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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not sure if this is the right place to put this, but anyway, here goes...

My mom and her new bf were visiting yesterday. We all went together to the St. Patrick's Day parade, which was nice. But while we were all still here at the house, I was getting the kids ready to go, and was tying Zeke's shoes for him.

Mom: Doesn't Zeke know how to tie his shoes?!

Me: Nope, not yet.

Mom: HOW old is he again? (note: she knows perfectly well how old he is. For crying out loud, we just had his birthday party a month ago.)

Me: He's 5, Mom.

Mom: Oh MY! It's time for him to learn to tie his shoes! He really needs to be able to do that!

Mom's BF: Yep, time for little boys to learn to tie shoes by themselves!

Me:


It is not a big deal to me that Zeke cannot tie his shoes. It is not even something we have worked on. Based on his fine motor skills with regard to tracing, writing, and cutting, and a couple of times that I've asked if he could try to do the first loop on tying his shoes, I'm just not sure it's something he's ready for, and I don't want to make it a big horrible frustrating thing like I remember it being when I was 6. It is honestly just not even a big deal to me. I don't mind tying his shoes. I'm sure he won't be in junior high and still not be able to tie his shoes.

I guess her comment bugged me because it was right there in front of Zeke, and I don't want him to feel bad about not being able to tie his own shoes, for crying out loud. Should I have said something on the spot, or said something to her afterward? I just let it slide, because my mom is extremely sensitive to criticism and I can guarantee that if I said something, she would interpret it as, "You don't want me around my grandkids."
Now, I have said stuff to her in the past about things I consider important, and will continue to do so, but I like to choose my battles and wasn't sure exactly how to handle this one. Maybe I'm making a big deal out of nothing. Thoughts?
 

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I know I was 6 1/2 before I learned to tie my shoes. I'm not sure the average 5 yo can do that. I would have just said "Tying shoe laces is tricky. Most kids don't learn until they are older."
 

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In private, I would have told her that talking about him like he's not there is not nice and I'd appreciate if she had concerns that she talk to me without him present. Then I would have told her to mind her own business about the shoe tying! (My mother and I have a fairly open and honest relationship and she'd expect me to tell her to butt out if I thought she was overstepping.)
 

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I completely understand your frustration. but I also feel that she was trying to be helpful and meant well. She's a mom after all. I have a feeling many of us are going to end up that opinionated when we're older especially seeing how grandparents feel about their grandchildren.
 

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I would have said something right then and there. Something like "we're happy with the situation right now. Zeke will let me know if he wants my help learning to tie his shoes" or "I'm sure Zeke will decide when he's ready to tie his own shoes" or "I'm happy to tie his shoes until he decides he'd like to do it for himself"

I've discovered that positive language said in a carefree and loving voice like that will shut up all but the most determined nay-sayers. It also serves to assure the child that you feel positively about them, that you will stand up for them and stand up for yourself.

If she persisted I would say something like "I appreciate your concern but I'm happy with the way I've chosen to raise Zeke" and if she was really persistent I would say something like "This isn't up for discussion. If you would like to talk about this another time I'd be willing discuss it but this isn't the time to question my decisions"

and then of course if the person just couldn't let it go I'd politely tell them they needed to leave.

That's how I would handle it. I have a great-grandma in-law that I see quite often and really like but that has different ideas about things. She never challenges me on anything but she'll make comments about my daughters choice of clothing and things like that and I've never had to do anything but that first step. That way she knows that I am aware of the issue and that I am happy with it, and my daughter knows that I think she's a-ok the way she is.

Laura
 

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DD is five and she can't tie her shoes yet either. I don't really think it is a big deal but I would like for her to learn before first grade. Every child is differant and learns at their own pace I would definitly tell her that the next time she comments.
On a flip note I was three when I learned to tie my shoes only because my grandma told me she would leave me in the laundrymat if I didn't do it right then and there, talk about learning under pressue, no thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sijae View Post
I would have said something right then and there. Something like "we're happy with the situation right now. Zeke will let me know if he wants my help learning to tie his shoes" or "I'm sure Zeke will decide when he's ready to tie his own shoes" or "I'm happy to tie his shoes until he decides he'd like to do it for himself"
Thanks everybody (several people suggested something along these lines) -- I think this is what I'm going to go with the next time my mom throws out one of these comments. It's not a constant thing, but she definitely has certain ideas about what kids should and should not be doing at certain ages, and sometimes she can be a little overbearing with it.

It's not even that I'm really so upset with my mom, I just don't want Zeke to get a complex about how he should be tying his shoes but yet isn't, or whatever. I'll use one of those lines ("Zeke will let us know when he is ready to tie his own shoes") next time.
 

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When I was in k or first grade we had a chart on the wall at school and when we accomplished certain things, we got stickers. We had an open house and the only thought Id ever had about the chart up to that point was that I was proud of the stickers I had earned. My stepdad had a diffrent position, "Next time I come here, I want to see more stickers up there, ok?" Then I felt like a failure. ONe of the things was shoe tying, which he set about trying to teach me and it was so frustrating and I tried so hard and couldnt do it. It may sound stupid, but I swear I was traumatized by shoe tying! I have no idea how old ds1 was when he learned. When he asked to learn is when I started teaching him. But until then, we used velcro shoes! That is what I do with my little ones now as well. Oh, and when I did learn to tie, I cheated, a friend taught me to do it by making two loops and looping one around the other, it didnt work as well, but it got my stepdad off my back as long as he didnt see me do it and know I was doing it "wrong". I tied my shoes that way for years, in secret so no one knew that I still couldnt really tie my shoes.

I feel the same way when my mom makes comments in front of dd. First it was with EBF, and now potty training. I dont want my child to feel a sense of shame because she isnt doing something on grandmas timetable. So freaking what if she didnt potty train until age 3.5? She wont be using a diaper in college. I dont see pushing a kid that isnt ready, it just makes them adn you miserable. I know it affects her to hear her grammy say things like that though. I always just say something to the effect of, "Oh, lots of kids dont do that yet, its no big deal" which usually engenders an argument from her, but I refuse to fight about it in front of dd so I just stay calm and keep repeating myself. "Most kids I know dont potty train until three", my mom: "well, I dont know any kids that arent potty trained by then, you were potty trained at one", "Well, ideas have changed, its no big deal anymore" etc. etc.
 

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I didn't learn to tie my shoes until I was about 7. It's perfectly normal for a five year old to not be able to tie shoes. Which is why kindergarten teachers usually request that their charges be in slip-ons or velcro sneakers


I would have said something right there and then. Disrespecting my kids to their faces is anathema in my house.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by JanB View Post
Thanks everybody (several people suggested something along these lines) -- I think this is what I'm going to go with the next time my mom throws out one of these comments. It's not a constant thing, but she definitely has certain ideas about what kids should and should not be doing at certain ages, and sometimes she can be a little overbearing with it.

It's not even that I'm really so upset with my mom, I just don't want Zeke to get a complex about how he should be tying his shoes but yet isn't, or whatever. I'll use one of those lines ("Zeke will let us know when he is ready to tie his own shoes") next time.
Only problem I have with those comments is the implication that Zeke could tie his shoes at any point and is just choosing not to.

I think something like "Yes, Zeke is just now old enough to start learning that skill."
 

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My mother is like this. I have to constantly practice standing up for myself (as a mother with a very valid opinion & a MUCH BETTER understanding of my own child), as well as standing up for my child, who, RELIES on me at this age to learn that it is NOT okay to say hurtful things; she relies on me to defend her - so she can learn one day to defend herself. You need to practice saying what your child can't say for himself - go over it in your mind, so your ready next time it happens.

Honestly, your mothers/bf's feelings in this situation are the LAST thing you should be concerned about hurting. Zeke needs to know that it's NOT okay to pick on or put down people, and at the same time, be reassured that YOU think he's doing fine.

Try something like,

"You know, we've been WORKING on tying shoes, right Zeke! It sure can be complicated! Hey Mom, did you know that Zeke knows how to zip his own coat?"

Then, in private, I would additionally express to your mother WHY you felt the need NOT to confirm her "concerns" in front of Zeke - and stand firm. There's NO REASON a 5 year old should adhere to your Mom's timeline or expectations, and no reason she should have expressed that to Zeke in that way.
 

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A five YO who can't tie his shoes HIMSELF? Scandelous!
:

Tell her to get a grip, MOST 5 YO's can't!

And saying it in front of him, um, no!
 

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My 5yo can't tie his shoes either. We cheat and use velcro.
: The fine motor skills necessary for that don't develop until later for some kids, and, like everything else, he will learn when he is ready.
As for your mom, if she gets her feelings hurt when you offer criticism, its probably good that you didn't say anything to her. My MIL is like this, so what I do now to spare ds's feelings is make sure to shift the focus of the conversation to the things he can do and how proud I am of that. It builds him up, adn, eventually, she gets the idea.
Example:
MIL: He can't tie his shoes yet?
Me: Oh, he will when he's ready. But he just learned how to throw a ball all the way across the yard! You should see him!
Sometimes this takes several redirections. (My MIL redirects about as easily as my 5yo
) but it does focus on the positive, and I think that is important.
 

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I would have said (for your son's benefit), "5 is really young for tying shoes. We're going to start working on it in a few months. Besides, I *like* tying his shoes for him -- more cuddletime!" or something like that.

I feel bad for your son.
I hope he doesn't feel bad about not being able to tie them yet. My son will be 6 in October and is nowhere near being able to tie his own shoes.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by blsilva View Post
Example:
MIL: He can't tie his shoes yet?
Me: Oh, he will when he's ready. But he just learned how to throw a ball all the way across the yard! You should see him!
Sometimes this takes several redirections. (My MIL redirects about as easily as my 5yo
) but it does focus on the positive, and I think that is important.
 

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Wow. I read your mom's comments so differently from the other posters...

It sounds completely passive-aggressive to me. Grandma suddenly doesn't know how old her grandson is?? Come on! Honestly, I would suggest not even acknowledging what she wants to bring up as a topic for an argument (shoe-tying). Turn the conversation away from your son, because she's using him to throw a verbal jab at you. (I think, in psychological terms, it's called triangulating.) Maybe say something like, "Mom, this feels like a game. If you're upset about something you can tell me what it is, but don't pretend that a 5 yo tying or not tying shoes is really the issue." How icky to use him in that way.

(By the way, I do agree that 5 is very young to be able to tie shoes. And I think it's important to verbally support your son when someone makes a comment in front of him. I just don't think shoe-tying is really your mom's issue. If it hadn't been the shoes, she would have found something else.)

And feel free to tell me I'm totally off-base! It just struck a nerve, because it sounds like so many conversations I grew up with... and am trying not to repeat with my own children.

Best wishes... family dynamics can be rough!
 
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