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language used to DD (2)

(27 Posts)
ZadokTheBeast Fri 22-Nov-13 12:10:39

I really do want some views on this so be honest!

I am really uncomfortable with some of the language my mother uses when talking to my DD (nearly 2). We ahve never had the best relationship but she tries really hard with DD and though they don't see each other often due to distance she seems to enjoy my mum's company and mum is happy to play with her for a little while at a time. But she uses really negative language all the time! Like 'dirty' and 'smelly' if she needs a nappy changed, or if she just wants a cuddle from me when she's playingwith my mum, mum will call her a 'little sneak' or 'traitor'.

It's all delivered jokingly and I know (I think) mum is not genuinely offended or possessive - she absolutely gets it that sometimes DD just wants her mum - but I really cringe at this negative language. there's also this weird undercurrent that i find really hard to explain which seems to be all about taking sides - she had to be 'with' grandma or be Grandma's friend and I just don't want her (DD) to have to deal with that complicated grown-up shit when she's only little.

However when I try to think of what to say to my mum I can't seem to construct an argument that doesn't make me sound - well, just completely precious and a bit barking tbh. So I've never said anything.


Kyrptonite Fri 22-Nov-13 12:11:59

You're being precious about the nappy thing.

Not so much about traitor and sneak I don't think.

puntasticusername Fri 22-Nov-13 12:17:41

I'm the same about the nappy thing actually. PIL greet DS's every offering with a shrieked "POO-EEEEEEY! STINKY BOTTY!" or similar and it puts my teeth on edge. I don't think children should be made to feel self-conscious about the fact that their poos smell, I mean doesn't everyone's?!

This may be connected to the fact that as adults, their family all quite happily discuss their bowel movements, even at the dinner table. Apparently I'm the strange one, for finding this distinctly gross hmm

Agree, the other stuff she's doing sounds a bit odd too.

HoratiaDrelincourt Fri 22-Nov-13 12:22:10

I agree in general that it's important to use positive language with small children, paying attention in particular to negative labels on people rather than behaviour.

So "have you made a smell?" is better than "are you smelly?" and "that was an unkind thing to do" is better than "you are a naughty girl", and so on.

I'm not sure how you'd approach this with your mother. In similar circumstances I tend to go for "I've been reading on MN about some research into positive language and how it improves children's behaviour so DH and I have been trying really hard to model positive language and avoid anything negative even when we are obviously joking" blah blah blah "and it seems to be making a real difference" so that you aren't telling them that they're wrong or what to do.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Fri 22-Nov-13 12:22:59

I agree about being precious regarding the nappy. I tell DS dirty as he likes to stick his hands down there as soon as I've opened a pooey nappy! I also tell him the bin is dirty to stop him playing with it and emptying out the rubbish.

CoffeeTea103 Fri 22-Nov-13 12:25:12

Oh please it is both dirty and stinky, you are being precious.

2goatytocare Fri 22-Nov-13 12:27:09

Is she saying the poo is dirty or that your DD is dirty

ZadokTheBeast Fri 22-Nov-13 12:28:23

Just to clarify re the nappy thing, she calls DD dirty/smelly. As in 'are you dirty?' 'Ooh DGD you're smelly'. She doesn't pass comment on the contents of the nappy, she doesn't change her.

2goatytocare Fri 22-Nov-13 12:30:18

That would piss me off too

Kyrptonite Fri 22-Nov-13 12:32:19

Well if a child is covered in poo they are smelly/dirty

2goatytocare Fri 22-Nov-13 12:34:37


Kyrptonite Fri 22-Nov-13 12:39:56

It's not being mean to them. It's associating words with meaning e.g. That tea is hot, your hands are dirty etc.

NotYoMomma Fri 22-Nov-13 12:41:51

are you joking?

must we protect our children from normal doscriptive words such as smelly?! hmm

I call dd stinky bum bum lol.

2goatytocare Fri 22-Nov-13 12:44:18

I don't think it's meant to be mean but reinforcing the negative often enough can and does give people complexes about things like that. 'You are a dirty/ smelly girl' is entirely different to 'your hands are dirty'

Thymeout Fri 22-Nov-13 12:58:54

My df used to call me 'Stinker'. It was a term of endearment.

I knew that because of the tone of his voice.

Just as your dd hears the fact that words are delivered jokingly. It's only 'complicated grown up stuff' because you are making it so.

I know that you see it differently and that it grates on you, but it's good for your dd to have a variety of human interaction and there's nothing inherently wrong in what your dm says. I wouldn't say anything. Let them develop their own relationship in their own way.

puntasticusername Fri 22-Nov-13 13:10:30

To clarify - yes, of course I agree with calling poo, loos, bins etc dirty, and teaching that we don't touch them more than we have to, we wash hands straight afterwards etc. That's just...hygiene. It's the whole making a massive embarrassing performance of the fact that a kid has pooed, that I'm uncomfortable with.

Imogenolivia Fri 22-Nov-13 13:23:13

Hi OP, I just wanted to say that I can really relate to this and I don't think you abu. It's the 'complicated grown-up shit' that I understand. My mil does this with dd. Like making her feel guilty if she comes to me for a cuddle in a jokey-but-subtly-bitter kind of way that I think isn't fair on dd. When baby was newborn and I had to ask her to stop saying things like "what's silly mummy done now..." "ohhh what a mean mummy not putting your cardi on..." Maybe I was just over sensitive and needed a thicker skin, I don't know.

I am guilty of saying "pooooo stinky" about nappies though!

2goatytocare Fri 22-Nov-13 13:23:36

I agree Pun some kids might grow up fine with it others may not, I wonder how someone would feel if I went in the loo after them and made a big deal of it 'stinking' you'd feel uncomfortable with it surely, she may not be an adult but she will be a little sponge at that age

2goatytocare Fri 22-Nov-13 13:25:46

Saying all that the 'traitor' part of what your mum says is obviously more concerning

CaramelisedOnion Fri 22-Nov-13 16:42:32

Are you saying that your child's shit doesn't stink?


The thing about the traitor and sneak thibg is a bit weird though.

ZadokTheBeast Fri 22-Nov-13 19:44:17

Ha ha. No, her poo stinks alright! It's more like Imogen says upthread, strange game-playing along with the negative language. I suppose the nappy thing was a bad example though I don't think calling HER dirty (rather than saying, have you got a dirty nappy) is ok, really. I really dont know how to stop her calling saying things like 'traitor' though. Like I said it's not just the words it's the implication that she had to be with grandma or something negative will be said - don't know. I do take on board what someone upthread said about them working out their own relationship as DD grows up.

Guess thicker skin is called for!! Thanks.

LadyAlconleigh Fri 22-Nov-13 19:52:05

I think you can worry about this stuff too much. Children brought up in a normal loving home are not going to be traumatised by being called "stinky occasionally. My 9 year old HATES having a shower for example, so a warning of being stinky is not inappropriate I feel.

LadyAlconleigh Fri 22-Nov-13 20:01:09

Kids are resilient creatures really.

Finola1step Fri 22-Nov-13 20:03:06

The nappy/smelly thing is annoying but not harmful.

The traitor/little sneak thing is odd. This is what you need to be concerned about as it suggests a deeper level of jealousy on your mum's part.

puntasticusername Fri 22-Nov-13 20:07:19

Caramelised you jest, but I know someone, expecting her first baby in a few days, who confidently asserts that her child's poos are not going to smell bad. I just nod and smile...

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