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To find my gentle parenting friends infuriating?

(598 Posts)
Littlemissmuff Wed 24-Jan-18 12:08:14

NC as this may be outing.

I have 3 friends, all have toddlers between 2 and 3 years old.
Our children play together frequently and their parenting style is driving me mad.
One of them literally never says no to her son, he can hit our childre or destroy something but instead she insists on talking nicely to him even though he is definitely not listening.
Another one has a huge moan several times a day about how tired she is and she fed up of her toddler getting her up all night to breastfeed; however won't do anything about it and won't take any suggestions such as water or night weaning and states that it is cruel and our roles as mothers are to cuddle our children all night if we have to if that's what they demand even at age 3.
I don't care how they parent their child but I do when it's affecting my son, he is forever getting pushed about by these kids now and he is constantly seeing them doing really dangerous behaviour and "risk taking" without any parent intervention which then makes me look awful to him if i tell him no if he tries to copy them climbing on to the TV stand or windowsill.
I don't know what research shows, but my god these children are so much more naughty than any other children I know.
Aibu to end our playdates even though it might end our friendship?

TornadoOfToys Wed 24-Jan-18 12:15:48

If it's your house, reprimand the child and say "no, we don't climb on the x" in my house.
"No, we don't hit." Move child away.

My friends and I have always disciplined each other's kids. Whoever is closest. Don't think we ever asked permission to do so! Either it will be effective or they won't like it and will stop arranging to meet up. Win-win!

NorwNewCat Wed 24-Jan-18 12:19:00


I’m sorry but as annoying as others peoples patenting styles may be , it’s their choice how they parent their kids, perhaps they disagree with your parenting style but they haven’t stopped their kids playing with yours. How would you feel if they did this?

Also people are all individuals and it’s important that children ( and adults too for that matter) are exposed to as many different types of people as possible or they will end up narrow minded and sheltered. That might be fine when your LO is at home but as soon as he’s off in the big wide world he will be in for a massive and possibly nasty shock that other people behave in such ways. In my opinion it’s kinder to expose your son to these unruley kids so he can learn to deal with their behaviour.

You could on the other hand confront your friends, at best offend them at worst lose them as friends.

Blackteadrinker77 Wed 24-Jan-18 12:19:01

What do you say to them when let their children hit your child?

ladystarkers Wed 24-Jan-18 12:19:24

As far as I’m concerned you have free reign to tell other people’s dcs off if they don’t!

The whole BF etc is none of yiur business.

FlyingElbows Wed 24-Jan-18 12:20:56

You wouldn't be unreasonable at all. Your friends might as well learn now that people will steer their own kids away from children who have never been told "no". It might be all cute and "look I'm such a great mummy" while they're toddlers but it's a whole different ball game when they get to school age. Lack of discipline is not in children's interests and tbh your friends' approach is all about them feel good about themselves and nothing at all to do with what's in the children's best interests. You're not unreasonable at all to have your own boundaries.

Littlemissmuff Wed 24-Jan-18 12:23:55

So I've said "no we don't hit" And been told by ALL three why I must not say no because they are doing this gentle parenting and even my own child will end up damaged because they don't understand no at this age anyway..
Also..the BF doesn't bother me at all but the constant moaning every day is boring. If something was that bad you would do something about it surely?

lookingforthecorkscrew Wed 24-Jan-18 12:24:37

I find that the most staunch gentle parenting enthusiasts tend to have a rather aggressive tendency to push their views onto others. One constantly updates their Facebook with ‘facts’ about how anything less than wearing your baby all day is tantamount to child abuse. Funnily enough when out in public her baby (in sling) was often much fussier than my baby (in high chair, eating carrot puffs and laughing at his own hands).

Rockandrollwithit Wed 24-Jan-18 12:26:11

Genuinely puzzled - what happens when they go to school and get told no? Do the parents complain to the teachers?

Elementally Wed 24-Jan-18 12:29:05

These types always want to home educate so school not an issue.

You need new friends. Easier said than done but I would find it far too annoying. Parents with similar views to you will be far more supportive friends.

FitzFoolFoveverInTheNighteyes Wed 24-Jan-18 12:29:24

my house, my rules. i correct other people's kids in line with my own 'in this house we dont do XYZ'.

if out i will do the same if it is impacting my child - so being hit etc. i will say 'we don't hit people' or similar.

If my DC say 'but their mummy lets them' they get 'well that is up to them and their mummy, your mummy says no/'

and i make no apologies if this puts other parents' noses out of joint!!

53rdWay Wed 24-Jan-18 12:29:52

So what do they do when their children hit yours/climb on your furniture? Just sit there beaming? That’s not even a gentle parenting thing, that’s just a failing to parent at all thing.

Thishatisnotmine Wed 24-Jan-18 12:30:22

In my opinion, some of the things you have described are not gentle parenting, they are lazy, submissive parenting. At some point children will be in situations with or without their parents where they need to follow rules and no how to react.

If they are in your house or their actions are impacting on your dc, say something: "no, we don't hit, it is not kind. It has upset dc.". My nursery also uses 'gentle hands' which works really well. Maybe your friends will see that discipline doesn't mean shouting no all the time.

Blackteadrinker77 Wed 24-Jan-18 12:32:16

Then you have to protect your child from this violence, it will only get worse.
Keep your child away from anyone who is physically abusive.

FitzFoolFoveverInTheNighteyes Wed 24-Jan-18 12:32:46

x-post - if they say that to you in your own home i would reply 'gentle parent away, but in my home we do not do xyz' if you really want to preserve the friendships suggest meeting at soft play or their house so you only need to worry about your own dc behaviour - their DC can trash their own homes!!

i also had a friend who moaned her toddler wouldnt sleep through etc. i just had to shrug and say 'you know how i stopped it (CC) but i know you wouldnt want to do that so i can't really help you with that!'

Chaosofcalm Wed 24-Jan-18 12:34:30

I would describe myself as a gentle parent and talk to my child kindly but she is definitely told no if it is dangerous or unkind. But sometimes a positive is more useful, so if my child was being rough with a book I would say ‘Use gentle hands. Books are special’ but if she was deliberately trying to rip a book I would say a firm no followed by ‘we don’t rip books’. What are they destroying?

If it affecting your child you need to either say something or stop spending time with them.

I agree with the breast feeding being non of your business. I cosleep and cuddle by baby all night. I believe sleep training is wrong but I would never say that to a Mum who does sleep train.

Fwend Wed 24-Jan-18 12:34:44

Rockandroll - it comes as a massive shock for some when they start school.

I've had a parent complain to me for removing scissors from her daughter - who was trying to cut another child's hair. Apparently she was expressing her creativity. Not in my classroom!

Youshallnotpass Wed 24-Jan-18 12:34:53

Ugh I hate this particular parenting style, telling your child no and setting boundaries is actually beneficial to their development. Boundaries help a child feel safe.

To be honest if I were you I would just stop seeing those particular parents/children. If they were having an impact on my child and weren't willing to do anything about it.

ladystarkers Wed 24-Jan-18 12:35:10

Maybe you need new friends 🤨

JustVent Wed 24-Jan-18 12:35:18

I was the parent who screeched at my ferral children and they still did all of the above.

I know people hated my parenting, I know that I have little respect for other people’s way of parenting, and some I admire greatly.

My point is, we are all muddling along, winging it and trying to do our best, but we are all different. Our children are different and our goals are different.

When DS when through a bit of an arsehole stage I had to avoid a particular friend for a few months if the kids were with us because her DS was on the receiving end.

Now he is a bit older and well grown out of that stage, her DS is now in the very same stage and my son isn’t getting off lightly so I have to avoid her again unless the kids are at school.
Our parenting styles are very different but we all come up against similar challenges.

It’s put up or avoid in my experience....

Thistlebelle Wed 24-Jan-18 12:35:47

Perhaps just see these friends without their children present.

MichaelBendfaster Wed 24-Jan-18 12:36:08

'I've said "no we don't hit" And been told by ALL three why I must not say no'.

Fine. Next time say 'We don't hit.'

bobthebuddha Wed 24-Jan-18 12:36:24

“These types always want to home educate so school not an issue.“

Not always, in my DCs’ experience, unfortunately. YANBU OP, but I’m afraid the best you can do is avoid them like the plague..facts and reasoning are like water off a duck’s back once they’ve drunk that Kool-Aid..

TheLegendOfBeans Wed 24-Jan-18 12:36:42

Two issues here it seems so tell me if I’m wrong...

1. Your friends’ wee darlings are boundaryless and it leads to reckless unchecked behaviour, leading to your child getting hurt

2. These gentle parents are banging on about their technique and style as an excuse for their (feral) children’s behaviour

YANBU on both. I find gentle parenting evangelists weird. And just as I would reprimand my child for bopping another I’d expect the same in return. It’s the basics.

maddiemookins16mum Wed 24-Jan-18 12:36:57

They're mostly making rods for their own backs so I'd let them get on with it (apart from what happens in your home of course).

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