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To hate all 'Parenting Strategies'

(318 Posts)
christmasmum Mon 17-Mar-14 10:41:07

I probably ABU but I absolutely loathe parenting strategy books. Friends recommend them, I foolishly think 'maybe this one will be different' and give it a go.

They all seem to make you want to talk to your child like you're a robot. Does any parent actually say things like this example quote...

You (cheery): It's bath time!
Child: I don’t want a bath. I hate baths. Go away!
You (breathe): It sounds like you’re really mad. You look really frustrated. What’s bothering you most? Can you help me understand?
Child: It’s not fair. You’re always bossing me.
You: So if I’m hearing you right, you’d like to make more decisions for yourself. You feel like you’re ready for more responsibility. Is that right?
Child: Yes!
You: Well, I’m so glad you told me. I had no idea you were feeling babied. Let’s put our heads together and come up with a solution.

If I spoke to my DD/DS like this they'd look at me like I had two heads and STILL wouldn't get in the bath.

I get the techniques, fine. Listen, reflect, don't lose your temper and thrown them in the bath headfirst. But is it realistic? Does anyone actually manage to sound like this with their kids after a long day when you just need them to get in the bloody bath and go to bed so mummy can drink gin?

NancyinCali Mon 17-Mar-14 21:55:12

I quite like the books blush but I take it all with a pinch of salt and figure out what works for us. And that changes with age I think. I've heard good things about the 1,2,3 method working and may employ that later. In general I don't think there's anything my not-quite 2 year old has done that warrants a whole load of "strategy". The twos may be different…

I think we should be able to parent in our own way without the need to label it.

Delphiniumsblue Mon 17-Mar-14 22:07:46

My pet hate is people telling me they know how I feel so I can't see why children should be different. The dialogue in OP is very irritating, you feel very sorry for the child if they have to put up with a lot similar.

Laquitar Mon 17-Mar-14 22:09:18

I think that these books just manage to divide parents.

Also we get used to need a book for everything. I 've heard people asking 'do you know any books on preparing dcs for the holidays, how to explain that we will go on a flight'. I mean we need a book for everything: 'how to explain to dcs that we are going to visit auntie', 'how to put shoes on your dc', 'how to tell dcs that uncle got divorced', 'how to explain that M #S is closed', 'how to tell them why we need to brush our teeth'. It is getting silly imo. We can use our imagination.

Delphiniumsblue Mon 17-Mar-14 22:13:01

They seem to assume that no one has common sense any more!
The one that really irks me is the parents who say that they are consensual parents or they live consensually, a most dreadful modern term. I can only think that they had a very poor childhood themselves to have to read a book and then give a name to common sense, as if it is a new invention.

rhetorician Mon 17-Mar-14 23:03:37

The poster who made the point about the usefulness of these books and strategies for those of us who have been less than perfectly parented ourselves I think is really important. I've read some crap ones, but liked Easier, Calmer, happier parenting. I have a very wilful dd who kind of panics if you place her under too much stress (shouting, especially). She just shuts down if the explanation is too lengthy, so I found descriptive praise very helpful (am a naturally negative person, so it doesn't come naturally to me to praise children, and my mother almost never said anything positive to or about me!) and lo and behold, dd was a different child. She didn't immediately get the happy cues (possibly because I look stern and scowly even when happy) and needed the fact that I was pleased with her made blatantly obvious. But you do feel like a twat doing it. "Instinct" I think is no such thing, it's observed and learned behaviours, and not all of us have good ones to draw on. So I think that for some people, these books are a waste of time, and there's also a lot of crap out there too.

tortoisesarefab Mon 17-Mar-14 23:16:37

gina ford had me believing that my newborn will sleep through from 2 months old and my toddler will potty train in a week. she is a big, fat liar grin

aquashiv Mon 17-Mar-14 23:20:54

That magic 123 does work. Infact the children remind me to use it sometimes. Only problem himself counts really quickly then shouts anyway.

AskBasil Mon 17-Mar-14 23:22:13

I never had the problem of kids not wanting a bath.

Quite the opposite. They would be quite happy to spend all day in the bath.

Get the fuck out of the bath already.

I agree with those who are saying that for those who had shit parents - and there are a lot of us - parenting books/ programmes/ courses etc. are brilliant. They have shit examples though, like a child not wanting a bath which I literally NEVER experienced and wish I would. My water bill is immense.

I also think there are a lot of people around who think they're brilliant parents and they sound a bit shit to me tbh. Some woman at work the other day was telling us about how she'd handled a child not eating his dinner scenario really incredibly badly and I was sitting there cringing because she obviously thought she'd handled it brilliantly and been the authoritative parent, when in fact she'd just been a bullying, eating-disorder-inducing arse (yes I'm hyperbolising). People could do with reading more parenting books, not fewer. You don't have to accept everything in them. I personally thought both Christopher Green and Steve Biddulph were a load of toss but How to Talk was great.

MoJangled Tue 18-Mar-14 00:34:31

Any book that undermines you and makes you feel sad, failing or disengages you from your child is BAD (Gina Ford I'm looking at you)

But plenty of good ideas and supportive explanations out there too. A book which helps you understand your child and gives you tips to supplement your instincts gis GOOD

Big vote here for What Every Parent Needs to Know by Margot Sunderland - it's not a parenting strategy but a child development book, done really accessibly, and covers how they develop, what their needs are, and what you can expect/do.

Isindesidecar Tue 18-Mar-14 00:51:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Isindesidecar Tue 18-Mar-14 00:52:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AllDirections Tue 18-Mar-14 01:22:33

Not everything has to be a palaver.

Depends what kind of child you've got hmm

tiggyhop Tue 18-Mar-14 03:19:24

Somebody wrote a book about counting to three? Seriously? Is it a short book?

nooka Tue 18-Mar-14 05:45:51

I used Toddler Taming with ds, and whilst it was reassuring to hear that he was quite normal some of the techniques didn't work for us at all (the day I spent hours hanging on to the other side of the door in an attempt to keep in his room was really not a great one! I should probably say that none of the other commonly used techniques worked either (1,2,3 naughty step, negotiation, bribery). The only response to a tantrum that worked for us was ignoring it, waiting till he'd screamed himself to exhaustion, lots of cuddles and essentially waiting until he grew out of it.

Likewise with dd's fussiness. No way was she going to be fooled by hidden stuff (sauces made her scream) or tricked by pretty patterns. No trying stuff, however small the speck (contaminated plates made her scream too) She ate what she wanted to eat and that was it. Growing up helped there too.

My parenting strategy: wait for them to grow up (TM)

woodrunner Tue 18-Mar-14 07:46:24

OP your post made me laugh out loud. That is exactly how those books script the conversations and they do sound really wooden. Weird thing is, they work. I got through two toddlers - one of whom is extremely strong willed, with less than five tantrums between them. They just never had meltdowns and it was because of that sort of phoney sounding agreement. It sounds awful to us because it's not what we want to say, but it is what they want to hear ime.

tiggyhop LOL!

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 07:51:37

as l

Featherbag Tue 18-Mar-14 07:52:48

I have a parenting strategy. It's called 'Whatever Works Best For Us, Today'. Maybe I should write a book...

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 07:55:00


these books arnt around to help parents though, they are to make money for the author.

just like any product children are a fantastic money spinner in clothes, toys, parenting books, diet books, behavioural books, AP, tiger mother blah blah blah.

somebody somewhere is laughing all the way to the bank.

much better to do what you feel works for your family and as we are all different the approaches will be different too.

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 07:56:14

Fearherbag grin x post.

cory Tue 18-Mar-14 08:15:29

I used to have a great deal of contempt for parenting books, because I thought, like other posters, "what's wrong with common sense and instinct?"

Until the day a MNer made me understand that what I call "instinct" is in fact a hunch about what is likely to work well for my children because a similar approach worked well for me during my own happy childhood. What I call "common sense" is the kind of behaviour modelled for me from birth by people who were undeniably sensible.

Which is fine because I had that well cared for childhood, with thoughtful parents who were able to build on the instict they had acquired as the well cared-for children of their thoughtful parents.

But if I hadn't, if I had been brought up by abusive or badly neglectful parents, then I might well be glad to be able to pick somebody else's brains for the "instinct" and "common sense" that hadn't been part of my own childhood.

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 08:19:14

Cory good point, probably those people may not be the sort who buy and read the books in the first place.

for some parents I think parenting classes are great.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 18-Mar-14 08:25:04

I think that parenting classes are better then books because you have the chance to talk to people and discuss what works for them.
It is a good point that some people need them if they have no role models. Consensual parenting irritates me because all it boils down to is good communication and treating everyone with respect, which is what I would call normal and then think 'who are these people who need a label?', but I guess it wasn't normal in their family as they were growing up.

Haven't read the whole thread but, from page 1, I think bribery has actually got too much of a bad name. If I had my time of parenting littlees again I think I might use it more!
Actually, come to think of it, it's something lots of grandparents use quite liberally isn't it ? grin

I think consistency is overly stressed as being essential too. If one thing isn't working you need to try something else, and get creative and flexible with your strategies!

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 08:36:01

juggling yes book called try bribery it always works grin

silverten Tue 18-Mar-14 08:40:19

Thing is, there is a point to discussing consequences and feelings over stuff children don't want to do.

It's just that it is rarely worth doing this when you're in the thick of trying to get them to do whatever it is they don't want. It takes so bloody long for the child to articulate what the problem is, and for the parent to work out what they actually mean (because what the child says isn't often exactly what they mean in these cases...) that you are just wasting your time. Coupled with the fact that these point often coincide with tiredness or hunger and you might as well not bother. Wait until the moment has passed, your child is calm, happy and undistracted and then have a go.

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