Unconditional parenting peeps - WWYD in this situation?

(224 Posts)
substitutemycokeforgin Mon 11-Feb-13 16:21:43

Or what would you have done, rather ... I know it's trivial in the scheme of things, but had a horrible situation with DD (7) yesterday. We were getting in the car to drive to a country park, she wouldn't put her wellies on as her siblings had done, but insisted on wearing her trainers. Recently she's been finding excuses not to wear her wellies, and wearing her trainers instead in all sorts of unsuitable muddy places and bringing them home a filthy wreck. I've had enough of this - she's not the one who has to clean them.

I said she could wear her trainers in the car but we needed to bring her wellies to wear in the park as it would be muddy. I don't think she really responded at this point, which was probably where the whole thing went wrong - I didn't get express agreement from her beforehand ... Anyway, cue arriving in the park, damp muddy day, and she refused point blank to put on the wellies. I explained that I wasn't prepared to wash muddy trainers yet again, shortening their life, when she has perfectly good wellies. We all wanted to get out of the car and into the park, including her, and I was urging her to think about it and do the right thing. I know she knew that by taking the wellies with us, that meant I expected her to wear them in the park. I tried to establish why she didn't want to wear them - made her legs uncomfortable, apparently, so I suggested getting long thick knee socks to avoid this, but she wouldn't agree to this either. In the end we turned round and drove home. I was calm with her and didn't shout, but made it clear what I expected her to do. But the day obviously didn't end well.

So I think I messed up, and I'm just looking for opinions/advice thrown into the ring here, really, on what I should have done instead without using bribes, punishments, rewards etc. Also, do you lovely UP people know of any dedicated forums for UP/AP parents? Thank you!! thanks

WannabeWilloughby Mon 11-Feb-13 16:41:29

I don't think you messed up at all. I think you handled it well. You explained to DD the reasons for needing her to wear her wellies and she had a choice, you even offered her the option of the socks. I think you did well to follow through on a punishment /going home) and not giving in and letting her wear her trainers at the park.

smile don't be so hard on yourself

I can see that she did not confirm her understanding before leaving for the park but you explained on arrival, that should be enough.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 16:45:03

at 7 if my DS insisted on wearing his trainers I would let him on the understanding that he cleaned them properly himself when we got home. I know at this age that he can be very fixed about what he will and won't wear, mostly to do with friends teasing him, and won't make him do something which clearly upsets him.

Sounds like you did the right thing, though at 7 I would be making her wash the trainers herself. Actions = consequences.

pansyflimflam Mon 11-Feb-13 16:55:48

This makes it sound as if Unconditional parenting is not for me. My children do as I tell them and there is no way I would allow them to ruin good shoes like this. Constantly reasoning and persuading, once you have explained why you are doing something, with a child of that age is exhausting and just allows for unnecessary negotiation. I think I might be a bit old fashioned. The problem here is you have allowed her to get her trainers muddy etc before and therefore have set a precedent, you can hardly moan when she negotiated with you when you use that method with her.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 17:09:40

besides which why worry about her ruining her shoes? At 7 they grow out of them so quickly it hardly matters IMO

Can't the trainers just go in the machine?

GingerbreadGretel Mon 11-Feb-13 17:17:58

Gosh, a tough one. I agree with going home as a consequence where there is only one child, but it is not a brilliant result for the siblings who had done the right thing. That said, my current wellies are really uncomfortable. It is as though they make a vacuum around my leg and it is rather horrible. So it may be worth exploring the comfort factor outside an emotional context?

substitutemycokeforgin Mon 11-Feb-13 17:22:21

Wow, thanks, I was sure someone would come on with a magic formula for suddenly rectifying the situation, that I hadn't thought of! Sometimes I can come up with exactly the right words to say to head off a situation at the pass and smooth things over successfully - which feels just GREAT! - and other times, like yesterday, I'm at a loss as to what I should do. Thanks for the validation.

I did think of saying she would have to clean the shoes but tbh I just didn't want them made dirty again (did I mention they started out being WHITE trainers?!). More efficient to just whack them in the washing machine anyway, which probably wouldn't have taught DD much about the consequences! I can't afford to replace shoes every 5 mins, anyway.

Yes, pansy, I've allowed her to wear them before, but not in that exact situation - I think last time we were at that park it was late summer and very dry, so they weren't going to get muddy anyway. Yesterday was very soggy weather. Or at other times it was DH taking the DC out, I asked him to make sure and take/get her to wear wellies and he forgot, for example.

You said "My children do as I tell them" - how do you get them to do this, then, out of interest?

Still wondering if anyone knows of a dedicated UP forum/secret FB group, maybe? I know there are a few public ones on FB but I don't want my angsty posts about issues with the DC appearing in all my friends' newsfeeds!

i wasn't being sarkie, I was actually trying to give a helpful suggestion that would have avoided all the conflict

substitutemycokeforgin Mon 11-Feb-13 17:29:48

x-posts with freddie - yep, but they just get skanky, worn out and grey earlier than they should.

Gingerbread, I know, I felt sorry for the other DC but tbh they weren't all that bothered that we were going home, for some reason! If they'd started dissolving into loud tears, I'm not quite sure what I would've done ... shock! Yes, we've been googling comfy wellies at home and seem to have reached agreement on a way forward. She apologised for what happened, saying it was her fault. Sometimes she's so sensible and mature, with real insight into what's going on, that my heart just wants to burst (sorry, shameless proud mummy alert). But I just don't think she would have come up to me later and calmly accepted responsibility like this, off her own bat, if I had imposed a bona fide punishment for not putting her wellies on.

they're shoes. for kids. for playing in, aren't they supposed to do that?

namchan Mon 11-Feb-13 17:32:28

So did everyone have to go home because your 7 year old wouldn't cooperate? Genuine question, no sarkiness intended!

namchan Mon 11-Feb-13 17:33:12

X post

I don't understand. Genuinely. She didn't have pink sparkly sandals or purple flip flops or white ballet pumps on her feet. She had trainers on.

Why was that a problem?

substitutemycokeforgin Mon 11-Feb-13 17:38:39

Yes, namchan, which I felt bad about and I know wasn't the ideal solution. I thought of leaving her in the car while we nipped to the playpark bit for a while, but she would have been out of sight so I didn't want to do that.

freddie yes, but (sorry if I'm drip-feeding) the white trainers are also her tennis shoes, which need to stay some modicum of respectable-looking! Can't afford a suite of shoes, one for every situation, so I don't think it's unreasonable to have trainers for dry and clean; wellies for wet and muddy ... grin

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 17:38:50

I would tolerate that behaviour at 3 or 4.
Not at 7. Completely unacceptable. By all going home you are teaching her that the family/world revolves around her.

What I would have done ( I have 4 children) is ask her to wear her wellies from the off. By allowing her to wear trainers in the car she felt she had one over on you which, clearly, she did.

substitutemycokeforgin Mon 11-Feb-13 17:39:32

Very very wet and muddy at the park too, freddie - I'm talking deep squelchy tyre-track up-to the ankle mud.

substitutemycokeforgin Mon 11-Feb-13 17:40:29

I didn't think there would be a problem with wearing her trainers in the car and switching at the park, Auntmaud. Didn't anticipate that.

And that is exactly why I could never ever unconditionally parent.

MortifiedAdams Mon 11-Feb-13 17:41:01

Maybe start adding a few conditions into your parenting.

Takver Mon 11-Feb-13 17:42:13

This isn't an UP answer, more a practical one, but our outings with dd were transformed (really not an overstatement) when I realised that you can buy 2nd hand but perfectly acceptable walking boots very cheap on ebay. Wellies just aren't that comfy IMO unless you have expensive ones (or your feet happen to be the right shape, I guess).

I've always got a leather pair for less than £7 including postage, & dd is 10 now - if you are happy to buy fabric & have a can of the spray you can get them even cheaper.

glasscompletelybroken Mon 11-Feb-13 17:42:28

I'm with pansy - you're the adult and you make the rules. Kids won't always like them but hey - they don't have to! Life isn't all about having your own way or being given 10 good reasons why you can't have your own way. Sometimes we just have to put up with things not being as we want in life and the sooner we learn that the better.

If she was mine she would not have left the house without her wellies on. Problem solved. I wouldn't have shouted about it but would have taken myself off out of the way and said, "when you all have your wellies on we can get in the car and go". If that doesn't happen you don't go. It's hard on the other kids but it's a lesson learnt for everyone.

Peggotty Mon 11-Feb-13 17:44:50

It's supremely unfair that her siblings didn't get to go to the park.

BertieBotts Mon 11-Feb-13 17:49:01

I don't know.

There did used to be a UP support thread sort of thing on here, but every now and again it tails off, feel free to start a new one (or make this into one? grin) Also I find The Green Parent forums are good for UP advice, but they are very lentil-weavery there, so might not be everyone's cup of (organic, green wink) tea!

I think if the trainers have to be kept clean then I wouldn't have allowed them on the trip at all, although when I was a child we often wore normal shoes in the car and then changed into wellies when we got to where we were going, in part so that the muddy wellies wouldn't get mud all over the car on the way home!

It sounds anyway like it sorted itself out in the end and you and her managed to come to a solution, which is great. Every incident doesn't have to be dealt with perfectly with no conflict ever.

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