What do you do when you are out with friends who parent differently than you, in re: free-range, "permissiveness"? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 64 Old 07-24-2011, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What do you do when you are out with friends who have different expectations than yours on their children's behavior? We recently moved and I have become friends with two Moms who have children just older than DS1 (he's 3, they are 4 and 4.5). We agree on most parenting issues, EBF, co-sleeping, healthy foods, etc. But they tend to be stricter than I am when we are out and I am not sure how to handle it. Usually my child(ren) are doing something I approve of and when their children jump in they are told not to. Then I feel bad, should I stop my children so their children will stop too or let my kids continue since it is ok with me? When appropriate I steer all the children to a different shared activity, but that is not always possible. 

 

Here are some examples (since I don't think I am being very clear):

 

Yesterday, we went to the beach. When it came time to clean up and get ready to leave, they both showered and changed their kids and asked them to sit on a low wall while we finished packing up and taking stuff down, about 20 mins. I chose to wait and change my kids at the car and use wipes to clean them up enough to get in the car. I just don't think asking a 3 year to sit and do nothing for twenty minutes is reasonable, so my kids were running around. I tried my best to keep my kids away from their kids and the things we were packing. But, they are kids so DS1 kept running up to their kids to play with them and seeing my kids running around, made them want to get up too. I made the decision not to force my kids to sit, so I did not stop them, but I could tell the other moms were getting a little peeved. 

 

Then we went out to dinner. After dinner, they took their kids to the bathroom. Since mine were ok, we did not go but forgot to say goodbye before they went in. We waited outside for them to come out to say goodbye. My kids started running up and down the ramps. I was ok with this since my Mom or DH were with them and making sure they were well out of other people's way. One mom came out with her child before the others. Her child started to run with mine. The mom immediately grabbed his hand and said, "Nope, you need to stand with me."  

 

They often ask their children to do things that I don't feel are developmentally possible. And their kids spend time in resturants playing on iPods or smartphones. I don't judge them, but we don't feel it is right for our children (and can't afford iPods or smartphones) so we spend time walking around or other distraction techniques. 

 

One of my personal parenting philosophies is KISS (keep it simple, stupid). Which means making minimal rules so I spend minimal time enforcing rules and disciplining.

 

(Before I get jumped all over, my children are not allowed to run around in resturants or other places where they will be interferring with other people. We are often complimented on our sons' behavior when out.)

 

 

Anyway, what do you think I should do in these circumstances? Ask my children to do the same as theirs? or Let my children continue and do my best to keep them away from the others? or am I being to permissive? Do I expect too little from my children?

 

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#2 of 64 Old 07-24-2011, 03:52 PM
 
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Have you spoken to the other moms about it? Could you ask them whether or not it bothers them? The solution,or at least the answer to your question, might be just that simple.  If it bothers them, and you really enjoy spending time with them, then maybe you could adapt to their standards when you'e with them.  If not, then no harm, no foul.

 

Generally speaking though, I think we have an obligation to ourselves and our kids to stay true to our parenting principles, even when they make other people uncomfortable. So, if my parenting style differs too much from someone else's, and it causes an issue, then they may not be the best person to have playdates with, rather than changing the way I care for my children, especially if it's something I feel strongly about.  If it's a minor thing, though, of course everyone should just try to be understanding and patient. It's never that easy and clear cut IRL though, I know.

 

I'm sure you're doing a fine job and that you're not being "too permissive". All that stuff is so subjective anyway. Just keep on doing what feels right to you.


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#3 of 64 Old 07-24-2011, 04:00 PM
 
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I just let my dd do what we normally do for the most part.  On the rare occasions when it is too much for a friend we go off on our own.  I would however try to bring sit down toys to the restaurant instead of walking around.  I used legos, k-nex, and a pad of special paper with a "mama" pen to distract my dd and teach her to stay at the table when she was younger.  I also preferred restaurants with chips at the beginning of the meal so my dd could slowly munch while staying with the rest of the group.

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#4 of 64 Old 07-24-2011, 04:14 PM
 
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I think as long as your rules (or lack thereof) are not directly interfering with the other kids, then you should just stick to your rules. One kid came over to our house & told DS to stop blowing bubbles, that it's not allowed in the house. I simply told the kid that in our house, bubbles are allowed indoors. Silly example but you get the point!

Another example is that my DS is allowed to nurse while we're out & about, but a couple of his friends (who are still nursing) are only allowed to nurse at certain times. I know it's hard for them to see DS nursing when they can't (and hard on the parents who have to stick to their guns while their children ask & ask & ask!!) but obviously I can't just not nurse my kid because other people have different rules! So I feel like it's the same for your situation.

It's OK to have different rules, but at the same time there might be a few things you compromise on. To continue my nursing example, I have 1 friend who is not comfortable with us nursing openly at their house. So I make sure DS understands before we go there that he will not be able to nurse there, but if he really really needs to he can let me know & we can find somewhere private. Works out just fine, and I do this out of respect for my friend's family since it is their home.

Other examples of situations where I might modify my rules a bit are when they might affect the other child(ren) -- physical invasion of their space, different 'sharing' rules, etc. I'm more of the 'let the kids work it out for themselves' type (as long as no one is getting hurt!) but some of my friends prefer to intervene, so when we are around them, I do intervene more quickly. I guess it's just a balancing act. smile.gif

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#5 of 64 Old 07-24-2011, 04:55 PM
 
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If your children are complimented for being well behaved in public, then I would guess they are fairly mild mannered. It could be that your friends kids are wild and need to dealt with firmly. I have a friend who is very free range with her 2 1/2 year old. She'll let her child walk a good 10-15 feet in front of her in our busy city. Her dd stops when she tells her. Of course I look like the crazy, hovery,helicopter mom because I won't even let dd walk next to her stroller near a busy street. Why? Cause my kid would run into traffic and get killed. She's impulsive and fast and not particularly obedient (I'm also 7 months pregnant and can't run very fast). I realize that my friend's kid is different and it doesn't bother me that she's free range, even if it means that I need to explain to dd a thousand times why she can't do the same stuff in public. I'm sure your friends understand. Unless you're allowing something totally off the wall I wouldn't worry about it.

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#6 of 64 Old 07-24-2011, 05:45 PM
 
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I don't get stricter around stricter moms. It doesn't seem right to me that the strictest mom is always supposed to decide how everyone behaves. Why shouldn't the stricter moms lighten up? Or why shouldn't all the parents meet in the middle? So I've been in many, many similar situations over the years, and I've always kept my rules for my kids. Oh wait, one time at the park a girl was running off in the grass with my dd, and every time she went away from the play equipment and into the grass, her mom (whom I didn't know) yelled at her and spanked her. I pulled dd aside and told her what was happening and asked if she could just play on the play equipment until they left so the little girl wouldn't get spanked anymore, and she agreed. But generally, my rules stand for my kids.
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#7 of 64 Old 07-24-2011, 10:15 PM
 
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I guess I tend to be more of a strict parent that has high expectations for my kids. Recently I was visiting my family and my little brother and sister are the same age as my kids. There were several things my kids weren't allowed to do because I didn't think it was appropriate and my mom made some very rude comments about it. I don't feel like my kids are missing out by not being able to run up and down ramps in public places or having to sit and wait for me to be done. For me its more of a safety thing, though. Public places my kids know they stick by me and are not to run off or lag behind. I personally find it annoying when I'm out to eat or whatever and theres kids running around, even if they aren't running into people. Generally when I'm around people who don't have the same rules as I do, my kids know, my rules go, no questions asked. I don't think you would make your kids sit on the wall and wait just as I don't think your friend should have let her kids run around with yours.


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#8 of 64 Old 07-24-2011, 10:20 PM
 
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my line when my kids were small was "different families have different rules, and following the rules for one's family is part of being in that family."  It made sense to little kids -- who LOVE their mommies and daddies and LOVE being in their families.

 

(this wouldn't work for teens, who, for the most part, would be perfectly happy to try out being in someone else's family if it seemed like a better deal)

 

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#9 of 64 Old 07-25-2011, 07:21 AM
 
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Why do you need do anything? Are they asking you to make your kids follow your rules? If not, just doing what you want and they'll keep doing what they want.


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#10 of 64 Old 07-25-2011, 12:23 PM
 
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Why do you need do anything? Are they asking you to make your kids follow your rules? If not, just doing what you want and they'll keep doing what they want.



This. Unless it's a possible safety issue. And this is coming from the strict mom whose kids have to sit on the wall and wait quietly.

 

That being said, when there is a big discrepancy or it's causing a disruption (like since the kids are running amok you can't get everything packed up before they trample sand through it AGAIN), then I'd try to rein in all of them and try to either meet in the middle or go with the stricter rules for that moment just to move things along and avoid frustration.

 

We have friends with VERY different rules and it's hard to have playdates at our house. Only recently, DS has been able to remember to not follow the other kids, but to let them know that jumping on the furniture is not allowed at our house. It's been frustrating, but once the kids with stricter parents are old enough to understand, it gets easier for everybody.

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#11 of 64 Old 07-25-2011, 12:32 PM
 
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I don't do anything.  I have certain rules for my kids and I expect them to follow them even if another kid isn't expected to do the same.  If my kids are doing something another parent doesn't allow, I do keep mine from trying to get theirs involved but that's it.

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#12 of 64 Old 07-26-2011, 12:14 AM
 
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I don't do anything.  I have certain rules for my kids and I expect them to follow them even if another kid isn't expected to do the same.  If my kids are doing something another parent doesn't allow, I do keep mine from trying to get theirs involved but that's it.

 

I agree.  There will always be parents that are more strict and less strict than you.  Just do what works for your family.
 

 

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#13 of 64 Old 07-26-2011, 05:20 AM
 
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Here's the thing: You need to accept them and their parenting and they need to accept yours. Some of my friend's discipline (non physical) I find horrifying and some of them have said to me "I don't do enough" My DD is 22 m/o! WTH am I suppose to do?

 

She is a baby...unfortunately their kids are too and they expect adult things from them and then brag that "their kid cleans up all of their toys etc" Well I do not expect that from my baby and I don't think it's good for them to either. (one parent confessed she thinks she made her 23 m/o OCD b/c now every time she plays with anything she has to put it back right away and flips out if another baby is over and starts taking out toys)

 

The reality is these are your kids and I wouldn't even bother asking the other parents what they think b/c they obviously think they are doing what's best for their children anyway...


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#14 of 64 Old 07-26-2011, 05:24 AM
 
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This. Unless it's a possible safety issue. And this is coming from the strict mom whose kids have to sit on the wall and wait quietly.

 

That being said, when there is a big discrepancy or it's causing a disruption (like since the kids are running amok you can't get everything packed up before they trample sand through it AGAIN), then I'd try to rein in all of them and try to either meet in the middle or go with the stricter rules for that moment just to move things along and avoid frustration.

 

We have friends with VERY different rules and it's hard to have playdates at our house. Only recently, DS has been able to remember to not follow the other kids, but to let them know that jumping on the furniture is not allowed at our house. It's been frustrating, but once the kids with stricter parents are old enough to understand, it gets easier for everybody.

At the same time I fully believe my PP, I will say at other people's homes we do our best to follow their rules and if I feel the rules are too strict or out of DD's range of ability we just don't go there. I certainly don't want other kids to come to my house and start hitting people (which is basically our only rule "Nobody hits anybody") and I think it's a lesson in itself to say "x,y,z are the rules at B's house and we need to respect her home"
 

 


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#15 of 64 Old 07-26-2011, 06:05 AM
 
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You parent the way you parent and let them parent the way they parent. No need to say anything. People have rules that they feel should be followed no matter where they are. Some have stricter rules out in public then what they would maybe at home. I think when it comes to terms of respecting other people stuff/people at their house its best to try to be on top of it even if it isn't something you generally do. Or just avoid going to their house which I probably wouldn't do either since it just seems silly to avoid places based on rules alone. But thats just me.  

 

 

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#16 of 64 Old 07-26-2011, 10:34 AM
 
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 Or just avoid going to their house which I probably wouldn't do either since it just seems silly to avoid places based on rules alone. But thats just me.  

 

 

 

I don't know, I might avoid certain situations where it bothers me the most though. Like the OP mentioned the situation at the beach. It sounded like the other women were getting annoyed and I bet the OP was too, feeling like she has to keep her kids from running up to the other kids who have to sit on the bench while trying to load up her car, etc. Maybe there are better places to get together, like the library, going for a walk at a park, or something? Or maybe try to figure out a solution for next time like offering to watch all the kids while the other moms pack up? Then they could shower off their kids and OP could clean up her stuff and pack with her kids?
 

 

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#17 of 64 Old 07-26-2011, 11:00 AM
 
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Hmm... I don't know if the ramp thing bothered the other parent from what you said, but the beach thing was probably annoying - at least it would be to me.  Although I tend to be quite strict and would have had my kids on the wall, if I knew I was out with you and your kids would be running around, I would have done things your way so as not to frustrate my kids.  Maybe you are just all still learning eachothers' styles, so they (and you) just need a little more time together to make things work better.  Kids do understand that different families have different rules, and you do have a bit of advantage as far as the other kids understanding about you being lenient because your child is younger. 

 

There are a fair number of people I know that let their kids do a lot more than I do at a restaurant.  I don't actually like eating out with other people with kids much, because it makes for a stressful time for me.  I mean, fast food - fine.  But a real restaurant with a kid running around at all - not fine with me.  So I just don't go out ot real restaurants with many people and their kids.  We do fast food or we eat somewhere else (home, park, etc.) or just go as adults or whatever.  It sounds like you really don't like how your friends deal with restaurants (quiet, hand-held games) and they might not like how you do (walking around).  Maybe sit-down restaurants aren't a good venue for you all to enjoy one anothers' company. 

 

I know I have some friends that are stricter than I am, and some who are less.  When the other parents are more strict, I tend to consider before I let my child do things if that would be acceptable for the other kids.  I find it kind to the other children to look out for them and to not try to entice them into trouble.  But when I am enforcing my rules and they are more strict than someone else's, it doesn't bother me that they are more lenient.  I am the parent of my kids and I am happy with how we choose to live.

 

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#18 of 64 Old 07-26-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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I could see  myself getting annoyed but it wouldn't be so much at the mother for allowing different rules. I would use it as a way to tell my kids life isn't fair I am your mom and in this situation what I say goes. Some things are/will be debatable others its a do as I say type situation. And so thats why I wouldn't avoid going places on other's rules alone. 

 


 

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I don't know, I might avoid certain situations where it bothers me the most though. Like the OP mentioned the situation at the beach. It sounded like the other women were getting annoyed and I bet the OP was too, feeling like she has to keep her kids from running up to the other kids who have to sit on the bench while trying to load up her car, etc. Maybe there are better places to get together, like the library, going for a walk at a park, or something? Or maybe try to figure out a solution for next time like offering to watch all the kids while the other moms pack up? Then they could shower off their kids and OP could clean up her stuff and pack with her kids?
 

 



 

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#19 of 64 Old 07-27-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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My children follow my rules. I have told them different families different rules. I used to live near the beach. My sons would be the ones with arms full of beach stuff running down the board walk.
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#20 of 64 Old 07-27-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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A quote for you

"Nothing is more important to me than my relationship with my children, that includes your opinion." - Jenna Robertson

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#21 of 64 Old 07-27-2011, 11:33 AM
 
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btw, I tend to end up distancing myself from those parents. Not because they are wrong, they are doing what they feel is best for them. But because I can't handle the stress of worrying. I don't want to feel like I need to be more strict with my children, try to enforce different rules for someone else's comfort, etc. So I end up not putting myself into that position. Just like I tell older children - remove yourself from the situation if it's uncomfortable.

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#22 of 64 Old 07-29-2011, 12:13 AM
 
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OP, I have the same problem with a neighbor even though our kids are only 18 months old.  I agree with keeping it simple and minimal rules, I dont think kids should be prevented from being kids, running around is only natural, and as long as you or someone else is there to supervise and make sure they are not disrupting anyone, I do not see the harm.

Anyway, my problem is that my neighbor will yell at, point her fingers at, and spank her 18 month old for things that he does that half the time are just an accident, or if she even THINKS he is going to do something wrong, she will yell and spank, and it makes me sad.  I will allow DD to run around in the yard if we are talking right there for example, but sometimes for no reason she just wants her son to stand by her, and if he does not she spanks him and yells at him while DD is running around causing no harm and just being a kid.... 

I feel that it is up to each parent to decide what is best for their child and to do what is best for them, not what others think is best for their or your children.  You chose to let your kids run around instead of making them sit for 20 min which sounds reasonable to me, that was your choice.  Maybe the other moms will see that there is no harm in letting their children just be kids, and maybe it is actually good, because the kid that runs around outside more will likely be easier to deal with when its time to go home because they had time to run around and play, if they just sit then they will still want to run and play at home where they may not be able to.

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#23 of 64 Old 07-29-2011, 01:35 PM
 
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She is a baby...unfortunately their kids are too and they expect adult things from them and then brag that "their kid cleans up all of their toys etc" Well I do not expect that from my baby and I don't think it's good for them to either.


Slightly OT, I don't know your DD so you may be right about her specifically, but in general I think it's totally developmentally appropriate to teach a 22 m/o about putting toys away.  The 18-24 month group at my DD's Montessori is expected to put each toy back on the shelf before they take another, and none of them have any problem with this system.  I'm not sure why you say it wouldn't be good for them?

 

 

 

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#24 of 64 Old 07-29-2011, 02:27 PM
 
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Slightly OT, I don't know your DD so you may be right about her specifically, but in general I think it's totally developmentally appropriate to teach a 22 m/o about putting toys away.  The 18-24 month group at my DD's Montessori is expected to put each toy back on the shelf before they take another, and none of them have any problem with this system.  I'm not sure why you say it wouldn't be good for them?

 

I agree. We've always lived in the city, hence in a relatively small space, so I started the "respect for shared space" training very young indeed.

 

 

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#25 of 64 Old 07-29-2011, 02:37 PM
 
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To each their own.  We all have our differences, and so long as what other folks do doesn't violate my own code of ethics or values (spanking, CIO, etc), we can all hang out, doing our own style of parenting.  No biggy.  Our kids are still little, though.

My dd is 2.5 yrs old and is the one walking ahead half a block down a major, urban sidewalk along a busy street.  She stops when asked.  Often, we're walking with other kids who are in strollers, or who are holding hands with parents.  It's never been an issue, as far as I know. 


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#26 of 64 Old 07-29-2011, 04:08 PM
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I'm pretty strict when we are in public-- I would definitely not let my kids wander around a restaurant. If they couldn't stay in their seat we'd have to leave. Honestly, when we go out with friends whose kids are less well-behaved, I don't expect them to follow our rules. I do, however, avoid repeating the experience if I feel embarrassed by their behavior. 

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#27 of 64 Old 07-29-2011, 06:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MJB View Post

I'm pretty strict when we are in public-- I would definitely not let my kids wander around a restaurant. If they couldn't stay in their seat we'd have to leave. Honestly, when we go out with friends whose kids are less well-behaved, I don't expect them to follow our rules. I do, however, avoid repeating the experience if I feel embarrassed by their behavior. 


I wouldn't let my kids wander in a restaurant either, but I'm a little confused because that wasn't an example given in the OP. She gave two examples: outside when cleaning up after going to the beach, and outside of a restaurant. I'd be fine in either of those examples, but not in a restaurant where people who have paid to sit and enjoy their meal would be bothered.
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#28 of 64 Old 07-29-2011, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by pammysue View Post

They often ask their children to do things that I don't feel are developmentally possible. And their kids spend time in resturants playing on iPods or smartphones. I don't judge them, but we don't feel it is right for our children (and can't afford iPods or smartphones) so we spend time walking around or other distraction techniques. 

 

 

That's where I was getting wandering around the restaurant from. I might have misinterpreted, if so, sorry! 

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#29 of 64 Old 07-30-2011, 08:56 AM
 
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I agree. We've always lived in the city, hence in a relatively small space, so I started the "respect for shared space" training very young indeed.

 

 


ITA. DD is expected to clean up her toys, clean up food that fell on the floor during meals, put her dirty clothes in the hamper, etc. Of course we are very playful about it, but still I don't think there's anything wrong with toddlers cleaning up after themselves.

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#30 of 64 Old 07-30-2011, 09:01 AM
 
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That's where I was getting wandering around the restaurant from. I might have misinterpreted, if so, sorry! 


Oh well I didn't catch that. IMO iPhone > wandering around annoying people in a restaurant. But also IMO wandering around outside a restaurant = fine.
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Parenting With The Power Of Respect , Parenting With The Ex Factor , Parenting

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