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To ask why some people make parenting harder on themselves?

(361 Posts)
UniversityOfMotherhood Fri 23-Jan-15 08:58:19

Hi all,

My DS was at his little playgroup yesterday morning for two hours, two whole hours to me wow! grin
Decided I would go for a potter round the charity shop (very sad I know, I do love a charity shop).
I am having a good rummage around and in comes fellow mummy with toddler in tow. Small person was not in buggy or on reins. Her mummy started looking around as did she having a fantastic time re-arranging piles of clothes toddler style.
And there it started from mummy
"stop that"
"don't touch that"
"I mean it leave that alone"
This went on for a good ten minutes by which time toddler had zoned her mummy's voice out preferring to continue wrecking looking at things.
It ended with mummy getting very angry and issuing threats like
"right no Mr tumble when you get home if you don't stop it"
"you will be going straight to bed when we get home"
Toddler continued her business to end up being pulled out of the shop screaming, unwilling to leave with a very harassed red faced mummy saying "that's it home, bed , you were warned"

I was regretting my charity shop potter idea! Honestly why do some parents do this? It completely baffles me. I felt sorry for the little toddler and thought her mums expectations were way to high. Taking a toddler unleashed into any shop and asking them not to touch is just asking for it.

Supermarkets are another place where you hear them well before you see them, screaming tots and frenzied mums.

I have read so many posts on MN with mums saying they can't cope with their toddlers and it just makes me sad, maybe we should start a support thread? Some have said they don't like their toddlers, lock themselves in the bathroom to get away from them, shout and scream at them and then wonder why they behave badly? These posts have received sympathy and flowers. But you can read an innocent tooth brushing toddler thread and the parents end up being accused of bordering on child abuse?????? Seriously what is it all about.

I am not a perfect parent please don't think I am saying that not by a long shot, but I've had two toddlers now with 18 years apart and have never had any tantrums from me or them. I love toddlers I think they are funny strong willed little beings who get very frustrated by us and their lack of language skills. I am sick and tired of toddlers getting a hard time!

Rant over and breathe.

<panting into paper bag>

BananaPie Fri 23-Jan-15 09:01:02

So what should she have done? Left child constrained in a buggy while she shopped?

SolomanDaisy Fri 23-Jan-15 09:03:44

Bloody hell, you've had two toddlers and no tantrums? You've been very lucky.

LadyLuck10 Fri 23-Jan-15 09:05:42

Well good for you then. Why judge other people. Where do you think she should have left her child? And reigns only help so much, her child would still have been fidgeting.

DisappointedOne Fri 23-Jan-15 09:06:00

My DD has never tantrummed either.

MrsWolowitz Fri 23-Jan-15 09:06:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GotToBeInItToWinIt Fri 23-Jan-15 09:08:04

What do you think she should have done? DD is only 14 months and has no concept of not touching so at the moment I would keep her in her pushchair in that scenario, but when she's a bit older I want to be able to teach her to behave in shops/out and about and I can't do that if she's always constrained in her pram, so I imagine I will let her walk around shops while I try and teach her what she can and can't touch. How will she ever learn otherwise?

notonyourninny Fri 23-Jan-15 09:11:29

I let my toddler free reign often as he can get out of buggy and prefers being free. I'm not keen on reigns. <shrug>

kaykayred Fri 23-Jan-15 09:14:19

I think a lot of people in the UK assume that bad behaviour from toddlers in public is inevitable, and some people just resign themselves to it.

Have to say that in France kids are, as a rule, SO much better behaved. Of course you get the odd tantrum, but it's normally shut down pretty quick, and no-one does the "stop that hugo....stop it.....can you hear me Hugo....Hugo.....hugo stop that please...."

We saw a woman with a toddler in a big shop once, when the child started wailing that he couldn't have something. Mother immediately gets down and says "You aren't having it. There's no reason to cry. Calm down" and is very nice. Wailing continues, at which point it's "If you don't stop screaming then we go home and you don't get the thing you wanted". Screaming continues, so this woman literally put her basket down, and started to leave the shop. When the kid started screaming more, she just picked him up and carried him out.

It was amazing!

I have never, not once, seen a kid throwing a massive screaming fit in a supermarket, whilst in London is was pretty common place.

From speaking to friends I think parents struggle more with toddlers when they are at home, whereas UK friends might say they struggle with toddlers more when they are out.

WorraLiberty Fri 23-Jan-15 09:16:03

I don't believe for a second that neither of your toddlers have ever had a tantrum.

But I agree with what you're clumsily trying to say about empty threats and putting toddlers in to situations, where the even the world and its dog can see it's asking for trouble.

Only1scoop Fri 23-Jan-15 09:16:40

My dd never had tantrums thank the Lord. However that mother couldn't win as if she didn't say anything at all and just let the child run wild she'd have probably got criticised for that.

Perhaps we all need the graduate from the 'University of Motherhood' as your username suggests.... with a first..... and then we can join in the judging hmm

SurlyCue Fri 23-Jan-15 09:18:16

maybe we should start a support thread?

hmm YOU definitely shouldnt. Maybe you meant start a judgemental patronising thread?

ZenNudist Fri 23-Jan-15 09:20:22

No tantrums. That's actually abnormal. Lucky, but abnormal.

I don't know about charity shops, unless she was dropping off stuff, but supermarkets you have to take children in. Life goes on and not everyone has childcare for boring things like shopping.

Fortunately for the rest of the parenting world I think most people who've had children smile wryly at toddler tantrums and give sympathetic looks to mums on the receiving end.

Also in your scenario you don't know how old the little girl was. She could well have been small for age, so too old to be in a pram all the time and old enough to learn to listen to her dm.

Backseat parenting is always easier. Sometimes as parents we make shitty decisions, like popping into a charity shop with an unfettered child. We just hope that the rest of the world is minding their own business and not being judgemental arses.

MrsTawdry Fri 23-Jan-15 09:25:16

OPs user name is a bit hmm

SolomanDaisy Fri 23-Jan-15 09:25:23

My DS was having a stop about going to preschool this morning. He wanted to stay at home with me and play. I was very nice to him, but strapped him into his buggy and took him out as he screamed as there was no way he was going to walk. On our way out I saw one of our neighbours carrying their stropping preschooler to the car while he kicked and screamed (French/Dutch) family (good for us as the screaming was so loud my DS got over his own tantrum to watch). When we got to preschool there was a child having a strop in the waiting room (Dutch) and as I left there was another having a tantrum outside (German). All the parents were being perfectly calm and reasonable, but most toddlers/preschoolers of all nationalities do tantrum.

SparklyReindeerShit Fri 23-Jan-15 09:26:20

So having toddlers who do tantrum makes you a bad parent? Or incapable? hmm
Your post comes across as very judgy and sanctimonious.

sharonthewaspandthewineywall Fri 23-Jan-15 09:26:29

OP have a fucking medal.
Also have a biscuit for your trouble.

sliceofsoup Fri 23-Jan-15 09:27:31

I get what you mean OP.

IMO there is a time and a place for small ones to be let loose, and in shops isn't it.

When our pram broke I was without one for a couple of weeks, and I attempted a quick baskets worth in the local shop for bread etc with 18 month old DD2. She basically stood in the one spot causing aisle blockages and wouldn't move, and I couldn't carry her and the basket. So I had to bribe her with a fruitshoot (Sounds like MN bingo but I am serious, I opened it before paying too shock grin ) so that she would walk beside me.

Never again. Now I go to the bigger shop that has trolleys I can put her in.

But thats ok for me because mine have been happy to stay in a buggy until at least 3. I am not sure what I would do if they hated it. I still don't think I would let them loose in a shop though.

leeloo1 Fri 23-Jan-15 09:28:42

At least the mother carried through her threat of leaving when she'd said she would! What really annoys me is when parents say
'If you go near the stream we'll go home'
'I mean it if you go near the stream you'll get wet feet and we'll have to go home'
'I've told you if you get wet feet we'll have to go home'
... and repeat...
'Oh you've got wet feet... well its your own fault... oh here's some dry socks and we'll dry your shoes under the air dryer...' hmm

The only other thing I'd think the mother in the OP should have done was point the toddler towards the basket/shelf of toys in the charity shop and told her 'these are for you to look at' then hopefully carnage/shouting/stropping would have been avoided.

Jumblebee Fri 23-Jan-15 09:30:07

Your children never had tantrums?! I find that so very hard to believe. My DD screeches if I so much as LOOK at her in the wrong way, and she's only 18 months and generally a really happy baby. Terrible twos should not happen this early.

I think your OP comes across as a bit smug, OP. My DD would create havoc if I let her walk and would screech her head off if I left her in her pram (which I normally do), either way I would have an unhappy child on my hands.

MissPenelopeLumawoo2 Fri 23-Jan-15 09:32:05

But she might have touched things even if she was in a buggy! Most shops don't have massive gaps between the displays so you have to put the buggy somewhere, and in most cases it will be within grabbing distance of some merchandise. So I don't see what else she could have done, other than never go to the shops while her DD is small.

You come across as very judgy and smug actually. You know your non-tantrumming children are down to luck, not your superior parenting, don't you?

LetticeKnollys Fri 23-Jan-15 09:33:02

OP meant that the mum should have kept her toddler on reins (or she could have just held her hand or picked her up, I will add) to keep her under control, rather than placing someone with no impulse control or 'concept of not touching' in a room full of stuff she can't touch and then constantly tell her off retrospectively for touching. Plenty of parents do this, their children aren't still pulling things off shelves at 10 so I don't buy the 'how else will they learn?' line.

YABU for the "my toddlers have never tantrumed though", that's in large part luck. wink

DazzleU Fri 23-Jan-15 09:33:06

We saw a woman with a toddler in a big shop once, when the child started wailing that he couldn't have something. Mother immediately gets down and says "You aren't having it. There's no reason to cry. Calm down" and is very nice. Wailing continues, at which point it's "If you don't stop screaming then we go home and you don't get the thing you wanted". Screaming continues, so this woman literally put her basket down, and started to leave the shop. When the kid started screaming more, she just picked him up and carried him out.

^^ I've done this with our local corner shop - even when I had older DC with me. Much to the amusement of the staff.

When I had just one DC I did it at toddler groups as well. You can't really when you have more than one child at a group.

They all still had tantrums - and very frequently.

While I agree with Worra - empty threats and obviously some situations aren't going to help I think it's partly personality of my DC - anxious, driven, determined, persistent and not just down to parenting.

MrsHathaway Fri 23-Jan-15 09:33:39

DC1 has thrown precisely one tantrum in his life. DC2, OTOH... and DC3 is going the same way.

How do you teach children to choose to behave ewll if you don't give them the opportunity to misbehave?

BirdintheWings Fri 23-Jan-15 09:36:48

Mine once silently, stealthily, happily shoplifted an armload of bracelets* from a bottom shelf whilst strapped in her buggy.

Them's the blighters you need to watch, not the hurtling screeching tantrumming loose ones.

* We did take them back when I realised, several shops later.

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