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Modern parenting ?

(41 Posts)
sazz1 Thu 25-Aug-11 22:45:21

Ok so I went out shopping today and a little girl in a push chair was telling her mum what to buy in Wilk...........s from the art and craft section. The mum was actually asking what she wanted and buying it for her. She looked about 2 and a half and could not have been 3 yet
Yesterday my daughters friend was late visiting as her 3 year old couldnt decide which shoes and socks to wear and refused to wear any for over an hour.
My daughter in law asks my grandson where he would like to go when they go out, what he would like for tea etc etc - hes just 2.

Now I brought up my 3 children to wear what clothes I put out the night before on their bedroom chair.
I have never let a 2 year old tell me where to go or what to buy in a shop or what they were having for tea. Negotiations came around 11 years when they started senior school.
Im in my late 50s so not that elderly lol yet but is there any real benefit to taking directions from toddlers?
Or am I being unreasonable in thinking that to foster security in children they need parents making decisions, and consistancy with proper boundaries? I also believe that 2 and 3 year olds are so contrary anyway that when given a choice will always want the other option as well!

harrigran Thu 25-Aug-11 22:57:17

URNBU, it messes with my head when I hear mothers negotiating with children. For goodness sake act like an adult and make the decisions like we did.
My DG had a tantrum on holiday because she would only go out for lunch if she could decide which car she would sit in and who she sat next to. I was all for staying in the house with her to teach her a lesson. When I spoke quietly to her and told her she was a child and she should do as she is told she screamed out so that her parents were alerted, manipulation in ones so young is not nice.

greenmossgiel Thu 25-Aug-11 22:57:35

I totally agree, sazz1. My eldest daughter gave her daughter (my youngest grandchild) far too many choices, and as a result the child, who is now 11, seemed to know no boundaries. Most of her younger childhood was a manic time of tantrums, screaming matches and times when she couldn't get to school on time because she wouldn't wear the clothes that my daughter had 'suggested' she may like to wear. When I look back, I see it almost as if my daughter was afraid to upset her child. Even now they have an 'uneasy ' relationship, which I think is sad.

Annobel Thu 25-Aug-11 23:23:09

GMG - you've just given a good argument for school uniform. At least if they have to wear that, there can be no disputes or tantrums.

At what age do we think children should begin to have a say in the clothes/shoes they choose to wear? Are girls choosier than boys?

sazz1 Thu 25-Aug-11 23:40:07

I think that at 11 onwards children should have some say in making choices. Mine were taught that there was a certain amount of money each month for clothes and they got to spend or save it up with me on shopping trips - mostly their choice until 13 / 14 when they went shopping alone or with friends and had to bring home reciepts. This helped to develop budgeting skills and taught them that if they made a bad choice with clothes they had to live with it, and money was not unlimited. We still bought all school uniforms and school shoes etc.
My sons were very fussy about clothes (heavy metal look) the same as my daughter so didnt really see any differences.

Notsogrand Thu 25-Aug-11 23:43:14

When our grandchildren become parents, they'll probably 'revert' to the style of parenting most of us exercised i.e. Will love you forever and would lay down my life for you.....however, the grown ups are in charge.

I can just see the threads on Gransnet in 25 years time....AIBU to think that my parents opted out of their responsibilities by giving me so many choices when I was a child?


susiecb Fri 26-Aug-11 08:46:08

We see our lovely GS aged 7 ruling the roost at home but not in our house we put our foot down and he seems to enjoy the structure. My husband has a saying 'dont let the tail wag the dog', seems apt.

em Fri 26-Aug-11 10:02:02

I agree with most of the feelings expressed here, but admit to allowing a tiny degree of choice to my DG (2 1/2). Big dilemma! Should I buy the t-shirt with Fireman Sam or should it be Bob the Builder? I held up both and asked him! He chose Sam and loves to wear it - and I don't think I've undermined anyone's authority. Obviously a toddler should have no say in big decisions but surely when it's something fairly trivial it's ok to include him. It also showed him that it was one or the other - not both.

absentgrana Fri 26-Aug-11 10:07:16

I think we've been here before and I think I'm probably repeating myself. I was and am quite happy to give quite a young child the chance to make an unimportant choice, such as do you want to wear the red trousers or the blue ones or shall we read Cinderella or Snow White. This gives them practice in making choices without the risk of any dire results. I always avoid open-ended choices such as what do you want for tea. How many times have we heard mothers of teenagers or even older sons and daughters complain that their offspring expects them to organise their (the offsprings') lives? How often do we moan about people not taking responsibility for their own actions? This takes practice and it's a good idea to start while they're young. Making real choices is part of being an adult and is a skill that needs to be learned.

Not, of course, that gransnetters complain or moan. grin

Elegran Fri 26-Aug-11 11:40:07

I agree absentgran If they choose between sausages and fish fingers they get practice at weighing up pros and cons without disrupting everyone else's day. If they have the universe to pick their tea from, they get lost, or become a nursery despot.

I knew someone who asked her child (a late-born treasure) what she would like to eat. "Bacon" she said. None in the house so mother went to the shop and bought some, cooked it and presented it. Madame Picky then did not want it, she wanted baked beans. Mother went out again to buy beans. True story!

Baggy Fri 26-Aug-11 12:07:57

I agree that you can use both approaches — let a child choose when their decision is purely personal and doesn't matter but use your authority where required. Once my kids could dress themselves I left them to it. I limited their choice of course because I provided the selection they had to choose from and Practical is my middle name. Wacky choices were, and still are, allowed (e.g. DD3 wears brightly coloured odd socks every day. Her choice. I don't care and neither, apparently, does the school) but if they came down dressed unsuitably for the weather, I'd send them back to change. Any stroppiness would be met with: Well, if you make a fuss and are late for school, you'll get into trouble but we're not going until you're sensibly dressed. They could snarl as much as they liked.

glammanana Fri 26-Aug-11 12:31:49

When DD was little she wore school uniform all week,and after school either a girly tracksuit or similar she wore this most of the week after as she was only in it a matter of hour's before bedtime so it was not dirty,at the weekend she had either jeans and t-shirt or dress,and her wardrobe was not extensive at all,same with shoe's one pair for school and one pair for playing,my DGD however has about 6prs shoe's countless outfits and change's constantly during the week-end she is 10yrs old and my DD is constantly washing and ironing clothe's for her,she also tell's DD what she will and will not eat,we love her dearly but there is no way she will stay with me and her DGF for any length of time because she would not be allowed to continue in this way

harrigran Fri 26-Aug-11 12:42:23

I will play no part in "what would you like to eat", in our house, two choices ... take it or leave it. I will not make several dishes for picky eaters.
I have seen my 5 year old GD change her clothes two or three times in one afternoon and when I comment she will say "just throw them in the washing machine" I presume the fairies then waltz in and do the work.

raggygranny Fri 26-Aug-11 12:48:41

When my children were about 11 or 12 I gave each of them a clothes allowance, out of which they had to buy all their clothes except school uniform, underwear and winter coat. They had it twice a year (summer and winter) and it taught them budgetting, shopping skills and value for money. It was interesting to see how the different personalities approached the task, from charity-shop binges to buying one or two 'good' items. Younger children can be gradually given more choices as they mature.

greenmossgiel Fri 26-Aug-11 13:05:01

glammanana, my youngest GD is the same with me us! She won't stay any length of time with us because we don't stand for any nonsense, much as we love her! She loves going to her 'other' gran's, though, who made a rod for her own back, I think, by pandering to her tantrums when she was young and has since had to discuss with SiL her ability to look after her due to her attitude! GD was then sent to me for a couple of days....'boot camp' perhaps? hmmgrin

Elegran Fri 26-Aug-11 14:11:30

raggygranny I did the same with my two daughters, at about the same age. I made sure that they were suitably kitted out with a warm coat, school clothes etc, then they chose and bought things themselves. At that time the family allowance was £3 for second and third children (They were 1st and 2nd, but number 3 was a boy and not then interested in clothes) so they had that to budget for clothes and extras. They did pretty well most of the time.

A couple of years later I realised that I was washing the same clothes daily, rejected after trying on, and thrown on the floor. So I showed them how to use the washing machine and how to decide what kind of wash each thing needed.

That was a good move except that the washing machine is in the cellar, and the way the lights were then wired, half-a-dozen lights went on down there (in utility room, workshop, store-room) when you put on one switch. They would put a load of washing in and leave it for a couple of days, with all lights on. The electricity bill soared.

sazz1 Fri 26-Aug-11 14:21:32

Raggi thats what I did with all mine and they learnt the hard way to budget carefully for clothes - but now they are grown up they are good at managing money and saving so it did some good. I think kids need to learn early on that they cant just have or do everything they want - the world isnt made that way. Parents who give in to every demand are imo just setting them up to fail at school and in employment where rules are inflexible.

Baggy Fri 26-Aug-11 14:21:35

When one of my brothers complained that we weren't given a choice of what to eat (family of seven — no chance!) my father retorted: You always have a choice!
Puzzled look from boy.
The choice is eat it or don't eat it.

artygran Fri 26-Aug-11 14:40:27

The only choice of meal I offer our grandson (4.5) is at breakfast - e.g. porridge, cereal and toast or poached egg and beans - because I would rather he ate all of something he chose for breakfast, rather than little or none of something I put in front of him. For the most part, when he is with us, he has to toe the line, though Grandad can be a bit of a soft touch, and is always the one that GS goes to when he feels a bit hard done by! I love my daughter and my grandson (who looks like being the only one we will have) to distraction but I sometimes think she gives him too many choices. However, she is his mother and I keep my opinions to myself!

jackyann Fri 26-Aug-11 15:26:02

I brought my kids up with "choices where it's appropriate". Honestly, they might have got a choice in arts & crafts, maybe a qualified one "2 of you have to share" or "no more than £x". I think it's healthy.
As for shoes & socks - easy to say "you make that choice by the time the clock says....or I make it for you". I suspect however, that might be a "running late" excuse!

My tip for mealtimes, with 4 growing kids was to use our weekly "family meeting" to draw up a menu. That was when kids got their say: we parents set limits around healthy eating, budget, time for preparation etc. and the big rule was "if you moan or are rude, you don't get a say next week!". As they got older, they were encouraged to find a time to make their choice for dinner.

That meeting was also the time to ask if things could be organised differently, if we could buy certain stuff or anything like that. It encouraged the kids to have a say & feel valued, but the negotiations were at a time & place we could control. When the younger ones were little, they joined in a bit & played a bit, but they got the idea.

At that time, some of us mums ran a bulk-buy co-operative, mostly wholefoods. We did a quarterly run to a big warehouse and divided up packs. So 4 times a year, kids in our village got asked what crisps or juice they wanted in lunch boxes, knowing they would then be stuck with them until they ran out!

raggygranny Fri 26-Aug-11 17:07:15

When my son as a teenager moaned about the type of food on offer (healthy, largely vegetarian), he was given the option of cooking for himself, which he frequently did, and is now an excellent cook. I had a three-week menu, so he had plenty of warning if something he didn't like was coming up.

gettingonabit Sat 17-Sep-11 18:02:53

I agree there is far too much negotiation with kids. Mine was told what to eat, what to wear and what to do until she was about 11 and able to make sensible decisions. I don't think she was any the worse for it. Many of her peers would choose their clothes from a young age (yes, at about 3!!) and decide what and when to eat. Hardly any wonder then that these are the same children who act up! Children need adults to behave like adults, and whilst some negotiation about things which don't really matter can be empowering for children (a choice between beans or sweetcorn perhaps), generally I think that choice should be limited until the child is much older.

What is REALLY irritating is the child who comes home for tea with your child, and then proceeds to be picky and choosy about the food that's on offer. i always told mine to eat whatever was offered, even if she didn't fancy it - a lesson in good manners, and the message that you can't always have what you would ideally like is a good one too.

maxgran Mon 19-Sep-11 14:06:00

As long ago as the 1970s my sister let her very young daughter dictate what she would and would not wear. It sometimes took her hours to get out of the house because she would be arguing with the child about her choice of clothing.
My sister would be upset - the child was upset.. It was ridiculous.

On one occasion when I was there I lost my patience and picked up the item my sister had originally 'asked' her' to wear and I said very firmly 'Right,.. you are wearing this today - now put it on. If it isn't on it 5 minutes I will put it on for you'
The child looked at me defiantly and I said 'I am SERIOUS'

My sister could not believe it when her daughter duly obliged.

Charlotta Mon 19-Sep-11 18:31:01

I remember Dr Spock suggesting the question do you want fried egg or boiled egg to a two year old. That's about the right amount of choice for that age. Other wise I take the eat it or leave it attitude but secretly try to cook them something I know they like.
I never prefill a plate but put the available food in serving bowls or plates, that way they take on their plate only what they intend to eat and then there are seconds.

baNANA Thu 06-Oct-11 20:05:17

My number one annoyance when out is parents who let their children run riot in coffee shops/restaurants, apart from anything else its quite dangerous. I actually saw a father let his two youngsters about 3 and 4 chase each other about in a Costa Coffee. I nearly said something but thankfully one of the staff did it for me. Am I alone in remembering telling my children now in their twenties that they had to behave when we were eating out in say Pizza Express otherwise we wouldn't go again, this seem to work and believe me they were no angels.