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Child blaming by inadequate parents?

(65 Posts)
trisher Wed 31-Jul-19 15:07:11

At the adventure playground with my GCs I hear this woman warning her child to "make safe choices"- she's trying to stop him jumping off the top of a climbing wall! And I suddenly thought what happened to proper parenting? Because it seems to me what she is telling him is that if he falls or hurts himself it will be his own fault, because he made the wrong choice. I can't help thinking that parents need to step up and warn when something is dangerous and not use cop-out cliches!

quizqueen Wed 31-Jul-19 15:14:24

It's called-'I am a parent who wants to be seen as a friend, rather than a real parent' syndrome. It is mainly for the PC brigade who think their children will be 'damaged' if they are told off.

M0nica Wed 31-Jul-19 15:16:33

How old was the child? I doubt that a child under 12, and possibly over that knows enough to make safe choices in every circumstance.

When I think back to when I was about 10, I made some clearly unsafe choices, (and survived, whole and entire), but when I look back on my choices at that age, my blood runs cold.

Pantglas1 Wed 31-Jul-19 15:17:35

True trisher, their sense of danger isn’t as well developed as an adults. It seems to be all about not saying no and wanting to be their friend with so many parents.

I remember asking my grandson what he wanted to do as an adult and he said ‘I don’t know, I’m just a kid!’ How very knowing.....

grandtanteJE65 Wed 31-Jul-19 15:18:49

How old was the child? Do you know whether the mother already had had a talk with him about being sensible and not doing silly or dangerous things?

A small child is not more likely to think it was his fault the fell and hurt himself because his mother used a, to my mind, very adult phrase than he is because he was told not to do something.

trisher Wed 31-Jul-19 15:21:34

He was 9 or 10ish M0nica bit of a worky-ticket who climbed things the wrong way etc. His mum kept warning him, if you can call 'make safe choices" warnings.

wildswan16 Wed 31-Jul-19 15:32:06

I'm not sure about this. If mum says "don't do that, it's too high" - then how is he going to make judgements in the future for himself. Reminding him to make safe choices is not being a bad parent.

Did you never climb a tree without your parent's knowing - yes, you could get hurt but learning about risk for yourself is important.

M0nica Wed 31-Jul-19 15:32:36

Well that is ridiculous. Children do not need be warned constantly, that is confidence sapping, but an occasional short sharp command 'Do not do that, it is dangerous' when he tries to tight rope walk along the top bar of the climbing frame, six feet from the ground, followed by some threat of a sanction if he persists, 'We won't come here again, if you do that' is part of responsible parenting.

Day6 Wed 31-Jul-19 15:36:11

I think this parenting trend of consulting children before making decisions is barmy! Children don't have the wisdom and experience to make choices and they NEED to be guided by a parent.

It's a duty to TEACH children the sensible way and to point out hazards, not let them learn by having an accident.

It's tantamount to negligence. You might as well say "Yes, you can boil a kettle if you like, and pour from it and then see how hot the water becomes" - and blaming them when they scald themselves, or in Trisher's example, break an arm or leg.

Madness. I dread to think how such children will be as young adults. Parental guidance/wisdom is essential for a child's well-being and security as it grows.

Jo1960 Wed 31-Jul-19 15:52:27

I learnt nothing by being told not to do things but learnt loads by being encouraged to think it through. My father was totally no nonsense but he taught us to weigh up risk. It was a good lesson to learn. We lived on in a village with the A1 main road to Scotland running through it as well as a river and umpteen other ways of killing ourselves.

Calendargirl Wed 31-Jul-19 16:22:38

When my children were small, I was told that children need guidance, which I thought was sensible advice.

notanan2 Wed 31-Jul-19 16:30:04

At 10 really they DO need to make their own choices.

It would be extreme and damaging hover parenting if she was telling him where to put his feet on a playground climbing wall!

shysal Wed 31-Jul-19 16:31:58

A near neighbour is a teacher with two bright children under school age. I keep hearing her saying things like 'You are making bad choices' From the responses she gets I would say she is doing a great job of disciplining them. Both my DDs are TAs and tell me the 'choices' word is the popular way to go. No child is ever told that they are naughty.

notanan2 Wed 31-Jul-19 16:34:53

You know at 10 they are above the age of criminal responsibility!

The law holds them accountable for their actions. They DO need to think about the choices they make. Its fine to remind them to stop and think things through, but at 10 a parent would be doing them a misservice by micromanaging them instead of prompting them to think their choice through!

Barmeyoldbat Wed 31-Jul-19 16:38:33

I had to ask a parent with two young girls, about 4 & 5 if she would stop them from running around and screaming in the coffee shop. Her reply, oh they are just young children. My reply was, and that is why YOU must parent them and teach them how to behave.

I strongly believe that very young children need to be told but as they get older they need guidance, e.g. you do realise that if you jump from that wall 10 ft up you could well break your leg or neck. 10 is the about the age I reckon they can start to make choices.

EllanVannin Wed 31-Jul-19 16:40:54

There's something radically wrong with a child of that age not being aware of danger ?

Nonnie Wed 31-Jul-19 16:48:57

I think it depends on how great the danger of injury is. In playgrounds these days they have floors which are safe to land on without getting hurt. So much depends on how far they could fall. Children do need to make mistakes but they also need to know that NO means NO for those occasions when it is vital they stop what they are doing instantly but it should not be overused or it will be ignored.

I know someone who always 'reasoned' with her first child from the age it could move around independently. Funny how it didn't happen with the second! Parents need to learn from their mistakes too. Glad I never gave advice even though sorely tempted grin

notanan2 Wed 31-Jul-19 16:52:31

There's something radically wrong with a child of that age not being aware of danger?

Oh please! Plenty of 10year olds think theyre invincable and need the odd reminder that they arent

jura2 Wed 31-Jul-19 16:56:58

Nonnie, it also depends on the cultural attitude to danger. In many Northern countries and in my birth country- it is truly believed that kids have to play with danger, to learn about risks, common sense, as well as core strength, balance, etc - which in the long term will make them safer and stronger.

A couple of years after we arrived here in Switzerland, we went to the local Fête. Kids were jumping off the roof of a garage next to the play field- so I went to see one of the teachers to tell her what was happening- She looked at me in total disbelief and replied 'ah thanks - but that is what kids do, isnt' it'. Kids often use knives in the woods to cut twigs and make bows or whistles, and it is perfectly normal.

The UK seems to increasingly follow the USA in this matter- and the assumption that No risk = safer. Not sure it works.

Specky Wed 31-Jul-19 16:58:20

I completely agree with notanan2. At 10 i think you should have progressed from telling them 'no don't do that' to doing exactly as this parent has done i.e made them consider the fact that something could go wrong if they make the wrong choice and that their actions lead to good or not so good consequences. Passing the responsibility for their own safety in a graded incrimental way to the child so that by the time they are teenagers (and let's face it probably a bit wobbly with always doing the right thingshock) can only be a good thing and lead to independent and confident young adults

sodapop Wed 31-Jul-19 17:13:27

I agree with jura2 to an extent and feel we tend to over protect our
children/grandchildren. However if the risk is immediate or serious we do need to say no.
Nonnie is right to say that no should not be overused either.

Missfoodlove Wed 31-Jul-19 17:37:36

😡😡😡 So very PC!
I have also heard “ don’t put me in a position where I have to admonish”

Yesterday at the gym there was a boy of around 10 in the ladies changing rooms with his mother,he was not in any way disabled.
I would have had to drag my boys in kicking and screaming beyond 7.

So pleased I’m no longer a parent to young children😐

Lazigirl Wed 31-Jul-19 17:43:14

I agree with those who have said that children need to be taught how to manage appropriate risk, to enable them to learn the consequences of their actions.

I have often watched kids at play and depending on their activity and age, they do seem to assess risk quite well with a parental watchful eye, but without intervention.

I believe it is the job of a parent to guide children in learning and assessing what is risky and why, and to make safe choices, depending on the child's capacity.

I had far more freedom to learn when I was a child than many seem to have these days.

BlueSapphire Thu 01-Aug-19 06:58:03

At age 10 our DM used to send us out for the day in the holidays and tell us not to come home until dinner/tea-time. We would roam the fields, climb trees, tightrope walk along walls, play in the stream and jump across it (even though we knew a child had drowned doing the same). In winter we'd go sliding on the thinnest ice on our local river and walk across the water pipe which crossed the river. We would explore building sites, go to the local rec and do stupid things on the swings and slides.

It taught us what was safe and what wasn't, and if we had an accident it was our own fault and we learnt from it. What a difference from today. I'm sort of half with that mum; I think I would just say "Be careful" though instead.

Whitewavemark2 Thu 01-Aug-19 07:18:13

blue that was my childhood exactly. It was joyous and fun.

Looking back we did the daftest things but learned the possible and to avoid the impossible.

Yes I had accidents - I broke my arm sliding on ice, burnt my fingers making a camp fire to fry eggs, which was served up with bits of burnt twig. Cut my little finger badly with a penknife as I tried to whittle a piece of wood. I still have the scar. But no adults telling us what to do either PC or otherwise.