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AIBU? Just don't get how parents can live like this!

(72 Posts)
finncotta Thu 26-Sep-13 12:55:22

I have 2 friends in particular who I'm thinking about when asking this question. Both lovely people, sensible, normal etc. But they seem to have blinkers on when it comes to their dcs. Their dcs seem to completely control the household - what happens, what is eaten for dinner, and when and if the parents are allowed to go out. One of them has only 1 dc, the other has 2 but there is 11 years between them.

One of the friends is very kind to me, always inviting me over with my dcs. I've tried to reciprocate the invitation but there's always a reason why she can't come, always related to her dd and what her dd wants. Is she not allowed to have a life? I've stopped asking now. She is always complaining about how demanding her dd is and how tired she is from trying to keep her happy. So why do you do it, I want to ask!

My dcs play with my friends' dcs but get fed up because it always has to be on the friends' dcs' terms. Mine are no angels but they know the parents are in charge and that's just that, no matter how important the dcs are and how much we consider their wishes.

AIBU to wonder why parents create such a ridiculous situation for themselves?

lljkk Fri 27-Sep-13 12:50:13

My guess is that what's what is a matter of arbitrary opinion & perspective.

cory Fri 27-Sep-13 09:39:25

There's a difference, Iljkk, between giving up a lot of your own life for your dc = sometimes reasonable, and expecting other dc always to have to conform to yours= not reasonable (and I'm sure you don't do it). Parents who do the latter are not helping their dc.

lljkk Fri 27-Sep-13 09:35:25

I distrust threads like this.
I have friends who think this is exactly who I treat my DC. That we indulge them ridiculously.
But if you ask my kids, they say we're the strictest meanest parents around!
Can't keep everyone happy.
Luckily Dd had a classmate whose mother had a very messy life with lots of problems, so DD has some clue how bad parents can be.

I am utterly confused at parents who still have huge own-lives in spite of many children. How in the world do they find the energy.... I know my parents found the energy to have their own vibrant social lives by not having a clue what was going on inside my head & ignoring how badly bullied i was at school.

MrsMook Fri 27-Sep-13 08:33:55

I'm sure DS1 would happily rule the roost if allowed! It was tough when pg with DS2 and on crutches for SPD, and some things like TV on in the background were relaxed for an easy life. He's coming up towards 3 now. When I was recovered from DS2's birth, the TV habit was getting silly, so a timer was put on the TV so he can't turn it off and on at will. Saying "no" and sticking to it is paying off despite all the tantrums of the past as he knows we mean what we say. It's getting easier now we can reason and bargain with him. I know it's early days, but hopefully we've established a good foundation for a happy, reasonable, pleasant child.

I've worked with thousands of other people's children, and you can often spot those that are given free reign- they are very hard work, and some can be unpleasant, and the parents very often are as their expectations are very unrealistic. It's sad as the underlying personality of the children isn't necessarily unpleasant, they just can't deal with normal expectations of society.

I suspect it's a growing issue. The rise of parenting styles like "gentle parenting" can discourage assertive parenting. Often guilt is an issue, through working, health issues or hangovers from the parent's upbringing.

finncotta Fri 27-Sep-13 01:15:32

pictish I would have done exactly the same as you.

LEM bit of a stretch to assume she finds me boring. There may well be other reasons why she hardly ever comes to see me and why we always have to go to her, but I honestly think it's mainly to do with her dd. I think she's so afraid of "upsetting" her that she won't challenge her at all just in case something is not exactly how she wants it. It's becoming a bit of a problem as every whim is indulged. For example, the dd fell out with another girl in her class, nothing big just normal 12 year old girl stuff. Soon afterwards there was a class trip but her dd refused to go on the school bus in case this girl was mean to her. So my friend took her in her own car instead. All the kids were asking why - it can't be good for the girl to be singled out like that.

basgetti I can totally understand how hard it must be having total responsibility for a child with little support. Good to hear you feel things are better with the changes - kids are bloody hard work.

Orangeanddemons I see what you're saying and yes all dcs are different. I have a tricky one myself who doesn't know the meaning of going with the flow and wants everything 100% his way. But he can't, that's not life. I listen to him and consider what he wants but in the end he knows (finally, after years of being a wall which won't fall down no matter how hard he pushed) he accepts that what the parent says is what goes. It's not right for kids to have too much control, they are not adults yet.

SummerRain yes this girl gets everything immediately too and I come across as a meanie for making my dcs wait until birthday or Christmas! Again they are very generous and will happily include my dcs in whatever they are doing, and I would also do the same for their dd if they would ever let me! Ah well, I use them as a lesson for my dcs in how you shouldn't compare yourself with others and how they actually have a bloody good life!

Pixel Thu 26-Sep-13 21:57:47

Madey, I've never read Harry Potter or seen the films so I wouldn't know about Dudley, but yes 'tis true I'm afraid. He's not a bad kid surprisingly but I've had to do a lot of tongue-biting over the years (not that mine are angels but they wouldn't dare talk to me in the way that this boy talks to his mother, I've even seen him slap her). I did find an unexpected ally on one visit when his grandmother happened to be there. He was repeatedly jumping out through the window and running back in the door despite 'polite' requests not to which he ignored and the grandmother gave me a look that said she was keeping quiet for the sake of peace too grin.

IceCreamForCrow Thu 26-Sep-13 21:46:21

Yaddnbu op. Turning children into the centre of everyone's universe does them no favours in the long run and does not make them happy.

The word no can be hard to say and hear, but if you hear it at appropriate times from a young age it does a lot of good.

SummerRain Thu 26-Sep-13 21:36:19

dd's bf is a bit like this. Not to the extent in the OP but if she asks for something she gets it, anytime her mother goes to the shop with her she gets bought stuff and if dd is with them she gets stuff too. If she decides she wants a new ds game or toy she'll insist on having it now and it will happen, poor dd knows she has to wait til xmas or birthdays for the same gifts. They're a lovely family, and the girl is angelic at ours, and they treat dd as one of their own... but I do wonder how the girl is going to cope as an adult. They have adult children and they're still spoilt and demanding and they're in their 20's and one is a parent themself.... where will it end?

YouTheCat Thu 26-Sep-13 21:23:16

Dudley was written as a caricature - seems some people took HP as parenting advice. grin

Madeyemoodysmum Thu 26-Sep-13 21:21:46

PIXEL. Is this for real! He sounds like Dudley from Harry potter!

mrsjay Thu 26-Sep-13 21:10:29

Mrs jay- I think you've hit the nail on the head. My friend can't bear to see her daughter upset so she always gives in. I mean, no-one likes to see their child upset but sometimes you just have to be the parent in a situation.

I really thinks that is what is at the bottom of it the parent doesn't want to be the bad guy which imo isn't doing their children any good

MariaLuna Thu 26-Sep-13 20:34:53

These kids are going to be in for a huge shock as they become adults and find out no-one will pander to them

Pixel Thu 26-Sep-13 19:10:28

My friend's boy is like this, everything has to be on his terms. I've seen them drive ten miles to another town to get a pizza because he didn't want one from any of the places in their own town. We used to go Christmas shopping together but it drove me mad because she'd have this huge long list that her son had written, (no cheap bits and bobs either), and she had to get everything on the list or else. (Every other shopping trip included a detour to get the latest game or gadget as well because if he had something he had to have a full set immediately). He would rummage around until he found his presents and bring them into the room in the full knowledge that she would go and buy him some more. I'm sure most of us have come across a pressie meant for us at some stage of our lives, whether deliberately or not, but we keep quiet and pretend to be surprised when we receive it don't we? And learn a valuable lesson about spoiling the joy of anticipation. In that sense I do feel a bit sorry for him because he's never had to wait for anything in his life, his things are less special iyswim.
They even bought a new big tv for their living room and the boy wanted it so they put it in his room so he could fall asleep watching cartoons (he wouldn't go to bed any other way), and they sat in the other room watching a tiny old fashioned tv. He was five at the time.

TheSeaPriestess Thu 26-Sep-13 18:36:41

I don't understand how people can live like that either.

I went to visit a friend the other day and she had another friend and her 4yr old DS there. The 4 year old was wandering around eating a sausage roll, no attempt was made to either contain the mess or clear it up and my friends room was covered in pastry!

He then proceeded to keep running up to the other two kids (2 yr olds) roaring 'You are so STUPID!!' In their faces, snatching toys and barging into everyone. Not once did the mum do anything apart from roll her eyes indulgently.

I had great difficulty in keeping my mouth shut. My DS can be a horror but that doesn't mean I bloody let him get on with it.

Kids with no boundaries or discipline tend to grow up to be unpleasant entitled adults.

Orangeanddemons Thu 26-Sep-13 18:14:29

I have 2 dc. Ds was amenable, would go with the flow, and did what he was told.

Dd is awkward, demanding and never ever does as she is told. Sometimes, just sometimes it is too difficult to be on top of a very difficult child all the time. I used to think exactly like you op when I just had ds, then I had dd, and it is about survival now

basgetti Thu 26-Sep-13 18:13:42

I was a bit like your friend OP.

I'm a lone parent and I basically put my life on hold for the first 4 years of DS' life. I wanted him to be happy, I think maybe I was trying to make up for the fact that I hadn't been able to give him the traditional family I'd dreamed of and that we spent the first few months of his life in a refuge.

He has never been a 'brat' and is a funny and very sweet kid but he certainly called the shots and never ever wanted to be away from me. I never used to go out without him, would feel guilty spending any money on myself and would even lie next to him pretending to be asleep until he drifted off because he wanted me to go to bed at the same time as him.

It came to a bit of a head when we went on holiday with family and I spent the weekend catering to his every whim. It was embarrassing for me when he decided we were going back from the clubhouse, or when he cried in the swimming pool if I tried to go off and do a few lengths whilst my mum supervised him.

I realised I was in danger of creating a monster and started making changes. It helped that ExP had sorted himself out by this point and became more involved and he backed me up with discipline and boundaries. A year on DS goes to bed by himself, I go out with friends, have a life away from him without feeling guilty, DS is more independent and I think we are both much happier.

Fayrazzled Thu 26-Sep-13 18:12:07

Mrs jay- I think you've hit the nail on the head. My friend can't bear to see her daughter upset so she always gives in. I mean, no-one likes to see their child upset but sometimes you just have to be the parent in a situation.

Fayrazzled Thu 26-Sep-13 18:06:55

I have a friend like this. Her youngest child is totally over indulged and to put it frankly, a bit of a madam. she rules the roost in their home and it's sad because I can see it affecting her older siblings. I asked my friend outfor a coffee the other morning and she actually turned to her 3 year old and asked her if she would like to go to the coffee shop with me or should we have a coffee at their house. It wasn't up to the 3 year old! Said three year old also won't countenance mum leaving the house to go out for the evening, sleeping all night in her own bed, eating a meal sitting at the table etc etc. She has my friend and her husband wrapped round her little finger. My friend is also carrying her all over the place still. it would be one thing if the child was actually happy, but she doesn't appear to be, she is permanently whinging. There is always an excuse though, usually that she is tired, or hungry or it's hard for her because she's the baby, etc etc ad nauseum.

Sorry, that turned into a bit of a rant.

YoureBeingADick Thu 26-Sep-13 18:01:37

oh my best friend parents like this and it has all come back to bite her in the ass. I feel so so much for her tbh, her teen daughter is putting her through hell and best friend is just about the nicest person you could meet so will not stand up for herself. I have heard her DD in full swing and it is absolutely vile some of the things she says to her mum. tbh I struggle at times to remain polite to the DD at the minute because I see my friend in tears not knowing how to cope. it makes me very angry but I know my friend is partly to blame for letting the dcs dictate every single thing. but it's up to her how she parents.

pictish Thu 26-Sep-13 17:56:23

Who said she never visits Lem?

ZingWantsCake Thu 26-Sep-13 17:56:09


I think that even if she sees what the problem is she has no idea how to change things and probably believes she can't.

especially if she has a strong-willed child (exhibit B - me) or two (exhibit C - my sister)

it's sad.
and it is hard to change because the one(s) in control will not want to give up the "power" and are already better equipped to fight for their position(s) tooth and nail.

I hope you can help her somehow though.
just offer her support

pictish Thu 26-Sep-13 17:55:08

Yeah she's an intelligent woman, but not when it comes to this.

The thing is, I see rather more of this sort of thing than I'd like. There's a trend towards soft arse parenting. I think some people confuse respecting their children, with laying down and being enslaved by them.

mrsjay Thu 26-Sep-13 17:52:18

och we get gets like that where we work kids snatches toy mummy says on if you leave it he will give it back well no I wont leave it till he gives it back <harsh>

LEMisdisappointed Thu 26-Sep-13 17:52:09

I think she finds you a terrible bore and is using her DD as an excuse not to visit

mrsjay Thu 26-Sep-13 17:50:57

the proverbial bucket of water i understand grin

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