Friday, February 08, 2008

A question

I have written about this topic before, but I'm still confused about something, so help me out here, I'd really like to understand.

So, in the past I've remarked that I dislike people disciplining my children under most circumstances. There are certainly exceptions to this rule, but not many. Here's my new quandry, though. Why do other parents butt in when you haven't even had a chance to open your mouth to work with your own child? I mean, I can understand if my kid does something and I'm not there to see it or may you think I didn't respond appropriately or it involves you or your child (like my kid whacks your child, a highly likely scenario!). BUT-- here's an example. The other day we had a mama and her daughter over for a playdate for the first time. The girls go to school together, but I've barely spoken to the other mama at all. While they were here Iris kicked off her princess shoe and it happened to whack me in the head. Before I could even say or do anything, and what was I going to do anyways, it was a wayward accident, the other mama was like "Iris, you need to go see if your mama is okay, blah blah blah". I fully supported her intention, but, ahem, I can take care of this myself thankyouverymuch, especially if you give me two seconds to open my mouth.

However, I see this happening alot. Is it just me? Am I incompetent? I truly might be, I'm strong enough to hear honest answers on this. Or is it a motherly thing, like these other mamas are mothering all of the children around them? I want to understand, I do, in the hopes that it would make me less annoyed.


  1. I don't think it's you. I think it's another example of micromanagement parenting. Though I haven't encountered it yet. But it reminds me of parents who can't stop telling their kids not to hit, or to share, or whatever. Like, when it isn't even an issue. Or, these parents who try to keep their kids from playing with Spike at the library or wherever, as though their kids are bothering us. Like, hello? Playing with kids is the reason we go to the library!

  2. I think it's a passive aggressive way of saying you are too permissive with your kids...though I would really have to know this person before saying that's her intent -- but does that resonate with you at all?

  3. I think it's a knee-jerk reaction, especially for stay-at-home moms. I know I've done that before no matter who the mom and kid is. My mind just goes into "child hit someone - must teach child not to do that." For me it's not because the other mom is not capable of discipline, it's this unconscious immediate assumption that the person hit/kicked/knocked over needs someone to stand up for them. Usually I feel stupid as soon as the words come out of my mouth when I realize in a split second the person who was hit or whatever is a grown up and can speak for themselves.

    Honestly though, I have noticed that you let your kids be much ruder to you than you'd ever let them be toward anyone else or each other. I probably do the same thing with my daughter. But when one is outside the situation it does make them want to stick up for you.

    I don't know though - kicking off a shoe and having it accidentally hit someone sounds like ... well, an accident. I don't like to make a big deal out of accidents except to remind EJ to be more careful because there's such a HUGE difference between and accident and hurting someone on purpose.

  4. I understand your frustrations. Its hard to have other parents or non-parents try to parent your child when you're right there. It could be a control thing. I have a hard time knowing when to make a deal of something and when to let things alone. If you figure that out let me know!

  5. i think i agree with mandy... that it *seems* to be a less overt way of "helping" you deal with your kids as she sees fit.

    i am trying to put myself in either of your shoes, to imagine what my inclination would be. as the mother of a kid that seems get wailed on alot lately, if i felt a parent wasn't doing enough, i would probably step in and say something to their kid, whether it was my place to do so or not.

    of course i am not assuming or implying anything about how you parent-- just my first thought about HER reaction :-)

  6. Oh wow, I am so glad I've already gotten several responses!

    Thank you, mamas, for the thoughtful things you've had to say. It gives me something to think about.

    I'd love to hear more!

  7. I say nothing with exception of two scenarios.

    1. The kid is being a rude mofo and parents are either absent or not paying attention. An example that springs to mind was when I was at a Lk WA beach last summer and a group of mamas and I were hanging with our toddlers near the water. Some 8ish year old came along and *tackled a duck*. Like, literally ran, threw himself in the water and grabbed a (relatively) wild animal. I freaked out after about tne seconds when no one else did and used my stern voice to firmly instruct the kid to put the (thrashing, petrified) duck down. Now!

    2. When someone's child is interacting with my child ina negative way. I try my best to use my best gentle discipline and positive statements. Things like "Hands are for gentle touching, please do not hit Raina!" I use those when I am the parent nearest to an escalating tussle or the other parent is not near by. I do it because Raina can be moody and I want her to have fun with other kids, not keep flipping out that the other kid is going to "share" his train by tossing it at her head:) I say nothing (beyond comforting R) if the other kid's parent is right there.


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