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Am I too permissive with my toddler?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
DH and I had to buy a car the other night, so my cousin and his wife watched DS for a few hours. They have 2 kids- age 8 & 5.

When we picked DS up and were talking about how the evening went, they mentioned that his only meltdowns were when they told him NO to something that he wanted to do. Like, when he put the Magnadoodle pen in his mouth. And when he put the toy plates in his mouth.

My cousin commented something like, "He doesn't hear the word NO very much." It wasn't snarky AT ALL.... can't articulate why, but it just wasn't. SO no problems there.

Then yesterday we were at a pool party at a friend's house with about 5 other moms and their kids and it seemed like all I heard all morning was the word NO. No, you can't stay on the pool steps because people need to get in and out (even when nobody was doing so!), No you can't have that toy, No you can't get in the pool, No you can't get out of the pool, etc etc etc.

These two things got me to thinking.... I guess I don't tell DS no too often. I think it's partially my style and how I work to talk to my kid.

I think its partially the fact that I've babyproofed my home to the point that what's left for him to get into is safe for him to get in to, so I don't really care.

And I think it's partially the fact that I just don't care about a lot of this stuff!! DS is a pretty calm, zen kid most of the time, so I know that if he sucks on the Magnadoodle pen he's not going to go crazy and stab out his trachea. And putting a play plate from a play kitchen in his mouth.... ummm, isn't that kind of what they're for? What do I care?

I let DS climb on the couch, and sometimes we play rough where I "throw him around" a little bit (KWIM? Trust that I'm not overboard) and tickle fight and I shake him around during a "mamaquake" when he climbs on my back, etc etc etc. When we were car shopping I let him sit in the cars on the showroom floor and press the buttons.

And honestly- when we're in the pool, Sure! We can play on the stairs! If someone needs to get in or out, then we just move!

WHere I do draw the line is safety issues (DS MUST hold my hand in parking lots, no question, the minute he fusses I pick him up and carry him) and I try to be a little more strict when we're in public.

Am I too permissive?
post #2 of 27
I don't think you're too permissive. You sound JUST like our family, . And we are NOT permissive. When it really matters, we make sure DS knows about it and enforce things. Hands in parking lot is one. Behavior in public is another. Controlling emotional reactions is another area that is important in our family.

We do/did a lot of redirecting. Selective ignoring. And, just like you, some of those things just don't matter. I feel so sorry for children whose parents are constantly telling them what (not) to do. It's exhausting for both parties.

However, DS doesn't run amok. It is very important for us to have DS learn to control his own behavior and reactions. It's easier to teach and redirect him now than try to rein it in later. We don't yell in restaurants; we don't run in (many) public places; we don't throw things in anger; we don't tumble on (some) relatives' furniture; we don't throw balls in (some) relatives' houses; we don't hit; we don't flip headfirst into the pool; we do have to comb hair before we leave the house....

The list goes on! But if we were also worried about hanging out on pool steps and putting magnadoodle pens in the mouth, and putting toys in the mouth - my goodness, we would be exhausted. Those just aren't battles worth fighting!! (and 2 of them are developmentally appropriate - the mouthing, if your DC are younger than 3ish - and those battles are especially difficult to win!)

But the things you've listed are things that we don't really worry about. I try to have most of the "don't"s and "no"s that come out of my mouth be really important things. Otherwise, you end up sounding like verbal dictators and children just end up ignoring you. (We're already there for some things, lol!)
post #3 of 27
I don't think so. I probably would have told your cousin that she's right, you normally redirect him rather than telling him no. I'm much more permissive than my husband is. He's a SAHD and our neighbor still maintains that had I not taken a month off between my jobs, my 16 mos old son would still not be walking because my husband held him all.the.time. Outside on the front porch, our son was in his arms. I was raised in a suburban/rural setting and my mom grew up on a farm where she learned how to drive by taking the truck in the field. My dh grew up here in the city where being more cautious was a necessity. We both turned out alright, I'd venture to say. Just different. Hopefully, our kids will end up with some balance between our two perspectives.
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ASusan View Post
But the things you've listed are things that we don't really worry about. I try to have most of the "don't"s and "no"s that come out of my mouth be really important things. Otherwise, you end up sounding like verbal dictators and children just end up ignoring you. (We're already there for some things, lol!)
:

Even if I want her to stop doing something, I'm not saying no all the time. I try to aim for "DD, close this drawer with me" instead of "no DD! stop playing in the drawer" (and at this age, just over 2, she's actually fine with this type of redirection--she may not be as responsive when she's older).

I always feel bad for the kids whose parents are barking orders to them all the time. It's smothering to even listen to.
post #5 of 27
No you aren't too permissive. Putting a toy plate in his mouth isn't dangerous and totally normal at his age.
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belia View Post
DH and I had to buy a car the other night, so my cousin and his wife watched DS for a few hours. They have 2 kids- age 8 & 5.

When we picked DS up and were talking about how the evening went, they mentioned that his only meltdowns were when they told him NO to something that he wanted to do. Like, when he put the Magnadoodle pen in his mouth. And when he put the toy plates in his mouth.

My cousin commented something like, "He doesn't hear the word NO very much." It wasn't snarky AT ALL.... can't articulate why, but it just wasn't. SO no problems there.

Then yesterday we were at a pool party at a friend's house with about 5 other moms and their kids and it seemed like all I heard all morning was the word NO. No, you can't stay on the pool steps because people need to get in and out (even when nobody was doing so!), No you can't have that toy, No you can't get in the pool, No you can't get out of the pool, etc etc etc.

These two things got me to thinking.... I guess I don't tell DS no too often. I think it's partially my style and how I work to talk to my kid.

I think its partially the fact that I've babyproofed my home to the point that what's left for him to get into is safe for him to get in to, so I don't really care.

And I think it's partially the fact that I just don't care about a lot of this stuff!! DS is a pretty calm, zen kid most of the time, so I know that if he sucks on the Magnadoodle pen he's not going to go crazy and stab out his trachea. And putting a play plate from a play kitchen in his mouth.... ummm, isn't that kind of what they're for? What do I care?

I let DS climb on the couch, and sometimes we play rough where I "throw him around" a little bit (KWIM? Trust that I'm not overboard) and tickle fight and I shake him around during a "mamaquake" when he climbs on my back, etc etc etc. When we were car shopping I let him sit in the cars on the showroom floor and press the buttons.

And honestly- when we're in the pool, Sure! We can play on the stairs! If someone needs to get in or out, then we just move!

WHere I do draw the line is safety issues (DS MUST hold my hand in parking lots, no question, the minute he fusses I pick him up and carry him) and I try to be a little more strict when we're in public.

Am I too permissive?
For the most part I think you are doing pretty good. Many things you don't have to say no for.

I do think at times you might be a little inconsiderate. Kids should not be messing with buttons on display cars. It is bad enough how adult treat them. This might not have been the most respectful thing of you to allow. What would happen if he would have broken it? You can let him play with your own car buttons but it is rude to let him do it other peoples property.

I can see with the magna doodle the plates might have been a choking concern. Also this was another child's toy. They might not have appreciated your child's slobber all over it. Yes, the could and maybe should have removed the toy but at the same time I can see telling my own child you could only play with it if you followed the rules -- NO putting it in your mouth -magnets can dislodge and this is one reason they have a 3-8 year old range. Swallowing magnets can be very dangerous.

Generally speaking it is rude to stand and block a door way. For pools the steps are the door way. This was someone elses house you have to respect their rules even if you don't like them or not go. If the house rules is no standing on steps you should respect the rule.
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belia View Post

Then yesterday we were at a pool party at a friend's house with about 5 other moms and their kids and it seemed like all I heard all morning was the word NO. No, you can't stay on the pool steps because people need to get in and out (even when nobody was doing so!), No you can't have that toy, No you can't get in the pool, No you can't get out of the pool, etc etc etc.
I think sometimes when people are in public and their LOs are playing around/with other LOs, parents tend toward more control and more verbal dictating over their children's behavior. And I think that SOME of that is for the benefit of other parents, rather than the children directly. I think many parents don't want things to get out of control with respect to their children's behavior and interactions with other children. They also (maybe subconsciously) don't want other parents to think they are letting their children run amok.

There are many times when other parents attempt to control their child's behavior around my son - e.g., "don't splash" at the pool - and I end up telling them, "It's ok. We're at the pool to get wet!" This after their child accidentally - in the process of just swimming around - splashes a little water on us (mostly DS). I think the parent says things like that for OTHER parents' benefit, not so much for their children.

(I also want my son to realize that he doesn't have to see accidental - or even intentional - splashing as an attack or affront that he has to respond negatively to. Bumping, jostling, even some tackling and roughhousing - I see these as all normal consequences of children interacting, and not necessarily things for us to control. If done with malicious intent or if resulting in injury to the other party or if the other party is significantly younger or not wanting to interact in that way, then, yes, an intervention is probably warranted.)

Oy. I'm long-winded this am.
post #8 of 27
No, you sound a lot like us -- we almost never tell DS no. We do redirect sometimes but for the most part we don't care if he jumps on the bed or pulls everything out of the cabinet or climbs up the slide or whatever. We also tend to avoid the word 'no' itself & prefer to phrase things in a more positive way (not "no, you can't play on the stairs" but rather "do you want to come play over here with this ball?")... I do find when we go elsewhere (grandparents etc.) he hears a lot more 'NO' from everyone else. And I was at a storyhour yesterday where the mom literally walked her kid into the room while telling him 'no don't touch that', 'no, you have to share', 'no, you can't do that' (seriously over the top IMO, the kid was there barely 2 minutes and they ended up leaving because he wasn't 'behaving')...
post #9 of 27
I agree with the things that Marsupialmom mentioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
For the most part I think you are doing pretty good. Many things you don't have to say no for.

I do think at times you might be a little inconsiderate. Kids should not be messing with buttons on display cars. It is bad enough how adult treat them. This might not have been the most respectful thing of you to allow. What would happen if he would have broken it? You can let him play with your own car buttons but it is rude to let him do it other peoples property.

I can see with the magna doodle the plates might have been a choking concern. Also this was another child's toy. They might not have appreciated your child's slobber all over it. Yes, the could and maybe should have removed the toy but at the same time I can see telling my own child you could only play with it if you followed the rules -- NO putting it in your mouth -magnets can dislodge and this is one reason they have a 3-8 year old range. Swallowing magnets can be very dangerous.

Generally speaking it is rude to stand and block a door way. For pools the steps are the door way. This was someone elses house you have to respect their rules even if you don't like them or not go. If the house rules is no standing on steps you should respect the rule.
I do think you are a ~little~ too permissive. Take the couch climbing, for instance. We had a friend who let her children climb all over their couches when they were little and they never stopped it as their children got bigger and heavier. Well, one day they were over at my house for a playdate, and the children kept climbing and jumping on our couch. I redirected one time, and told the older child that we don't jump on couches in our house. Less than 15 minutes later, the kid came running, jumped on the back cushions and tore the upholstery from the back of the couch. Huge unfixable rip.

The younger child did a similar thing in our new minivan the first day we drove it to a park day. The child climbed right into our car and grabbed and tugged on a pair of headphones that were hanging from the ceiling, and completely broke them. $100 to replace. Our children had been using the headphones for weeks and had not broken them at all. These examples are a little extreme, I know, but they happened to me and I still cringe when I think of them.

So that is why I think that you are probably a little too permissive. The other things you mentioned seemed like no big deal to me. When my eldest was young, I don't think I even used the word no with him for a couple of years, and our place was also totally child-proofed and he was allowed to do almost anything he could possibly do and he'd be safe, the house would be safe, etc. Even if a situation occurred where someone else might have said "no", I simply found gentler redirecting terms to use and it was never a big deal, but I did indeed teach my children that at someone else's house, you don't always do all the same things that you can do at our house.
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
but I did indeed teach my children that at someone else's house, you don't always do all the same things that you can do at our house.
We do this as well... I guess I assumed the OP did this too but now re-reading your post I'm not sure. We are much more lenient at home, when we are out I do expect him to follow the rules of wherever we're at. We still don't say 'no' much but we do discourage him from putting other people's toys in his mouth or doing things that could potentially cause damage. If I was car shopping I'd probably let him play with the knobs but only in the car we were interested in, if there was a lot of waiting around, & it would be closely supervised. I don't see a problem with playing on the pool steps as long as no one is trying to get in or out. Maybe I'm too permissive too
post #11 of 27
Quote:
"He doesn't hear the word NO very much."
I don't think your cousin was wrong in the way the dealt with the situation and had your DS been use to "NO", he might not have reacted the way he did.

I don't feel it is wrong to hear "NO" and in the case of some of the mother's at the pool, I feel NO was the right word to use.

re-direction is good and being accustom to "NO" doesn't hurt and in this case might not have caused the meltdown at your cousins-doesn't have to be mean to get the point across
post #12 of 27
I don't say "no" to my toddler a lot, but I do redirect her at other people's houses. For instance, I redirect her when she climbs on furniture at other people's houses, though it's fine at my house. Also, I wouldn't have let her play with the buttons on a car we were looking at. I wouldn't have said "no", I would just have picked her up and moved her somewhere else. And I have no problem with hanging out on pool steps so long as we're careful to keep track of whether other people need to get through, but if the rule somewhere is to not do that, we wouldn't do it. It's hard to keep toys out of the mouths of toddlers. When another toddler chews on my dd's toys, I just let it go and wash them after the other toddler leaves. No biggie.
post #13 of 27
We are pretty relaxed here as well. Not much no, but our house is well set up for DS and he's not the trouble making type.

That said, we talk a LOT about different places having different rules. Daycare has a rule, no jumping on the couch. At home, jumping is fine. These are things that he needs to hear and learn. At this point, having just turned three, DS is a pro at shifting behaviors to match the situation.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ASusan View Post

There are many times when other parents attempt to control their child's behavior around my son - e.g., "don't splash" at the pool - and I end up telling them, "It's ok. We're at the pool to get wet!" This after their child accidentally - in the process of just swimming around - splashes a little water on us (mostly DS). I think the parent says things like that for OTHER parents' benefit, not so much for their children.
:true

This is something I try to avoid. To me it is very transparent and annoying. I do not scold my child for the sake of others.

I am the most permissive parent in the world! Sometimes I think I am just horrible about it. But, for me it is instinctive.

Lately, I feel I have been getting many a stares now that DD is 2 and a bit more rambunctious. I never wanted to be that parent, but I so am. I just strongly believe that DD is in a stage right now where the more boundaries I give her, the more power she gets from impulsively crossing them.

We have one rule in particular and that is we respect others and other people's things which includes merchandise.

I don't even make DD hold my hand in the parking lot. I keep close to her and remind her to stay close to me, that we are in a street and we both must watch out for cars.

When I am doing errands, I remind DD that we have 'business' to do. When we just go out for fun, I remind myself of exactly that. We are here for fun. For example, if DD wants to go to the library to only get up and down the step stool over and over and over again, fine. I went there for her.

I would NEVER tell my DD she could not sit on the stairs. I never tell my DD she cannot sit on the bottom of the slide or climb up one, just because. If a conflict arises I would hope it would give an oppoutunity for the two kids to figure it out by themselves, if not, then I would step in with mediation.

I have come to have no tolerance for hitting. I used to hope DD would learn to walk away from an aggresor, but I have found she internalizes it and become quite frustrated. I am afraid she might take out this frustration on a little kid, so I now step in right away.

We also have a 'cookie house rule'. Whevever DD asks for a cookie she can have one.
post #15 of 27
I can see both sides.

FWIW, parenting has changed. We aren't 'supposed' to say no now, we're supposed to redirect,tell them what to do. So in some families, no is not heard a lot.

I avoid No b/c it sets up a power struggle I can't win with DD . I do what works and DD is pretty polite (when she's not with me). All reports back from others are 'she was perfectly behaved' so we must be doing something right. (Now, how do I get her to listen to me? )

But I think there's also value in sometimes using No and letting kids hit that immovable limit b/c they do need to have that experience so they don't lose it in other situations. Not that I go around saying No just to teach DD a lesson, but when I say No, I mean No and I don't back down.

V
post #16 of 27
You don't come across as being too permissive to me

IRT your toddler only melting down when he was told no, isn't that what's expected to happen? I mean, if a meltdown is an expression of his frustration, it stands to reason that he'd only melt down when he was feeling frustrated, and of course he'd feel frustrated when he wasn't allowed to do something he wanted to do. I'm not saying that they should have changed their house rules or anything, but meltdowns are pretty much par for the course when enforcing boundaries for toddlers, especially when the boundaries are new to them.

I'm like you in that I only bother trying to enforce boundaries that are actually important to me. Which means that for the most part, the boundaries I enforce at this age are all safety related. Oh, and with the pool steps, we have a pool in our neighborhood and there's always someone hanging out on the steps--usually an adult. I wouldn't see that as being a problem at all, unless they were blocking people from entering/exiting (which they're usually not.)
post #17 of 27
I could have written your post. We have the same thing here...pretty mellow kid, very baby proofed house, and a pretty carefree attitude about most things that parents get up and arms about. I do tell my son "no" to certain things that aren't safety issues (throwing food gets to me...we do NOT throw food), but for the most part, I redirect or just let him be. I don't think that's too permissive at all.

And some stuff, like putting rocks in his mouth, I don't even say anything for. I can tell no matter how many times I tell my son "no" or redirect, he is still a growing, learning toddler, and he's going to do it anyway (he's very oral and still puts everything in his mouth). So why fight about it? I don't see the need in having power struggles over nothing. But that's just me.
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by YayJennie View Post
I could have written your post. We have the same thing here...pretty mellow kid, very baby proofed house, and a pretty carefree attitude about most things that parents get up and arms about. I do tell my son "no" to certain things that aren't safety issues (throwing food gets to me...we do NOT throw food), but for the most part, I redirect or just let him be. I don't think that's too permissive at all.

And some stuff, like putting rocks in his mouth, I don't even say anything for. I can tell no matter how many times I tell my son "no" or redirect, he is still a growing, learning toddler, and he's going to do it anyway (he's very oral and still puts everything in his mouth). So why fight about it? I don't see the need in having power struggles over nothing. But that's just me.


Except I don't really have a mellow kid... but as long as he isn't hurting another kid, I usually just let it be. He hears "no" plenty, but as I said he isn't really a mellow kid, so he needs a lot of redirecting, etc.. he is the kid who runs into the street and pushes kids down and thinks it is hilarious. I let a lot of things go and focus on the important things, and it sound like you do the same.
post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the replies. Glad to know I'm not the only one who has low standards.

In re: to my cousins, I was only in the house with DS for about 20 minutes. If I had seen him do anything even bordering on outrageous I would have acted more conservatively than usual and stepped in for sure. But he was entranced with the fishtank for the first 10 minutes, then sitting on my lap for the last 10 minutes. So And I have no quarrel with how my cousin handled things- his house, his rules. The meltdowns were probably also due to tiredness, hunger, and missing mama as well... he wasn't a whirling dervish or anything.

And at the pool, the hostess of the party couldn't have cared less about the pool stairs. It was a couple of the other moms who were freaking out about it. And the toys. And having their kid sitting on the first step of the deck instead of the second. Weird stuff like that, where I was like GEESH.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
For the most part I think you are doing pretty good. Many things you don't have to say no for.
I do think at times you might be a little inconsiderate.
And MarsupialMom, you hit the nail on the head by articulating my greatest concern. I do not want to be a rude and inconsiderate person, and I do not want to raise a rude and inconsiderate child. But after the past couple of days I am concerned that that's the road I am headed down.

I really haven't spent a whole lot of time thinking about / teaching "We can do some things at our house, but we behave differently when we are somewhere else." I think it's because DS is still young- not even two yet. And he doesn't really talk, even though he understands a lot. Something to think about.

Thanks, mamas! I appreciate the honest feedback!!
post #20 of 27
I am not a permissive parent by most standards, but I still try to keep 'no' to a bare minimum. I kind of figure that if I have to follow my kid around saying 'nononono' then I've already failed. I have extremely strict rules for public behavior and my kid pretty much follows them. When she doesn't follow them there isn't an argument she is simply removed from the situation. (I'm well aware that this works because I have a mellow child. I don't know what in the world I would do with a very pro-conflict sort of kid. Probably cry. )

That said, I don't think that you are doing anything awful with your kid. You don't sound over the top at all. We also babyproofed our house and let her go. I think that being in a 'yes' environment most of the time is a lot of why she's ok with the boundaries being more strict elsewhere.

I've never understood the rule of 'no sitting on the pool steps'. I think it's pretty ridiculous. If you are going to sit there you need to pay attention to other people coming and going and move appropriately, but not being allowed to sit there at all is over the top.

So yeah, I think you're doing alright. If your boundaries aren't exactly where other people have their boundaries, who cares?
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