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To be quite pleased that my dc are a little bit scared of me.

(215 Posts)
psiloveyou Thu 11-Aug-11 13:22:22

DS (11) was looking at a picture in the paper this morning. It was of a mum taking her young son into court to face charges after rioting.
Ds said "if I ever did anything like that mum, I would be much more scared of what you would do. You're much scarier than any policeman or court". I was actually quite pleased that he felt like that.

When I told a friend though she was horrified. She said she would be devastated if her dc were scared of her in any way. She said I was living in the dark ages if I feel like that and adults should earn the respect of children without scaring them.

Now don't get me wrong, DS and I have a brilliant relationship. I never hit (and rarely have to shout at) the dc. I do think though that a little fear is healthy and I would like my dc to feel that way about any authority figure such as teachers the police ect.

So am I living in the dark ages.

fanjobanjowanjo Thu 11-Aug-11 13:25:11

Nope, we need more like you I feel! Well done! My mum had that sort of power too!

CurrySpice Thu 11-Aug-11 13:26:38

Funny you should say that but I have had a very similar convo with my DC this morning. DD2 said she would never do anything like that as she would be too worried about what I would say

I don't think it's about fear. I think it's about respect and the DC caring what we think. About wanting to be good. About not wanting to disappoint us. I toohave never smacked and try not to shout too often

I got the first points ever on my licence last year (long story) and I really didn't want to tell my mom because I knew she wouldn't be impressed. I'm 44

It's not that I'm scared of her. It's that I love her and care what she thinks and feels

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Aug-11 13:26:57

YANBU... Of course your DS should be worried about upsetting you!!! You are clearly the person he loves and respects most in the world. Why would he want to deliberately let you down and make you angry? FWIW I think if you have DCs that are happy to say that out loud then you have an excellent and thoroughly modern relationship. It's the spoiled, secretive ones that don't give a hoot what their parents might think that have problems.

JustFiveMinutesHAHAHA Thu 11-Aug-11 13:28:11

Nope - right there with you!

If I had teenagers they would be far more worried about what I'd do/say that any 'authority'... just as I was of my parents who were gentle, kind, loving parents who I knew would do anything for me and would always support me. I think it's got more to do with 'letting you down' and 'disappointing you' than any real 'fear'.

passingtime Thu 11-Aug-11 13:28:16

YANBU. The fear of my mums dissapointment was far more of a deterrent than nay other when I was young

TakeMeDrunkImHome Thu 11-Aug-11 13:28:27

I completely agree with you, many wont, but I do! My mum always used to say a little fear is a good thing. Although I think fear is perhaps the wrong word. I think it is simple old fashioned respect which we are seriously lacking "these days".

(Did I just say these days blush)

JustFiveMinutesHAHAHA Thu 11-Aug-11 13:29:09

Lots of cross posts all saying the same thing - so we must be right grin

EverythingsNotRosie Thu 11-Aug-11 13:32:42

Absolutely agree. If a few more kids felt this way, they'd be less teenage pregnancy...

GypsyMoth Thu 11-Aug-11 13:34:32

I think younger kids should be feeling this way too! Far too many pampered 7/8/9/10 year olds out there, younger too!

LittleWhiteWolf Thu 11-Aug-11 13:36:21

Reading the title made me a little unsure, but the way you explain it OP makes sense and I agree with you! But also agree with the posters who say it is more to do with respect and caring what you think.

I used to be scared of disappointing my parents or making them angry, for a very long time. Sadly that was fear, not respect and I'm glad I've outgrown that! That is a far less healthy relationship sad

joric Thu 11-Aug-11 13:36:33

My M+D (and every adult in my life for that matter) had this effect on me... It wasn't fear of them as people though - I wasn't frightened of them and I was really well loved. I just knew somehow that the consequences would be horrendous if I messed them about or behaved badly. I was never told what the consequences were BTW,
I just knew it was best not to find out.
My parents only had to look at me and I knew I had stepped over the line.
So, how did they do it someone?!!!

AMumInScotland Thu 11-Aug-11 13:36:48

YANBU - I think the important thing is that your child would only be scared of you in those sorts of circumstances, and that is fine.

If your child was scared of you on an ordinary sort of day when they weren't doing anything wrong, that would be a different matter, and the kind of parenting that (hopefully) went out with the Victorians.

But being worried about your reaction when they deliberately do something wrong and stupid is pretty much the same thing as respect. Because they respect your right to be angry IYSWIM?

TiaMariaandDietCoke Thu 11-Aug-11 13:39:00

We've just been having this conversation in work - absolutely agree (as does the rest of the office) that if more kids felt like this there'd be much less anti-social behaviour!

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Thu 11-Aug-11 13:39:39

YANBU. We only have to look around us to see the disastrous consequences of children not being brought up to respect their parents or other adults/figures of authority.

Meglet Thu 11-Aug-11 13:40:36

Yanbu. I'm still trying to instill fear into my pre-schoolers, not having much luck at the moment hmm.

GypsyMoth Thu 11-Aug-11 13:42:07

They don't stand behind their desks anymore when the teacher enters class, just asked dd, totally random I know!!

psiloveyou Thu 11-Aug-11 13:42:55

joric that's it exactly. They don't quake when I pass or anything. They know I would defend them to the death if they needed me. But somehow without me saying a word they know that if they were to get into serious trouble the consequences would be dire grin.

Thank you everyone. Friend had me actually doubting myself there. I also agree it is more about respect than fear.

pearlym Thu 11-Aug-11 13:43:34

YANBU - I would want my children to respect my views and to know that deliberate bad behaviour would be frowned upon.They need to be taught that there are cnsequences to bad behaviour. Also, I think it is important for chidlren to see parents as powerful figures, as they are the child's protector. THe child shuold feel the parent is in control and a force to be reckoned with. Of course, with this comes the responsibility not to abuse that power by tryign to scare yuor kids or being needlessly bossy etc.

Sariah Thu 11-Aug-11 13:43:52

I think fear of consequences can work. If kids know there is a consequence to their action and know that while they can chose to act a certain way but that they dont get to chose the consequences then they have learned a valuable lesson. I think defintely not wanting to let someone down or disappoint them is ok as long as it is only actual bad things that would do that.

joric Thu 11-Aug-11 13:44:48

The word 'spoilt' is interesting as most people think it refers to possessions - i.e a child with every toy going who wants more and more and show little gratitude.
I think that there is a new generation of 'spoilt' children who show little respect for their parents or friends and are given in to daily- not necesarily with possessions but with the mindset that they can do/ say anything they want regardless of anyone else... Because it's their 'right' or 'entitlement'

donteatyourteawithnoknickerson Thu 11-Aug-11 13:44:50


psiloveyou Thu 11-Aug-11 13:45:34

Meglet if it helps my 4 year old is the only one who clearly doesn't feel this way yet. I'm still working on her. Sometimes it takes a while. smile

Fillybuster Thu 11-Aug-11 13:45:57

YANBU - my kids are terrified of me, in the right sort of way grin We have a very close, loving relationship but all 3 of them (ok, the baby is still pushing boundaries...hard!) know that what I say, goes. Also that I am always open to discussion (caveat: no whinging) but that if after discussion I haven't moved my position, then that's it.

Works for us smile

Slanted Thu 11-Aug-11 13:46:52

Going against the grain, I disagree.

I grew up feeling like this about my mother, and I truly believe that it would have been much better for both of us had I regarded her without fear at all. Yes, mothers need to command respect, and so on, but basing this kind of stuff on fear is horrible and dangerous.

As for anti-social behaviour - the claim that there would be less of it were people more scared of authority is ridiculous; it at least needs some sort of backing up. With evidence.

Authority needs to be questioned, sometimes. Children need to grow up confident and respectful. Doing this through fear is dangerous, shallow, and in the end a contributor to long-term problems. Refusing to threaten and scare in no way means that they will grow up with lack of respect and responsibility.

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