To wonder what is wrong with talking to your child?

(185 Posts)
SpanielFace Tue 16-Jul-13 20:54:48

Genuine question... Please don't flame me!

I've seen several threads on here criticising parents who talk loudly to their children in public, sing to them, encourage them to answer questions, and so on. "What colour is that flower? What noise does the cat make?" etc. Apparently this is called loud parenting, or performance parenting, or just plain pushiness.

DS is only 10 months, but I chat to him loads. Not loudly, not constantly (he has plenty of time playing by himself while I potter around doing things) - but I do tend to tell him what I'm doing, I point things out to him in the buggy, we read books, we sing action songs.

My understanding (from HV, Surestart centres etc) was that talking to and encouraging your baby was a Good Thing. In fact, I received a bookstart pack today with a free story book, and a leaflet of suggested activities ("Talk about what colours you can see in the book. Can you see any of these colours in your home? Can you make a noise like an owl?")

So who is right? Where is the line between interactive parenting and stimulating your baby, and pushy parenting? And am I one of these annoying "loud parent" types I keep reading about?

Tommy Tue 16-Jul-13 20:57:06

I suppose why people don't like it is when the mums talk so loudly you get the impression they are only doing it to show other people that they are "good" parents and not because they want to interact with their baby.

BrianButterfield Tue 16-Jul-13 20:59:31

Talking to your child is not loud parenting, everybody does it.

Saying "what noise does a cow make?" is normal. It's not loud parenting, it doesn't make you a super awesome parent, everybody does it.

Saying "what noise does a cow make? What noise does a French cow make? WELL DONE! What breed is that? Can you say Aberdeen Angus? We get OUR meat from the ORGANIC butcher, don't we darling? You like rib-eye, don't you sweetpea, not nasty burgers, yuk..." all for the benefit of the people around them is loud parenting.

WilsonFrickett Tue 16-Jul-13 21:00:20

Performance Prenting is always accompanied by smug/pa comments which either highlight or reinforce the parent's lifestyle choices.

So in your example.
'do you know that colour? It's green. Green like the grass and the trees' is normal parenting.

Performance parenting goes more like:

'darling? Can you see that colour? It's green. Gr-eeen. And what's French for green? That's right darling. It's vert. C'est vert. Shall we sing in French? 'Sur Le pont, D'Avignon.' do you want to go and get your hand-spun hemp drum? It's green too, isn't it?' etc etc etc.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 16-Jul-13 21:00:33

If you are thinking about this, then you aren't an Ostentatious Parent.

I think the line is when you don't give them time to respond, or when they are a bit older, simply time to just sit and look or think.

Or when you seem to be looking around to see if people are noticing how clever you/your child is.

WilsonFrickett Tue 16-Jul-13 21:01:21

Awesome x-post Brian grin

wewantyouasanewrecruit Tue 16-Jul-13 21:02:38

Yep that's it BB Elizabeth Beresford gave a brilliant performance of it in May Contain Nuts. Thank you for giving me a grin

PiratePanda Tue 16-Jul-13 21:02:44

You cross the line when you find yourself talking to your child with the consciousness that there are other adults about who might be listening to you and judging. Performance parenting is where you are playing to an additional audience other than just your child.

But agreed it can be hard to judge where the line is from the outside (especially given a DC might have a hearing impairment). And it's far better to talk to your child than not. I think there's far too much judginess around on this particular topic, but whatever.

BrianButterfield Tue 16-Jul-13 21:04:18

Wilson and I had a bit of a MN mind-meld there!

yummymumtobe Tue 16-Jul-13 21:04:39

I think it's vital for their speech development and for their understanding of the world. Also, why wouldn't you talk to them? They are another human and if you are hanging out together you chat! I always chat to my daughter and have done since she was small. It's nice for me to to chatter rather than just spend the day in silence as she not old enough to have a conversation!

ZipItShrimpy Tue 16-Jul-13 21:05:13

I do this sometimes. Not in a deliberate way to piss other folk off as I couldn't give a tiny rat's ass if it annoys people but in a way to engage with my two children and hopefully teach them something along the way.

I do smirk sometimes when I hear other people doing it for the benefit of other adults ears but I would rather hear someone 'loud parenting' their children than see them ignore their child completely.

stopgap Tue 16-Jul-13 21:05:30

I talk to my two-year-old a lot, but in a manner that's respectful of others within proximity. (Unlike the woman at last week's toddler group, who, in a voice loud enough to get a church congregation's attention, was trying to teach her 18-month-old the difference between a rhombus and a hexagon.)

YouTheCat Tue 16-Jul-13 21:05:32

PP is all about other people noticing. A PP will talk loudly whilst not looking at their child but will be looking around for approving nods. A PP will not give the child any time to answer.

PP is not interacting with your child. It is just loudly talking bollocks at them.

SpanielFace Tue 16-Jul-13 21:05:36

Ok, I think I get it. I haven't met any parents like that, so maybe that's why it's off my radar!

grin at the hemp dresses and organic butchers!

SpanielFace Tue 16-Jul-13 21:05:36

Ok, I think I get it. I haven't met any parents like that, so maybe that's why it's off my radar!

grin at the hemp dresses and organic butchers!

WilsonFrickett Tue 16-Jul-13 21:06:20

'what's a mind-meld darling? That's right, it's when two very, very clever and really, really funny people think the same thing at the same time. Eat up your organic petit-pois and we can have a practice....'

Sparklymommy Tue 16-Jul-13 21:06:30

Do people actually do that? My god I think I would have to catch them out!

We were on a train the other day with my mum and my four kids (aged 4, 5, 6 and 10). Looking at cows. Started a conversation about names for baby animals. We had the usual, kitten is a baby cat, puppy-dog, calf-cow etc and then 6yo ds comes out with "what's a baby camel called?" I swear the business man sat next to him was choking trying not laugh as no one knew!

<goes off to google baby camel names>

tanukiton Tue 16-Jul-13 21:06:33

I talk to my kids in English and Japanese and don,t give a fuck. Enjoy your child. Ramble away...

WilsonFrickett Tue 16-Jul-13 21:07:48

I read the book 'May contain nuts' annually to keep what I fear are very strong PP tendancies at bay...

YouTheCat Tue 16-Jul-13 21:08:23

That is the distinction though. You talk TO your child. A PP will talk AT them.

Sparklymommy Tue 16-Jul-13 21:09:40

Boring! It's calf. Disappointed muchly!

badguider Tue 16-Jul-13 21:10:56

Talking to your child is great, and if you want to keep up a running monologue all day long then fair enough... BUT if you are in close proximity to somebody else for a while (e.g. on a bus or train) then you need to appreciate that if you do keep a running monologue the whole damn time then other people will find you desperately irritating.
It's ok to not care if you're driving everybody around you insane, but just know that your'e doing it.

kawliga Tue 16-Jul-13 21:12:23

We all talk to our children hmm but there is no need to talk to them LOUDLY unless they are hearing impaired. Do everyone a favour and talk to your children in a normal and natural voice. Keep it private, we don't need to hear your inane chatter.

OP when you say 'I chat to him loads' are you aware that all parents chat to their children loads?!! Yes, we do! Just because we don't crank up the volume doesn't mean you are a bit special in talking to your child loads, what do you think other parents do? It just means you are too LOUD, tone it down!

This pisses me right off when people talk to the whole carriage on trains and then you are stuck for the whole journey listening to their nonsense which is supposedly intended to stimulate little Charlie. I don't mind listening to children's sweet chattering but listening to parents is beyond irritating.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 16-Jul-13 21:13:42

I once pointed out an aeroplane to DH when we were out on a "date" grin

HooverFairy Tue 16-Jul-13 21:14:53

I think the line is when it's done loudly for effect, as opposed to being in a normal speaking voice at a comfortable level. Also, when it's done in a passive-aggressive manner as a means for the parent to have a dig at someone. Normal chattering is nice to hear and is very good for the baby so don't worry what other people think.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 16-Jul-13 21:16:05

badguider - that is true. I used to bore myself sometimes

OP there's a middle way between always talking to your child and never talking to them Remember that and you'll be fine

wewantyouasanewrecruit Tue 16-Jul-13 21:18:26

It's allowed, Wilson as long as you come on here after having done it and tell us your best ones.
It takes me ages to post; yours hadn't yet come up when I was writing. Thank you also for the grin
Sparkling Loving it.
My mother used to do this to me as a child. I remember her holding up a pair of knickers in M&S (at the time their underwear was definitely the best) and asking me if I liked them, etc. I knew at the time it was a performance to show people how discerning she was.
Obviously I was mortified.

SpanielFace Tue 16-Jul-13 21:26:10

Kawliga, I'm not trying to imply that I'm special (no one else seems to have thought this was my aim by my post hmm), more that I had assumed this was normal and therefore wondered why people complained about it.

I don't want to turn this to being a thread about a thread, but I was driven to post this by someone complaining about their neighbour playing and singing loudly with their child in their own garden. Clearly not done for public effect, but someone still had an issue with it, and described it as loud parenting.

As I said, I've not come across people encouraging their children to recite in French or talk about their preference for organic food. That may be to do with the area I live in. I can understand that could get annoying.

WidowWadman Tue 16-Jul-13 21:27:39

Why all the hate for parenting in two languages? I raise my children bilingually, hence do it all the time, not to show off to anyone, but how else is the child to learn the vocab for both languages? As it is, my older daughter also does a third language in preschool, so we occasionally also talk about that language too.

I get people being annoyed at "loud" parenting, if they feel it's just done in order to put on a show. But there's nothing wrong with chatting to a child about different words in different languages, or any other topic. Inverse snobbery is just as bad as standard snobbery.

WilsonFrickett Tue 16-Jul-13 21:33:52

Not seeing any hate Widow. It's a light-hearted thread. And most PPs aren't actually raising their children bilingually, they're poncing about trying to teach Tarquina French so she gets into that lovely prep school...

WidowWadman Tue 16-Jul-13 21:45:34

Light-hearted inverse snobbery is still snobbery.

kawliga Tue 16-Jul-13 21:53:03

OP, of course talking to children is normal and all mothers do it, there's nothing to 'assume' about that and nobody complains about people talking to children hmm so your thread title is completely disingenous. Nobody says it is wrong to talk to children hmm I have never heard anyone saying there is something wrong with talking to children.

Loud parenting is still the most annoying thing imaginable especially if you are confined in a small space with the smug loud parenter eg on a train. Also, loud parenters tend to say things like 'I chat to my children a lot, I like engaging with them and stimulating them'. Please. That's just as ridiculous as saying 'I feed my children healthy meals because I would like them to grow strong and healthy'. Um....yes.

Public Service Announcement: if people are pissed off with you and giving you hmm looks it is not because talking to children is wrong, it is because you are too freaking loud, try lowering your volume a notch or two. Thanks.

MrsDeVere Tue 16-Jul-13 21:56:08

There isn't any hate hmm

this always comes up on PP threads.

'I don't do that so why are you being so mean about me?' confused

It happens. People who are prats before they have kids can continue to be prats after they have kids. PP is not class specific btw. Its different but is done for the same reasons. To show how much they care.

So it might be showing off how much you want to teach your kids about William Morris's influence on the Arts and Crafts movement or how much you are disgusted that the school don't make the kids wash their hands after touching stuff cos you don't know where its been do you, I mean it could have been anywhere and you know it'll go straight to his chest.......

I love it. It keeps me amused in Sainsburys.

kawliga Tue 16-Jul-13 22:02:05


Um, nobody is annoyed with cheeky little Charlie what they are annoyed with is Charlie's loud parent trying to demonstrate their fantastic disciplining strategies to the entire train.

YouTheCat Tue 16-Jul-13 22:03:55

That kind of shit always makes me hmm

I really wish my kids were young so I could PP around Sainsburys and amuse MrsDeVere. grin

Layl77 Tue 16-Jul-13 22:04:42

If I didn't talk. Constantly. Loudly enough. To my first baby she would scream to get out of the pram and everyone would look at me like I was strangling her. She was a nightmare but needed constant attention through her ears, she's fine now but talkative!

MrsDeVere Tue 16-Jul-13 22:06:18

I don't mind you doing it with the older DCs. That is even funnier because they can wander off and leave you explaining why they should always buy Fair Trade bananas to yourself.....


SpanielFace Tue 16-Jul-13 22:07:15

Kawliga, no-one is giving me hmm looks. I have only ever heard of anyone having issue with this on MN, which is why I asked.

MrsDeVere Tue 16-Jul-13 22:08:42

just a general point, constant chattering/narration to children is NOT always good for them.

It is for children who are developing at a typical rate but for some children it doesn't help their language development. It overwhelms them.

Just sayin'

YouTheCat Tue 16-Jul-13 22:09:20

I would but dd is 18 and it's her holding up the fair trade bananas and telling me why I should fork out extra for them. She doesn't Performance Child loudly though. She does mutter a lot and complain about unruly children on scooters though.

I started a thread about this once when I realised why I talk loudly when I talk to dd in the street. It is because she is very short. Her ears are far away from my mouth. It isn't like talking to an adult of equal height.

Willdoitinaminute Tue 16-Jul-13 22:16:11

I had to talk loudly to my ds who had chronic glue ear from early on. Now he just has chronic male ear.

kawliga Tue 16-Jul-13 22:20:52

Well, OP you asked whether you are an annoying loud parent so here is the test. Be aware of your environment while you are doing your 'interactive parenting and stimulating your baby' (excuse me while I heave). If people can hear you and you have been wittering on for a long time, put a sock in it. If you are in confined space with others, stop it. And above all, never ever, on pain of death, do your 'interactive stimulation' for your baby on a train. Please. As a kindness to fellow passengers some of whom may be suffering with migraines, etc. You will have plenty of time to interactive-parent with your child when there are no stressed out passengers trying to read a book.

Seriously, children should learn that they do not have to be stimulated at all times. It is good socialization to teach them that sometimes, because there are other people in the world around us, we should be quiet and considerate towards others. Learning to amuse themselves quietly is actually a really good skill for babies. It teaches them kindness and humility, something to think about when you're hyperventilating with all the exciting and stimulating questions you have prepared for the baby and everybody else within shouting distance

kawliga Tue 16-Jul-13 22:21:51

cross post with MrsDeVere who said it even better

maternitart Tue 16-Jul-13 22:33:30

OP I agree with you, Don't think I've heard any PP in real life except perhaps from me when I sing nursery rhymes at DS when he's trying to sleep - it helps block out the screaming

ChasingDogs Tue 16-Jul-13 22:36:17

I'm not a parent but do remember a recent encounter in the supermarket with one lady who I'm fairly sure caught herself in the middle of this loud parenting business.

"This is coffee. Mummy and Daddy don't drink coffee do we? No, it's not nice, it's not very good for you..."

Lady catches my (amused, not evil and glaring!) eye as I pick up the biggest jar of whatever caffeine happens to be both on offer and drinkable.

"But SOME people like coffee! In fact lots of people like coffee! And tea! We just don't like hot drinks. But it's OK for other people to like hot drinks! Even coffee, and tea. You shouldn't drink too much but people do and it's OK..."

She was still explaining this to her very bored looking 3 year old as I made for the booze aisles.

I did think she must be a MN'er as I had never heard of "loud parenting" before I came here. I had loud parenting behaviour filed under "What's up with that bloody woman? Why is she so loud? That's a baby, that is, I don't know shit about babies but I'm pretty sure they're don't give a fuck about the provenance of their bananas. She needs to get out a bit and chat to other adults more, bless her. That being a mum business is hard work. I shall put it off indefinitely."

SpanielFace Tue 16-Jul-13 22:37:40

MrsDeVere put it far better, and without so much unnecessary rudeness.

YouTheCat Tue 16-Jul-13 22:41:28

grin Chasing

When mine were that age it would been more like 'This is coffee. Mummy has to have coffee and lots of it because Mummy is running on empty. This is tea. This is what Mummy drinks when she has run out of coffee. We don't like tea as much as coffee, do we? This is wine. Grandma says Mummy shouldn't drink too much wine but Grandma can bugger right off, can't she My Little Cherub?' grin

SpanielFace Tue 16-Jul-13 22:43:44

My niece (22 months) refers to coffee as "Mummy juice"!

ChasingDogs Tue 16-Jul-13 22:45:01

YouTheCat, it would make my day and give me a sense that all was right with the world if I came across your brand of loud parenting in Sainsburys. grin

YouTheCat Tue 16-Jul-13 22:45:06

grin Brilliant!

ChasingDogs Tue 16-Jul-13 22:47:11

In fact, I'm pretty sure there's room a for beverage-orientated kid's book there. Along the style of Pratchett's "Where's my cow" and Adam Mansbach's "Go the fuck to sleep". smile

MorrisZapp Tue 16-Jul-13 22:48:21

Of course it's class based. On every PP thread there's reference to Tarquin, Jocasta etc.

Pretty sure I'd get torn a new one for slagging off the kind of parents who yell at little Beyonce and Keanu.

I do know what PP is, I see it a lot. But I'd rather listen all day to a conversation about fair trade grapes than see a child ignored or sworn at. Which I also see a lot.

Belchica Tue 16-Jul-13 22:50:21

Kawliga 'There was this one time, on a train'...sounds like you had a bad experience with a PP on a train. No need to take it out on OP.

kim147 Tue 16-Jul-13 22:50:49

My child talks to me a lot.

About Pokemon.

YouTheCat Tue 16-Jul-13 22:53:09

Mine also talks about pokemon. 12 years of pokemon I've had, at least.

Morris, the ones who shout at little Beyonce and Keanu could also be classed as PP, if they are doing it to get a reaction.

MorrisZapp Tue 16-Jul-13 22:58:10

I agree. So why is it always Tarquin and Jocasta?

kawliga Tue 16-Jul-13 22:59:59

I guess I am still raging at the many train journeys I have endured listening to hapless children being interactively stimulated with questions just like the ones you listed in your OP: "Talk about what colours you can see in the book. Can you see any of these colours in your home? Can you make a noise like an owl?"...There must be a time/place where you can do these exercises with your baby where other people don't have to listen to you.

Fillyjonk75 Tue 16-Jul-13 23:01:37

It's not surprising that people parent for a wider audience when in public, as other people are constantly judging parents as this and other threads amply demonstrate. As you get older and wiser as a parent you tend to gain confidence and a thicker skin. But I'm not surprised that some people feel so insecure as a parent that they feel they have to justify every part of their lives when they have an audience. Or even sadder, lots of other people are so self-conscious they can barely mumble a word to their child in public.

kim147 Tue 16-Jul-13 23:03:26

Children need to learn to speak. As a teacher, I see a lot of children who struggle to communicate and who have a limited vocabulary as well as poor listening skills.

A parent's job is to develop and model communication skills. Learning language is incrediby complicated and interaction helps.

I know I've done that stuff on a train and a bus. It helps a child develop.

Fillyjonk75 Tue 16-Jul-13 23:06:24

There are a lot worse things I can think of than hearing people talk to their children on the train. The problem is most people on commuter trains don't talk at all so any conversation could be seen as an irritation.

Turniptwirl Tue 16-Jul-13 23:06:51

When the parents are louder than the kids it's irritating

When all you hear is a monologue from the patents (when the child is old enough to join in but isn't given the chance) it's irritating

Talking to your child is fine! I would rather that than many other annoyances in public places like loud music or teenage squealing. But let's use our indoor voices and not perform for the whole county shall we?

Turniptwirl Tue 16-Jul-13 23:16:25

kawliga totally agree I'd rather have a cheeky giggling little darling than their cross shouty parent trying to probe they can control their child.

Children need to learn to entertain themselves. There is nothing wrong with thrusting a colouring book and crayons at them and keeping then quiet for a few minutes. You don't need to narrate the exercise with what colours they're using and what they're colouring and how crayons are made.

Once on a train listening to a family who had no indoor voices (kids around 4-8 years old) performance parent through most of the welsh border. Even my little dog who was being uncharacteristically well behaved gave me a look as if to say. "Why won't they shut up? I just want to sleep!"

MrsDeVere Tue 16-Jul-13 23:17:11

People always ignore what these threads are actually about and start banging on about there being nothing wrong with talking to kids hmm

SpanielFace Tue 16-Jul-13 23:19:44

I listed those exercises as they were on the leaflet that came in my Bookstart pack from the HV today. I also received a very nice picture book called "Wow! said the owl", hence the owl noises. The suggestions are far too old for DS, he does a very good owl screech but mostly when he sees the cat. Nice to get freebies though. (Thanks Bookstart!).

Do people really have children called Jocasta and Tarquin in real life? They're all Evie and Alfie around here. Mind you, I did meet a little Jemima recently, which I thought was quite sweet.

SHarri13 Tue 16-Jul-13 23:44:02

I talk to my kids on the train to stop them trying to hang from the luggage racks, pull the emergency alarm or scream. All of which would be far more annoying to precious commuters.

SaucyJack Tue 16-Jul-13 23:52:58

Oh for heaven's sake.

Now I'm being criticised for making my children sit still on trains?!


BramshawHill Wed 17-Jul-13 00:08:53

I talk to my 9 month old about anything and everything, we're a bit isolated where we live so it's mainly to stop me going insane from lack of human company.

Though I do the same to the dog...can you get performance owner-ing??

I have noticed what seems like performance parenting at baby group/clinic but I always try to presume they're doing it for themselves rather than an audience, since I'd hate for them to think that about me!

kawliga Wed 17-Jul-13 00:46:27

SHarri, you are allowed to talk to your kids on the train or anywhere else. But you can use your indoor voice to do that, right? Talking to children does not need to involve the entire train, it is between you and your child. Also you can practice discipline and quiet entertainment options (colouring in, sticker books, toys) when you are not on a train, so that when you have to go on a journey you are not forced to keep up a constant stream of chatter as the only way of distracting them. I commuted with my daughter on the train for two years, and it takes a huge effort to teach them how to behave appropriately in what is at that time mostly a space for tired grown-ups on their way to/from work. Commuting is stressful and it's worth respecting that by being considerate to other travellers. Nobody chooses to be on a rush-hour train everyday twice a day, the vast majority have no option so I think it's just not the right place to practice stimulating and interactive parenting in a loud voice.

kawliga Wed 17-Jul-13 01:15:58

Now I'm being criticised for making my children sit still on trains?!

Depends on how you go about making them sit still. Do you (a) use a firm voice at a normal volume with brief but effective commands, or (b)use a shouty voice loud enough for the entire carriage to hear and take a very long time (say two hours non-stop) to try and get them to sit?

This applies to dogs too, Bramshaw, I've seen people saying firmly 'sit, sit' to their dog on the bus and the dog paying no attention.

Thing is with dogs and children, everybody understands that they are not robots and they will sometimes not do as you ask (forgiveable). But that's no reason to bang on about it in a loud voice (unforgiveable).

WafflyVersatile Wed 17-Jul-13 01:46:28

I'm going to visit my DNs in a few weeks. I'm totally going to try some ostentatious auntying when i'm there.

Where is this dress I bought you from darling? Mini-Boden, yes that's right. Did we buy it in the sale? No, no we didn't. We pay full price don't we? How much did we pay? We paid £500 for our matching outfits didn't we?

what do you call this? That's right wasabi. Now does wasabi taste hot sour or umami? Yes, of course we can get an extra portion with our salmon nigiri and mackerel sashimi and after lunch you can draw me some of your favourite Japanese characters. Can you remember how to spell your name in Japanese?

mawbroon Wed 17-Jul-13 02:06:49

I heard my first ever loud parenting the other week.

Not at home I may add, I've never once heard it where I live.

I was elsewhere in the UK, but don't want to say where grinwink

Xihha Wed 17-Jul-13 02:10:37

Bramshaw, I'm so glad you asked about performance ownering, i talk to my dog constantly too. I once pointed out ducks to him and asked him how to spell duck before remembering I was talking to the dog not my kids. blush

garlicagain Wed 17-Jul-13 02:34:05

I performance mumble.

You parent types do realise you're doing most of this talking for your own benefit, don't you? I stand in front of the fruit counter alone, ruminating (aloud, but I hope to god not LOUD aloud) on whether persimmons are the ones with thin skin and lots of seeds, or the ones with flesh a bit like a peach and then lots of seeds ... ramble ramble ... You, having Tarquin or Shanisse to hand, pursue these thoughts vocally as well, but louder because you're pretending to talk to your child. As Xihha points out, folks with dogs do it to them instead.

I witnessed a lovely PP the other day.
Boy: Yes, please, pasta!
Mum: Pasta! That's interesting!
Boy: hmm
Mum: Which shape pasta would you like? They've got conchiglie, fusilli, farfalle, penne, spaghetti ...
Boy: Yes, I can see that, Mum. Just get the ones you like.
Mum: Oh, but we prefer wholewheat, don't we? Now let's see which shapes they have in wholewheat. Come and have a look!
Boy wanders off.

Mum was still rambling away, though ...

garlicagain Wed 17-Jul-13 02:41:17

Waffly, I demand a video of your Ostentatious Auntying!

McGeeDiNozzo Wed 17-Jul-13 02:51:04

I will say this again. I said it on the other thread.

No-one said that talking to your child in public is wrong. They said that an obnoxious subset of that - the loud, showy-offy kind of talking - was wrong.

I wish people would stop taking a complaint about something specific and turning it into a complaint about something broader, which sounds much sillier and less justified than the complaint about something specific, and then attacking THAT complaint - which nobody actually made - rather than the original one.

garlicagain Wed 17-Jul-13 03:09:37

You can generally tell the difference by the amount of input from the child grin

Or, if the child is pre-verbal, by the level of vocabulary & syntax used by the parent. "Look, Baby, there's a cat! See the cat?" is possibly helpful to a child on the verge of constructing its own sentences. "Oh, I say, Baby, I do believe that cat is a Selkirk Rex. They have such adorable faces, I always think, rather like a child's teddy bear, and they have the sweetest nature. Fearfully expensive, I suppose, but it's be awfully nice if Daddy would agree to stump up. Maybe for your birthday ..." not so much.

lecce Wed 17-Jul-13 05:54:38

The problem is, McGee, that so many of the examples given are clearly made-up and OTT so it becomes difficult to ascertain exactly what people are complaining about. All this stuff about Tarquin and Jocasta... (though some posters make up some reet funny stuff grin)

Then you have the poster (sorry can't scroll up) above who is so dead against people talking to children on trains and, yes, it does come across that that is what she objects to - helpfully giving out advice about doing sticker books in silence at home to practise for the train hmm. No awareness that said families may be tired and stressed, maybe on their way back form a holiday, for example, if they are on what is normally just a commuter train.

I think a lot of it does come down to where you live and this skews your perspective. Until recently, I lived somewhere where it was common to see children ignored or shouted at, so the stuff on these types of threads seems the better option to me.

When I do hear someone sounding showy-offy, depending on their overall tone, I feel amused or sorry for them. I remember when ds1 was a baby I felt nearly hysterical with tiredness a lot of the time and was desperately holding it together. No doubt my voice was a bit shrill sometimes in those days as I tried hard to be a 'good mother'.

And you do hear people saying on these threads how ridiculous it is to talk to babies/toddlers about things they don't understand and, while I take the poster above's comment about using long sentences tey are going to lose track of, I don't think you should wait until you know they understand something before you say it, as then they would never learn anything new.

Anyway, although I don't think there are any on this thread, you do get a lot of snidy comments from 'benign neglect types on these threads.

McGeeDiNozzo Wed 17-Jul-13 06:03:55

The point about coming from somewhere where all that happens is that kids get shouted at is definitely worth bearing in mind. I spent my teenage years in a part of the north-east that other people from the north-east have told me is "as rough as a badger's arse". I think we can all agree that anything is better than the next-door-neighbour I had who once told her five year old "Divn't fuckin' swear at me, ye little fuckin' piece o' shite".

I talk absolute rubbish to my five-month-old all the time. It's not particularly directed, though. Just a stream of consciousness. Erm, semi-consciousness.

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 06:32:37

I really can't understand why people can't understand the difference between talking to your child and loud or performance parenting.
Of course you should talk to your baby/child- how on earth are they supposed to learn the language if you don't?! hmm

Talking to your child is for their benefit, you are engaging with your child. It is like a normal conversation, and even with a baby, you wait for a reaction and you respond to it- it is a two way thing and you need to pause.

Loud or performance parenting is not for the benefit of the child- it is a long monologue for the benefit of the adults nearby saying 'look at me- I am a good parent- see how advanced my child is' and they are out to impress their audience , which is certainly not the child!

Babies and children are no different from adults in that respect, if you don't like being addressed like a public meeting, with no pauses, no time for reflection, no chance to get a word in edgeways and nothing personal in it- then why should they?

The performance parent never gets anything back- the child is used to the constant barrage of words and it washes over them and they haven't grasped that a response is needed.

Performance parenting is loud. I have been around the supermarket counting carrots into bags, but no one except my child would have heard,
and the baby really doesn't need a lesson on air miles and organic!

Lastly performance parenting is very funny! Stand up comics could use the material- they couldn't get anything from the normal, caring parent who is just doing the very normal, everyday conversation with their child.

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 06:35:23

Of course it is better than not talking to your child or swearing at them and there is the advantage that it does stop once the child talks and doesn't let them get away with it- they give the 'wrong' answers and let her down!

UnderwaterBasketWeaving Wed 17-Jul-13 06:46:42

The more PP threads I read, the more I begin to think I might do it....

...oh no..!

BadLad Wed 17-Jul-13 06:55:13

There's nothing wrong with talking to your child, as long as you aren't doing at a volume that disturbs other people, say, loudy on the train, or in a place where you shouldn't be talking (the library / the cinema).

Replace the word "child" with "spouse / friend / grandma" or whatever, and the answer is the same.

Jaynebxl Wed 17-Jul-13 06:56:13

Exoticfruits has just said what I've been thinking reading this. Listening to a parent droning on loudly about colours or spelling or organic food or whatever means the conversation is not for the child's benefit. What children really needing someone talking at them loudly and "teaching" them things but exploring with them, providing space for them to talk (or not talk!) and following their lead on subjects that interest them. This does of course tend to lead to mind numbing conversations about Minecraft and One Direction so there are disadvantages!

The worst case I've seen of PP was by a very loud lady who ended up with one child who followed her mother's example and talks absolutely non stop loudly, and one child who has had a couple of years speech therapy to make up for never really getting chance to speak in such a loud household!

Xihha Wed 17-Jul-13 08:46:17

It's probably worth pointing out that, whilst its good to talk to your child, there are some advantages to teaching them to be quiet or that not every thought needs to be vocalised.

We often get buses over to see my parents and to amuse dd as a baby i used to talk to her about what we could see out the windows (its about an hour and a half journey, mostly through the country side so lots of farms etc) which I did nice and quietly so as not to disturb other passengers. This worked well, passed the time nicely and no one had to listen to screaming baby.

Dd is now 4, she doesn't stop the whole bus journey, she also has no volume control, this would bother me far less if she was just saying things like 'ooh look there's a cow, cows eat grass' but oh no, my precious little princess prefers to point out things that are on the bus.

The best ones have been:
'ooh look, that lady has a big squidgy bum, she takes up two seats'

'that man has a really shiney head, why doesn't he have any hair?'

and my personal favourite 'Mummy, those men are very wobbly, have they been drinking wine? Wine makes you wobbly. I don't think I like wine, it tastes funny' (I had given her some non-alcoholic stuff in a plastic wine glass at a party so she could feel grown up)

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 08:48:29

They only do it with babies and toddlers- once the child is older you have the fun situation where the child chips in with family life as it really is - rather than the way mother wants to portray it. Astute DCs do it on purpose!
You need pauses- if you say 'look - there is a horse in that field' - you need to give them time to look at the horse and not go nonstop onto the next thing.

I should think that is fairly typical Jaynebxl, they have no example of normal conversation.

If you were to sit on a train next to someone who talked at you non stop you would be pretty fed up- I can't see why a baby or young child is different.

Perhaps that is the answer OP- you should be talking to your baby and not at your baby.

Trills Wed 17-Jul-13 08:51:05

Loving the examples grin

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 08:55:41

It is a shame that LeQueen isn't around- she does wonderful playlets of PP and they would leave OP in no confusion over the difference!

Nerfmother Wed 17-Jul-13 09:03:12

Actually though I tell the four year old types of leaf and not just 'look at the tree' . Why wouldn't I want them to know the difference between oak, ash, beech etc? And I've always assumed they can learn stuff so pitched high.

FelineFurry Wed 17-Jul-13 09:10:59

I think the issue is the unnecessary volume (unless your child has hearing difficulties).

If you are talking to another adult stood next to you it will be at a volume where generally other people won't be aware of what you're saying. Therefore why does the volume when speaking to a child (particularly a small one) have to be twice as loud confused????

It does always smack of of a parent wanting to show to other people what a 'good' parent they are and isn't really done for the benefit of the child.

I have always chatted constantly to mine since they were babies but not at a level I wouldn't have used for an adult.

YouTheCat Wed 17-Jul-13 09:39:35

I'm off to Sainsburys soon. I shall have a good look for some PP though I doubt there'll be any up this way really.

katese11 Wed 17-Jul-13 09:52:17

BrianButterfield Tue 16-Jul-13 21:04:18

Wilson and I had a bit of a MN mind-meld there!

Haven't read the rest of the thread, but I so want Brian and Wilson to team up and form a mind-melding Brian Wilson tribute band. It could be called Brian Wilson ButterfieldFrickett

thecakeisalie Wed 17-Jul-13 09:54:03

I agree there are some parents obviously trying to show off there amazing little darlings genius to the world however I think its worth remembering some people talk louder than others, some are hard of hearing themselves or have children who have hearing difficulties. My Mum talks quite loudly, partly to do with her hearing, but its something that bothers her constantly and she's very self conscious about it - especially after some woman on a bus trip decided to make a big deal about how my Mum's voice was giving her a headache this was years ago and she still feels crap about it.

We are going to home educate so even though eldest isn't school age I do use his questions when were out to discuss things in a little more detail. Maybe I'm a loud/performance parent? I don't think so cause I answer his questions quietly and I know my intention isn't to show off - he's at that age where he asks some gems like 'why is the sky blue?' and so on. I guess it helps that I don't use trains or buses so not regularly in a confined space with people.

I'm terrible for talking to myself too so at least now I don't look quite so mental when I'm out as it seems like I'm talking to the kids!

Didactylos Wed 17-Jul-13 10:13:34


perhaps did performance parenting too loudly in Sainsburys today
DS always picks granny smith apples and then waits in expectation for
'There was a young lady from Ryde' in my best mock mummerset accent

But the man behind us seemed to find it really amusing blush I would have toned the accent and volume down if I had known he was there, mostly to stop me looking like a total loon

WilsonFrickett Wed 17-Jul-13 10:28:45

Brian Wilson ButterfieldFrickett

Arf grin

gotthemoononastick Wed 17-Jul-13 10:29:25

Thank goodness for anyone who even talks to and teaches and shows a little child the world. Who cares if it is performance?

So upsetting seeing the little faces looking up in vain while mums? carers?are on phones ALL THE TIME.

Don't even talk about the "i'll pull your head offers"

SueDoku Wed 17-Jul-13 10:43:35

Yes, yes, please can we have Brian Wilson ButterfieldFrickett..?

By the way - just as a warning, if you talk to your children all the time, they grow up, leave home - and then when they visit they accuse you of 'Muttering to yourself all the time Mum - you know that's the first sign don't you?' grin It's very hard to stop...........

Emilythornesbff Wed 17-Jul-13 10:51:04

The key is to not say anything to your child that could be overheard by anyone who might not share your perspective and who might be prone to bitterness.
This is usually only a problem if the over hearer has a tendency to attribute fabricated attributes to the overheard. Such as deciding that the reason you are speaking to your child is not to be nice but to piss them off by "performing"
You must also not be seen to completely disengage from your child or offer them a biscuit or a fruit shoot to get round the supermarket without either of you having a tantrum.
Tread the thinline between those and you'll be fine.

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 11:02:11

People are determined not to get it!

Of course you can point out the difference between an oak leaf and a beech leaf, you can answer all the 'why' questions. ( DCs of performance parents never speak anyway so don't ask questions), you can do funny rhymes, you can talk loudly if any of the party have hearing difficulties.

I really can't put it more plainly.

However, long may people do it- it brightens the day with a good laugh but I always give the poor child a sympathetic grin- they must long for an 'off' switch! Or maybe they are simply immune and switched off themselves long ago.

One last attempt at an explanation- if your DC is responding, in any way at all, then you are not a performance parent.

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 11:02:31

People are determined not to get it!

Of course you can point out the difference between an oak leaf and a beech leaf, you can answer all the 'why' questions. ( DCs of performance parents never speak anyway so don't ask questions), you can do funny rhymes, you can talk loudly if any of the party have hearing difficulties.

I really can't put it more plainly.

However, long may people do it- it brightens the day with a good laugh but I always give the poor child a sympathetic grin- they must long for an 'off' switch! Or maybe they are simply immune and switched off themselves long ago.

One last attempt at an explanation- if your DC is responding, in any way at all, then you are not a performance parent.

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 11:02:41

People are determined not to get it!

Of course you can point out the difference between an oak leaf and a beech leaf, you can answer all the 'why' questions. ( DCs of performance parents never speak anyway so don't ask questions), you can do funny rhymes, you can talk loudly if any of the party have hearing difficulties.

I really can't put it more plainly.

However, long may people do it- it brightens the day with a good laugh but I always give the poor child a sympathetic grin- they must long for an 'off' switch! Or maybe they are simply immune and switched off themselves long ago.

One last attempt at an explanation- if your DC is responding, in any way at all, then you are not a performance parent.

xylem8 Wed 17-Jul-13 11:21:57

I talked all the time to my children from birth onwards.When they are tiny a lot of what you say is a question, I don't know why.
'Right what shall we have for tea? do you think shepherds would be nice? Do you think daddy would like that? And "big brother"? I wonder what he is doing at school right now, do you think he is painting?"
It really doesn't matter what you say.
I never come across these PP types people are talking about, maybe they just have a loud voice naturally? Maybe they are looking round because they are conscious they are talking loudly and want to see if they are disturbing anyone.

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 11:23:40

I feel like banging my head against the wall!
PP and talking to your child are not the same!

K8Middleton Wed 17-Jul-13 11:39:16

Lolol. I started one of these threads recently about PP. I was patronised to death by people talking about "what if the child has SEN?!!!" "People should talk to their children. You are horrid and awful and a meanie" "What if that's the only interaction the child has with his dad??!!!" "It's better than effing and blinding at the kid".

What people didn't know (because they were too busy telling instead of asking) was that the child concerned was my own and the PP was my dh, who was being uncharacteristically irritating - he is an awesome dad but just had a lapse of thinking and was trying a bit too hard - probably trying to impress me and half a train They also would know, had they asked, that I know about speech delay and some of the techniques used, eg "good listening" and "now you say ss -tick" because ds had a hearing and speech and language problem and still is a bit delayed in some respects.

As a general rule, loud parenting or performance parenting is for the benefit of an adult audience, not the child. You know it when you see it!

My favourite was in Waitrose when a woman on her knees explaining to her child, who was 2yo at most, that "We buy organic milk. Not everybody buys organic milk because they are uneducated. That's un-ed-u-cated and do not understand the difference. We buy organic <looks round for audience> because mummy gets what's best for you <wildly enthusiastic nodding>". There was much looking around by the woman and her dd was trying to lick the floor!

WafflyVersatile Wed 17-Jul-13 11:46:02

I remember that. grin

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 11:49:49

I loved your thread K8M- especially as people tried to hijack it with SN and then it was your DH!

The milk one is a perfect example!

You have to ask yourself could Victoria Wood or similar use it as material?
Xylem8's example would be useless- it isn't PP, the 'uneducated people who don't buy organic milk' is a real gift- PP at it's hilarious best!

MmeLindor Wed 17-Jul-13 11:54:56

[awards MN prize of the day to BrianWilson]

That was an utterly awesome XP.

No one is being mean about bilingual families. There is a world of difference between me speaking German to the kids cause we are a German/British family and someone explaining the history of German baking industry to a bored 3yo just because he wanted a Brezel in Lidl, while teaching him to say, 'Broetchen' and 'Rosinenschnecke'.

thegreylady Wed 17-Jul-13 11:57:26

I found myself doing the opposite in the school playground [too much mn].The school has asmall track with coloured lines and words at intervals...WALK.....HOP....SKIP....JUMP....TIP-TOE and the children follow the lines in the suggested manner.
My dgs [aged4] is just blending sounds to make words and the other day he was spelling out the words loudly before he did the actions.S-K-I-P then skipping.I worried some of the mums were looking as if they thought he was showing off so I called him over and said,"Whisper love you might wake the baby." Fortunately someone had a sleeping baby.

ouryve Wed 17-Jul-13 11:57:38

Sainsburys is fertile ground for PP. I remember we were pretty much following a mother with her daughter, once, who was steadily ticking all the PP boxes, lots of talk about we don't buy this because it's bad for you etc etc but almost choked at the "we absolutely must do some baking, darling" resulting in a trip to the packet cake mix shelves.

K8Middleton Wed 17-Jul-13 11:58:08

grin Poor dh. Although he did count to 40 beautifully. Unfortunately ds can only reliably count to 15...

xylem8 Wed 17-Jul-13 12:03:14

somebody does a sketch a bit like that.Can't remember who? possibly Catherine Tate.
' Be brave my darlings, I have terrible news, I couldn't buy pate'

WilsonFrickett Wed 17-Jul-13 12:29:46

Yes! Catherine Tate does a brilliant version.

JollyShortGiant Wed 17-Jul-13 12:59:51

I'm sure people observing me think I'm performance parenting. I have a loud voice and I talk to DS a lot. Plus, 2yo DS will ask me what something is from a distance then clam up when we get close. So I'm stuck asking some chap what kind of agricultural machinery is attached to the back of that tractor so I can explain it to DS and it looks like I have a non verbal child. (This has happened more often than you might imagine. We spend a lot of time around heavy machinery.)

We talk about all sorts of nonsense too. And sometimes I sing in the supermarket.

BUT, the thing is that I behave the same whether I am in public or not. And all our conversation is for the benefit of DS and me, not anyone else. I just think it might not look like that to an outsider.

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 13:06:05

There is only one question, JollyShortGiant- Could Catherine Tate use it? If not then you are not a PP.

YouTheCat Wed 17-Jul-13 13:14:00

But Jolly, you are interacting with your child and they are interacting back - it's a two way thing. PP there is no real interaction.

That's the difference.

I have returned from Sainsburys. No PP to report. Just full of really annoying (presumably single) men who don't know where anything is and block the aisles. hmm

JollyShortGiant Wed 17-Jul-13 13:23:30

The singing would possibly inspire a few laughs but other than that I'm probably safe enough.

cocolepew Wed 17-Jul-13 13:26:45

There are always people who come on these threads and seem to refuse to see the difference between talking to your child and PP hmm

Loving the examples and "use your indoor voice" grin

MadeOfStarDust Wed 17-Jul-13 13:43:49

I only ever saw PP in action once - in Waitrose - "Come along darling - shall we get those olives again - did you like the ones with the garlic or the pepper slivers, must get some of that cooked meat you like too - what was it called again - pastrami - that's right, did you like it WITH the peppercorns " to a toddler.... who was sucking on a breadstick.

My one attempt failed... on a train "Oh look a moo-cow" - "For God's sake mum I'm twelve" grin

EmmelineGoulden Wed 17-Jul-13 13:49:07

I think lots of people refuse to see the difference, because the line isn;t there.

I certainly wondered loudly about organic carrots in the supermarket when my DCs were babies, jabbered on wihtout giving them a chance to respond; got them counting in spanish as toddlers; and occasionally find myself trying to explain philosophy or politics to them in the park. I'm pretty loud (by nature and necessity).

When they were babies I was articulating questions I had as a way to get me talking to them otherwise I might not have said a word to them all day. Also attempting to get my brain working through a haze of sleep deprivation and baby brain. As they became toddlers I was trying to engage them in things they found interesting (the Spanish from Dora the Explora); frequently failing, but sometimes really connecting. And now they are school age I get asked all sorts of hard questions that don't really have an answer and while they are surprisingly interested in complex responses I still pitch it wrong quite a lot sometimes. I don't find interacting with young children comes naturally to me so I try out lots of things, my DCs only like some of them so I often end up looking like I'm trying to force an interest on them. I'm not. I'm experimenting.

I could certainly see Catherine Tate using a few of my more extreme examples, I've laughed at myself a few times. But it hasn't ever been for the benefit of others around me. I'm just trying to get on and make these years as interesting for them and me as I can.

So I find all this judgyness about "performance parenting" to be just another way to kick mothers. It's one way of interacting with children, it isn't the only way or the "best" way, it's just people trying to get on with their lives within the social pressures and "expert" advice around parenting that they live with. It hurts no-one else. But the constant criticism of mothers is really nasty and hurts all of us.

YouTheCat Wed 17-Jul-13 13:56:05

My dd and I used to wander around the shops quoting Monty Python. She was 6/7 and I found it most amusing. Most other people probably thought we were lunatics. grin

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 14:03:43

I really don't mind- it brightens day! Long may they continue to do so. grin

LadyBryan Wed 17-Jul-13 14:57:08

"Don't do your interactive stimulation on a train" - I'd far prefer that if the alternative is little Jimmy wailing for the entire journey!

schmee Wed 17-Jul-13 15:20:50

According to mumsnet:

Normal parenting = when someone talks to their child
Performance parenting = when someone talks to their child about something middleclass

Actually I think:
Normal parenting = what you do with your child at home
Loud parenting = what you do with your child in situations where they are likely to throw tantrums to try to preempt said tantrum

IAmNotAMindReader Wed 17-Jul-13 15:32:31

Of course there is a difference many, many posters have identified it. Some of the professionally offended however refuse to see it though.

No one cares if you talk to your child about particle physics if that's what makes their eyes light up and animates them. You hear me NO ONE.

By no one cares in THIS instance it is because you've found something you can connect and interact with your child over and its obvious they are interacting in return and enjoy it.

If you talk loudly for whatever reason no one should care because the child is interacting back, even if they are only listening it is usually clear when a child is interested in what you say.

There, get it?

Performance parenting is talking about a subject the parent has deemed ticks all the correct boxes for ethics, political leanings, environmentally friendliness and social standing. Then they proceed to make loud proclamations about chosen topics whilst checking constantly that other adults are in the vicinity and are listening rather than checking it is a subject their child is engaged with.

They are trying to engage the surrounding people as their target audience rather than their child. Even a very young child learns enough social cues to gather this type of parenting is not aimed at them and quickly disengage through boredom. There is no chance for them to interact with the parent because the parent is not paying any attention to their child's cues they are too busy looking out for their target audiences cues.

The children of performance parents realise this behaviour is not for their benefit and resort to licking floors and such like for entertainment so why can some posters not?

Yes I am coming across as patronising, because some are deliberately sabre rattling the subject and refuse to see the difference, all for the sake of a soap box moment.

Tattle Wed 17-Jul-13 15:34:10

blush I hope I've not been labeled a pp
,ever since dd could blow raspberries I chatted to her when out and about.
Most of the time I think aloud have conversations with myself and probably look nuts to others so dd is a good cover and I direct my thoughts at her instead when she is with me.
Nows she is 3 so she does most/all of the talking.

IAmNotAMindReader Wed 17-Jul-13 15:39:51

Once again performance parenting is not talking to your child about something middles class, fine if that's what engages them.

Performance parenting isn't talking out loud in a mindless stream of consciousness hell I do that walking down the street on my own frequently.

Performance parenting isn't trying to distract a child before a tantrum starts.

All of these engage the child on some level.

Performance parenting is attempting to engage a random set of adults in public using your child as a prop to gain their approval with comments about your general lifestyle.

This does not engage the child.

MmeLindor Wed 17-Jul-13 16:06:19

Those who are all offended and huffy. Go back and read the third and fourth comment on this thread.

That is what we are talking about. Not normal chatting to your DC, no matter what you are talking about.

I chat to my kids in several languages and ask them INCREDIBLY poncy questions but I do so to engage them. Not to show off to others.

And I use my indoor voice.

xylem8 Wed 17-Jul-13 16:30:40

But unless you know the parent and child, how can you know what makes them tick?
What might seem like showing off to you , might be a topic of burning interest to parent and/or child.

EmmelineGoulden Wed 17-Jul-13 16:32:23

So how do you know that that's what these parents are trying to do?

Some people just live different lives. If I heard someone saying the things in the third and fourth comments (and I haven't heard anything quite like that) I'd be more likely to assume it was a very bored mother trying to not to go mad during the baby years.

MmeLindor Wed 17-Jul-13 16:36:50

I would say the difference is that an involved and engaged parent who is talking about poncy things has eye contact with their child.

A loud parenting practitioner is speaking not for the benefit of her child, but for anyone in the area. She will be looking around for approval of what a good parent she is.

It is not all middle-class nonsense. I saw a couple of women at the bank recently doing this with a little baby. You would have thought they had the Messiah in the buggy, for all the fuss they were making.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 17-Jul-13 16:42:40

I agree with the fourth comment.


I do agree that sometimes inane chatter was a slightly hysterical ( in my case, anyway) attempt to head off a tantrum.

cathpip Wed 17-Jul-13 16:43:38

I was hated for loud parenting with my ds, but he has a hearing loss so I needed to speak loudly, he also has always had age appropriate language and understanding because I spoke loudly and about everything!smile (I did and do try to keep the noise down in crowded places though, not everyone wishes to hear!)

YouTheCat Wed 17-Jul-13 16:43:46

It is simple.

Talking TO a child is normal (whether that child can answer or not).

Talking AT a child and looking around for validation from the adoring masses is Performance Parenting.

Shoesme84 Wed 17-Jul-13 16:52:47

I tried showing off once.

Me: Sweety, what noise does a snake make?

2 year old Son: Mooooooo.

Never again.

MrsDeVere Wed 17-Jul-13 16:53:52

cath that is not loud parenting.
Well it is technically but it is absolutely not what Loud Parenting is.

MmeLindor Wed 17-Jul-13 16:55:42

I did that once. Said loudly to DS, when he brought me a painting, 'Oh, that is a wonderful painting. Is a sombrero?'

DS, 'No, it is your booby'.

My friend was rolling on the floor.

SarahAndFuck Wed 17-Jul-13 17:00:12

DS is usually very good on trains, although we've never made a particularly long journey on one.

We chat quietly about what we can see from the window and occasionally DS will call out "Look! Pig Racing!", which always seems to gather some interest from the other passengers, whenever we pass a field of hay bales.

Turns out there was some confusion on a trip out with my parents, where they passed a field of hay bales with a sign advertising pig racing. My dad read the sign and DS now thinks that hay bales and racing pigs go hand in hand.

It's become something of a game now, to see who can say 'pig racing' first when a hay bale comes into view.

This adds nothing to the thread. smile

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 17:06:04

We have over 130 posts and other threads about it and people still persist in not understanding it! I am middle class, I talk to my children in a very middle class way, that is not PP.
Iamnotamindreader and MmeLindor explain it.

I can only assume that some of you are happy to be addressed as if you are a public meeting with no chance to interact if you think this is normal conversation.

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Wed 17-Jul-13 17:09:02

I just talk to myself. Increasingly. The kids never listen.

MrsGSR Wed 17-Jul-13 17:09:26

This thread reminds me of my aunt, who pointed out the window of a bus and very loudly said "look at the moo moo cows!"and then realised she was alone and the kids were at preschool...

I read an article stating that you should speak 30000 words a day to your child, but I think it would be to hard to count every word each day!

YouTheCat Wed 17-Jul-13 17:09:41

Exotic, I don't think we're typing loud enough. grin

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 17-Jul-13 17:10:58


Yes, I am middle class and have disncussions with mone that might mark me out to some as a bit of a tosser, but PP exists!

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 17-Jul-13 17:11:22

You get the gist!

EmmelineGoulden Wed 17-Jul-13 17:37:49

So it's the auditory equivalent of putting your baby in a pretty if somewhat impractical dress and then picking her up lots so people will notice what good taste you have?

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 17:46:20

Of course PP exists! I have dozens of posts saying so! People will persist in not understanding it!

IAmNotAMindReader Wed 17-Jul-13 17:55:40

Yup EmmelineGoulden sounds pretty close to that.

EmmelineGoulden Wed 17-Jul-13 18:00:07

Not sure how you know why they're picking up the child (or talking "at" their child).

I'm not saying no parent ever does things to try and get approval from others. In fact almost all of us do lots of things that are about satisfying social pressure. But the examples people come out with on PP sound like they are projecting motives on the parents who are struggling. You can't know the parents' motivation.

zoraqueenofzeep Wed 17-Jul-13 18:12:13

I've only noticed it once when a lady treated the entire restaurant to a very loud story with all the special voices and noises. Her kids were mortified and hid under the table until she shut upgrin She was well meaning though, I don't think she realised how loud she was and her kids were very well behaved once the book was out of the way, probably for fear she'd open it again (maybe a method to her madness?).

I think some people spend so much time with their children and not enough with other adults that it becomes normal for them to loudly sing, have loud conversations (cause at home they'd be running all over the place?) and generally behave as they would in their own sitting room. I find it hard to believe that anyone is actually trying to impress other people rather than talking for the sake of it because they're compulsive talkers with no adult to talk to so they find themselves boring their poor children to death because they can.

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 18:41:49

You don't get it once the child is school age because the child responds and it never plays the mother's particular game.

I will give up - I have put it all ways that I can and people still don't get the difference! There is such a thing and it is very funny when you hear it!

DS (5) performance parents me blush

'Look mummy, a sailing boat in the sea!' <in a gentle, sympathetic voice which you would use when asking a child 'what noise do cows do?'> 'yes, I know, it floats mummy, that's because it's a dinghy - do you know what a dinghy is, mummy? It's a cruising dinghy, a dinghy is a small boat, and sailing dinghies are ones with trims and sails and foils- centreboards or daggerboards, or rudders. Do you know want that name is? Yes - a Wayfarer. Well done Mummy.'

All in a patronising voice, he doesn't even wait for answers and I don't really talk much, he just gabbles, and looks about to see if people are noticing him. He gets very detailed especially with an expert there- it's scary how patronising and performance parentish he gets about planes when we're near my friend's husband, who's a pilot.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 17-Jul-13 19:41:36


You know I was agreeing, don't you? grin

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 17-Jul-13 19:41:55


WafflyVersatile Wed 17-Jul-13 20:03:29

Where did he pick up that habit, magickey? hmm

ICBINEG Thu 18-Jul-13 09:02:19

PP test.

You are alone in a cafe chatting to your toddler about inconsequential things, when someone else walks in.

Do you:

A) continue speaking to your child only maybe a little more quietly on the basis that the other person won't be interested in toddler chat.

B) continue speaking to your child only louder so that the other person can hear exactly how brilliant your child is.

PP is one of those things determined not by what you do (talking to your child about whatever the fuck you want) but by your intention....

It is impossible to know if someone else is doing it or not (so pull out your judgey pants from your ass) but perfectly possible to know if YOU are doing it.

Balaboosta Thu 18-Jul-13 11:10:10

Yikes - this thread and others like it have now made me dread speak

Balaboosta Thu 18-Jul-13 11:13:43 to my DTs in public AT ALL. DS has Asperger's and I have to talk VV loudly and insistently to him... Meanwhile DS will have run away to play with friends or whatever so I will be shouting to her to come back - and I get very stressed and I have a naturally loud voice. This kind of thread does not make things easier. Even lighthearted judging is judging.

SarahAndFuck Thu 18-Jul-13 11:14:21

Balaboosta - just talk to your child in the way you always would and forget everybody else.

It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks anyway, you know what you are doing. If you are PP-ing on purpose then it's likely you don't care what anyone else thinks about it and if you are not PP-ing and someone thinks you are, well, that's their mistake and you don't have to worry about it.

fuzzpig Thu 18-Jul-13 11:19:40

AND just a general point, constant chattering/narration to children is NOT always good for them.

I agree. Silence can be very valuable IMO. It allows the mind to wander and daydream. smile

wickeddevil Thu 18-Jul-13 11:26:11

Mostly this amuses me. Remember being someone in waitrose once who was doing they've whole "shall we have gooooooojons for supper darling" shit while looking pointedly at me.
Obviously had me down as a parent who wouldn't know what a goujon from a turkey twizzler. As if I cared. Thing was, she was at the till during this pantomime. i usually decide what to have for tea before i get to the till....

exoticfruits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:28:46

I got rather lost Jamie on who is saying what! I think it is the sheer amazement that people still don't understand it. Balaboosta- you are not PP so carry on.

One last attempt- talk to your DC as if they are a normal person- they really are! You can speak loudly if you need to- I speak loudly to my mother,she doesn't hear well- you do however need pauses, you do not have to choose your conversation to impress bystanders and you can have silence to let your DC think.

SarahAndFuck Thu 18-Jul-13 11:38:02

Actually I may or may not have been an audience to something like this on Tuesday.

Small child in a trolley said to me "After this we are going to Costa!"

Me: Are you? That's nice.
Child's Mother: For a fruit smoothie. We're having a fruit smoothie aren't we.
Me: That's nice.

It hadn't occurred to me to think the child might be having a coffee, but perhaps I look the type to pump caffeine into a child. Or like I expect everyone else to and judge.

In actual fact it took me until now to think about it as anything else than a child talking to me and a parent joining in.

exoticfruits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:57:36

I really give up!

How on earth is that PP, Sarah. confused

It was a perfectly normal conversation initiated by the child.

I have run out of ways to explain.

SarahAndFuck Thu 18-Jul-13 12:18:27

Give up then. And get over yourself while you are at it.

You don't have to explain anything to me.

I've been fairly light-hearted on every comment I've made in this thread.

The child made an innocent remark. The mother made a point of clarifying what they were having. I thought nothing else off it and said so here. That was my point. Some people might have thought that was PPing by the mother, yes they were going to Costa but only for the fruit smoothies, not for, God forbid, a coffee.

This thread made me smile at the reasons she might have had felt the need to point that out to me.

You're taking this far too seriously, not everyone posting is being quite so rigid. hmm

SarahAndFuck Thu 18-Jul-13 12:51:10

*She might have had to feel the need...

YouTheCat Thu 18-Jul-13 12:54:34

That's not real PP though. Real PP doesn't actually involve the child (other than it being present).

SarahAndFuck Thu 18-Jul-13 13:04:48

YouTheCat Does it matter?

People are talking on a thread, some people are sticking less rigidly to the PP rules than others.

It was a mildly connected story that made me smile as it might or might not have been this woman's way of ensuring she wasn't being judged for buying her five year old a cappuccino. Which is something that never crossed my mind anyway, so she had no need to worry or explain.

It wasn't an invitation for exotic bang on at me because she feels not everyone is listening to her and her rules for what counts as PP and she gives up and has run out of ways to explain to everyone just why she is right and we are wrong.

It's a conversation, not everyone is taking it as seriously as others.

YouTheCat Thu 18-Jul-13 13:14:05

In the grand scheme of things, no it doesn't matter. It can be amusing though when it is taken to extremes.

dontgowadingin Thu 18-Jul-13 13:19:22

I always talk to LO , she is nine weeks. This morning I talked to her about if I wanted to buy tinned herbed tomatoes OR tinned with out. We choose with put. She did look a bit shocked though when I shown her the garlic!

She loves it and totally understands every word I say grin

SarahAndFuck Thu 18-Jul-13 13:27:16

Yes it can, and I've never said otherwise, or claimed that my post was the best (worst) example of PP ever witnessed.

It was just an anecdote and perhaps you had to be there to see how quickly the mother explained and repeated the fruit smoothie bit.

I don't know, maybe it's the heat getting to people, but I thought the response I got was unnecessary and over-reacting to what was said.

SarahAndFuck Thu 18-Jul-13 13:30:43

*over-reacting to what I said.

I have clearly lost the ability to type in the heat smile

exoticfruits Thu 18-Jul-13 13:33:04

I'm sorry to upset you- it was merely frustration that people can't seem to tell the difference between PP and talking to your child. My fault- I just wish that I could get it across but I have run out of ideas it seems that either you get it or you don't. It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things,except that it is sad if it puts people off perfectly normal talking to babies and small children. Very few people PP , which is why it is so funny if you come across it.

MmeLindor Thu 18-Jul-13 13:45:43

[offers chilled fruit smoothies to everyone]

SarahAndFuck Thu 18-Jul-13 13:48:32

I'm not upset. And I get it, I really do, but like I said to Balaboosta, it doesn't matter if anyone else does or not. Just talk to your children and don't worry about anyone else thinks.

If you are PP-ing you are not likely to care if people realise that's what you are up to and if you are just talking and someone judges you wrongly as being a PP-er, well, so what, it's their problem, not yours.

SarahAndFuck Thu 18-Jul-13 13:49:38

Anyway, peace, it's too hot for misunderstandings. smile

dontgowadingin Thu 18-Jul-13 14:42:23

Wow! What a palavaaaaaaa!

exoticfruits Thu 18-Jul-13 16:39:40

I think MN need a new smiley for this weather- ice- creams for all!
Hopefully OP feels free to talk to her baby.

SarahAndFuck Thu 18-Jul-13 16:47:51

Ice-creams or some sort of smiley cocktail with an umbrella in it. And lots of ice cubes.

Or maybe a gin and lime with tonic water and ice in a tall glass that's been slightly frozen first...mmm.

Yes we definitely need more smileys and gin. grin

Things have improved slightly since the school over the road stopped playing Gangnam Style on a loop since 8:30 this morning because it was inflatable sports day.

I've got to say, seven hours of Psy has not helped with my happy mood today smile

MmeLindor Thu 18-Jul-13 19:17:57

Oh, heavens, Sarah. I'd have been over there with a big pair of scissors to sabotage the sound system after an hour.

We definitely need a [icecream] smiley

exoticfruits Thu 18-Jul-13 19:19:35

Agreed-although I think the smiley cocktail with umbrella would be nice-I wonder if MNHQ will read.

MmeLindor Thu 18-Jul-13 19:22:09
exoticfruits Thu 18-Jul-13 19:37:41


SomethingChanged Thu 18-Jul-13 20:47:04

I spend ages chatting to my DS. I think it's quite natural when you're alone with a child. My DH mentioned competitive swing parents the other day though. Don't worry not how hard/high the push is just the chat and how much FUN everyone is having!

Chottie Thu 18-Jul-13 20:50:15

I think it's that 'special voice' which is clear and carrying and means that everyone in a 50 yard has to share the joy.

exoticfruits Thu 18-Jul-13 20:58:23

You can say what you like when alone! PP is only for the benefit of other adults. grin

wickeddevil Sat 20-Jul-13 22:24:50

Well I witnessed a variation of PP today.

DH and I took DD to a stately home / garden this afternoon, and whilst in the toilets I overheard another child say to her mother "it's noisy in here"

"Oh yes, returned the mother, it's always noisy in here"

Good for you if you are regular visitors to the facilities dear. But perhaps you should look at your Daughter when you are pretending to talk to her?

Your triumphant look at me was wasted.

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