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other people's children(18 Posts)
Now and again I meet up with a group of other mothers I went through parenting class with. It's strange because I expected us to be all best mates - going through this life changing experience together etc. etc. But disappointingly it has not been like that and I find these people still relative strangers even though we have shared our thoughts/feelings/experiences. Because we are not close what I have just done has made me really mad at myself. We met up together today and the host's little boy (2 yo) was v aggressive to my little boy. First this was just a tap on the face but then turned into scratching (he drew blood) and then grabbing both cheeks and pulling. I tried to take my son away (just how far can you take them in some-one else's house??) and eventually tried to distract him. The host was quite upset about it and I tried to downplay it by saying all kids go through this...it's the biting phase next etc etc.....then when my son was hit again I told him not to cry and called him mard (i.e. soft). I got so angry with myself for putting my son down when I should have been protecting him and now I feel awful....I should have put my son first rather than this woman's feelings ......sorry just need to get this out
I think we typically feel embarrassed for the other parent all the time.
I find myself doing it "oh no, don't worry if he smears crumbs into my carpet its fine really."
"Yes drawing on the walls and furntiure is fine!"
Its like we try to protect the other parent from feeling embarrassed. WHY WHY WHY?
Especially when i look at my dd who i think has v good manners esp when in other peoples houses, and if she does ever make a mess i clean it up, and if she hurt other children i make her apologise and watch her like a hawk the rest of the time.
You have my sympathies! and maybe we should just toughen up!
i think we'va all been there. You've probably been there when your ds has been dishing out the scratches to other kids so it all swings in round abouts.personlly i think you were right to downplay it as it probably is one of those stages.!! They'll be best buddies next time you all meet up - fights forgotten
angelfire, been there done that. The one I'm really ashamed of is when an elderly neighbour was insistent that my ds1 (then just under 2) stroked her dogs insisting they were perfectly safe. They were horrible yappy things and ds1 was clearly terrified. While I didn't force him to stroke them, my focus was far more on not offending her when what I should have done was swooped him up into my arms and said "sorry, my son doesn't like dogs" and left it at that . Hard, isn't it?
While i feel very protective over ds, i also feel very uncomfortable for the majority of the time when people are round with thier children and they are A) scratching the walls with stuff or generally behaving in a distructive manner in our home, B)hitting ds C) ds is hitting them.
I really do not know any good answer to this.
I do,like you, down play it always.
This has made me consider whether or not i would do something to spare another parents feelings.
Its a very good question actually.
okie, lets suppose you had 'protected' your son. what would have happend? a scene, something out of eastenders? instead of the kids fighting it would have been the parents.and what would you then be teaching your son? that its ok to be rude because mommy is? and whilst kids get over fights very quickly, adults dont.
i think you did very well, and should be proud of yourself. you did not allow a bad situation to develop, and you modelled good behaviour for your son.
Angelfire, I think Stitch has got it absolutely right. What you did was show your DS how civilised people behave, and I don't think you need to beat yourself up about that. He knows you love him - you re-inforce it to him in so many other ways, and he'll gradually learn that sometimes, everyone has to behave differently outside the home than inside.
I've been through this myself. One awful day when we went round to a friends house. My dd was 3 years old and my ds only 4 weeks old. The little girl repeatedly pushed dd until she fell on the floor, said she was horrid, etc for no reason (she seems to be a very troubled child and I know she does this to most visitors they have to their house from what other mothers have said). After the fourth time this happened dd gave a very tentative shove back at which point I told her off - just because I want her to know that no matter what someone does you never fight back physically - but I regret this - if we weren't willing to stand up for her then what else could she do. Then while her mother was holding my newborn ds the little girl went as if to cuddle him but instead bent all his fingers back. The mother didn't say anything apart from - oh, she's a bit over-enthusiastic with her cuddles at the moment - despite the fact that she could clearly see what had happened. I didn't say anything as I thought I was going to be sick/start crying and worst of all she continued to hold screaming ds and let her daughter mawl him until my dh stepped in and demanded him back. On our way out of the house the little girl walked behind my dd and repeatedly hit her in the back with her mother viewing the whole thing and nothing was said, despite dd being in tears (it was awful dd kept walking looking straight ahead, but sobbing - the memory of it appauls me and I feel furious with myself). It was extremely surreal. Neither of us said anything until we got out, but we went home and I spent the whole night in tears. Dd is incredibly gentle and, apart from her rather weedy shove I mentioned earlier, she has never pushed or hit anyone (she is very shy and it just isn't part of her nature, I've no idea whether ds will be the same or not, so please don't think I'm saying this blind to any fault on her part - she does have lots of other faults, but this isn't one of them) and so it felt particularly horrible that she was subjected to this and the only people able to stand up for her - dh and I - watched it all and didn't act on her behalf. I felt furious that the girl's mother or father didn't say anything though - if it had been my child I would have removed him/her from the scene immediately. Ultimately though, I see it as a good learning experience. I resolved that I would never ever put anyone's feelings before my own children's again - I just feel sad it took such horrible events to make me realise this. If the parents themselves are rude enough not to discipline their own children properly then I will be rude enough to draw attention to it next time.
I really feel for you Angelfire, that sounds horrible. I can see where some of the others who have said to ignore it are coming from - to a certain extent children need to sort things out between themselves and learn to defend themselves. However, I think if someone has actually drawn blood you have every right to ask the mother to stop her ds from doing that or say to the other child yourself 'if you do that again, we'll have to leave as it is not fair on my ds for you to do that to him.'
I would try to work out what you would do if the situation arose again and then put it to one side.
In this kind of situation i never hesitate to tell the other child off. I find the shock of being told off by someone new usually makes them stop where they may not otherwise.
Am I odd?
Just in case that last post sounded harsh, I mean I will tell the other child off before the parent even has a chnace to (so no debate about how I did it because they didn't etc). It has never been a problem, and I would never mind if someone else told dd off either.Maybe I'm just bossy (dd is too - it's usually her getting told off).
sobernow - not sure on the touching thing. People here do that all the time so I guess I'm just used to it.
You're not harsh SP - I agree with you and tell others' kids off too! Really went to town on some 6/7 yr olds that had my 2 yr old pinned down while they beat him in the Wacky Warehouse - where were their parents? They couldn't give a s**t.
Angelfire - I know exactly where you are coming from and despite being generally a very confident and strong person who takes no messing, I too have done exactly what you did and felt bloody awful about it afterwards. A friends child scratched ds2's face when he was just a couple of weeks old - really launched at him too and my heart broke while I was going 'there, there, gently' while I wanted to knock his block off. His mother did nothing and I think this is what's far more hurtful than the toddlers actions really. Said 'monster child' also went on to biting and it wasn't a phase either - he bit at least one person in our group every week without fail for about 18 months. The day he bit my ds was the last day I met up with them - basically because his mother was totally ineffective.
Oooh, sorry, got a bit carried away there!
Don't beat yourself up about it though, we all do it. If ds2, who is very clingy, is slightly sniffly about something and on my knee in front of others I always find myself saying 'oh, come on, pull yourself together' or whatever and roll my eyes as if to say 'what a wimp' - I don't know why because there's nothing wrong with having a sensitive nature is there. Why do we do it?
No senorapostrophe, you are not weird. All parents have different boundaries but the basics ie. hurting, bullying and generally hassling are universally unacceptable. As a parent, if I saw a child behaving in this way I would ask/get them to stop. By the same token, I would expect another parent to do the same for my children. There is an african saying: "It takes a whole village to raise a child." What a wise saying and what a shame that people feel awkward about stepping in with other people's (and often their own) children.
I think it is important to defend and protect your own child - and I agree with everyone who says they feel cross with themselves when they pay more attention to the feelings of strangers than to their own beloved kids (as in the dogs incident). I really, really try to be aware of this myself, and not tell ds off just to please others and not to speak disrespectfully about him within earshot. It's amazingly hard not to fall into that trap though, isn't it?
Thank you for all your (quick) very helpful replies. I am still trying to work things but I really appreciate all your comments
i cant count all the times ive told off ds and his friend for fighting...ive even bawled at them at times...and i feel so bad because i know ds is only responding to what his horrible little friend is doing, he is very gentle and would never hurt anyone. its bad when the childs own mother doesnt say a word, just smiles. ds's friends mum said to me once in conversation (i was trying to discuss how rough her son was with mine) "oh but he cant help it, he's a lovely kid, his dad makes him like it". how can you make a mother see when she doesnt want to? its impossible. (and for what its worth, when her child comes back from his dads hes like a little angel, shes the one who makes him how he is). some mothers just dont see it...whereas if my son was hurting someone else id do something about it. (though thats something that hasnt happened in his 7 years, one its not in his nature and two he knows better).
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