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Why (in RL) are we all so judgmental?

(69 Posts)
unicorn Fri 28-Jan-05 23:45:01

One of the biggest upsets since having my kids, is just how smug and judgemental other parents can be.

A recent example - my dd (age 5) has had to have 2 fillings, I mentioned this in conversation to some other mums and was made to feel like I had FAILED as a mother, and dd should be taken into care!

Other examples are regarding sleep/potty training/feeding etcetc.

Why can't we offer each other more support and allow children and parents to develop at their own pace, as opposed to assuming that we are doing it all right and everyone else is wrong?

I am sure in my mothers day there was much more community support, but then again they didn't have a million books and mass media telling them how they should be doing things!

(apologies, rant over)

ionesmum Fri 28-Jan-05 23:47:49

I really agree with you. We mums get blamed for virtually everything that goes wrong, so you'd think we'd give each other a break!

MistressMary Fri 28-Jan-05 23:50:23

I think you are absolutely spot on.

Aero Fri 28-Jan-05 23:50:29

I agree too though maybe it's what I feel more than what people actually say...... good job I can moan on here about it though.
ps have had too much wine tonight so sorry if a little garbled!

HunkerMunker Fri 28-Jan-05 23:52:53

I find mums in RL can be a lot more judgemental than those online (with a few notable exceptions!). But it's always behind people's backs which is vile. If I cared about such things, I'd notice that people avoid mentioning certain subjects to me, because I blithely ignore bitching (mostly - heck, I'm not perfect!). I've heard some really snidey comments (about other people) recently in RL and find myself just smiling emptily and thinking how much nicer MN is! FFS, I have it BAAAD!

Fimbo Fri 28-Jan-05 23:53:21

Here Here Unicorn. My dd is in year 2 and for the past 2 years has really struggled with reading, and has now just suddenly taken off and is doing exceptionally well. She is only 6 fgs but her friend's( who is in the top group at school for most things - although dd is heading that way now) mother said "oh well if she can't read that well she might be talented in other areas later in life" - it was said in a way that meant my daughter was on the scrap heap.

unicorn Fri 28-Jan-05 23:54:24, in my mums day it was valium !

I think it's all to do with honesty,image, and how we have to make out that we are coping, the kids are fine and everything is just hunkydory (even tho it probably isn't)

In reality - if everyone was like they are here on MN I'm sure we'd all be much happier!!

unicorn Sat 29-Jan-05 00:00:34

fimbo i know what you mean...
some parents treat parenting like a competition ffs!!!
It drives me mad, and don;t want any part of it.

HunkerMunker Sat 29-Jan-05 00:03:26

Not looking forward to DS starting school in some ways (as he's not doing it till 2008, I shan't 'dread' it just yet!) - the competition has started now with the 'how many teeth, can he sit/stand/crawl/walk, how much food, how much does he weigh/talk/poo' stuff, but seems to move up a notch with reading/writing/arithmetic!

unicorn Sat 29-Jan-05 00:11:39

I think we are all just so insecure these days.

(compared to the 'good old days' of my folks- who had 4 kids and didn't worry about any developmental milestones etc!!!)

Nevertheless I still can't understand why people with kids can't just 'tell it like it is'- warts and all.

If we all admitted what a PITA it can be, then perhaps we would be able to help each other get through it.

I just get the impression that some parents think 'thank god' I don't have one like yours (noisy, hyper, stubborn, etcetc)... and, aren't I so clever for having a placid, non vocal, non challenging child.

highlander Sat 29-Jan-05 00:13:12

unicorn, I think you've hit the nail on the head when you mention all the books etc we have access to. My DH is constantly looking up books to see what milestones DS 'should' be hitting. He doesn't believe me when I say that all kids even out eventually.

HunkerMunker Sat 29-Jan-05 00:18:03

Information's OK as long as you have the sense to realise that just because it's written down in a book it doesn't mean it's true/what your child will do/should be doing/cares about/wants to do, etc, etc...

I have heard people say 'When DS is six months old, he will be able to do x, y and z' because they've read in a book that this is the case.

unicorn Sat 29-Jan-05 00:18:05

so have we (as a generation) lost our parenting instincts?

now replaced by a million and one 'experts'?

When I had dd1, I was completely at a loss, and bought every book there was- totally confused myself, and was extremely stressed.
With ds2, I am beginning to 'relax'(ha)...
I mean tune in to him a bit more,trust myself, and sod the books.

HunkerMunker Sat 29-Jan-05 00:20:13

I've read loads of books/websites because I like reading and children and parenting's a subject I'm interested in. I take what I need from what I read, but definitely don't follow it all - I'm very relaxed with DS (far more so than I thought I would be before I had him).

twiglett Sat 29-Jan-05 07:47:21

I agree with the issues that 'competitive parenting' causes in the RL .. its appalling how people just can't keep their mouths shut sometimes isn't it?

However I don't think much has changed over the generations apart from the barriers have broken down in terms of what we talk about and what is deemed acceptable has changed dramatically .. in our parents' generation they would be gossiping and condemning many things we take for granted such as single parentdom, being pregnant without being married, special needs .. it is easy to look back with rosy-tinted glasses but I prefer living now to what I imagine was the censorious 'then'

tigermoth Sat 29-Jan-05 08:42:19

I think twiglett has a point - lots of things that are acceptable now weren't acceptable years ago.

I find it funny and sad the assumptions people make about my children. My oldest is chubby and until my slim youngest came along, some of my friends used to make pointed comments when they saw ds1 eat crisps or sweets. I have suffered many friendly lectures about what I feed my oldest son. And when ds1 did well in the school play at christmas, some cliqy parents who never speak to me much at school came up to me to praise him. Ds1 is a very cheerful, boidsterous boy - he doesn't appear particularly arty or sensitive. It was very nice the parents noticed him, but I do wonder if they had him marked down as the sort of boy who couldn't act and were expressing their surprise.

sobernow Sat 29-Jan-05 08:55:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Caligula Sat 29-Jan-05 09:03:00

Sobernow, i think you're right.

A friend of mine lived in Spain about 25 years ago, and you couldn't walk down the street with your child without an old or middle aged woman coming up to you and saying "she's too cold" or "she needs a hat" or "ah she is beautiful, when are you putting her on solids? Do you know the recipe for such and such?"

They just saw it as their job to offer advice to less experienced mothers, but it wasn't meant to be critical or undermining, it was just that - advice, to be followed or not as you pleased. At first it would drive my friend demented, but after a while she got used to it and accepted it, knowing that it wasn't done with any malice.

I think we can all be too sensitive about what people say to us. And if we want the village to raise the child, then we have to accept the involvement of the village, however irritating that may sometimes be. I think it's a shame that many older women now keep their mouths shut when they see a younger mother who could do with some advice, because they are afraid to cause offence, even when the advice is given sensitively and non-judgementally.

Caligula Sat 29-Jan-05 09:20:32

The downside of that of course, is that the ones who aren't afraid to cause offence are exactly the ones who give their opinions insensitively and judgementally!

tigermoth Sat 29-Jan-05 09:28:07

you could be right, sobernow. I just don't know. Gettimg praise from parents who are generally friendly to all is one thing, but getting sudden praise from parents who keep themselves in a tight group (and believe me they do!) seems like another. Maybe I am just too cynical.

dinosaur Sat 29-Jan-05 10:33:11

I don't know if it's a case of losing parenting instincts, unicorn, but certainly I and most of my RL friends had no experience of looking after babies until they had one of their own! That must be such a contrast to earlier generations, where most people would have lived with or at least near a large extended family and would probably have had lots of experience of looking after younger siblings, cousins, etc before having children of their own. I think that's partly why we're easy pickings for the baby gurus.

unicorn Sat 29-Jan-05 19:20:14

I agree in large that it is all perception.. and yes Caligula, I think there is a role for well meaning 'experts', but these days I just find some mums think they are doing the parenting thing correctly - and therefore if you aren't doing it their way, you must be wrong!

Also advice is all very well, but, as I am learning, just because x works for child 1, it may not work for child 2. (or child a and b)

So whenever I talk about childcare issues with other mums I always may it personal to what has worked for me.

I think it is quite arrogant to say 'Oh you should be doing bla bla bla' when it is all so personal.

Caligula Sat 29-Jan-05 19:51:52

It may also be that they were taught that a specific way is the right way, so that's what's stuck in their brain, whereas our generation are taught that it's what works for you and your child - much more flexible (and realistic imo), but also much more room for disagreement and much less satisfying for someone who wants a "right" answer. (Hence the success of some of the more "regimented" babycare experts.)

Heathcliffscathy Sat 29-Jan-05 19:59:13

hi unicorn. couldn't agree more. a problem is defensiveness: if i'm doing it a certain way, and someone else is doing it differently, are they looking down on the way i'm doing it kind of thing??

i don't feel like this, but know for a fact that some of my parenting decisions (right or wrong and tbh, i don't know where they will lead, they just feel right to dh and I) get people's backs up horrendously, leading to them being quite aggressive in promoting 'their' way.

none of the mothers that is secure in herself do this btw. but they are few and far between.

and i'm one of the only mothers i know that does tell it like it is (ie awful sometimes tbh) why do i feel as if even here i have to add the obvious but unspoken, 'but it's wonderful too'...!!!

Caligula Sat 29-Jan-05 20:11:56

Sophable the mind boggles - what are you doing that gets people backs up so much? Do tell!

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