to think we must all suffer from some extent of parental blindness

(43 Posts)
MummaEss Fri 30-Aug-13 21:29:35

Ever since I have become a school mum there has been the regular conversation about how some mums will not have it that their little darling could ever set a foot out of line. Little angel is clearly a terror but mummy truly and honestly believes they are a sweet, sensitive little soul and if they have come in to any bother it must be the fault of some other child. I understand that this is a common state of affairs.

As time has gone on I have found that the very people with whom I have had this conversation are massively guilty of the same thing. Good friends of mine confide in me that they 'know' that darling child just would not have exhibited the behavior that they have been accused of, when to everyone else it is clear that they did.

I know that we all say (and I think we all think we are being honest) that we know our kids have the potential to be little buggers etc but when it comes to any sticky situation it is often "well, I know little Johnny and he just does not hit/lie/say mean things....".

I have tried to think about this from my own perspective and I would accept that my particular child might potentially be verbally aggressive, shout, intimidate or undermine other children and if they were accused of such behavior I would deal with it appropriately. However, if my child was accused of being physically violent or lying I would be dubious (to be fair I have never actually been called on my kid's behavior but hypothetically this is how I think I would feel).

Am I being blinded by my own maternal defensiveness of my child, just as my friends are of theirs?. I can clearly see some of their children are indeed guilty of minor misdemeanors that they just cannot see. Do we all do this?

OPeaches Fri 30-Aug-13 21:32:19

I don't suffer from this at all. Everyone else I know definitely does though.

Hmm. Wait . . . umm . . .

BrokenSunglasses Fri 30-Aug-13 21:33:16

I think we do all do it to an extent, but I don't see it as a bad thing. It's part of our natural instinct to protect and love our children, and also partly because we know a side to our children that other people don't know when they are still young.

Hassled Fri 30-Aug-13 21:35:47

I don't think we all do this, no. I mean obviously we all look for the best in our children, but I think most of us are realistic about them. As you said - I'd be amazed and doubtful if someone accused one of my DCs of physical violence, say, but more willing to accept the likelihood of lying or teasing; I think most of us know what our child is possibly capable of.

sixlostmonkeys Fri 30-Aug-13 21:36:36

My opinion on this, based on experiences as my ds grew up is that as a mum your first/immediate instinctive reaction is one 'oh no not my child' etc. Some people then react logically within seconds and some never budge from that first reaction (most are somewhere in between).
It's a battle you keep fighting, it's a pain in the butt, It's one of those things smile

MummaEss Fri 30-Aug-13 21:39:28

It just that sometimes when my friends defend their child I believe they are doing so whole heartedly and with genuine conviction, even though everyone else can clearly see that the child is guilty, sometimes having witnessed said behavior first hand.

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 30-Aug-13 21:42:40

Yes I think we do. DD started throwing things at her brother when I'm not watching recently (she is 4.5 and he is 1.5) if she hadn't owned up I really would not have guessed, and would have been sceptical if someone had said! She's just never been particularly violent.

Whereas some of her other behaviour is much more familiar to me!

I'm trying to go into her starting school with an open mind.

RhondaJean Fri 30-Aug-13 21:47:24

I'm afraid I tend to do the opposite and assume mines did something wrong.

I know, I know...

Thaumatrope Fri 30-Aug-13 21:51:20

Mine sometimes behaves appallingly.
But I know him inside out and I can see what triggered it.
I don't waste my breath trying to explain to people, they only care that their Timmy got whaled on [eek]
I spend my energy talking through the triggers with ds and finding ways around them.

However I'm aware that in some people's eyes that makes me a chump.

AgentZigzag Fri 30-Aug-13 21:52:28

If someone accused DD1 of drop kicking a kitten, I'd know, for sure, she wouldn't be capable of doing such a thing.

But then DH was driving by and watched her chuck an empty drinks can into a hedge not long back <fucking furious> and she was on her own, not even showing off in front of any mates.

I would say a lot of accusations about the DC would be met with an automatic defensiveness which I may or may not have had experience of <ahem> which might wear off when they've had chance to think about it.

I thought My parents didn't have a clue about half of what we got up to shock

lljkk Fri 30-Aug-13 21:54:35

My kids disappoint me all the time. That's not normal? confused

AllDirections Fri 30-Aug-13 21:57:40

I think some parents don't just need parent glasses they need bloody great parent goggles.

I've often had parents say to me that their child is no bother at all.......at the same time that I'm looking at said child and thinking 'Reeeaaalllly' hmm

I had a conversation with a dad the other day who said that his childcare provider had had a word about his 8 year old DD swearing at other children on 3 different occasions. He was adamant that she didn't do it and I asked him how he could be so sure. I might think that my DDs are unlikely to do something but I would never say that they definitely wouldn't.

AngryFeet Fri 30-Aug-13 22:01:13

Christ I am the opposite. I love them but am very aware of what little shits they can be. Especially ds, he is a little bit evil.

SHarri13 Fri 30-Aug-13 22:11:53

I'd also say I'm opposite. If I get told 'so and so hit me/ snatched/ wouldn't play' or something similar I'll do a bit of digging and it usually transpires that there were two kiddies at logger heads rather than some devil child hiring my precious, little angel.

My kids are lovely but I know what they're capable of wink

Thesebootsweremadeforwalking Fri 30-Aug-13 22:15:40

I think this might be a little bit of what psychologists call the fundamental attribution error. It means that if I, say, shout at my toddler, it's because of the situation I was in, whereas if I see someone else shout at their toddler it must be because they're a bad parent. I wonder if it's the same effect?

PaperSeagull Fri 30-Aug-13 22:16:22

Yes, I think most parents suffer from this affliction to one degree or another. And not only WRT behavior. I tend to take with a grain of salt (and sometimes more like a spoonful or two of salt) parental gushing about their quite averagely achieving child's giftedness. And then there are the parents who are convinced that their perfectly nice-looking (but not extraordinarily attractive) children are stunning beauties.

In a way it's quite nice that parents tend to see their children as miraculous beings. But being entirely blind to how a child behaves, etc. could have some negative results if not reined in.

Jinsei Fri 30-Aug-13 22:22:45

I know that I see dd through rose tinted spectacles. To me, she is utterly, utterly amazing. I know she isn't perfect, though, and I hope I'm able to be open-minded about things when I need to be. It's hard to know how much I succeed in this, but I reckon I get the balance about right.

raisah Fri 30-Aug-13 22:25:59

My cousin has a bad case of this blindness & her dc terrify me. I love her but avoid seeing her if I can help it because her kids are violent, malicious & sociopathic like their dad. She thinks its perfectly ok for them to smash a kids head against a wall & to wave knife at your face. She thinks "rules are limiting and kids figure out how to behave eventually by themselves anyway." She will have a shock once they hit the teenage years is all I can say.

I don't. I know when my kids are arseholes. They are brilliant obviously but not perfect. My friend can't see it at all. Makes it difficult to hang out.

pianodoodle Fri 30-Aug-13 22:32:25

When DD was a baby I overheard another woman in the doctor's waiting room say to her DH "ours is the cutest baby here"

I don't think she meant to be overheard though and she looked mortified when she saw me looking at her!

For a second I was furious but then just smiled and thought "well actually I was thinking exactly the same about my DD anyway" grin

Naturally I knew she was wrong anyway. My baby was definitely the cutest one there by miles... naturally smile

I know my DD is a little hellion. That's one of the reasons we love her. I had a lovely day today in soft play when she managed to get on the bouncy castle with two other rough, tough, fearless DC with parents who knew who they were. We referred to it as Baby Thunderdome grin

She frequently gets into issues with DC who are quiet, biddable but sneaky. She will end up snatching a toy which a child has taunted her with for ages. Pretended to share, then not, kind of thing. The quiet child will cry and DD will get the blame. Meh.

BackforGood Sat 31-Aug-13 00:05:07

I don't think we are all like this at all. Over the years I've had many a conversation with teachers, leaders, and friends where I've been the one being honest about my ds, and they are all telling me they don't see that side of him at all..... maybe it depends on your dc?

5madthings Sat 31-Aug-13 00:11:05

Nope of anything I am the opposite, when mine come running and say 'so and so just...' I say and what did you do first/what was happening a so know it's often six of one ams half a dozen of the other.

My ds3's teachers never believe me when I ,ention some of the behavior we get at home and they are all well behaved when oit with other people I get comments about how delightful and polite and lovely they are. I try to remind myself it's good they save the bad behavior for me!

My kids are great, but they are kids and I am under no illusions that as they are children they won't always behave perfectly. Thankfully most parents I know are the same,e but there is always one who thinks the sun shines out of their child are.

Sugarbeach Sat 31-Aug-13 00:20:33

Nope, don't think so....the reverse in fact, teachers and other people always says how lovely, well mannered dd is and I'm always saying she becomes quite the little monster when she is with me. God, that almst sounds smug although i don't mean it that way.

She's an only, but is very social and loves playing with other children, and I don't know if part of it Is because I said to her very early on that if she doesn't behave people will not want to invite her back for play dates, or maybe it just is her nature, who knows.

Secretswitch Sat 31-Aug-13 00:34:49

I am always casting a beady eye towards my children as I know they are Satan's minions.

AllDirections Sat 31-Aug-13 09:05:49

Nope of anything I am the opposite, when mine come running and say 'so and so just...' I say and what did you do first/what was happening a so know it's often six of one ams half a dozen of the other.

I'm exactly the same and it's the way it should be. I get fed up with parents claiming their children's innocence when there's been a scuffle or a squabble. And don't get me started on 'he/she doesn't lie'. I KNOW they do.

carabos Sat 31-Aug-13 09:41:57

My friend has a DS who gives her a lot of trouble. He's always on report at school, he's feral, he gives her constant back chat and he's a bully.

Not only does she do nothing about it, she pretty much does the hands over ears la la la thing whenever she is tackled about him. The latest incident of bullying was reported to her by the school. Her reaction was to ring up the parents of the bullied child and tell them to tell their child to get a grip and stop being a victim. And she told them that they were over-reacting, their DS is ginger and everyone knows that ginger kids get picked on - get over it.

This is a highly educated professional woman, wealthy with a lovely home and DCs in private education. She firmly believes that her job as a mother is to protect her DCs and always take their side, no matter what. She doesn't get that there's a difference between loving them no matter what and defending them, no matter what. I find it difficult to be around her.

BalloonSlayer Sat 31-Aug-13 09:52:53

I sort of have the opposite as I have caught my kids out lying outrageously and generally taking the piss - yet teachers are always telling me how delightful they are.

So I feel I know their faults well. BUT on the other hand I totally agree with you OP, I think parents miss their DCs faults, often in a spectacular way. So I worry about what I've missed, that other parents can see and are thinking "why can't she see that her kids are . . . "

pictish Sat 31-Aug-13 10:00:07

I know of what you speak, but like 5mad - I'm not one of these, as I always wonder what my kid did, and how they were involved. I wouldn't put anything past my lot. Now...they are all 'good' and other than ds1 once, have never been accused of anything or been in any trouble...but I still keep a beady eye, because that could all change in the blink of an eye.

It would be unrealistic to imagine otherwise.

pictish Sat 31-Aug-13 10:01:55

I do know a handful of parents who suffer from the blindness you describe though - I would be embarrassed to be like them, so I am very consciously NOT.

SlobAtHome Sat 31-Aug-13 10:04:25

I genuinely don't. I know DS can be a little shite when he wants. Don't know where he gets it.

<wanders off innocently whistling>

enjolraslove Sat 31-Aug-13 10:09:28

I see it sometimes from the other side - I'm a teacher and I deal with a lot of behaviour issues. I lose count of the number of times kids do something silly, own up, take the consequences- all good, calm, no hard feelings etc. I call the parents to let them know what has happened and the outcomes, ( I always stress the honesty/reasonableness when caught as well). Parent tells me I must have the wrong kid!! I stress the fact the kid admits it, parents are still very unwilling to accept. I have to say my feeling is this is because the kids in these situations never admit anything when at home so parents just can't imagine them acting that way. Makes me very sad that the kids are able to be more honest at school than at home, due I think to more predictable and less horrific outcomes. Particularly see it with teenage boys whose mothers cry if they do something and wail about 'woe is me, why is my life so hard etc, all I've done for him.....' And with the girls it is the fathers who still think their daughters are six and hate the idea they might be growing up! Again cue much dramatics.

jamdonut Sat 31-Aug-13 10:29:19

I'm afraid I am of the "I believe what I'm told" brigade,although, mostly my children's teachers etc have told me that they are very well behaved and polite! <stealth boast,lol grin>

As school staff,we see your children and how they behave away from you. It is not always the same behaviour that they display for you. Parents have been told their child is well behaved at school and they can't believe it and say they are a problem at home. Or, there are the parents,as others have said, who insist that their child could not have lied/stolen/bullied others/damaged school property etc,etc,because "they are just not like that". Well,we have 6 hours a day with them,5 days a week, and I can assure you that they definitely are like that!!

tallulah Sat 31-Aug-13 11:09:37

When my older children were little they fought all the time and when one said "DS hit me" I couldn't work out who was telling the truth. My youngest, aged 2, came to me with genuine tears and told me that her brother had hit her. As DS was 18 yo at the time and minding his own business watching the TV I knew she'd made it up. But it was so convincing and she was so young shock

I tend to always assume that one of mine is guilty of whatever they've been accused of blush. Think I've got my goggles on back to front.

AgentZigzag Sat 31-Aug-13 11:22:33

It's one thing to be realistic about what your DC are like, but I'm not sure about the competitive 'my little shit is shittier than yours'.

'Nope of anything I am the opposite, when mine come running and say 'so and so just...' I say and what did you do first/what was happening a so know it's often six of one ams half a dozen of the other.'

Or the not getting involved either, I don't believe in micromanaging them, but sending them off with six to one half a dozen to another is horrible when you're a DC. A lot of the time it's not that they're as bad as each other, and you can miss some important stuff (to the DC) just brushing them off.

Siblings are different to their friends, but if they were being bullied at school they need to be listened to, not told they're not important enough for an adult to give their take on it.

BoozyBear Sat 31-Aug-13 11:22:47

i work on the '6 of one, half a dozen of the other' principle if people complain about my kids.

I will deal with the bad behaviour, but i can guarantee 99% of the time if one of mine has hit/kicked/whatever another child, there is usually a good reason for provocation.

Also, if another kid has hurt one of mine, my first question is usually 'and what were you doing when they did it?'

I have no illusions on them being perfect, DD is a bit feisty and DS is being assessed for HFA because of some behavioural problems and i'm trying to teach him to walk away rather than react.

BoozyBear Sat 31-Aug-13 11:26:07

Agent, there is a difference between knowing it not all black and white and ignoring bullying.

If the same name of another child crops up more than a couple of times in regards to hitting/being hit i will query it with the teachers and ask them to keep an eye to see who/what is the instigator in case there is something odd going on.

Shellywelly1973 Sat 31-Aug-13 11:28:51

One of the reasons i think people dont acknowledge their dc bad behaviours, is that our dcs behaviour is seen as a reflection on our parenting.

I have 5dc. Older 2 dc are very successful. 3rd dc has never been in trouble at school & is a good student. 4th dc has ASD & ADHD. His behaviour is extreme & challenging to say the least!! I've had teachers say they can't believe dc4 comes from the same home & family! 5th dc is currently being assessed for ASD. So only time will tell!

AgentZigzag Sat 31-Aug-13 11:35:35

'One of the reasons i think people dont acknowledge their dc bad behaviours, is that our dcs behaviour is seen as a reflection on our parenting.'

I've just posted that exact thing on another thread a second ago, but as the opposite, talking about a woman who constantly goes on about how people love her DD.

But how will you know what's going on Boozy, if you send them off with a flea in their ear before they've had chance to tell you?

The ins and outs of DC's friendships can be tedious to listen to (and I'm not saying I was/am overly involved in DD's), but they have to learn how to negotiate the difficult bits, and sending out a generic 'go away and play nicely' doesn't help.

TwasBrillig Sat 31-Aug-13 11:46:09

Agent I'm with you there. I think its easier just to send siblings off to 'sort it out' but I really want to avoid falling into that pattern too often if I can. I grew up feeling very unlistened too (and abused by my brother but that's another story) and I think its important children are heard. Just because something seems obvious, trivial or unimportant to us doesn't at all mean it is to them.

I've bought the sibling rivalry book by the author of how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk and keep meaning to read it!

AgentZigzag Sat 31-Aug-13 11:52:41

'I grew up feeling very unlistened too (and abused by my brother but that's another story)'

Same here.

They can seem insignificant to adults worrying about how to pay the mortgage, but in a child's world they're not (and looking back on some of mine, they were serious, enough for me to take further action if a child told me that had happened to them).

5madthings Sat 31-Aug-13 13:42:53

realising that my children are just children and therefore not perfectly behaved does NOT mean i dont listen to them or believe them.

i always listen to them and acknowledge their feelings but along with that i can try and find out if anything led up to an incident and can talk to them about their behaviour. i have how to talk to kids will listen and also siblings without rivalry. i think they are both by the same author? anyway you can listen to your child and understand and respect their feelings whilst still looking at the bigger picture and realising your own child was not without fault.

that works both ways of course so if i hear that my child has been badly behaved i will lisren to their sisr of events and if necessary i will speak to the teachet or if its a good friend and it hapoened outside of school i will speak to the parent etc.

with five we do get the usual sibling bickering. on the whole they are pretty good and i wont tolerate name calling, winding each other up or any kind of violence but as i dont have eyes in the back of my head i dont see everything. i will always acknowledge their feelings and stress the importance of trying to think how others feel. our main rule is to treat others as you wish to be treated yourself and if i cannot get the bottom of who did what (amongst my lot) i will just stress what is acceptable behaviour and acknowledge how each child feels etc.

i dont micromanage but i dont ignore either. i will always listen and its certainly not competitive 'my child is a little shit' because they are not. they are very good and i get lots of positive comments about them and their behaviour but i am still aware that they are children and they are therefore learning. mine seem to save their bad behaviour for at home anyway.

i am guiding them to help manage friendships and fallings out but i do stress to them.that they cannot control others behaviour but they can control their reaction and their behaviour. i acknowledge they are young and learning and listen to their feelings and i can understand why they reacted or behaved a certain way.

there is no sending them away with a flea in their ear or dismissing their troubles. there is understanding and listening but still being aware of the bigger picture.

AllDirections Sat 31-Aug-13 14:10:04

Well said 5madthings

Just because some of us are realistic about our children's behaviour (which is generally normal childhood behaviour) doesn't mean that we're ignoring them and sending them out to be bullied.

As always there is a line inbetween the two extremes of micromanaging behaviour and ignoring children. Children need to be able to deal with minor issues themselves and I often think that we had it easier because it happened for us whilst we played out as children. Parents rarely got involved unless it was something serious so we learnt to deal with stuff ourselves.

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