to think this was a little OTT?

(111 Posts)
aworkingmummy Fri 04-Apr-14 11:02:49

Picking DS up from nursery last night and another Mum was there collecting her DD. She had her 5 yr old DS with her.
Her DS said "Mummy let's go up the stairs" (there are lifts and stairs).

Now I would have replied along the lines of Yes lets go.

She however said "Now is that a command or a request hmm?"
Her DS "A request Mummy"
Her " And how do we phrase a request properly hmmm?"
Her DS "Mummy may we go up the stairs please?"
Her "Now that's much better, I will listen to you know you are speaking properly"

Me and DH were just stood there looking at each other thinking WTAF??
Then I was thinking - was that OTT or am I just really common to think it was??!

DontCareAboutYourShoes Fri 04-Apr-14 11:03:42

It mi

DontCareAboutYourShoes Fri 04-Apr-14 11:04:11

Try again.

It might be OTT and it might not. You can't judge a child and their parent in such a small snapshot.

Ploppy16 Fri 04-Apr-14 11:05:53

She was wrong anyway, it was obviously a suggestion so that little lecture was a bit pointless...
It was OTT though, unless she was getting fed up with a lack of manners.

aworkingmummy Fri 04-Apr-14 11:08:11

I didn't think I was judging - just making a comment really smile

charlietangoteakettlebarbeque Fri 04-Apr-14 11:08:53

fair play to her, she is teaching her child manners

CoffeeTea103 Fri 04-Apr-14 11:09:34

At least she's teaching her child manners

It was probably for your benefit. grin

Comeatmefam Fri 04-Apr-14 11:11:18


Sounds nuts - and loud parenty

aworkingmummy Fri 04-Apr-14 11:11:22

I've seen both her children nearly every day for a year and they are always really polite. So I suspect lack of manners isn't something she sees regularly from her kids, but I could be wrong.
But yes I was thinking it was a suggestion rather than a command or a request too.

drinkyourmilk Fri 04-Apr-14 11:11:56

I think it depends. If her son has been particularly rude or has been issuing demands of late, she's simply trying to teach manners.

DontCareAboutYourShoes Fri 04-Apr-14 11:12:06

Pretty sure you said you thought it was OTT. That's judging grin

By the time they had had that ridiculous exchange they could have been up the stairs. she sounds hard work.

aworkingmummy Fri 04-Apr-14 11:12:48

I absolutely agree that children need to be taught manners and am very strict with this too, but I did think this was a bit much.

Ploppy16 Fri 04-Apr-14 11:13:24

Thing is if you were reinforcing manners wouldn't you just say something like 'ask nicely please' rather than going into full lecture loud parenting mode? Or have I been doing it wrong?

i would have loved the son to have said 'a command'. grin

All wrong Ploppy, if other people are around. wink

Ploppy16 Fri 04-Apr-14 11:14:55

Too lazy to loud parent...

aworkingmummy Fri 04-Apr-14 11:15:23

DontCareAboutYourShoes fair point grin

Fullpleatherjacket Fri 04-Apr-14 11:15:25

She intended you to notice and marvel and you have.

Game over grin

charlietangoteakettlebarbeque Fri 04-Apr-14 11:15:32

I suspect lack of manners isn't something she sees regularly from her kids

...because she will not allow it?

I hope I can be bothered to do this with my DS when he is old enough.

Late Fri 04-Apr-14 11:15:52

What both *sparklingbrook workingmummy*said!

MalcolmTuckersMistress Fri 04-Apr-14 11:16:07

Fair enough! Nothing worse than rude children. If mine want something no matter what it is they can ask me for it properly. Plus you don't know if she's had a morning with uber brat. I'm with this woman YABU!

PumpkinsMummy Fri 04-Apr-14 11:18:38

it depends on the background I think. At the moment my DS (3) is quite rude and bossy to me and I won't put up with it. I pull him up on it and remind him he has to say "please may I" etc as it's good manners, and it's how we speak to him so we expect the same in return. Perhaps he is similar at home and she is reminding him, may seem pedantic in this instance but she would have to consistently inforce it for it to work. Although as PP pointed out, it was an idea rather than an order so she was wrong too.

Nothing like dampening a child's spirit. His only crime was to suggest going up the stairs. I bet she doesn't let him press the button at a crossing or anything like that.

PumpkinsMummy Fri 04-Apr-14 11:20:06

enforce even.

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Fri 04-Apr-14 11:23:16

It wasn't rude though. If it was 'go up the stairs' as an order then fine, but it wasn't. Let's go up the stairs is perfectly acceptable and doesn't require a please.

aworkingmummy Fri 04-Apr-14 11:30:04

If her son had said "It's a command Mummy, now move that ass and get up those stairs" I think I may have peed myself laughing grin

grin aworking.

The sad thing is that he probably won't even bother suggesting it next time because he knows he will get a lecture.

aworkingmummy Fri 04-Apr-14 11:37:01

I know, it is a bit sad. I like polite children, but I also like to see children with spirit and I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.

passthebuck Fri 04-Apr-14 11:40:34

"they are always really polite. So I suspect lack of manners isn't something she sees regularly from her kids, but I could be wrong."

That's probably because the children's mother is instilling manners into them when she gets the opportunity, as you witnessed last night.

DS2 would have just shouted RACE YOU and gone up the stairs. grin

ItsAFuckingVase Fri 04-Apr-14 11:44:33

Never mind OTT, I think it sounds fucking ridiculous. You can instill manners without sapping the joy and life out of everything.

WilsonFrickett Fri 04-Apr-14 11:47:46

It wouldn't have been my approach, but you don't know what kind of day they'd been having - maybe he'd been a total bossy-boots all day and she was trying to remind him of the probably many conversations they'd had on the subject already.

You say she has polite children so this is obviously working for her.

SaucyJack Fri 04-Apr-14 11:51:31

I think you bothering to post about it is a little OTT in itself......

A woman reminded her child to ask for something properly. Hold the front page!

WorraLiberty Fri 04-Apr-14 11:57:31

I would have cracked up if the kid had said, "Forget it. Lets just take the fucking lift instead" grin

BeverleyMoss Fri 04-Apr-14 12:02:37

But there was nothing impolite about what the child said, nothing wrong with 'Mummy let's go up the stairs' confused

Jesus, let the child be.

I do like to listen in on a bit of loud parenting, though grin

Owllady Fri 04-Apr-14 12:05:03

She's not someone I would like to be friends with

Dizzywhore Fri 04-Apr-14 12:07:16

Dear god she needs to chill the fuck out!

rabbitlady Fri 04-Apr-14 12:09:47

vocab. child has 'command' and 'request' and can use them in context. that mum wins.

andsmile Fri 04-Apr-14 12:15:01

It may sound OTT to you and I OP but if thats how the 'talk' in there family let them get on with it. It is obviously something they have been teaching the boy as he as able to say correctly what it was and correct himself.

BUT I often think I dont speak quite as nice sometimes. I live away from region and my turn of phrase couples with my accent can sound not quite right and of course stands out...<ponders>

diaimchlo Fri 04-Apr-14 12:25:55

"Mummy let's go up the stairs"

This is a 5 year old child suggesting something, not demanding that is plainly obvious.

YADNBU in thinking his mother was being OTT, if she was trying to promote good manners then she should have said something like "what word do we use when we want to do something?" that is enough, not a lecture on request or demand. To me that sounds like a very regimented method of teaching good manners.

diaimchlo Fri 04-Apr-14 12:28:05

Sorry Demand should be command, braincell on holiday confused

Becles Fri 04-Apr-14 12:38:44

YABU - You obviously felt that the mother was showing off or 'stifling' the child. Good on her for taking an opportunity to reinforce her expectations of how her child should speak to her / an adult.

Love the pp who pointed out that her DS can use 'command' and 'request' in context at 5 years old - can yours OP?grin

I think if things like this are OTT to post about there would be no MN Chat left SaucyJack. grin

And definitely no AIBU. grin

as he as able to say correctly what it was and correct himself.

I don't think it was correct. To me it sounded like a suggestion, which wasn't on the list.... grin

And yes, it is perfectly possible to instil manners in children without lecturing them. If these children get these lectures all the time, it's going to sap their spirit.

My DCs were just as polite (and expressive in vocab) at that age (and still are), and they still have their spirit.

Comeatmefam Fri 04-Apr-14 12:55:25

1. I don't want little robots, I want kids.

2. I don't want my kids to say 'may I' instead of (grammatically/semantically correct) 'can I'. What adult says to another 'may we go upstairs'? It's not teaching him the right way to talk, it's teaching him to sound like a weirdo.

3. I don't want to loud parent because I'm not total twat.

MammaTJ Fri 04-Apr-14 12:55:34

It could have been a continuation of an earlier discussion.

HighwayRat Fri 04-Apr-14 13:02:14

I'd have made dd say something like that, but I keep saying 'excuse me' till she asks properly.

I see nothing wrong with what she did, nor do I see it as 'loud parenting' whatever the fuck that is.

TillyTellTale Fri 04-Apr-14 13:13:53

Well, actually, let's seems like an imperative to me, here. (But everyone in this thread so far gets points for putting the apostrophe in there, correctly. Although I doubt you care. grin)

I agree that it's not in the same league as "go up the stairs", so I'd call it a soft command.

My sympathies are with the mother here. She did not tell him to "stop telling me what to fucking do, alright" or anything similar. Which I have heard parents say.

At the moment, I'm finding that past the cute ickle s/he-can-finally-talk stage, young children who don't say please are incredibly wearing, and I am having conversations along the same lines as the one the OP overheard multiple times a day.

But if the OP would prefer, I suppose I can stop acting like an adult and go for the "stop telling me what to fucking do, alright". I mean, if it would make me seem less snobbish, and make me fit in better? Or perhaps I could slap them?

Sorry for placing kindness to my children over fitting in or the all-important English need to "not sound posh". wink

Sounds like my mum.

Ah, memories!

And I have fuck all in the way of manners now. grin

TillyTellTale Fri 04-Apr-14 13:18:51


The sad thing is that he probably won't even bother suggesting it next time because he knows he will get a lecture.

Unfortunately no such luck.

He will either completely forget the preferred formula and ask anyway, or he will remember the preferred formula, and ask to do whatever it is.

CarryOnDancing Fri 04-Apr-14 13:19:47

I actively instil manners but this child wasn't rude. The Mum sounds like a controlling idiot to me.

Respect is earned and all that.


CarryOnDancing Fri 04-Apr-14 13:21:23

grin at the idea Tilly thinks it's a class issue.

TillyTellTale Fri 04-Apr-14 13:23:53


If you think being asked to say "may I" is sapping of spirit, thank god you weren't born with my hearing issues and resulting speech difficulties.

Do you know how fucking mean most children and adults are to a primary and then secondary-aged girl who can't say a few consonants?

As an adult, people say I am very cynical about other people. That's because the majority of people do not pass my "would have bullied a child with speech difficulties without a thought" radar. Statistically, assuming Mumsnet reflects general society, that means about 60% of the people reading this thread are also arses.

kotinka Fri 04-Apr-14 13:24:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I am a bit lost now Tilly. Are we still talking about the boy in the OP?

Mine DDs are twice that age at 10 and 11.
I ask them 'are you telling me or asking me?'... That gets the required 'please'.

PeazlyPops Fri 04-Apr-14 13:28:43

Maybe it's a game they play, sometimes DS (aged 2) and I have odd conversations that eavesdroppers might find odd!

That game doesn't seem very much fun though Peazly. Racing up the stairs=fun. Or racing DS2 while I am in the lift and he goes up the stairs. grin He's 12 now and we still do that.

TillyTellTale Fri 04-Apr-14 13:33:20



It's always a class issue with the English language. "May I" is associated with RP English, a variant associated with the upper classes.

Get a co-operating child with a sense of humour to say "may I" to other children, in a district it's not normally heard. Ask him or her about the reactions they got. You'll hear the word "posh" there, because children are honest about it.

Grown-ups deceive themselves about the depth of their inverse snobbery, and claim that their reaction to distinguishing "may" and "can" is totally nothing to do with class.

What confuses you?

I am responding to this idea that being asked to say "may I" is a bit soul-destroying. I happen to have the misfortune to have a slightly better sense of perspective on what is soul-destroying here, in relation to continual correction of one's speech.

As there are lots of children out there right now with my old problems, perhaps my pain-filled post will make someone out there less of a fucking bastard out there today.

But I'm probably being too optimistic, and someone will sneer about my "isshoes" instead.

She sounds like joyless pain. How is her child going to learn how to have a conversation, or make decisions himself? Because that was in no way modelling a normal conversation and I have no idea why a 5yo needs special permission to use the stairs when leaving a building.

Most of your posts on this thread Tilly. But it's ok. I didn't get involved in the 'may I' discussion.

BeverleyMoss Fri 04-Apr-14 13:36:29

Tilly you seem to be going off on a tangent here, but are you saying you think 60% of MNers would bully a child with speech difficulties?

Also, if we're going to get picky about language, 'Let's' is 'let us' so really the child was pretty much requesting rather than demanding anyway, so yes, the putting in his place by mother was really unnecessary.

Did the boy in the OP have a speech difficulty?

Goldenbear Fri 04-Apr-14 13:39:02

OTT and a little power obsessed I'd say!

Our new neighbours are like this- well the Dad is. We live in the flat opposite on the same floor. Our kitchen is next to the front door, he gets his eldest ready on the landing as they won't have shoes in their flat. If I'm in the kitchen and they're leaving it is one long, monotone announcement of instructions and description on the 'proper' way to do things. He is quite smug aswell and when he saw my two argue he told his son who is 3 that he will be a good older brother and never argue with his little sister. The sister in question is 4 weeks old, my two are 7 (nearly) and 3. I felt like telling him to hold that smug thought.

KatnipEvergreen Fri 04-Apr-14 13:40:29

I've said something similar to a request for "DRINK!" in Father Jack style. "What's the magic word?" "That's not a very nice way to ask, is it?" But "Let's go up the stairs" is perfectly normal and polite.

May I is more technically correct than Can I, but "May we" in the example given sounds tiresome and overly formal.

Imagine you have met a friend and you say "Let's have a coffee", would "Please can I have a coffee with you?" sound polite or weird?
So why should a child's suggestion have to be more formally formulated than a similar adult conversation?

KatnipEvergreen Fri 04-Apr-14 13:41:15

Gah. Authoritarian parents give me the willies.

cory Fri 04-Apr-14 13:41:43

She doesn't seem to understand the difference between a suggestion and a request.

Would she feel the same about a friend who said "let's go to the pub"?

Or does she have a relationship with her child in which every single utterance has to be hierarchical.

I wanted my children to grow up able to handle both request situations and suggestion situations and be able to tell the difference.

KatnipEvergreen Fri 04-Apr-14 13:41:56

Imagine you have met a friend and you say "Let's have a coffee"

Or indeed, "Coffee?"

maddening Fri 04-Apr-14 13:43:16

She sounds tedious

UriGeller Fri 04-Apr-14 13:46:51

The bad mum turned it from being a great idea by an excited, adventurous child to a boring request to which she needed permission. Poor kid.

TillyTellTale Fri 04-Apr-14 13:52:09


Yes, 'let's' is should for 'let us'. Are contractions relevant to whether it's an imperative mood? <general question>

About 60% of the population did. If MN reflects the general population, then yes.

I think mumsnet is actually a biased subset of the population, so it will not be that high. But I am quite certain that the percentage of people on here who would actively "sap a child's spirit" every time they said a single sentence is much higher than it should be.

My point is: being asked to say "may I" is not sapping. And before people start piling-in on a woman who's not even here for "sapping her child's spirit", I want them to all think about how they'd react to someone with speech difficulties. Genuinely think. Not a quick, assumption of "oh I'd never do that".

And then I want them to really, really think about how their children would treat a class-mate.

Here's a test. Ever sneered at Jonathan Ross for those r's? Not his personality or behaviour, but his speech? Most people do.

I appreciate this is a tangent to you. To me, it's an opportunity to educate, and also, if I don't say all this, my blood pressure will be sky high.

TillyTellTale Fri 04-Apr-14 13:52:57

*<genuine question>

aworkingmummy Fri 04-Apr-14 13:53:25

Becles Love the pp who pointed out that her DS can use 'command' and 'request' in context at 5 years old - can yours OP?

Errr - no, but then he is only just 2.

Tilly ^But if the OP would prefer, I suppose I can stop acting like an adult and go for the "stop telling me what to fucking do, alright". I mean, if it would make me seem less snobbish, and make me fit in better? Or perhaps I could slap them?

Sorry for placing kindness to my children over fitting in or the all-important English need to "not sound posh".^

Tilly not at all sure what you are suggesting, this has nothing to do with being snobbish, nothing to do with being an adult, nothing to do with swearing at your children or even slapping them. This is to do with an OTT response to something quite simple.

Your post is implying that this is what I would think more acceptable.
How dare you?

Why don't you start a thread Tilly? You seem to have things you want to discuss that aren't really relevant on this one.

Tilly, I think most people's immediate responses would have been "Yes, let's" or "Not today" or "OK, you go up the stairs and I'll meet you at the top".

I can't see anyone implying that swearing or slapping would be a reasonable alternative to the conversation in the op.

Tilly, I think most people's immediate responses would have been "Yes, let's" or "Not today" or "OK, you go up the stairs and I'll meet you at the top".

I can't see anyone implying that swearing or slapping would be a reasonable alternative to the conversation in the op.

TillyTellTale Fri 04-Apr-14 14:01:09


I dare, by reason of being able to type, and seeing threads like this and this.

Loads of people defending a woman for swearing at her children there.

Perhaps you, as an individual, prefer a bit of light pedantry to swearing at one's children, but it doesn't seem universal here.

No, I am lost again.

TillyTellTale Fri 04-Apr-14 14:04:58

But they are relevant, Sparkling. They are.

And they will continue to be relevant as long as people make the posts they are making here. I understand it's not the free-and-easy sneer at an MC parent issue you want, but you know...

I don't see why I should have to shut up about actual "spirit sapping" because it makes people uncomfortable. I'm at a computer. No-one can do anything to me here for communicating.

aworkingmummy Fri 04-Apr-14 14:04:59

You are sarcastic, pompous and how can a put this? - a pain in the arse.
Stop reading in to things that aren't there, stop assuming what sort of person I am and go and start your own thread and stop haunting this one.

BeverleyMoss Fri 04-Apr-14 14:05:00

I'm lost too, I cannot fathom what it is about this thread that is so offensive to people who have experienced speech difficulties.

It feels like I haven't RTFT but I have. confused

TillyTellTale Fri 04-Apr-14 14:12:27

sparklingbrook Nothing like dampening a child's spirit.
FryFatManiac ^ If these children get these lectures all the time, it's going to sap their spirit.^
Sparklingbrook The sad thing is that he probably won't even bother suggesting it next time because he knows he will get a lecture.

These are the problems in the thread. So much about a woman wanting "may" instead of "let's". Where is this attitude when children with even a tiny problem with R's are getting bullied?

What? confused

BeverleyMoss Fri 04-Apr-14 14:14:39


And in principle I do think it's spirit dampening when a five year old, who has made a perfectly polite request, is reprimanded and made to repose the request. Yes, I do.

TillyTellTale Fri 04-Apr-14 14:17:55

How clearly can I put it?

Having the physical shit being kicked out of you at age 11, by three boys, who you'd never met before because they heard you speak? That's sapping.

Having your friends' parents (they'd be on MN today) giggling at you and asking you to "repeat that" so they can snigger some more? That's sapping.

Being frightened to say anything because your class sniggers at you for saying wope for rope? That's dampening.

I don't doubt what you are saying Tilly but I am struggling to see what any of it has to do with this thread.

aworkingmummy Fri 04-Apr-14 14:20:02

What has this got to do with this thread confused

TillyTellTale Fri 04-Apr-14 14:20:03

Beverley I can assure you that at five, I was fine with being asked to try "may I" instead of can. And I don't think it was because I'd been desensitised to speech criticism. It hadn't started yet for me.

BeverleyMoss Fri 04-Apr-14 14:21:19

sorry are you saying we shouldn't be discussing or criticising the manner in which a parent is 'teaching' their child to speak while there are children being bullied for speech difficulties?

that's a bit like insisting no-one says 'I'm Starving!' when there are actual people starving in the world.

Gruntfuttock Fri 04-Apr-14 14:23:38

Surely the point is that a little boy of 5 saying "Mummy let's go up the stairs" hadn't done anything to deserve a po-faced lecture about commands and requests. It was OTT imo.

TillyTellTale Fri 04-Apr-14 14:26:26

I give up.

It has to do with this thread, because either you are adults without any grips, who truly think the worst that can happen in this area to a child is a bit of may I-ing. In which

Or, this is just the age-old "loud parenting" dislike, and people will do absolutely fuck-all if witnessing a child being bullied. And you will continue to sneer at "Wossy" and simultaneously feel pleased you don't "sap" spirits with the use of a perfectly good modal verb.

aworkingmummy Fri 04-Apr-14 14:28:56

Best news I've had all day is that you're giving up on this thread Tilly grin

BeverleyMoss Fri 04-Apr-14 14:30:02

of course no-one thinks this is the worse thing that can happen to a child,
don't be ridiculous.

We are talking about OTT and for some laughable parenting, not bullying.

Gruntfuttock Fri 04-Apr-14 14:30:26

Sorry, I should have added that I do feel sorry for the little boy because in no way was he being rude or demanding and it seems a bit of a harsh way to be talking to such a young child that hadn't said anything that needed correcting. That little bit of sympathy for the little boy has nothing whatsoever to do with having sympathy for the children bullied for speech impediments. Having sympathy/empathy for one thing doesn't mean you have no sympathy/empathy for anything else that children may go through.

sezamcgregor Fri 04-Apr-14 14:57:00

I think you may be talking about me!!

I make my DS "talk properly" all of the time.

Gruntfuttock Fri 04-Apr-14 15:00:16

sezamcgregor So you would have corrected your DS had he said "Mummy let's go up the stairs" would you? That's talking properly as far as I'm concerned so doesn't need any correcting.

Normalisavariantofcrazy Fri 04-Apr-14 15:02:00


I always say 'erm what words missing' when the kids ask for something and expect the gap to be filled with a please

Joysmum Fri 04-Apr-14 16:06:59

OP as a parent yourself I'd hope you'd understand about contact being important. Perhaps you'd do well to remember that the next time you judge based on a snippet although of course there are many people who love to feel superior and don't judge others as they'd hope to be themselves


BeverleyMoss Fri 04-Apr-14 16:31:50

what's contact got to do with it?

I am more confused than ever now. I'm out.

charlietangoteakettlebarbeque Fri 04-Apr-14 16:42:14

The way this thread has evolved has completely flummoxed me.

I am glad I'm not the only one. I am baffled now. I realise Tilly went off on a tangent due to her own experiences , but now the contact thing?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kotinka Fri 04-Apr-14 17:17:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Comeatmefam Fri 04-Apr-14 18:13:36

So many people have missed the point. Most of us on this thread believe in manners and teaching children manners. What this woman did was get her son to say something in a very odd, stilted way when it was not a situation to need permission. As others have said he needs permission to climb the stairs? Or phrase it in such a way!

ItsAFuckingVase Fri 04-Apr-14 18:14:22

I think Tilly's posts were a perfect example of someone who saps the joy out of other people. Utterly bizzare!

Nothing wrong with teaching your child to talk properly, but there was nothing at all wrong with what the boy said in the first place. And at 5 I'd have thought it a positive thing to be making polite suggestions anyway???

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now