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Other parents interference

(22 Posts)
NeverendingStoryteller Fri 12-Apr-13 13:02:57

This week my son has been attending lots of different sports activities because it's school holidays and he loves it. However, we've had one of those weeks where he's misplaced everything from clothing to drink bottles at these events and I'm a bit cross about it. I have spoken to him and we've talked about strategies for avoiding losses (ie, if you take off your jumper, you must immediately put it into your bag, etc).

Yesterday, after 4 days of multiple 'losses' per day, he came out of his activity with no jumper. Earlier in the day he's completely lost another drink bottle. The jumper wasn't in his bag. I spoke to him in a stern manner and told him that he would need to take responsibility and would have to approach the staff himself and ask if it had been handed in. Cue crocodile tears (this approach works well with teachers and other adults, but not Mummy, unfortunately). I said that I meant what I said and that he needed to find his own jumper. (He's 7, by the way).

As he was walking away from me, another parent, who had walked in half way through my stern (not shouting) words, went to take my son by the hand and told him that she would help him find his jumper.

I said - "Thanks, it's OK, he needs to do this for himself". And she shot me a look that could have turned me to stone, and tutted, then spent the rest of the time talking to another parent and their kids, shooting me nasty looks during their conversation. I have never met these people before - there's no history.

I'm a bit cross about the interference, but have got over myself smile))

However, do you think it is unreasonable to get a 7 year old to search for his own belongings, and to speak sternly about this, given the previous three days? Am I being a mean Mum? The other parent certainly thought so!

I would be livid. How dare she undermine you!

YANBU at all.

gordyslovesheep Fri 12-Apr-13 13:06:39

I don't think you are unreasonable to expect him to look after stuff or to go back and find it - however I am not sure this woman wasn't trying to help rather than undermine you (depends on how much she heard) - no need for her rudeness but she may have felt you where rude as well

CloudsAndTrees Fri 12-Apr-13 13:09:50

I don't think YABU and this woman was extremely rude. However I would probably have helped my ds find stuff, even if I was just there standing over him to make sure he searched properly.

Goldenbear Fri 12-Apr-13 13:10:02

I agree with the other parent. I have a nearly 6 year old that loses things all the time but I have realised that the 'stern' words make no difference to the forgetful behaviour.

Hazeleyedbaby Fri 12-Apr-13 13:10:12

As far as I can see from your post you were teaching your son to take responsibility for his own belongings. Not unreasonable given his age. I am stunned that a stranger would intervene in the circumstances you describe. I would just forget about it and move on.

IneedAyoniNickname Fri 12-Apr-13 13:11:11

Yanbu in my opinion, but then I've been blasted by another mum at school for bit going home to get dcs pe kits when they've forgotten them (after being toldmany times to pick them up,ave answering 'yes' to the question 'have you got everything?')

Sugarice Fri 12-Apr-13 13:14:58

I've had three ds's , two of whom could lose shoes, sweatshirts on a regular basis. Getting narked with them never worked; in one ear and out of the other.

It was none of the other woman's business what your approach was and she shouldn't have interfered.

NotEnoughJamOnTheBread Fri 12-Apr-13 13:27:42

I do exactly the same as you. Its something they'll only learn by taking responsibility themselves, or you'll still be doing it in 5 years time because they'll just think good old mum will sort it out for me.

NeverendingStoryteller Fri 12-Apr-13 13:35:25

Thanks everyone. Point taken about the lack of results from stern voice re: forgetfulness. I didn't think it would make a difference - it was probably a result of my frustration.

General consensus seems to be that the other parent should have minded her own business - that's very comforting, especially as I made a point of not being rude to her - TBH, I couldn't have been livid because her approach took me entirely by surprise - my anger about her interference actually took a little while to fester! I'm not the kind of person to butt in when other people are dealing with their kids, so am always a bit shocked (rather than angry) if people butt in when I'm dealing with my LO.

IneedAyoniNickname - your experience sounds horrid. It sounds like the kind of thing that I would do - although, had a similar experience where I was actually undermined by his previous primary school. He had forgotten his PE kit (even though I had put it out, with his school bag) and the school had told all the kids, and parents, that if there was no PE Kit there would be no PE for that child. He forgot his, so I mentioned this to the teacher and said that I was happy for him not to do PE as a natural consequence (which would have had a real impact because he likes PE so much). He came home later in the day and had been 'told off' (not helpful) and was then allowed to do PE anyway, in his normal school uniform. Bleugh! I give up sometimes!

I also had someone knock on my door the other day to inform me that my son had crossed the road by himself (quiet road - 30 mile an hour speed limit - good visibility). He's not been in danger. He'd not been silly. He'd not run out in front of her. She just needed to knock to let me know that she didn't agree with my parenting. rolls eyes Again, wasn't rude, just let her know that everything was OK and that he was coming back from an impromptu football match with friends at the park. I have started getting a bit paranoid and have started to wonder about my parenting.

missynomates Fri 12-Apr-13 13:35:57

he is only 7 and yes it annoying when they lose stuff but i would have helped him find it, but god sake how rude was that parent she had to right to intervene like that and stick her nose in, yanbu, oh the way i stopped mine losing stuff was not to let them take drinks bottles or anything that was valuable I used to put water in bottles so they could bin them

NeverendingStoryteller Fri 12-Apr-13 13:43:35

Good tip about the water bottles, missynomates! Cheers!

5madthings Fri 12-Apr-13 13:45:27

Yanbu!

DeafLeopard Fri 12-Apr-13 13:45:58

Other Mother WBU, sounds to me like you are encouraging your DS to be independent and take responsibility for his own things.

NynaevesSister Fri 12-Apr-13 14:19:35

Does he look 7? I only ask as son is small and looks two years younger. I often get lectures like that or comments from other parents like that as they make the assumption he is two years younger. What is fine for a 7 year old is not appropriate for a 5 year old. Even when they do know his age they still can't make that mental adjustment. So I often have to spell it out. Here's an example. I sent son off to the kiosk at the playground to buy an ice cream on his own and was tutted at by another parent. I pointed out that X had also gone on his own. Her reply was that X was bigger. To which I answered that yes he was but he was also a year younger than my son. Does height make a difference? Er, no ...

NeverendingStoryteller Fri 12-Apr-13 14:23:57

It's a good point, MynaevesSister! It's hard for me to judge if he looks his age, or not. I think he looks similar in age to those in his class, maybe even a bit older, but it's so hard for a Mum to judge this. I also think he's the best looking boy in his class. He's also, obviously, the smartest and sweetest ;)

NeverendingStoryteller Fri 12-Apr-13 14:25:27

Thanks, DeafLeopard - that sums up my position, exactly smile

DeepRedBetty Fri 12-Apr-13 14:28:20

dtds are both very tall for age and have been since they were at nursery, so I've had the opposite problem - people being overtly judgey at me as I do things for 'such big girls'.

dnephew seems to have inherited same size gene too, and always being stared at for playing in the bit of the playground reserved for under 8's - but he's still only six, just takes age 9-10 clothes.

We fear the whole lot of them are going to end up needing special order shoes sad

Floggingmolly Fri 12-Apr-13 15:11:04

Whether the way you handled the situation in regard to your DS was ur or not is irrelevant really; you'd need to be pretty spectacularly thick skinned to intervene between a parent and child in any non abusive situation.
The bloody nerve of her!

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 12-Apr-13 16:36:34

I'm guessing the other mum thought your response was too harsh especially as DS cried. This is probably because she thought it was about 1 misplaced jumper rather than a pattern of carelessness.

lljkk Fri 12-Apr-13 18:37:23

She was pushy but I think you are terribly hard on him and I have a feeling my sympathies would on balance lie with her if I were a first hand witness. If I treated my DC like that they would simply stop going to all clubs & activities, not worth the aggro.

NynaevesSister Sat 13-Apr-13 11:30:16

Ah yes DeepRedBetty that's the flip side! My brothers children are all way bigger than average. One nephew is two weeks younger than my son but from birth was twice the size (the irony being that I was the one to have the c-section). At 2 he was in 4 to 5 year old clothes and many people, even those that knew him, would treat him as a very slow and dumb 4 year old and not a bright 2 year old. Awful the judgy way people are. She got some nasty stuff over him having a dummy etc.

Now when I am out and see what looks like a 4 or 5 year old in a push chair I think - or are they just big 2 year olds?

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