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Am I wrong to ‘performance parent’?

(355 Posts)
tengreenbottlesstanding Fri 02-Feb-18 22:34:06

There seems to be a lot of criticism on here about ‘performance parenting’.
My ds is 2.5. His talking is not the best and we are really working on it. He is an only child and doesn’t attend nursery so a lot of his interactions/opportunities for learning things are largely down to me. On my days off work whilst we do some structured things he spends most of his time with me going to the park/shops/cafes.
I talk to him ALL of the time. “Can you see the doggy, say bye bye to check out lady. What colour is this lovely car? How many birdies are there? Can you see the train/digger/bus”?
So I guess, according to many on mumsnet, I ‘performance parent’.
But here’s the thing, I had a child because I want to talk and interact with him. It’s nothing to do with anyone around me I couldn’t give two hoots if anyone overhears my conversation with my child, in the same way a conversation in a public place may be overheard between two adults.
If people overhear me talking to ds choose to smile at him and speak to us, that’s lovely. If not, get on your way I don’t mind at all.
As a human being, he’s actually entitled to have someone (me) stimulate his mind and speak to him in a way that he will understand.
I’m also a busy working mum and I’m responsible for his learning when I am caring for him and trying to do all other jobs, so I’m trying to squeeze in colours, numbers etc with a trip to the supermarket. With all of the rude/hostile/aggressive people that you can encounter in the world, I simply can’t understand how anyone could be upset about overhearing a toddler learning their colours.
So I don’t think I’m really all that unreasonable for this ‘performance parenting’.
But if you feel children should be ignored/left to stare at an I pad/kept away from cafes or supermarkets then feel free to disagree. But I won’t ever stop talking to my child in a meaningful way.

WhatsGoingOnEh Fri 02-Feb-18 22:36:49


Duckyneedsaclean Fri 02-Feb-18 22:37:23


TheAntiBoop Fri 02-Feb-18 22:38:07

Performance parenting is when you do it loudly and for others benefit. Often the discussion is beyond the child. You can normally tell a performance parent by the weary look on their child's face.

Talking to your child is not performance parenting.

formerbabe Fri 02-Feb-18 22:38:18

Just do whatever you want and think is best for your child. Your family are your priority..not random members of the public. Fwiw, one of my DC had a particular sn which means I used to have to repeat back everything they said...quite frankly, I couldn't give a dam what other people thought.

Oh and if you don't talk to your DC in public and stick them in front of a screen, people will judge that too!

poddige Fri 02-Feb-18 22:38:23

I think that's just called parenting.


MrsPicklesonSmythe Fri 02-Feb-18 22:38:39


Dearosy Fri 02-Feb-18 22:38:45

Erm your post is hugely judgmental of other parents though so pot calling kettle black?

Callamia Fri 02-Feb-18 22:39:09

I bet you talk to him in a normal volume though - and not while giving other people a side-eye to check that they impressed by you.
You sound normal, and lovely, and I heartily agree with you. There are some genuinely strange (and attention-starved) individuals out there though - who seem to think that parenting can be performance art if they try (woman in the café talking as loudly as actually possible about her breastfeeding skills - I’m talking about you).

FissionChips Fri 02-Feb-18 22:39:28

Why are you postig on Aibu if You is sure You is reasonable?

Just get on with your life and stop giving a fuck what people on the net may think.

hazeyjane Fri 02-Feb-18 22:39:29

So I guess, according to many on mumsnet, I ‘performance parent’

1) what you have described isn't performance parent

2) stop giving a monkeys about what others think about you and what you do with your ds.

Nocabbageinmyeye Fri 02-Feb-18 22:39:47

So you don't think you are unreasonable, you won't stop anyway and you don't care what people think, well that was easily solved then, jobs a gunnin, nothing to see here hmm

Calvinlookingforhobbs Fri 02-Feb-18 22:39:50

Good for you. So many lazy parents on here looking for camaraderie in their ‘mummy-blog’-like apathy for taking parenting seriously. You sounds like an excellent parent.

JockTamsonsBairns Fri 02-Feb-18 22:39:56

You're not quite understanding the definition of performance parenting though. What you're doing is just dandy, and what parents have done from time immemorial. Were you thinking that people who decry "performance parenting" just stick their kids in front of an iPad instead?

user1473878824 Fri 02-Feb-18 22:40:55

@WhatsGoingOnEh I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard at a comment.

Imstickingwiththisone Fri 02-Feb-18 22:41:39

I think people are probably talking about something else OP. What you're doing sounds normal smile

Primarkismyonlyoption Fri 02-Feb-18 22:42:18

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

PerfectlySymmetricalButtocks Fri 02-Feb-18 22:44:18

I used to get hmm looks whenever I talked to my baby in the supermarket. How do they learn to talk then? "Right, DS2, we need to get bread now. Now we need chips."

HolyShmoly Fri 02-Feb-18 22:44:22

This is blatently a TAAT but I'll bite.

Performance parenting is not interacting with your child.
Performance parenting is not interacting with your child in public and encouraging them.

Performance parenting is looking for approval from bystanders at how good a parent you are/how fantastic your child is/how amazing your life is. In the other posts there were examples such as: 'oh can you point out Peru on the map Timmy? Yes you can. Do you remember when we went there and climbed Machu Pichu? How many llamas did we buy? 1 llama, 2 llamas, 3 llamas - yes, three llamas, one for Mummy, one for Daddy and one for Timmy!'
That's performance parenting. I'd throw in a comment about little Timmy being able to speak the native language along with five others, but I'm tired and can't think what the language is.

The issue on the thread about performance parenting was the fact that the mother was being very rude in encouraging her child to make comments about a stranger. Presumably if you're talking to your child you are not doing it in such a way as to both involve and exclude bypassers like this mother was. Unless you are that mother, in which case, talking about people is rude.

tengreenbottlesstanding Fri 02-Feb-18 22:44:41

Ouch primark I’m a twat for talking to my child and not thinking it’s unreasonable.
I don’t really understand why anyone would have dc if they didn’t want to talk to them. But you know hmm

donajimena Fri 02-Feb-18 22:44:55

What you describe is just parenting in my world.
BTW I didn't have a child to interact with
I got fed up with housework and couldn't afford a maid. I'm a bit disappointed with his work ethic but all that chatting as a small one has clearly paid off as he's very eloquent whilst back chatting grin

Namechangerextrodinaire Fri 02-Feb-18 22:47:21

My kid has auditory processing disorder so i talk very loudly and gesture a lot grin i probably look like im performance parenting.

Oh well

TheAntiBoop Fri 02-Feb-18 22:47:54

I believe primark said you were a twat for the post you have written being so judgey and purposefully misunderstanding.

As said by pp's - talking to your child is not performance parenting

BossyBitch Fri 02-Feb-18 22:49:10

That's not performance parenting - believe me, I live in an upper middle class area. wink

Performance parenting sounds more like so:

No? Nicolas-Tarquin, put the conventionally farmed kiwi down, darling! We're going to get you some lovely, locally grown organic apples instead, sweetheart. They're better for the environment and those horrible toxins in the kiwi make your head tired and you won't enjoy your Baby-mandarin class so much ...

I'm not even exaggerating by much. Brilliant free entertainment, though!

Believeitornot Fri 02-Feb-18 22:49:16

I used to talk to my dcs in a cringe way because a) I was desperate for conversation and b) a tiny part of my brain thought they’d end up mute or something if I didn’t give them enough language to learn.

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