Do you often cringe at other's parenting? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-03-2009, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Esp. when you overhear them talking to or disciplining their kids?

I don't say anything but it often makes me cringe when I hear the things some parents say to their little kids.

For instance, the other day a mom was trying to get her daughter's hair brushed and said "People will laugh at you if you don't let me brush your hair!"

I just find it so sad when I hear things like that.

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Old 02-03-2009, 08:05 PM
 
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Esp. when you overhear them talking to or disciplining their kids?

I don't say anything but it often makes me cringe when I hear the things some parents say to their little kids.

For instance, the other day a mom was trying to get her daughter's hair brushed and said "People will laugh at you if you don't let me brush your hair!"

I just find it so sad when I hear things like that.
I've had my less than stellar parenting moments myself, so, no, I don't cringe when I hear a parent say things I disagree with. No doubt if that same parent could overhear me 24/7 she would hear stuff that would make her want to cringe too.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:08 PM
 
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Esp. when you overhear them talking to or disciplining their kids?

I don't say anything but it often makes me cringe when I hear the things some parents say to their little kids.
Yes, I cringe sometimes, and sometimes I want to cry and my heart breaks when I hear children being belittled or spanked. I sadly admit also, though, that I cringe at my *own* past parenting and even current parenting sometimes, too. I try not to think of myself as any better than any other parent because we all make mistakes and have to learn and grow. My hope is that when we know better we do better.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:29 PM
 
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Sort of. I guess I will echo the PP in a way.

The other day I saw an adult demanding that a child with autism look her in the face while talking. The adult's voice was very gentle and it seemed very likely that she was doing something she believed to be correct and beneficial.

Now, I believe she is mistaken and to me it seemed that the child was increasingly distant and discouraged as the conversation progressed...but I know I can't really know. The part of me that is presumptuous enough to judge the situation feels sorrow for both parties. Then I go on to recall times that I've made demands of children without truly understanding what made them tick. I wonder how many mistakes I've made. When I see something that I view as unfortunate, my own errors--past and present--leap to the forefront of my mind. This is no decision of mine... I can't really help it. But I'm grateful for these thoughts. I see them as a kind of intellectual growing pain. I know I'm becoming a new person all the time... and hopefully so is everybody else.

I guess what I feel, more than sadness, is wistfulness. I wish we could all know what's best and then be free to make clear decisions based on that knowledge.

I don't feel hopeless about it though. I think we are living in an amazing time of change, and so many more people are trying to parent their children with authenticity and respect than even a generation or two ago. Our collective view of how to raise children is evolving quickly--and I believe it is improving.

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Old 02-03-2009, 08:31 PM
 
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Oh, my God! This is so me also, but I'm the opposite of you in one aspect. My trouble is that I can't keep my mouth shut. I just tell them like it is because I feel like if I don't say something, I've just allowed an unjust act to continue, and i feel like I'm less than human when I allow an injustice to go on, such as allowing a parent to punk their child and take advantage because the child is too small or too scared to stand up to them. I don't mind my own business, at all.

How i intervene deeply depends on the situation. Sometimes, if it is not too bad, I'll ask the parent if i can help them in any way. There ave been times when a mom is sceaming at a toddler to shut the f--- up, I've said, "My, i see things are going rough right now." Then, I will offer the child a drink or toy--I carry a bag of trick to use at any time to calm upset children on the bus or wherever because some parents are not considerate of them and drag them all over the place at their leisure and without giving them naps and stuff--and i'll give it to the child. Then, I'll talk to the parent about how they feel and what I'd do and tell them I enjoy talking to them. If I see a parent beating the snot out of a child, i'll say, "Stop! What are you doing?! JCool it! You are going to kill the kid! Calm down!" And this is only when it gets really bad. Sometimes, I've called the police.

I feel that it is my job to intervene because I do not like emotional or physical abuse. I don't like parents hitting their kids, yelling at them, or putting them down or controling/forcing them to eat and do things they do not want to. And when they try to make kids fit a mold in society, such as telling boys to shut up, toughen up, and stop that darn crying, I get hot with anger. Boys can cry like anyone else. And they wonder why so many men become abusers.

I also dislike babywise people who insist on being rigid with their babes, such as a strict regimented feeding schedule and strict baby training as if to say they were on the same level as the dogs I have here and can do things when commanded. Please don't get me started on people's parenting. I can go on for hours, even days and years.

For awhile, i thought I was alone here on this forum. I thought I was the crazy one. But, i feel good that others are in the same boat. I feel better. Thanks for posting this topic. Thanks so much. I'm not alone anymore.

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Old 02-03-2009, 08:51 PM
 
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I try not to judge. I'm a completely different parent now than I was with my oldest child, and I continue to re-evaluate my parenting and learn new and more effective ways of handling various parenting situations.

We're all learning - and sadly, we're all stuck with on the job training as we figure things out!
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:51 PM
 
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We all have our moments, so no, I seldom cringe. I mentally cringe when I see parents smack a child, or threaten or belittle them. I also cringe when I see super permisive parenting, though I have probably had those moment myself, too.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Paeta16 View Post
For instance, the other day a mom was trying to get her daughter's hair brushed and said "People will laugh at you if you don't let me brush your hair!"

I just find it so sad when I hear things like that.
Why? I mean... this example in particular... maybe it was a bit harshly phrased, but I think its appropriate to let your child know that other people may recognize that their hair isn't brushed. I wouldn't say "people will laugh at you", but I have said, as one of the reasons to brush your hair (along with the fact that brushing will keep your hair healthy & comfortable), is that it looks nice and helps to present a good impression.

I don't cringe at others' parenting unless its something really egregious. It's just too presumptious to do otherwise, IMO.

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Old 02-03-2009, 09:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by choli View Post
I've had my less than stellar parenting moments myself, so, no, I don't cringe when I hear a parent say things I disagree with. No doubt if that same parent could overhear me 24/7 she would hear stuff that would make her want to cringe too.
Exactly.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:53 PM
 
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Not often. I'm usually too busy cringing at my own parenting to worry about the way others do things.

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Old 02-03-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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I usually only cringe when I see people hitting their kids in public. But today, I cringed at something far less than that. This mom and her kid (maybe 10 years old?) were in a waiting room and the mom kept yelling at her kid to do his homework. He said he couldn't figure it out and needed help so the mom told him "just do it...make something up". So the kid did and the mom said "that answer is wrong. Fix it". The kid asked why it was wrong and the mom said "it just is. Now fix it" and the kid started crying that he couldn't figure out the right answer. She just kept telling him to do it, and never helped him. I cringed at that because the poor kid just wanted help.

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Old 02-03-2009, 10:16 PM
 
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There ave been times when a mom is sceaming at a toddler to shut the f--- up, I've said, "My, i see things are going rough right now." Then, I will offer the child a drink or toy--I carry a bag of trick to use at any time to calm upset children on the bus or wherever because some parents are not considerate of them and drag them all over the place at their leisure and without giving them naps and stuff--and i'll give it to the child.
PLEASE tell me you ask the parent before offering something. What if the child is allergic? Or even if what you offer is contrary to what the parents want? How would many of us feel if some random stranger offered our children things we wouldn't consider letting them eat? I don't have any problem with intervening to stop a child being mistreated, but at the point where you touch a child or offer them something, I think that crosses the line.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:27 PM
 
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Not often. I'm usually too busy cringing at my own parenting to worry about the way others do things.
same here.

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Old 02-03-2009, 11:02 PM
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i cringe at abuse (physical and emotional) and threats of abuse. I think these things should resignate negatively with us.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:06 PM
 
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I do, but then again, I cringed at some of the things I said to my kids earlier tonight while trying to get their jammies on, so I try to keep some perspective about the whole thing.

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Old 02-04-2009, 05:23 AM
 
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i do.

the mom across the street often tells her children to, "shut the f up before i f you up".

every time she does this i cringe. they also spank their 1 yo and tell the 5 yo a lot of damaging stuff.

i think it's pretty bad and i feel terrible for the kids. i still applaud the fact that she brushes their teeth twice a day and all 4 kids are always in clean clothes and i try to remember the times i've gotten frustrated with my own and yelled.

i'm not perfect by any means but when i hear hurtful mean things directed at children it hurts.

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Old 02-04-2009, 05:41 AM
 
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I cringe sometimes when I hear something that reminds me of myself and I realize what I sound like. I very rarely hear things that make me cringe because they are totally awful, thank goodness.

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Old 02-04-2009, 07:07 AM
 
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Yes, I cringe sometimes, and sometimes I want to cry and my heart breaks when I hear children being belittled or spanked. I sadly admit also, though, that I cringe at my *own* past parenting and even current parenting sometimes, too. I try not to think of myself as any better than any other parent because we all make mistakes and have to learn and grow. My hope is that when we know better we do better.
This is me as well. I am far from perfect, but of course I cringe at things I disagree with - such as spanking and belittling. I know a woman who often calls her son 'stupid' and her daughter a 'horrible little girl'. I am also big on emotion, so when I hear a baby or child crying and being ignored and called 'naughty and manipulative' because of it - it breaks my heart. There are other things too of course...like putting a 4 month old in a forward facing car seat and two year olds in boosters...but hey... I keep my judgments in my head.

I dont have the book as I have lent it out, but somewhere at the begining of 'Unconditional Parenting' - Kohn says something like: If you go to the playground and have a good listen, its just depressing. Very true.

Of course, I have to remember that I was in the dark as well at one point and still have my moments - I am raising myself as well (thank God for Aldort!)... But what really takes the biscuit is having a friend interested and willing to read such books like Kohn and Aldort - borrowing them from you and then just reporting back to you that they are just stupid. Knowing better and doing better just went out the window. Maybe they were not coninvinced ...I am still confused though how anyone can read those such books and continue to spank/belittle/etc...

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Old 02-04-2009, 07:33 AM
 
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I do cringe but as others have said often at my own parenting too - when I've had really hard days I've said things and immediately wished I could take it back.

Even when something makes me cringe I try very hard not to judge, because I dont know what that child is like all the time, or whats been going on. I have a good friend with a daughter with a lot of issues. We took the children out for the day and her DD does this high pitched scream when she's unhappy or even excited as she's unable to talk yet. She was doing it most of the day, and then was really bad in the train on the way home. My friend was calm, gentle and understanding throughout the day. She kept it together on the train with everyone staring and shaking their heads. Finally when we got off the train she snapped and said "Would you just shut up!?" Her face immediately went bright red and I could see she was near to tears. NO way would I judge her as she has to handle that day in day out with no support as she's a single mum and she does a better job than I could.

Oh and if I was having a difficult day with my DS and he was in the middle of a meltdown in the supermarket and I was trying to handle it and someone came up and gave him a toy or a drink I would be quite annoyed at someone reinforcing that behaviour. I know it's meant to be helpful, but wouldnt help me or my DS.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:56 AM
 
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oh god yes i cringe.
i cringe unapologetically.

the library is the worst place here, i saw one year old twins being slapped and yelled at. they werent even doing anything except trying to play with my youngest dd.

ive had less than stellar moments in public myself but i welcome others to cringe and notice theyre less than stellar parenting moments. i wouldnt want others making excuses for me and by extension my less than stellar behaviours.

admitting it is a problem is the first step to making sure we dont do these things.

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Old 02-04-2009, 12:35 PM
 
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I cringe - and cry at times... but I try to realize that at some point I will be faced with the true stresses of parenthood (right now I only have one who is just 7 months... so I am in the easy boat)

But I can't imagine ever saying "stop crying or I'll hit you" or "finish your food" (and there is a bowl of food bigger than I would eat intended for a child)

Spanking hurts me to think about- I come from an abusive home, and I would hope someone would call me out if they thought my parenting was inappropriate.

Sure I'd be p'd-off in the moment- but later when I reflect on it- I would hope I could see how they were right and I was wrong.. : I just hope I don't get to that point but if I do someone puts me in the time out I couldn't manage to give myself.

Reminds me of this summer when I went to the lake with my friend. We had stopped off at a store so she could look for some floaties. Well I told her I would stay in the car with the kids.

The windows were rolled down and we hear this woman talking in such an foul, profane and abusive manner I thought to myself "man if she was my wife I would divorce her!" Well imagine my distugst when I discover she isn't talkiung to her husband but really talking to her 5 yr daughter and 9 yr old son.

Oh it was just horrible the way she spoke to her children. Well I did the only thing I could do and stuck my head out the window and said- "oh excuse me you dropped some of your items" then turned up the radio (trying the whole redirection thing- which worked)

Well my DD who was 1mo at the time needed to nurse so I start nursing her- well the woman glances into the car and looks absolutely shocked and says "ugh some people!" and slams her truck door shut

I'm thinking to myself- what?!

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Old 02-04-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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i cringe at abuse (physical and emotional) and threats of abuse. I think these things should resignate negatively with us.
Agree.

Before I had DS, I wouldn't have even noticed what was happening between a parent and a child.

Now I see things that break me heart and let me tell you, I am no softy.

Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:49 PM
 
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Not often. I'm usually too busy cringing at my own parenting to worry about the way others do things.
Me too. I want so much to be a better parent & I try so hard sometimes, but just get frustrated & lose it eventually. I don't call my kids names or hit them, but I have said stuff like 'settle the f*** down' in public after a really rough day. I don't think that makes me a horrible person or a bad parent, but obviously people disagree. My kids just continue to ignore me even then, so I'm pretty sure I'm not damaging them.

Once in awhile there is something I see that's so disturbing I can't forget about it, though. Like when ds2 was a baby & we were in Wal-mart. There was a mom & grandma with a newborn. A wailing newborn who obviously needed something. They pushed that crying baby all over the store in her car seat for at least half an hour, completely ignoring her.

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Old 02-04-2009, 05:58 PM
 
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Yes. My SIL is always talking about how she needs to "crack" my nephews good once in a while . I felt so rotten when I saw her slap my 10 year old nephew in the face, out of the blue, and even worse when she came up behind him and hit him on the back when he wasn't even looking or expecting a hit. I don't agree with physical punishment whatsoever, and those times I saw her lash out him unexpectedly have really made me lose a ton of respect and love for her.

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Old 02-04-2009, 07:49 PM
 
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PLEASE tell me you ask the parent before offering something. What if the child is allergic? Or even if what you offer is contrary to what the parents want? How would many of us feel if some random stranger offered our children things we wouldn't consider letting them eat? I don't have any problem with intervening to stop a child being mistreated, but at the point where you touch a child or offer them something, I think that crosses the line.


Absolutely I do ask. That follows after I ask the parent if I can help them or after I say that I see that things are rough. I'm blunt yes, but I'm less impulsive than before. They may be the worse parent on the block, but I want to get my foot in the door by showing them respect, and asking if I could give their child something is respect. If they feel like I'm disrespecting them, it would ruin my chances of ever educating them or engaging them in conversation, which is the whole goal. So, yes I absolutely do ask, as I'd like that done for me also.

I am from the south, and my father's family is from the south, so we see nothing wrong with outwardly helping like that and being hospitable. This may sound totally strange to you, but we hug the neighborhood children here all the time. People come up and talk to you about random things. Things are just more friendly here. A lot of us still have the open door policy, and we are all eager to share. People in the north, though, think you are strange just for saying hi to a kid just because it isn't yours or saying hi and being nice to a passer-by on the street. One person thought I had another motive all because I was being nice to him. I calmly explained that I liked being nice to people because it makes me feel good, and that settled it. I'm guessing it is all regional?

My BF and several of my friends who were born and raised up north want me to move up there with them. I don't think it would ever work because everything is so different--attitudes, people, lifestyle, and the like. I think I'd have a severe culture shock. While I have numerous friends who were born and raised up north, and while I can get along with people from multiple regions, and even countries, I myself could not live there. It is a nice place to visit though, but I do really stick out like a sore thumb with my southern draw and my demeanor that some would perceive to be overly friendly.

With the parents consideration in mind, I take the following precautions:

1. I ask the parent if I can give the child the drink/snack/toy or whatever is in my bag. I've never had a refusal. Most people in town know me as the lover of children. I have that reputation, so they almost expect it now.
2. All drinks, snacks, and candy are sealed, and I allow the parent to see this for themselves for their reassurance. I'd also want this done to me, especially if someone randomly offers my child something. This is where I absolutely understand parents wanting to be cautious, as they have to be sure everything is safe.
3. To answer another concern you raised, and a very good one at that, I always ask if the child is alergic. I'd hate to be responsible for the death of a child or a serious reaction.

Thanks for responding to my post. I always love your challenges/comments. It makes things interesting and puts some life into the discussion. Take care.

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Old 02-04-2009, 08:04 PM
 
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I was a much better "parent" before I was one. Now that I am struggling to be a good mom every day, I realize I have little right to critisize others. I realize how hard it is and I think the vast majority of parents honestly want to do the best they can for their kids. We can't expect perfection, only offer grace.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:12 PM
 
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oh god yes i cringe.
i cringe unapologetically.

the library is the worst place here, i saw one year old twins being slapped and yelled at. they werent even doing anything except trying to play with my youngest dd.

ive had less than stellar moments in public myself but i welcome others to cringe and notice theyre less than stellar parenting moments. i wouldnt want others making excuses for me and by extension my less than stellar behaviours.

admitting it is a problem is the first step to making sure we dont do these things.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Devaskyla View Post
Me too. I want so much to be a better parent & I try so hard sometimes, but just get frustrated & lose it eventually. I don't call my kids names or hit them, but I have said stuff like 'settle the f*** down' in public after a really rough day. I don't think that makes me a horrible person or a bad parent, but obviously people disagree. My kids just continue to ignore me even then, so I'm pretty sure I'm not damaging them.

Once in awhile there is something I see that's so disturbing I can't forget about it, though. Like when ds2 was a baby & we were in Wal-mart. There was a mom & grandma with a newborn. A wailing newborn who obviously needed something. They pushed that crying baby all over the store in her car seat for at least half an hour, completely ignoring her.


Oh, that makes my blood boil, too. I've talked about that many times on here--mothers who blatenly ignore their crying babies just to continue a conversation or to shop. People can take a break and find out what is wrong, not let it scream its lungs out. So sad. I hope that someone will have mercy on them when their old, dependent, and cannot speak. I'm careful how I treat others because from personal experience, I KNOW it comes back on you.

I am married to my soul mate and best friend, and I am truly blessed.

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Old 02-04-2009, 08:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sasharna View Post
Sort of. I guess I will echo the PP in a way.

The other day I saw an adult demanding that a child with autism look her in the face while talking. The adult's voice was very gentle and it seemed very likely that she was doing something she believed to be correct and beneficial.
I find this interesting...

I have an autistic child who is also neurologically deaf. I need her to see my mouth moving and hands moving for her to understand what I'm saying. Not all autistic people are low functioning either as you seem to describe this child in this situation. Seeing and knowing are two different things.

It saddens me that people just assume before actually having the facts. If that had been me and my daughter would you have assumed the same thing as I signed a simple universal look here at me hand gesture and spoke to her to look at me while I tried to talk to her as best as I can under her unique circumstances? The description I just gave you looks like any other parent with a hearing and "normal" child trying to get the child's attention...am I to think that I am being judged or assumed about because of this?
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deer Hunter View Post
One person thought I had another motive all because I was being nice to him. I calmly explained that I liked being nice to people because it makes me feel good, and that settled it. I'm guessing it is all regional?
I think this is a big over generalization. Maybe I'm being defensive as someone from the north, but I do not think people are nice, and friendly, in some parts of the USA and not nice in others. Maybe it's more of a small town vs city thing, or maybe its just the individuals you are meeting.

BC Mum of four ('05, '07, '11 and 06/14!)     
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