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.

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"


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.

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 19:32:55

So, all children are equal but some are more equal than others? hmm

AllDirections Mon 11-Feb-13 19:33:13

People have suggested that should I leave places if my DD3 kicks off about something because that's what they would do if their DC misbehaved.

I will not do that to my other DC. There has to be another way.

IsabelleRinging Mon 11-Feb-13 19:34:14

angry PUT YOUR WELLIES ON NOW!!!!!! angry is quick and works for me and then we can get on with the rest of the day and everyone will be happy in the end.

ErikNorseman Mon 11-Feb-13 19:37:42

Hilarious! You refuse to put your foot down in case you confuse or cause pain to your child? Blimey. Boundaries and consequences are Good Things, or so my reactionary self believes. And before you get stroppy, this is an open forum and you have a massive audience here, less than 1% of whom, I'd guess, do 'UP'.

exoticfruits Mon 11-Feb-13 19:37:57

Quite honestly, as a sibling, I wouldn't care what method you used as long as we got the trip promised! From their point of view ' I will give you some chocolate if you put them on would be better'! I don't expect they cared if she put them on because she felt it was sensible or whether she put them on for a reward-as long as she put them on! Once you have more than one child you have to think of them all-not the one who is difficult.

exoticfruits Mon 11-Feb-13 19:40:11


Works for me too-life is too short to debate all these things. (and terrible boring for the siblings).

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 19:40:36

Years ago I had a friend with one child who did this UP stuff, honestly, it was hilarious to watch.
She used to let her wander to the shops rather than ride in the buggy, take an hour over breakfast, spend 40 mins arguing about shoes etc. No conflict, all calm.

Then she had another baby. shock grin

Raise hand. Me too. I'm a do as you're told kind of a parent. I find that it sets them up much better for the real world. And school and clubs and things where they are expected to conform to a standard of behaviour.

exoticfruits Mon 11-Feb-13 19:42:08

Once you have another baby it is unworkable. If you do try and work it then one child gives- in all the time.

exoticfruits Mon 11-Feb-13 19:43:31

If they are at school and told to put their wellies on-they put them on! It is not up for debate. Much better to get them used to it. Funny how lots of DCs are fine at school and just a problem for the parents.

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 19:45:05

I would have said, "Oh well, you stay in the car then, because it really is wellies weather and the other dc are wearing theirs." And then left her in the car and let the others have a run around, but not gone too far from the car.

Then later I would have had a chat about it and tried to find out exactly what the issue was, and discuss what we might do in future.

On bad days however I would have gone purple and bellowed.

The consequence I would have chosen is that she washes the shoes (by hand, in a bucket) to get the mud off, and that the next pair she has are in a darker colour.

How many other DCs had their day spoilt?

AllDirections Mon 11-Feb-13 19:49:56

I'm in the PUT YOUR WELLIES ON NOW!!!!!! gang.

But I would probably have let her wear the trainers.

LarkinSky Mon 11-Feb-13 19:52:56

OP what is unconditional parenting in your book?

Honest question from someone who reacted to a variety of naughty behavior from 4 year old DD1 today by telling her off and confiscating her favorite toy for a few hours, until she saw the error of her ways and apologized. My baby DD2 has also had a bad day, crying lots, not helped by DD1 waking her repeatedly.

I'm now sat with a well earned glass of wine wondering if I could/should have handled today differently...

5madthings Mon 11-Feb-13 19:53:00

What hully said. I would have left her in the car and made sure the others got to play.

As an asidd my ds2 has taken against wellies and with all the snow etc our walk to and from school has been a nightmare. He point blank refused to put his wellies on on the ealk home. As result his trousers and shoes were filthy. I made him wash his trousers by hand in the sink and clean his shoes. He made them.dirty so he could clean them, actions have consequences.

Its highly unfair for siblings to miss out because one child misbehaves and if repeated is likely to cause massive resentment and sibling issues.

Solopower1 Mon 11-Feb-13 19:55:34

This didn't sound like it was about the wellies to me - more about testing boundaries.

So you win, other children watch and learn, unwilling welliewearer apologises afterwards ... job done.

Unless it happens again.

(But I don't know how it counts as 'unconditional' parenting, tbh. Someone explain?)

Solopower1 Mon 11-Feb-13 19:56:19

Or attention seeking. In which case, give her the attention she seeks and find out what it's all about, is my opinion.

I just realised. My mother did this unconditional parenting to my brother. I call it indulging and spoiling. And it has made him an entitled unpleasant adult. Not that it will in the OPs case or does in every case. But it has in his.

Solopower1 Mon 11-Feb-13 19:57:25

My daughter wore her wellies to bed for several weeks when she was little. Then one night she didn't.

ubik Mon 11-Feb-13 19:59:48

I would have made her put her boots on. She would have done as she was told or there would have been consequences.

ubik Mon 11-Feb-13 20:01:09

and other children watch and learn how to get mummy's attention and piss off their siblings - everyone's a winner,

Chandon Mon 11-Feb-13 20:01:18

My DS1 had a big problem with wellies, it was not him being difficult for the hell of it, those cheap wellies can be really uncomfortable and painful if you have sensitive feet.

Last time Dh made him wear them ( following the PUT THEM ON!!! Method) DS came home crying, and had chilblains ( wellies are no good for keeping feet warm).

I have read about nonconditional parenting, and follow some of its ideas.

In our case, DS. Had a point as the wellies hurt him.

A child is not always wrong just because he is a child.

In your case, OP, I would sit down with DD and ask her why exactly she objects to the wellies. say yu understand. Then ask her to unders tand why ou are against the tainer. Then figure out a compromise together ( like buying softer bad weather boots). It is not about "winning", it is about getting to the root of the problem and finding a solution. If a child is just being difficult and in a bad mood, I mighto well join the shouters though!

All the people wading in, who clearly are anti-unconditional parenting, why are you here, actually? does it make you feel superior?

What about the other children? What did they learn?

ubik Mon 11-Feb-13 20:08:32

I'm not anti-unconditional parenting, I just think it's common sense that ywhen ou ask a child to do something as simple as wear their wellies - after asking what the oroblem is and trying to sort it out - that they do it.

Because it's not all about them. They need to learn that their siblings who are perhaps behaving well, want to go out and enjoy themselves and hang about why you reason with one child ad nauseum.

I'm not an authritarian but sometimes - especially in a large family - everyone just needs to do as they are told so the family can get on with having a nice time.

Solopower1 Mon 11-Feb-13 20:08:45

Genuine question from me. I have never heard of it.

Yama Mon 11-Feb-13 20:11:42

I can see why you'd be proud that your dd apologised.

Don't be too harsh on yourself. Evaluating how we handle things is good and allows us to progress.

Why don't you ask your dd how she thinks you should have dealt with the situation today?

crazymazydazy Mon 11-Feb-13 20:24:25

Several times in this thread UP supporters have said how they do the whole patient negotiating and reasoning etc with the DC, and then they finish by saying that if it doesn't work or the DC is just being "difficult", they resort to shouting! What message does that give to the children? confused

ConstantCraving Mon 11-Feb-13 20:36:24

I think the OP was asking other UP parents what they would have done - NOT asking for opinions on UP parenting....

AuntPepita Mon 11-Feb-13 20:44:23

BertieBots always gives good UP advice.

Try Naturalmamas if you want more supportive posts and answers to your actual question, rather than people who don't understand UP ripping it to shreds. hmm

Fishlegs Mon 11-Feb-13 20:48:24

I think I would have just weighed up whether it was worth taking everyone home again for the sake of a pair of trainers. The message you were modelling was 'If things don't go your way, have a strop and pack everything up and go home,' thus ruining everyone's enjoyment.

I think as the adult when you're backed up in a one to one battle of wills like this, sometimes you need to let things go and say 'ok, but I'm not happy about it.'

If it was me, I'd probably have asked the other kids what they wanted to do, and we'd have had a discussion and gone from there.

It sounds like you have had a good chat with dd since and moved forward. Often these situations blow up in our house when we think of something as trivial but is a big deal to the kids (ie physical discomfort from ill fitting shoes).

And for those who don't think consensual parenting is doable with more than 1 child, it is, it's just a bit more challenging! Jan Fortune Wood had 4 children I think.

exoticfruits Mon 11-Feb-13 20:54:12

The other children watched and learned that if you make enough fuss you get your own way.
The other UP parents haven't answered because if you have 3 children you can't let 2 take the consequences for behaviour that had nothing to do with them. Someone has to give in - and the quiet, thoughtful peacemaker gives in and the selfish, wilful one, who can make the most noise wins.

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 20:58:53

I would really like to know what the proper UP approach to this would be- it seems insurmountable- but presumably there is a way through that doesn't man the other two lose out on their play?

frantic53 Mon 11-Feb-13 21:00:17

I clicked on this because I didn't know what, "unconditional parenting" was and was curious (btw what does "AP" stand for?)

I don't agree with UP (now I know what it is) but I think most parents try to discuss and reason rather than lay down rules if possible, just that sometimes, in my experience, it just isn't possible without someone else suffering.

FWIW I think the main mistake you made was to leave the discussion about why your dd doesn't want to wear her wellies until an occasion arose when you wanted her to wear them. If, as you say, she has made excuses not to wear them before and you are fed up of cleaning them, surely the time to have had that conversation was the last time you cleaned them? Why leave it until the 11th hour as it were?

Also, has she had these wellies long? If so, did she used make a fuss when they were new? Maybe she's just growing out of them? If they are new, she supposedly tried them on when they were bought and didn't say anything then? So she had a role in choosing them? Does UP parenting not have any role in teaching the, "we all have to live by our own mistakes" life lesson? confused

Solopower1 Mon 11-Feb-13 21:01:59

I think they learned that if you don't have the right footwear you don't go to the park.

The fact that the OP says they didn't mind much - does that mean they are used to this sort of thing? In other words that they were resigned to it? Does the 7-year-old often make a fuss about things?

colditz Mon 11-Feb-13 21:05:17

If she has recently been objecting to wellies, saying they hurt her legs, why haven't you replaced them? If you aren't going to be the sort of parent who teaches a child to tolerate discomfort, you will either have to tolerate her complaining about discomfort or deal with the source of the discomfort.

colditz Mon 11-Feb-13 21:07:40

Ohhh goodness, hands up who knows a child who gives a crap if his or her mother is happy, as long as they get their own way?


5madthings Mon 11-Feb-13 21:08:18

I'm quite surprised the other children didn't mind. Mine would have been very upset. I would have left non welly wearing chilkd in the car or I would have let her worn her trainers but made he clean them herself.

Solopower1 Mon 11-Feb-13 21:15:30

Colditz, funnily enough, ime if a child feels they have got their own way by behaving badly, they don't feel good about it. They are just like us. Most of us don't actually enjoy behaving badly! Making people unhappy? Do we?

WowOoo Mon 11-Feb-13 21:21:43

I had a similar situation. (don't do UP, I just try to be fair)
He wore the trainers in mud and wet puddles. They are now ruined. All my fault for not insisting on the wellies. And perhaps the brutal way I washed them.

As I've told him I can't afford any more trainers, he's agreed to wear really thick socks with his wellies.
He's also agreed that he's going to look stupid when the sun is shining smile

Lesson he's learnt is: You cannot wear your trainers in the mud if you want to keep them.
I've learnt: Insist on wellies in mud zones.

exoticfruits Mon 11-Feb-13 22:11:23

I still think it spoilt the time for the other DCs if they left her in the car and had to play near- it is relying on the fact that DC will want to get out and join in- there is nothing to say they would.
Some DCs don't care how they get the attention Solo, as long as they get it. I know one who actually said they didn't mind if it was for good behaviour or bad behaviour- what they hated was being ignored.

colditz Mon 11-Feb-13 22:11:59

How do they know they are behaving badly enough to genuinely upset their mother if their mother does nothing to prevent the occurrence?

I felt guilty for bad behavior T ten, eleven and twelve, at seven I genuinely didn't care what my mother's opinion was because what mattered to me was doing things my way.

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 22:19:57

If you know your own child, you know if they are being arsey (because in a bad mood), or have a genuine, if mystifying, grievance, and work with either accordingly?

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 22:21:22

I must be the softest parent ever, DS1 recently left his coat at Beavers. He would NOT wear his other coat as 'Bob has that coat and I'm not his friend, and Bill will laugh at me' after much coaxing and guessing. He wore a body warmer and hat in freezing weather and I went out and bought him another coat. I will not make my DC unhappy for the sake of it. One coat or one pair of trainers is not worth it.

Looks like I am an UP simply by virtue of taking the easiest path.....I am certainly not proud to say 'what I say goes' because it doesn't. My eldest DC has his own mind even though it may seem silly to me.

And colditz if I show I am unhappy then DS1 is very aware and really does give a shit. But he is a lovely child and appreciates a bit of give and take

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 22:23:32

quite Hully if he is being an arse for the sake of it then I deal accordingly but if he has a real issue and often he will have, I won't make him do something just because I am the parent

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 22:24:14

Or, funnys, those things matter as much (if not more) to them as they do to us. And we should understand and respect that as we would an adult who won't wear the trousers that maake them look "fat" etc

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 22:32:43

that's exactly it Hully. I know if DS1 has a near on tantrum about a certain coat then it matters hugely to him and I won't make him upset and miserable just so that I can 'win'. I do respect him and that is the key I think

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 22:34:13


we're so right and they're so wrong la la la la la

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 22:35:30

lol, we are sooooo right it hurts. We are the BEST type of parent <sang to the tune of Gangham Style>

crazymazydazy Mon 11-Feb-13 22:36:56

Is it chilly up there on your pedestal Funnys? Need to buy another coat?

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 22:37:03

Oh we are!

<awards us medals>

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 22:39:22

freezing crazy and yy to new coat provided it is not that green one from Next that still fits me but that Bob wears at school, that would be HELL

<pins medal to dressing gown>

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 22:40:17

So, let's get this straight. Your son refused to wear a completely fine coat so you went out and bought him another one?

You absolutely, genuinely believe this is good sane, sensible parenting? What lesson, precisely, has your some learnt from this?

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 22:40:38


5madthings Mon 11-Feb-13 22:41:13

Well that's fine if you can afford another cost but couldn't you just have got the other one back from cubs?!

crazymazydazy Mon 11-Feb-13 22:41:15

touche funnys! smile

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 22:42:57

How many kids do you have funnys?

exoticfruits Mon 11-Feb-13 22:43:25

All very well if you can afford a second coat!

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 22:43:43

funnys has 12, she is one of the Plymouth Brethren. I don't think she will mind me sharing that.

exoticfruits Mon 11-Feb-13 22:44:11

Cross posted- I would let him get cold until be bothered to get it back.

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 22:44:51

Then she must be very wealthy indeed or subsidised by her church.

Smudging Mon 11-Feb-13 22:45:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

5madthings Mon 11-Feb-13 22:45:49

Sorry beavers not cubs. But it runs once a week so a week where he would have got a bit cold or could have worn the alternative coat.

colditz Mon 11-Feb-13 22:46:43

Some people's children aren't lovely and they don't appreciate give and take. Ds1, despite being autistic, is my reasonable child, who will discuss certain issues and try to explain what the problem is.

Ds2 will scream until he's sick.

I am not an unreasonable parent, in fact I negotiate more than many, but I AM the parent, and whilst my children have their own mind, they don't have as much experience of life as I do. They don't know about chilblains, and ds2 refuses to believe me when I explain that the cold can injure you. He also refuses to believe there was a time before computers, he refuses to believe in evolution, and he refuses to believe in reproductive sex. Whatever, he's six, he doesn't have to believe in those things because he has me to believe in it accordingly and make him wear socks and boots in six inches of snow, rather than the crocs he is screamingly insisting upon.

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 22:47:13

Her church is very generous, but as I understand it she does a lot in return. She does a lot of prayer work and preaches to those that want to hear the ministry. She keeps quiet about her good works.

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 22:47:34

Hang on, here you go, clearly why you bought your son a new coat! shock

"A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent."

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 22:48:42

That's St Paul, the Brethren aren't keen on him to be fair.

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 22:50:46

really? not what I've been reading.

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 22:52:09

They believe in the submission of women to men so anyone who believes and follows that bullshit line of thinking I wouldn't lower myself to engage with anyway, no wonder she kowtows to her male kid. Get him used to it for marriage.

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 22:54:27

She is with a more modernist branch. They don't interpret scripture so literally, although yes, they do still put men first, although in reality women rule the roost in the home.

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 22:56:26

Men put first. End of any convo, end of any engagement. Obscene.

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 22:57:32

It's not that simple though. You know where she is right now? Praying for Syria.

substitutemycokeforgin Mon 11-Feb-13 22:58:28

Hello, I made the mistake of going out to the gym earlier this evening and the thread seems to have continued a little bit in my absence grin How remiss of me.

Hm, I didn't really want a debate about the virtues or otherwise of UP and apologise for posting something a tad inflammatory back in the far reaches of the thread, if that may have contributed to things kicking off. But they probably would have, anyway!

I'm not thrilled that we came home from the park and definitely feel I could have handled it better. Although we were in the middle of a big car park I guess I could've moved the car next to a patch of green and turfed the other DC out to play on it for 5 mins, in the hope that DD would catch up with herself and decide to do the welly thing. That's the kind of idea I didn't think of in the moment.

But whoever said that she won ... how is it winning, turning around and heading home from the park she was looking forward to playing in?! Nobody "won" yesterday. Lesson learned, will store it all up for next time.

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 23:00:36

It is that simple to me. And to the vast majority of intelligent, right thinking individuals.

Let's rephrase, Oh, whites come first but really the blacks rule the roost.
Still on the defensive, Hully?

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 23:01:27

Are you in South Africa, Aunt Maud? confused

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 23:02:08

lolling here. Just went to clean my teeth and suddenly I am a whole new being.

I have 2 children, yes I can afford to buy my son another coat, and no I'm not a member of any religious order. Although maybe I should be. And my son has learned that I won't blame him for his Dad forgetting his coat and I won't make him unhappy for no good reason.

Don't worry about the coat, we'll get it back after half term and then he will have two whole coats, plus the green one

OTOH what about the pope stepping down. I thought he was God in human form like. Is it OK for him to say he's a bit old to be Pope and step down?

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 23:03:36



the lesson I have learnt is: trust no one, especailly women in little blue headscarves pushing carts.

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 23:03:57

Yes, he has obviously decided to be unchosen.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 23:04:11

not Syria Hully, I am very anti that whole area

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 23:04:24

sorry aunt maud, I couldn't resist

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 23:05:42

You're a bad girl Hully. A very bad girl.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 23:05:53


and tsk about the Pope. Bad form I say

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 23:07:40

and now the other UP thread has been deleted. Keep yer heads down folks or come the am you will be a mere smear with an amusing footnote on the boards of MN

BoundandRebound Mon 11-Feb-13 23:09:14

Poor child

Poor siblings

substitutemycokeforgin Mon 11-Feb-13 23:11:05

Ooh, what thread was deleted??

ScottyDoc Mon 11-Feb-13 23:11:28

Well what a funny old day this has been grin I'll have a brew and a gaviscon before bed methinks. Evening all and regards.

Gomez Mon 11-Feb-13 23:13:08

Oh fuck off. I was planning my answer whilst reading through this thread. Get to the end to find it has been hijacked. Bastards. I had value to add. grin

ScottyDoc Mon 11-Feb-13 23:14:11

Think the UP took slight offence to my POV (predictably) so deletion was inevitable. Really am off to bed now. Ta ta

ouryve Mon 11-Feb-13 23:44:14

OP - she won because she didn't want to go in the first place.

I don't unconditionally parent, but the boys have ASD and DS1 has features of pathological demand avoidance, which to most people means that he has a real need to feel in control. He lacks the empathy for me to even consider UP with him, but in return for me teaching him to be reasonable, I have to be reasonable with him. Part of that is making sure I don't force him into footwear that hurts him. And white trainers?!hmm Never in a million years.

Gwlondon Mon 11-Feb-13 23:45:40

Don't know loads about UP but I did notice:

- you did punish DD by leaving
- you would punish her if you had made her clean shoes after getting them dirty
- you were trying to control her behaviour because you didn't want dirty shoes

I have no idea what would be a good UP approach. I think I would have let her get her shoes dirty, you don't clean them and neither ask DD. My reasoning is that dirty shoes are not as important as you think they are when your ultimate aim in UP is "love" towards DD.

I haven't read loads on UP, so my thoughts were based on a small amount of reading.

seeker Tue 12-Feb-13 06:32:03

Welly thing- I would have left the child in the car with her book and a phone and told her to ring when she wanted to put her wellies on and join her siblings.

Coat thing- I would have told him either he wears the other one, or he buys himself a coat from a charity shop with his own money. I always found having to spend your pocket money on something concentrated the mind wonderfully.

This is with the cool vision of hindsight. There is noting to say that I wouldn't have shrieked like a banshee orcrumpled like wet cardboard in either scenario in reality.

substitutemycokeforgin Tue 12-Feb-13 07:46:33

A couple of people have suggested leaving her in the car with a phone and getting her to call when she was ready. Good idea, but we only had one phone with us - mine! Plus, the signal is often nonexistent in that country park ...

exoticfruits Tue 12-Feb-13 08:28:50

She did win. If she really wanted to go she would have put the wellies on. If you parked next to grass and let the others out, in the hope she might want to join in, she had won. There were 4 of you in the car -and one dictated what happened. She dictated because she made the fuss, the siblings lost out because they didn't make a fuss. You lost out because you were more concerned with not upsetting the wilful one than the other 2- they didn't make a fuss and so they were taken home.
If you want to be fair to all I would hold some family meetings where you discuss decisions and outcomes. I would sit down and discuss it with all 3 together. All have time to talk. How did DC1and DC2 feel, what do they think should have happened? Had DC3 thought about them? Did she care? What would be the way to do it next time? Did you ever discuss it with the others- or was it just left -because they are reasonable?
As far as I can see it is like making a whole class miss playtime because a few children misbehaved. Three children went home because one child wouldn't do as they were asked.
Even if you don't admit that one won - it is patently obvious that 2 lost!

GirlOutNumbered Tue 12-Feb-13 08:36:01

CAn someone point me to the post where it explains UP? I have no idea what this is.... confused

substitutemycokeforgin Tue 12-Feb-13 08:40:55

I accept the outcome wasn't satisfactory - this is why I posted in the first place! But I don't think shouting "PUT YOUR WELLIES ON!" would have been satisfactory, either. Was just looking for opinions. Luckily I don't give a stuff about the thread derailers smile

Takver Tue 12-Feb-13 09:16:47

Girloutnumbered - there's a summary of UP here

Ouryve "but in return for me teaching him to be reasonable, I have to be reasonable with him" - as I say, I don't 'do' UP, but this is the no. 1 thing for me (that's not aimed at you, OP, but at the shouters!)

HairyPotter Tue 12-Feb-13 09:35:59

I was one of the posters who said she 'won'. What I meant by that was, she didn't want to wear her wellies, and she didn't wear her wellies. Hence she was in control and she won.

I wouldn't have shouted, I would have left her in the car with dh as I said ^ up thread.

exoticfruits Tue 12-Feb-13 10:13:41

You are just very lucky that 2 of the DCs are reasonable and non demanding. What would you have done if they started crying and said 'it's not fair-we have our wellies on' -or if they tried to wrestle the trainers off?
I hate any system where the noisiest, and most demanding, dictates the outcome and the rest fall in because they don't make life as unpleasant.

givemeaclue Tue 12-Feb-13 11:15:45

Under the parameters of UP the solution would have been to let her ruin the trainers and deal with the consequences.

Sensibly, op didn't let that happen. Not so sensibly, the whole family was punished by forfeiting their trip out, under the auspices of UP but in reality lazy parenting that opts for the path of least resistance ie the badly behaved child dictates the agenda.

substitutemycokeforgin Tue 12-Feb-13 11:16:36

Hairy, DH wasn't there - it was just me and the kids! I didn't want to leave DD out of sight and we only had one phone, as I've said.

Yes, exotic, I don't know what I would have done if the others had got upset. Which was why <broken record> I was on here asking for opinions. smile

substitutemycokeforgin Tue 12-Feb-13 11:17:51

Givemeaclue, I think you need to avail yourself of a clue, about UP smile.

givemeaclue Tue 12-Feb-13 11:23:55

Do share then

substitutemycokeforgin Tue 12-Feb-13 11:30:25

It's been linked to upthread, give.

givemeaclue Tue 12-Feb-13 11:33:12

Yep, already read all that. Still stand by my comments.

substitutemycokeforgin Tue 12-Feb-13 11:35:20

I am not a lazy parent. Quite the opposite. Lazy, to me, is shouting at your child to get things done, because it's the easy option. It's not the right way to do things, however.

givemeaclue Tue 12-Feb-13 11:37:05

Agree, shouting is not productive either

colditz Tue 12-Feb-13 11:39:57

You don't have to shout to be insistent. Is that how you view parenting? Either shouting and screaming or giving up and going home? How about applying some adulthood to the situation instead of responding like a teenaged babysitter?

substitutemycokeforgin Tue 12-Feb-13 11:42:19

Well, several people on this thread have viewed shouting "PUT YOUR WELLIES ON!" as the solution here.

And I take it "insistent" means "threatening punishment", yes? Otherwise how do you insist in such a way that they comply? Genuinely interested to know.

givemeaclue Tue 12-Feb-13 11:42:37

Also, the dd is seven! Not seventeen! But its fine for her to refuse to co-operate with rest of family and spoil their day

frantic53 Tue 12-Feb-13 11:45:37

Loving colditz's reply grin I think, from what I've seen on here, that UP, like Communism, is an absolutely fantastic ideal that doesn't seem to work in practise. hmm

GirlOutNumbered Tue 12-Feb-13 11:45:49

All of this on someone refusing to wear wellies??

I would have let her choose knowing that the next time she wants to wear her nice trainers they will be covered in mud.

Pick your arguments.... this was not worthy of any fuss.

She sounds like she knows she can just do as she pleases.

Takver Tue 12-Feb-13 11:45:53

Those who would have insisted on the wellies, would your dc have then spent a happy day at the park?

Genuine question - my dd would have responded differently at that age / this situation. She would have worn the wellies without much persuasion, but would have been very s l o w to get anywhere and low level winge-y if she had cold sore feet, which wouldn't have been much fun for anyone.

colditz Tue 12-Feb-13 11:47:52

You not have to hurt or frighten a child to get them to comply.

I wouldn't have shouted. I wouldn't have had to because a) my ratty six year old would not have left the house in posh shiny white tennis shoes and b) he has access to comfortable mud-wear that he doesn't complain about and c) if either of my children are unpleasant to the other, or ruin a day out with poor behavior, I take the injured party to the shop and buy him some chocolate, to be eaten wherever and whenever he wants.

Neither of them want to see their brother eating chocolate that has only been given because of their own bad behavior, so they deny their brother that pleasure by being pleasant whenever I take them out.

GirlOutNumbered Tue 12-Feb-13 11:56:34

I also have a 10 year old stepson, who never wants to comply. When he is made to (like putting on his wellies) within minutes he has forgotten about it and is having fun. He does not like to miss out on any fun that is being had!

Maybe girls like to strop for longer?

Takver Tue 12-Feb-13 11:57:03

colditz, I am now slightly tickled by the thought that with a little forward planning and collaboration, your dc could both improve their chocolate consumption by taking turns to be unpleasant to one another grin

I wouldn't have shouted. I would have firmly said "put your wellies on or you don't go" and headed the whole hoo ha off before it started. There is a time and a place for reasoning with children and imho that wasn't it.

How many other children had their time out spoilt?

It seems to me like your other children have perhaps already learnt that DD7 gets her own way and are resigned to the situation.

Oh God, I unfortunately have worked with some people who were brought up like this. The shock to the system of being told to do something! Please give your children some boundaries, that doesn't mean shouting at them or threatening them, but you can't treat a 7 year old like an adult. It's not fair on them in the long-run.

Takver Tue 12-Feb-13 12:02:30

Girl - it definitely depends with dd. If she's being randomly awkward, then she'll forget in minutes. The problem is that her awkwardness tends to be a cover for an underlying problem.

So eg having a massive strop about having the wrong shoes at 8.30 in the morning when the issue is that she feels that she hasn't done her homework well enough and that the teacher will be disappointed in her.

In that case there genuinely would be nothing wrong with the shoes, she's just anxious and unhappy and failing to express why.

In the OP situation, there obviously was a genuine footwear issue - in that case she probably would wear them and then be miserable with sore feet, if that makes sense.

fluffywhitekittens Tue 12-Feb-13 12:05:16

Do all UP parents homeschool?
Honestly interested in the answer.

Takver Tue 12-Feb-13 12:05:50

WillSingForCake - it does really depend on the child, though. I was a very compliant easygoing child, and therefore came into parenting expecting to run on the 'tell them what to do and they do it' mode. I have had to adjust my expectations and approach in the light of experience, shall we say . . .

FunnysInLaJardin Tue 12-Feb-13 12:12:45

Tak if I had insisted on wellies my 7yo DS would have been exactly as you describe and would have spoiled it for everyone. So I would have let him wear the trainers on the basis that if they were ruined tough and he would have to clean them after.

Mind you I am a pushover so I wouldn't listen to me

Zappo Tue 12-Feb-13 12:19:13

"Do all UP parents homeschool?
Honestly interested in the answer"

I tried to follow a lot of the central ideas of UP ( though I fall short loads).
I don't home school though sometimes I can see why the idea is attractive as when DD comes home from school she is more likely to say to her sister " If you don't do ....a, b, c.... I'll punch you in the face".

I don't use threatening language at home or talk about punching so I can only assume this is the sort of thing they say in the playground.

Hullygully Tue 12-Feb-13 12:20:17

My three year old dd spent two weeks in deep Polish snow clad in a fairy dress, my friend's tunic top and another friend's leopard print shawl. She did wear her pink wellies though.

seeker Tue 12-Feb-13 12:21:33

Because of course that's exactly what happens in school all the timehmm

Branleuse Tue 12-Feb-13 12:22:09

I think unconditional parenting is popular for parents who are frightened that their childs love for THEM is conditional and are overly worried about upsetting them.
You can convince yourself that its because you have respect for your children, but teaching them that they dont have to have respect for you or anyone else.

Maryz Tue 12-Feb-13 12:25:58

I remember one day when I was little and my mum was going to take us all to the zoo.

My brother refused to get dressed. In the end we didn't go.

I remember him saying "I won, because there are four of you who are upset and only one of me" or words to that effect.

45 years later, and I still remember feeling so angry with my mum for letting him ruin it for us all.

My mum wasn't a UP. She was exhausted by a particularly stroppy child.

Maryz Tue 12-Feb-13 12:27:24

Sorry, that was totally irrelevant. I just think it's tough - when you have more than one child, you have to sometimes force one to do something for the good of the others.

OP, you said the trainers are your daughter's tennis shoes - Does she have lessons? If so, how does she cope in the lessons because surely the coach has to say "everybody line up" or "pick up your racket" or "hold it this way for a backhand"?

<reveals total extent of tennis knowledge>

Floggingmolly Tue 12-Feb-13 12:32:36

You needed to get express agreement from her beforehand... confused

HeyHoHereWeGo Tue 12-Feb-13 12:38:39

I would have let her go a) in the wellies or b) barefoot.
I would have been happy for her to run in the mud in her barefeet, yes she'd get cold but she'd have fun and the trainers would be fine and she coould decide herself if she wanted to do it the next time or go back to wellies.

I do not UP, but I think my response would be to let her wear the trainers, get muddy and cold, don't wash the trainers then explain to her why they are filthy when she wants nice clean trainers for tennis. Then ask her if she would like to a) clean them or b) wear her wellies for tennis. Lesson learnt.

Btw I only have a very very strong willed 3 year old. Yes I shout sometimes, but sometimes you can't just say 'ok dd let's go home then you don't have to do as you're told'

Out of interest, how do you handle situations when one dc has to do something they don't want to? Eg. Dc1 has a Dr appointment, dc2 dosent want to put shoes and coat on? Surely you don't cancel the Drs app??

Geniune question

bryte Tue 12-Feb-13 12:53:49

I am sure I am repeating what someone else has said over the past 8 pages but..... insisting that your DD wear wellies doesn't sound inline with UP.

I think the fact you let her wear the wellies in the car and then expected her to change is what made this situation get you to a stage where you've asked this question. Either, tell all children that they need to be wearing their wellies before you will get in the car to drive them to the country park or accept that wearing trainers isn't such a bad alternative.

I've recently witnessed true UP and unconditional grandparenting towards a 3 year old. The grandparents had parented in that way and then it was natural for the son to parent in that way. This 3 year old was 'allowed' to go barefoot in the muddy park. The whole weekend no one raised their voice or issued threats or enforced their will and I did not see a spoilt child, just a very loved, independent, mature 3 year old.

Though, I do think it is easier to practice that sort of parenting with support and only one child. I incorporated what I could of UP, trying hard to override my default mode from the type of parenting I received.

Perhaps just chalk up the welly incident to a bad day and next time do it differently.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Tue 12-Feb-13 13:05:47

Is unconditional parenting basically just letting your child get away with things?

If it was my DD I would have gotten her to put her wellies on before we left the house, on the understanding that if she didn't, she wasn't allowed to go to the park.

I am really miffed at how its good parenting to make your other DC's miss out simply because one wouldn't cooperate? Surly that just breeds resentment between siblings?

fluffywhitekittens Tue 12-Feb-13 13:18:42

Interesting Zappo. I was thinking more in line with teaching issues in regards to an UP child.
I am making the assumption that it's not the teachers threatening to punch in the mouth if children don't do something...

BlueberryHill Tue 12-Feb-13 13:34:48

My DH would have been the child in the wellies, his sister would have been the one in the trainers getting her own way. SIL was always the one that throws the strops and get what she wants, DH was the dependable one that got on with things and was the peacemaker in the family, puts aside his needs / feelings to keep the peace and not cause a rift.

It is still like that 30 years on, annoys the hell out of me, because his parents still dance around her, only she is more manipulative / forceful so she gets her way. DH sees it all and knows the fault lines in his family, he still feels pissed off about it but knows he cannot change it.

Maybe think about the feelings of your other children, maybe they didn't kick off but it has happened so many times before and they know what the outcome is. I'm not saying that this is the situation in your family but have an honest think, are you just appeasing her because she is loudest and the others have just learnt that that is what always happens. She did win by the way.

exoticfruits Tue 12-Feb-13 13:44:16

Yes, exotic, I don't know what I would have done if the others had got upset. Which was why <broken record> I was on here asking for opinions.

Any parenting should be fair. You shouldn't do the unfair thing and hope that you can get away with it because the easy going children let you.
The opinions don't fit with UP-they can't. I suppose the only one was to let her wear them and get them muddy and leave it as her problem-don't discuss in any way. When she needs them and complains they are muddy just say in a thoroughly bored, disinterested way -'it is your problem-you deal with it' and then let her go out in muddy shoes or wet shoes if she washes them.

45 years later, and I still remember feeling so angry with my mum for letting him ruin it for us all.

I think that is the real problem-as the sibling- you don't care how your mother does it -you just want her to stop being wet and not to let him get his own way!

exoticfruits Tue 12-Feb-13 13:48:48

SIL was always the one that throws the strops and get what she wants

A friend of my mother's had a mother just like that! Firstly her parents gave into her and then her husband. When she was very elderly she went into care and for the first time in her entire life people ignored the strop! It was a bit sad for her that it took so long to learn the lesson. Needless to say she had a very poor relationship with her own daughter.
There are times when parents just need to say 'no' and stick to it.

exoticfruits Tue 12-Feb-13 13:55:01

This 3 year old was 'allowed' to go barefoot in the muddy park. The whole weekend no one raised their voice or issued threats or enforced their will and I did not see a spoilt child, just a very loved, independent, mature 3 year old.

She wasn't though was she? Someone had to deal with her muddy feet at the end and clean them off before she got in the car (unless they are perfectly happy to have mud on the seats) if it was this time of year they needed something warm for the feet if she got freezing cold, they needed a first aid kit if she stood on broken glass and they needed to look out for dog poo.
It is perfectly easy to explain to a 'mature' 3 year old the very sensible reasons as to why they can all have a more relaxed time with wellies on.

exoticfruits Tue 12-Feb-13 13:56:46

Out of interest, how do you handle situations when one dc has to do something they don't want to? Eg. Dc1 has a Dr appointment, dc2 dosent want to put shoes and coat on? Surely you don't cancel the Drs app??

You can't-it all falls down-especially if you are running late and in a hurry.

Exactly, at some point you have to draw a line. Sometimes the adult has to make a decision for the child that the child dosen't like. That's life.

racingheart Tue 12-Feb-13 14:17:48

What I don't get in this debate is how exactly the parenting was 'unconditional'. It was entirely conditional on the fact that the mother didn't want to have to clean the trainers. It was conditional on her refusing to allow trainers to get muddy. It was conditional on the child having to wear footwear that hurt or cancelling a plan. It ended with the punishment of all the family having a trip out cancelled because of the pitting of wills between a child and a parent. Two dominant characters, neither of them in wholehearted pursuit of enjoying a day out.

There is nothing unconditional in the scenario.

Sulawesi Tue 12-Feb-13 14:28:05

3 year old running around in the mud in bare feet?! That's just downright irresponsible, as exotic says there could be broken glass, dog poo, a flint, syringes anything in there - bonkers - not independent - irresponsible and in cloud cuckoo land.

Floggingmolly Tue 12-Feb-13 14:51:44

Is the whole concept of up based on avoiding conflict? Because that could apply equally to parents who want an easy life, and will sanction any sort of nonsense to ensure they get one. Hardly in the child's best interests?

HeyHoHereWeGo Tue 12-Feb-13 14:52:55

Well where I live there might be mud leaves and more mud but not syringes or anything like that.
I lived in barefeet as a child and would certainly allow my child to go barefoot on a walk, of course.

Floggingmolly Tue 12-Feb-13 14:57:27

How can you be so definite about that, HeyHo? Do you live deep in the inner reaches of Epping Forest?

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 12-Feb-13 14:57:48

Op I've only got to page 4 so forgive me if the has already been said.

What happened in the car was not unconditional patenting it was reactionary. The point where it ceased to be unconditional parenting was before you got into the car.

Instead of let's go to the park ect ect you can wear your trainers in the car,as you did it next time try.

Would you like to go to the park, if we do everybody has to wear weather appropriate footwear this means wellies/ walking boots if you feel unable to do so then those that don't will be responsible for there own clean up,it would be unfair on others for us to change our minds when we get there so lets decide what to do now.

You cannot just go down the route of the child picking there own actions unless you make sure they are aware of the ripple of those actions and how they impact on others,

You can also not do so unless you have all needed tools, knowing one child has current wellie issues but you have no other suitable footwear for her shows bad planning almost like your forcing her ( unknowingly) to chose the disruptive to others enjoyment route.

Getting her wellies for her ( if you hadn't had time to obtain other footwear) actually placing thick socks inside and over the rim of them perhaps with cotton wool also over the rim but under the sock and asking her to try them to see if it changed her issue with them.

A 'messy' old pair of trainers

Or even two plastic bags worn tied over her trainers to protect them from the weather resulting in them not needing to be washed

The way it ended up sounds like it backed her into a corner forcing her to the refusal and to stand firm in her stance it did not assist her to change her mind or allow her to enjoy an activity she wished to do.it also punished her and the other dc's who had acted accordingly with due regard to expectations.and created stress for you.

Providing a way out with no conflict is a very good way of making sure a actual choice is made but no way out can often force a choice that's more often than not,the choice the dc does not want to make but feels they have to making it not a real choice.

Does that make sense I'm not sure if I have explained it very well.

exoticfruits Tue 12-Feb-13 15:10:32

At certain times of year and in certain places it is fine. But the 3 year old is making work for all the others in the party-it is much nicer for everyone if they just have a good time and as they get back in the car/house they can just take the boots off and possibly the coat. By the time the child is old enough to be completely responsible for cleaning themselves up, and watching out for hazards, they are old enough to see the sense of wellies. If they are only 3 yrs and 'mature' then it should be easy enough for them to understand, if put to them nicely, that mummy doesn't want a muddy car, want to have to do baths, get bowls of water, take towels and socks etc. The aim should be to to make the child considerate of all-not something that comes naturally to a small child-they need to be helped.
I don't think that it is unconditional-the parent always has an agenda and the child is supposed to come around to the parents way of thinking-it falls down when you have the sort of child who doesn't!
With the child in the park with grandparents I bet no one would have had to shout or enforce their will to get her into wellies. She most likely wasn't the sort of child to think it fun to kick the mud at granny! Lots of parents manage well with the first child, who is often a people pleaser, and then they get the second child who isn't in the least interested in pleasing people and quiet words that mummy doesn't like mud being kicked at her may well not get anywhere!

exoticfruits Tue 12-Feb-13 15:14:24

It explains it well Sockreturningpixie-but would you really want a simple trip to a park if you have to use all that diplomacy? I would rather stay at home!

Sock- how would you forward plan for 2+ children? Child one decides they no longer want to wear trousers. Child two decides they hate t-shirts. Do you carry round an entire alternative wardrobe for each child, on the off-chance they take a dislike to something they are wearing?


exoticfruits Tue 12-Feb-13 15:29:29

And why is mother the one who always puts herself out? At what age do you start thinking that adults are not just personal servants?

CheerfulYank Tue 12-Feb-13 15:35:08

First things first.

No, the Pope is not God in human form. I think he's a representative. (I'm not Catholic.) Fwiw I think it's good for someone who feels they're no longer up to the job to step down, so fair play to him.

OP I don't do UP but I think your best option would have been to leave her in the car. She still gets a choice that way, and if she wants to pout in the car like I might've at that age so be it. Or you could've made her scrub the trainers herself, or pay for new ones with her pocket money.

If my son forgot his coat (unsure why it'd be his Dad's fault unless DS is a toddler) I probably wouldn't make him wear the hated other coat but I would let him be cold until he got the previous coat back.

toddlerama Tue 12-Feb-13 16:02:15

Let her wear the trainers, wreck them, bin them. No more tennis ever. Or shoes.
This would be my (insane) approach, then I would obviously back down and no-one would learn anything other than mummy is a drama queen.

Sorry, that's totally unhelpful! I really admire UP in theory, but as someone said upthread, it seems (like communism) to rely on no-one ever being selfish or piss-taking, and we are flawed human beings.

Piemother Tue 12-Feb-13 16:08:11

But this is not UP. The consequence was that everyone missed out on the park. You imposed a condition that this would happen if she didn't comply. IMO what the debate was about us a secondary.
Also the thing about trainers being for tennis is too confusing. That's kind of not her problem.
Bit what so I know...I think a lot of Kohn doctrine is v questionable and I don't know any UP families who actually achieve it, they just think they do.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 12-Feb-13 17:02:44

Sorry I got side tracked.

The clothes thing well if they decide this at home then fair enough they can choose what they wear, as long as there previous choices allow them to do so ( such as making sure stuff goes in the laundry basket in a timely fashion) if they decide this when out and about then the only available choices are keep there clothes on or get cold,

On school days if uniform is involved there are no available choices unless you wish to arrive at school and have to deal with there sanctions because our rules do not over ride those outside the home and its important that everybody understand this. This can be planned for by leaving slightly earlier and stashing a uniform just in case child leaves house in pants grin

With more than 1 child you attempt to always make sure that each child understands the ripple effect of there own actions sometimes you may have to highlight the various options available so they know and you always make it clear what your expectations are and remember rules are not banned just as the law is always there, its how they are expressed and dealt with that is important.

In the nicest possible way, Sock and the other UP on the thread, my head would explode if I had to think like that over a simple outing.

I really don't know how you do it.

grin (not a pa smilie genuinely my head would explode I'm not shouty particularly but I am firm)

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 12-Feb-13 17:22:10

Its not really diplomacy and its a damn sight less time consuming than listening to winging and nonsense,its just accounting for and preventing issues.( obviously you account for reasonable issues,age appropriate unreasonable issues need to be countered effectively)

I know I would much rather bung a plastic bag over each trainer with a quick "fair enough" then enjoy myself mucking around with the kids than put up with reactive negotiating in a car,sending a message to children who had made a considerate choice that their choice didnt matter then drive home again all missing out.

People often mistake UP for a lack of boundaries and discipline, its not its making sure everybody has the ability to set and manage boundaries and decent behaviour and using education as discipline.

All my children have been parented like this,I have adult children as well as teenagers and a baby and 99% of the time they are decent well behaved and not entitled they also respect authority.

HilaryClinton Tue 12-Feb-13 19:07:25

I agree that it all went pear shaped by having the trainers in the car. I've 3 and one if the getting ready techniques I use is to make it a joint responsibility for The Family to be ready.
I would have tried some Playful Parenting techniques to remove the trainers get on the wellies an would have acknowledged privately to her you knew putting on the willies was big for her and it was appreciated.
So far in my experience it has been possible to UP three, when one has to do something for the benefit only of others we acknowledge that , we ensure it happens and then we show appreciation e.g. by a big cuddle.
One phrase I use is that there are things I as the adult always have to take responsibility for that means it is up to me to ensure they go well so I have to do the choosing.

BertieBotts Tue 12-Feb-13 19:50:25

I don't do "true" UP but I try to follow the basic principles, which isn't about avoiding anything which looks like punishment - it's just saying that if you're going to impose some kind of consequence then make it be for a reason other than "so the child associates their bad behaviour with this thing they don't like" - that's the definition and purpose of a punishment.

So these examples:
- you did punish DD by leaving
They had to leave because she did not have the correct footwear (although letting the others play and her stay in the car would have worked too)

- you would punish her if you had made her clean shoes after getting them dirty
This serves the purpose of getting she shoes clean - someone has to do it - and also helps her realise why it's a problem if the shoes get dirty.

Zappo Tue 12-Feb-13 21:30:10

"Because of course that's exactly what happens in school all the time"

Seeker Obviously I don't believed that. It was a bit tongue in cheek. I know loads of teachers and have loads in my family. It wasn't a criticism of school but I'm just trying to work out why a 5 year old would talk about punching someone if they hadn't heard it somewhere like school or nursery. (we don't have any TV apart from a bit of cbeebies in the day, no violent computer games)

I mean there's a lot of playing superheroes and saying I'll kill you with my laser gun etc etc (when I see children playing) so I thought that the playground must be where that sort of language comes from. I actually don't think 5 year olds are threatening to take people's pocket money etc.

I'm generally curious about where that sort of aggression comes from. Perhaps it's just primal.

Scheherezade Tue 12-Feb-13 23:29:38

Ooh what a spoilt brat that girl is/will be.

No doubt her own personal theme tune is "don't care how, I want it now!" (From Willy Wonka).

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 12-Feb-13 23:50:50

The threads sort of moved on now, did you read it?

bryte Wed 13-Feb-13 07:48:31

Okay, so mature may not be an accurate way to describe any 3 year old but I meant she acted maturely, compared to most 3 year olds, not having tantrums or prolonged whinging sessions during a weekend where she was in a strange place, out of her usual routine.

I don’t agree that it is irresponsible to let a child go barefoot in the park. Her father obviously deemed it safe and it made climbing safer than wearing any type of footwear. She did walk to the park in shoes. There’s no need to be defensive, I was not advocating that good parenting = letting your child being barefoot wherever they want. But often we hold these default viewpoints without questioning what the big deal is. I tend to insist my children wear shoes/flip flops in the garden but ought not to since my children are old enough to understand the consequences of not wearing shoes i.e. having to wash their feet before they go to bed, potential to stand on a bee or something else that will hurt them.

When you’ve experienced authoritarian parenting yourself, it’s hard to get beyond insisting on such rules, but by at least aspiring towards UP or gentle discipline, it can encourage a parent to question themselves and establish which rules are being made logically. It helps you not sweat the small stuff. It helps you to act more respectfully towards your child, which in turn will help them act respectfully towards other people. UP is not the same as permissive parenting which raises demanding, spoilt people.

Tolly81 Wed 13-Feb-13 09:40:06

I'd also agree that leaving the park with all the children doesn't seem fair on the children who did do what was asked. It's commendable that you didn't lose your temper or shout but I think the response was reactionary and it probably confused dd to be allowed trainers in the car.
OP - you mentioned you spoke to your dd later about the incident. I'm interested though did you speak to the other DCs who did do what was asked? To specifically thank them again and let them know that you appreciate what they did? Did you ask dd to speak to them/say sorry (the last bit may not be in line with UP but it wouldn't seem a bad thing to suggest). If not then I think this might be something to consider next time (you talking to the other DCs that is). Talking to dd is obviously good for understanding the incident but in the eyes of her siblings she not only upset the day for the others but if she also got special attention with a one-to-one chat with you ending with a cuddle and a special new pair of shoes for her then I would have thought that that would be doubly upsetting for the other DCs (as one of 5 children I have to say I would as a child and probably even now at 32 have interpreted this as unfair or favouritism).
I know little about UP but I'm interested to know more. For those who do use it, did you read about it? Is there a book? It sounds from the posts from those who do use it successfully that it requires a fairly laid-back and go-with-the-flow approach, and requiring clean white trainers for tennis seems to be at odds with this. Why are clean trainers for tennis important anyway? Is it indoor tennis? Is it a rule of using the court? If not, then I don't really see why she couldn't play with dirty trainers (yes even if they were caked in mud as the dry clumps will fall off and after that what does it matter?). If it is a condition of using indoor courts then that is obviously different. Sorry OP I know this thread has turned into something of a Spanish Inquisition but would be interested in your thoughts.

Floggingmolly Wed 13-Feb-13 10:32:56

HilaryClinton. How is the acknowledging privately that you "appreciated" what a big deal it was for her to do as she's asked in line with the no praise / no punishment ethos of unconditional parenting?
Giving a big cuddle when all your child has done is follow an instruction sounds like pandering parenting to me, or have I misunderstood the fundamental concept?
It puts the child in charge; which some children find a very insecure place to be.

CheerfulYank Wed 13-Feb-13 11:04:28

How did the other children react? My brother would have slugged me been severely irritated.

cory Wed 13-Feb-13 12:17:35

Like others, I am concerned about a solution that relies on the compliant children having their interests overruled, or even having to endure endless delays while the parent is trying to work out a compromise with the obstructive child. I would certainly have resented that as a child with 3 siblings.

Fortunately my mother was rather good at the middle way between shouting and giving in: the brisk firm "well, you are going to put your wellies on, I don't care if you sulk, it's not fair on the others to make them late".

She was always good at making it clear why we were expected to comply, but we also knew that there were times- out sailing or changing trains in the middle of Europe- when you simply had to obey unquestioningly, because the time it would take to negotiate would be enough to capsize the boat or miss the only train of the day.

We accepted this, and we accepted the "you will put your coat on now so as not to make your brother late for his event" because we knew she would be happy to discuss things when time and energy allowed.

lljkk Wed 13-Feb-13 15:50:37

I felt sorry for the other DC but tbh they weren't all that bothered that we were going home,

That's when my other children would have wailed and formed almighty resentments against the child who made the outing abort. There would have been bitter angry squabbling about it the whole way home in the car (maybe ascending to violence). They'd be plotting how to get back at the annoying sibling for days maybe weeks afterwards. The whole thing would have exhausted me so much that I wouldn't have braved another outing to the park for a long while. If DC suggested it I would start throwing up objections: "Oh no, you'll get hungry" "You'll want different shoes" "You'll do X" "You won't like Y". I mean, who has the energy to anticipate & accommodate for it all? If they won't make half an effort I won't either.

If it had been my DD I would probably have allowed the other DC to bumble around the carpark until the DD agreed to wellies. Probably not UP but not a My-Will-Impose-On-All-Confrontation, either. Just proving I have more patience than them.

AllDirections Wed 13-Feb-13 19:20:28

Cory Your mother sounds fab smile

exoticfruits Wed 13-Feb-13 19:20:36

She was always good at making it clear why we were expected to comply, but we also knew that there were times- out sailing or changing trains in the middle of Europe- when you simply had to obey unquestioningly, because the time it would take to negotiate would be enough to capsize the boat or miss the only train of the day

I think there are times where you should expect your DC to comply, in that the adult knows what they are talking about. My DS was in a boat that capsized-out at sea -when he was 8yrs. He was in a very dangerous situation and his survival was helped by the fact that he shut down and did exactly as he was told to do-to the letter. You need some situations that are not up for negotiation and debate.

MoelFammau Wed 13-Feb-13 23:58:46

I hate wearing wellies, always have. It's a sensory thing, I'm a bit fussy about how things feel. So I discovered Bogboots - www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bog+boots+kids&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Abog+boots+kids - which have a cheaper version here: compare.ebay.co.uk/like/140901382650?var=lv<yp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar&adtype=pla&crdt=0.

And Muck boots for stable yards are good too. www.equestrianandpetequipment.co.uk/sherwood-forest-dandy-kids-muck-boots-p-1068.html.

I know she could be being contrary but wellies do have a really icky sensory problem and my feet were always cold and clammy too. So it really could be a comfort issue.

HilaryClinton Thu 14-Feb-13 20:39:18

FloggingMolly from re-reading my previous post I can see why anyone might think "Wet". But I think giving a child a cuddle is reassuring and not pandering at all - it is an explicit way of letting them know that even though they have "misbehaved" I will always give love and cuddles especially if it makes everyone's day more pleasant. I find that a cuddle/acknowledgement de-escalates situations so quickly so that there is no need for any sort of power struggle. It wouldn't cause tension for the others because they can have cuddles acknowledgement too whenever they want regardless of anything else that has just happened, just like water from the tap.
I've been reading the AIBu thread and find it so frustrating that every awful child equals UP. I've never met another UP parent and wouldn't discuss the book with anyone who I thought would be hostile to it (eg anyone that has a naughty step). I do think it is fair though that a child that get's consistent play date invites is doing OK- my kids get return invites. I know we're doing OK.
Also cory your grandma does sound fab. There are times when you have to do have to hurry but because I try not to be like that generally, the girls are so much more accepting on the few occasions and they know that I actually mean it. I also say "we will have to run" rather than an low level aggressive "get running"

cory Fri 15-Feb-13 08:26:25

I think there is some difference between families that do adventures- in which case you do sometimes need sudden decisions and obedience- and families that potter around in a safe environment all the time.

I had a very outdoors childhood- sailing, skating on lakes, swimming in the sea, inter-railing through Europe- which of course did require a slightly different approach from spending our leisure in child friendly restaurants and softplay. But I wouldn't be without those memories for anything.

exoticfruits Fri 15-Feb-13 12:12:23

I think that it generally agreed that children benefit from adventurous activities. If you are doing things like mine-e.g. rock climbing-you have to do as you are told (and not know you think better!)

cory Fri 15-Feb-13 20:22:05

I suppose when it comes to adventurous activities it helps to see that the adults have to follow the same rules: dad can't faff around either when the helmsman tells him to duck down or haul at the sheets. Adventures are a great equaliser.

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