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I've spotted a flaw in my calm parenting style

(17 Posts)
HuffwardlyRouge Thu 23-Jul-09 20:12:37

When I calmly and simply explain to dd that I find it frustrating when she makes deliberately loud noises near ds when I'm trying to put him to sleep, she doesn't get it.

When I get frustrated with her, she understands.

(I snarled at her to go to her room and read a book until I was ready to come and play with her).

I was feeling bad for getting cross with her today when I was trying to feed ds to sleep (very cranky, overtired, teething boy). I was feeling crap, in fact. Beating myself up for resorting to snapping at dd.

Then I wondered if she needs to understand that her actions have effects on other people. Shouting at the baby when I'm trying to get him to sleep makes me cross. And that's okay for her to understand that.

What do you think?

Tee2072 Thu 23-Jul-09 20:15:19

How old is she? At some point, yes she needs to understand that her actions have consequences.

HuffwardlyRouge Thu 23-Jul-09 20:21:03

She's 3.

Tee2072 Thu 23-Jul-09 20:21:52

Well, she might be a bit young to understand, but I don't think a child is ever to young to begin teaching! My son is 6 weeks and I am already trying to teach him!!

PollyN Thu 23-Jul-09 22:33:45

Welcome to the guilt of parenthood! It is often difficult to balance the goal of buddha-like calm against the impulse to just let a child see and hear your annoyance. If the episodes of irritation are increasing, you most likely need a rest and some more help from those around you.

plimple Thu 23-Jul-09 22:37:12

It's good to have a put on "I'm cross/frustrated" voice. Otherwise if you say you are frustrated but you look calm she will get confused. Big difference between acting cross and sounding it and being really cross and flying off the handle.

KingCanuteIAm Thu 23-Jul-09 22:47:55

I think that calm parenting is great, a fantastic way to go about things - but - there is little in the way of instant response for a child to key into, especially a younger child. If a child does something nice and you are calmly pleased, then something funny and you are calmly amused, then something "naughty" and you are calmly irritated, how are they really going to knwo the difference? I knwo they do to a certain extent but if your calm irritated is similar to your normal behaviour where is the incentive for the child to stop what they are doing? I am sure you do incentivise in other ways but children are designed to respond to a parents body language, voice and so on, if you remain calm at all times you are stealing a lot of their advantage IMHO!

I do think a child shoudl learn, this is the voice/posture when I am happy, this is when I am annoyed, this is wehn I am busy and so on and so forth. I don't mean you should shout and scream all the time but yes you should differentiate, your child does need to know how to recognise when you mean something and voice and body language are the main ways we are designed to know this!

KTNoo Thu 23-Jul-09 22:56:58

I try to be honest overall.

Calm, yes, ok, great. But sometimes they need to know you are angry and why imo.

It depends on their age how much you can expect etc but I like to keep honesty as a general policy, having been brought up in a household where people appeared calm on the surface but were a seething angry mess underneath. That's very confusing for a child imo.

plimple Fri 24-Jul-09 07:18:55

Oh, to temper my "I'm cross" voice, my pleased voice is super dooper pleased! Much better to be outwardly angry/pleased/concerned and inwardly calm than the reverse.

bigchris Fri 24-Jul-09 07:30:49

a good example might be me and dh last night at two am when nearlt three yr old dd kept getting out of bed
dh 'dd whats the matter, are u ok' in soft soothing voice x 100 times wink

me at 3am 'dd get back to bed NOW, daddy and mummy are very tired and getting cross' only took the one time grin

Overmydeadbody Fri 24-Jul-09 07:35:03

Don't feel guilty.

I don't think there is anything wrong with children learning that their actions have an effect on other people, and also that mummy has emotions that change and sometimes these are related to children's behaviour.

Plimple makes some very good points, I was going to write something similar.

It's good to have different voices that you can put on to convey hoe you are feeling to a child, so have a 'stern', 'cross' and even 'angry' voice to use when you need to, with facial expresiions to match, without actually feeling emotionlly overwhelmed inside (so still being the calm parent) if that makes sense.

piscesmoon Fri 24-Jul-09 07:37:19

I think that it is better to see parents as human and understand that everyone gets cross and it isn't the end of the world.
If I have snapped and think I have been unfair, I have apologised afterwards and explained.
I'm not sure that always being calm and reasonable will help them to learn to cope with things later-e.g. falling out with friends.
BigChris has a very good example-it isn't normal to be calm and understanding at 3am-the truth worked a dream!

piscesmoon Fri 24-Jul-09 07:40:43

I think that different voices work well, also body language is important. I have never had trouble with the things that are very important to me such as staying in bed once they are there, but I never had the same success with things I thought they should do but wasn't particularly bothered.

Overmydeadbody Fri 24-Jul-09 07:42:45

I agree completely with piscesmoon

Huff a calm parenting style is more about being calm and in control inside, rather than always trying to stay calm outwardly while suppressing all other emotions.

As long as you are in control of whatever emotion you are feeling, but still express that emotion, it won't do children any harm.

piscesmoon Fri 24-Jul-09 07:43:13

From the point of view of the DC, all this calm, talking things to death is very tiresome-sometimes just a clear direction and 'do it now' is much better-I speak as a very reasonable DC who always had things explained!

girlsyearapart Fri 24-Jul-09 08:01:25

ha ha bigchris. Are you me??

Had a super guilty moment yesterday when dd1 nearly 2 pushed dd2 10mo face forwards onto the floor on purpose after being told not to.

Totally lost it gave dd1 tap on the arm and shouted at her. So had both of them crying. Going softly softly just doesn't work sometimes. And for the record I'm normally v calm and not a smacker!

Hassled Fri 24-Jul-09 08:08:11

I have no qualms whatsoever about letting the DCs know when they've pushed things too far, and have always been baffled by parents who never change their tone of voice/reactions. I really don't think it can help their DCs learn social skills, how to read others, and where the boundaries are for acceptable behaviour etc.

So yes, your DD is never going to understand that being noisy around the baby is a no-go if there is nothing in your approach/tone to tell her that. And I agree with others - the calm control only needs to be on the inside.

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