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Am I overly strict?

(34 Posts)
LilRedWG Sun 21-Sep-08 20:24:32

DD is two (28 months) and she is a good little girl and we are lucky enough that she says please and thank you usually and sorry if she has hurt someone.

DH and I also ask her to say, "down please" (or her version of it ) before leaving the table and to wait until everyone has finsihed. In our eye, just basic manners.

She is however a toddler and as such has the emotions and logic of a toddler and we do acept this.

Today, DD and I were at a family bbq and I said to DD that it was time to go home. She immediately started crying and flailing, as they do, so I knelt down in front of her and said firmly, but gently, "DD, stop crying now and listen to Mummy. Stop crying. That's better, right - would you like to play for five minutes more before we go?". She obviously said yes and we had a hug and she toddled off to play. I thought I handled it well. DD had calmed down and I had explained that she doesn't need to cry and strop to get what she wants.

The thing is, when I looked up as she toddled off I caught MIL giving me a really disaproving look and looking at DD as if to say, "Poor little thing, being told to stop acting like a toddler."

DH and I are happy that we are treating DD fairly. We have lots of silly moments, chasing and tickling and squealing, but we do expect her to have boundaries. We always have lots of kisses and hugs and she is told and showed often how loved she is, but are we being overly harsh?

Not sure what's prompted this post - I just had a real crap-mummy feeling this afternoon.

BTW - after the five minutes she was quite happy to say goodbye and get in the car, so it's obviously working - I think. (worried emoticon)

RubySlippers Sun 21-Sep-08 20:26:28

well i am impressed your toddler listens to reason!

it sounds like you have set boundaries that you are all happy with

NotAnOtter Sun 21-Sep-08 20:26:47

sounds as if you are doing a FAB job and handled it really well

I would ignore MIL (probably jealous!)

TheArmadillo Sun 21-Sep-08 20:27:00

if she's a happy child and you're happy then there isn't a problem.

LilRedWG Sun 21-Sep-08 20:27:41

So, I'm not an evil witch then? She is honestly a very happy, smiley, confident little girl. We are very lucky with her.

traceybath Sun 21-Sep-08 20:28:19

Sounds like you're doing a good job - never to young to start formulating good manners.

My DS whose now 4 has always been very spirited so certainly needs boundaries. He has good manners and i always feel this makes up for when he's a pain. I know my MIL thinks i'm a little over the top but i think its important.

Twelvelegs Sun 21-Sep-08 20:29:14

I have to say I hate to hear children to be told to stop crying, sorry. However, you sound like a good parent and your daughter seems happy, from what you post. But you must have felt some truth in the look from your MIL?
The best thing about parenting is that we get to do it all over again and again, so if you are unsure then ou could try being 'less harsh' and see if it has a better result. My thought is that it won't as the event you discuss sounded successful.

somersetmum Sun 21-Sep-08 20:29:41

mil is more than likely jealous at how well you handled the situation, because she can remember her own nasty experiences of when your dh threw a tantrum. grin

LilRedWG Sun 21-Sep-08 20:30:11

I think I get over paranoid as SIL's DD is very energetic and doesn't sit at the table for meals if she can run around. I feel really embarrassed sitting there saying to DD, "No. We're are still eating you can't get down" whilst her four year old cousin is playing on the swing.

Twelvelegs Sun 21-Sep-08 20:32:27

Lil, trust yourself.

LilRedWG Sun 21-Sep-08 20:33:38

Somerset - he was an evil child apparently wink. However, he's now really laid back and luckily DD is too.

Twelve - there may be some truth in what you say. I don't like to stifle her emotion and if she is genuinely upset (as she was today when DH went off on business) I will cuddle her and ask her if she feels sad and reassure her that it's okay to feel sad and that Mummy and Daddy love her. But, when she's just doing it to seemingly get her own way I do stop her short (but very calmly).

Thanks all. Feeling a bit better now.

Nat1H Sun 21-Sep-08 20:33:46

I think you are doing a great job!
My own mum always shoots disapproving looks at me when I am disciplining my children, but TBH I don't care. SHE is not the one who has to live with them - and if she had to live with them the way they behave for HER, then I am SURE she would soon change her ways!

PigeonPie Sun 21-Sep-08 20:37:24

LilRed, I don't think you're an evil witch at all - we have similar rules. However, I do try to give a 'two minute warning' before we leave anywhere or do anything that is drastically different so that DS1 has a bit of preparation time.

mollythetortoise Sun 21-Sep-08 20:38:27

personally i think you are being abit OTT. She is still so little so to make her wait at a table whilst adults eat if her cousins are playing is pretty harsh. She has plenty of time to learn the importance of tables manners.and she is very likely to pick them up from you without you having to enforce them as such. In a family situation I would relax about things like that..go with the flo more.. tbh, I prefer my children to be off playing when I'm eating with familt/friends as I can concentrate more on adult converstations without them there and they just want to play anyway.. the food isn't the main event for them. I can understand what you are saying though but i personally would chill about it a bit..

IAteDavinaForDinner Sun 21-Sep-08 20:41:25

You're your DD's mum. You know what she responds to best. Why would your MIL know better? I agree with Twekvekegs, trust yourself - it was cool

wilkos Sun 21-Sep-08 20:42:15

blimey am very impressed. hope i can manage the same skills when my dd gets to that age!

ignore mil, sounds textbook to me grin

HonoriaGlossop Sun 21-Sep-08 20:42:53

You did deal with it really well, negotiating the extra play which worked really fine.

I think the telling her to stop crying was probably what got you the 'look'. I must say I don't like to hear it either and I think it's unecessary. You didn't need to make her stop; I think it's a little over-controlling.

however that is splitting hairs really, the main thing is you were open to negotiating and it worked!

LilRedWG Sun 21-Sep-08 20:44:32

Pigeon - Good idea re the warning. I need to be more consistent with that.

Molly - we all recently went on holiday together and DD was allowed down to play with her cousin when she had finished eating and today - when she had stopped eating and the rest of us were just picking at the remainders of the bbq I did ask her if she wanted to go and play. So, we do try ot have some give and take but I do appreciate that we/I may be a bit OTT.

I just don't want her to get to the age of say, seven, and us suddenly say, "You are old enough now - no playing at dinner time, no toys allowed at the table from this point onwards, now that you are a big girl..".

handlemecarefully Sun 21-Sep-08 20:46:08

Your MIL is barmy. Sounds like you handled it text book perfectly.

You simply can't win - if you had ignored her tantrum, that would have been wrong, if you had comforted her / pandered to her that would have been wrong ...etc etc, there will always be someone who finds fault with your approach. You just need to be sure that you are being fair, consistent, kind etc and self questioning how you parent from time to time is a good discipline too

AuntieMaggie Sun 21-Sep-08 20:47:39

OMG - can you teach me how to do this? I don't have any DC but it might help me handle my nephew!

LilRedWG Sun 21-Sep-08 20:48:57

Thanks everyone. I LOVE MN for things like this. I am pleased that no-one thinks that I am an evil old bag and will happily take on the comments with regards to me stopping her crying. My only excuse justification is that I knew that she wasn't genuinely upset, just over-tired and trying it on.

Thanks again.

PortAndLemon Sun 21-Sep-08 20:49:59

I think it's always dangerous to read too much into "looks". It's easy to start drawing all sorts of conclusions about the exact nuances of what people are thinking when they are actually just regretting having had that second slice of cake or trying to remember the name of the actor in the BT ads. And even if the look is inspired by something you've done, it's more than likely involuntary and they have chosen not to say anything, so (unless they are the sort who you know will Brood and then bring it up at a later point) best to let it go.

FWIW on the table manners thing, DS has to ask to leave the table but we wouldn't normally artificially keep him there if he'd genuinely finished after a good attempt at the whole meal, particularly if there were other children off playing. Consideration for others cuts both ways. But there's no reason on earth you should do things my way.

In the event you describe, I'd probably have given a five-minute warning in the first place (or more likely a ten-minute warning, then a five-minute warning) to help DS with the transition -- experience has shown me that if there's a sudden unexpected change to his plans then he can go into meltdown, but if he knows what's happening then he's far happier. But it sounds as though you handled it well, on balance (while we're being pedantic, I tend to also go for "take a deep breath" rather than "stop crying", but I doubt whether that would have had any impact on your MIL's look. Especially if she was thinking about BT ads grin).

LilRedWG Sun 21-Sep-08 20:50:48

AuntieMAggie - Can I just say, it is not me. DD is just such a lovely little girl. She teaches me so much more than I teach her. We are extremely blessed that she is so content, relaxed and confident in herself - but in all honesty I think it's mostly down to nature and not nuture. I wish I could take the credit.

EachPeachPearMum Sun 21-Sep-08 20:50:55

Your DD sounds just like mine! We expect similar standards from her too- and she responds well.
As long as you give her the freedom to tantrum when she needs to (eg excessively tired) then I don't think there's anything wrong or heavy-handed in your approach.

I think it's good for children if you have high standards for them.

Of course, I would adapt my approach to the child- if my 2.7yo didn't comprehend what I was asking of her, I wouldn't expect her to do it!

LilRedWG Sun 21-Sep-08 20:52:40

Ooo - PortandLemon - I like the "take a deep breath" and you are right, it's not like my MIL to hold back with her thoughts. wink

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