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Unconditional parenting peeps - WWYD in this situation?

(224 Posts)
substitutemycokeforgin Mon 11-Feb-13 16:21:43

Or what would you have done, rather ... I know it's trivial in the scheme of things, but had a horrible situation with DD (7) yesterday. We were getting in the car to drive to a country park, she wouldn't put her wellies on as her siblings had done, but insisted on wearing her trainers. Recently she's been finding excuses not to wear her wellies, and wearing her trainers instead in all sorts of unsuitable muddy places and bringing them home a filthy wreck. I've had enough of this - she's not the one who has to clean them.

I said she could wear her trainers in the car but we needed to bring her wellies to wear in the park as it would be muddy. I don't think she really responded at this point, which was probably where the whole thing went wrong - I didn't get express agreement from her beforehand ... Anyway, cue arriving in the park, damp muddy day, and she refused point blank to put on the wellies. I explained that I wasn't prepared to wash muddy trainers yet again, shortening their life, when she has perfectly good wellies. We all wanted to get out of the car and into the park, including her, and I was urging her to think about it and do the right thing. I know she knew that by taking the wellies with us, that meant I expected her to wear them in the park. I tried to establish why she didn't want to wear them - made her legs uncomfortable, apparently, so I suggested getting long thick knee socks to avoid this, but she wouldn't agree to this either. In the end we turned round and drove home. I was calm with her and didn't shout, but made it clear what I expected her to do. But the day obviously didn't end well.

So I think I messed up, and I'm just looking for opinions/advice thrown into the ring here, really, on what I should have done instead without using bribes, punishments, rewards etc. Also, do you lovely UP people know of any dedicated forums for UP/AP parents? Thank you!! thanks

Solopower1 Mon 11-Feb-13 20:08:45

Genuine question from me. I have never heard of it.

Yama Mon 11-Feb-13 20:11:42

I can see why you'd be proud that your dd apologised.

Don't be too harsh on yourself. Evaluating how we handle things is good and allows us to progress.

Why don't you ask your dd how she thinks you should have dealt with the situation today?

crazymazydazy Mon 11-Feb-13 20:24:25

Several times in this thread UP supporters have said how they do the whole patient negotiating and reasoning etc with the DC, and then they finish by saying that if it doesn't work or the DC is just being "difficult", they resort to shouting! What message does that give to the children? confused

ConstantCraving Mon 11-Feb-13 20:36:24

I think the OP was asking other UP parents what they would have done - NOT asking for opinions on UP parenting....

AuntPepita Mon 11-Feb-13 20:44:23

BertieBots always gives good UP advice.

Try Naturalmamas if you want more supportive posts and answers to your actual question, rather than people who don't understand UP ripping it to shreds. hmm

Fishlegs Mon 11-Feb-13 20:48:24

I think I would have just weighed up whether it was worth taking everyone home again for the sake of a pair of trainers. The message you were modelling was 'If things don't go your way, have a strop and pack everything up and go home,' thus ruining everyone's enjoyment.

I think as the adult when you're backed up in a one to one battle of wills like this, sometimes you need to let things go and say 'ok, but I'm not happy about it.'

If it was me, I'd probably have asked the other kids what they wanted to do, and we'd have had a discussion and gone from there.

It sounds like you have had a good chat with dd since and moved forward. Often these situations blow up in our house when we think of something as trivial but is a big deal to the kids (ie physical discomfort from ill fitting shoes).

And for those who don't think consensual parenting is doable with more than 1 child, it is, it's just a bit more challenging! Jan Fortune Wood had 4 children I think.

exoticfruits Mon 11-Feb-13 20:54:12

The other children watched and learned that if you make enough fuss you get your own way.
The other UP parents haven't answered because if you have 3 children you can't let 2 take the consequences for behaviour that had nothing to do with them. Someone has to give in - and the quiet, thoughtful peacemaker gives in and the selfish, wilful one, who can make the most noise wins.

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 20:58:53

I would really like to know what the proper UP approach to this would be- it seems insurmountable- but presumably there is a way through that doesn't man the other two lose out on their play?

frantic53 Mon 11-Feb-13 21:00:17

I clicked on this because I didn't know what, "unconditional parenting" was and was curious (btw what does "AP" stand for?)

I don't agree with UP (now I know what it is) but I think most parents try to discuss and reason rather than lay down rules if possible, just that sometimes, in my experience, it just isn't possible without someone else suffering.

FWIW I think the main mistake you made was to leave the discussion about why your dd doesn't want to wear her wellies until an occasion arose when you wanted her to wear them. If, as you say, she has made excuses not to wear them before and you are fed up of cleaning them, surely the time to have had that conversation was the last time you cleaned them? Why leave it until the 11th hour as it were?

Also, has she had these wellies long? If so, did she used make a fuss when they were new? Maybe she's just growing out of them? If they are new, she supposedly tried them on when they were bought and didn't say anything then? So she had a role in choosing them? Does UP parenting not have any role in teaching the, "we all have to live by our own mistakes" life lesson? confused

Solopower1 Mon 11-Feb-13 21:01:59

I think they learned that if you don't have the right footwear you don't go to the park.

The fact that the OP says they didn't mind much - does that mean they are used to this sort of thing? In other words that they were resigned to it? Does the 7-year-old often make a fuss about things?

colditz Mon 11-Feb-13 21:05:17

If she has recently been objecting to wellies, saying they hurt her legs, why haven't you replaced them? If you aren't going to be the sort of parent who teaches a child to tolerate discomfort, you will either have to tolerate her complaining about discomfort or deal with the source of the discomfort.

colditz Mon 11-Feb-13 21:07:40

Ohhh goodness, hands up who knows a child who gives a crap if his or her mother is happy, as long as they get their own way?


5madthings Mon 11-Feb-13 21:08:18

I'm quite surprised the other children didn't mind. Mine would have been very upset. I would have left non welly wearing chilkd in the car or I would have let her worn her trainers but made he clean them herself.

Solopower1 Mon 11-Feb-13 21:15:30

Colditz, funnily enough, ime if a child feels they have got their own way by behaving badly, they don't feel good about it. They are just like us. Most of us don't actually enjoy behaving badly! Making people unhappy? Do we?

WowOoo Mon 11-Feb-13 21:21:43

I had a similar situation. (don't do UP, I just try to be fair)
He wore the trainers in mud and wet puddles. They are now ruined. All my fault for not insisting on the wellies. And perhaps the brutal way I washed them.

As I've told him I can't afford any more trainers, he's agreed to wear really thick socks with his wellies.
He's also agreed that he's going to look stupid when the sun is shining smile

Lesson he's learnt is: You cannot wear your trainers in the mud if you want to keep them.
I've learnt: Insist on wellies in mud zones.

exoticfruits Mon 11-Feb-13 22:11:23

I still think it spoilt the time for the other DCs if they left her in the car and had to play near- it is relying on the fact that DC will want to get out and join in- there is nothing to say they would.
Some DCs don't care how they get the attention Solo, as long as they get it. I know one who actually said they didn't mind if it was for good behaviour or bad behaviour- what they hated was being ignored.

colditz Mon 11-Feb-13 22:11:59

How do they know they are behaving badly enough to genuinely upset their mother if their mother does nothing to prevent the occurrence?

I felt guilty for bad behavior T ten, eleven and twelve, at seven I genuinely didn't care what my mother's opinion was because what mattered to me was doing things my way.

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 22:19:57

If you know your own child, you know if they are being arsey (because in a bad mood), or have a genuine, if mystifying, grievance, and work with either accordingly?

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 22:21:22

I must be the softest parent ever, DS1 recently left his coat at Beavers. He would NOT wear his other coat as 'Bob has that coat and I'm not his friend, and Bill will laugh at me' after much coaxing and guessing. He wore a body warmer and hat in freezing weather and I went out and bought him another coat. I will not make my DC unhappy for the sake of it. One coat or one pair of trainers is not worth it.

Looks like I am an UP simply by virtue of taking the easiest path.....I am certainly not proud to say 'what I say goes' because it doesn't. My eldest DC has his own mind even though it may seem silly to me.

And colditz if I show I am unhappy then DS1 is very aware and really does give a shit. But he is a lovely child and appreciates a bit of give and take

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 22:23:32

quite Hully if he is being an arse for the sake of it then I deal accordingly but if he has a real issue and often he will have, I won't make him do something just because I am the parent

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 22:24:14

Or, funnys, those things matter as much (if not more) to them as they do to us. And we should understand and respect that as we would an adult who won't wear the trousers that maake them look "fat" etc

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 22:32:43

that's exactly it Hully. I know if DS1 has a near on tantrum about a certain coat then it matters hugely to him and I won't make him upset and miserable just so that I can 'win'. I do respect him and that is the key I think

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 22:34:13


we're so right and they're so wrong la la la la la

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 22:35:30

lol, we are sooooo right it hurts. We are the BEST type of parent <sang to the tune of Gangham Style>

crazymazydazy Mon 11-Feb-13 22:36:56

Is it chilly up there on your pedestal Funnys? Need to buy another coat?

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