Post # 1
Okay, maybe not that blunt, but surely there are at least some hints you can drop!
I’ve got a friend that I love dearly – I’m very close to her, and I think she’s great, but her parenting…not so much.
Her daughter is five now, a great kid, but has a lot of issues. She has very low self-esteem, believes she’s stupid and has virtually no confidence in herself. In terms of her academic skills, she’s five years old and she can’t read, her drawing is very basic, she can count to about 40, and can barely follow multiple step instructions (even the most basic!). Her mum seems to believe that the daughter will magically “catch up” when she starts school. Daughter is fixed to a screen pretty much all her waking hours – TV, DS laptop, you name it.
When it comes to discipline, they’re not so bad – they rarely smack her, but it’s usually when daughter has reached a point where she’s so emotionally distraught that she can’t hear what her mum’s saying. If I step in, I can have her calmed down in minutes by explaining “This is what you’re feeling, this is what mummy’s feeling. What should we do to make you both feel better?” Daughter will invariably apologise to her mother and try to make things up with her.
But if I try and make any suggestions I get shot down with “You don’t even have any kids, what could you know?!” Well, for starters, my whole career is built around managing challenging behaviours in children (early work as a behaviour therapist for kids with disabilities, currently working with kids that have been removed from their homes because of behavioural issues). But this stuff is more than my work, I love seeing children change and grow, and it’s frustrating as hell to see my friend look like she’s ruining her child and she won’t even acknowledge that she could do some things differently!
Post # 3
I’d say, ‘what you’ve been doing isn’t working, it can’t hurt to try ___ instead’.
Post # 4
I think this is a hard one, and I imagine you will end up getting the whole ‘You don’t have children so how do you know, you’re not a mom’ speech again. I would just leave it until you are asked for advice. If I was your friend and I had a trained person like your self in your field I would be asking all sorts of advice. I plan on doing it when I have kids to my best friend who is a children’s nurse, I think I will drive her crazy haha!
And try not to let it get you down, i know it’s hard because you just want to help and see the child happier, but some people just don’t want to help. 🙁 xx
Post # 5
maybe if you put it in a way like this.. ” At work I had a little girl who was similar to your daughter and there are some things that her parents did with her that made a big improvement.They were really happy and wish they had started that sooner. If you want I can go over some of those things with you?”
Just a thought!
Post # 6
i really think that this is not for you to make comments. its her kid to raise as she knows best. i dont think you should go in saying you know all because you are blah blah blah, but instead you should use that information to talk to her. eg:
i was reading the other day about how hard it is when kids do certain things and they said that trying this way could make it easier, im not sure if it would work, have you tried anything like that?? “
but do this when there isnt an issue. that way it makes it seem as if it isnt you pushing your mothering skills on to them. i think thats really important. she is the parent, not you.
ETA: im not trying to sound mean, i just think the way you put it previously makes the mum feel defensive, and you getting involved is undermining her as a mother. This is never going to change behaviours. and i think you truely do want to help.
Post # 7
@mrs.stormylove: I like this best. It seems less accusatory. It also prevents you from giving unsolicited advice – instead you ask for it. Give this a shot if you want, otherwise, I would just leave it alone.
Post # 9
Humm.. are 5 years old supposed to be able to read, count till 40 and so on? If so, then i am a crapy mum too. My daughter is very intelligent and is in her last year before first grade. I bet by the end of the year she will be reading a little, but i do not think what you described means a bad parent.
Post # 10
Unless there’s actually abuse (which this really doesn’t sound like), I think you need to butt out. Everyone has some way of child rearing that they think is best but objectively there’s no gold standard.
Post # 11
I studied child psychology and when not asked i keep my mouth shut! (abuse aside)
I don’t think a 5 year old needs to be able to do those things you described and it wouldn’t make parents uncapable either.
Post # 12
You can’t tell someone they are a crap parent, unless there is abuse, and even then you call CPS. It’s easier to critique other parents when you only have exposure to the child for a few hours a few times a month. I’m sure she’s doing the best she can 24/7.
Post # 13
Actually I was able to read at 4 years old just fine. It’s not exactly a horrible thing that she cant read yet, but it is concerning that you mentioned she doesn’t have any confidence or self esteem. That is troubling for a child her age. Ignore the PP’s who are telling you it’s none of your buisness because in all honesty, if a child is being neglected, even on an emotional situation, it is absolutely you’re place to say something if you feel it need be said. It’s also concerning that you mentione the childs mother thinks she will “magically catch up” to the rest of her classmates when she is put in school. That just isn’t the right attitude to have with you’re child! You should want them to do well and throwing them into school unprepared because you hope they will just “Catch up” is beyond cruel.
It sounds like you are good friends with the childs parent so try not to burn any bridges just yet. Maybe suggest some fun interactive games for the child or some cool learning puzzles etc to help her along as much as possible. I really hate when parents know their child is struggling in any aspect and just expect them to “grow out of it”. Good lord step up and parent your child!
Post # 14
uhh, you don’t – unless you don’t want to be friends with this mom anymore 🙂
Post # 15
I think most mothers are fairly defensive when it comes to their parenting skills and children. It’s possibly she feels threatened becuase you’re looking at her situation from a professional, educated standpoint and she has not had the benefit of that background. Whereas she’s looking at it based on instincts and wherever else she has picked up her style of parenting. If you are concerned try to bring it up in a non judgemental way. To her it may be coming across as “I’m so educated and I do this for a living and you don’t know what you’re doing”. Not to say that’s how you’re intending it, but it’s possible it’s being recieved as judgemental or that you’re looking down your nose at her. That being said, there are a lot of people that just do not want to hear it. Try using plain, non clinical language or introducing skills and confidence buliding things as fun games and encourage the mother to be doing it, not to take over the parenting for her.
Post # 16
How does she react wen she sees that you’re able to resolve something with her daughter easier? And keep in mind that those two deal with each other everyday and kids are usually very receptive/polite/obliging to visitors. So yes, you could be demonstrating better communication skills, but thedaughter might be receptive to the novelty of your visit.