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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?

BertieBotts Mon 24-Mar-14 16:44:39

Yes BeCool, me too. I find it hard to strike that balance.

I also think that not expecting obedience doesn't mean that every everyday interaction is a discussion, because there will be an accepted way of doing things which isn't generally questioned. You can call this rules/obedience if you like, but if you think about (for example) the way things work in a marriage, you wouldn't think of a wife/husband being "obedient" but generally they will try to keep to the other's wishes as long as they are reasonable, and things will happen in an accepted way (like the dishes being kept in one cupboard and the tins in another) without someone having to express their independence all the time. That's just about being co-operative and kind and also about living in a family.

Plus at times when you know your DC will have to listen and obey immediately, in my experience, you can tell them beforehand, they understand it's different from a normal situation, and they do it.

BeCool Mon 24-Mar-14 15:01:39

My main dilemma as a parent I guess is the equation between being controlling and facilitating freedom and free choice. No one likes the feeling of being controlled, but there is a big element of parenting children that involves asserting control over them & their environment completely. In lots of ways that is a natural thing to reject and rebel against - I know (as an adult) I do. I aim to do it where necessary and allow freedoms where possible. My job is to get them to a point where my control can be completely relinquished and they are equipped not only to care for themselves physically but to make well thought-out/reasoned decisions for themselves.

I've found things improved with my moody/stubborn 6 yo when we had a chat about what was essentially "We can do this the easy way or the hard way. I prefer the easy way and it means we can get on with having lots of lovely adventures and times together. But if you want to make a big fuss about everything we/you do, we can do it the hard way. Your choice".

I explained that she was 6, old enough to know and do bedtime and morning routines etc without objecting or deviating too far from them. There was no point in objecting to these essentials/acting up at these times and to do so would only result in delays and unhappiness and a stressed out exhausted Mummy.

Well you could have knocked me down with a feather - it has worked!!! We have had a turn around in behaviour for about a month now <touches some wood>. I think that emphasizing that SHE had a choice in how things go was really important.

LondonForTheWeekend Sat 22-Mar-14 20:20:20

The difficulty I see is that children growing up under that regime don't get to practice exercising their own will (i.e. Be an adult) in a loving and controlled way.
They get sent out into the world unable to make decisions and anxious about what their parent thinks when they want to make a different decision for themselves.

Laquitar Sat 22-Mar-14 19:31:23

I dont see what is wrong with that paragraph. Unless she holds a belt or she orders them every second.
Thats the problem with this discussion, we don't know how often something is done or how is done.
Generally speaking i think that as a parent you can expect the dcs to obey a set of rules without having to explain why every single time.

Delphiniumsblue Sat 22-Mar-14 18:38:00

The blog is a nonsense. I don't know why parents feel the need to write them. You want an obedient child who thinks for themselves.

LondonForTheWeekend Sat 22-Mar-14 18:23:34

...[they] very quickly learned it was in their best interests to do as they were told, and the repurcussions of any bad behaviour were not very pleasant

This is what LaQueen wrote wrt to her own children and obedience in laquitar. They had to obey her.

Laquitar Sat 22-Mar-14 17:44:28

X - post cory. My post was not in response to yours.

Laquitar Sat 22-Mar-14 17:41:36

I am now wondering what type of parenting the Peru girls had.

I think LaQueen meant following rules and if so i agree with her. We like it or not life is full of rules. Your employer wont tell you lovely stories every morning, she will just tell you what it needs to be done and what time you need to start. The police wont empathize with you if you break the law. Your teeth will rot if you dont brush them. Your friends will get tired of you if you are pain on the arse etc.

cory Sat 22-Mar-14 17:32:47

Obedience is like any other virtue: if taken to excess it will turn into its corresponding vice. This does not negate the fact that it was a virtue in the first place.

I want children who are obedient enough to respect the law, be polite to other people and respectful to those in authority, but who would not go against their own conscience just because they were told.

And who would not let others mistreat them for the sake of obedience either.

Dd funnily enough, despite her tantrums, was always very obedient to anybody outside the family. I was not happy when I found out that she had consented to crawling on her hands and knees into the school toilet because the HT did not want to open up the disabled toilet (she was in a wheelchair but he wanted to keep the disabled toilet for visitors). She did not complain because she thought if the teachers said so then it had to be right. angry

We had a talk after that where I explained the difference between good obedience and bad obedience.

In the same school, she also accepted that because she couldn't make it up the stairs when it came to the lessons where her set were taught upstairs they just wandered off and left her sitting alone in the classroom. The teacher was too nervous of the head to ask if the sets could be moved round and she didn't want dd to move down a set. I only found out when the teacher mentioned on her end of the year report that her maths mark would have been better if she had been able to accewss tuition. Dd sat quietly and obediently and did worksheets because what the teacher told her had to be right. angry

Dd still has a tendency to let other people walk all over her because she is so afraid of not being polite. Thought at least these days she knows in theory that obedience that results in somebody being hurt or badly treated is not good obedience.

BertieBotts Sat 22-Mar-14 16:21:50

I do agree I don't think obedience for the sake of it is particularly helpful, it seems more appropriate to dogs than children. I just thought that article was pants.

LondonForTheWeekend Sat 22-Mar-14 16:13:50

No LaQueen raising their children to do whatever the parent says or the consequences will not be very pleasant raise adults afraid and unable to make any decision they know the parent won't like. Which I think is the recipe for a miserable adulthood... But if you feel that obedience to You and Your Will is more important then who am I to disagree.

Philoslothy Sat 22-Mar-14 14:52:44

My children are mostly well behaved, perfect children seem to only exist on MN. However I think that is mainly because I have been lucky enough to give birth to a series of compliant children.

I have read quite few parenting books in my time, we have a middle daughter who went through quite a difficult phase, I found them quite used to help her get back on the right track. I didn't do that by being heavily authoritarian with her, different children suit different things. I also don't quite have the confidence/ arrogance to think that I always have the right answer, sometimes I seek advice. I think that is quite a sensible thing to do.

LaQueenOfTheSpring Sat 22-Mar-14 12:43:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Agree with Sparkly and London.

Though some "obedience" is unavoidable IMO

LondonForTheWeekend Fri 21-Mar-14 19:41:44

An adult who has had "obedience" pummelled into them is at risk of being afraid to make their own decisions and of second guessing "What does Mother want me to do?".

They really struggle to make and stick to any decision, any decision, that they know or believe the obedience enforcer will not be happy with.

Obedience, for it's own sake, is not a goal I have for my children.

Sparklyboots Fri 21-Mar-14 18:30:39

My DP got into a car with a stranger when he was little, he knew he shouldn't but didn't feel he could say no because the person was an adult and his mum wasn't there to back him up.

I read the books with interest and because I feel it's important to be reflective about parenting. I'm not convinced that "gentle" parenting requires lengthy explanations; it simply requires kindness when you're setting boundaries. So you are sympathetic rather than unmoved by the distress your child feels when they can't have whatever it is, even if you consider them irrational in their desires. I have a 3 yrs, so his desires are often irrational, but that doesn't mean he feels disappointment or frustration any less keenly.

WRT to that long sunshine and vegetables explanation, "don't you want to be beautiful/ handsome?" What sort of value system is that? That you are actively promoting? Can't help wondering about how sensible it is to link food consumption with beauty...

bruffin Fri 21-Mar-14 18:27:27

And how can an "obedient " child be pressured into buying drugs if they know its illegal

BertieBotts Fri 21-Mar-14 17:27:15

Hang on Gherkins, I like ahaparenting usually, but I hadn't seen that article before. It's really nothing to do with obedience when a child is sexually abused. In the vast majority of cases the abuser doesn't say "Do this or else" they win over the child's trust, groom them, make them feel like they're playing a game, may even start off with acts which don't cause discomfort for the child (sorry, horrible thing to think about). The threats come later when they do want to do something that the child might not like, and that's when they keep them quiet with threats of "I'll tell that you did XYZ, that was really naughty, you'll get into trouble" or whatever will frighten the child most, like "I'll hurt your parents/sister/dog"

Nothing to do with obedience at all. And not nice to think about.

bruffin Fri 21-Mar-14 17:24:33

That blog is nonsense, but i find parenting blogs pointless and self gratifying anyway.

my children are obedient but they have managed to get to 16 and 18 without being any of the children described.

My 16 has not had a boyfriend because she told me she was too "fussy" She is the last person to pushed into anything she doesn't want to do, but she is a obedient as any teenager is. She can spot the "mean girls" a mile off.
Why would a 6 year old who is behaving themselves be screamed at by a coach confused what sort of parents put their 6 year old in that sort of club

verdiletta Fri 21-Mar-14 17:20:27

No strategy works with all kids. Like other posters, my DC couldn't have been more different as 2 year olds. Naughty step, time out, sticker charts, threats, bribes...nothing worked with DC1. DC2 loved to please, and I was suddenly able to be the calm, rational and NICE parent I had always wanted to be.

I think it's really helpful to get suggestions of what might work, as long as it is acknowledged that no strategy works magic.

Gherkinsmummy Fri 21-Mar-14 17:10:07

Gherkinsmummy Fri 21-Mar-14 17:09:57

sorry this time as a link

Gherkinsmummy Fri 21-Mar-14 17:09:40

Gherkinsmummy Fri 21-Mar-14 17:03:31

REALLY Bruffin? The kind of people who are walked over by others because they can't stand up for themselves? I'm not talking about people who break the law, but people who see that something is wrong and challenge it.

bruffin Fri 21-Mar-14 17:00:08

Like that it might not be so great to raise compliant and obedient children, because they will turn into obedient adults, and who wants that?
Me for one! I dont like the idea of adults who think laws don't apply to them. You can raise obedient children who can think for themselves. My dcs learnt a long time ago being nice, obedient children got them a lot farther in life.

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