Parenting styles (part 2)

When my children interact with their peers*, I try to be the silent fly on the wall, present but not involved. If something happens that really bothers me, I either call my child to another room to say something or wait and talk to my child after the friends are gone. Usually I say nothing. Children have enough sense to quit playing with peers who are mean and squabbles between friends are an important part of learning to get along with others. Something I thought was a rare phenomenon until recently is the parent who “tells everyone else and their children how to talk”. This parent regularly calls the peers of their child to complain about the way others spoke to their child. They also call teachers, coaches and anyone else who hasn’t used exactly the right words with their child. I can only assume that they also call landlords, employers and the parents of co-workers. I have never called another child’s parent to tell them how their child should talk and I have certainly never told another adult how they may or may not talk to my child. I am not talking about anything obscene or even questionable. I’m talking about being told that my child wasn’t “nice enough” or didn’t “pick their child” for a team or didn’t say what their child wanted them to say. The only thing that makes this comical, is all the parents who’ve been victimized by “tell everyone else how to talk” parent, are calling each other and trying to figure out how exactly they are supposed to control their children’s dialogues with other children. The end result of all this is either a young adult who demands an end to this behavior and devastates their parent or a lonely young adult who is incapable of functioning in the world. All that any of the rest of us can do is utilize caller ID.

* The exception to this rule is Internet interactions. They are handled completely differently, since they don’t only interact with the children who I’ve met and had in my home.

Previously: Parenting styles (part 1)

4 thoughts on “Parenting styles (part 2)

  1. YES these parents do exist and boy do they piss me off! My last encounter with one of those was at my 11yo’s BB tryouts. Here’s what seems to have happened.
    Random kid: annoys CB (my son) and his friend.
    CB and friend, to kid: You’re being annoying, stop doing that.
    Kid to CB: Fatty.
    CB to kid: Four-eyes.
    Kid’s mom to me, in front of all three kids: Your son said mean things to my son! (stares expectantly)
    I: (speechless)
    BTW, how do you respond to these parents? I had no idea what to do, so since I couldn’t tell her to go F herself, I told CB to say he’s sorry. I was later told by my Internet buddies that I shouldn’t have done it as it was not fair to CB. What do you do?

  2. Edited to add – the other mom and I were not, obviously, present at the start of this conversation. Apparently after the tryouts, the kid told his mom and the mom went and confronted me.
    What I usually do is a “play-by-play” with my kids after everything is over – here’s what you could’ve done in this situation, etc. Of course if I see that something really bad is about to break out, I step in and break them up.

  3. I want to be polite to the parent, but I have to say “I’m sorry your child was (offended, angry, whatever), but they can choose to ignore the things others say that they don’t like or they can try to work things out with whoever said it.” I do try doing a play-by-play with my own child to see how things could have been handled differently and explaining the other child’s perspective, but within reason. It’s never a one-sided wrong that has taken place.

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