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Stressed parents, badly behaved kids? Best behaved kids you know, what are he parents like?

(96 Posts)
indiana7 Wed 17-Dec-14 12:08:16

From going to playgroups etc, I have noticed that parents who appear to genuinely enjoy & interact with their kids have much better behaved kids. Its the parents who are constantly bickering & reprimanding their kids over every little thing that have the unhappier, crazier kids.
I commented to one mom about how her kids were so well behaved & she replied kids are kids so she expected a bit of bad behavious. Do some parents just expect too much from their toddlers(me included) & when they don't comply our reactions just make the behavious worse by trying to micromange?

Goldmandra Wed 17-Dec-14 12:17:53

After a long, long time working in early years settings I can see very little correlation between anxious parents and either unacceptable or anxious behaviour in their children.

I have noticed that the parents who don't have firm boundaries tend to have children who push them far more and my heart sinks when someone counts to four then starts putting in halves and quarters because they don't want to impose the sanction that they have said will happen when they reach five.

Apart from that, I think that, in places like toddler groups, children's innate behaviour overrides their parenting most of the time.

frostydom2011 Wed 17-Dec-14 12:17:54

Mmm best behaved children I've seen in my friendship group have parents that talk to them pretty firmly, politely and with direct instructions.

e.g. son, you've spilt that milk- now pls go get a cloth and wipe it up.
e.g. son, I am not a climbing frame, start again.

And to my surprise, the child who was just 4 did indeed wipe up the milk and get down and say 'Scuse me please dad, can I sit next to mum on the bench. The parents did talk to the children the same way though- like excuse me please DD, I need to get past - and the 2 year old just moved. I was impressed.

SaucyJack Wed 17-Dec-14 12:23:06

It's all a bit chicken and egg tho isn't it?

cinders456 Wed 17-Dec-14 12:23:24

Calm, consistant and loving parents. Firm when necessary. The kids know that the parents mean what they say.

Fallingovercliffs Wed 17-Dec-14 12:28:42

I think consistency is important. I sometimes see parents who put up with awful behaviour from their children, then get stressed and start shouting at them for something minor like spilling their milk or not being able to find their shoes. The poor kids just don't know what's right from what's wrong, because they're not being taught this.

LingDiLong Wed 17-Dec-14 12:29:53

I agree OP - I can definitely see my own children are much better behaved and much more responsive to me when I'm calm and am able to give them my attention. There have been plenty of times when I have been caught in that horrible downward spiral of getting stressed and shouty and then the kids respond with even worse behaviour which makes me shout even more and so it goes on. Letting some things go also helps significantly; I hate the kids rampaging around making a huge noise and being silly but really, they're not being 'naughty' when they do this just irritating so I try and let them get on with it.

WhyYouGottaBeSoRude Wed 17-Dec-14 12:30:53

Mmm best behaved children I've seen in my friendship group have parents that talk to them pretty firmly, politely and with direct instructions.

Yep this. With clear rules and consequences consistently.
Works for me.

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Wed 17-Dec-14 12:31:44

I think what makes it worse is that FEELING someone, is watching you and judging you....

I am the stressed mum at the moment op, its my DC who is running everywhere, won't sit still, into everything! I dread going anywhere with her and also dread being stuck in at home. I am having a very tough time.

whilst I expect this, I can see with my eyes my dc is hard work I see the other children sat or moving slowly round.

However, I can assure you op, I have an older DC who was exactly the same at this age, the toddler age and is now a young lady of 8 with beautiful manners, very polite and well turned out....and also doing exceedingly well at school, with accolades flooding in, and high praise from all teachers and head. smile

lambsie Wed 17-Dec-14 12:39:10

If you have a child that has challenging behaviour then you are more likely to be stressed. On days when I have known my son is likely to kick off at any point, I can be continually on edge. This is particularly so when I am out of the house and have less control of what is going on and less options for calming him down. Potentially having an audience also makes it harder.

LingDiLong Wed 17-Dec-14 12:40:08

I certainly don't judge anyone who's stressed - been there myself on many an occassion!

naty1 Wed 17-Dec-14 12:42:32

Im firm, polite.
My child is the only one who wont sit for story time sad
She is just so active, interested, not like most of these placid kids.
I think the activity and talking exhausts her and she becomes more active to avoid getting sleepy.
Shes now 2.5. She just doesnt like that part.
Im thinking of just leaving at that point as shes a distraction and not getting anything out of it.
Some things are clearly the child themselves as they are like it from birth.
Able to avoid going to sleep unless pinned down.
Others would just fall asleep, on the sofa, in the middle of nursery.
Its difficult to tell until they are older as tiredness, teething has an impact.
Just seems to reject doing things as a group, even the xmas party at playgroup she wouldnt participate.
Agree chicken and egg placid kids = calm parents.
Wait till they get the next difficult one.
But then personality is part environment part inherited and say separated identical twins can end up with very similar lives.
I blames it on DD having difficult aunts on both sides. The irony is their kids are placid. As were me and DH as kids.
So hopefully it will sort out when shes not so tired.and she'll decide she wants to sit and listen.

jeee Wed 17-Dec-14 12:43:01

I don't think children in one family are necessarily homogeneous. I know several families where one child's behaviour is more challenging than the other children. The classic nature versus nurture debate.

Purplepoodle Wed 17-Dec-14 12:47:26

Then there's the case that u stay calm, don't raise your voice and try to deal.with obnoxious behaviour - u get tutted at for not being strict enough. U can't win

Summerisle1 Wed 17-Dec-14 12:51:46

I'd say consistency and sensible, realistic interventions are the key. Don't shout at your child in a manner that you wouldn't be prepared to accept anyone shouting at you. The most badly behaved children I know are regularly, and constantly shouted out and threatened with ridiculous, over the top punishments that they know, full well, won't be carried out. I actually feel sorry for these particular children who are surrounded by "stuff" but really, would benefit a great deal more from positive attention.

But then who amongst us was ever the perfect parent?

LebkuchenMonster Wed 17-Dec-14 12:56:13

I think if you as a parent can stay calm, then you can enforce the necessary boundaries and communicate your expectations better, plus you are better able to judge which battles to fight.

When I'm overtired and stressed, I start snapping at 5yo dd for dawdling, although in my calm moments I know this isn't really a battle I can win by nagging. Otoh staying calm but firmly asking her to do stuff (eg tidying up) and being there to redirect her attention when she gets distracted always works.

MiaowTheCat Wed 17-Dec-14 13:04:46

I went through a phase with DD1 where I'd get all the tutty faces for being thought of as being too strict at toddler groups and the like. I wasn't really - I've just learnt enough from working as a teacher in a previous existence not to threaten myself into a corner and if you threaten a consequence then you carry it out because it makes for an easier life later down the line when you've got kids who know you will do what you've told them you would. I'm no dragon - it was things like leaving early on a few occasions if behaviour continued.

DD1 is a child that would fit the MN description of "spirited" though - if I let her she could be quite difficult to deal with (she's very much a mini-me) and I HAD to start that consistency from very early on or she would be an absolute nightmare now in the terrible twos phase she's going through (more of a threenager thing).

As it is, unless she's having a real toddler moment, I tend to get a fair few compliments on her behaviour and manners as a result. If I'm snappy or stressed though things that would normally be quite manageable escalate and she can be a very very good button-pusher when the mood takes her and sometimes I've got to mentally take a step back and remind myself what she's doing and not get sucked into it.

I'm making her sound like a nightmare - she's actually a really wonderful little girl, but one who has the potential to be challenging if not channeled the right way.

Vagueandbemused Wed 17-Dec-14 13:07:46

I agree with the general thinking behind your post. My kids respond to me far better when I'm not being a shrieking freak from hell. Funny that.

Boundaries are definitely the key. Both of my children know that when I threaten, I will follow through.

'If you do that again, you will not be playing on the Wii this evening.'

'You need to clean your teeth or I'm not reading a story.'

They know I won't cave in. There will be no Mario or Rainbow Fairies in your life if you misbehave.

My DP on the other hand... Total walkover. sigh

Hatespiders Wed 17-Dec-14 13:09:34

There's a super family two doors down from us in our village. They have three dc (7,5 and 3). The children are so delightful we and the whole street adore them. They're confident and full of fun, but know the boundaries and always have excellent manners when saying thank you etc.
Their sahm has sensible rules and makes sure they stick to them. She's always taking them out to various activities and makes enormous efforts to enrich their lives without spoiling them. Dad is very sporty and when he's home from work he plays mad games and pretend scary stuff in the garden (we hear him roaring when he's being a lion and we giggle) I think they're a perfect family.

emeline Wed 17-Dec-14 13:10:09

I see parents telling their kids off quite vindictively. Like "making it personal".. Those are the unhappy kids who play up and give other kids a hard time.

naty1 Wed 17-Dec-14 13:10:18

Some parents are just oblivious or dont bother intervening.
1) younger sister of a child was grabbing all the snack, touching it, taking it so no others could get any. Prob 18m-2yo.
Mum always ignores any bad behaviour. 90% of other mums would have said, no dont touch, leave some for others.
Very frequent with this child. I imagine both child and parent arent stressed as no discipline.
2) child was taking lots of toys off DD now if i was closer i would have stopped it as she was playing with (admittedly all of them)
But the other mum sat on the floor with him just watching talking to him as he took every single one off her, maybe saying she cant have them!
Really actually a bit bullying as taking off a younger child.
When DD was trying to take a triangle off another boy earlier i was quick to tell her no he's using it. There's another here (though she wasnt happy almost reasonably as that one didnt have a striker but you know hard luck)

I think some people are less likely to intervene. One older 4 say twin boy is always quite bullying and aggressive, for example swinging around a toy shopping trolly and hitting a crawling child but it can really escalate before the mum does anything.

Everyone has different behaviour expectations. And i guess i think the tougher you are when they are younger you wont hopefully be dealing with bullying, not sharing etc still when they are older.
If you leave it i assume the kid thinks - its ok to behave like this.

roundtable Wed 17-Dec-14 13:15:05

Some I've noticed an increased phenomenon of school age children throwing massive tantrums at school when losing something or finding something difficult and have seen the link with parents not telling their children that their behaviour is not appropriate as toddlers - personally Ithink the 'calm' parent is not necessarily the more effective parent.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not condoning screeching at your children 24/7 but smiling serenely while your child goes round picking up toys that other children are playing with does not teach them how to play in the right way.

Personality has a massive part to play also. Some children are more compliant than others. Others have more physical responses to situations. My child was a hitter and has graduated to throwing things in a rage. I could have trilled sweetly at him when he hit other children but then he'd do it again. So I preferred to say no and take him away from the situation which would cause him to scream hysterically. Sometimes I would roar across the room "No LittleRound" as I'd see his hand start to rise to give a child a slap for interfering with the toy he was playing with. Lots of people have judged me I'm sure but I tried softly, softly with him and it didn't work. He doesn't hit anymore. We're working on the throwing...

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Wed 17-Dec-14 13:20:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lambsie Wed 17-Dec-14 13:28:23

I don't think calm is the same as softly softly/drippy voice.

Hatespiders Wed 17-Dec-14 13:29:58

I know what you mean LaQueen about different personalities. In the family I described above the little boy is a real live-wire. He's quite a dominant, strong lad but he benefits enormously from his dad, who does sports with him and lots of physical stuff. The little girl is quieter and loves to cook with her mum and dress up, help with the youngest etc. I think each parent has different things to offer. But as you say, 'firm but fair' is the keynote.

I also have to say that living in a small country village benefits the children a great deal. (I mean all the children, not just this family) Everyone knows everyone, and it's a real community. The nursery and primary school are steps away. There's hardly any traffic and they all go to the village park/football pitch to play and let off steam. It must be so hard for children shut in high-rise flats; they must get very frustrated and penned-in.

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