Your Personal Space and Your Baby's - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-13-2003, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Another thread started me thinking about this ... and showed me that opinions here aren't as uniform on this subject as I thought!

What kind of limits do you have on your personal space, and do you extend that to your baby? How much do you respect the space of others and their children?

Me, I'm a fan of human touch but not of invasive behavior, and (like the Supremes and their porn) I know the difference when I see it! I expect people to respect my wishes when I gently say that I need them to back up, or when I duck under their embrace to escape it.

An infant can't make statements like that, so I expect people to treat him/her as an extension of me -- if I say "it's better to give him time, he's not comfortable with new people" or "he seems to be feeling reserved, and I think that's fine" I expect them to back off (or not be offended when I need to be more blunt because their ignoring the nice version!). My kid *has* always been reserved with new people, and I *have* had to defend his right to be so a few times. Doesn't matter if it's a stranger or grandma to me, he needs to warm up at his own pace.

With older kids, I respect their wishes (unless I got a serious danger vibe and they didn't, but it hasn't happened yet). They can pull away, they can reach out, they can verbalize. I do feel that, as an adult, it's my job to "enforce" their wishes when necessary.

When I meet toddlers, I often behave as if I'm meeting a new dog -- nonono, it's not that horrible!! You know how you don't reach out to a new dog, you offer a hand and let them come to you? That seems like a good way to treat littles as well. Lets them know you're open, but leaves the decision to them.

So, what do you guys think?

Namaste,

Pallas
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Old 07-13-2003, 01:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pallas
When I meet toddlers, I often behave as if I'm meeting a new dog -- nonono, it's not that horrible!! You know how you don't reach out to a new dog, you offer a hand and let them come to you? That seems like a good way to treat littles as well. Lets them know you're open, but leaves the decision to them.
that is well said. I am like you -- i like people touching me but every now and again i get freaked out by it and need to say "back off"

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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Old 07-13-2003, 08:19 PM
 
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I definitely think it's important to let people have their space, and that includes children. Young babies I tend to consider as being within their mother's space. I never ask to hold a baby, for example, though if a mother offers or asks me to I never hesitate, I love holding babies! (An example was a new acquaintance helping me take some books to a secondhand store, she offered me the option of carrying her baby so she could carry the heavy/more awkward to hold (especially w/ big belly) box. I wouldn't have suggested this myself, just carried the box anyway.)

The dog analogy seems a good one for introducing oneself to toddlers. For example, if a mom I'm with has several littles to be loaded into car seats, I'll offer to help the toddler get strapped in--but if the toddler wants mommy's help instead, I'm not going to argue. Children capable of verbalizing I assume can talk to me if they wish, so I'll introduce myself the same way I would to an adult and refrain from asking them inane questions like "how old are you?"

Most AP moms I know appreciate this and also have similar respect for children.

breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling Heathen parent to my little Wanderer, 7 1/2 , and baby Elf-stone, 3/11!

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Old 07-14-2003, 10:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Now, I *know* some of you fall somewhere else on the continuum, because I've seen you post about it on other threads. Yeesh, I thought this would be a thread that spawned baredly-restrained controversy, but noooooooo! I feel like I started a thread titled "I like puppies, do you?"
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Old 07-14-2003, 10:20 PM
 
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yeah, i'm surprised at the lack of responses, too. makes me wonder if people were just being nasty to ME and didn't really care about the issue at hand.

you know how i feel, right?

in a nutshell, i need people to stay the hell back until i KNOW them.
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Old 07-15-2003, 12:45 AM
 
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My personal space is very important to me and I tend to enforce it (ducking embraces from people I don't know very well, etc). I expect people to extend the same respect to my girls, as well- I never make Kaylee hug, shake hands with, kiss or touch anyone she doesn't want to. Many an unhappy great-grandparent that has made, lemme tell ya! And I won't let people hold Lexi unless she goes to the willingly. They are people, too, and deserve to have their personal space boundaries respected, IMO

Half-marathon running Mommy to 3 spunky girls and 1 sweet boy. Spending my days and nights where my kids need me most- at home with them!!

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Old 07-15-2003, 07:11 PM
 
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My children are pretty social and enjoy the touch etc. . . of other people. it is my first reaction to jump in and put space between people and my children but i try to hold back and see if my children want that space or are happy to interact. more often than not they are happy to play. of course if i get a danger vibe I intervien but that never happens really.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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Old 07-17-2003, 05:51 PM
 
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I think the "dog" analogy is a great one. I'm a pediatric nurse, and there is no way that I could just come into a patient's room and come right at a child. Giving the child a chance to warm up to you is respectful and necessary to their developing sense of self.

My baby is too young (3.5 months) to give cues like reaching for someone or leaning towards them when he wants to be held by someone new. I usually wait for a smile, and then hand him over slowly. Even with people that he knows, like my mother, I like to wait until he realizes that he knows the person before just handing him off.

Elphaba, I don't know the thread you're speaking of, but I'm sorry you were made to feel badly about this issue.
Quote:
Originally posted by Pallas
I feel like I started a thread titled "I like puppies, do you?"
:LOL
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Old 07-17-2003, 08:04 PM
 
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my baby (now a toddler) and i both need space.

if someone touches my baby he cries (always has) --other than me and my dh ...and his brother.

anyone else needs to give him time to warm up. if they do not, they can expect him to scream in fear every time he sees them from that moment onward

i HATE it when the photographers grab at him.....im not sure why they don't just ask me to move him! GRRRRRRRRRRRRR

i dont like to be touched and neither does baby.
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