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to discourage competitive parenting

(55 Posts)
seoladair Fri 04-Jan-13 19:14:00

This is a trivial issue in comparison to many of the problems on this board, but I would appreciate some wise MN advice.

My oldest friend and I had our babies 6 days apart. It was lovely to share our experiences during pregnancy and early motherhood. We live far away from each other but keep in regular touch by text and see each other occasionally.

Now the girls are 19 months, I feel she has started to get a bit competitive. She doesn't mean any harm, and is a lovely person so I want to deal with it tactfully.

Example - she wants to set up, in her words, an interesting experiment whereby we both try to teach the girls to play Twinkle,twinkle on the piano every day as part of their daily routine. At the end of a few months, we meet up to see which girl is better at it. (I said no to this.)

Today she texted me to say she had had a proud mummy moment when she explained to the mother of a 3 year-old that her 19 month-old can recognise numbers from 1-10. Apparently the other mum said her 3 year-old can't do that.

I haven't replied yet, but will probably just say "well done, that's great." and am unsure what to say. I want our girls to grow up as friends, and really don't want this element of competitiveness to spoil things. My little girl can recognise letters on her alphabet board, but I don't kid myself that it means she can read - she's just doing it spatially.

My friend is so thrilled to be a mum, and I don't want to be churlish, but I am keen to nip the comparisons and competitiveness in the bud while the girls are still little. Please advise....

Peevish Sat 05-Jan-13 13:32:14

That sounds very tiresome, OP, though I'm giggling at the idea of a 19-month-olds' piano contest...

I come from the opposite school of parenting in that it genuinely never occurs to me to tell anyone other than close family and friends anything new my nine-month-old is doing - I assume the rest of the world doesn't give a shiny shite. I was completely taken aback a few months back when two members of my NCT group rounded on me and kept going on about why oh why hadn't I texted round and told the rest of them my baby was sitting up already...?

It had never even struck me they would be interested - if we are going by due dates, he should be the oldest of the group (though he didn't come out for weeks), so it's not that surprising he does certain things before the others...

LynetteScavo Sat 05-Jan-13 13:41:13

Sorry, I can't stop laughing that she wanted you both to teach your one year old to play twinkle twinkle. grin

I am less of a person than you, I would have taken on the challenge, done nothing all day everyday except tutor my DC in playing twinkle twinkle to enusre next time we met up I mu DC won.

I too wasn't competitive at school, but came quite competitive when I had DC1. I think it was because I realised he rolled, crawled, walked, talked and recognised numbers and words quite early. So, speaking from experience, there is only one way to shut up a mother like this...beat them at their own game and make out your DC is way more advanced. Lie if you need to.

Or you could be mature like the other posters on this thread, and don't engage.

BTW, I have calmed down since having 2 more DC, and realised different DC have different talents.

badguider Sat 05-Jan-13 13:47:58

I would go for the 'oh dear no, that might seem a bit like we are comparing them and of course we all know that good parents never compare children against each other, they're all wonderful in their own different ways' approach grin

seoladair Sat 05-Jan-13 22:03:38

Brilliant set of responses, and I've had a good laugh!
I have decided not to reply. Hopefully she will get the hint!

Perriwinkle Sun 06-Jan-13 18:59:37

Believe me - she won't.

People like this do not get the hint and you have to spell it out to them - very clearly.

Good luck.

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