Correcting a Stranger's Parenting Tactics? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 129 Old 10-23-2005, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone felt compelled to offer advice to a stranger?

I was at DD's soccer game and there was a couple there whose son is on dd's team, but who also has a 2-3 year old dd who comes to watch the game with mom and dad. Dad is assistant coach so he is off on the sidelines, and I talk casually to mom and her dd (who happens to look a lot like mine with bright blonde hair ) Anyway hers is usually quite well behaved but I think she was getting bored at this game. For some reason she hit mom and was whining, etc. Mom then proceeded to use many tactics that I myself have found ineffective, including:

"Apologize to me right now!"
"No, go sit in your own chair I don't want you on my lap anymore"
"If you don't apologize you can't go to the cider mill after the game with us"
"If you don't stop yelling I'm taking you to the car!"
"If you don't apologize right now I'm telling your dad!" (what?!)
Meanwhile the child was begging her mom to let her say something....but mom said "Be quiet right now, no I don't want to hear what you have to say"
"I am going to count to three...."
and so on for like 15 minutes, and I could tell that mom was getting embarrassed and just wanted the girl to please SHUTUP! as if she was on the brink of screaming at her, and the whole time I just wanted to offer a polite and sincere suggestion SOOOOOO badly, because I have used these lines before and have since found ways that work better for us. But that would be totally inappropriate right, since unsolicited advice is never welcome, is it? It was torture having to listen to this!
So the dd gets mom to calm down enough ( ) and says "Mommy, please can I say something?" which she had been trying to do the whole time and mom says "WHAT?" "Sorry mama" and the mom had the nerve to say.... "sorry for what....?" I think this mom could have benefitted from some advice from someone (but I didn't have the guts to give it). Just to show her that there are ways to deal without using empty threats.

How does it make you feel when you see something like this go down right next to you? Have you ever considered offering advice and why? Are these better questions to discuss? Does my intention for posting this seem more clear now? Thanks girls

~Sara, WAHSingMomi to girls R and AV, S.O.A.R. Scout Leader and Homeschooling In Detroit Blogger

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#2 of 129 Old 10-23-2005, 08:39 PM
 
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Not a good idea. I'm sure you would be offended if the tables were turned and she tried to tell you your way was all wrong and to do things her way. JMO.
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#3 of 129 Old 10-23-2005, 08:46 PM
 
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I have never taken any suggestions from people and I imagine most others don't either.
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#4 of 129 Old 10-23-2005, 09:06 PM
 
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I wouldn't try to give her advice. I'm sure we all know how offensive that can be. It's her right to make her own mistakes. If she ever asks you for advice you could tell her, "What we do is this: ___" but otherwise you just have to suck it up and MYOB.
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#5 of 129 Old 10-23-2005, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah I know I would never give advice without being asked, but you know what I'm saying.....

~Sara, WAHSingMomi to girls R and AV, S.O.A.R. Scout Leader and Homeschooling In Detroit Blogger

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#6 of 129 Old 10-23-2005, 09:17 PM
 
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I have never taken any suggestions from people and I imagine most others don't either.
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#7 of 129 Old 10-23-2005, 09:31 PM
 
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Mom then proceeded to do everything wrong in the book:
Wrong in your book.
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#8 of 129 Old 10-23-2005, 09:48 PM
 
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I can think of worse things that some parents might do. And I wouldn't doubt if she was extra strict out of paranoia that people would be judging her for being too lax with a whiney kid.
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#9 of 129 Old 10-23-2005, 10:29 PM
 
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Welllll. I intervene all the time. Drives my poor dh crazy as he just wants to hide. But especially when I see children verbally, emotionally or physically assaulted and from what you described this fits almost all three, imnsho.

I usually diplomatically and with great finesse *empathize* with the parent and suggest a couple of books to "make their life easier". EVERY time, the parent has ended up Thanking me!

I say something along the lines of 'Oh, I see you have a spirited (active, strong minded) daughter, like I do. My friend gave me a couple of books that made my life so much easier. Here are the names of them. Gosh, I don't know what I would have done without them; it can be so frustrating sometimes. I have seen them at the library even.' And I give them a little paper with these two book titles written down:

Kids, Parents and Power Struggles
Raising Your Spirited Child

Btw, they are both empathetic to the child's pov and if any parent reads anything out of either, it is nearly impossible not to be moved to change the dynamic to cooperation and respectful, reflective listening and compassionate problem solving. I highly recommend both.

If I were to witness a child being hit, I would just empatically say "STOP! How can I help, you seem so upset, what can I do to help?" And do the book spiel above. Unless, it appeared to be abuse, then I would call 911 and collect all identifying information possible (car license, make) to provide to the police. I am passionately willing to intervene, because I was that child.

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#10 of 129 Old 10-23-2005, 10:51 PM
 
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I have had similar moments observing awful behavior from a parent where I've been tempted to say something, and then I have caught myself on the other side where I have said something impulsively to my daughter that has been overheard and it's not the way I normally act and I'm mortified at what came out of my mouth in anger and frustration. At those moments I would not appreciate any kind of suggestions from a stranger because I'm struggling with my own demons and they don't know me from Adam.

But I do have family members (dh's family) who regularly talk in belittling ways to their children, and in those situations when I know it's the norm for them, I find ways to interact positively with the children, away from their parents.
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#11 of 129 Old 10-23-2005, 11:26 PM
 
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I don't intervene really. I'd be offended if someone stepped in and said "Maam you shouldn't let your kids go outside in the rain without a coat." or etc so I try to think about the shoe being on the other foot and such. I might try to be a positive example though. I understand how frustrating it can be to witness people being hurtful and demeaning to their children.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#12 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 12:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes I agree with everyone, it is hard to tell if the parent is just having an "off" day - which I have had of course - or interacts with the child this way all the time. I am probably not going to see this parent again as it was the last game of the season, and also this is the first time I saw an interaction like this between the mom and daughter so that's probably why I was so shocked.

I wasn't going to confront them. If I was, I would have then. I was just asking everyone if they have ever been in this situation. I know that she is a competent mom. I just felt like running away because I had to listen to her struggling with her child. I was so frustrated because I know that I have been in her shoes and I feel like if it had been appropriate to suggest a different approach she would may have benefited.

As in- when one of us is in public and we avert a tantrum by using a GD tactic and a complete stranger compliments us on being so tactful. I know that if someone came up to me and commented on how horrific my parenting skills were I would probably do some WWF Smackdown or something. I was just suprised that this mom used all (not one but basically all) of the lines that never seem work. BTW UmmBnB You're right, I was being presumptuous. sorry, I just meant that the phrases she used were a little typical of a parent that was at a loss of what to do. Trust me, I have been in her shoes. I have used all those lines bafore I am sure, but not all at once! I just coudn't believe it!

~Sara, WAHSingMomi to girls R and AV, S.O.A.R. Scout Leader and Homeschooling In Detroit Blogger

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#13 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 12:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by scubamama
Welllll. I intervene all the time. Drives my poor dh crazy as he just wants to hide. But especially when I see children verbally, emotionally or physically assaulted and from what you described this fits almost all three, imnsho.

I usually diplomatically and with great finesse *empathize* with the parent and suggest a couple of books to "make their life easier". EVERY time, the parent has ended up Thanking me!

I say something along the lines of 'Oh, I see you have a spirited (active, strong minded) daughter, like I do. My friend gave me a couple of books that made my life so much easier. Here are the names of them. Gosh, I don't know what I would have done without them; it can be so frustrating sometimes. I have seen them at the library even.' And I give them a little paper with these two book titles written down:

Kids, Parents and Power Struggles
Raising Your Spirited Child

It sounds like you try to be kind about it... but I think most people would see this as candy coated buttinskiness,

I would be offended no matter how you said it. It is just not the place of a stranger. Heck, half the time I don't want that kind of info even from my inlaws unless I ask.
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#14 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by SunRayeMomi
I was at DD's soccer game yesterday and there was a couple there whose son is on dd's team, but who also has a 2-3 year old dd who comes to watch the game with mom and dad. Dad is assistant coach so he is off on the sidelines, and I talk casually to mom and her dd (who happens to look a lot like mine with bright blonde hair ) Anyway hers is usually quite well behaved but I think she was getting bored at this game. For some reason she hit mom and was whining, etc. Mom then proceeded to do everything wrong in the book:

"Apologize to me right now!"
"No, go sit in your own chair I don't want you on my lap anymore"
"If you don't apologize you can't go to the cider mill after the game with us"
"If you don't stop yelling I'm taking you to the car!"
"If you don't apologize right now I'm telling your dad!" (what?!)
Meanwhile the child was begging her mom to let her say something....but mom said "Be quiet right now, no I don't want to hear what you have to say"
"I am going to count to three...."
and so on for like 15 minutes, and I could tell that mom was getting embarrassed and just wanted the girl to please SHUTUP! as if she was on the brink of screaming at her, and the whole time I just wanted to offer a polite and sincere suggestion SOOOOOO badly, because she was going about it alllll wrong. But that would be totally inappropriate, right? I mean, unsolicited advice is never welcome, is it? It was torture having to listen to this!
So the dd gets mom to calm down enough ( ) and says "Mommy, please can I say something?" which she had been trying to do the whole time and mom says "WHAT?"

"Sorry mama" and the mom had the nerve to say.... "sorry for what....?" ERGH! This mom totally treated her dd as if dd was not a person and did not deserve to be listened to. And when a kid hits someone you don't force an apology, you explain to them how it feels when someone you love hurts you and teach them to be emphatic to begin with.... Besides, I see no point to arguing with a 3 YEAR OLD! anyway

Have any of you ever been this close to pulling the mom aside and going through step by step everything she did wrong and why?!
You say that the Mom did everything wrong in the book. Whose book? Your book? I hate to break it to you, but people have the right to parent any way they wish(and, no, abuse doesn't fit under that umbrella).Your way may not work for them. Mind your own business.Trust me, life is much simpler when you concentrate on your own affairs
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#15 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 12:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Once again, I DIDN'T say anything to her. I was never going to! I guess I should just not express my opinions or concerns..... not to her but not even online? I said in the OP, I didn't say anything to her. And I apologize for the comment of "everything wrong in the book" The mom just looked to be at her wit's end.

Are we saying that of the things she said she couldn't have changed anything, that she couldn't have done anything to handle the situation easier for both of them ?... Since I won't see her again, perhaps it's a moot point. I just thought some on this board would have constructive criticsm for people that may be struggling with using these tactics? I know I am not a perfect GDer.???

~Sara, WAHSingMomi to girls R and AV, S.O.A.R. Scout Leader and Homeschooling In Detroit Blogger

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#16 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by SunRayeMomi
Are we saying that of the things she said she couldn't have changed anything, that she couldn't have done anything to handle the situation easier for both of them ?... Since I won't see her again, perhaps it's a moot point. I just thought some on this board would have constructive criticsm for people that may be struggling with using these tactics? I know I am not a perfect GDer.???

I think what you really want to hear is "Oh, that mom can't parent effectively and needs you to intervene. You should definitely have said something." But unless you want a complete snow job, you won't hear it from me....or a few others who have already replied,imho.
Again, what works for you may not work for someone else. I'll say it before and I'll say it again-Focus on your own family and its needs. I don't want to sound nasty, but I doubt that you are so perfect that you can start doling out parenting advice to perfect strangers.
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#17 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 01:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Since you are offering no positive ideas I can only assume that you are in fact the one that assumes her tactics to be golden. Maybe if I mentioned that I am a child psychologist you would take my suggestions more seriously. When is a fellow mom a good source of advice then?

~Sara, WAHSingMomi to girls R and AV, S.O.A.R. Scout Leader and Homeschooling In Detroit Blogger

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#18 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 01:17 AM
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Since you are offering no positive ideas I can only assume that you are in fact the one that assumes her tactics to be golden. Maybe if I mentioned that I am a child psychologist you would take my suggestions more seriously. When is a fellow mom a good source of advice then?

I wouldn't care if you are a child psychologist or the damned garbage collector. In your OP, you come across as an elitist know-it-all. I especially love the comment "Mom was doing everything wrong in the book". Again I ask-what book?!! I may not have used her tactics myself, but it isn't my pace to comment on consider what she might be doing incorrectly. And I stress "might".

Again, take care of yourself and your own needs. I guarantee-life is easier when you do that
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#19 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 01:19 AM
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Since you are offering no positive ideas I can only assume that you are in fact the one that assumes her tactics to be golden. Maybe if I mentioned that I am a child psychologist you would take my suggestions more seriously. When is a fellow mom a good source of advice then?

Well, what do you want to hear? "Oh,yes, the next time you see someone parenting in a way that you find offensive, embarrass her-and yourself-by offering unsolicted advice. She'll tell you where to go, you'll look like an idout and nothing will change"?
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#20 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 01:19 AM
 
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It's so hard to watch children be yelled at by their parents.

My dh's cousin yells at her rambunctious boy all the time. I know she loves him dearly but I rarely see it in action, as her voice is always harsh with him. So what I try to do is just demonstrate gentleness with him... giving him lots of hugs and love, offering him choices instead of just saying "No!" or "KNock it off!" like his mama tends to do. Giving him the attention he craves. I just hope she notices, and notices the great response in his attitude.

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#21 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 01:53 AM
 
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Remember the saying, it takes a village to raise a child?

I read half the replies. IMHO, I don't see anything wrong with very calmly and politely saying, "Hey, I noticed you were having a little trouble with your daughter just now. When my son gets like that I try ______. I'm not saying you need to do that, I just thought you might like to have another trick up your sleeve. Man, parenting can be pain in the butt sometimes, can't it?" I've taken that approach with a few people. I think that if you approach it from the "hey, just trying to help" instead of the "I'm a better parent than you!" point of view people don't get so offended.

Me, personally, I would love to hear another parents advice if they knew of a way to make my life easier. I don't see why people get so angry about this. Maybe if it were approached with a holier-than-thou attitude. I don't go around thinking I already have all the answers, and if I were that parent at the soccer (?) match I would have loved a little extra help.

~Nay

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#22 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 01:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Remember the saying, it takes a village to raise a child? Me, personally, I would love to hear another parents advice if they knew of a way to make my life easier. I don't see why people get so angry about this. Maybe if it were approached with a holier-than-thou attitude. I don't go around thinking I already have all the answers, and if I were that parent at the soccer (?) match I would have loved a little extra help.

~Nay
I think that's what I meant. I don't think I am the better parent at anything! I welcome advice when I can, and I wasn't implying I knew it all. In fact just today I was visiting with all my Aunts (mothering veterans) and they told me a thing or two... I welcome wisdom

~Sara, WAHSingMomi to girls R and AV, S.O.A.R. Scout Leader and Homeschooling In Detroit Blogger

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#23 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 02:06 AM
 
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Hi there. I lurk on this forum a lot. I don't have children yet, but I do have close relationships with my 12 nieces and nephews and was a nanny for a number of years. I have been so tempted a gazillion times over to say a thing or two (or three or a hundred) to two of my four sisters when it comes to some of their discipline tactics. I hold my tongue though. For one, I am the youngest sibling, not to mention that I do not have children of my own yet. So they would totally snap if I said a word. Sometimes I just want to scream, "Obviously this isn't working, so TRY SOMETHING ELSE!" It's the repetition of failing approaches that drives me (and dh) the most insane (not to mention the borderline neglect). And, frankly, these failing approaches are often just unkind. (And I remember one of my sisters taking great pride in the fact that she has never read a parenting book.) However, like I said, I never say a word -- and this is family!

My thought is that there will come a time when I have children of my own, and I know for a fact that these two particular sisters are going to be really forthcoming with all their "helpful" (unsought) advice and treat me like a total idiot, despite my experience and education. I figure that is the moment when I can let fly! And, boy, will it feel good!!!!!!

To those who think that the "everything wrong in the book" phrasing of the OP was out of line or elitist, why in the world do you attempt the possibly-more-intensive GD approach if there aren't some child-rearing tactics that are more effective than others?? I see strangers dealing with their children's behavior in a less than ideal fashion all the time. I never say anything to them, but there is no doubt I sure would like to. Everyone on this forum wants their children to grow up feeling like a whole, respected person, and the GD approach is the best means for that, IMO. What's wrong with wanting that for other people's children, even a stranger's? It might not be appropriate to say anything in most circumstances, but we should all feel some regret that we can't do so when it might help a parent at their wit's end to possibly see some other discipline options that would be a whole lot more nurturing for that child.
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#24 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 02:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there. I lurk on this forum a lot. I don't have children yet, but I do have close relationships with my 12 nieces and nephews and was a nanny for a number of years. I have been so tempted a gazillion times over to say a thing or two (or three or a hundred) to two of my four sisters when it comes to some of their discipline tactics. I hold my tongue though. For one, I am the youngest sibling, not to mention that I do not have children of my own yet. So they would totally snap if I said a word. Sometimes I just want to scream, "Obviously this isn't working, so TRY SOMETHING ELSE!" It's the repetition of failing approaches that drives me (and dh) the most insane (not to mention the borderline neglect). And, frankly, these failing approaches are often just unkind. (And I remember one of my sisters taking great pride in the fact that she has never read a parenting book.) However, like I said, I never say a word -- and this is family!

My thought is that there will come a time when I have children of my own, and I know for a fact that these two particular sisters are going to be really forthcoming with all their "helpful" (unsought) advice and treat me like a total idiot, despite my experience and education. I figure that is the moment when I can let fly! And, boy, will it feel good!!!!!!

To those who think that the "everything wrong in the book" phrasing of the OP was out of line or elitist, why in the world do you attempt the possibly-more-intensive GD approach if there aren't some child-rearing tactics that are more effective than others?? I see strangers dealing with their children's behavior in a less than ideal fashion all the time. I never say anything to them, but there is no doubt I sure would like to. Everyone on this forum wants their children to grow up feeling like a whole, respected person, and the GD approach is the best means for that, IMO. What's wrong with wanting that for other people's children, even a stranger's? It might not be appropriate to say anything in most circumstances, but we should all feel some regret that we can't do so when it might help a parent at their wit's end to possibly see some other discipline options that would be a whole lot more nurturing for that child.

: !

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#25 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 04:50 AM
 
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Remember the saying, it takes a village to raise a child?

I read half the replies. IMHO, I don't see anything wrong with very calmly and politely saying, "Hey, I noticed you were having a little trouble with your daughter just now. When my son gets like that I try ______. I'm not saying you need to do that, I just thought you might like to have another trick up your sleeve.



I might not have the nerve to say it like that, but I would probably try to do something to ease the tension while things are going on, or maybe after the fact (even as much as just comforting the mom afterwards, because I've been in her shoes where I just wanted my child to shut the heck up at that very moment).

From what I experience, many people will share their opinion of what you are doing no matter what. If you find a way to do it in a positive, empathetic manner, I think you are doing a service to the world. I have a much greater tolerance for my 2 year old walking alone, not holding my hand, and I have people jumping all over me about it all the time, even chastising me at times. I try to take their comments at face value and understand that they are concerned for my child's welfare and have a different standard of behavior. Plus I do examine what I'm doing and decide if maybe I'm making a mistake, and sometimes I might decide they are right.

Oh well, JMO, of course.
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#26 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 05:38 AM
 
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I don't intervene really. I'd be offended if someone stepped in and said "Maam you shouldn't let your kids go outside in the rain without a coat." or etc so I try to think about the shoe being on the other foot and such. I might try to be a positive example though. I understand how frustrating it can be to witness people being hurtful and demeaning to their children.
OT- My babydaddy had that happen to him once! By a pediatrician! He said, "Well I'm her father and I can tell if she's cold. Thanks anyway." Or something like that. I think oftentimes dads get unwanted advice. It may just be my perception because I almost never do. I think I put out the "don't mess with me vibes".
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#27 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 06:13 AM
 
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Where am I? I thought I was on a GD thread on mothering? Why are people giving you greif for this SunRay? I have no idea!
It breaks my heart everytime I see children belitteled and treated with disrespect.
I like to post my frustrations like seeing things like this here on mothering becuase orginally many of the moms came here becuase of similar parenting styles. I have no idea why you are not getting the support you came here to get!
So, let me say, hugs to you and that sweet child, a prayer for that mama so she might find more constructive parenting, and while I wish I could help by offering advice, I will offer a listening ear when mamas want to vent a situation if I do not have advice.
What the heck moms? Where is the support, all she is saying is it is sad when parents belittle their kids and don't you wonder if we should do or say something? I certainly can relate to that!
Do I say stuff? I worry that it will just make the parent more emotional and the parent will take it out on the kid. My DH will say something, but that is part of his job, and he takes it seriously. If the mom or dad really looks like they are just getting frustrated I try to show a commpassionate smile, if they have already gone to far, I make a point of showing my disaproval, and get my DD out of the area. I know not too proactive, I like it when my DH is around I feel much better, and he does it so well, and people never argue with him.
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#28 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 06:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunRayeMomi
this is the first time I saw an interaction like this between the mom and daughter so that's probably why I was so shocked.
Quote:
The mom just looked to be at her wit's end.
If this is unusual for the mom, I might have stepped in and stuck up a conversation (not about parenting) with her just to distract her. Maybe given her a grown up to vent on instead of her kid. SOunds like she was having a really bad day, and could have used a friend- not someone stepping in and telling her how to parent.
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#29 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 10:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loverlaydown
I wouldn't care if you are a child psychologist or the damned garbage collector.
and that's not at all elitist. the "damned garbage collector", who is clearly on the opposite end of the spectrum. nice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by loverlaydown
Again, take care of yourself and your own needs. I guarantee-life is easier when you do that
hey, that's great advice! go ahead and take it!
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#30 of 129 Old 10-24-2005, 10:22 AM
 
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How about an honest show of hands here...Who among us has honestly NEVER witnessed a parenting tactic in a stranger and then come home and said to your DH "man you wouldn't believe what I saw this woman do to her kid at WalMart". After seeing a mother treat her child so awfully, who hasn't called up a girlfriend and said "So I saw this mom and she yelled out to her little 2 year old, 'Fine get run over and die if you want'!" I'm sure we all have. Parenting is a hot topic button and we all have passionate feelings about it, and I think it's perfectly acceptable to voice those passionate feelings(after the fact) instead of letting them sit like a stone of ice in the pit of your stomach. I've had discussions with my dh and my girlfriends about parenting scenes that rubbed me/them the wrong way and I don't think that makes me "elitist" or "judgemental". I think it makes me a passionate person who is sometimes utterly shocked at the brutality used by many moms and dads. I would never interfere, and neither did SunRae. So to answer your question, SunRae, YES I have seen parenting tactics that I vehimently disagree with. I've seen things that make me want to cry. But in those situations, I think about what I would do were I in that exact situation, then I hug my wonderful son and remind him how very loved he is.


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addicted, homeschooling, freelancing mama to DS 8. Pet mama to Harvey the Wonder Mutt :, Pnut: and Autumn : Oh, yeah, and
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