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Parenting is hard enough without the world judging you!!!(45 Posts)
I was going to follow on the thread about What do you do when you see someone slap a child - but really decided it might be easiser to start my own thread. What I would like to do is explain what happened to me recently that makes my blood boil. My ds and I were out shopping in the West End of London and I had told him to not to play up ie. not touch stuff etc etc I had told him more than once (he is approaching 5) anyway the long of the short of it he did of course touch stuff. When we left the shop I got down to eye level with him and proceeded to tell him off - not shout, not scream not smack - but literally ask him why he behaved in a way I had told him not to - a man passing by had the audacity to yell at me in the street to "leave him alone - give the kid a break". Why on earth do people in this country in particular feel its their god given right to interfere with your parenting. If I had been smacking him yelling at him or abusing him in some other way I could understand it but not even being allowed to chastise my own child is really quite ridiculous. I know there are people out that hurt their children and we have to be careful but I am so sick of the fact that we as parents in this country seem to think its OK to foist our opinions on others regarding childcare and I not just talking about discipline the likes of whether a parent is lazy because they use a dummy - there are so many things that wind me up about other parents judements of other parents - its a tough job wouldnt it better to try help each than constantly judge ourselves better.
Couldn't agree more, I've had the same, builders shouting at me to leave my kid alone, whilst trying to get her in a buggy so she didn't get run over!! Also, not in the same league, but still wound me up,had an old man come up to me in the street telling me my dds are always eating!! If only it were true, have a hard job getting dd to eat at the best of times !
I find it strange that people feel free to offer an unwanted opinion about some things, but no-one questions other things. On Friday, dd (2.5yo) and I had a difference of opinion in Tesco, which ended with me having to pick her up, put her over my shoulder and carry her out of the store to the car. She was kicking and screaming, with blood pouring down her face (she had stuck her finger up her nose, and because she was having a strop had given herself a nosebleed), but nobody said a word to me, or questioned the fact that I was apparently either abducting or seriously abusing a small child. Yet on the other hand people are happy to criticize Lulu for being a responsible parent and trying to discipline her child appropriately.
lulu40, I totally sympathise with you. I have lost count of the number of times people have felt it fine to comment on my child care tactics in the street, on the bus, in the park etc. I did used to get really upset about it, especially when dd was a baby, but now I really, really try to ignore it, easier said than done I know........
lulu, how awful for you. I was once at a party and my cousin said to her 4 yr old, "Say thank you" and a man said, "She doesn't have to say thank you if she doesn't want to"!
A mum at under ones' said that she got into a lift at a shopping centre with her ds who was grizzling and a total stranger stuck her finger in his mouth! I don't know how she didn't slap her!
Dont these strangers realise how dangerous it is for them to make these comments? I have had comments from strangers (usually old men, oddly) that make me want to whip round and slap them violently. People that even TALK to a mum with a tantrumming toddler are dicing with death
I am so glad that someone has brought up this subject.
As a relatively new mum, I have realised in the last year that there is no definitive 'right' way to do things.
As long as you are not bashing them up or abusing your children in any way, then your parenting skills are YOUR parenting skills.
Being judged because you use a dummy, being judged because your baby goes to bed at 10pm instead of 7pm, being judged because you feed your baby jars of food instead of cooking. I could go on...(but I won't , lol)
The only thing that ever seemed to settle mine when a tiny baby was walking around outside with her in a sling. I've vivid memories of carting a red-faced wailing thing past crowds of strange parents at the school gates 8.30amish, after no sleep, to dirty looks and mutters of 'what is she doing with that poor baby', 'why is poor baby outside' etc, etc. When she'd settled, I came home, burst into tears, and rang my mother (muuuummmmm, I'm a bad mother). Now I look back on it, it seems silly, but I was totally distracted by the experience. Wanted to pin a big label on behind saying 'she just cries, I do feed her, her nappy is clean, she's been burped and cuddled, honest'. Ack. At least with a tantruming toddler if people approach to say disparaging things they're likely to get hit by a flailing arm or leg (potentially bitten - if not by her, than by me. Ha!)
Amen, Monnie. Many years ago, before even thinking about having children I got in a big fight with an old man (seems to be a running theme) in the lobby of a library who had just told off a poor mother with a screaming toddler in a buggy because her child was making "too much noise." It was pouring rain outside so go out was not an option and she was very obviously making attempts to quiet the child. I didn't have a clue about kids in those days and still knew that she was doing her best and didn't need some old man telling her to be quiet....
But now, after 3, agree with Batters and just want to tell them to f**K off. Sorry
Sometimes I get a devilish feeling and actually play up to the stanger's perception of me and my children. I pass a worrying comment or two, in a vague and airy way like, 'yes he is shouting rather loudly - perhaps I shouldn't have given him Red Bull for breakfast' just to see how far I can go before they twig I am not being serious. Once I see a dawning look of confusion, I retreat. Juvenile, I know, but awfully satisfying.
I always get people saying to my ds, 'You don't want that dummy, I can't see your lovely smile'. I just say to them, 'He does, he loves it'.
At first I used to feel like apologising for the fact that my son had a dummy, and used to say that I hated him having one, but it stopped him moaning. Now, I just know that it makes him happy, so I try not to let other people get to me.
My mum insists on it being taken out if she is taking a photo of him! It does annoy me a bit, but then it is her camera I suppose.
I too hate people touching ds when we are out. I have no problem with then commenting on his 'big blue eyes', or that he is very smily etc, but what makes complete strangers think that they can touch your child? I smile at children in shopping queues, and wave to them, but would never dream of touching them, and would never have done before having my own.
I know that they are all probably nice, decent people, but it gives me the creeps. Does this say something about the world we live in, when we can't trust anybody, or am I just overprotective???
I used to get lots of comments when DD was a baby because she always screamed the whole way around the supermarket. I didn't know at the time but it turned out to be milk intolerance and I always fed her just before we went. I now have so much sympathy for other parents in the same position but wouldn't dream of saying anything to them.
I don't mind people talking to DD when we are out shopping because she really does enjoy the attention and it is nice to expand her social skills but I do worry that it is giving her a bad message in terms of stranger danger. In another year or so I'll be telling her not to speak to strangers, don't accept sweets from people she doesn't know etc but yet all these strangers keep coming up to talk to her apparently with my blessing.
LOL tigermoth, must try that one
Chinchilla, the thing about touching children is IME a very English thing; whenever we've been on the continent, particularly in Spain and Greece, strangers have no hesitation in coming up and patting them on the head, squeezing their cheeks etc etc. We've had it in this country too from foreign people over in the UK, esp memorably from a couple of fantastically stylish Italian businesswomen who held my son's face in their hands saying 'beautiful, beautiful, oh my heart is broken!' and kissing him on both cheeks (he was about 5 at the time). I think it's a lovely thing to do!
Maybe I'm just too uptight then!
I agree with PamT about the stranger problem. You have to strike a happy balance to allow your children to meet people without being scared, but not to go with anyone they don't know. I'm not looking forward to that one.
There's a really interesting point being raised here. One of the reasons that I don't want strangers touching dd is that I want her to learn that her body is her own and that no-one has the right to touch even her fingertips if she doesn't want them to. another thing that really bugs me is relatives that want a cuddle or -horrors- a kiss. My grandmother was always like that, I used to try to avoid kissing her but she'd get upset if I didn't. Then I'd cry and she'd get offended anyway.
At dd's baptism one of dh's relatives virtually snatched her out of my arms, and one of mine grabbed her and held her flat which she hates- dd soon made her objections known and I was given her back pretty sharpish! Fortunately dd slept through the lunch in the pub as I was dreading the baby pass-the-parcel that people think that they have the right to indulge in on such occasions. She might only be 5 mo but dd is her own person, not something for other people's amusement.
I dunno - I think it's nice when someone stops to pat dd on the head or tickle her chin. We all seem so reserved here and so protective of our personal space. If strangers want to tell me how lovely dd is then of course I will let them! Babies are soft and cuddly and people do want to stroke them and touch them - we should take it as a compliment that people find our little ones as irresistable as we do!
The only thing I hate is when family come over who have not seen dd for months and months - they just waltze right in, pick her up, smother her with kisses whilst bellowing in her ears, and then they get all offended when she starts crying! Sometimes I want to say "Well if you made the effort to see her more often she might recognise you!" but I am not that brave! They also take such liberties because they are family - I don't give dd much sweet stuff, so when they do see her they think it's ok to stuff her mouth full of cake and chocolates, they don't bother asking me if it's ok. Someone even gave her some Doritos which she promptly choked on! I feel far more relaxed with strangers than I do with my own family at times!
Star, I think what happened to you was pretty creepy, no-one should ever touch a child without discussing it with the parent and/or the child first.
star, that is creepy, just like Marina said. A shop assistant once pulled my dd's thumb out of her mouth (here in SW London allowing your child to suck their thumb seems akin to the very worst type of child abuse) and seemed genuinely shocked when I told her in no uncertain terms never to touch my baby again.
The more I read this thread the more annoyed I am getting with interferring people who don't think twice about criticising, but would never consider doing anything helpful like helping a struggling mother and child safely off the bus. Thank goodness I am not having any more children - I think I would become a dangerous person !!
Here in Indonesia my DD's, with fair skin and reddish hair, are the centre of attention and people especially like to pinch the 6yr old on the cheek, because it is considered lucky to touch white flesh. Last week she even had a couple forcing their baby to pinch her, to give him luck!!
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