How much do you 'ignore' your children?

(1501 Posts)
Gameboy Sat 10-Sep-05 17:02:00

Have just been out with two families - friends of ours- who have kids about the same age, and I have to confess, I am amzed by the extent to which they actively 'ignore' their children trhoughout the whole afternoon.

By this I mean they seem to 'zone out' from all the various requests/ questions/ constant 'to-ing and fro-ing' that seems typical of under- 6s??

As a result they actively seem to enjoy themselves more, manage to have 'adult' conversations (which I gave up years ago )and it seems that their kids eventually give up and go and sort out themselves whatever it is they want....( which seems like a good thing I suppose)

I can't decide whether I'm just a mug with my kids and let them dominate my life too much... but I simply CAN'T ignore them - it seems really rude and uncaring somehow??

Hattie05 Sat 10-Sep-05 17:05:07

I think there is a happy medium isn't there? I only have the one dd who is approaching three, but i've just spent the afternoon with a childless friend. And we had plenty of time to talk adult but that was because i was prepared and sat dd down with a sticker book etc There were large amounts of time, where there was no need for me to interact at all as dd was amusing herself.
Had there been other children there it could have been a whole different situation of course!

berolina Sat 10-Sep-05 17:05:50

ds is only 16 weeks, so can't really answer, but have already been thinking about a similar issue - I want to make sure I stimulate him lots but don't over-stimulate him. I dont think I could 'ignore' my children to the extent you describe, but I do think children have to be left sometimes to get on with things - it's also good for their development

bonkerz Sat 10-Sep-05 17:08:46


My 2 children have been downstairs for nearly 2 hours and i havent seen or spken to them! they are 4 and 5 and have been fed and watered and know where i am if a problem! I think its important for children to be independant and not rely on my attention for activities etc.

Whizzz Sat 10-Sep-05 17:11:34

DS (nearly 5) has been quite happy for the last hour playing a game on the PC while I do 'craft' things ! We have had a lot of time together today so i don;t feel too bad about it !

Vaunda Sat 10-Sep-05 17:17:46

My DS is now 7, but i can honestly hand on heart say i have never ignored him. As a toddler he would 99/100 times be out with me and my adult friends for meals etc. all my friends were childless yet had no problem with him being there. They would include him in all conversations. I could never have taken him out with me and not paid attention to him. Nor could i do now. He is very independant and more than capable of sorting himself out. But he prefers to be with adults to children and instead of whining or keeping on he asks once and waits. and never waits more than 5 minutes normally as there are always enough people on hand to do what it is he has asked for.

aparentwhohasignored Sat 10-Sep-05 17:30:14

I have two children. The first i showered with attention NEVER ignored him and treated him with respect. At two and three he was a very clingy child by four slightly clingy and by five he was a super confident little angel that treated both friends and adults with the respect he had always been shown he is still the same at 8.

Ds1 was three when Ds2 was born and i thought i had done the wrong thing by giving Ds1 so much attention (as at this time he was super-clingy). So with Ds2 i ignored the whimpers and attention seeking the constant questions and became immune to it. Result-a five year old that still craves attention and needs constant reassurance, how i wish i'd treated him the same as DS1. I'm working on it but if only i could turn back time.

Sorry if this sounds morbid but i truly believe it was my attitude that made the difference between my sons

Miaou Sat 10-Sep-05 17:32:28

I think there is a difference between giving your children the space to be independent, which is what Bonkerz is doing, and actively ignoring requests for help/interaction, as Gameboy's friends were doing. I do think it's sad to see parents who actively ignore their kids in favour of their own needs - there is a time and a place for each - and when there is a mix of adults and children then attention needs to be given to each group of people.

However, I get equally irritated by parents who let their children totally dominate adult/child time - allow their children to interrupt, break off from talking to you to listen to whining (when the child is old enough to know better) etc. There have been times when I have wondered why I have bothered visiting some people since they ignore their guests in favour of their kids!

myturn Sat 10-Sep-05 17:35:58

I have to ignore mine for a certain amount of the time. It is a physical impossibility to give 100% attention to all 4 of them 100% of the time. Maybe it is rude and uncaring, but I can only give so much of myself before I am driven round the bend with the constant demands on my time and attention. But then again, none of mine are babies any more, so I expect them to be more independent.

Thomcat Sat 10-Sep-05 17:40:40

Interesting. Well I would never say I ignored Lottie, not at all, I answer every single 'mummmiieeeee', even thoiugh most of the time she's just saying my name. I talk to her, share things with her, take her to grown up events, include her, get down and silly and dirty with her at her level and so on. I also leave her to crack on and get on with it as well. I quite often leave Lottie to do whatever it is she wants, she'll go upstairs and play in her room and I'll be making dinner or whatever. I encourage her to amuse herself, I think it's important to let a childs imagination and independence grow.

Tortington Sat 10-Sep-05 18:02:20

i think its necessary to ignore your chils in favour of your own needs from time to time

Vaunda Sat 10-Sep-05 18:49:00

thomcat but all of these things encouraning imagination etc can be done with parents in the room and with parents interaction. My son has never had to play alone because i have always made sure he had someone to play with, normally me. He has a brilliant imagination, and also excellent social skills.

ScummyMummy Sat 10-Sep-05 19:03:32

Did you not have a good babysitter available, Vaunda? Poor you. You must have v saintly friends. I must say I'd baulk at regular meals out with a mate's toddler, no matter how lovely he was.

Mallarky Sat 10-Sep-05 19:04:12

I used to work with a very experienced teacher, mum and insperational friend who used to say 'a bit of healthy neglect now and again never did them any harm!'
Were sometimes all too entertaining!!

frannyf Sat 10-Sep-05 19:29:54

I do agree with the healthy neglect thing to some extent, and, having worked in a nursery, found that you could tell which children had never been left to amuse themselves - they would be following you around saying "What shall I do now?"

However I do think it's nicer for small children to get a lot of attention and feel that they are the centre of your world, as far as possible. A friend of mine once passed on the advice her mother had given her: "Let them think it's the most marvellous treat when you sit down and play with them." I can see what she meant, but I thought at the time "If I am lucky enough to have children, I don't want them to think it's a 'marvellous treat' to get some of my attention ffs!"

foxinsocks Sat 10-Sep-05 19:37:58

if we go and visit friends (who have kids the same age), I totally expect ours to go off and play with them and only interrupt us if something is wrong. I cannot stand going to friend's houses (when we have specifically gone to see our friends) and having the kids interrupt all the time. If we have people here, I try and arrange activities in advance that I know will occupy the kids.

Ours know this - they know there are times in the day when they have my 100% attention (e.g. we went swimming today) but they also know there are times when they are expected to amuse themselves. I'm trying to teach them to say excuse me and wait when they interrupt an adult conversation (they are 5 and nearly 4) but I think that'll take a bit more time before they get that right!

Vaunda Sat 10-Sep-05 19:45:38

Scummy, I had a marvelous babysitter. My parents and siblings would look after my DS at the drop of a hat. Thing is my friends would ask if i would pbring him along as they love pending time with him even now.
They love the fact that he can hold a decent conversation, has never "baby talked" or whines etc. Will happily sit in a restaurant and eat a meal. My ds is and always has been great company.
And actually POOR YOU if you are not able to enjoy being out with a child.

foxinsocks Sat 10-Sep-05 19:46:04

should add that it took a while before we got to the stage where they wouldn't interrupt us! When ds was 2, he was a nightmare and practically never left my side so I reckon I'm owed a bit of space!

Jimjams Sat 10-Sep-05 19:46:33

ds2 is good at amusing himself, but we ignore ds1 at our peril.

(exhausted today: have cleaned up several wees on floor, removed various items from the toilet, dodged things flying down the stairs, cleaned up water thrown across the room, lifted ds1 down from playhouse roof several times, picked up clean washing from kitchen floor, grabbed bottle of washing up liquid off ds1 just in time, cleaned up cream cleaner from kitchen-I guess he can reach our "safe" high shelf now AND ds1 has been given a lot of individual, attention today). I am obviously hoping that ds3 will go and play constructively with ds2.

Vaunda Sat 10-Sep-05 19:48:38

Why do people have a problem with children being around or being involved in so called "adult" conversation. Children learn from adults and surely people can see that by being involved in these said conversations children will learn a lot more than those who are not involved.

kama Sat 10-Sep-05 19:49:43

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kama Sat 10-Sep-05 19:51:01

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PeachyClair Sat 10-Sep-05 19:53:38

I don't intentionally ignore them, but TBH DS2 doesn't stiop talking- a low uninterpretable drone mostly- from the moment he wakes up, and yes I zone out on it. But it's not intentional, it's for the sake of my sanity only. If the boys try to interrupt a conversation DH and I are having, we just turn around clearly and say 'Please don't interrupt people whoa re talking'.

I probably do ignore unintentionally tho, I am great at 'tuning out' when I am reading or whatever, it just happens.

foxinsocks Sat 10-Sep-05 19:54:13

my kids are not in the slightest bit interested in a conversation I have with my friends (unless I'm talking about them and their friends in which case their super extra strength hearing kicks in and they all arrive to hear what we're saying) and I don't expect them to be interested in what I'm talking about!

They have plenty of adult conversation with us at other times (like meal time, walking to school etc.)

bobbybob Sat 10-Sep-05 19:57:20

I ignore a whingy voice or a request with no please at the end, but I ignore it in an active way. Ds knows he is being ignored and then has to think what to do to properly get my attention.

I have one friend whose ds does this deliberately when she is trying to have an adult conversation. He is quite blatant and cunning about it - can't bear his mum having a good time without him.

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