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How to give parenting advice without pissing people off

_J__J_ PedantRegistered User, __BANNED USERS regular
I recently became friends with a single mother who has a 5 year old and a 2 year old. After spending some time with them (a few months) I have found myself in situations where I am compelled to offer advice, report observations, for the sake of the child's well-being. The few times I have gently made these suggestions the result was what you might expect: The mother becomes defensive, and I end up apologizing.

The one time I had success was when she and I were shopping for toys. She was going to buy her 2 year old one of those stuffed bears you can draw on, and I asked, "You don't think that will teach her it's ok to draw on stuffed animals?" And the mom was all, "Oh...yeah. Good point."

So I think, "Oh. Ok. I'll just ask leading questions and let her reach the conclusion. I'll be all Incepting." But that hasn't worked the few other times I tried it.

This evening I received a text from her about her child's most recent injury. The 2 year old was running through the house with a medicine dropper in her mouth, tripped, fell face-first onto the floor, and the eyedropper tore the shit out of the roof of the kid's mouth. This after I had noticed the kid running with things in her mouth on previous occasions (clothespin, spoon), suggested that the behavior be quashed, and that not happening.

I am not trying to nitpick her parenting style, going over every interaction with a fine-toothed comb looking for errors as if I am an expert. I do not presume to know much about child raising. But when the bastard is running around with shit sticking out of its mouth that seems like an obvious, "Yeah...that shouldn't happen" scenario. At this point, I've limited my suggestions to "That might kill your kid" situations, and I still get rebuffed.

Is there any way for a person to give parenting advice to someone else without pissing them off, making them defensive, having them rationalize a way around the advice, etc.? Or is this one of those situations where I ought to keep my mouth shut, and just let the coroner explain what she did wrong?


TL;DR: How do I effectively articulate this to a single mother:
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«13

Posts

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Is there any way for a person to give parenting advice to someone else without pissing them off, making them defensive, having them rationalize a way around the advice, etc.?

    Unless you're an expert that they are consulting? Nope.

    With Love and Courage
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  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    keep yer mouth shut.

    YOLO. Swag. Whatever. Fuck it. Lets do this.
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  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    Are you a parent, yourself?

    What's your relationship to the mother?

    Because as you noted, it's going to be really difficult to give advice without it coming out wrong. Also, how often are you around the mom and child?
    _J_ wrote: »

    The one time I had success was when she and I were shopping for toys. She was going to buy her 2 year old one of those stuffed bears you can draw on, and I asked, "You don't think that will teach her it's ok to draw on stuffed animals?" And the mom was all, "Oh...yeah. Good point."

    So I think, "Oh. Ok. I'll just ask leading questions and let her reach the conclusion. I'll be all Incepting." But that hasn't worked the few other times I tried it.

    Also, this part doesn't portray you in the best of light. First of all, is it really that big of a deal if the kid draws on her stuffed animals?

    Secondly, the whole 'incepting' thing makes it seem like you think you're smarter than her.

    CambiataRainfallceresGrisloWheatBun01DarkewolfeDoctorArchSmallLadyGaslightNiceguyeddie616
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    haha, oh man. As a non-parent, lemme tell you: if you don't have a kid of your own, it's impossible. You just gotta swallow your opinions and remember that parenting makes most people look flagrantly awful at least some of the time.

    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
    GaslightMegaMekLostNinjaceresWheatBun01DarkewolfetynicDoctorArchNiceguyeddie616Andy Joe
  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    You cannot tell the parent anything, but it is possible to train her kids to not do stupid stuff, at least around you, if the kids like you.

    iTNdmYl.png
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Yeah, these were the replies I expected. Is there any harm in asking the mom this question? Something like:

    "Hey, I care about you, and I care about the well-being of your kids. Sometimes I notice them doing things that may be harmful, and want to offer advice for how to quash that behavior, but that seems to not go well. How would you like me to act in these situations?"

    That seems like a reasonable question to ask, right?

  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    Nope.

    Because it still sounds like you're saying "You're not raising your kids right and I know better."

    MegaMekceresspool32XaquinWheatBun01CogMego ThorDarkewolfenaporeonDoctorArchQuidSmallLadyRear Admiral ChocoCambiataLovelyTransporterNiceguyeddie616The BetgirlLaPuzza
  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Yeah, these were the replies I expected. Is there any harm in asking the mom this question? Something like:

    "Hey, I care about you, and I care about the well-being of your kids. Sometimes I notice them doing things that may be harmful, and want to offer advice for how to quash that behavior, but that seems to not go well. How would you like me to act in these situations?"

    That seems like a reasonable question to ask, right?

    Yeah, as long as you're ready to say "okay, no problem" when they say "I'd rather you didn't do anything".

    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we have booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
    ceresbowen
  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    keep in mind you only observe a fraction of what goes into being a parent, and 'child management strategies' - for want of a better term - are developed over a hell of a lot of first-hand experience. if everyone's healthy and happy, and risks are balanced somewhere between 'locked up in a conservatory and monitored 24/7' and 'it's a big wide world out there that you're gonna have to learn about, kid, so it's time for your first handgun,' advice from someone who hasn't gone through it themselves will be neither warranted nor respected

    and i absolutely disagree with the idea that you shouldn't get a stuffed bear to draw on! firstly it's a wonderful outlet for creativity, and secondly it enables a learning experience whereby a child can learn barriers: learn about this thing being for this, and this thing not being for that even if it looks similar. when we're talking about something as irrelevant as made-in-china playthings, when the stakes are so low, there's absolutely no reason to limit the scope of a child's experiences

    sC4Q4nq.jpg
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  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Making suggestions or providing counterexamples can be helpful advice, but at the end of the day it's her child, she is the one who is there all the time, she is the one who is responsible, so she should be the one making the decisions. Parenting is a demanding job and there's not always a perfect way to do everything, and frankly, people have this weird idea in general that just because it involves "children" that they are entitled to not only have an opinion but thrust that opinion upon others as some sort of state-sanctioned cure-all. No...it really doesn't. Especially if you aren't actually an expert on children. Very especially if you've never even had children yourself.

    Honestly the best thing you can do is just be a supportive friend. If she asks for your advice, great, provide it. If she doesn't, then maybe err towards just keeping your mouth shut and seeing how you can be a good friend in other ways. For example, in helping to take her mind off of the stress of being a single mother.

    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
    Not MandatoryJuliusCambiata
  • CreaganCreagan Registered User regular
    There is literally nothing you can do. Parents don't even like receiving advice from their own parents unless they're specifically asking for it. Anything you say is just going to make this woman annoyed with you at best.

    I totally understand how frustrating it can be to, in your eyes, watch a parent screw up their kid. One of the girls I used to baby sit developed an eating disorder 2 years after I went to college, and unfortunately I saw that coming a mile away.

    But unless the situation is so bad you think that the kid would be better off in foster care (which is a pretty shitty system and can cause horrible life-long problems for the kids in it,) you're better off backing off the mom about her parenting style and just trying to remain a positive influence on the child's life. Nothing you described sounded too bad. Drawing on things and running with stuff in your mouth is pretty standard kid behavior and will probably happen whether or not the mom disciplines it. I'd just let it go and try to remain a positive role model for the kid.

    Not MandatoryceresDarkewolfeCambiata
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    hsu wrote: »
    but it is possible to train her kids to not do stupid stuff, at least around you, if the kids like you.
    Creagan wrote: »
    I'd just let it go and try to remain a positive role model for the kid.

    Is everyone on board with these two bits of advice?

    bsjezzCreaganLiiya
  • CalixtusCalixtus Registered User regular
    How's your interactions with the kids? 2-year olds a bit hard to reason with, but it might - and I stress might, because it depends on both the kid and the mother - be easier to provide feedback to the five year old in a way that the mother doesn't view as criticism of her personal abilities. Telling the kid "Whoa there champ, slow down!" could - again, could - make it easier for the mother to agree with you while talking to the kids, without having to pass through "I'm a bad parent" thought territory.

    The trick is that first you have to convince the kid that you're worth listening to, which is going to involve a lot of positive feedback whenever the kid does something right. Kid's not going to give a shit if the only times you address it is when something's wrong, but if you can get to a point where he or she wants your positive feedback, just small nudges whenever the kid does something wrong is enough. Assuming mommey lets you that is.

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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Calixtus wrote: »
    How's your interactions with the kids? 2-year olds a bit hard to reason with, but it might - and I stress might, because it depends on both the kid and the mother - be easier to provide feedback to the five year old in a way that the mother doesn't view as criticism of her personal abilities. Telling the kid "Whoa there champ, slow down!" could - again, could - make it easier for the mother to agree with you while talking to the kids, without having to pass through "I'm a bad parent" thought territory.

    The trick is that first you have to convince the kid that you're worth listening to, which is going to involve a lot of positive feedback whenever the kid does something right. Kid's not going to give a shit if the only times you address it is when something's wrong, but if you can get to a point where he or she wants your positive feedback, just small nudges whenever the kid does something wrong is enough. Assuming mommey lets you that is.

    The kids seem to like me. The five year old wants to constantly talk to me, show me things, and play games with me. The two year old wants to sit on my lap and have me lift her up to touch the ceiling. We seem to get along quite well. My primary mode of interacting with them is "ok!", and that works well.

    The problem is that, for example, one time the kids wanted to play on the stairs. So I was all "ok!" and knelt on the stair below them while they walked up and down a few. Mom was not pleased when she saw this.

    When we talked about it afterwards, she said that if they want to do something I know they shouldn't do, I should say no. The problem is that I don't have a clear list of things they shouldn't do, and when I suggest things they shouldn't do she gets irritated.

    I fear this may be one of those situations where I am supposed to intuit her mechanism for child raising.

  • CalixtusCalixtus Registered User regular
    If you're past the point where they want your positive feedback, that's good, that makes them more susceptible to suggestions. If mom has explicitly told you its acceptable to intervene when they're doing something wrong, that's even better.

    No one has a list. Its all making it up as you go along, and the only way to guarantee you're in agreement with what mommy thinks is asking her. That's what I'd do; Ask her what she thinks of what you and the kids are currently up to.

    -This message was deviously brought to you by:
  • CreaganCreagan Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    _J_ wrote: »
    When we talked about it afterwards, she said that if they want to do something I know they shouldn't do, I should say no. The problem is that I don't have a clear list of things they shouldn't do, and when I suggest things they shouldn't do she gets irritated.

    I fear this may be one of those situations where I am supposed to intuit her mechanism for child raising.

    One way to get around this is to ask the kids how their mom would feel about them doing stuff. (Don't ask if they're mom would be "okay" with it because kids lie, and a complex question that requires multi-worded answers makes it harder for young kids to make stuff up.) Then look at their reaction, and judge the situation. That is, of course, if you don't feel like you can check with the mom before giving approval.

    Also, if she's giving you permission to discipline the kids, it basically solves your problem with parenting advice altogether. Don't chastise the mom for not instituting certain rules. Discipline the kids when you're in charge. (Only when you're in charge, of course.) Nothing particularly serious is going on, (like the parents teaching the kids weighing over 90lbs means you're grossly obese) so you're not in the kind of sticky situation where you really should be telling the kids one thing when you know the parents wouldn't approve.

    Creagan on
    _J_Julius
  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    It sounds like maybe your parents could have done a better job raising you to keep your nose out of other people's business...

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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    hsu wrote: »
    but it is possible to train her kids to not do stupid stuff, at least around you, if the kids like you.
    Creagan wrote: »
    I'd just let it go and try to remain a positive role model for the kid.

    Is everyone on board with these two bits of advice?

    -.-

    I prefer Deebaser's advice, honestly.


    J, you're not an expert in child rearing, your friend hasn't asked you for advice, and apparently you thought 'come play on the stairs' was an appropriate playtime activity. Just get out of your head any idea that you know better than the kid's mom - because you don't - and try to use that grey matter in your head before you do stuff like introduce a 5 year old to the stairway as if it's a toy. If you're not so sure about where the safety boundaries are? Ask mom first.

    With Love and Courage
    ceresDarkewolfeGaslightCambiata
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    J, you're not an expert in child rearing, your friend hasn't asked you for advice, and apparently you thought 'come play on the stairs' was an appropriate playtime activity. Just get out of your head any idea that you know better than the kid's mom - because you don't - and try to use that grey matter in your head before you do stuff like introduce a 5 year old to the stairway as if it's a toy. If you're not so sure about where the safety boundaries are? Ask mom first.

    Yeah. I don't want to get into the clusterfuck of "Who gets to be an authority on parenting", because that is a terrible question that, really, can't be answered. I do not take myself to be an expert on child rearing. I do not think that having a child makes one an expert on child rearing. Even being around a child while it grows does not make one an expert. We're all trying to figure this out, and have varying levels of experience with raising kids. We're all finite knowers.

    I'm just trying to ask a very simple question.

    If I watch someone peel an orange, and I notice some way to make it more efficient, I can voice the idea. They listen, and then either accept or reject it. Parenting seems to be not only completely unlike peeling an orange, but this bizarre realm of crazy that makes no intuitive sense, especially with respect to suggesting alternate methods, and voicing observations.

    So, I'm asking for suggestions / feedback in order to modify my behavior so I do not push this friend away.

    There's no need to make it personal.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Creagan wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    When we talked about it afterwards, she said that if they want to do something I know they shouldn't do, I should say no. The problem is that I don't have a clear list of things they shouldn't do, and when I suggest things they shouldn't do she gets irritated.

    I fear this may be one of those situations where I am supposed to intuit her mechanism for child raising.

    One way to get around this is to ask the kids how their mom would feel about them doing stuff. (Don't ask if they're mom would be "okay" with it because kids lie, and a complex question that requires multi-worded answers makes it harder for young kids to make stuff up.) Then look at their reaction, and judge the situation. That is, of course, if you don't feel like you can check with the mom before giving approval.

    This seems like a fantastic idea. I kinda tried it once with the five year old.

    We were playing a game, I made a move that was not beneficial to him, so he spit on me. I said, "Do you think you should have done that?" and he made some noises.

    So, I got up and walked away. He wanted to keep playing, but I said, "You aren't supposed to spit on people. If you spit on me, and I keep playing, what does that teach you about spitting?"

    He seemed to kinda puzzle it out. But, obviously, I'm not very good at conversing with 5 year olds using if / then relations. I haven't got him to the point where he won't spit on me. But I have got to the point where he only spits once per visit.

    That seems like progress.

  • CreaganCreagan Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    _J_ wrote: »
    Creagan wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    When we talked about it afterwards, she said that if they want to do something I know they shouldn't do, I should say no. The problem is that I don't have a clear list of things they shouldn't do, and when I suggest things they shouldn't do she gets irritated.

    I fear this may be one of those situations where I am supposed to intuit her mechanism for child raising.

    One way to get around this is to ask the kids how their mom would feel about them doing stuff. (Don't ask if they're mom would be "okay" with it because kids lie, and a complex question that requires multi-worded answers makes it harder for young kids to make stuff up.) Then look at their reaction, and judge the situation. That is, of course, if you don't feel like you can check with the mom before giving approval.

    This seems like a fantastic idea. I kinda tried it once with the five year old.

    We were playing a game, I made a move that was not beneficial to him, so he spit on me. I said, "Do you think you should have done that?" and he made some noises.

    So, I got up and walked away. He wanted to keep playing, but I said, "You aren't supposed to spit on people. If you spit on me, and I keep playing, what does that teach you about spitting?"

    He seemed to kinda puzzle it out. But, obviously, I'm not very good at conversing with 5 year olds using if / then relations. I haven't got him to the point where he won't spit on me. But I have got to the point where he only spits once per visit.

    That seems like progress.
    I was talking about situations where you don't know what the rules are. When you don't know what the rules are, it's up to you to get the kids to tell you what they are so you can enforce them. That's why you ask complex questions like, "What would make your mom happier, if you had a cookie or an apple for snack?" Instead of "Does you mom let you eat cookies for snack?" In these situations yes/no questions are bad.

    Spitting on other people is obviously against the rules, and the majority of five year old kids know that. In these cases dialogue must be short and to the point. "Don't spit on me. If you spit on me again, I will not play this game with you. Nobody wants to play with somebody who spits." (And then of course refuse to play the game if he does it again.) The difference between this and the above situation is that here, you know what the rules are, so there's no need to get the kid to tell you what he's supposed to do. You both know he's not supposed to spit. It's your job as the adult to make sure he learns to stop spitting.

    Creagan on
    JuliustuxkamenMaguanoCambiata
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Creagan wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    When we talked about it afterwards, she said that if they want to do something I know they shouldn't do, I should say no. The problem is that I don't have a clear list of things they shouldn't do, and when I suggest things they shouldn't do she gets irritated.

    I fear this may be one of those situations where I am supposed to intuit her mechanism for child raising.

    One way to get around this is to ask the kids how their mom would feel about them doing stuff. (Don't ask if they're mom would be "okay" with it because kids lie, and a complex question that requires multi-worded answers makes it harder for young kids to make stuff up.) Then look at their reaction, and judge the situation. That is, of course, if you don't feel like you can check with the mom before giving approval.

    This seems like a fantastic idea. I kinda tried it once with the five year old.

    We were playing a game, I made a move that was not beneficial to him, so he spit on me. I said, "Do you think you should have done that?" and he made some noises.

    So, I got up and walked away. He wanted to keep playing, but I said, "You aren't supposed to spit on people. If you spit on me, and I keep playing, what does that teach you about spitting?"

    He seemed to kinda puzzle it out. But, obviously, I'm not very good at conversing with 5 year olds using if / then relations. I haven't got him to the point where he won't spit on me. But I have got to the point where he only spits once per visit.

    That seems like progress.

    Honestly, the best thing you can do as an outsider who only occasionally interacts with the children is to model the behavior you expect from them. You had a better reaction than most to the spitting thing, but you probably didn't even need to go so far as to say, "If I keep playing with you what does that teach you?". All you really needed to do was say, "Spitting is rude and people don't like it when you spit on them. If you spit on me again, I will stop playing with you." If he spits again, then do exactly what you said - get up, tell him you aren't playing with him any more, and repeating why. In my limited experience, the vast majority of parenting problems I have seen happen with the consistency of the follow-up. There is very rarely a need to freak out and scream at kids to not do something if you are consistent about laying out consequences and actually following up on them.

    If this is a "thing" and it's more than just being friends with the mom and hanging out once in a while (i.e., you expect to see them more and be a larger part of their lives) then at some point you will definitely want to have a conversation about the rules she expects her kids to follow and how she wants you to support them. And this conversation should largely be a one-way street; given they are her kids, then your primary job is to be consistent with her expectations and to model them as best you can. If that means that she wants to give the kid a time-out every time he spits, then give him a time-out every time he spits.

    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    you can also, believe it or not, say 'no.'

    edit: heh, now we're getting into a lecture about parenting with someone we've told not to lecture about parenting. there are a million ways for a kid to grow up and most of them work out in the end, assuming you believe that humanity's largely decent. just don't sweat the small stuff, be comfortable around the kids and respect their mother. she'll be right.

    bsjezz on
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    Creaganchrishallett83Cambiata
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    If I were her I would drop you like you were hot and get you the hell out of my life, because no parent needs the grief you have been and are trying to pull here. That stuffed animal thing? It makes you sound awful, and the image you posted backs that up. It's like I opened your spoiler tag and douche fell out.

    It's funny that you say she's a friend, because what you are doing is not being friendly - it's undermining her. Being a parent is hard. Being a single parent is harder, and no matter how many parents you have in your nuclear family people are always butting their nose into it and honestly all it does is make life harder. Kids are hard, and they're all different, and regardless of what everyone likes to think they know about raising them, they are all going to take to different situations and parenting styles differently. Unless you physically witnessed that medicine dropper thing and how it started, you don't know shit about it and have no place criticizing or telling someone what they should have done differently.

    It honestly doesn't matter if you've had kids of your own. These aren't your kids. You aren't their dad. You have no place offering advice or criticism or incepting. "Incepting"? Seriously? Don't be a manipulative douche. If you want to be a parent, father or adopt a child. If you want to give child rearing advice, get the appropriate degree in childcare and become a counselor. If you want to be this woman's friend, be a goddamn friend. Be supportive of her, whatever you think. What you are trying to do right now is the opposite of that.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    chrishallett83The EnderIrukaMulletudeDrZiplockDaenrisXaquinDarkewolfeLiiyaDoctorArchQuidGaslightSmallLadyCreaganAnomeCambiataMetalbourneLoveIsUnityJaysonFourNiceguyeddie616The BetgirlT. J. Nutty Nub Andy Joe
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Don't tell her that she's doing wrong unless she directly asks for advice

    Do provide positve examples of ways of doing things that are right (and then don't give her a fucking lecture about them, just let stuff sink in on it's own and then she can make her own decision)

    eg: you see the kid running around with a glass eyedropper in it's mouth. Ask if you can see the eyedropper and then divert the kid into some less flesh-slashing activities and put the eyedropper somewhere out of reach.

    Also, here's the thing about being a parent of a young child: you're tired all the time. Get that? If you're the parent of a young chiled then there's basically never a time when you wouldn't gladly sleep for a week if only you could. Tired people miss stuff and makes mistakes that they know better. They also deal badly with confrontation.

    ceresDarkewolfeCreaganCambiata
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    If I watch someone peel an orange, and I notice some way to make it more efficient, I can voice the idea. They listen, and then either accept or reject it. Parenting seems to be not only completely unlike peeling an orange, but this bizarre realm of crazy that makes no intuitive sense, especially with respect to suggesting alternate methods, and voicing observations.

    So, I'm asking for suggestions / feedback in order to modify my behavior so I do not push this friend away.

    There's no need to make it personal.

    'Being critical of someone's parenting' is one of those cases in life where there isn't a whole lot of grey real estate to work with. There's just one big black line with a binary choice:

    Is there domestic abuse happening? Y/N

    If Y, contact the authorities.
    If N, mind your own business.

    Seriously, parenting is extremely personal, it is the height of hubris to assume that you know how to be a better parent than someone's own mother and it is very much an invitations-to-people-I-most-trust club. You should consider it a real privilege that your friend has you involved in any way with her children, and you should respect the Hell out of that privilege. Trying to tell someone how to run their household is not being very respectful.

    You don't get to be Mr. Suggestions because this is the lady's home, not a debate club. It's not 'weird' or 'crazy' that people want to run their own homes & family life without being told by other people how to do it 'better'.

    With Love and Courage
    TaekoJuliusCambiata
  • TaekoTaeko Miami, FLRegistered User regular
    edited February 2014
    In this situation, there is only one thing you can do - drop it. See the kid doing something you'd rather them not do? Drop it. The mom tells the kid something you do not agree with? Drop it. The kid is not yours, the kid is not being abused? Drop it. Leave the house and get a latte because you've dropped it and are now thinking about where you should buy paper towels. Because you've dropped it.

    Taeko on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    Aioua wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Yeah, these were the replies I expected. Is there any harm in asking the mom this question? Something like:

    "Hey, I care about you, and I care about the well-being of your kids. Sometimes I notice them doing things that may be harmful, and want to offer advice for how to quash that behavior, but that seems to not go well. How would you like me to act in these situations?"

    That seems like a reasonable question to ask, right?

    Yeah, as long as you're ready to say "okay, no problem" when they say "I'd rather you didn't do anything".

    Agreed, and _J_, you may need to not interact with her or her children in the future if it becomes difficult.

    Parenting is a learning process itself. Kids also need to learn from their own mistakes. Kid runs with spoon in their mouth, falls, and tears the roof of her mouth, well, parent isn't supposed to make the kid feel terrible, just remind them, "You should not do that again, you doing X was what caused Y" and then in the future, remind them of doing X when they are in similar situations.

    Many of us have put our hands on hot stoves and pots and pans when we were younger even though our parents told us not to.

    The only real time I'd even mention something is if it was repeated behavior, or, preventing them from being like kids their age (kid not able to count by the time they're 5).

    bowen on
    Ladies.
  • MulletudeMulletude Registered User regular
    Look at it this way OP...Are the children happy and cared for by their mother? Yes?

    If so, then nobody cares what your opinion is of how she gets to that end. I am a single parent as well. It isn't easy. It is very easy, however, to not actually be the person responsible for these kids and make criticisms or try and offer up advice.

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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Unless it is something that the mother may genuinely not know (eg "Did you know that houseplant is poisonous?") don't bother. Every mother knows that running with stuff is bad, but it's hard to stop the kid from doing.

    Are you dating this woman, or aiming to date her? If so, being a good stepdad is a different question entirely - don't hide it behind "friend."

    Your little meme is pretty insulting and I think that the woman in question must be easily cowed if she puts up with that sort of thing from a "friend."

  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    while i agree that you really shouldn't offer any advice, if i someone saw my kid doing something like running around with a medicine dropper in their mouth and didnt pull it out i would be pissed at them. though if you were playing on the steps with him i would be pissed also since stairs are a hazard. playing with them makes them not a hazard which is dangerous

    i think your problem is in your aproach.

    what you did with the bear is great.
    doing pretty much anything else is not so great.

    if its a matter of safety, just do something. like was suggested, take the dropper out and redirect.

    camo_sig.png
  • CogCog Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    Your best friend is the word 'redirect'. If the kid is doing something that is a grey area to you, and you don't know if they should or shouldn't be doing it, redirect them to something you know for sure is a mom-approved activity. It's not up to you to pass judgement. You're not really meant to be their moral compass, and you're certainly not a disciplinarian.

    The best you can do is gently steer the child into a known 'safe zone' when you become unsure, and check with the mom: "Hey, <child> was <doing whatever>, I don't have any idea if <s/he> is allowed to. What's your preference?" I would rather be pestered a hundred times by one of my friends about what my child is allowed than find they made a unilateral decision I disagree with.

    Cog on
    V1m
  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    Here's a clip from the Gracies, on how they teach children jiujitsu. While this is in the context of martial arts training, the method they use is a great method to deal with children, especially children that are not yours. It's best summed up as, how to correct mistakes without the child even realizing they made mistakes.

    iTNdmYl.png
    _J_
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    _J_ you are looking for a rational set of rules for an irrational situation.
    Rule of thumb: Things likely to cause imminent and serious harm you need to stop right away. This is like, playing with a knife or matches etc. Stupid but probably not that harmful shit like, running around in socks not your place. The things in mouth thing is a bit more complicated just cause of the choking hazard. Except these rules aren't that hard and fast.

    Everyone here flipped out over the stairs thing, but me and my sister used to ride down ours on a piece of cardboard into a pile of pillows. Our parents allowed this. Apparently they might as well of been handing us a Tec-9.

    How do you spell Justice?B D S Non-Violent Resistance to Israel Apartheid & Occupation.
    Cambiata
  • XixXix Miami/LosAngeles/MoscowRegistered User regular
    edited February 2014
    I used to play with a machete in the yard when I was a little kid. Then I went to kindergarten.

    Xix on
    Cambiata
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    I can't think of a more personal thing you could try to critique about a person, except maybe trying to provide some unsolicited friendly advice on how they make love to their spouse or something.

    And as someone else said, parenting is a good chance for the person in question to look like an idiot, I think. It's naturally one of those activities where it's way easier to unproductively critique then to actually get in and do the job.

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
    JuliusMulletudeCambiata
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    Xix wrote: »
    I used to play with a machete in the yard when I was a little kid. Then I went to kindergarten.

    Me and my cousins used to climb well above the OSHA "fall protection required" height of 4 feet. We weren't even using properly UL listed ladders, or scaffolding with toe-boards either, but these death traps called trees.

    How do you spell Justice?B D S Non-Violent Resistance to Israel Apartheid & Occupation.
    Cambiata
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Seriously, my sister and I used to play something called "the caterpillar game" - it involved stuffing the other into a sleeping bag and rolling them down the stairs.

    MaguanoInquisitor77Cambiata
  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    I used to jump off the roof of my house for fun.

    tynic
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    We used to poke each other with wooden spears we made with our knives.

    Ladies.
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