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Feel like such a rubbish mum

(22 Posts)
helsbels4 Fri 05-Jun-09 16:49:25

Have just had my friend round for a drink after we picked our dc's (9) up from school and they were playing quite happily in the garden with my dd (4) joining in.

My ds went upstairs to get his cricket set and all of a sudden, my friends dd came in and said that my dd had bitten her!

Her mum looked at her hand and apparently there were teeth marks there. I immediately called my dd and asked her why she had bitten my friend's dd and she just said she didn't know.

I firmly told her that this wasn't acceptable behaviour and suggested she apologise. She wouldn't, so I sent her away for five minutes to think about her behaviour.

My friend clearly looked p*ed off with this (she has a firmer style of parenting than I do) and I apologised to her and her dd and although it was no excuse, I said that dd had "only" ever bitten her brother previously when they'd been fighting and she was consumed with anger.

Friend's dd said that they hadn't been fighting and my dd just bit her. I explained that it really wasn't like her to just bite someone for the fun of it and maybe she was trying to do something else and my friend raised her voice at me and pointed out the fact that there were bite-marks!

I apologised again and got told by my friend that the only time her daughter had done this when she was little, she had bitten her back and she never did it again. I think she thought I was too soft on my dd and should have bitten her back too.

My friend's dd was ok about it all (she's a bit of a tell-tale at the best of times, although she didn't deserve to be bitten!) and her and my dd hugged and my dd eventually said sorry before they made a hasty exit.

I'm having a bit of a rocky time at the moment as it is and feel like a complete and utter failure at everything and now I just know that my friend will be ranting about how rubbish I am at controlling my children.

I've just got through the anniversary of losing my mum and I feel like the world and his wife are against me right now.

Sorry to rant and well done if you got this far. Just needed to get it off my chest I think. Will tell dh when he comes in from work and his response will be, " Don't worry about it". That's his response to pretty much everything.

I'm off to pour myself a guilty early glass of wine blush while I cook the dinner. sad

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Fri 05-Jun-09 16:53:26

Most kids go through a phase of biting. It has no reflection on your parenting skillls whatsoever.

I think you handled it brilliantly btw. Biting back is hardly teaching that it is an unacceptable thing to do is it? Plus it also shows that child that it is okay to hurt some one if you feel they have 'been bad'.

Sorry about your mum. It must be hard for you at this time of year. Give your self a break. You deserve it, Even if it is just a long soak in the tub while DH deals with the dc.

Hassled Fri 05-Jun-09 16:54:23

Enjoy the glass of wine - the mother sounds a bit smug to me, and if she gets through her parenting without her kids ever putting a foot wrong then she's a freak of nature. 99% of us have been mortified by our DC's behaviour in public at least once, if not often - don't let it get to you. It doesn't make you a bad mother in any way at all - from your description you handed it perfectly.

And sorry about your mum - anniversaries are so difficult, I know.

twopeople Fri 05-Jun-09 16:55:48

Message withdrawn

becstarlitsea Fri 05-Jun-09 16:58:45

I was having a 'feel like a rubbish mum' moment myself. We all have them.

My parenting style is closer to yours, and I think because we're trying so hard to parent consciously we tend to be very aware that it's all our responsibility and therefore we're more likely to get overwhelmed. Just my opinion fwiw. I think if you bite your child back, you must feel like you've 'done something about it' and have some sense of having the upper hand, and I guess it would release some of the stress. To be honest there have been moments today where I could have bitten my DS myself out of sheer frustration (not quite really, but I have been on the edge!) Instead I have withheld a sticker from his sticker chart. Which didn't have nearly the same stress-relieving properties...

LovelyTinOfSpam Fri 05-Jun-09 17:05:45

Pleaes don't worry.

I have a friend whose DD when aged 4 sunk her teeth into my leg for absolutely no apparent reason. Her mum is total fabbo uber-mum with the best behaved children you could ever hope to meet. Yet still I felt the power of the canines. If it can happen to to her it really can happen to anyone smile

It's just a phase that some kids go through. And no definitely don't bite her back hmm that's a bizarre suggestion. Wasn't there a mum in the news who did that and got into trouble for it?

SammyK Fri 05-Jun-09 17:09:41

Two people is right. Biting your child is not good parenting and is not really a good way of telling them we shouldn't bite is it!?!

Is your friend usually a good friend and supportive?? I think most mums go a bit 'mother bear' if their child displays bite marks, if she is normally supportive (though it doens't sound it, she sounds judgey) I would leave her to cool down.

Enjoy your glass of wine. smile (I had one with my dinner too).

lagaanisace Fri 05-Jun-09 17:16:05

I really think you handled the situation as an adult should. I wonder if your friend is going through a rough time, too, and it's making her behaviour more edgy and confrontational?

Whatever is the case, I read this and thought, this is just how I wish I always handled things! I have 3 DCs, aged 5 and under and can relate to what becstarlitsea said.

You came away from this with your principles in tact and I think it takes real courage to parent your way, despite other peoples criticism.

Sorry things are tough right now.

kistigger Fri 05-Jun-09 17:31:42

Sometimes other people can be or appear to be, very harsh of you or your parenting skills. When I'm having an insecure day, which is more frequently than I care to mention, it feels like everybody is looking down on me as a parent and how I handle things.

I think every parent can relate to:
-the looks people give you when your child is having a tantrum in the supermarket.
-the shock on the other parents face when you tell their child off.
-the looks people give you when your child repeatedly kicks the back of the chair in front.
-the looks people give you when you have to physically drag/carry your child whilst they are screaming at the top of their lungs.
-your child repeating things but totally out of context and the looks that follow of how could you etc, when the whole thing has got twisted beyond all belief and you have to try and work out how you got to where you are!

No child is perfect and we as parents are not perfect, sometimes you have to try out methods of parenting in order to get your child to listen and respond appropriately. Children always push the boundaries, especially when they think they can get away with it, it is not your fault... it is just something that is.

Children do not learn if they are not disciplined in some way, however being bitten back is only likely to teach the child that it is ok to retaliate or repeat behaviour if it will teach the other person! Stick to the parenting method that feel comfortable for you and works for you and your family. People will always, look, stare and critisize... all you can do is cope in your own way and hope that your children turn out fine!!!! Even "perfect" parents get the looks!!! wink Besides if your child doesn't normally bite... you are already doing a good job of teaching them!!

screamingabdab Fri 05-Jun-09 17:37:44

Sending my sympathies to you OP. It's just so horrible when you feel humiliated by your DCs behaviour. MY DS2 was a "biter", and it feels terrible.

Of course your friend was upset, seeing bite marks on your DD is horrible (DS1 used to get bitten a lot by his friend). BUT TBH, she sounds a bit smug (naturally we all have that tendency until OUR precious darling does something horrible, or our next child does wink)

Don't assume you have done anything wrong. Sounds like you handled it well. I have to say, it IS harder to feel secure in your response if you haven't seen what happened yourself.

screamingabdab Fri 05-Jun-09 17:39:10

Good post kistigger

helsbels4 Fri 05-Jun-09 18:42:04

Thank you all for your replies, it makes me feel better to know that my dd isn't the only one that bites (ds never did anything like this) and that I'm not the only one who feels like a really rubbish mum.

I asked dd why she did it and she says she doesn't know hmm. I asked if she was cross with friend's dd and she said she wasn't. She waffled on about who knows what for a while and in amongst that, said that friend's dd told her to get off her scooter and go inside but whether that really happened - who knows?! Still doesn't excuse her biting, especially for no reason.

My friend is a bit smug I suppose. Her dd is an only child (not sure that's relevant) and although isn't spoilt with materialistic things at all, she is pandered to emotionally imo.

Her mum especially, is very aware and feels very guilty that she is an only child and tends to believe whatever she says even if there are numerous other people saying otherwise. (usually my ds!)

I just want to pick the phone up and tell my mum but obviously can't sad Dh didn't even react when I told him hmm and my friend is my closest friend right now, so feel I have no-one else for support and advice.

It's hard sometimes isn't it?

screamingabdab Fri 05-Jun-09 19:02:26

This will blow over.

So sorry about your mum.
Come and talk to us any time x

barnsleybelle Fri 05-Jun-09 19:11:13

Please don't worry about this. It sounds like you handled it fine. As for biting back, no way. Never understood how that teaches a child not to bite.

The children have set a good example by hugging and moving on... i hope you and your friend can do the same.

<sends a big hug>

blinder Fri 05-Jun-09 19:11:42

It's very hard to be a parent, it's even harder to be a parent while grieving and harder still to do it without being able to talk things through with your own mum.

For what it's worth I agree with everyone here. The other mum was probably over-reacting (maternal instinct etc) and biting the child is neither legal nor useful discipline.

You handled the situation well. If you had made a massive deal out of this, you would be far more likely to embed the behaviour in your daughter. By asking for a simple apology, you informed her of the rules without humiliating or scaring her. She will grow out of it much sooner that way and you should trust your own instincts hels.

Plus, most friends with kids have 'parenting' differences at some point. It's probably best to let it blow over and move on. Mums aren't always rational when it comes to their kids so try not to let it affect the friendship. The next time her DD makes a mistake, you can be the forgiving one smile!

helsbels4 Fri 05-Jun-09 19:24:20

Thank you all again! It really does help to get it all off my chest on here.

I'm angry all over again here! Ds has just brought his cricket set in that he was playing with friend's dd and apparently she was whacking the stumps with the bat (he's only had it for a couple of months) and she's taken chunks out of it!

I know it doesn't compare to biting her child but I want to ring her and tell her, her child isn't so perfect either!!!!

Dh is more furious about the cricket bat than the biting episode hmm

Do you think I should say something or would that rock the boat too much do you think?

It just annoys me that her dd tells on everybody and anybody and my ds just let her do it and didn't say a thing!!!!

barnsleybelle Fri 05-Jun-09 19:28:32

I think if you value the friendship i wouldn't say anything if i'm honest. I always tell ds not to get anything special out when the younger ones are playing as this kind of thing happens often.

If he had told you at the time when friends dd did this then it could have been addressed, but i think bringing it up now may seem petty and could make the situation worse.

screamingabdab Fri 05-Jun-09 19:28:36

Don't say anything! just feel secretly smug inside wink. You won't change her mind. We all have blind spots about our DCs.

Maybe cast your net a bit to find other friends on your wavelength as well.

helsbels4 Fri 05-Jun-09 19:43:30

I so want to say something but as you said barnsleybelle, it should have been adressed at the time. My friend would take offence and it would lead to tension in the playground!

Dh is all for me ranting and raving at her (nothing about the biting though!)

If I'm honest, I don't particularly like her dd and neither has ds now for some time, even though they've been close friends since they started school. This is how her mum and I became close friends. I just think they are growing apart. Friend's dd is mad on rugby whilst my ds is mad on football. Friend's dd will go on and on at ds about how football is for wimps because it's not so physical as rugby and it's a rubbish game blah, blah, blah, while her parents just stand by and let her go off on one! It's usually me that stops her and explains that everyone is different and it wouldn't do for us all to like the same things. Her dad is quite arrogant in that respect and it seems to be rubbing off.

I'm ranting about her now when it was clearly my dd in the wrong earlier but it just annoys me how wonderful they always think she is, even when she isn't. Her mum is always going into see the teacher because her dd has told her this, that and the other and it usually turns out to be an axaggeration! (sorry, really am ranting now. Must be the two glasses of wine (so far) talking blush)

It's difficult to distance ourselves from the dd when her mum is such a close friend to me. (We even go on a girlie camping weekend with another mum once a year!) I really don't want to rock the friendship but I want to back off from her dd. Not sure it's possible tbh.

Roseability Fri 05-Jun-09 19:47:40

helsbels - I am impressed with how you handled this. I am having a tough time with my DS (3.2) at the moment and feel like an utterly crap mum, so I sympathise.

I am 39 weeks and 1 day pregnant and after a long spell of being delightful (I was getting a bit smug wink) my DS has started playing up at the worst time! I can rationalise it and know it is a combination of him sensing something big is afoot e.g. a new baby, his age and stage and also that he has developed a fear of doing a poo. He holds it in and makes himself desperate.

I so want to be a patient, calm mum but I have had a few bad moments. He has started refusing to get dressed, to have a bath, to go to bed and to get into his car seat. He screams and whines a lot more. I am muddling through and have tried different startegies but I am hormonal and shattered and have a lot less patience with him. Only this evening we had the refusal to get in the car seat. The usual tricks didn't work so I ended up physically forcing him into it. I wrecked my back and I think I hurt him a bit, but I was so angry. Yesterday I had to physically drag him out of a friend's house because he refused to go. I had tried distraction etc

I love him dearly but I am struggling at the moment. The comments on this thread have made me feel so much better. Sorry to hijack your post with my own parenting woes but I need a moan!

barnsleybelle Fri 05-Jun-09 19:55:08

helbels... it is always so difficult when you are friends but the children grow apart. I have a dear friend of 20 yrs. I lived away for 10 years in which time we both had children. When i moved back we were keen to spend as much time together with our children as possible. The fact that we both had a ds was the icing in the cake. My ds is 3 yrs older and from the onset took an immediate dislike to my friends son. No particular reason, just one of those things. They are both equally delightful but very very different. Each time we met with the children ended in disaster!
We now see each other without the boys. Obviously it means we don't get together as much but we text and phone and are as close as ever.
Maybe this is something you and your friend could do.
I really feel for you as it's so difficult when lasting friendships have been made through children and then they grow apart.

helsbels4 Fri 05-Jun-09 19:56:23

You moan away Roseability. Sometimes you just feel like it's only you going through it because everyone else's dc's walk along beautifully and happily and my dd is usually moaning and stroppy!

I try my hardest to stay calm but sometimes it is so hard. My friend sees lots of tantrums and strops from my dd which is why I think she thinks that I'm too soft on her. I just don't parent quite how she does though and so we clash in that respect.

It feels like an impossible task to constantly do the right thing. I try so hard but seem to fail so dismally.

Good luck with your new baby smile

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