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Snot -- WWYD in this situation?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Just when I think I've reached the end of my rope, someone else shows me just how much rope there can be. I'd love to get some thoughts from some more gentle mamas about how you'd approach this, since my reaction and the other mom's reaction were nearly polar opposite.....


DS (4) and I were at the playground. There was another little girl there who was a year older than DS, and they were playing nicely together for quite a long time. When it was time to go, I went to help DS get his shoes back on and the little girl came and sat next to him. Then she turned to him and blew her nose at him, without a tissue, basically the nostril version of spitting. I was so disgusted I didn't even know what to do at first. She had done this once or twice while they were playing, but not near DS, just in general. Her mom didn't even bother to get a tissue, saying that by the time she got one from the car, her DD would have taken care of it with her sleeve, so it was pointless. (Um, okay, but how about having one ready for the NEXT time, since obviously this is not a one-time thing....)


It was gross enough that she did it at all, but to do it right in DS's face? And never mind the gross/rude factor, but it is flu season, after all..... Not the best time of year to be sharing snot germs.


What would you all have done if it were your child doing the nose-blowing? What about if the play had been continuing with this going on and your child was the recipient?

post #2 of 15

I think I would have said something about it being gross and unsanitary and left. So as to not make it a punishment to your child, mabye left to go to another playground or someplace else fun, but I woudln't stay around a child who was doing that.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks, mamazee. I know I overreact sometimes (even if it's just in my head) but it really made me cringe. And I think I would have been much more stern with DS if he'd been the one doing it (like telling him after the first time if he did it again we'd be leaving so as not to contaminate the other kids there) but this mom acted like it was on par with coming down the slide or playing on the swings. Meanwhile, I was suppressing a gag reflex...

post #4 of 15

That's really gross - I would do the same, say that's not very nice and leave.  Did the mom not do anything at that point?  If DS did that to someone, I would be mortified, and certainly ask him to apologize and quickly get a wipe/kleenex for the victim!  If he wouldn't apologize, I would apologize, I would probably apologize anyways to the other mom and the child, and then have a talk with DS about how that is not acceptable and rude and blah blah blah.  Anyways that's just gross, sorry your poor DS had that happen to him!  Yuck!

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

No, the mom did NOTHING. That's why I came on here to ask what GENTLE mamas would do, b/c to me, that's not gentle, it's nothing. I would have had a conniption and been mortified if it came from DS's nose, but as I said, I know I tend to overreact and hopefully I would have had the presence of mind to not have a total fit. But as it was, I was just stunned. Like, this nice, pretty, clean little angel of a girl not only does this, but her mom has no reaction to it, as if it's not a problem? She basically SAID she didn't like that her daughter does this but didn't say anything to her DD about it. It just seemed really strange to me that she did nothing.

post #6 of 15

Eww well I think most gentle parents would notice their child obviously had a snotty nose and couldn't keep from spreading germs and would have to leave the park and go home. At least I hope so. I don't punish, but that doesn't mean I let my kids get everybody sick.

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thank you! Of course I wasn't expecting punishment, but a reminder to use a tissue and nice manners would have been enough for me.

post #8 of 15

I have a slightly different take on this.


You mentioned she'd be doing it all day, just not AT your ds.  And her mom didn't do anything, except express in the girl's hearing that she didn't like it.  So, the child probably already knew that her mom didn't like it, but yet wouldn't do anything about it.


I think she was trying to say that she didn't want your ds to leave, trying to express her displeasure about it.


I would have tried to speak to that, instead of what she actually did.


"I'm glad you had such a great time with ds today, and I'm sorry you don't want us to go.  Instead of blowing your nose on him, you could say, 'I'm so sad your are leaving.' Blowing your nose on people is yucky."

Then, to ds, "That was pretty gross, huh?  Let's go get cleaned up.  Sometimes people have a hard time saying what they mean.  It's good to listen really close to what people say, AND what they do to understand them.  Do you think that little girl was being gross or mean on purpose?"


And, then I'd try to talk him through some communication skills, what he could do in the future, etc. 


But, then, if she was just being mean?  I would have scooped ds up and said something to the little girl like, "I will not let you treat my boy that way."  And just walked off. 


Generally, though, I'm guessing she just needed a little help saying what she means, "I'm mad about this and I'm going to do something that bugs people, and I'm pretty sure mom won't care." Blowing snot is gross, but telling her not to, or even to put it in a kleenex doesn't solve her real problem....which was how to express she was upset. 



post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

That's an interesting take on it, and one I will have to remember in the future. (DS still asks me why a certain boy at school hits him, even though the boy was removed from school months ago and DS hasn't seen him since.) But this girl wasn't upset. She was doing it for fun, seemingly whenever she felt her nose getting stuffy/runny. She came down the slide, saw us standing there watching and smiling, and she did it at us (but we weren't close enough for her to hit, so it didn't occur to me that she might actually have a target rather than just blowing her nose). It's hard to attribute intent in this case, and I'm not going to guess why she did it. The fact is, it's rude in any situation and I just can't imagine a mother not doing anything to stop it, correct it, or find out herself WHY she's doing it so THE MOTHER can have the conversation about how to handle disappointment or frustration or whatever.

post #10 of 15

Wow.  That's disgusting.  I think I would have said to the mom, "Excuse me, but did you know your dd is blowing her snot all over the play equipment where other kids can get in contact with her germs?" And waited for her to get up and do something about it.  And if the child blew her snot ON my child-- wow.  Beyond unacceptable.  I would have hollered over to the mom, "Your dd just blew her snot on my child's face!  Will you please come get her and help her blow her nose in an appropriate way?!"  


By the way, if an adult were to spit on another person, it would be considered assault.  It's NOT OK. Gross.  I would have had to leave the playground the first time I saw her do it.  Of course I know there are probably other gross things at the playground, but at least I wouldn't have seen it. 


I don't care about the child's motivation at all.  What she's doing could make your child sick.  Plus, it's repulsive. 

post #11 of 15

I don't disagree with you at all.  It IS gross, and it DOES need dealt with.  I was just saying what I would have said to my child about it, and also the direction I would take in dealing with it if it were my child doing it. 

Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

 The fact is, it's rude in any situation and I just can't imagine a mother not doing anything to stop it, correct it, or find out herself WHY she's doing it so THE MOTHER can have the conversation about how to handle disappointment or frustration or whatever.


post #12 of 15

Just1 - I like your take on this - it comes from a place (obviously) of compassion for the child.  Yes, it's gross.  Yes, it needs to be dealt with but if you come at any situation from a place of anger, 90% of the time you will be met with resistance.  Coming at it from a place of compassion, I'd think someone would be more apt to act in that situation.  I know I would.

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

Spotted, I totally agree, and I'm grateful that Just1 posted her reply, because it has really made me think. Unfortunately, compassion's not my first reaction here, which is partly why I posted. I really didn't expect anyone to say they think it's fine for their kids to do this, but I also knew that if it were DS, my reaction would be quite a bit less gentle than others' here. I need to constantly remember to think about the "need" the child has that is being expressed by the behavior. Thanks for the reminder! (And yet, I'm still struggling with letting the kid know this is NOT an okay way to express herself. So what do you do if your kid is doing this? Take her home and talk to her about why she did it? Just have a tissue handy and let her keep playing, even after the third time? Say, "Oh no! You seem to have a very runny nose. Since you're sick, we should go home and rest?" Compassion or no, doing NOTHING just seems like not the right thing to do.)

post #14 of 15

Doing nothing is NOT an option.  People confuse gentle parenting with no parenting.  Gentle parenting (to me) means that we give consequences vs. hitting, belittling, etc.  Had my son done something like that, I would have given the other child a few tissues, helped my son apologize to the child and their parent(s) and then explain to him that he had been warned previously and his behavior could make other children sick so we are going to leave so that no one else is exposed.

post #15 of 15

I think it's about two separate issues, and they both concern motive.


If I was correct in assuming that she was using snot blowing as a way of expressing her displeasure, then ways of expressing displeasure need addressed.  If she rejects that and continues to do it, it isn't any longer about nose blowing.  It's about attitude.


In that case, I don't say anything about the nose blowing, but focus entirely on respect.  I gave her an out (several probably, and in a respectful conversation, too)  (Picture a coach on the side-lines doing a pep talk, and then sending the kid back on the field.  That's how I view my instruction to my kids about life).  So, if she refused to take that, and persisted in rudeness, then we make amends to the other people, and we leave.  And we go somewhere to work on the attitude.  Becuase, in my experience, it is likely she is expressing this "attitude" across the board, and I just happened to hone in on this particular symptom because it's gross.


I want my children to be soft to my instruction. If they are not for some reason, then I have a lot of work to do.  I, probably, am not being consistent and meaning what I say, so they are uncertain of me.  Or, perhaps, I have let our relationship slip, and they don't love and trust me as deeply as they should. eyMaybe I am being controlling and they feel trapped and unable to truly talk things out with me.  Maybe my talks have turned into lectures and I have become too invested in "my way", instead of the process.   All of those things are my issues, not theirs, and the things I work really, really hard on if I notice my children are starting to have "attitude". 


(There is a third option.  It is possible that she has been doing the nose blowing thing long enough that it is a habit.  There's no attitude there; we all do what we are used to doing.  It makes me think about how I furrow my brow when I am thinking.  It would take a lot of effort for me to stop doing that.  So, we'd still probably need to leave and practice this.  I'd go back to being that coach on the sidelines and help her develop a replacement habit.  Slowly and gently.)


Just my two cents. :)

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