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to think that when people congratulate themselves for their great parenting they are often just lucky

(134 Posts)
deliverdaniel Wed 01-Mar-17 01:16:45

I've seen so many threads on here where people say that people should "just teach their kids to, or not to x, y, z" or "do some parenting" or "mine never did that at that age- I just taught them not to" or similar. They are often quite smug and even nasty in tone.

Of course good parenting matters. But it seems as though so much of what kind of kid you get is just the luck of the draw. Eg- my friend's toddler can easily be told "no" and will respect the boundaries. Mine can be told no a million times, with consquences enforced every time and will keep pushing and pushing. My kids are pretty good eaters. My friend's will basically only eat pasta and nothing else, but I really wouldn't say we have done anything substantially different on that front. I just got lucky. one of my kids sits still and "behaves" easily. The other one is wild. One is a great sleeper. The other one terrible. One whines at everything. One is generally always positive and agreeable. Etc etc.

Of course there are parents who just ignore their kids behaving badly and are screwing up in some major way. But mostly I see parents doing their best , generally doing similar kinds of things w regards to discipline/ eating/ sleep etc etc and getting v different results depending on the kid. Caveat- mine are still pretty young- 6 and 3 so maybe my "parenting" willbear fruit later, for better or worse, but so much of it just seems down to luck. AIBU?

pincha Wed 01-Mar-17 01:28:44

Well, taking full credit for how your child turns out would be ridiculous, all kids come with their own traits and qualities and personalities. But parenting makes a difference. I know that if I'm tired/busy/stressed it has a knock on effect on my children's behaviour. I know there are some aspects of parenting that I find easy and some I find challenging, that's my personality.

So, it's not 'just luck', just as it's never as simple as 'I just taught them not to'.

BitOfFun Wed 01-Mar-17 01:29:03

YANBU. My eldest has turned out beautifully, but it's been as much to do with her personality and resilience as anything. Her younger sister has severe learning disabilities, which probably encouraged her empathy and independence skills. I'm just doing the best I can, which is all anybody can do.

paxillin Wed 01-Mar-17 01:29:13

There is a bit of luck involved. You need to find a scapegoat for the sleep and sitting "failures" they exhibit.

When mine behave well, it is because of my superior parenting. When they don't, it is because of DH's inferior techniques. Unfortunately he thinks the same.

SisyphusHadItEasy Wed 01-Mar-17 01:32:03

I am nothing near a great parent. Most of the time, I wonder if I am even barely passable.

I have polite, respectful children. I am just simply a lucky mum.

gluteustothemaximus Wed 01-Mar-17 01:45:26

My first baby was a terrible screamer/sleeper. Second baby was worse, terrible screamer/sleeper, for ages years

I didn't know what sleeping through was, that some spoke of.

Third baby. Little angel sent from heaven to sleep through from 5 weeks.

This is luck me thinks. Had I had my third baby first, I may well have thought...'damn, I'm good'.

Good manners = good parenting
Good sleeper = luck

Definitely a mix though. We shouldn't rush to congratulate ourselves, just as we shouldn't rush to judge others.

Sugarlumps333 Wed 01-Mar-17 01:51:31

Yes and no. Some children are naturally much more spirited than others but regardless - good parenting makes for a good heart in the end. Have seen some genuinely nasty kids turn out to be genuinely nasty adults. This is what defines good parenting for me.

steff13 Wed 01-Mar-17 02:01:03

I have polite, respectful children. I am just simply a lucky mum.

I disagree. I think a lot of parenting is luck, but I think your children are polite and respectful because you taught them to be polite and respectful.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Wed 01-Mar-17 02:04:23

It's both, isn't it? Parents can easily screw up a naturally chilled-out person as much as they can get the best out of a wild child. Parenting makes a huge difference in how you react to the personalities they're born with, however there are those lucky few who are both good parents with relaxed kids and gosh they must have an easy life!

That said, and I'm ready to be shouted down, I find kids who just skip to whatever their authoritarian parents say they be rather dull. No imagination or just for life. I feel sorry for them. I think they'll grow into dim-witted adults. Enjoy your child's strong personality and be proud of the fact they stand up for what they believe in, even if it's eating dry cereal etc.

Wellitwouldbenice Wed 01-Mar-17 02:09:53

I know what you mean op. Before I had children I thought that what I did as a parent was the most important thing and that I would be able to 'shape' my children. I was astonished how strong their personalities were from when they were born! I feel that I just influence the edges as a parent eg good manners etc.

gluteustothemaximus Wed 01-Mar-17 02:16:18

Haha. Yes, my DD is very spirited. And I think, yes! She's going to be a fab adult grin and take no shit

I was exactly the same as a child, but my spirited personality was 'naughty' so I was punished a lot. DD has never been punished, and she's a million times more confident than I ever was.

Love the description of influences the edges. They are who they are, and you work with who they are not what you want them to be.

Sugarlumps333 Wed 01-Mar-17 02:21:28

gluteus yes - love this and very very true. My younger sister was the crazy child of the family, my mum admitted it was tough being known as 'her' mum at times - often in trouble for being naughty at schools / clubs. BUT my sister is now the most driven and successful person I know, doesn't suffer fools and is the kindest and most lovely woman i know! She was taught manners at home, just took her a while to use them grin

JonesyAndTheSalad Wed 01-Mar-17 02:22:53

OP with some things, such as being kind and considerate, polite and thoughtful...that IS good parenting...unless there are additional needs which make such behaviour hard for the child.

There are SO many children who don't think to say thank you or similar...and that's because they're not taught to.

I agree that some kids are going to be more challenging behaviour wise than others but manners....they're taught all the way.

I have one gentle, quiet child who always does as asked and one rambunctious, loud one who acts before thinking...but both know how to go about their business in a polite fashion.

Graphista Wed 01-Mar-17 02:29:40

You're talking nature v nurture really.

Some things are more down to one than the other.

Extreme example - sociopathy -

a well parented sociopath can be raised to become ambitious, successful but also empathic.

A poorly parented sociopath can be raised to become a serial killer. many of them are intelligent, charismatic, persuasive speakers, charming - all traits that COULD have been channelled for good.

A good parent is one who understands their child and parents according to that child's personality, their likes and dislikes, dreams and fears, flaws and strengths and points them in the right directions and teaches them how to turn negatives into positives.

But then parents are human too with flaws and fears and may not have been parented well themselves.

deliverdaniel Wed 01-Mar-17 03:01:35

You are a wise lot aren't you. Of course you are all right and that especially for manners/ consideration these have to be taught (it drives me crazy when one friend allows her 6 year old to be so incredibly rude to me/ other adults without saying anything to him. Mine is not perfect by any means but at least if I catch him being rude to someone I address it, whether or not I am doing it the 'best' way.)

I think I was inspired to start this post because of some thread about toddlers- full of people smugly saying "just teach your two year old not to touch anything in someone's house- that's good parenting" and it made me think- I "teach" my son that about a billion times a day and it doesn't seem to be sticking AT ALL. I can't imagine that the way I'm doing it is that different from what anyone else is doing with theirs. Or if it is different, the differences are pretty subtle. I'm probably just being totally self justifying and rationalising this because my kids were both monsters today and I'm shattered and demoralised!

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 01-Mar-17 03:21:24

My DD has taken twice the parenting to end up half as well behaved grin

Luckily I have friends who either recognize that, or have equally challenging children.

I remember a particularly hilarious thread about reins when one smugtastic mother was telling everyone how children just wanted to walk with you while you chatted and showed them flowers flowers Not DD. she wanted to run into the sea while screaming!

One of the most wonderful things about having kids is them teaching you what a plonker you were about parenting before you had any. Some parents are really missing out.

deliverdaniel Wed 01-Mar-17 03:27:26

mrsterrypratchett OMG! Walk along and look at flowers? Mine would rip out the flowers from the root then sprint with them with them into the road at the speed of light. (my older one would have prob liked looking at the flowers though at the same age, so that gives me hope that it's not all me!)

JonesyAndTheSalad Wed 01-Mar-17 03:57:42

I've had two who were happy to walk and look at flowers so I always thought others would like that too...but their parents never did it with them! grin


BottomlyP0tts Wed 01-Mar-17 04:22:10

I don't live in the U.K. and I have never seen a child in reins here....

Mummyoflittledragon Wed 01-Mar-17 04:46:21

I had a wrist band with dd. Not reins. It was much easier. My dd didn't want to run out in front of cars or run half a mile away wildly in some random direction, nooooo. She wanted to look at the pretty flowers. My dd is feisty. Like me. Although my entire personality was completely suppressed by my parents. So I hid in my room and lost myself in books.

One controlling and smug parent of much more subdued children took a dislike to my dd at 2.5 after meeting her once. She told my friend she'd be happy to meet up with her minus my child. She wrote a text about it and everything. Needless to say, that friendship didn't last long. To this day, my friend and I have no idea why a 2.5 year old could be written off. My dd did absolutely nothing wrong apart from be an excited, extremely happy and exhuberant toddler. And even if she'd have had a massive tantrum (as she did in those days), big deal, her behaviour still would have been completely age appropriate. My dd is a very happy and smiley child, who cares about her peers wellbeing - that came from the teachers. Must be all my doing wink. Nothing to do with her..... Now how's that for smug.

BathshebaDarkstone Wed 01-Mar-17 05:16:11

God, I hope DS2's behaviour isn't my fault! He's been assessed for ADHD, I've brought him up exactly the same as the other 3. confused

HesterGreysGarden Wed 01-Mar-17 05:22:24

Iwasjustabouttosaythat I really was just about to say that! There's something a little bit sad about children who just always do what they're told. It's like they've given up the will to fight.

I also slightly disagree with pp about 'teaching' manners. I think you can only really teach by example in this respect because if you say one thing and do another they'll soon pick that up. And that's more than just good manners, too. So what if a child remembers to say please and thank you? Much better that they learn to treat other people with respect and kindness.

Mind you - I should be honest - DH and I spend a lot of time discussing whether DC1 is just at the extreme end of normal and will naturally grow out of it...or we're terrible parents. So clearly I'm no expert! Yy to MrsTP my DC have absolutely taught me what a plonker I was about parenting before I had them! 😂

nooka Wed 01-Mar-17 05:43:18

Some of it is very age dependent. My ds was a challenging toddler/little boy. Always much loved by his teachers, but he was undoubtedly a total PITA (he had lots of extra support for behavioural issues and was assessed for autism at one point). His reception teacher said she thought he'd come into his own in his teens, and she was totally right. At 17 his teachers still like him a lot but now they also enjoy having him in their classrooms, and he is doing incredibly well. I look at him with amazement and a lot of pride because he's my lovely boy. I can see some of my personality reflected in him (good and bad!) but all the credit belongs to him.

bibbitybobbityyhat Wed 01-Mar-17 05:57:33

I agree with some of what you say op but must add I don't know of anyone in real life who is smug or self congratulatory about their parenting skills. Mumsnet, otoh, is awash with it! grin

barefootinkitchen Wed 01-Mar-17 06:01:11

I do know what you mean. I think I'm one of the lucky ones. I couldn't believe it when I explained why we don't go near roads, or you don't get out of bed once you're in - and she'd get it first time. I didn't expect it to be so easy and I know from spending time with friends kids it's not like that with all kids.

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