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to think we don't need to be constantly interacting with/ improving our kids

(65 Posts)
deliverdaniel Wed 28-Jan-15 19:21:25

Disclaimer: I know that I was judging a random undeserving stranger in the park, and therefore IABU for this alone, but given that we all do this and I'm genuinely just curious to know whether her way is more normal/ better, or mine is and what other people do.

I was in the park the other day with my kids aged 4 and 1.5 My default setting in the park is to let the kids basically get on with it. I stay close by my one year old in case he falls/ hurts himself but other than that, I kind of assume they will play by themselves/ with each other and other kids and don't feel the need to interact constantly with me and I don't need to get or get involved in what htey are doing/ keep up a running commentary for them etc.

There was a woman there yesterday who had kids the same age as mine. SHe was following them everywhere, commenting on every single thing they did, every toy they picked up, praising every tiny little action eg "great picking up the truck!!" "is that a bucket? You've got a bucket? IT's a red bucket..." etc etc. She kept this up constantly for the whole 2 hours we were there. I know that talking to kids is good, and improves their verbal skills etc, but this just felt exhausting for her, and kind of annoying for the kids. So is my style neglectful or is hers OTT? would love to know what others do....

seaweedhead Wed 28-Jan-15 19:27:30

My approach to parenting is pretty much the same as yours, just sit back and let them get on with it and be there if and when they need me.

YAB a bit U though. Some people do really enjoy playing with their children and talking to them. Some might just be really bored in the playground and need to interact with their child to keep themselves sane. Just because she was like that when they were out and about doesn't necessarily mean that she's like that at home when there are other distractions.

fuzzpig Wed 28-Jan-15 19:28:58

I'm more like you too OP but it really depends on the child - they might prefer adult interaction

fluffyraggies Wed 28-Jan-15 19:29:25

Maybe she was an aunt, family friend, or a keen childminder?

I have noticed that people who are looking after my DCs for a spell are much more intensely interactive than i am with them, as they will only be with them a short time.

I like to maintain a good level of interaction with mine, but couldn't do a constant stream for 2 hours.

ireallydontlikemonday Wed 28-Jan-15 19:30:36

I'm definitely more like you op, I would find it dull and exhausting any other way but, each to their own and all that.

RonaldMcFartNuggets Wed 28-Jan-15 19:33:19

I'm like you. Do you live in stoke newington by any chance? I'm surrounded by helicopter mums, drives me insane, just stfu! We get it, you're a perfect engaged interactive mother.

anothernumberone Wed 28-Jan-15 19:34:05

No better way there except maybe in terms of speech development. Even then I think speech development has a lot to do with the individual child too. I am more like you but I do admire the commited parents from afar so I do not have to listen to the drivel

KeepitDown Wed 28-Jan-15 19:38:05

I pretty much just let my 2.6 year old to it while looking after younger baby DS and a flask of coffee. Once in a while if he takes an interest in something particular I'll get up and have a little 10-min chat or so with him about it. Most recently it was ants running along the wall.

So basically little bursts of focused interaction, but mostly just letting him run around and play.

Tinks42 Wed 28-Jan-15 19:38:18

Sounds like an over zealous mother or a nanny/childminder.

It's an important part of a childs development to "independently" play. grin

phoenixrose314 Wed 28-Jan-15 19:41:31

I tend to go somewhere in-between... I do indeed do the running commentary thing for my DS (22 months), but only because he's learning new words so rapidly and loving it that I feel I need to keep giving him more! I am now a bit concerned that other people/mums apparently find this very annoying... confused Sorry!

But in a place like the park, after initial interaction I do just sit back and let him play... run to his aid if he needs it, or if he shows curiosity about something I will swoop back in with more running commentary!

I'm not trying to be a perfect parent or annoy anyone else around me, I just enjoy seeing DS learn.

Jackieharris Wed 28-Jan-15 19:43:50

One of my DCs broke their arm in a playground so I am a bit anxious and helicoptery there.

At home I just leave them to it.

Maybe she works long hours and doesn't get to spend that much time with them?

EatShitDerek Wed 28-Jan-15 19:44:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lilicat1013 Wed 28-Jan-15 19:49:34

It might be the child was speech delayed or had other developmental delays. I have been told to do a running commentary with my children particularly repeating them key word over and over again.

It is exhausting and annoying, at least I find it exhausting.

The other one I do which probably a lot of people find weird is repeat back what my son says exactly. He is autistic and has echolalia so he likes what he says to be repeated back to him exactly as said. So he will say 'a ladder' and you have to repeat 'a ladder', you can't say 'yes, a ladder' or 'did you see a ladder?' otherwise he will keep repeating 'a ladder' till he gets the right response. The repetition gets louder and more screamy each time.

So lots of times when I just can't be bothered I just do what he wants rather than try and make it in to a conversation. I suspect a lot of people find that odd if they see us together and I am just repeating everything he says.

sheeplikessleep Wed 28-Jan-15 19:53:38

Maybe her kids have speech delay. I try to narrate a lot more now, as my two eldest both had speech delay and I'm desperate for ds3 (17 months) to acquire speech on time.

Still i don't think I can keep it up for 2 hours!

FionaJT Wed 28-Jan-15 19:53:42

Tbh, I'm probably like that with my niece when I am in charge of taking her to the park, because I don't spend so much time with her and I'm not as sure of what she can/can't do and how she reacts to things.
But when my dd was that age a park trip would be a chance for us each to get some space from each other after being stuck indoors together, and I'd be more confident of her abilities, so I'd leave well alone!

sheeplikessleep Wed 28-Jan-15 19:54:12

Cross post with lilicat!

bettyboop1970 Wed 28-Jan-15 20:01:24

I'm like you and leave them to it. Helicopter parents bore the pants off me. As do parents who behave like they're the only people in the world to have procreated. My bro and sil are like this with their pfb, does my head in!!!

Saltedcaramel2014 Wed 28-Jan-15 20:06:07

As long as parents talk to their kids I can't see it matters where it happens. I sometimes leave DS to it at home but when we're out talk to him loads as there's so much more for us both to talk about. I think what's annoying and what was possibly the case with this parent is mums or dads talking for show, to make themselves look good. But personally I think lots of chat is great (in general) so I lean towards it. Other parents might value physical confidence or independence more and choose to prioritise that by stepping back. We all make choices in line with our values, it's not generally about trying to be 'perfect', or being lazy. It's about choices. Yours is valid, hers it valid. Live and let live.

Caronaim Wed 28-Jan-15 20:10:17

You are in absolutely no position to judge, you don't know what her relationship is with them, how much confidence she has in the park, what the rest of her day was like. Maybe her kids have their independent play at a different time of the day, and the park time is "together" time, maybe she has shared custody and not much time with them, maybe there was some type of special needs you are completely unaware of, maybe she is their gran, aunt, child minder, new stepmother,there is absolutely no way you can know.

Gatehouse77 Wed 28-Jan-15 20:11:45

I leave them to it at the park unless they ask. But the journey to or from 'might' be more learning only inasmuch that we'll chat about what we see, where we're going or however it comes naturally. This is more about acquisition of language than helicopter parenting.

Likewise, I believe it's important for children to be bored at times and find their own entertainment.

Haggisfish Wed 28-Jan-15 20:13:56

It depends. I have days where I love interacting massively with my kids like that and days when I don't. They may coincide with areas that have wifi and areas that don't, but I defend my right to be hugely interactive. Fwiw I judge mums who don't interact with their kids at all much as you do the ones who interact too much!

darlingfascistbullyboy Wed 28-Jan-15 20:14:25

From my experience I'd suspect that the child had some sort of developmental delay. DS1 was diagnosed with ASD & a very severe speech delay when he was 2.5, he was mute until he was 3.5yo - part of his therapies involved intensive interaction of that sort. It's exhausting & I'm grateful that my other children have fairly typical development!

FoulsomeAndMaggotwise Wed 28-Jan-15 20:18:56

I can be like the woman you saw. I know other mums don't like it and sometimes I feel self conscious because of that, but then I think, fuck 'em. I enjoy playing with my son and watching him pick up new words and follow my direction as well as watching how he chooses to play on his own. His "independant time" is more when we're at home so I'm not like that constantly, but if you saw me out you might think I was.

CrapBag Wed 28-Jan-15 20:28:31


I know a parent who just can't leave her children alone and seems to need to constantly interact with them even if you are visiting, she'll go off and do something with her children. Now she complains that her children are incapable of entertaining themselves at all and if she does pay attention to one, the other will always leave what they are doing to come over because they want the constant interaction as well. They are nice enough children but I find it irritating to be around them because of the non stop interruptions. Plus they can be quite whiny and overly dramatic about the most minor of injuries.

Children need to be able to get on with things by there selves as well as having us interact with them. It's only healthy and to not let them is not going to do them any favours when they get older.

DamsonInDistress Wed 28-Jan-15 20:36:06

There's a woman like this is our town. I call her Loud Public Parenting Woman. I've left cafés before now when I've seen her come in with her son. She's loud and twinkly and so, so annoying.

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