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"Since when did children stop obeying their parents and parents start obeying their children" - what is your view?

(18 Posts)
ceebee74 Sun 03-Aug-08 14:32:19

My mum came up with this yesterday and I thought it was quite a good quote which sums up the change in parenting over the years.

It certainly made me think about how we let DS (2) get away with things - like him insisting on wearing what he wants, rather than what we want him to wear (which to me is related to picking your battles and that one is just not worth the hassle). My mum clearly viewed this as DS being 'in charge' of us rather than the other way round whereas I think that it is good that DS knows his own mind and is confident (or stroppy) enough to demand it.

Not sure which view is correct....

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Sun 03-Aug-08 14:38:37

i have this argument with dh. he thinks i give dd1 too much control and that she is becoming too cheeky and independant as a result, she is nearly five and has control over what she wears, what clothes we buy for her and to a certain extent what food she eats. i make her eat with the family when we are having family meals but if its just me and the dds, dd1 chooses what we eat, she also chooses her own lunches.

i agree with you its about choosing your battles. dd1 is very headstrong and if i tried to make her do things my way all the time every day would be a contant battle of wills. atm she knows what im in charge of and what she can have her own way on and while there maybe some fights she backs down a lot easier than what she would do if she had no choice in anything.

Roboshua Sun 03-Aug-08 14:58:34

My sons certainly have more control over their lives than we did. However I don't think in our case that's particulary bad. We are certainly the ones in charge and they know it.

I've had the what they wear conversation on a number of occasions and my DP disagrees with me on my view. My DS2 is very head strong and went through a phase of only wearing Dr Who tops. I was the one in the morning who had to get him, my DS1 and myself all sorted and to work/school/nursery in the morning and having a full blown battle over the choice of t-shirt was too much. It really is a case of picking your battles. If you fight over everything how do they know when you really mean it when you say 'no' and impose your wishes on them eg what they wear is really of no importance however the fact that they WILL hold your hand when you cross the road is.

quint Sun 03-Aug-08 14:59:23

We're having a nightmare with DD1 (4yrs) at the moment - whenever she asked to do something she has a huge tantrum. I think its because we give her too much choice over what she does / wears / eats, so I am going back to being a strict mum again. This happened a couple of months back and it worked really well, however I got sloppy and started to let her decide again too much.

I hate being so strict, but I won;t have a spoilt brat - now I just need to find the right balance

KTNoo Sun 03-Aug-08 15:15:27

This is something I am re-thinking at the moment. I was always of the opinion that although I don't want to control my dc, there is no way they are going to control me. But as they get older I am finding they resist authority and they actually need to feel they have more control and more choices. None of them have done anything really extreme with clothes/food, however, so I don't know what I would do then.

They can choose what they wear but I buy clothes when they are not with me which means I am basically happy with whatever they choose to put on as none of it is ridiculously inappropriate. Same with food - I make one meal, taking into account some likes and dislikes, and they can choose if they eat it or not. We do have days where they can take turns to choose what we eat, but not all the time.

Pruners Sun 03-Aug-08 15:33:02

Message withdrawn

suedonim Sun 03-Aug-08 15:36:00

With four dc, I long ago learned the pick-your-battles lesson. smile I think it's better that children have some control in life but it can all fall down if a child is overwhelmed by choice (I'm overwhelmed by the choices in shops nowadays!!). There's always a middle path eg, 'do you want to wear the blue or the green T-shirt' rather than 'which T-shirt do you want to wear?' or 'you will wear the red T-shirt.'

RuffleTheAnimal Sun 03-Aug-08 15:40:10

if the childrearing in the past was generally stricter and more autocratic (the right word??) and also 'better', then why are so many people so f*d up? and why do so many people seek to parent so differently to the way they were raised?

it must be nice to live in a world of certainty and black and white.

none of us knows for sure if what we're doing is the best for our kids, but i would imagine that most of us are doing our damnedest and probably fret about getting it 'right'. i dont think anyone (ok, hardly anyone) parents in a deliberately less than responsible and healthy way.

Pruners Sun 03-Aug-08 15:46:37

Message withdrawn

HumphreyPillow Sun 03-Aug-08 15:50:15

My parents, particularly my mother, are of the opinion that children should be well behaved at all times.

The reason behind any inappropriate behaviour is of no interest to her. She doesn't want to know the causes, she just wants any "naughty" behaviour to stop.

She made me feel very lacking as a mother when DS2 was young, as he had lots of issues that meant he had quite severe behavioural problems.

She would never actually say anything, but disapproval would roll off her in waves.

I know she thinks that I gave in to him, or let him have his own way. But she didn't know the struggles we had at home, or how we were working on a strict behavioural programme to try and help him.

She didn't know because she made me feel so incapable that I never told her.

And sometimes, when we were at my parent's house, or out in public, I would placate DS2, in order to avoid a meltdown.

And then my mother would pointedly turn to DS1, and make comments such as "you're such a good boy. You don't make a fuss like your brother" etc etc.

Also, my mother had three fairly biddable DDs, and a lot of family support re childcare.

We had special clothes for Sundays, and couldn't play out on that day. We sat and read quietly. Our opinions were never sought, so we didn't express them.

We were loved, but we were not a tactile family - I don't remember my parents ever being silly, or playing with us.

I have two lively, bouncy boys, and my mother adores them, but is baffled by them.

She has, however, apologised now that the boys are older, and I've gradually told her a bit about what it was like in those horrible, dark days, before we got the the root of DS2's problems.

I've learnt to cope without her support now though, so she's missed the boat.

Different children need different kinds of parenting.

It's hard enough bringing up children, without having criticism flung at you.

And each generation is programmed to think the ones that follow them have got everything wrong.

cornsilk Sun 03-Aug-08 15:56:24

I don't want my children to 'obey' me though. I want them to know how to behave appropriately and respect me.

Roboshua Sun 03-Aug-08 17:11:23

Humphreypillow. Totally agree with the comment 'Different children need different kinds of parenting' Whenever I see those programmes re parenting and a family has 1 'problem' child they always say 'It can't be our fault. We've brought them all up the same and the other 3 are fine' and I always think well that's your problem. 1 size does not fit all. My DS1 is very compliant and will stop doing something as soon as he realises he's in trouble. He can't bear fuss and drama and will do anything to avoid it.

DS2 is completely different. He loves getting into battles. I think sometimes just to wind us up. He will do 'naughty' things just to get a reaction. Hence I've followed the pick your battles rule with him because he always takes the opposite view to the one you hold. Sometimes letting him getting his own way is a good learning curve for him eg when he refuses to put his coat on even though you know he'll be cold I just let him get on with it and try not to be too smug when he admits defeat 2 minutes later and asks for his coat (which I always take anyway). He does seem to realise now that Mum does know best sometimes.

lljkk Sun 03-Aug-08 19:52:54

When I was 4yo I was out playing independently -- for hours at a time by the time I was 6. That's where I had independence, even if I didn't have it over clothes and mealtimes. My children don't have the same kinds of freedom I had, so at least I give them freedom in other ways.

Anyway, people used to SMACK their kids a huge amount, it was normal, that was a big reason kids were so tow-the-line obedient.... except, a lot weren't. There were lots of ruffians around. And in a weird way, I think people were more tolerant of it.

Anyone seen Hope and Glory? The scenes where the children play in the bombsites (half-falling down houses)? The sex games they got up to? Little children, too -- can you imagine the uproar today? The criticism that would be heaped on the parents? And yet, if the little monsters threw stones at each other resulting in a bruised head or broken tooth, it wasn't as big a deal either -- dealt with by a cuff around the ear if at all.

I'm not saying it was a better era, but it was so different, that you can't compare the mix of discipline methods, freedoms and obedience that our children experience today.

Morloth Sun 03-Aug-08 20:58:38

Gosh I must be one of the only people around who thinks her mother did a fabulous job with all of us (and yes I realise that sounds quite arrogant!).

I was raised in quite an authoritarian household, as was DH and we both seem to be quite happy, outspoken, well balanced and independent people. We are raising our DS in much the same was as we were raised (and my mother and MIL are my first ports of call when DS does something unexpected that we are not sure how to deal with).

I was raised with stacks of love and cuddles and also plenty of discipline so that I knew what was acceptable and what wasn't. Honestly some of the parent/kid interactions I see around me make me want to scream "WHO IS THE GROWN UP!!"

fondant4000 Sun 03-Aug-08 21:13:02

My mum says she never let us do .... blah, blah - but she lies!

She just doesn't remember what she let us get away with, and how much we were out of her sight (which kids never are allowed to be these days).

She and my dad 'gave in' on loads of things, but now they remember themselves as totally consistent and always in control .... it's hilarious grin

quint Mon 04-Aug-08 21:01:36

Well said Morloth and no it doesn't sound arrogant

Bink Mon 04-Aug-08 21:17:42

I'm not so very sure there has been such a sea-change in parenting as your mum sees cb74.

I'm one of 4 (within 5 years) (and I'm old - well into 40s, so this is a long time ago) and my memories are of being quite surprisingly allowed to be my own person (calling a halt to ballet at the age of 4, wearing a particular sludge-coloured corduroy bomber jacket non-stop for a year at 12, choosing to specialise in Latin & Greek & no useful school subjects at 14). The other 3 have the same memories, coloured with their own slant (ie, of what they were allowed to be).

The punchline is that all 4 of us (we all now have children) are much less laissez-faire as parents than our own were. So maybe it's just one of those generational pendulums.

edam Mon 04-Aug-08 21:27:16

fondant, my mother has the same memory lapses. She used to be forever telling me to be stricter with ds. Didn't quite say 'you are making a rod for your own back' but came very close.

Only I remember my childhood and we got away with murder! Even when we were justifiably in trouble, we could often wriggle our way out if we made her laugh (if not, we went over her/dad's knee...).

Compared to our friends, we had less authoritarian parents - they were younger, for a start (23 when I was born) and my mother did things like watching Top of the Pops with us that other parents just did not seem to do.

We had lots of fun - mad things like being sent on a train from Chester to Plymouth with only the clothes we stood up in because my mother was working down there for a week and called the friend who was looking after us to say 'stick them on the train, I'll buy toothbrushes when they get here'. My friends' parents generally were much more straitlaced.

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