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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!

my mother tells dd 'good girl' all the time, for really stupid things, and also for eating etc- i cringe every time she says it. i haven't said anything to my mother because: 1) she is already somewhat defensive about the way we parent our children - she once told me i make the parenting choices i do in order to defy her (i kid you not!) 2) she really believes she is encouraging dd, and is really trying to be positive with her, and 3) we don't see her all that often, maybe a couple of times a month

i figured i should just let it be, not say anything to my mother about this pattern of speech of hers that drives me bonkers. BUT, now dd is frequently telling us, 'good girl' - or saying 'good boy' to her little brother.

i have responded to my mother's (sugar-coated tone of voice) exclamations with 'she is ALWAYS a good girl, whether she eats all her food or not', or 'she ate all of her lunch, but she knows she only has to eat as much as her tummy wants or needs'.

my mother doesn't get it at all, and i don't know how to respond next. on the phone yesterday, i told her, 'dd is now telling people 'good boy/girl' and my mother responded with, 'oh, that's cute!' NO, IT'S NOT CUTE!

i thought about sending her the link to 5 reasons to stop saying 'good job', but i don't know if she'd make the leap to extrapolate it to her phrases.

she (my mother) also watches the "nanny" shows, and i think they say 'good boy/girl' all the time.

what can i do without getting my mother's dander all ruffled (or maybe i just need to tell her flat-out?!)

my mother also often tells dd, "you make me so proud of you when you.... [clean up toys, help wash dishes/vegetables... ... insert inane remark here] i grew up feeling *very* responsible for my mother's emotions, and i don't want dd to even begin accepting responsibility for how others are feeling. ( i need to work on my interactions with her, too, but i know this and am very conscious of it)

when dd recently chose to have her own room (and leave ours) from my mother (who is adamantly anti-cosleeping) was all set to tell her how proud she was of dd. before i handed the phone to dd (who is 3 years and 4 months old), i went into another room to request that my mother NOT tell dd she was so proud of her for sleeping in her own room-because the flip-side implication of that statement would be that she would *not* be proud if dd went back into our room (which we told her she could any time, if she wished-especially as she adjusted). my mother said, 'oh, really?' like she hadn't thought about the flip-side which i'm sure she hadn't and that's fine, but i don't think she 'got it', either.

okay, really long here, thanks for reading if you've made it this far. i am feeling so very frustrated. i am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but i don't know how much longer i can tolerate this without blowing a gasket at my mother.
 

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>>she once told me i make the parenting choices i do in order to defy her (i kid you not!) <<

my bil told me he thinks we parent in order to defy the entire society! so we have similar issues here.

the bil also says 'good girl' and it drives me crazy, as well as his constant testing and quizzing. i keep telling him though, and joking about it.

i think you are handling it really well by interjecting your own comments. this is what matters most. i think the parental influence is the strongest one, and they will encounter 'good girls' in other places as well.

when she says 'good boy' to her brother, do you find you can intervene in the same way? or pointing out to her the reason for saying it?

considering you do not see your mother very often, this could be just a phase in your dd. my dd used to copy my physiotherapist and saying 'good girl' to me :LOL

i would send the link, i send links to my bil all the time, but he does extrapolate, though he does not agree. but that's just me. i tell him that if he wants to be an active uncle, he needs to know what kind of things we approve of as a family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
you know what, i'm not sure i *do* clarify or elaborate when she says it to myself or ds. i will pay attention to that.

i think that asking her to say 'thank-you' is a good option. i'll see how it goes.

another point of interest: my mother insists that nobody refer to mixed company of women and men as 'guys' (because women are not guys)

she also gets *very* angry when dh calls our ds 'little man' because he is not a man. while i agree, i have watched this, myself, but i do think my mother is something else for expecting and insisting that we change *our* language to suit her.

sigh
 

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The good side of her wanting you two to change your language is that it does give you an opening to discuss her changing her language.

I wish I had some good advice but my mom is the same way. She was proud of my daughter when she started sleeping in her own bed. She is so proud of her when she wears underpants. Again, the implication there is that she isn't proud when she sleeps with me or is in a diaper. I don't like that and I don't like the constant stream of "good girl" either.

If something works, let us all know so those of us in the same situation can learn from it


Good luck!
 

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Almost our entire society believes they are being positive when they say "good girl". My 2 yo dd gets told good girl by aunts, siblings (who have heard it elsewhere), store clerks, etc.........

What people do not realize is the flip side, children easily get it though -that if undesirable behavior happens then they are "bad". My dd had never been told "bad girl", only "good girl"....... and she told a little boy who was climbing a fence that she is not aloud to climb: "get down, bad boy." I almost cried. I have worked hard to get my gets to know there self worth independent of others and those words "good girl" change so much of my teaching..
.....

hugs, hope you can communicate well enough with your mom to change the way she talks to your dd. Atleast if she doesn't agree she could respect your wishes.
 

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mamazee said:
The good side of her wanting you two to change your language is that it does give you an opening to discuss her changing her language.QUOTE]

Yep, that was what I was thinking, too!

I think it was smart to head it off on the phone - good idea.

My mom doesn't say weird remarks too too often, so I do the approach you've been doing: interject my opinion into it after she says something (like when you said "she's a good girl even if she doesn't finish her meal").

For me, I've always said "good girl" to my dog, so I associate that with animals. I tell my dd "good job" if she puts something away, or if she's sharing a toy, etc. But the "good girl" thing really bugs me too.

Sorry I don't have any advice for ya. I do agree that if she presses the issue with your language, then the next time she does that you should press the issue with her things (have a list prepared in your head so you can get it all out precisely and efficiently, but respectfully). And, BTW, I think it's more a geographical thing, the "guys" thing. In CA we refer to mixed groups as "guys" or "you guys" - just as in the South they say "y'all" and "all y'all". I don't see why she should be getting on your case about you referring to a mixed group as "guys" - I mean, geez, she just sounds like she just likes to be contradictory.

-Elizabeth
 

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Hey, hopefully your Mom doesn't spend an excessive time with your daughter, although if she's acting as primary caregiver during the day that may be a different matter...

My pet peeve is DEFINITELY the "good job!!" thing - drives me nuts!! I teach a music class for infants/toddlers aged 2-36 months and the sugar coated "positive" stuff makes me crazy. People ARE trying to be positive, but honestly I don't think they know what the alternatives are. And I agree with the geographical quote above - people hear an expression like that all the time and it just gets spewed out as part of their regular conversation.

I think my advice would be for you to maybe set the example and be really careful about how you actually talk to your Mom - your daughter is also learning from that as well : ) And take a deep breath - children are highly imitative until they reach what the eastern world calls the "age of understanding" between age 4 and 5. She will then be more capable of creating her own language and decisions for herself, instead of just mirroring her immediate environment. Good luck - I totally hear your exasperation!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by ELTAZ
I don't see why she should be getting on your case about you referring to a mixed group as "guys" - I mean, geez, she just sounds like she just likes to be contradictory.

-Elizabeth
i think she feels secure in finding fault (i have had the same pattern), but i also get the feeling *sometimes* that she is a -what's the term for a man-hater?. (i know the word misogynist for women, but i don't know the equivalent term to refer to those who hate men).

she *really* hates when people call a group that includes women 'guys'. so much so that she got totally pissed off at me during the rehearsal dinner for our wedding when i said 'guys' to some people-she gave me a withering look and i told her to back off and chill out (which earned me the cold shoulder for a couple of hours)

i am trying very hard not to let dd hear my issues with my mother, who has called on several occasions with a bee in her bonnet and yelled and cursed into our answering machine. we always make sure dd isn't around the machines during my mom's freak-out times.

i would love to just be able to calmly explain to my mother about the language, but she gets so incredibly defensive that it makes it very difficult and stressful. i will keep interjecting my comments to dd, as that's the only way i can think of to try to derail the sugary stupid praise in the moment.

thanks for the input, all!
 

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I don't know, maybe she just likes precise language... technically, a "guy" is a male. I also get peeved when someone includes me in the term "guys", likewise when someone calls me "dude". Aaaargh, i can't stand it! But i guess i inherited it from my mum; she was always a stickler for accurate grammar, spelling etc. and it definitely rubbed off. The bad thing is that people are getting sloppier and sloppier about it and i get so mad reading or watching the news, ads etc. b/c i am always noticing mistakes that drive me crazy. And they're usually basic ones that any decent editor should easily pick up.
And...
: ... i do get mad when people refer to adults as children or to children as adults, i.e. parents saying an older child is their "baby" (no, he's not, he may be your child, but he's definitely not a baby any more!). That country song on the radio that says "I still love you more than anything in the world, love your baby girl" -- that really irritates me to no end.
Anyway, enough of my pedantic ranting! I just totally get where your mother is coming from on this issue!
 

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I had this issue with my mom when my daughter was younger ; this, and many, many other issues. I don't know if my perspective will be of any use to you, but I offer it for your consideration.

After a lot of thought, I decided that the world will often give my daughter impressions and ideas that I don't like, and that I cannot control that. I decided to do my thing my way, and not to stress over things my mom might say to her. I decided that, when my daughter was older, she'd have to make up her own mind about a lot of things, the differences in my mom and me being just a drop in the bucket. That way, she was protected from adult power struggles, IMO.

My daughter went through a few stages in which she favored some of my mom's ways, to my displeasure. I voiced my own opinions and left her to form her own. Over time, my daughter began to consciously determine that my ways had more value to her than did the ways of my mother. My mother exerted pressure on my daughter to adopt her ways and views. I did not. In the end, that was a critical difference that shifted things in my 'favor'.

It's hard when people are presenting ideas and concepts to your child that you dislike or that you vehemently, vehemently abhor. But I thought that by giving her space to make up her own mind, and by recognizing the inevitability of her exposure to views that I abhor, I modeled the kind of tolerance and composure that I'd like for my daughter to have.

In my case, it worked out wonderfully.

P.S. Conversely, I did not alter my language or anything about the way that I did things to suit my mother. I didn't ask it of her, and I didn't comply when she asked it of me. Eventually, my mother realized that I was giving her a great deal of space, and she began to extend the same in return.
 
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