"Why can't you act like her?" - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 10 Old 06-18-2010, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is 14 mo and is a very sweet but typical toddler (not enough sleep/ food/ nursing = meltdown). We participate in a bunch of mommy & me classes activities. At every class there is a mom who is constantly comparing her daughter who is 16 month old to my DD.

It's always "Why can't you act like H?' or "See H is a good girl, she listens. Not like you." or variations on that theme.
Or she comes over and says something like. "My daughter is crazy. You are so lucky."

At first I would try to say things like "Oh well, H just got up from her nap, she'll be bouncing about any minute now." Or I'd make other excuses for why H was not also acting the same way. I've realized I'm doing a disservice to my daughter in that regard though. I shouldn't have to make an excuse for her being a "good" kid. I don't want to bring up in conversation H's less than stellar behaviors (like testing out teeth on my arm this morning) if all it is doing is putting her down. I don't want her to grow up feeling she has to mute her talents like I did.

But then how do I react? This mom really seems to gravitate towards me. She is very friendly and since we moved here last year I have yet to make more than 1 mommy friend. Her DD doesn't seem "spirited" just a typical toddler. I actually think she's just as "nice" as my DD, just a bit more happy squeals here and there.
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#2 of 10 Old 06-18-2010, 01:33 PM
 
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I would probably just take it as a compliment. I'm sure she means well, and sounds a bit frustrated with her DD's behavior and wants to use your DD as an example. I guess I just wouldn't think much about it, except being grateful that my kid appears to be a model to another mom.

I bet it's just the phase her DD is at (is it her first child?) and maybe she needs a friend, too, and thinks this is a way to talk to you - even by talking about your DD - and connect.

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#3 of 10 Old 06-18-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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And I would take a moment to complement her daughter as well. "Oh you flatter me, your dd is so sweet!"

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#4 of 10 Old 06-18-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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I bet this mom really needs to hear some positive things about her own daughter. I'd try complimenting them on whatever you see that deserves notice.

One time, a mom told me "you daughter is so sturdy". Which sounded weird, but her own daughter was very thin and frail looking. I think she meant that... and it was definately meant as a compliment, not a sneaky insult.
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#5 of 10 Old 06-18-2010, 03:08 PM
 
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That can be uncomfortable. I have a friend whose husband used to do that with our boys -- he'd say stuff like, "Look, he's eating his dinner. Why can't you eat yours?" or, "Look, he's being a big boy even though he's younger than you. Why aren't you being a big boy?" It made me really uncomfortable, and our kids were old enough that I worried that it'd make their son resent mine. I just stayed out of it though -- I couldn't think of anything to say.

Hopefully you'll get some good ideas in this thread, but I just wanted to offer some commiseration.

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#6 of 10 Old 06-18-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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I agree it is a chance to compliment her and her dd. Kids go through all sorts of phases and parents own personalities impact what they find challenging - this might be a difficult phase for her and she could use your props.
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#7 of 10 Old 06-18-2010, 04:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeliMom View Post
My DD is 14 mo and is a very sweet but typical toddler (not enough sleep/ food/ nursing = meltdown). We participate in a bunch of mommy & me classes activities. At every class there is a mom who is constantly comparing her daughter who is 16 month old to my DD.

It's always "Why can't you act like H?' or "See H is a good girl, she listens. Not like you." or variations on that theme.
Or she comes over and says something like. "My daughter is crazy. You are so lucky."

At first I would try to say things like "Oh well, H just got up from her nap, she'll be bouncing about any minute now." Or I'd make other excuses for why H was not also acting the same way. I've realized I'm doing a disservice to my daughter in that regard though. I shouldn't have to make an excuse for her being a "good" kid. I don't want to bring up in conversation H's less than stellar behaviors (like testing out teeth on my arm this morning) if all it is doing is putting her down. I don't want her to grow up feeling she has to mute her talents like I did.

But then how do I react? This mom really seems to gravitate towards me. She is very friendly and since we moved here last year I have yet to make more than 1 mommy friend. Her DD doesn't seem "spirited" just a typical toddler. I actually think she's just as "nice" as my DD, just a bit more happy squeals here and there.
how to react? i used to get that with my ds1. now i get "you were spoiled with ds1!" because NOBODY says these things about ds2 LOL. i just say "i know! it was awesome!" b/c it was

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#8 of 10 Old 06-18-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post
That can be uncomfortable. I have a friend whose husband used to do that with our boys -- he'd say stuff like, "Look, he's eating his dinner. Why can't you eat yours?"
.
when my niece was about 2 and her brother was around 1 yo (i was their nanny), i said the same thing to her and learned my lesson. she turned to me and said "i'm not zachy!!!!!" LOL. i forgot how perceptive she was/is.

i like the thoughts you're getting from others, OP. maybe she needs to hear some great things about her dd. i rarely hear great things about ds2 (esp. from DH's family) even though he can be great and very smart; he's just really busy (that's all i hear.)

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#9 of 10 Old 06-18-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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I agree that complimenting her DD, or saying something kind to her DD like, "Wow! You sound happy!" would be good.

This type of parenting technique makes me uncomfortable, because I don't like to get caught up in complaining about my child. There was a couple with a child my DD's age who used to always try to bond with DH and I by complaining about how hard parenting was and all the annoying things their child did. Yes, there are lots of things my kids do that drive me a little nuts, and parenting can be hard, but it's not what I want to focus on.

If I were you, I would try to steer the conversation to more positive things, and if this mother is set on the negative, I would probably keep my distance.
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#10 of 10 Old 06-18-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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I know what you're saying about muting her talents, I grew up in a similar atmosphere & definitely don't want DS to feel like that.

Growing up, how would you have liked your parents to react to commpliments about you? I think I would've liked my mom to just say, "Oh thank you" (or "Yes she works very hard!" or something, depending on the circumstances). I think something like that would be just fine in your situation. "Thanks! She is a joy! Your little one is so cute, what's she up to these days?"

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