I get annoyed when parents make excuses for their kid's behavior... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I actually see a lot of this out in public.

Today, I interviewed a family with a five year old girl who needs care on vacations from school. They haven't been happy with the current providers because they constantly complain about this child. They never have anything good to say.

That's awful!

BUT... she was here ten minutes before I asked them to leave. The five year old pushed a toddler off the bench because "I want to sit there". Just shoved her to the floor.

She stood on my couch, and used it to jump into/onto the baby walker. (no baby in the walker) Climbed from the kitchen stool to the top of the counter, and reached on top of the fridge to get to a toy in "toy time out".

Mom's excuses went from "She was excited to meet you" to "She's probably getting hungry". Not once did she acknowledge any of the behaviour as "not OK". She never said anything to her daughter.

The little girl is not bratty, or mean, or particularly agressive (with the exception of pushing the baby to the floor) But, ALL of it should have been dealt with by the Mom. She just watched and said/did nothing.

I don't understand why parents won't at least acknowledge it... it makes the others around them feel a little better. Just say "I'm at my wit's end" or "I have no idea why..." or ANYTHING. It just makes us feel like the parents at least care what happens to others. As a parent I would feel terrible if my child threw a baby to the floor. (in fact, when she was two, she did throw a baby to the floor)

I guess I'm mostly ranting.
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#2 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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Yeah, when a kid is two I understand the excuses. By 5 there should be some expectation of appropriate behaviour. JMO.

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#3 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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imho it's even worse when they ignore bad behavior completely and then call what they are doing "gentle discipline" as if using gentle discipline means not using any discipline or allowing kids to run wild.

i have a cousin who's doing this with her little boy (let's call him Jake). he's 6 now and he's such a terror to be around that no one wants him at their house. so he's losing all his friends because the other parents won't have him over and won't let their kids go over his house (i assume they temporarily pick up his bad habits and the parents don't want to deal with it). cousin complains all the time about how the other parents just don't understand Jake. um, no, they see him very clearly!

my cousin just keeps saying how he's so spirited and lively (which he is) and ignores the unruly, rude and downright mean stuff he does to others. he's been tested six ways to sunday and he has no issues, so it's not that. he's just a menace and mom makes up excuses constantly for his bad behavior.

as an example - over christmas he was making funny faces at a 3 year old cousin. the younger cousin thought this was great and was giggling. Jake got angry at younger cousin for laughing at him and punched the 3 year old. and i mean punched him, not just took a little swing or whatever. it was the equivalent of a 6 year old decking a 3 year old.

what did mom do? she corrected the 3 year old "don't laugh at him, it makes him upset" (well, why the heck is he making funny faces to get people to laugh then?!)

obviously, the mom/dad of the 3 year old left quickly, after having some words with mom about how insane it is that she didn't make any effort to correct Jake for hitting another child and blaming the kid who got hit on top of it. mom's reply was that she follows "gentle discipline ideals" and doesn't believe in corrections.

imagine what that does in people's minds the next time they hear someone else say they are going to use gentle discipline!

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#4 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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For a 5 year old, I get that the mom should have said something...

Anything younger, I kind of get it though. My 2 year old can be a beast and normally it is because she's tired, or hungry, or over stimulated...and I think that those are valid excuses for the toddler crowd.

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#5 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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Yeah, when a kid is two I understand the excuses. By 5 there should be some expectation of appropriate behaviour. JMO.
totally. i have a 4.5 yo and while she DOES get a bit unruly when she is hungry and/or excited....and at a new place.... i would never just excuse it or ignore it.

i find if anything. im extra attentive in a new place.
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#6 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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She should have said something about to the child when she pushed the younger kid, but the rest of that stuff may be acceptable at their home. I have known my child to act out in embarassing and strange ways when she is in a new place or has low-blood sugar, especially when the two things combine. I usually bring her home or give her a snack when she does this and talk to her about the behavior she needs to exhibit. I don't think saying a child is acting out because they are hungry or in a new situation is an excuse, it is the reason they are acting out. I do think parents should intervene when their kid is acting out regardless of the age of the child. There is not a magical age where kids just stop acting out for different reasons no matter what your boundaries and expectations are. Sometimes kids just act out in ways that humiliate you no matter what you do and you can only hope that the person who was judging you based on seeing you one time will experience the same judgement and humiliation when their kids get older.
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#7 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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For a 5 year old, I get that the mom should have said something...

Anything younger, I kind of get it though. My 2 year old can be a beast and normally it is because she's tired, or hungry, or over stimulated...and I think that those are valid excuses for the toddler crowd.
Yeah my 3 y/old can be unruly due to all of these factors, she gets more amped the more tired she is. I wouldn't ignore it though, but I have to deal with stuff all the time with her. We are currently working on all of these behaviors, but it's a work in progress.

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#8 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 05:21 PM
 
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obviously, the mom/dad of the 3 year old left quickly, after having some words with mom about how insane it is that she didn't make any effort to correct Jake for hitting another child and blaming the kid who got hit on top of it. mom's reply was that she follows "gentle discipline ideals" and doesn't believe in corrections.
Grrr, that kind of thing really gets to me. All it does is give GD a bad name. And, honestly, you can't do things like hurt another person with no consequences. Not dealing with this is doing a disservice to that child. If I were the parent of the pushed child, I probably would have said something to the 6 year old directly. That's a kind of natural consequence situation, you know, if you do things to other people that they don't like, you will hear some complaints about this.

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She should have said something about to the child when she pushed the younger kid, but the rest of that stuff may be acceptable at their home.
Which is fine, but if she doesn't know enough not to do these things in other people's homes, there is a problem. My kids do a lot of things at home that people would not want happening in their house. If my child climbed onto a kitchen counter in another person's home, I'd physically remove them from the counter. I don't get why they would ignore this and think it is acceptable, so it really sounds like an odd set of behaviors from the adults, which I guess is what the OP was venting about.
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#9 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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OP I *so* understand where you're coming from. And in scenarios like the one you describe, you know who I feel the worst for? The child. Because, barring some involuntary medical/emotional issue the child has where impulse control is not in their control, by not ever addressing the behavior with the child as inappropriate or not acceptable, those parents are setting that kid up to think it's ok to act out and do what you want and no one is going to have an issue with that.

And that is simply NOT how the world works, and that child is in for some rude awakenings that initially will not be her/his fault, because they haven't been taught any differently.

Do parents realize how teachers in schools or other people their kids will meet deal with kids that annoy them, whether overtly deal or passive-aggressively deal? Teachers, childcare providers and others are HUMAN which means that while you'd hope they'd always be professional and do what's best for the child in their job, when a kid has not been taught boundaries and some level of appropriate behavior, other adults in this child's life can act out too! And that can really hurt/confuse a child who's never been told/modeled that negative behaviors usually lead to negative consequences.

I really think parents often either think their kids' behaviors are cute, or they are conflict avoiders and don't want to say anythign to anyone, or they simply can't be bothered to re-direct their kids. But that deprives the child of the chance to understand actions and consequences, and to be able to practice making choices based on the outcomes the child would want and likely consequences. That all sounds like grad school mumbo jumbo that a child wouldn't understand, but I think most of us here know that at some level even an 18 month old understands actions and consequences, and that's a good thing. Because actions always have consequences, and the sooner the kid can figure out how to get the reactions they want adn get their needs met, the better.

And in my experience, these are important themes to start working with kids on from as young as 18 months. Actions have consequences, some good, some bad, some neutral. Parents who watch their child shove a baby off a seat "because I want to sit there" and don't say anything to their kid to name that behavior or re-direct it are really setting their kid up to be suprised later when people start treating that child poorly for the same behaviors and the kid doesn't understand why or what would be more appropriate.

Catubodua, your example of your cousin is EXACTLY what I'm talking about! Poor Jake, he's probably already started his rude awakening, because kids can sense with people simply don't want to be around them, and that hurts them, and usually makes them act out even more. Poor kid, but I would definitely be one of those parents who'd just keep my kid away, cuz why ask for that trouble! (But I'd also talk to Jake's parents - I talk to everyone if there's a chance it might help a kid...)
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#10 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Which is fine, but if she doesn't know enough not to do these things in other people's homes, there is a problem. My kids do a lot of things at home that people would not want happening in their house. If my child climbed onto a kitchen counter in another person's home, I'd physically remove them from the counter. I don't get why they would ignore this and think it is acceptable, so it really sounds like an odd set of behaviors from the adults, which I guess is what the OP was venting about.
Exactly. And, I wasn't offended by the little girl's behavior as much as the mom's. Why wouldn't she do SOMETHING to help me? It's her child. I've never met this child before. Why would she just leave me to remove her physically from my kitchen counter?

ANd, mostly.. I was just bugged by the whole "Excuse" thing. I mean, if you know you have an appointment, and your child will behave like this if she's hungry.. why wouldn't you make sure she was fed? If you have an excuse, then you should have a way to solve it before it gets to that point.
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#11 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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Today, I interviewed a family with a five year old girl who needs care on vacations from school. They haven't been happy with the current providers because they constantly complain about this child. They never have anything good to say.
This drives me crazy. When does it get to the point in a parent's mind that if a teacher or other provider never has a good thing to say that maybe, just maybe, it might be driven by the child's behavior?
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#12 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 05:50 PM
 
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She stood on my couch, and used it to jump into/onto the baby walker. (no baby in the walker) Climbed from the kitchen stool to the top of the counter, and reached on top of the fridge to get to a toy in "toy time out".
Seriously in what world would any parent think it's ok for their kid to be walking on top of a counter in a strangers home? That just amazes me!
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#13 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 06:20 PM
 
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i have a cousin who's doing this with her little boy (let's call him Jake). he's 6 now and he's such a terror to be around that no one wants him at their house. so he's losing all his friends because the other parents won't have him over and won't let their kids go over his house (i assume they temporarily pick up his bad habits and the parents don't want to deal with it). cousin complains all the time about how the other parents just don't understand Jake. um, no, they see him very clearly!

my cousin just keeps saying how he's so spirited and lively (which he is) and ignores the unruly, rude and downright mean stuff he does to others. he's been tested six ways to sunday and he has no issues, so it's not that. he's just a menace and mom makes up excuses constantly for his bad behavior.

as an example - over christmas he was making funny faces at a 3 year old cousin. the younger cousin thought this was great and was giggling. Jake got angry at younger cousin for laughing at him and punched the 3 year old. and i mean punched him, not just took a little swing or whatever. it was the equivalent of a 6 year old decking a 3 year old.

what did mom do? she corrected the 3 year old "don't laugh at him, it makes him upset" (well, why the heck is he making funny faces to get people to laugh then?!)

obviously, the mom/dad of the 3 year old left quickly, after having some words with mom about how insane it is that she didn't make any effort to correct Jake for hitting another child and blaming the kid who got hit on top of it. mom's reply was that she follows "gentle discipline ideals" and doesn't believe in corrections.

I know somebody who is parenting in a very similar fashion, although at least she doesn't call it "gentle discipline", when there's no discipline. I feel so sorry for her childrne. One of them, in particular, is disliked by a lot of other kids he meets, and he's really unhappy. Unfortunately, he hasn't figured out (naturally, he's still young, and isn't getting any guidance on this) that the other kids don't like him, because he's not very nice to them a lot of the time.

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#14 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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This drives me crazy. When does it get to the point in a parent's mind that if a teacher or other provider never has a good thing to say that maybe, just maybe, it might be driven by the child's behavior?
I was once in a parent teacher conference for a freshman in high school where after discussing in detail the child's bullying behaviors, the dad burst out with "I'm sick of everyone saying my child has a bad attitude! We've been hearing that since elementary school! Her attitude is fine, you just don't know how to handle her!"

This kid had absolutely NO concept of boundaries and dad was convinced that her behavior was the fault of other students and teachers. Some people choose not see what they would rather be blind to.

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#15 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 07:56 PM
 
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what did mom do? she corrected the 3 year old "don't laugh at him, it makes him upset" (well, why the heck is he making funny faces to get people to laugh then?!)

obviously, the mom/dad of the 3 year old left quickly, after having some words with mom about how insane it is that she didn't make any effort to correct Jake for hitting another child and blaming the kid who got hit on top of it. mom's reply was that she follows "gentle discipline ideals" and doesn't believe in corrections.
What she means is she doesn't believe in corrections for her own kid. Did anyone ask her how come it's okay to correct other kids?
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#16 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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I don't understand why parents won't at least acknowledge it... it makes the others around them feel a little better. Just say "I'm at my wit's end" or "I have no idea why..." or ANYTHING. It just makes us feel like the parents at least care what happens to others. As a parent I would feel terrible if my child threw a baby to the floor. (in fact, when she was two, she did throw a baby to the floor)

I guess I'm mostly ranting.
I get your rant . As a parent, I'd be mortified if my child behaved like that. I know that at some point(s) my son will embarass me or "act up" but I will acknowledge the behavior. I hate when parents just ignore it or pretend it's so cute, no it's not!

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#17 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 09:02 PM
 
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I was once in a parent teacher conference for a freshman in high school where after discussing in detail the child's bullying behaviors, the dad burst out with "I'm sick of everyone saying my child has a bad attitude! We've been hearing that since elementary school! Her attitude is fine, you just don't know how to handle her!"

This kid had absolutely NO concept of boundaries and dad was convinced that her behavior was the fault of other students and teachers. Some people choose not see what they would rather be blind to.
Not only do they choose not to see their children's problematic behavior, they also choose to IGNORE that it's verrrrry obvious where the child learned that behavior! If I'd been in that conference I'd have looked right at the dad and said "Did it ever occur to you that the way you just blew up might be where she learned that it's ok to blow up on people who are trying to help you?"

I had a very similar middle school parent/teacher conference with the child b/c he'd gotten suspended for being violent. I asked him what he thought was behind his repeated outbursts and he said (much to his credit) "I dunno... I guess I'm just angry..." and his mom cut him off, went ballistic and just started shouting "ANGRY? ANGRY?? Where do YOU get off being angry? What are YOU angry about???" We all just looked at her stunned for a second, and then I said "Actually, its' really good that you [child] are able to say how you feel about all this. And mom... is it possible that he's learning some of those reactions from you?" At first she continued to be pissed, but it ended up being a really good mtg and it seemed like especially the child (but also the mom) left feeling like it was the first time they'd really been heard in a mtg like that and they committed to working on some behavior changes - BOTH of them.
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#18 of 37 Old 01-12-2010, 11:09 PM
 
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What she means is she doesn't believe in corrections for her own kid. Did anyone ask her how come it's okay to correct other kids?

good point

it was rather heated right then, i don't think anyone had coherent thoughts that could be shared in a nice way at that moment!



as for the original OP - should have added this in my first post - i think you showed great patience even lasting 10 minutes of that!

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#19 of 37 Old 01-13-2010, 02:24 AM
 
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I have a friend like this. She and her DH are now the primary care takers to there grandkids whos mother (step daughter) ran out on them and there father is jsut not in the picture as he should. VERY understandable the kids (almost 7 and 4) have some big time issues and expecially the oldest whos been through hell and back has some big time behavioral issues.. On one hand I applaud her efforts to look beyond jsut the tantrums and tears to seek the real issue and in NO way do I think she should dismiss the very real long tern therapy her grandkids will need... At the same time though she often gets soooo into the "therapy" reasons she forgets to have boundries and help teach apropiate behavior. I actually think it is not doing her girls any service because they still don't have that strong parent figure they can count on. As a result they keep testing and testing....

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#20 of 37 Old 01-13-2010, 02:53 AM
 
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imagine what that does in people's minds the next time they hear someone else say they are going to use gentle discipline!
I know what this can do. My sister has friends who let their child do whatever and call it GD. When she heard me say we would use GD, she was utterly shocked that I planned to let DS run around doing whatever (she knows me.) I explained "No, we just plan to use logical consequences instead of punitive measures."

BTW, I believed in logical consequences long before I heard the term GD.

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#21 of 37 Old 01-13-2010, 09:12 AM
 
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Sometimes I get annoyed too when I see such parents.. Before teaching children I think we must teach parents..
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#22 of 37 Old 01-13-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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At 5 mom needs to start talking to child and tell him/her that that is not ok to do. No more excuses, 5 year olds should start to understand, unless they do have development/mental problems. Hunter is 2.5 years old and we let him know that it's not ok to shove, push, hit, kick, etc.
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#23 of 37 Old 01-13-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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playing devil's advocate for the situation in the op's post....since the parents' were interested in you watching their child when they needed childcare, could they have not said anything because they wanted *you* to discipline her so that they could make a decision about whether or not to leave their child in your care?

I know when we went on the "playdate" at ds's school I did not stop him from doing things specifically because I wanted to see how the teachers handled the situation. I wanted to witness the process first hand, not just have them tell me what they do, ya know.
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#24 of 37 Old 01-13-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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playing devil's advocate for the situation in the op's post....since the parents' were interested in you watching their child when they needed childcare, could they have not said anything because they wanted *you* to discipline her so that they could make a decision about whether or not to leave their child in your care?

I know when we went on the "playdate" at ds's school I did not stop him from doing things specifically because I wanted to see how the teachers handled the situation. I wanted to witness the process first hand, not just have them tell me what they do, ya know.
I can kind of see that, but I still think that if you bring your child into someone's home, while you are there, you're responsible, especially if the childcare provider in this case hasn't accepted your child yet. Plus making excuses for her child sounds like the mom realized it wasn't acceptable behavior, but she wasn't willing to do anything about it.

I agree 100% with you, OP. Don't make excuses for your child's behavior without doing something about it. It's a whole different story if you say "sorry about his behavior; he's really overtired" to apologize after you've addressed the behavior with the child. Repeatedly excusing it without addressing it with the child says to me that the mom has given up on being the parent.
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#25 of 37 Old 01-13-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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I think when you are a childcare provider, people expect you to handle issues with their kid, even when they are there. Even when they haven't been accepted into your care.

I invited all of my daycare families to my DD's first birthday. The behaviour of two of the kids was just awful, but neither of their moms did anything. It was like they expected me to manage their kids even though they were in my home on a social occasion (on the weekend) and I was being host to over 20 people. One kid was jumping on my couch (a behaviour that she knows isn't allowed in my house) and her mom didn't do anything and just stood there. I asked her to sit on her bum, she looked at her mom who didn't say anything, and then kept going. And then her mom looked to ME to handle it. By not saying anything to her child, she was essentially giving her permission to continue.

As a daycare provider, I don't feel like it is my place to be disciplining a child when their parent is standing right there.

A number of other guests commented to me afterwards about how they couldn't believe how poorly behaved two kids (from two different families) were. It was bad enough that I am seriously reconsidering inviting any of the daycare kids to any future parties.

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#26 of 37 Old 01-13-2010, 05:51 PM
 
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No matter how old my DC is, if she did something that was rude or hurtful I would apologize! Even if she's over tired or hungry and bouncing off the walls, I would think most attentive parents would apologize, try to calm the child down (or leave) as well as letting everyone know what was wrong...

Maybe the parents of the child in the OP are just so used to having her at school, in after school care, etc., that they don't know what to do. I don't know. Either way, I would have asked them to leave also because it seems like the child (and her parents) would cause way too much stress to deal with.

Momma to Sweet Rosie 7/06, Lost Baby J 1/09 at 12 weeks pregnant, Spitfire Ada born 4/21/10, and Baby Boy due July/August 2013!
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#27 of 37 Old 01-13-2010, 06:17 PM
 
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She should have said something about to the child when she pushed the younger kid, but the rest of that stuff may be acceptable at their home.
But the child wasn't in "her" home at the time. I always try to teach my kids how to be appropriate while in someone else's home by a certain age. I usually start around age 3. Any younger and they aren't going to listen. But yeah, my 7.5 has always been wild to say the least and she still is. It's not uncommon for her to jump on furniture for fun or her bed even and she's allowed to do it at home, but she knows better than to do it in another person's home.

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#28 of 37 Old 01-13-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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My sister is the same way with her children. Her daughter (10) does not usually have a behavior problem... but her son (7) is such a terror! He has serious anger issues which my sister refuses to acknowledge or deal with, and has been suspended from school (repeating 1st grade) for violence toward other kids (he was choking another boy!). He's already been labeled as a problem child, which is sad... but imho, it's mostly because she does nothing to correct the bad behavior!

I will not allow him to be around my 13-month old alone, for fear of what he might do to him because he gets VERY angry & frustrated when the baby cries! He jumps on couches and furniture... and even on the cars in the driveway outside! He hits people and throws things when he's angry.

My sister does nothing about any of this. BUT I DO! When he's over at my house and is destructive, I tell him, "This is my house and I don't like it when you break my things! You must respect things that belong to other people." If he hits another child (mine or anyone's), I say something like, "That's not nice! You're not allowed to hit anyone here. Go sit in that chair for a while until you can calm yourself down."

Of course, my sis doesn't like for me to say anything to her kids... but I do if they're in MY house or my mother's house. If she doesn't like it, she doesn't have to bring them over... but I will not allow them to come over and hurt my children or destroy my property!

Happily-married, bfinfant.gifing, cd.gifing mother-of-FIVE (G18, G16, B9, B2, Bnb) Supermom!
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#29 of 37 Old 01-13-2010, 08:02 PM
 
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Not only do they choose not to see their children's problematic behavior, they also choose to IGNORE that it's verrrrry obvious where the child learned that behavior! If I'd been in that conference I'd have looked right at the dad and said "Did it ever occur to you that the way you just blew up might be where she learned that it's ok to blow up on people who are trying to help you?"

I had a very similar middle school parent/teacher conference with the child b/c he'd gotten suspended for being violent. I asked him what he thought was behind his repeated outbursts and he said (much to his credit) "I dunno... I guess I'm just angry..." and his mom cut him off, went ballistic and just started shouting "ANGRY? ANGRY?? Where do YOU get off being angry? What are YOU angry about???" We all just looked at her stunned for a second, and then I said "Actually, its' really good that you [child] are able to say how you feel about all this. And mom... is it possible that he's learning some of those reactions from you?" At first she continued to be pissed, but it ended up being a really good mtg and it seemed like especially the child (but also the mom) left feeling like it was the first time they'd really been heard in a mtg like that and they committed to working on some behavior changes - BOTH of them.

That is just amazing. Really amazing. the whole time I was growing up and in all my school years no one ever bothered to ask me my side of things...and if I volunteered any information I was immediately silenced as if I had no right to feel the way I did about anything. I want to say Thank You on behalf of that
student because for maybe just once he had an advocate.

I think situations like the OP has mentioned are in some ways the ONLY way that mainstream people get to view GD. Really, so they see this totally out of control behavior and think that GD is all about letting children run wild, doing whatever they want or feel like doing. For the longest time that is what I thought of it as, and I know now that I use it for my own family, when ever I say "Gentle Discipline" people roll their eyes and and think images of what you witnessed.

Trying to explain that isn't it at all is more like trying to explain something to a brick wall. People just see what they want to see. I guess both good and bad examples speak volumes. Someone told me I would go to hell if I didn't spank my children because it was un-Christian not too.

 

 

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-Life is a long lesson in humility.-

 

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#30 of 37 Old 01-13-2010, 10:21 PM
 
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the childs behavior was not acceptable but whatever. it is the excuses and lack of action that woulod bug me. Ok fine, maybe she was overwhelmed or excited to be in a new place. ok fine. apologize. Maybe she was hungry. get her off the counter and apologize. Everyoine hand.les discipline differently but for petes sake, don't just shrug your shoulders and make an excuse. God get your child. take carre of them. Apologize that you let them get over excited/hungry/whatever if that is actually why they did those things.

My kids do stupid stuff all the time. I never made excuses. I just apologized and helped them correct their behavior.

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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