Do you discuss other adults negatively in front of your kids? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 07-24-2012, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not sure if this is really related to GD, BUT, it is related to my pet peeve about other people trying to "help me" discipline my child.  Disclaimer, I've been sick (cold, then sinusitis) for 2 weeks now, and I'm very irritable....so...

We were at ds' (4.5yo) martial arts class the other day ... ds hasn't been there for 3 weeks, because we were traveling, and then he was sick, and I was sick...he was being a bit shy about getting back into the routine, and the regular coaches weren't there.  It was time to line up for class, and he was just not doing it....I said several times "it's time, look the kids are lining up, you need to get step on the mat".  The mat was like a foot from where I was sitting.  Finally he said "Ok, but sit there, don't go anywhere" - which isn't always possible, as I have the 2 yo with me who I have to keep off the mat, so sometimes I have to go outside with him, etc.  Anyway, while I'm telling him to get on the mat, another mom, who I've never spoken to, but whose son is in the class, also decided to speak up and tell my son that he needs to get on the mat...with that disapproving tone or commanding tone.  I don't mind if the coaches come and talk to my son, but I just don't understand why another person would think she needs to jump in when I'm already dealing with my son?  I'm sure she thought she was being helpful, but it truly ticks me off.  My dh thinks I'm too touchy, but I ask him if he and I were in a heated discussion, would he like it if some complete stranger came to give us advice???  Anyhow, I've been so irritable, that I brought it up with dh in front of ds...and I wonder if I should be complaining about other adults in front of ds??  Does it show him that mama is too touchy?  I don't want to model the wrong behavior for him, but I need to get stuff off my chest, so when do I do it?  It seems there's not a lot of time when the kids are asleep as then I need to work or my dh is on his comp doing stuff...

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#2 of 12 Old 07-24-2012, 10:48 PM
 
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I try to avoid discussing other people negatively in front of my kids. I think it models negative gossip. That does not mean I never do it, I'm only human, but I try not to do it. I'll sometimes save up remarks or stories that are less than edifying for when I'm alone with DH.

 

I have sometimes done what you described the other mother as doing. If some Mama I don't know is trying to get their kid to do something, I'll sometimes chime in. "Yes,  do X" or sometimes  just a simple "Listen to your mother." I see it as backing up the other mother, showing the child that it's not just Mama asking it. Mostly it's on public transportation, but when my kids were younger, I used to do it in the playground too.

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#3 of 12 Old 07-25-2012, 12:38 AM
 
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I wouldn't chime in on another parent's discipline but I might try to be helpful/supportive by saying somethIng like "would you like to come and line up with me and LO" if it was that sort of circumstance. Or if it was at my house I may offer some sort of incentive like "would you like to help me carry X outside" or something that fitted with what the parent was trying to get the child to do.

As far as discussing other adults, I try to avoid gossipy, venting but I'm ok with modeling constructive solutions. For example we're just had some work done on our house and there are a few things which need sorting put before the job is finished. I'm ok with saying " I'm disappointed that we havent had those tiles finished off, will I ring the project manager and ask him when we can expect it to happen or do you want to do it." I think it's good for kids to see that we're not always happy with how another person has acted but that we can address it constructively and kindly and often remain on good terms with the person.

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#4 of 12 Old 07-25-2012, 06:55 AM
 
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I think as long as you're talking about the situation, and not the person themselves (i.e., "I understand she thought she was being helpful, but it just stressed me out more"  and not: "And then this loudmouth jerk says something right to him in front of me!" ), I personally don't see any problem with that - I don't think that adults automatically deserve deference from kids (I do expect my kids to be civil/polite to everyone, but respect is earned), so I don't go to great pains in shielding them from adults' mess up s and faults - I keep it age appropriate.  My parents never argued in front of me, and I can't recall ever seeing or hearing one of them mad/shouting about anything....pretty idyllic, huh?  Not so much - as an adult I struggle with confrontations and don't know how to argue constructively, and I internally freak out when I get angry and shout because I never had that as a reference point so I feel like there must be something wrong with me to get that mad (I understand that that's not logical, but it's the feeling I get).  


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#5 of 12 Old 07-25-2012, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by katelove View Post

I wouldn't chime in on another parent's discipline but I might try to be helpful/supportive by saying somethIng like "would you like to come and line up with me and LO" if it was that sort of circumstance. Or if it was at my house I may offer some sort of incentive like "would you like to help me carry X outside" or something that fitted with what the parent was trying to get the child to do.
As far as discussing other adults, I try to avoid gossipy, venting but I'm ok with modeling constructive solutions. For example we're just had some work done on our house and there are a few things which need sorting put before the job is finished. I'm ok with saying " I'm disappointed that we havent had those tiles finished off, will I ring the project manager and ask him when we can expect it to happen or do you want to do it." I think it's good for kids to see that we're not always happy with how another person has acted but that we can address it constructively and kindly and often remain on good terms with the person.

I think I would find that more helpful when someone says something supportive  of what I've said, but not just echoes my words nor simply says "ds do this, ds do that, ds stop this"....more if someone gives my son a way to save face and comply with what i'm asking.  

But do you then vent your frustration with someone's actions at a different time when the kids aren't there?  Or do you just not need to?

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#6 of 12 Old 07-25-2012, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think as long as you're talking about the situation, and not the person themselves (i.e., "I understand she thought she was being helpful, but it just stressed me out more"  and not: "And then this loudmouth jerk says something right to him in front of me!" ), I personally don't see any problem with that - I don't think that adults automatically deserve deference from kids (I do expect my kids to be civil/polite to everyone, but respect is earned), so I don't go to great pains in shielding them from adults' mess up s and faults - I keep it age appropriate.  My parents never argued in front of me, and I can't recall ever seeing or hearing one of them mad/shouting about anything....pretty idyllic, huh?  Not so much - as an adult I struggle with confrontations and don't know how to argue constructively, and I internally freak out when I get angry and shout because I never had that as a reference point so I feel like there must be something wrong with me to get that mad (I understand that that's not logical, but it's the feeling I get).  

My parents argued all the time when I was a kid.  My dad had a pretty short fuse.  I don't know how to argue constructively either.  I tend to take things too personally.  And I have a need to vent, that for some silly reason I expect dh to fill.  Most of the time he just tries to give me advice, though.  Ugh...I tell him all he needs to do is listen and tell me that sounds like a rough day, not give me a million reasons why the other person could be right.  I actually know the million reasons the other person could be right, but sometimes I need someone just to hear me out and let me vent.  Sorry, I'm rambling here.  I guess I am trying to figure how to express things in front of kids; I don't think I say "gossippy" things like "did you see how bad that dress looked on her", but I don't consider expressing frustration with how someone butts into my conversation with ds as "gossippy".  

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#7 of 12 Old 07-25-2012, 02:17 PM
 
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Well if that happened to me (it never does, i think i am frightening!) i would smile and say to the other mom "thank you, but i've got it". So SHE knew i didn't want her input.  Then i probably wouldn't feel the need to vent later.

 

We do talk negatively in front of the kids (because i think it's good to know that mama and dada (XP) and daddy (DP) have emotions they have to process, sometimes verbally.  DP is a big bottler-upper and i think it's due to his parents hiding every emotion they might have had about any given thing from their kids.  Happy or sad, easy or difficult, it was never "in front of the children".  So i try to model it as in i will begin a vent saying how i really felt, then i will reason with myself over what the other person intended, then i will state how the outcome (which is never terrible) was actually fine.  Thus the kids can see how i dealt with it in live time, as it were.

 

There are a few "off-limits" though.  We do not negatively vent about ANYONE the children love around them.  So not XP, MIL, FIL, SIL, DCousins, etc.  Anyone in the family i am annoyed at, especially because they are often ongoing niggles caused by the proximity of family, i talk about alone with DP.  

 

The kids need to have those relationships unlaboured by MY negativity.  But some nosy woman at matrial arts class?  Fair game to me!

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#8 of 12 Old 07-25-2012, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well if that happened to me (it never does, i think i am frightening!) i would smile and say to the other mom "thank you, but i've got it". So SHE knew i didn't want her input.  Then i probably wouldn't feel the need to vent later.

 

 

This is one reason I always feel bad about it...I am not good at confrontations...although when I told my dh that I should've said something like that nicely, he said, it's not worth it to get into it with a stranger.  Sometimes I feel dh will say whatever is the opposite of what I say, but that's another issue.  

I think the other problem with someone else telling my kid something is 1- now my kid thinks he needs to listen to a complete stranger? 2- he's ignoring / disobeying another adult, so an additional issue.

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#9 of 12 Old 07-25-2012, 03:01 PM
 
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Well for whatever reason (seriously, i am frightening) no one has ever taken this sort of thing from me as an invitation to "get into" anything.  I think my tone of voice must convey "don't EVEN" while my smile lubricates the way...lol.

 

I kind of think my kids SHOULD listen to total strangers, but not in the situation you faced.  When my eldest was 3.5 we were riding the bus and she was kicking the seat in front.  I told her to stop. SHe stopped then began again.  I told her to stop again.  She stopped again then restarted.  Then the old guy sat in front of us turned and said to her "please DO NOT keep kicking my seat!" very sternly.  She stopped.  She complained later and i said "well, i did warn you!".  I think total strangers have every right to correct my child when they are directly annoying or inconveniencing that stranger (or their kids/whatever).

 

But i don't think they have any right to interject when my child and i am having a conversation, whether we're agreeing or not.  And in that situation i'd think my kid ignoring THEM as a secondary issue.  Especially as it sounds like your DS was unsure, not disobedient.

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#10 of 12 Old 07-25-2012, 05:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post

We do talk negatively in front of the kids (because i think it's good to know that mama and dada (XP) and daddy (DP) have emotions they have to process, sometimes verbally.  DP is a big bottler-upper and i think it's due to his parents hiding every emotion they might have had about any given thing from their kids.  Happy or sad, easy or difficult, it was never "in front of the children".  So i try to model it as in i will begin a vent saying how i really felt, then i will reason with myself over what the other person intended, then i will state how the outcome (which is never terrible) was actually fine.  Thus the kids can see how i dealt with it in live time, as it were.

 

There are a few "off-limits" though.  We do not negatively vent about ANYONE the children love around them.  So not XP, MIL, FIL, SIL, DCousins, etc.  Anyone in the family i am annoyed at, especially because they are often ongoing niggles caused by the proximity of family, i talk about alone with DP.  

 

The kids need to have those relationships unlaboured by MY negativity.  But some nosy woman at matrial arts class?  Fair game to me!

 

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Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post

I kind of think my kids SHOULD listen to total strangers, but not in the situation you faced.  When my eldest was 3.5 we were riding the bus and she was kicking the seat in front.  I told her to stop. SHe stopped then began again.  I told her to stop again.  She stopped again then restarted.  Then the old guy sat in front of us turned and said to her "please DO NOT keep kicking my seat!" very sternly.  She stopped.  She complained later and i said "well, i did warn you!".  I think total strangers have every right to correct my child when they are directly annoying or inconveniencing that stranger (or their kids/whatever).

 

But i don't think they have any right to interject when my child and i am having a conversation, whether we're agreeing or not.  And in that situation i'd think my kid ignoring THEM as a secondary issue.  Especially as it sounds like your DS was unsure, not disobedient.

 

Wordy word word.


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#11 of 12 Old 07-25-2012, 11:12 PM
 
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I do not discuss other adults (or kids for that matter) negatively in front of my kids.

 

I see that the OPs kids are quite young, but especially once the kids hit school age you would not believe how fast anything you say about anyone (including adults) will go around the classroom if your kids are in school.  I've volunteered at lunch time in both of my kids' classrooms and have seen this firsthand, starting in 1st grade!

 

I also don't say anything that I wouldn't want my kid to march up and tell that person themselves, if it would be awkward.  I was really pissy over something that one of the other Little Gym parents did once and mentioned it to my husband and kind of forgot the kids were there (they were playing in the living room, we were in the kitchen) and damned if one of my kids did not just march up to that mom at class the next day and say, "My mom says you shouldn't X because you're annoying."  OMG I wanted to crawl into a hole somewhere--and I was right to be ashamed!  That was awkward for awhile even though the other mom was not rude at all!  (maybe she was in shock).

 

So, because my kids are little parrots, I learned pretty quick to keep my mouth shut and save it for after bedtime (or on my cell phone in the car alone).  It's actually been a good habit to get into, since it cuts down on the blah blah blah venting my DH has had to hear (and then my annoyance when he feels compelled to 'solve' whatever it is I'm venting about).  :)

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#12 of 12 Old 07-26-2012, 08:16 AM
 
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I also don't say anything that I wouldn't want my kid to march up and tell that person themselves, if it would be awkward. 

 

 

This pretty much sums it up.....that's why I stick to the situation, and not get into personal attacks, you know?


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