Mothering Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hear this a lot from close friends of ours. We demand good manners from DS (who is 2) and won't tolerate jumping on furniture, shrieking in restaurants (or at any dinner table), etc.<br><br>
Friends' daughter is 6 months younger, and a firecracker, to say the least. DS is just much more mellow than she is by nature, but it doesn't help that they don't believe she is "old enough" for any sort of discipline. (And when I say "discipline" I mean teaching her that climbing on the table and throwing food isn't appropriate. I don't expect beatings....)<br><br>
They and their family said this again to her today. "Look how good <my DS> is being. Why can't you be good like he is?" I like and appreciate that they want her to emulate his calm behavior in public, but the wording makes me cringe. She IS a good girl. Annoying at times, a toddler always, and maybe a bit spoiled (but whose fault is that? Certainly not hers!). I love her to death and yet I don't like her behavior.<br><br>
What to say in these situations? I don't want to say, "It's okay." It's not. If it were, I wouldn't be telling DS not to do xyz. But I certainly don't want to sit there smugly silent while my child behaves and theirs doesn't.<br><br>
We will be spending a LOT of time with them next week and would love to hear any suggestions for how to deal with this. I feel like I should keep my mouth shut, but again, don't want that to be mistaken for smugness, and I don't think they should be implying that DS is good and their DD is not.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,701 Posts
I think you should tell them it's okay even if it is annoying. Your son is so young that you don't know that he will never go through a stage like this. My dd was wonderfully calm and easy until she was three, then it seemed like no matter how I redirected her or pulled out a consequence it wasn't effective. Do what you want her to do when the situation is reversed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
649 Posts
That breaks my heart. First of all, it's not the little kid's job to figure out how to behave. It is the parent's job to figure out how best to teach it to the child.<br><br>
Secondly, if they keep telling her "why can't you be good" (which is the same as saying "you're not good") then I am afraid she will live down to their expectations.<br>
The labeling will hinder progress in the long run, I think.<br><br>
I mean, what would they think if the tables were turned and you said something similarly hurtful and comparing, like "why haven't you taught your child to behave like <span style="text-decoration:underline;">I</span> did?" They'd be upset and rightly so.<br><br>
Their little girl is so young anyway!!<br><br>
Anyway, as to your question...Maybe you could say "Every child is different; I love her just the way she is. She just hasn't learned to [fill in the desired behavior here] yet."<br><br>
Best of luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,336 Posts
I have had this child, my DD was/is that kid. When she was 18 months holy-moly it was a nightmare. Now I didn't say be good like so and so, but I sure wondered why she wasn't "good" like so and so(by good I mean calm). I never said that to her.<br><br>
Now you are saying they say she's too young for discipline. Well in some aspects she is, I look back and in many ways I expected way too much of DD behavior-wise at that age all it lead to was battles and frustration on both ends.<br><br>
You say she climbs on the table? We had to deal with that for <i>months</i>, I mean months and months. We took away the chairs until one day it was lik, "eh, it's a phase it will pass."<br><br>
The biggest thing I'm reading is she does things that bug you, well some of the these same things may not be a big deal to the parents. Like I said I had to get over the table sitting, the dropping food for the dog, clearing all the books off the shelf. You have to pick your battles, feel blessed your son is calm, I know first hand how frustrating it can be to have that "firecracker" kid. It is hard.<br><br>
I think that one great resource is "Raising Your Spirited Child" that book helps find positive ways to communicate, discipline and work on the pluses of having a child who is just on.<br><br>
You probably should just say it's okay, but maybe try and recommend that book, it helped me sooooooo much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
932 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>One_Girl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15358963"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think you should tell them it's okay even if it is annoying. Your son is so young that you don't know that he will never go through a stage like this. My dd was wonderfully calm and easy until she was three, then it seemed like no matter how I redirected her or pulled out a consequence it wasn't effective. Do what you want her to do when the situation is reversed.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Yeah, that. We had expectations a-plenty for our two-year-olds; they had other ideas. When they were 18-mos, I could probably count the number of times we went to a restaurant on one hand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,680 Posts
At 18 months and 2 years old (even up until 3) whether a child can behave calmly in public places is more a temperament issue than from discipline. They don't have impulse control at that age and little control over their reactions.<br>
My first DD always did well in public places, didn't jump on furniture or shriek. She was very verbal early, sentences by 16 months. Liked being read to from the very beginning. My second DD, that I had when my first one was already in college, has a very high energy temperament. She was verbal within normal range but a lot later than her sister. She took a break from listening to stories as soon as she could crawl away up until right before her third birthday. She just couldn't be still long enough. She has to climb and jump on something everyday. We took a year break from restaurants and a lot of shopping starting at 21 months. Also she likes that she can echo in large buildings. She's not at all a quiet child. If anything my discipline is more consistent now. They just have different temperaments.<br><br>
I hate to break it to you, but if you have a child with a very intense high energy temperament, what you won't tolerate will do little to slow down the activity or quiet the noise. At least before 3 or so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for your insight. I feel I need to clarify.... *I* know that her behavior is typical for a toddler. It doesn't bother me that she does it. It bothers me that her parents say these things, but they NEVER tell her to get off the table. They never say no, you need to sit for a bit longer (when she wants out of the high chair after only a few minutes). I really don't care if they choose to just give in right away and take her outside for a walk. I personally don't want that to be my reality when we're out to eat, and DS has been out enough to be used to it, so it's not really an issue (yet -- I can see some restlessness starting in him though).<br><br>
Yes, it's annoying to have her going wild and having my son wanting to join in. But my real question is what to say when their only admonishment is to be "good like <DS>." They don't say, "We don't climb on the table." "It's not time to go outside." As soon as she looks like she's not going to cooperate, they say nothing. Then she gets into whatever she's getting into and they ask why she can't be good. They ARE putting too much on her for her age, and at the same time not expecting/teaching enough. It's like they just expect her to see DS and model what he does. But she is clearly the dominant personality of the two, and if the parents don't have control, why would they think a 2 year old would?<br><br>
I agree that it's more temperament than anything else. I just don't know what to say...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
460 Posts
We are very much like yourselves. Our DS will be 3 soon and also has wonderul manners...something we have encouraged fromt he start. But we also time our outings well. We never go out when Ds is tired or cranky or hasn't had any exercise. And I always bring a back up bag of quiet restaurant appropriate activities such as books, coloring, etc.<br><br>
Maybe when you go out with them you can pack a few extra things in a bag that the girl can use to keep herself occupied? I had to do this before. I had a friend whose son was just impossible to be in public with and while perhaps he was "spirited" he also received not a word of caution or discipline from his mother. I took over and set them up with coloring if we went out just as a courtesy to other diners.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,336 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>swd12422</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15359597"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thank you all for your insight. I feel I need to clarify.... *I* know that her behavior is typical for a toddler. It doesn't bother me that she does it. It bothers me that her parents say these things, but they NEVER tell her to get off the table. They never say no, you need to sit for a bit longer (when she wants out of the high chair after only a few minutes). I really don't care if they choose to just give in right away and take her outside for a walk. I personally don't want that to be my reality when we're out to eat, and DS has been out enough to be used to it, so it's not really an issue (yet -- I can see some restlessness starting in him though).<br><br>
Yes, it's annoying to have her going wild and having my son wanting to join in. But my real question is what to say when their only admonishment is to be "good like <DS>." They don't say, "We don't climb on the table." "It's not time to go outside." As soon as she looks like she's not going to cooperate, they say nothing. Then she gets into whatever she's getting into and they ask why she can't be good. They ARE putting too much on her for her age, and at the same time not expecting/teaching enough. It's like they just expect her to see DS and model what he does. But she is clearly the dominant personality of the two, and if the parents don't have control, why would they think a 2 year old would?<br><br>
I agree that it's more temperament than anything else. I just don't know what to say...</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Honestly to me you keep echoing the same issues. I don't like that they say that, and maybe you should say something about that and that alone. For me when DD was that age, I stopped taking her to farmer's market, a restaurant. I still had to take her to the store, IT SUCKED-most of the parents who responded said the same things. NO matter what I did to calm and redirect her she was just loud, and crazy. I actually got accosted by an elderly couple who asked if she was mentally ill, and they then told me what a terrible mother I was, because she was shrieking and it was nap time. I told her to be quiet, but when you have a HIGH energy child, just a simple request like that just isn't going to work. I've left more public places totally embarrassed when DD was a toddler, it was not due to my not even trying, just nothing worked. My grandma suggested when she was 2 that she must have ADD because a child her age should be able to sit at a restaurant-give me a break, she's 2.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"> When you start to feel like a broken record of "no, don't get up there, no, please get down, no, no, no...." It starts to be a bit grating on ones mental stability.<br><br>
I guess if hanging out with them is that bad, I just wouldn't do it. I had to cut myself out of a lot of things when DD was that age, mama's group, playdates.....it was a very isolating time for me.<br><br>
Again I suggest that book, it helped me so much.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,701 Posts
It sounds like they have a different view on acceptable behavior and they are fine with taking her outside. If they weren't they would be trying to redirect her in actual ways. I think that this phrase is just one that they may use to make you think they are trying to do something about a behavior that they know you view as wrong, even though they view it as normal and are willing to accomodate her needs. I don't think it is bad parenting to take a child outside when they are done instead of having them wait or to have a different opinion than a friend about what age appropriate expectations are. Maybe you could ask them not to compare your son to her because you don't want him to feel bad when he goes through one of the normal testing phases toddlers go through. Putting the emphasis on him will lighten the dig on their parenting skills.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
790 Posts
Sounds like restaurants and places like them where this LO needs to sit still for a bit are not a great option for your 2 families.<br><br>
I think you are well within your rights to ask that your friends not use your DS as the example of how their DD should act. Not fair to either kid. Otherwise, how they discipline is their business, and if they are constatly putting their dd in a situation she is not ready for, it's bound to be a miserable experience for all. I'd try to go places where it is OK for their dd to climb, say a park or at their home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,742 Posts
Sigh. I shouldn't respond, and I know that. It's just...I have a high-energy child. Well, I have 2 high-energy child, but one does much better in restaurant-type settings. My son just gets too over-stimulated, and it's a struggle. I've had parent friends who are like you sound - very smug about your child's behavior. You know what? Both of those sets of parents now have a second child who's far more intense than their first.<br><br>
They're frazzled. One has called me for help just to get a break 3 times now. I just smile, and hubby and I joke about asking them how their view on how they "taught their child" to behave in public is going now.<br><br>
If you don't want them to say that their dd should emulate your son, just ask them in a private moment and explain why. It really sounds, though, that you are smug about your son's behavior because you think that it's all you and your parenting although you're saying you know it's temperament.<br><br>
I don't view what they're doing as "bad" or "lack of discipline." If my child is over-stimulated somewhere, I will go out for a walk with him. Neither of my children ever sat in high chairs for long. I don't feel the need to make them sit quietly in a restaurant. They've always participated in conversation as much as possible. While I'll take books & crayons & things, they may or may not use them. If it bothers you, don't go out with them. I'm sure they wouldn't want to go if they knew how much you were thinking about how their daughter's behavior was annoying.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,450 Posts
I agree with you. I never tolerated shrieking in public (quiet) places. Jumping on furniture was not allowed. (except her bed)<br><br>
I expected and got certain behaviors without ever using punishments.<br><br>
But, my child had a mellow personality. She liked hanging out with adults, and was generally easy to have around.<br><br>
My friend's son, Micheal was the complete opposite. We pretty much never took him to quiet places because he would jump on the booth at a restaurant, or talk to the people behind him, or lay on the floor under the table. He didn't enjoy adult company. He liked food, but when he was done, he wanted to leave.<br><br>
He was AWESOME for my daughter. He was so good at helping her try new things. He was brave, happy, outgoing. He'd go into the climber at mcdonalds, and come out with a new friend. He'd pretend to write down a phone number, give it to someone he liked and tell them "Call me".<br><br>
My daughter tried new, scary things when Michael was there. (as long as he tried it first) Mom got annoyed at him. SHe always wished he was more like my daughter. But, I always pointed out, how much fun he is. Everyone needs at least one Michael in their lives. *but, he was much more enjoyable at HIS house, than my house.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
I just wanted to say that I don't think the OP is being smug at all about the child's behavior, and I have a very high needs, over excited, energetic 3 year old and a SIL whose kids are the most well behaved kids I have ever seen. So really if she was being high and mighty about it I would be offended. She even pointed out that she agrees temperment makes a huge difference. I think she was just trying to set up the back story a bit.<br><br>
So to answer the OP question. I would just say to the other mom, "all kids act up sometimes and there is a big difference between the impulse control and maturity level of a 18 month old and a 2 year old." if you wanted to you could add in, "at that age I found being x, y, z (consistency, remebering what is age approriate behavior, picking my battles, redirecting, or whatever strategy you found helpful) seemed to really help us out, but maybe I just got lucky." ( Said with a smile) I think if you approach her in a light hearted way you can still get your message across without making it sound liek you are judging her, because really there is a huge difference between 18m and 2 years.<br>
Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>VisionaryMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15361000"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
I don't view what they're doing as "bad" or "lack of discipline." If my child is over-stimulated somewhere, I will go out for a walk with him. Neither of my children ever sat in high chairs for long. I don't feel the need to make them sit quietly in a restaurant. They've always participated in conversation as much as possible. While I'll take books & crayons & things, they may or may not use them. If it bothers you, don't go out with them. I'm sure they wouldn't want to go if they knew how much you were thinking about how their daughter's behavior was annoying.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
I too have a very challenging 3 year old. But I wanted to just say that sometimes inappropriate behavior is because of lack of boundaries. Not lack of discipline or not being spanked but because of lack of boundaries. Obviously this is not the case in all behavior or in all children but sometimes "lack of discipline" is a major factor, and it seems like it may be in this scenerio. Not yours but the OP.<br><br>
She wasn't bothered by her restlessness or not being able to sit still, but that the little girl was throwing food and sitting on top the table. That is very different then needing to get up for a bit. They just let her down without trying to distract her or get her to sit for even a minute more. She didn't suggest she sit there until dinner was over. She only brought up the high chair issue to show that the parents aren't even trying to establish any boundaries.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,680 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>swd12422</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15359597"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thank you all for your insight. I feel I need to clarify.... *I* know that her behavior is typical for a toddler. It doesn't bother me that she does it. It bothers me that her parents say these things, but they NEVER tell her to get off the table. They never say no, you need to sit for a bit longer (when she wants out of the high chair after only a few minutes). I really don't care if they choose to just give in right away and take her outside for a walk. I personally don't want that to be my reality when we're out to eat, and DS has been out enough to be used to it, so it's not really an issue (yet -- I can see some restlessness starting in him though).<br><br>
Yes, it's annoying to have her going wild and having my son wanting to join in. But my real question is what to say when their only admonishment is to be "good like <DS>." They don't say, "We don't climb on the table." "It's not time to go outside." As soon as she looks like she's not going to cooperate, they say nothing. Then she gets into whatever she's getting into and they ask why she can't be good. They ARE putting too much on her for her age, and at the same time not expecting/teaching enough. It's like they just expect her to see DS and model what he does. But she is clearly the dominant personality of the two, and if the parents don't have control, why would they think a 2 year old would?<br><br>
I agree that it's more temperament than anything else. I just don't know what to say...</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
It sounds like they aren't giving her any direction. Even when my high energy DD probably couldn't sit still in a restaurant we still gave her the chance to try occasionally and told her what was expected. We never let her climb on tables that were for eating on. We just said dangerous and then removed her if need be. If she couldn't handle staying at the table and being reasonably quiet at a restaurant one of us took her outside to walk around and the other paid for the food and waited for it to be packaged to take home. Just because a child may not be able to comply, you still need to let them know what your expectations are or they won't learn. By about 3 our DD started being able to behave more appropriately in public but she wouldn't have known what appropriate behavior was if we hadn't been patiently asking for it all along. A toddler wouldn't understand "be good like 'someone else'". They would understand "stay in your seat please", "shhh inside voice please" or "stay in your seat or we'll go home and eat".<br><br>
We were able to eat out and had no problems at all until our DD was 21 months. She just became so busy, curious and social at that age it just stopped working. She stopped being able to sit still for more than a few minutes. When she was a couple of months away from turning 3 she was able to behave appropriately in restaurants and stores again. She still needed to move a lot but had enough impulse control to manage it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
VisionaryMom - Sorry if I offended you (and anyone else here with a spirited or not-so-spirited child). Not my intention at all. I have a hard time typing what I mean here (mostly due to distractions from the "mellow" 2-year-old who is acting his age). I do know (and thought I'd stated) that it's mostly temperament at this age. I'm certainly not taking credit for my boy's personality. We get compliments all the time about how good he is, and how I must be a great mom, and I say, "It's not me. It's him." It's true. I don't take credit for his personality, and I don't blame or credit others for their kids' temperaments either.<br><br>
I love this little girl and her exuberance. I love watching the two of them get all crazy together. I don't love that they don't try to model desired behavior or set (reasonable) boundaries for her, and then just comment about how good my boy is. My boy is good b/c he's a good kid. He behaves nicely b/c he's been out and about since infanthood and has learned along the way how to act. It's not b/c I beat him silly or b/c I'm mean or b/c I'm just a stellar mom. He learned mostly on his own from lots of experience, and some guidance from us.<br><br>
Unfortunately, that all goes down the toilet when we're all out together, and it's awkward. I appreciate the helpful tips some of you have posted here. Normally I'd just bite my tongue, but we're all spending the week together so we'll be eating out A LOT. I guess after the first day, if she's still making those comments I will say something to her. I appreciate all the perspective you all have given me.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top