Post # 1
I am not a mom, but want to be one after marriage. My best friend is the mom of an almost two year old. We are planning to go to lunch this weekend, but we have to limit our options because the daughter is difficult in restaurants (mom’s words, not mine). I have no experience with her in a restaurant anytime recently.
She started going into detail about the different places she is difficult for her, but is good for others, acts like an angel under other supervision etc.
I know that telling a parent how to parent is a very touchy subject and I definitely do not plan to do that, but she has mentioned that she doesn’t know why she is behaving that way or what to do about it. An example is that the child started having a tantrum at the checkout, and when they got outside, she told her that behaviour made her sad, and the child laughed at her.
So how does the conversation go from there? Do I offer suggestions, listen to her vent? This is the first person I’ve known to have a child so I don’t know how to handle this situation. I don’t wan to just listen and nod, not saying anything, and seem like I don’t care. But I also don’t want to step on toes. I feel like if it were any other issue (a date with a guy, argument with a sister, etc) you can offer advice but parenting is just an off-limit topic it seems like.
Anyone else have experience with friends that are parents?
Post # 3
- Wedding: June 2017 - Vegas Wedings
I dont think there is any safe way for us childless women to talk about this sort of thing with women who have children. Just listen to her vent. If you MUST give suggestion make sure to say in it a passive way and if they shut that down just nod and accept.
Post # 4
Just listen to her vent, sympathize, and encourage “oh man.. that must suck, I’d be so embarassed.” “I know you work really hard to teach her how to behave, I’m sure it’ll pay off soon, hang in there!”
Post # 5
Just listen and sympathize with her. No offense, she’s probably not looking for parenting suggestions from someone without kids. Raising kids is actually much more difficult and complicated than most people realize before having their own.
Post # 6
don’t say anything. i’m sure she knows her kid is a handful and she’s embarrassed by it and your suggestions likely won’t help. i don’t have kids but i have a problem dog (he’s like an out of control toddler with a very small IQ that will HOWL AND SCREAM) and people are like “well, have you tried so and so”. i want to punch those people because a. i know he’s bananas you don’t need to point it out to me, b. YES I’VE TRIED THAT c. my dog is not like your dog or the dog you babysat or the dog you saw on tv that one time.
Post # 7
I find it fascinating that people who suck at parenting don’t like to be told how to parent. I seriously doubt it’s just a problem kid all the time.
Post # 8
@strawbs: This. A lot of the times it’s the parents who can’t teach their kids proper behaviour.
*cough* my step sister who doesn’t dicipline her children *cough*
Post # 9
almostmrsj has a good point. Being a supportive friend and encouraging would be best coming from someone who doesn’t have a child yet. Offering advise might be taken wrong since you don’t have actual hands on experience.
Going anywhere with a 2 year old can be difficult since they have short attention spans. Her laughing at her mother telling her behavior mad her sad is another story and will refrain from commenting on that one. If you’d like to offer something, how about bringing some small toys or an activity she can do that might keep her occupied. It might just buy you enough time to have lunch and possibly a stress free outing with your friend. If all else fails you can always slip some Dimetapp into her sippy cup…JUST KIDDING!!!!
Post # 10
@strawbs: Unfortunately I live pretty far away now, and mostly when we get together it’s without her daughter, but I’m pretty sure she is a good mom, but I do think she has trouble in the discipline department.
She wasn’t exactly raised from a model parent, so I think she doesn’t want to do the same things her mom did…it’s probably a fine line. That and her parenting ideas seem to be different than the father’s. I’m sure it’s not easy either way.
Post # 11
@Ill Be Mrs B: I like your thinking! I agree, I won’t offer specific advice and will just listen (and yes a lot of it sounds like it’s due to the age appropriate short attention span)
Post # 12
I’m a step-parent to two teenagers, and I’ve also raised some of the most awful, nasty stubborn children ever put on this earth, my years as a nanny turned me off on my own kids permanently…anyway, I have a lot of friends and family that have younger children, and they all act up differently at different stages in their lives, it’s part of being little…depending on your friendship and her perspective, you may or may not be able to offer some help.
If she’s of the, “It Takes a Village” camp, these people produce happy, socially comfortable children who have learned to not only listen to their parents, but trusted adults in general and are a joy to be around, even if they are having an off day, odds are good that someone in the group can get them out of their funk…even if it is just being carried around by someone who isn’t mom or dad.
If she’s of the “Don’t No One Tell Me How to Raise My Baby!” camp, there’s nothing you can do to help her…she’s determined and adamant about being the sole source of information and guidance in her child’s development and your assistance will only be seen as an intrusion and responded to quite badly. When you are with her, it might feel very frustrating to watch her struggle, but you have to respect her parenting choice.
I’ve dealt with both schools of parenting, they both work and it’s not my business to tell anyone otherwise, but if I know I’m going to be around a child, I always make sure to have some tricks up my sleeve, or in my enormous bag as it were. Coloring books and crayons NEVER hurt anyone, a new stuffed animal, even a small one is greatly appreciated and can be a great motivator to get through a meal, or a store, always speak to children like little people, they’re short, not stupid, they always appreciate being included and acknowledged.
Post # 13
@kmarie719: Mom of a two year old here. Firstly, you’re a great friend for trying to come up with ways on how to help. Personally, I think the best thing for you to do is just listen, and avoid offering advice unless she specifically asks for it. Parenting is a tough job, and having others offer unsolicited advice can make a mom feel worse and isn’t usually productive. Just having you there to vent to once in a while is likely helping your friend great deal. I know that having even a bit of adult interaction can really improve my day.
Post # 14
@Nona99: You sound like me. I am the oldest of ten and being in a house with that brood made me not want kids. Somehow I ended up with my own (apparently the laundry basket needed my birth control pills more than I did cause it kept reproducing) and now I have two soon to be step daughters.
Im in the it takes a village camp. I tell my kids all of them, if you act up, someone is gonna get a hold of you. Im from a small town where everyone knew everyone and if you misbehaved it got back to your mom and dad faster than the speed of light. We knew better than to misbehave.
Post # 15
I truly believe that some kids do not belong in restaurants. They have sitters for a reason.
Post # 16
Yeah, this is catch 22 territory. My sister used to vent about her kids all the time as if she wanted advice, and when I asked her if she would try blah blah blah, she acted all offended, and told me I couldn’t possibly understand. I’ve learned to change the subject from bratty behavior because apparently it’s a non-starter with her. If she didn’t want advice or had foreseen getting offended, she shouldn’t bring it up.