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in thinking this is a HORRIBLE phrase to use about children and it says a lot about the parenting style of this mum?

(37 Posts)

The phrase she used was "You have to break the child", and the situation was where one mum went to pick up off the floor the crying baby of another mum and was told to leave her alone as she would just get used to being picked up hmm.

The mum of the thread title then chimed in with "Oh yes, stick to your guns. You have to break the child. Been there, done that."
Which both the wanting-to-pick-up mum and I thought was a horrible phrase and, frankly, a very harsh attitude altogether.
But there were a number of mums in the group nodding and agreeing.

Incidentally, the baby was not just crying for the sake of it - she'd been stuck on the floor under the table while everyone else was either off playing or sitting at the table chatting/having snacks, and she quite clearly (I thought) wanted to be part of what was going on and was not happy being completely ignored.

The mum who said this does have a very different parenting style to mine, I admit; she's much more shouty and strict, and seems to often be very bad-tempered with her 4yo ds. But I still thought that the idea of "breaking your child" is horrible.

Or am I just a big old softie?

Horton Wed 28-Oct-09 11:23:30

No YANBU, that would upset me. Children aren't dogs or horses, to be trained to total obedience. I think that's a horrible thing to say.

Jajas Wed 28-Oct-09 11:25:43

'break the child' shock! Good lord, we don't even say that with horses anymore, it's usually back them grin!

I really hope that the sentiment behind it was more along the lines of having to be consistent and let them know that you mean what you say....but I suspect not.

Interestingly, she is very into horse-riding.

But the other mums who were agreeing with her - it makes me sad that parents can think that about small children...

Lemonylemon Wed 28-Oct-09 11:28:19

YANBU - Fark me, that's appalling. I would have called her a heartless cow.

BreakfastAtGhoulies Wed 28-Oct-09 11:31:42

OMG! shock

YANBU at all. That sounds evil and animalistic!

I am a strict mum and raise my voice to DS (although that is as far it goes - the voice and the look are enough to ensure obedience). But I would never dream of behaving like that!

To me I would think it is getting close to some form of emotional abuse or neglect to plainly ignore the child when she is stuck under a table for crying out loud! Who on earth sticks their child under a table?!

PrettyCandles Wed 28-Oct-09 11:34:38

I once knew a teacher who usually taught higher up a primary school with a fairly rough catchment, but that year was teaching Reception. He was quite an old-fashioned type, with a strict manner. I remember his very words: "Many of these children start school with no idea how to behave. Some of them are like little animals. It's my job this year to teach them to fit in, and to behave properly without breaking their spirits".

'Nuff said.

shockers Wed 28-Oct-09 11:47:12

My DD's foster mum said that... repair is still ongoing after 8 years.

Champagneforlunch Wed 28-Oct-09 11:47:59

I once had a childminder say something very similar to me. Put me off using a childminder for my daughter.

giveloveachance Wed 28-Oct-09 11:53:53

WHAT??!!! break a child???

reminds me of the NSPCC ad where ..... miles is a quiet baby he has learned no one comes when he cries......

it is awful.

I always picked up DD when she was crying and carried her around with me to keep her happy, MIL was of the school ' you'll spoil her, you'll make a rod for your own back, you mustn't pick her up everytime she cries you know' etc etc etc so i now know why DP is an emotionally distanced W====== !

Babies learn to be secure by having their needs met quickly, and the main way they can communicate is crying, so it should never be ignored.

jeee Wed 28-Oct-09 11:56:03

Terrible thing to say, but I suspect that the mothers nodding with agreement were probably as horrified as you but wanted to avoid confrontation. Did you say anything to her?

sweetkitty Wed 28-Oct-09 11:56:58

Totally agree

Same with little newborn babies "don't pick them up every time they cry, they will get used to it and be spoiled" "stick them down the garden in their pram, they will cry to sleep" how distressing to cry to sleep wondering where your Mum is sad

I usually don't tell people we cosleep until the DC are about one as they think I am barking mad. Round here it's almost seen as being a good Mum if you put them in their own room from birth and leave them to cry.

Firawla Wed 28-Oct-09 12:04:13

yanbu its a very mean thing to say, and why wouldnt you pick up a baby or small child if they were stuck under a table?!

Fibilou Wed 28-Oct-09 12:07:29

I'm a big fan of attachment parenting and will be carting daughter round with me in a sling when she is born, will be feeding on demand and basically doing things when she is ready. And I certainly won't be doing controlled crying. When I have mentioned this people look at me as if I am insane.

Probably all highly unreastic ideals of a first time mum and in 4 months time I'll be tearing my hair out and wishing I hadn't chucked the Gina Ford book someone gave me straight in the bin

Vallhala Wed 28-Oct-09 12:14:39

Oh FGS, the woman didn't say that you had to break the child's arms or legs! She merely agreed that it won't do the child any harm not to get attention every time she cries. This is how my own two were brought up - doesn't seem to have done them any harm.

I don't like the phrase either, so YANBU to object to that, but to suggest that it says a lot about the mother is another matter.

By the by, I always used to cringe when my pal would hand over her baby/toddler to the child's sister/any other person present to hold, even at home, just so she could go to the loo or else the child would cry. Others thought that she was wonderful not to let her child cry and be so attentive. Maybe she was.

She's reaping the rewards now that the little girl is a bit older. That child starts therapy this week for a kind of seperation anxiety, whereby she cannot play alone and has to demand attention very noisily and with tears and tantrums if told no.

So, a bad choice of words yes, but a bad parent? Definately not.

I actually think it's more than just a bad choice of words and it does indeed say something about the parent.
I would never say I have to "break my child". It's not a phrase that is spoken in a moment of anger or frustration eg "will you please just SHUT UP!!"
To me, it indicates that she believes that this is what you have to do in order to get your child under control.
I wouldn't go as far as to say it makes her a bad parent, but I don't see it as a good, positive thing either.

I also think that certainly as small babies, children should get attention when they cry - they obviously want or need something, otherwise they wouldn't be crying, surely?

So would anyone else use the phrase?

TheFallenMadonna Wed 28-Oct-09 21:39:10

DH refers to us having 'broken' the children, when he talks about potty training for example. He doesn't actually mean we had to break their spirit hmm He's exaggerating for effect. I think you do have to take things in context. Sounds like the context in which you heard the words are different to DH's conversations, which are lighthearted anecdotes on the whole.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 28-Oct-09 21:41:45

I think you would be pretty shock at me too, because I do regularly threaten to eviscerate my children when they are playing up.

I don't though...

Ghouleez Wed 28-Oct-09 21:43:21

What an awful thing to do to a child. Did you know that ignoring a child counts as child abuse? That was told to me at a meeting I attended by a pair of social workers.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 28-Oct-09 21:45:07

Ignoring a child how? There are loeads of ways of ignoring a child. It's extemely unlikely that they all constitute child abuse.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 28-Oct-09 21:45:33

Or indeed loads blush

bloss Wed 28-Oct-09 21:45:37

Message withdrawn

GladysFox Wed 28-Oct-09 21:50:59

Ignoring a child counts as child abuse - really??? hmm

I'm pretty sure it's not.

Ghouleez Wed 28-Oct-09 21:52:06

I take it they meant ignoring a child when they are trying to talk to you or gain your attention and consistently ignoring their needs rather than ignoring a child who is tantrumming. In this case it would be as they are deliberately ignoring a crying baby in order to 'break her'.

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