow up to be a fine young man and he has lovely parents who we are very good friends with and its been really tough for terms of personality, it is a bit luck of the draw what you get.

JakeBullet Sun 21-Apr-13 10:45:24

YANBU to ask advice, you ARE however VERY unreasonable to refer to a child as "a little shit". Disgusting terminology and about a TWO YEAR OLD!

toffeelolly Sun 21-Apr-13 14:15:25

You sound such a horrible person.

Manyofhorror3 Sun 21-Apr-13 14:21:05

Carpevinum - how does TCS recommend dealing with more conventional parents who are bewildered by it?
TCS absolutely would not work for us, and I feel utterly wrong footed by my friend's parenting. I've tried to discuss this with her but she won't talk about it to any great extent as she says its disrespectful to her DD to talk about her.
(Sorry to derail)

cjel Sun 21-Apr-13 14:45:45

Many - Will she not see that its disrespectful for you dcs to be treated in that way and until they have communication skills to say it for themselves you are their spokes person and that her DD will no longer have your company until they do?

Manyofhorror3 Sun 21-Apr-13 14:49:06

I don't think she sees anything beyond her DD and her assertion that she's not telling anyone else how to raise their children.

cjel Sun 21-Apr-13 14:58:32

Oh dear - All you can do is whats best for you and yours in that case. I must admit I've not met anyone who does this 'method' of parenting Sounds dreadful.

helenthemadex Sun 21-Apr-13 15:17:21

OP I can just see the catbum face of you and the mums with the naice angelic super intelligent children from the naice area, with their judgey pants pulled up so high they are almost garotting them!!

If a child hurts your dc, or you see it hurting another child then you simply say to the child 'that's not nice' or similar and keep saying it, instead of moaning and judging, its not rocket science, and to be honest I don't understand why you haven't done this.

After 7 kids I have been to far to many mother and toddler groups and seen this type of thing from toddlers a lot, but even though I would not consider myself at all confrontational I will act if a child is being hurt and tell them off and I have no problem with someone telling my child off if they are doing something naughty

MrsMacFarlane Sun 21-Apr-13 15:56:33

Does he have a monobrow? Sounds like Baby Gerald, Maggie Simpson's nemesis.

wasuup3000 Sun 21-Apr-13 16:23:09

Goodness what a lovely judgmental lot you sound at the playgroup with your perfect children (ish) and your perfect parenting. The poor Mum is probably to damn scared to breathe in there never-mind anything else!!!

If you want to tackle this get to know her better - it maybe that this is her first child and she doesn't feel confident, she may not get much support from her family, or it maybe that the child has some unbeknownst as yet learning difficulty or other difficulty - whatever it is she is probably in need of a friend and support not a judge and jury.

Sounds as if the Mum needs friends and support but that you are all being a bit mean and nasty instead.

CarpeVinum Sun 21-Apr-13 17:06:49

how does TCS recommend dealing with more conventional parents who are bewildered by it?

Officially ? Don't know. Probably talks about how we are a bit thick and too brainwashed by the state to think outside of the box so we should be pitied and ignored. (my tongue is in my cheek, but only a little)

Unofficially what I have seen in practice is..

Closing down any discussion or debate. Which is basically what happened to you.

Social withdrawal. Some people limit their social activities as far as possible to groups with similar practices which avoids the issue coming up, more or less.

Getting evangelical. Talking around or through other peoples points or objections, hammering home the bestness of their choice. Any potential negatives are denied to have ever existed in any child brought up in this style ever, and any examples of failure point to the parents not having done it "properly". If you say the failure example is their own child, well that's just your issue with a child being raised as a free thinker without coercion etc. and your inability to "just trust children".

quietbatperson Sun 21-Apr-13 21:25:43

WRT the evil stare, yes a toddler can do an evil stare. DS2 has done an evil stare since he was about 18 months old but has mostly grown out of it at nearly 4. He used to point a finger too until he saw Paddington's Hard Stare and realised the finger wasn't entirely necessary. He even once said that he 'gave him evils' at a child at pre-school who took a toy off him. We laughed at the ridiculousness of the stare and usually got him to laugh his way out of it too. He is an obstreperous little so and so smile

As a toddler group though you sound rather judgemental and cliquey. I'm surprised the mother takes her child there any more as you sound like she really isn't welcome. How about offering her some support instead of judging her?

Manyofhorror3 Sun 21-Apr-13 22:27:07

Carpevinum that's very interesting and useful. I absolutely respect everyone's right to parent as they see fit but the friend I'm talking about seems willing to cause detriment to the other children around her in the name of coercion avoidance.
For example she came over with her DD for a sort of celebration/tea party - just some sandwiches and a bit of cake, and all the other children sat around the table. Her DD decided she would rather sit with the adults. Ok but I noticed some of the other mums steering their own children back to the table. Then her DD decided she wanted to sit on the floor under the party table. It caused havoc with the kids who were all sitting nicely - some started complaining, some tried to join her. Her mum was cheerily silent whilst we dealt with the fallout, until one mum said "jonny you don't have to be silly and lie on floor just cos someone else is." I winced and friend made a comment about not attaching labels and then wandered outside. She has no worries at all about leaving other mothers thinking WTF is going on. Another from our circle has 4 young children under 4 and we had all arranged to meet. For her it's a mission to get out and after she was on the way there, the TCS friend texted saying "DD won't get dressed so I guess we won't be coming, v sorry." No acknowledgement of the effort it takes to get four kids out. So other friend texted back saying "we're on our way! It's all a dictatorship here, have piled mine in the car!" And the reply was along the lines of "we'll what suits one doesn't suit another." Friend with 4 kids hasn't spoken to her since, despite repeated attempts.
It's a shame. We go waaay back and on her own she's sparkling company and very good fun. With her child she's a pain in the arse.

MyDarlingClementine Sun 21-Apr-13 22:36:42

Carpe you have amazing insight on this.

CarpeVinum Mon 22-Apr-13 00:23:02

but the friend I'm talking about seems willing to cause detriment to the other children around her in the name of coercion avoidance

The core of the philosophy is respect and autonomy with what can sometimes be an almost phobic avoidance of any kind of thought, word or deed that could even vaguely be reframed perceived as coercion. So the mother possibly feels she cannot prioritise other people's feelings if the cost of that would be the coercion of her child. Because the coercion of her child to get dressed would be a greater evil than cancelling at the last minute. So the disappointed kids in the car and the messed about mum are unfortunate, but necessary, collateral damage.

In other words, from the other perspective any noted detriment to others would have been an unfortunate byproduct of seeking to avoid a more significant detriment to ones own child.

For that to make sense, it's worth bearing in mind that some parents are seriously and genuinly afraid of the damage they believe coersion would do to their kids.

I personally don't think the philosophy is all that compatible with aiding a family's ability to demonstrate an extensive amount of consideration for others.

Some people manage it, but they either have really easy going kids who are naturally empathetic and considerate, or they do a magnificent job of modelling empathetic, considerate behaviour and the kids are the type to pick it up and copy it without any prodding needed.

Others do better at showing consideration as a family cos they are not so extreme about reducing all and any reaction to their child's choices to the ststus of coercive. As in they won't insist their kid gets dressed, but they might point out that it's not polite, fair or kind to the people who were invited to cancel on them at the last minute and ask the kid how they would feel if they were in the guests’ shoes. Or it might be pointed out that the friends might not want to come again as a result, which would be a direct, natural and avoidable consequence of choosing nude on a day that guests are coming. Something like that, or similar.

amazing insight

Nah. It's just the consequence of having been totally outnumbered for a considerable period of time. grin

Manyofhorror3 Mon 22-Apr-13 08:45:49

Gosh that's fascinating. And chilling. I can't for the life of me imagine why anyone would follow such an utterly selfish self centred philosophy. I've read a bit more about it and there was something about how if there isn't an obvious consensus then the path should be parental sacrifice. How very noble.
I'm actually really annoyed the more I read as its a flagrant disregard for anyone else. I spoke briefly to my sister last night, who has also known her for years, and she said that in her opinion, the subtext to her relationship with her child is "DD must not be upset" and this informs all her other choices. But it seems like actually it's "DD must not be coerced" which isn't hugely different.
I just wish she had been more open about all this instead of shutting down, because that way I wouldn't have bent myself out of shape wondering how a good friend had turned so weird and selfish, and I could have made a calm decision not to see her with our kids, rather than us all being upset and unsettled! Selfish on so many levels!

I think most parents operate on the principle that one shouldn't coerce a child unnecessarily. Clearly there's a broad spectrum of "necessary" from "only to save their life" to "only if they don't want the same as I want". And both extremes are selfish.

LittleYellowBall Mon 22-Apr-13 11:53:51

Have had a quick read up about TCS parenting. Wow. Is there any evidence about how children grow up when treated like this?

Well, having just left our toddler group in tears and prematurely (again) due to DS4's unprovoked aggression towards other children, I not only coerced to leave but also coerced him into his car seat.

I really don't see how not 'coercing' him in this context, thereby allowing him to 'coerce' other children, would have done him or the other kids any good hmm. What a weird concept - I just cannot imagine that it would ever work for any half-way 'normal' child ie one that goes through the normal stages of utter egocentrism until they mature a bit. I am saying that with the full knowledge that my brutes are not average in their behaviour compared to other children hmmconfused.

CarpeVinum Mon 22-Apr-13 12:05:33

I think most parents operate on the principle that one shouldn't coerce a child unnecessarily

Yes. But in this discussion you have to factor in two significant differences.

1) unnecessarily.

Most parents, even some who practice TCS/RU style parenting, would leave in that qualifier.

At the hardcore end however, unnecessarily means "not ever" because if coercion is like the worst thing ever and to be avoided at ALL COST then there is never a context where it necessary. Right up to and including making children take life saving medicine. I'm kind of guessing if any of the people I know actually faced that choice suddenly coercion wouldn't look all that terrible compared to the outcome of untreated grave illness, whatever they say when its just theory.

2) the meaning of coerce.

There seems to be a disconnect between the meaning of the world to the rest of the world, and what it means to parents practising a hardline version of an already quite "radical" parenting philosophy. IMO it has had its boundaries stretched within their echo chamber community to the point where it has become almost meaningless. Any single thought, word or deed can be reframed as coercive with a little linguistic muddying of the waters.


jolly along=coercion
set limits= coercion
persuade= coercion
raise a single eyebrow= coercion
say "oi! cut it out"= coercion
say "gentle hands!"= coercion
have educational/behavioural expectations=coercion
breath in your child's direction= coercion (oh alright, that one I made up, all the rest I got right from the horses' mouths, usually when directed at me and my latest transgression)

In some cases, because of a not all together consistent application of what coercion is or isn't, I am less convinced it is a case of wanting to avoid perceived coercion and more a case of wanting a seemingly nobel reason for avoiding actually doing any parenting at all. In some cases I think there is both peer pressure and/or a deep seated fear (phobia?) of coercion to the point where things go a bit...impractical and out of kilter. And in other cases parents seem to be able to make a more meaningful evaluation of what is benign and what is not, even within the "coercive-free" confines of the methodology.

DD must not be upset" and this informs all her other choices. But it seems like actually it's "DD must not be coerced" which isn't hugely different

Not wanting to upset your kid can be a gateway into the theories and philosophies I think. If you are getting it in the neck from all side, a nice off the peg methodology with a nice shiney lable that says you are right and everybody else is a nasty coercive child damaging sheeple has got to look attractive.

Libertarianism is at the foundation of TCS, and it's never really struck me as being a political position that is all that invested in "the greater good for all around me", smacks a bit of "every man for himself" in the words of some believers, so that might be why the parenting off shoot comes across as somewhat self centred.

LittleYellowBall Mon 22-Apr-13 12:23:52

Carpe you describe it very funnily. I'm wondering what sort of weird sub set of the population you dwell in though! I have never ever met one of these people, and I'm not a hermit!

CarpeVinum Mon 22-Apr-13 12:23:58

* Is there any evidence about how children grow up when treated like this?*

Niether TCS nor RU have been practised long enough, in enough numbers, to be studied unobjectively enough in order arrive at any demostrable conclusions that the presumed/promised outcomes are realistic, attainable or true.

Much anacdata via practionsiors is available that "proves" it is fail safe, wonderful and franklynthe bestest thing ever.

Anacdata from people who gave it up as a bad job, or observed less wonderful results in third parties who utlise the approach are

a) Lies and propaganda from jealous inadequate sheeple

b) evidence of parents who didn't "do it properly", anything they did can be used as evidence of their profound failure to do it right, even if two days later the exact same thing is being promoted as a good example of the mehtoldology in action.

In comparison there is extensive research that has findings to support the theory that warm authoratative (not authoratarian) parenting is associated with acceptable-good outcomes accross a range of areas.

grin at the repeated use of 'sheeple'

CarpeVinum Mon 22-Apr-13 13:08:53

I'm wondering what sort of weird sub set of the population you dwell in though

It was circumstances rather than choice.

I'm not sure if I was in the right place at the wrong time.

Or the wrong place at the right time.

My general population is normal(ish) grin, but I was in a sub set in terms of educational choice and due to certain personalities taking charge the rapid growth of the ed.choice became dominated by a definite leaning in terms of parenting philosophy. To the point where I made my excuses and ran for my sanity left. Because I was a tiny minority within a tiny minority due to the educational choice becoming a sub set of the the parental choice rather than the original other way around.

It's all good. I created my own parenting lable in self defence. I am a WAPEer (warm authorstative principled eclectic)

Anybody want to join my cult group ?

CarpeVinum Mon 22-Apr-13 13:15:13

at the repeated use of 'sheeple'

The Outraged with google alerts primed to call a massed charge cannot descend in great numbers and get histrionic if I merely repeat the same linguistic choices they use in the same contexts.


Or MNHQ will kick me up the arse repeatedly once they've done cleaning up the boards from all the bun crumbs post invasion.

Will you be our Leader, Carpe <<worships>>

I think I am a WAOI (warm authoritative occasionally impatient) - doesn't have the same ring to it, I'll go with your cult.

How on earth did people every parent children (and how much time did they spend on agonising over their parenting choices and what philosophy to follow) when they also worked 6 days a week, had to cook each meal from scratch from their homegrown vegetables, wash their clothes by hand etc etc?
I all seriousness, I often wonder how my greatgrandmother coped. 12 children (from 18 pregnancies!), widowed by the time she was 28. None of the surviving children grew up to be sociopaths as far as I am aware.
I am no way saying thing were better in the 'Good' Old Days, but I think some people nowadays overthink things a bit.

Oh come on: would the Outraged really be bovvered??
Is there a Mission to Convert the Non-belivers??

Too. Much. Time. On. Their. Hands.

<<wanders off tutting to do some coercive parenting. Like taking them to the park>>

CarpeVinum Mon 22-Apr-13 13:33:39

would the Outraged really be bovvered??

The Outraged like being bovvered to the extent that it is debateable how much time or energy they actually have available to do any non coersive parenting at all. Hence the google alert set to high and networks set up to send out the "To Arms, To arm!" battle cry ASAP.

And no I will not be the leader, we will be a --rabble- collective.

I've seen what Guruhood can do to previosuly perfectly nice (if slightly odd) women and I think DH has enough trouble with all my coersive dictatorship in the home without me extending it To a WAPEer World Domination Endevour. grin

I'll be the wine monitor instead I think.

CarpeVinum Mon 22-Apr-13 13:35:29


ffs, iPad, pull ypurself together !

<iPad cradles damaged psyche due to coersive dictatorship insensivitivty>

CarpeVinum Mon 22-Apr-13 14:13:50

I often wonder how my greatgrandmother coped. 12 children (from 18 pregnancies!), widowed by the time she was 28. None of the surviving children grew up to be sociopaths as far as I am aware.

Becuase she didn't parent, she brought them up?

A small but, potentially important differnce. Lingistic invitation for mission creep perhaps.

ToysRLuv Mon 22-Apr-13 14:23:23

bet the parents on 16 and counting would argue otherwise, but I suppose they have washing machines, hot water from the tap, dish washers, tesco home deliveries etc. Oh dear..


ToysRLuv Mon 22-Apr-13 14:29:51

Personally I think all parenting philosophies/camps are for sheeples- sorry Carpe! I prefer to just make it up as I go along, a lot of the time. I'm really THAT good. grin

CarpeVinum Mon 22-Apr-13 14:36:50

Personally I think all parenting philosophies/camps are for sheeples- sorry Carpe!

I am being oppressed by your corersive value judgements ?!!?!

<develops persecution complex^

LittleYellowBall Mon 22-Apr-13 14:38:57

Aaaah. Home schooling?

Igo2work4Arest Mon 22-Apr-13 14:52:51

I think you can expect that type of behaviour at mums and toddler groups it is how the parents handle that is improtant. I have three children and have always gone to toddler groups and there is always one or two parents who seem oblivious at the behaviour of their children. Very often 2 year olds will snatch things and push or smack and hit other children...... it is the mother who should then correct her child when this happens, if any of my children have snatched or pushed or hurt, I have stopped chatting and explained that they would have to wait their turn if they snatched a toy and if they push or shove another child, again explain that that is not nice behaviour and not what you want them to do.

It is the parents of these children that piss me off and OMG watch out if you get two siblings close in age who are like that it is sheer carnage especially if you have a parent who does nothing..... I have seen it and numbers of the toddler group drop massively.

CarpeVinum Mon 22-Apr-13 15:16:02

Aaaah. H* sXXXXXXXX ?

Holy keyword on the google alert batman! grin

I liked HS well enough, way better than our local schools anyway, but didn't realise I was signing up for a lot more alt than I'd bargined for until I was in up to my neck.

I take comfort in the fact that me and my ilk are heralded as The Next Big Thing in HSing. I will at some point be in the majority!!

Probably fifteen mintues after he has left for uni knowing my luck.

LittleYellowBall Mon 22-Apr-13 17:12:20

Oh my god - do they follow you around the internet?!

CarpeVinum Mon 22-Apr-13 17:49:24

Usually the worst case scenario if a less than flattering chat is going on, is that there is a mass flying squad to the defense of the methodology, wherever such defence is needed. Many bun crumbs to sweep up.

And every so often few unsuspecting bloggers get flattened when their (key word infested) blog post doesn't get its typcial two responses but instead a 7 million post onslaught from the persecuted, with so many sock puppets that no child would have to go barefoot ever again.

But recently it hasn't been quite so much a case of "what happens on the internet, stays on the internet".

And mumsnet threads recently got dragged in as "evidence" so ... I have kept keywords to the bare min.

But the convo is mostly at the end of a thread that is now too bulky to skim stright to the juicy stuff. So I think it's safe.

If not.... brace, brace, brace. grin

BegoniaBampot Mon 22-Apr-13 17:59:28

OP - YANBU ( apart from 'little shit'). my child was quiet violent to other children from 1 yrs old. I tried best I could to deal with it. He was timed out with a warning and then taken home. it was bloody horrible but it's the mum's job to make sure he can't harm other children when she knows he has this problem. The other parents and my friends were very good about it because they could at least see i was trying to deal with it. he is older now and grew out of it and is a sweet natured, easy going polite child. i feel for the other mum but 2yrs isn't too young to deal with it.

MogTheForgetfulCat Mon 22-Apr-13 19:51:03

Why are you being so snide? Most parents do their best to teach their children how to be kind and good - not just superior, smug parents. Some children just take a LOT longer to get the message and it has to be spelt out to them much more loudly (not literally) and clearly than with others.

If your child is 2 and is as compliant, kind and gentle as you say, then he clearly got the message more quickly and more easily than others do. My DS2 was the same, a delight and always kind and gentle. DS1, unfortunately, was a fiend - a shoving, snatching, fiend. I went to playgroups and wanted to disappear as he rampaged around - it was mortifying. I was very on top of it, and repeated the simple messages calmly and consistently. I used to go home and sob my heart out because of feeling judged by people like you, all sitting there tutting and thinking he was a little shit (nice). It just took him aaaaages to get it - just one of those things. Not to do with my bad parenting, or his lack of intelligence (but I am not going to boast about that smile). He is now delightful, kind and thoughtful, so wasn't a budding sociopath.

BE proud of your son - of course you should be, he sounds lovely. But don't for goodness sake write a child off at the age of 2, particularly when you've done nothing to help. It is his mum's responsibility, but a bit of support is always appreciated, no?

LittleYellowBall Mon 22-Apr-13 20:31:02

It does sound like they would confirm most of the stereotypes of the HS brigade!

mylittlepuds Mon 22-Apr-13 20:53:37

He is TWO!! Show some compassion and understanding for the mum.

mylittlepuds Mon 22-Apr-13 20:56:54

Oh my God this has made me fume with anger re reading. Don't be shocked if your 'well behaved' toddler suddenly decides not to be.

mrslaughan Mon 22-Apr-13 21:09:15

What's the point of making a 2 year old apologize ? They are not going to mean it.... And actually the point is not the apology, but that the behaviour is unacceptable. That needs to be the focus of the adults response....otherwise you edn up with a battle over "you will apologize " not this is un-acceptable behaviour.
What I find hard about these thread is the demonizing of one child - they are bad and the rest are angels....
They are 2 - the reason we do play groups and school is so they learn these things, excluding, labeling a child as bad, is not going to help.
You also need to realize that children need to learn these things, it is trial and error at 2 - and for many years after.

BegoniaBampot Mon 22-Apr-13 21:14:50

depends - if a child is being violent then the parent needs to do something to help her child learn acceptable behaviour and to protect the other children. If the parent does nothing failing to protect the other children then they need to be told and of course other parents will probably judge.

Oh, now I really, really want to know some 'key words' - you could PM me, Carpe?? <<weedles>>

I do think the keyissue re aggressive toddlers is how the mother/carer handles it wrt how tolerant any given group will be.
I have been to 'my' toddler group for 10 years on and off ('tis a foreign language one, my kids are bilingual) and I know that most of the mothers there know me well and know I intervene etc etc.
A 2 year old that has been trained to say 'sorry' may well say the phrase to get their mother off their back, but will have no concept what it means.
And I have to say, to have a hitter/biter/pusher-over is draining and v hard work. As a word of warning to the OP, my DS2, now 9, who was the most placid baby and unflappable toddler now has issues with anger and controlling his temper. Quite scary when they are so big...

The point of a toddler's apologising is so that the other children see him apologise. They learn the transaction before they understand the meaning - like please or thank you. At first it is just a noise; later they can mean it.

Small children care very much about justice and parity. They want hurts acknowledged.

CarpeVinum Tue 23-Apr-13 15:42:05


I can't for the life of me imagine why anyone would follow such an utterly selfish self centred philosophy.

I just saw something fairly new posted, and when I read it I thought it might possibly answer your question. IF your friend is involved off line or on line in communities designed to helping her way with TCS there can be a peer pressure thing that builds up. It can be quite unpleasantwhen you observe the tactics used. The more islolated a person's parenting causes them to be in RL, the more they tend to get involved with the TCS/RU specific communities, and so the peer pressure can move up a few hundred notches, making it harder to re-evaluate the actual real live child she has, who might not be a carbon copy of the unreal "TCS Child" promised by the theory. (Bearing in mind as well that unlike RU, TCS communities often do not permit a practisioner to discuss their actual child, they are required to talk about ideals and practices in theory, not with direct examples.)

Anyway, here is a part of the extract from the mum struggling with how her child is behaving after she gave up coersion and setting limits. It's RU, but despite all spluttering to the contrary, they have a lot more in common than they don't with TCS.

When I try and google search to try and find other people who are, or have been, in a similar situation to me, all i seem to come across is either people talking about how wonderful R U has been for them (and it does work wonderfully for some people), or people who dont really understand R U talking about how it is child neglect and unparenting etc. There is loads more i can say about my upset and frustrations with our R U experiment and the type of advice and responses i have got to my questions from people in the movement but this is long enough. Can anyone relate to what i am saying?

And if so how did you transition back to taking a bit more control over your life and the lives of your children? I dont want to be a control freak but at the same time i cant carry on the way things are.

I want to start cutting back the tv again and somehow encouraging more healthy eating habits. I feel a bit lost and daunted when i think about how to do this and feel guilt and sorrow as i feel if i had stuck to my limits on the tv he may well have been starting to read himself by now.

I also feel very alone as I realise this post and my feelings are very offensive to people immersed in R U – there is a whole culture of – if its not working for you its because you’re doing it wrong – and that makes me very reluctant to post about this anywhere – i’m hoping this can be a bit of a safer place to post than others.

That is hard to read. It reeks of very genuine isolation and fearfulness even within the communities allegedly there to support. Unfortunatly (IME) parents getting to that point is a lot more common than people realise thanks to mod deletions and scare tactics via dog piling.

But to some extent it does answer your question. Why? Sometimes cos they started it thinking it was a good idea, and when they found perhaps it wasn't quite what they'd hoped for they had isolated themselves from original freinds, and their new friends would spit in their eye and denounce them if they posted the truth rather than saying the kid a joy, was doing great and life was so much better now they were a free thinking non coersive parent.

Since she is is a freind and I may have just deeply depressed you with that excerpt, It might cheer you up to see what might be a fairly recent thrust, an organised leaping in to defend a parent's need to say so if thry find the philosophy less than desirable in practice, without being labelled "you are doing it wrong, you big fat failure". You can see the rest of the mums post and the defence of how she is feeling here.

Possibly the "no coersion, cos it's bad" styles are in a new phase, where they are big enough and established enough to no longer be able to claim the place of the underdog. So new under dogs emerge and the gurus have been dicatorial and economically sucessful from the philosophy enough that they are now being seen as fair game for an arse biting from the new "anti silencing parents at the sharp end" trailblazers within the movement.

If your friend does find herslef questioning her choice in the future, I think there is a better chance than there used to be that she won't feel forced to hide that and keep going regardless despite misgivings.

Manyofhorror3 Wed 24-Apr-13 12:22:27

God don't some people take everything so SERIOUSLY! I've read more and more forum posts and they are universally humourless, pontificating and judgemental. Everything that parenting shouldn't be, in fact.
I don't think my friend is quite as hardcore, and she doesn't HS but the posts certainly shed light on what I receive to be her more bizarre moments. (Like taking the last two cups of water for the kids at playgroup, so that her DD could choose the cup colour she wanted, and seeing as DD wanted both, another child got none. That sort of thing.)

Carpe is it a PFB thing? How on earth can one apply that theory to more than one child?

CarpeVinum Wed 24-Apr-13 14:02:47

I've read more and more forum posts and they are universally humourless, pontificating and judgemental. Everything that parenting shouldn't be

Well if it helps, (because of this thread my old obsession reignited and I've been neck deep in latest developments for the last couple of days) I've discovered a new (as in organised, under an umbrella, with wording designed to neutralise the typical "loaded statement" rebuttals from The Outraged so a Tsunami of "how very very dare you, go educate yourself you ignorant non free thinking sheeple!" doesn't drown out debate) push to fight back against the concept of coercion being absolutly almost anything a non TCS/RU parent says or does when they interact with their kids.

They are getting away with boldly shining a light on the rife "unparenting" that has allowed things like kids poo in the middle of a conference floor, telling other hotel patrons to "fuck off", smashing up bits of the conference centre and generally making other people groan. The comments are just as informative as to the wind of change as the piece itself

It's possible that a tipping point has been reached and people with leanings towards freer or free range children are pulling back from the more radical interpretations because it goes against their instincts, or they have seen enough evidence that the "my kids are great, learning and terribly well behaved" is a bit of a fib/overstatement when the kids are actually met in person. So far it seems to be centred in the states, but there is a bit of a kerfuffle in the UK at the mo, and it will be interesting to see if the motivation (currently centred on guru/VIP power struggles I think)

Carpe is it a PFB thing? How on earth can one apply that theory to more than one child?

PFB can the entry point, there's been a rise in hardcore attachment parenting which does tend to feed people into these sorts of strategies as babies grow, but I've seen nothing to suggest that people are limiting family size in order to keep doing it. Actually in the states there seems to be this "secular Quiverful-ish, earth mothery, birth junkie-esque" vibe accompanying it and families with 4, 5, 6 or more kids abound. Plus the "can't get behind The Pearls" Gentle Christian homeschoolers are taking it up by the bucketload, and they tend to lean towards more kids rather than fewer too. The big gurus have several kids. This video is one of the more famous ones with her 4 kids, I think they were all RUed from birth. She's just been on Wife Swap as well, and doesn't appear to feel her family is being misrepresented by the media that she keeps on whoring her family's lifestyle out to before somebody starts yelling at me about "evil TV editing something from thin air".

I do kind of feel I don't need to watch my key words so much anymore, kind of think The Outraged have too much on their plate to start with the Flying Monkey squads on mere generic forums at the mo. Not while they are dealing with the seeds of "civil war".

CarpeVinum Wed 24-Apr-13 14:04:47

Holy Lost Train of Thought Batman!

"and it will be interesting to see if the motivation (currently centred on guru/VIP power struggles I think) turns out to be something similar

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