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Not to change my rules for the sake of my friends DS

(79 Posts)
NopeStillNothing Mon 25-Feb-13 22:41:14

Sorry this is long. Had a moment today where I felt incredibly mean and would like the MN jury to enlighten me on whether IWBU.
My friend and I both parent our Ds' very differently (18 +20 months). Although these differences are quite noticeable, I'd like to think we don't judge each other and things have run pretty smoothly as the boys are growing into 'toddlerhood' together.

Anyway, friend and her Ds came over to visit today and I brought out tea and biscuits for the adults. Her Ds immediately reached out for a biscuit and I did the whole 'ooh you'll have to ask Mummy' to which she responded with ' No Ds you know you're not allowed biscuits'. My DS then did the same and I gave him half as I have no problem with him having the occasional biscuit. Cue, hysterical crying from friends DS and me feeling like an absolute bitch for upsetting him. Because of this I put the biscuits away and say No to Ds having the other half. ( He had a bit of a whinge but not upset about it)
Later on in the afternoon, I went to go upstairs. Even though I have a stairgate DS likes to climb the stairs and if I'm not in a hurry, I tend to let him go up before me. Friends Ds followed me into the hall and began climbing ahead of me and I allowed him as I would my own Ds. Next thing I know, friend is next to me pulling her Ds back and telling him off for climbing the stairs. I tell her "It's ok I'm watching him" but she responds with " No, I'm teaching him not to climb stairs, he knows he's not supposed to!"

Then typically, My Ds comes in to the hall to see what the commotion is, ( Friends Ds crying) sees the stairgate open and starts to climb. Now I'm a little bit peeved by this point that I'm having to prohibit my Ds from doing things he would normally do to prevent upsetting friends Ds. It's fair enough if you want to be a strict parent but I didn't want to acommodate this. So I allowed Ds to climb. Again cue hysterical crying and glare from friend.

Now I do believe my friend is too strict and Ishouldn't have to change my usual rules to keep everyone happy but part of me feels that all my stubborness achieved today was upsetting a little boy sad Should I have just stopped Ds from climbing this one day so I didn't have to upset friends Ds? Im sure Ds wouldn't have even noticed tbh so it wasnt to keep Ds happy it was more me digging my heels in.

Oh god Iwbu wasn't I? sad

youfhearted Tue 26-Feb-13 09:15:42

18 months and no biscuits? shock

however i agree that should have been disucssed out of earshot and no you adults shoudl not have brought teh biscuits out if the lo's werent allowed biscuits.
and they need to learn to use stairs, not be banned from using them.

VenusRising Tue 26-Feb-13 09:22:58

Meet on neutral ground if you are so conscious of her rules and your rules. That way you can scream all you like at your kids in public!
Seriously, grab a takeaway coffee, bring snacks for the kids and have fun in a playground.

dreamingbohemian Tue 26-Feb-13 09:25:27

But if children need to learn how to use stairs, why have stairgates at all?

I mean, I imagine everyone on this thread has had stairgates at some point. Now imagine you had weird stairs where you couldn't have a stairgate. Would you just say, oh well, they need to learn how to climb stairs... or would you teach them not to use the stairs?

They're 18 months, still little, maybe the mum has some reason for the stair thing. I wouldn't assume it's a bad idea without knowing more, personally.

youfhearted Tue 26-Feb-13 09:35:54

well the stairgates are a safety thing. since you cant be going up and down stairs with your lo all the time, but you can teach them, when you have time, as op does,

but op, i am sure your toddler didnt cry for long about not using stairs, and you could have made light of it,

piprabbit Tue 26-Feb-13 09:36:31

The Biscuit - I would have gone ahead and allowed my DC a biscuit, even if the other child was a little upset. The mad mum has made a choice not to allow her child biscuits (and probably other 'treat' items too), the consequence is that she will need to cope with an upset child on a regular basis until he has learned to accept that other children will have things he doesn't. This one is down to her to manage - not you.

The Stairs - Again, let your child do his thing while the other mum copes with her child's crying.

She isn't changing her parenting style to fit in with you - so why on earth show you be changing your to fit in with her. You don't want to be giving your child mixed messages, any more than she wants her child to.

BobblyGussets Tue 26-Feb-13 09:38:53

She is too uptight. She won't be making any concessions for the sake of your DS when you are at her house, I'd bet my baps on that.

youfhearted Tue 26-Feb-13 09:41:20

no, i think you should have accommodated her, she is a guest in your house. she wont be there all the time.

firesidechat Tue 26-Feb-13 09:44:18

What I really want to know is, did your friend have any biscuits?

dreamingbohemian Tue 26-Feb-13 09:49:35

I agree, youf

Basically it comes down to how important the friendship is to you, how much you want to continue spending time with them. If you do want to, then there has to be at least a little adapting, and usually it's easier for the less strict person to adapt. I mean, what would have really been required of you here? Not serving biscuits, and not letting your DS go up stairs when he didn't care either way. It's not like she's demanding you serve organic food and bubble wrap the lounge.

I have a very strict friend, I honestly don't mind adapting a bit when we hang out. I respect her choices, they're not for me, but unless it's actually depriving my own child or upsetting him, it's no problem really. It's not like we're together 24/7.

DonderandBlitzen Tue 26-Feb-13 09:52:31

When i've come up against this I tend to not let my children do whatever it is, just while the other child is there, as it's not fair on the other child to not be allowed to do something and then watch their friend getting to eat it or do it. I figure it does my child no harm to not get to do soemthing for a short while

pictish Tue 26-Feb-13 09:54:19

no, i think you should have accommodated her, she is a guest in your house. she wont be there all the time

And how would she do that then...use her psychic powers?? It's an impossible ask! You can't know what you don't know!

Fancy doing things your own way in your own house. Selfish or what?

Sheesh. This thread is proof that people really are so objectionable, that they argue that the OP should have abided by her friend's rules...even if she doesn't know them beforehand.


WannabeWilloughby Tue 26-Feb-13 09:54:48

I think as a friend visiting, I wouldnt kick up such a fuss. If I was that bothered about my DC not eating biscuits then I, as his parent, would ensure I bought another snack. If I, as his parent, was that bothered about climbing the stairs, I would have got off my butt when he left the room and fetched him back in so he didn't have to see the stairs. If you feel strongly enough to kick up a fuss about biscuits and stairs, then get in there before the situation arises!!

I have an 18 month old and he climbs the stairs (with me standing right up his bum) and he eats biscuits occasionally too!! Fortunately, my friends and I seem to parent quite similarly so have never had an issue when they have visited.

If it were me, i'd do as I always do in my own home. Your DC will wonder why all of a sudden he's not allowed things.

pictish Tue 26-Feb-13 09:57:31

I will always do what I do in my house as well, and I expect no different from others when I am the visitor.
Carry on OP. You're fine.

hatsybatsy Tue 26-Feb-13 10:05:08

this doesn't go away IMO - I have an 8 year old and a 6 year old and am quite happy for them to have lemonade when we eat out. Cue cats bum face from friend whose kids are only allowed water.

IMO you have to stick to your own rules for your kids. But respect the differences - I would never order lemonade for her kids for example.

No need to find 'neutral territory' to meet up - perfectly possible to have your own rules for your own kids when in someone else's house.

Bananasinfadedpjs Tue 26-Feb-13 10:06:23

I think YANBU, especially if you didn't know about either of these things in advance.

I think the other mother should have brought suitable alternative snacks for her child, if she is going to be restricting what he can and can't eat. It's mean for the others to eat biscuits in front of a child who has nothing, but I think it is up to his mum to give him something else in that case.

dreamingbohemian Tue 26-Feb-13 10:11:16

But are there no exceptions to 'my house, my rules'?

If you had someone over for dinner, for example, would you ask them beforehand if they have any allergies/are veggie, or would you just cook what you like and too bad if they can't eat it?

Because I don't really see the difference between checking if someone has allergies, and quickly asking the mum, can he have biscuits?

All this 'how can you possibly know her rules', well you open your mouth and ask, it's not that complicated.

youfhearted Tue 26-Feb-13 10:12:54

she was fair enough about stairgate, her toddler, her responsibility.

pictish Tue 26-Feb-13 10:16:23

You don't ask...if someone has rules they are keen to stick to when out and about then it's their responsibility to vocalise them if needs be. It's not everyone else's job to ask. That's just illogical and the wrong way round. We shall hear no more of this nonsense.

Op did nothing wrong. Next case please! grin

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 26-Feb-13 10:32:13

It simply would not occur to me to check about biscuits apart from making sure they were not nut ones. I would assume that any parent if a child with allergies would always have contingency as I did with juice.

Its sort of par for the course that you have a friend round - cup of tea - offer a biscuit.

Thumbwitch Tue 26-Feb-13 10:39:34

I think YWB a bit U, sorry. I wouldn't have let my DS have a biscuit under those circs, it's so unfair on the visiting toddler - but I would probably have checked with the mum first, before putting them down, whether her DS would be able to have one. I would, however, have been a bit hmm about her stopping her child having a biscuit while eating one herself - it's a bit mean.

Re. the stairs - I think you were less out of order on that one, actually - you were there, watching so I can't see why she wouldn't let him climb the stairs at that point, he has to learn sometime!

I do try to keep to the rules I set for my DS when we're out and about as well as at home, but I'm more flexible in other people's houses, especially where there's a conflict between mine and the other mum's ideas. Probably the only one I'm still pretty hardline about is that DS must sit down to eat (and really, how is that likely to upset anyone else - it's designed to reduce mess) and I try to enforce that with other visiting children too. Never had a problem so far. smile

TeeBee Tue 26-Feb-13 11:20:23

I don't think YABU in not wishing to change your rules. You bring up your child how you wish, she can bring hers up how she wishes. Up to her if she doesn't want to give her child a biscuit and he wails when someone else eats one. The problem is hers. I certainly don't change my rules because of someone else. Let her get on with it and hopefully she'll let you do the same.

TeeBee Tue 26-Feb-13 11:24:30

I suppose saying that, I'm quite lax on food because my kids eat pretty sensibly but I'm strict on good behaviour and manners. If I thought someone expected better behaviour at their house then I would wade in to make mine keep to the expected rules of the house. In the same way I wouldn't allow mine to forget their manners and good behaviour just because they were in a house where the parents are more lax.

greenfolder Tue 26-Feb-13 11:25:21

strongly suggest you meet at soft play and take fruit hth

Anjou Tue 26-Feb-13 16:15:35

Whether people here think you're BU or NBU doesn't really matter - it's not going to change yours, this friends or any of your other friends parenting styles.

When friends first visit with their kids, (avg. age about 2 years), one of the first things I ask is if they're ok with stairs, as we have 2 fairly steep flights of stairs in the house and most of my friends live in flats. If I'm serving drinks and snacks, I'll ask if their kids will have water, milk or juice and if they're ok with whatever toddler snacks I'm putting out. I think it's probably quite healthy for the kids to see the mums being open and asking if things are ok. That's just my opinion - I bet someone here will think I'm BU for doing that!

If I do something that the other mum calls me out on - let's use your examples of the stairs and the biscuits - I would just apologise and say that I know what their preference is for next time. I'll still parent my kids in my way.

If you're still concerned about this, ask your friend if she thinks you were BU and clear the air. If you don't want to do that, maybe it suggests you don't enjoy her company anyway? You're the best judge of that one, OP!

Hope it all works out. smile

Goldenbear Tue 26-Feb-13 17:20:00

I don't think you were being unreasonable about either but I wouldn't checked about the biscuits because of allergies. I think it is acceptable to expect you to accommodate allergies (obviously) but a blanket ban is a parental choice not a medical condition- I'm not sure why you are expected to change your rules any more than she should be expected to change hers.

I agree with whoever said it doesn't change as they get older. That being the case, what are you going to do- constantly fashion your rules according to the visiting friends. I think that level of inconsistency is very unsettling for a child and when they're young can be upsetting. Ok it is no hardship going without a biscuit but if there was a 'usual' occurrance of your DS accompanying you on the stairs then you should let him. IME if you don't continue with this usual occurrance your own child is confused and starts getting upset. I'm not sure why your child's upset is less valid than hers just because she has explicit rules? I had a friend that put her child straight in the buggy after a visit to the park as she believed she would get the wrong idea about the level of freedom to walk. I let my DD walk whilst pushing the buggy as she held my hand. It was what DD was used to so there was upset if I changed that so I didn't.

My brother and SIL insist on finishing all dinner before their DC get a dessert. I don't, so even when we stay I'm explicit about that. My SIL did once say in front of my DS to her DC that my son wouldn't have a yoghurt if he didn't finish all of his food. Luckily my DB said that he was a guest and could have a yoghurt despite not finishing his potatoes. They knew I didn't do this with my DS so if she had been that cruel I would have told DS that he would get a yoghurt later from me.

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