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Nice guy always seems to come last...

(29 Posts)
griffy Tue 08-Apr-03 13:38:49

Is it only me, or are parents not giving a damn any more about teaching their kids to take turns/share/generally be polite?

I am getting really sick of being in situations where I pull DS (2.3) back from 'pushing in' - telling him: "no, wait your turn", only for him to be elbowed out of the way time and time again by other kids whose parents are standing right there, but not policing their children's behaviour.

I know that they have - to a certain extent - to sort things out for themselves, but I really can't leave them to get on in a "Lord of the Flies" sort of way at that age. I also want my son to grow up with at least some sense of concern for others, and sense of wider responsibility. I just feel so sorry for him when he looks at me - completely bewildered - wondering why he's got these rules which others don't seem to abide by at all. and he seems to miss out through them.

Similarly, I got a bit annoyed at a friend's house last week, when her son (same age) would not share his toys at all, just snatched everything from my DS's grasp - and his mum did NOTHING. Every now and again, she's weakly say "Oh, please share...", but didn't do anything to reinforce it. When they visit our house, I tell my son he has to share or take turns, and if there are special toys that I know he won't want to share, I put them away before the visitors arrive.

On the way home from the friend's house, DS was quite upset - saying: "mummy, XXX wouldn't share his toys", and all I could think of to say was "I know - it wasn't very nice of him".

Anyway, behind all this is this awful feeling that I'm teaching my son to be a doormat, and that he should stand by and let others walk all over him. Please tell me I'm not in the wrong here...?

SoupDragon Tue 08-Apr-03 14:01:07

I try to teach my DSs to share and take turns, even if the "other mother" involved in any incident says not to worry.

I put lots of emphasis on the word "try". I was very proud to see that DS1s report from nursery yesterday (he's 4) said that he waited patiently to use whichever sand mould he wanted to. He complained in the car on the way home that no one would let him have the octopus one which upset me

The situation where your son's friend wouldn't share, I tend to use as a teaching point to enforce the idea that sharing is nice and a good thing to do. I do also make the point that we can't force others to share if they don't want to.

DS2 (2) is utterly clueless at the moment ith everything earning the tag "MINE". I think it' something that children do learn eventually but some manage it quicker than others.

Stick to your guns!! I try to teach DS1 that he should wait patiently but ask again or remind people that he's waiting and that it's his turn next.

GeorginaA Tue 08-Apr-03 14:02:07

My ds is just coming up to 2 and I must say I do let him try to work things out himself if he can. UNLESS I see that another child has become upset by his actions or if I see that someone might become hurt then I intervene.

My reasoning is that, like you said, I don't want him to be a doormat, but also that I want him to be able to interact with others when I'm not there (at nursery for example) and not be overreliant on me always intervening.

That said, the other day he pushed another child (very gently, not even pushed over, the other child was not hurt) and the other child was very upset - ran to her mummy crying. So I led ds over and asked him to say "sorry" to the little girl. Her mother kept saying "no, it's fine, don't worry!" but ds very quickly said "sorry!" (which was very cute - even the other mother agreed) and you know what - the little girl stopped crying instantly! I'd like to think that by helping him to be aware of other's feelings and to then deal with the consequences then sharing, taking turns, etc will come out as he gets older with only a little prompting.

Also, I don't insist that other children other than my own son share. If ds is upset then I usually say something like "it's x's toy and they don't want to share right now, but they might get bored with it in a minute and then you can have a turn". I also don't force ds to share - just suggest that he might like to. Some of his favourite toys he would be really upset if I made him share them, and I'm not sure it would be right to make him if he didn't want to share those particular toys.

griffy Tue 08-Apr-03 14:28:44

Thanks Soupdragon - I like your suggestions about me being a little more assertive, and perhaps gently reminding others that he's waiting - I tend to just quietly fume!

Georgina - Didn't your son do well! You must be really proud of him - I know I always am when my DS apologises - or kisses the pushed child better! Reading my message again, I sound like some kind of control freak gorgon, who tramples her son into sharing etc, but I'm not that bad - I do appreciate that he doesn't want to share all his toys, and happily will hide away his best toys - he's very happy with this approach, and is the recipient of massive amounts of praise for successful sharing of his 'less-loved' toys!

Nutjob Tue 08-Apr-03 14:39:03

Griffy - You are not teaching your son to be a doormat, just a decent polite individual, and I just wish there were more mums like you.

I take my dd to Toddler's World, and have lost count of the times children have pushed in front of her to climb up slides etc., One little girl in particular just runs riot, whilst her mum sits there taking no notice, so in the end when she went to push in again I just said 'No sweetheart, wait you're turn' and held her back. The lady who runs it is forever having to take of off the equipment, as you are not allowed to let them eat food if they are playing and she'll be crumbling 'mini-cheddars' into the ball pit, the mum does absolutely nothing. It drives me crazy.

I try to teach both my children to be polite and well-mannered and both have been complimented on their behaviour. They'll stick up for themselves if they are picked on but rarely start a fight or arguement.

Stick to your guns, your ds sounds lovely.

kaz33 Tue 08-Apr-03 14:44:26

If other children push in, in front of DS then I don't make a fuss but leave them to sort it out themselves. Luckily DS doesn't get bothered and just moves on to something else.

However, if he pushes in or behaves badly then I will try and explain to him that he should not behave that way.

GeorginaA Tue 08-Apr-03 17:17:33

lol griffy - you didn't sound like a control freak honest, but I do worry sometimes if other parents grumble at me inwardly because I haven't instantly intervened and thought I'd show the other side. Although I agree it's frustrating when other parents don't seem to supervise *at all*!

I think you've hit the nail on the head when you mention about giving lots of praise - praise for when they do share, let it pass without too much comment if they don't. They'll get the message.

Also, I think enforcing a particular solution all the time misses the opportunity for children to find their own much more imaginative solutions - okay probably for when our children are a bit older, but there are many other ways that they can sort out a disagreement about toys than a simple share or turn taking.

I've also seen kids look really crestfallen when a parent has insisted that they share their bricks or whatever when they were really involved in something creative - all the joy in playing with that toy is then gone. I think it's Montessouri that really frowns upon encouraging sharing? (turn taking is more encouraged and interrupting a concentrating child while they're playing is a big no-no).

tallulah Tue 08-Apr-03 17:51:59

This really rang a chord with me. When DD was 3 we took her to Chessington. We waited for a roundabout to stop & I held her back & told her to let everyone get off first. All the kids behind us just shoved past & got on. She was really upset & couldn't understand why she had to wait while others didn't.

I must say I find it very annoying that a large number of parents let their kids act like hooligans. No-one expects really small children to understand manners & 2 year olds are awful about doing what they want to to get their own way, but older children should be taught to be polite.

I get really angry when I see my lot standing patiently in line & everyone else pushing in (& the oldest 3 are teens!)

I do agree with Georgina though about the sharing. I was forced to share as a child & it still rankles, so I don't make mine. Funnily enough, 3 of them don't mind & 1 hates it. We also had "friends" when DD was little who expected to share all our toys but kept his to himself.

I also hate it when other people's kids expect me to get out of their way, & when someone on a bus on holiday got up for a woman to sit down & she let her kids (age 10 ish) sit down instead!! I did have words with one dear little madam (also about 9 or 10) at the am dram group I go to, when she shoved past me to get up the stairs. She looked so shocked I don't think she'd ever been told off before! (& she hasn't done it again)

GeorginaA Tue 08-Apr-03 17:52:03

Oooo ... also meant to say, yes I was bursting with pride at the time

mam Tue 08-Apr-03 18:10:37

Griffy only had chance to read your posting and it could have been me typing exactly the same thing word for word. In the end my ds at 2 years of age screamed when I said we were going to so and so's house and so I stopped meeting with certain people and being more selective going where he was happiest. The worst of it is I saw it a year later the same thing only this time with the nursery leaders so I started teaching my ds to stand firm etc etc and so here I am now trying to get the balance right so that my darlings will be considerate but not take nonsense from others whether children or adults - it's horrid but that's the real world out there being a parent really opens your eyes and I don't like it but there it is - good luck to you and your ds... on a happier note my ds does seem to pick like-minded friends now and stand up for himself with those who still snatch etc while still being friendly, long may he survive because he is natuarally a gentle, caring and can be sensitive child.

robinw Tue 08-Apr-03 19:04:53

message withdrawn

griffy Wed 09-Apr-03 12:54:40

My faith in humankind has been restored - it
sounds like I'm not the only control freak gorgon out there!

Georgina/kaz33 - it's definitely the not *at all* parents that I've got a beef with - not you more creative lot (full of admiration!).

Nutjob - thanks!

Mam/Tallulah - perhaps we should all take RobinW's advice - no more Mrs Nice Guy!!!!

RobinW - I agree - the big ones really should know better. I blame the parents...!

Lil Wed 09-Apr-03 13:30:28

Hmm, I wonder if I'm the mum you get cross with!! When I'm out at softplay I never know when to intervene between my ds and others. He will wrestle with children and push them now and again..oh, that's sounds like he's a bully - he's not, in my mind he's a normal active young boy, they all seem to fight and haggle. I do tend to leave him to it, IF the children are evenly matched. If I didn't I'd have to keep intervening all the time, which doesn't help in the long run does it? and no he certainly doesn't always come out on top!

I do wonder what other mums think, and am relieved when they don't intervene themselves. makes me think its the right thing to do afterall. Anyone agree???

Lil Wed 09-Apr-03 13:34:20

BTW..my ds is only 3 I do expect him to grow out of it!

GeorginaA Wed 09-Apr-03 13:36:11

Lil, am constantly scanning the other mum's faces to see how they are reacting myself! I am aware of it and will tend to intervene more if I'm with a group of mums I don't know well or if they start to look a bit twitchy

It's such a hard balance to get right, isn't it? And no matter what you do, you're not going to please everyone I think, so (although I don't always live up to this by any stretch of the imagination) I think the only thing you can do is try to be consistent and fair with yourself and your child.

Janeway Wed 09-Apr-03 14:17:24

this is one of my constant problems when taking ds to the playground. DS is 13 months and can now toddle quite successfully (though slowly) from the swing to the slide etc. This is great when there's only a couple of kids, but when there's loads, and a queue for things he always misses out because of the actions of other kids & their parents.

Last week we waited ages for a swing to be free - with some parents leaving their kids in one for ages - I said loudly "come on, lets go for a swing now" we toddled off and a mum who's kid had already had a go picked up their dd and ran past us nearly knocking ds over.

Another day ds just got on the roundabout, going slowly, when a girl came up (aged4-5). I explained to her that ds had only just got on and could she play on something else for a couple of minutes if this was too slow for her. She stood and waited, complaining to her mum who didn't back me up.

It all got very uncomfortable so I took ds to play elsewhere - the girl sprang on and nearly hit ds with her foot as she set off. Her mother's face when I said that a "Thankyou" would be nice was incredible - you'd think I'd sworn at the child!

Yet another day we'd found an nice quite sunny spot in some gardens for ds to waddle up and down - 3 new mums (obviously so bessotted with their babies as to send them blind and totally inconsiderate) parked themselves in the middle of this spot (between ds & I) and blocked the way with their prams so ds couldn't get back to me (he couldn't have been more than 15ft away). When I complained to them they shrugged and said it was a public garden .... Arghhh - but we'll get our revenge - next year when their delicate wee ones are wobbling around, I'll send in my bruiser of a 2 year old to knock them all over!

Sorry.... but parents like that get my goat - thay'll soon be complaining about their kids being unruly...

griffy Wed 09-Apr-03 14:24:11

Janeaway - your son being cut off from you is exactly the sort of thing that shouldn't happen if everyone showed each other a bit more condsideration and courtesy - as well as passing it onto their children. I'd have been pretty annoyed too.

The 'leave them to it' brigade are ignoring the needs of younger children like your DS, who need help to get onto crowded play equipment. If parents of older kids just let their offspring barge in the younger ones just don't get a look-in at all. It all just makes me so annoyed!

Lil Wed 09-Apr-03 15:44:00

griffy, I do agree with you completely, when it comes to littler children being upset, its not on. I remember how I used to feel when mine was a toddler and always tell ds to mind the little ones. But as they get older it is different. I really think the key to 'leaving them to it'is when the children are the same age/size!

GeorginaA Wed 09-Apr-03 17:12:10

Yes definitely - agree with Lil. Janeaway I am appalled by your experiences!

I seem to have a different problem at playgrounds particularly indoor ones. I end up with the emotionally needy kid - the one who's desperate to make friends despite me being a lot older (obviously) and ds a lot younger and whose own mother is too busy texting, drinking coffee, nattering to notice that her child is hanging on to every single passerby.

I don't mind if it's simple chatting - but honestly, these kids want you to abandon your own child and go supervise them on slides, swings etc. When you say no it's a barrage of "why" (very irritating when the child is a complete stranger).

tallulah Wed 09-Apr-03 20:01:19

Georgina, I've never been in this situation.. does it happen often?!

Lil, yes I agree with you that if the children are evenly matched in size & age you can leave them to it. HOWEVER, if you come up against a child who is an out & out bully that should be stamped on.

Janeaway- that's dreadful!

I did have a rotten experience when my 3rd was a baby. We went to a friends house & there were 4 other mums there with babies that they laid on the floor on their backs. Mine was crawling & kept trying to take their babies' toys, as well as being very interested in touching these other babies. The other mums got quite snappy & kept saying "careful" and "mind out" to mine & tutting. Turned out that their babies were all 4 - 4.5 months & yet my little soul was only 5 months!! Because he was crawling they assumed he was capable of "minding" their babies! I left early in the end because they made me really cross. Not one of them moved their stupid flaccid baby out of the way, but expected me to shackle mine! (Rant over)

GeorginaA Wed 09-Apr-03 20:18:32

Tallulah - well it's happened twice to me in the last month at quite a severe degree (two different children)! To the point where the older child was coming into the younger children's section to talk to me and almost constantly knocking into the smaller kids as a result - tried "subtle" hints like "I can't go with you to the slide right now as I'm looking after my son, why don't you ask your mum to go with you?" but fell on deaf ears

The most recent one he actually blocked my path to ds at one point which upset ds a lot so I ended up snapping and saying quite sternly "please move... NOW!" and he didn't bother me again but I felt horribly guilty for ages afterwards.

Other occurrences have only been minor and I have just put it down to the child being at a chatty stage where they just want to befriend anyone rather than being desperate for company. Both me and a friend of mine seem to be a magnet for these sorts of situations

GeorginaA Wed 09-Apr-03 20:20:07

Also, as an aside - these children make me feel really uncomfortable and I don't know why. Maybe because I fear for them - how do they know I'm an appropriate adult to befriend?! Maybe too from a complete selfish point of view that it's hard enough to relax in a play area with a toddler let alone when you have to keep track of an older child who is a complete stranger too.

griffy Wed 09-Apr-03 20:57:45

Lil - yes I agree. No point in barging in when older children are perfectly capable of working things out between them, provided that they've been given the basic rules to start with that will enable them to do this (relatively!) fairly. And also with the proviso that no younger children are being trampled over.

Tallulah - it seems so unfair when a child is a bit 'ahead' of - or larger than - others, that people imbue them with all sorts of other completely inappropriate abilities; like the ability to show empathy and understand tutting at the age of five months!!! Good for you for leaving early.

GeorginaA - It's so weird that you mention this, because it happened to me too at a soft play centre last weekend. An older kid (who was attracted to me because I was talking to my DS and he noticed that they had the same name) was really getting up my nose in the end, and he was desparate to befriend me. To the exclusion of DS. I dismissed it as a really one-off thing and just sort of went along with it in a fairly friendly way, but perhaps it happens more often? Has it happened to anyone else out there?

griffy Wed 09-Apr-03 21:00:29

And - again - what on earth are their parents doing? It's not as if this kid's parents were momentarily distracted or busy with another child for a brief period. He tailed me for OVER AN HOUR!

GeorginaA Wed 09-Apr-03 21:05:26

griffy - thank god it's not just me ... was beginning to get a bit worried there

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