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To wonder how the hell to raise well behaved children

(197 Posts)
theantsgomarchin Tue 01-Dec-20 06:30:40

I have one DS and am pregnant with DC2. I have worked with babies for many years, but my time on MN is making me increasingly concerned about how the hell I raise my own children to be polite, well mannered and well behaved children / adults.

My parents were wonderful but very much hands off so can't say if necessarily follow their lead with similar results (they raised 4 well behaved children who are now all relatively high achieving adults) but the sceptic in me just thinks that's bloody good luck (to which they whole heartedly agree, we've had many hilarious conversations about it over the years)

But come on MN help a girl out. What parenting style do I take to ensure my kids aren't, for want of a better word, horrible little shits.

OP’s posts: |
August20 Tue 01-Dec-20 06:33:08

Well, how old is your DS and how is he now?

Ohalrightthen Tue 01-Dec-20 06:33:17

Lots of freedom to explore and learn, and firm boundaries and consistency ro push against. It really is that simple... in theory! Practise is much harder!

MrsDThomas Tue 01-Dec-20 06:38:42

Boundaries and teach them right from wrong.

Mine are good kids. Not fabulous-none are, but they are well mannered. When someone tells me about when they speak to someone in the street for example, and how polite they are well I’m happy.

Few weeks ago, my 16 year old daughter told me she understood why we were strict with them a few years ago. I thought “well if she thinks that im happy that she now understands why kids need boundaries.

If someone else’s kid dies something, it doesn’t mean yours have to, and that is what my DD meant.

Fruggalo Tue 01-Dec-20 06:40:07

My children are not beautifully behaved all the time, and the outbursts we get are wild at time. I’ve done quite a bit of kids volunteering over the years and seen a mix...

But... //hoiks judgy pants up with real examples// I’m astounded by the lack of respect some of the parents of my eight year old’s classmates will tolerate. So: coming out of school, throwing their belongings at them, being impolite or rude (“Oi, where’s my food?”, not answering a question even vaguely politely etc) and no feedback - my kids might do that, but I insist on a please or say “excuse me, who do you think you are” or “you can have a snack once you’ve answered my very simple question - shall we go x or y way home”. Just one example but I see it at other times too.

Really hard to remember to parent first, friend second.

theantsgomarchin Tue 01-Dec-20 06:41:36

DS is 18m and very independent and happy. He is quite delayed speech wise (says a few words but not where he should be) but I've discussed concerns with GP and we are on a long waiting list to see SLT. Unrelated to behaviour but thought I'd give all the facts. We plan on having 3 children if we are lucky enough!

OP’s posts: |
NCNecessary Tue 01-Dec-20 06:43:26

You need to parent the child you have, not the child everyone else thinks you should have.
And once you e figured out what works for your child, be consistent.

Shosha1 Tue 01-Dec-20 06:43:39

Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Never make a promise you cannot keep.
Never threaten a punishment (ie, we will leave the park if you do that again) if you are not going to go through with it.
Treat your child with respect and they will treat you the same.
Listen to what they say. If you don't agree, explain clearly why.
Have simple rules, and stick to them.
Your child is capable of far more than you think, so expect for not less of them.
Boundaries. Boundaries. Boundries.
And simply love them and let them always know that.

Nancydowns Tue 01-Dec-20 06:46:02

Most of it is down to genetics. That's why siblings raised the same way can end up so different.

But it is important to give your children time, attention, support and love. Guide them and help them. Teach right from wrong, manners.

ReindeersAreBetterThanHumans Tue 01-Dec-20 06:46:30

Boundaries and following through with any ultimatum. Constantly remind them of their manners, model the behaviour you expect from them. Let them know what behaviour you expect from them before you go into the situation and be consistent. Ensure they have delayed gratification in their lives, whether this is a hobby, class etc. Limit their phone/screen time as it’s so easy to get bored and swap to something else on there (instant gratification). Be prepared to say no to your child.

My kids aren’t always wonderful but I can rely on them to behave when we are out and about. What I’ve put there is a mixture of my parenting style and what I’ve learned from watching others.

theantsgomarchin Tue 01-Dec-20 06:46:34

Do you think it has much / anything to do with how you (the parents) are as people, generally.

I wouldn't say I'm "strict" but I can see myself being the disciplinarian over DH, he is and always has been a big softie. DS is very young but even he has tantrums sometimes (the other day because I wouldn't let him take his toothbrush to the park). DH wanted to let him just to keep him happy but I refused because it's ridiculous and I didn't want to have to buy another! I didn't do it intentionally to "discipline him" because at this age it would go totally over his head anyway, but in hindsight it concerns me slightly that DH will just let them do what they like to stop them giving off!

OP’s posts: |
IsolaPribby Tue 01-Dec-20 06:47:11

Model the behaviour you want to your children. Give them love and encouragement in abundance right from day one. Show them kindness, fairness, firmness. Talk to them, listen to them. Be their champion.

Eng123 Tue 01-Dec-20 06:49:35

My children seem to be feral beasts to me but I seem to get complimentary reports back when I'm not with them. I assume that they are engaged in psychological warfare against me! I try to set boundaries and enforce manners but I feel constantly guilty because in reality I see them briefly in the morning and the evening when we are trying to eat, do homework, get bathed and get to bed. All I can say is if they aren't engaged in international terrorism they are probably better behaved than you realise and you are doing a better job than you think.

flaviaritt Tue 01-Dec-20 06:50:06

It’s not about perfect consistency and never ever having a laugh or being poker-faced with your children, in my opinion. Let’s face it, there are going to be times when they’re a little bit cheeky and you are going to laugh.

It’s about what you do and don’t accept when they are young. Do you insist that they say please and thank you until it becomes a habit? Do you insist they thank people for gifts and are gracious about them, whether they like them or not? Do you (in general) support their teachers and follow up at home? Do you tell them off for chasing the birds and stamping on ants (if they try this)? Do you take them home if they are misbehaving? Do you have routines to minimise argument about bedtime/brushing teeth/when they can or can’t have snacks and treats? Do they have to replace things if they break them through naughtiness, and out of their own money?

There are probably a thousand things, but they all stem from you and the type of behaviour you want to see. Praising the good and not the bad. Firm consequences in place. Etc.

MsTSwift Tue 01-Dec-20 06:54:18

The most Iax mum in our group who treats her dc like adults has the nicest teens. The parents who were super over strict over parenting controlling style have fearful teens who can’t meet your eye say hello or make conversation. Don’t know if nature or nurture!

MrsDThomas Tue 01-Dec-20 06:54:51

Children are taught to say please and thank you. To this day there are parents who don’t do this.

Having worked in a primary school Ive seen 1st hand those parents who don’t teach manners to their kids and it rubs off on them.

IceColdFan Tue 01-Dec-20 06:57:26

Communication and rock hard boundaries, say and do what you mean.
Lots of freedom to explore and ask questions which can be answered in age appropriate ways; not shying away from difficult or embarrassing questions.
Say sorry when you need to, kids need to see that their parents/adults are not perfect but also that the parents/adults recognise that they aren't perfect and will hold their own hands up when mistakes have been made.
Give choices, it can be small in the beginning, such as do you want a/b/c to eat/drink? Shall we go to park 1/2/3? what movie shall we watch or activity do you want to do x/y/z?

Adults use the words and model the behaviours they expect, so adults use please and thank you etc. Don't force them to conform to others expectations (which are usually quite damaging), and children should be seen and heard but also explain that there are times and situations when everyone adults and children alike need to be quiet and have specific behaviour.

Model the behaviour you want and have an understanding that children are people too with thoughts and feelings just like adults are and that they are just as valid even if the adult doesn't fully understand or agree with them.

IceColdFan Tue 01-Dec-20 07:09:44

A couple more; tell them 'I love you' at least once a day, and praise anything, even the smallest thing they did/do well.

I have 2 DD's 13 and 11 and while they have pushed boundaries as children are want to do, they have manners, are kind, respectful and compassionate and doing really well at school. DH and I have many times sat them down and explained to them why we expect something of them instead of just telling them that we want them to do a specific something.

I wanted my children to have a completely different childhood and life to what I did. I wanted them to know we love them, I wanted them to know they could come to either of us if they have messed up and that they wouldn't get beat or shouted at but we would work something out and explain why they shouldn't have done what they did. Thats not to say that DH and I have never shouted or been angry or upset we have and we've apologised for shouting and said we will work hard not to let it happen again.

BooksAreNotEssentialInWales Tue 01-Dec-20 07:10:07

I focus on building a relationship and connection so when I say no it counts. If you have firm foundations and a good r

BooksAreNotEssentialInWales Tue 01-Dec-20 07:10:49

Sorry ... relationship it all falls into place.

Brown76 Tue 01-Dec-20 07:15:02

The things I’ve found most difficult are:
when my co-parent and I disagree on treats, chores, how many times it’s ok to get out of bed etc and do different things (I’m strict, but sometimes regret it when I have to follow through - they are softer (give in for an easy life, but more prone to lose temper)

Being consistent for the kids when I can’t always be consistent myself eg with the demands of work, eating healthy and exercising, when I’m tired/sad myself etc eg this year when I’ve allowed them unlimited screen time so I could work during lockdown.

Trying to be fair and consistent when there are two of them and they are different ages and personalities and will argue about who had more etc.

It’s also complicated to know when to reassure them eg one is anxious and always wants to win games or be told that they’ve done an activity perfectly or better than their sibling - I want to build up their confidence, but also their ability to fail graciously.

itsgettingweird Tue 01-Dec-20 07:15:17

I would say don't allow you're own self esteem and confidence to affect how you raise them.

I've seen so many parents allow bad behaviour because they are too embarrassed their child will tantrum or be rude in response.
All it teaches the child is they can do and say as they please to get what they want.

Decide how you want to parent. Decide what you will and won't accept. Decide you're boundaries and calmly stick to that with whatever way you decide to enforce them.

But yes - as above also parent the child you have. That doesn't mean giving in because you have a strong willed child. It just means how you explain things and how you deliver your parenting.

HollyandIvyandallthingsYule Tue 01-Dec-20 07:18:45

Authoritative. Kind, loving, but firm. Children crave boundaries, they look to their parents to teach them how to behave, what to do and what not to do. They need that instruction in order to have the best chance of becoming well rounded, healthy individuals who can cope in the real world.

Teach them the principle of ‘no’.

Very importantly don’t try to raise them without ever making them feel sad/bad/angry. Trying to shield them from all pain ever will turn them into children who aren’t resilient, and beyond that, teenagers and adults who aren’t resilient.

sosotired1 Tue 01-Dec-20 07:20:37

Honestly, you just need to put aside ideas of parenting and look and work with the child you have... be curious... and then that will change over and over again as they grow.

You need to work out what they need, some need freedom, some need boundaries and you need to be prepared to get all of this wrong and stumble about in the dark much of the time.

Making it about them and not you and your 'style' will help, be open to all styles of parenting (even ones that might go against the grain) and just keep trying.

A PP said the following which is all true... but there are many very different ways to do this!

Model the behaviour you want to your children. Give them love and encouragement in abundance right from day one. Show them kindness, fairness, firmness. Talk to them, listen to them. Be their champion.

TeenPlusTwenties Tue 01-Dec-20 07:24:10

Clear expectations
Positive reinforcement
Praise

& yes to the PP who said parent the child you have in front of you.

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