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

Hmm, I do rather think that the main aim of the day was to have a nice day out with all your DC's - so kind of agree with you if you're thinking it's a bit of a shame the footwear problem couldn't be overcome.

Perhaps one way of thinking about it in terms of unconditional parenting would be to be more accepting that the wellies might be really uncomfortable for the child. There could be other alternatives to explore eg some old/ 2nd best non-white trainers or some other type of boot such as walking boot style footwear might be more acceptable to her ?

Or sounds like you may have already found some more comfy wellies ?

HTH a bit !

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 17:50:55

glass yup, pretty much the same here. Life is not unconditional, that's not how it works. Best to learn that pretty early on,I'd say.

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 17:52:41

Wasn't really solved, was it? The trip was abandoned so the child spoilt the day for her siblings and " won". How is that a good solution? confused

Takver Mon 11-Feb-13 18:02:21

I don't do unconditional parenting, more 'pick your battles' parenting, and I have to say for me insisting on wellies wouldn't be a fight worth having.

(I'd have the fight earlier in the process and wouldn't pay out for pale coloured trainers - dd is trained to pick black or even better mud brown everything now grin )

zeeboo Mon 11-Feb-13 18:12:32

Barefoot wellies are the answer! Far more comfortable than regular wellies, or just buy some primark/shoe zone trainers for muddy wear and bung them in the machine every now and then.
I think your insistence on the shoes staying clean sparked a needless confrontation tbh. If you know a child hates wellies then you find alternative footwear that they will wear instead and at a charity shop or on eBay that will cost you under a fiver so less expensive than buying a pair of wellies you'll never use.

Mind boggles @ "barefoot wellies" - they sound fun if rather squelchy grin

Polygon Mon 11-Feb-13 18:27:04

I think in the situation, what you did was sensible. She found the wellies too uncomfortable, neither of you could find a solution to that problem. You found the trainers too expensive to destroy in mud. So you had to go home. As you say, it´s a good job that the other dcs didn´t have a melt down! smile
It does sound like some other cheap shoes/trainers which can get filthy or walking boots or comfy wellies is the way forward!

Polygon Mon 11-Feb-13 18:28:54

X posted with Juggling - that made me think of the poem: "Mud is very nice to feel, all squishy squash between the toes" ... I can imagine a hilarious solution to the problem for all dc - but can only imagine myself actually doing it on a warm day!

substitutemycokeforgin Mon 11-Feb-13 18:45:34

If you know a child hates wellies then you find alternative footwear - well, yes, I do know now, in no uncertain terms! Great idea, the PP who suggested cheap walking boots from eBay - really helpful suggestion and I now have a couple of pairs on my watch list.

Auntmaud yes, I agree it wasn't the best solution. Tbh I was a bit baffled that the other DC didn't melt down, but just decided to hit the ground runnning! It was late afternoon and I'd only planned on going for an hour, however - not as if it was a whole day out spoiled. Think things would have to have been handled differently if it had been a daytrip.

However, Auntmaud "Life is not unconditional, that's not how it works. Best to learn that pretty early on,I'd say." Utter rubbish grin, and if you come onto a thread that has specifically asked, in the title, for opinions from UP parents, prepare to have your old-fashioned reactionary parenting techniques taken to bits, thanks smile. This bollocks maxim, that children somehow require pain, punishment and confusion in order to be prepared for the "real world" needs blowing out of the water pdq. HTH!

substitutemycokeforgin Mon 11-Feb-13 18:49:53

Oh, and thanks, Bertie, for pointing me to the Green Parent - I like them on FB already, didn't realise they had forums. smile

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 19:02:11

Yes , of course, not allowing kids a free rein equates to, " pain, punishment and confusion".
Nice extrapolation there! grin

Mine have been raised with natural consequences AND firm boundaries. Not once has one of mine ruined a day out for the others.

Coconutty Mon 11-Feb-13 19:06:04

I'm a bit dopey, what does Unconditional parenting mean?

How is it pain punishment and confusion to say "put your wellies on or you won't get to the park"

confused

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 19:11:52

grin Freddie .

Because making other children miss out is kind, fair and not remotely confusing. confused.

HairyPotter Mon 11-Feb-13 19:18:51

Tbh, I would have stayed in the car with her and dh would have gone to the park with her siblings. I feel she 'won' by not doing as she was asked. I would not have let her antics spoil everyone else's day.

I know you said that they weren't bothered, but that's hardly the point is it?

givemeaclue Mon 11-Feb-13 19:21:43

Am confused as to why your heart would burst with pride at your child spoiling a day out for whole family.

What is unconditional parenting?

howdoyouknowjenny Mon 11-Feb-13 19:21:45

I haven't come across this term before and not sure I understand fully. You don't punish or bribe? But didn't going home from the park because dc didn't put wellies on act as a punishment?

Not meaning to inflame, I'm quite interested and would like to understand.

givemeaclue Mon 11-Feb-13 19:23:08

Yes, the whole family was punished, and dc gets new boots -result for dc!

exoticfruits Mon 11-Feb-13 19:24:58

This is where I don't agree with it-it falls down with more than one child. She wouldn't put the wellies on and had the consequences which was fine IF she was your only BUT her siblings did it exactly as they were asked and yet their time was spoilt. This is simply not fair.
I would have just told her -'you have a choice-I will count to 3 and you will change into wellies or I will do it for you'.
Or 'you have the choice-you wear your trainers and YOU clean them as soon as you get home and I want ALL the mud off them.
As it is I would get them all together and explain how she spoilt the day and next time she agrees first or you find someone to leave her with while the rest of you go.
The siblings have to know that you will not let them down like that. They seem to be very nice-mine would have given her hell!

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 19:25:38

So not so much Unconditional Parenting as Unfair Parenting, then? grin

crazymazydazy Mon 11-Feb-13 19:26:16

I agree with Auntmaud & Hairy. Guessing I'll be shot down in flames for this, but I sometimes worry that children having to make their own decisions about so many things can cause them anxiety. I do think it can be a relief to them if adults just say what's what sometimes (obviously not always).

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 19:26:33

Could you not leave her in the car with her book, and a phone and say "ring when you feel like joining us and we'll come and get you?"

exoticfruits Mon 11-Feb-13 19:27:05

But didn't going home from the park because dc didn't put wellies on act as a punishment?

It was a great punishment -but the ones who did as they were told was punished too! It is like keeping a whole class in at playtime because a few children were badly behaved-extremely unfair.

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 19:28:09

Mine get a simple choice, wellies or barefeet. Funny, wellies always win.

exoticfruits Mon 11-Feb-13 19:29:01

So not so much Unconditional Parenting as Unfair Parenting, then?

In a nutshell! The strongest willed rules the roost -and the amenable and cooperative give way.

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