Babying too much

mom2emallMarch 4, 2009

IMA's post about the dramatic reaction from family about her sd's period made me think of another dramatic thing that recently happened.

I had dinner at our house with some family members last week. They brought along their 2 1/2 year old daughter. And the way they handled her drove me and hubby nuts!

Instead of putting her in the high chair we had they sat her in one of our good chairs (because they said she refuses to sit in high chairs--even though they did not attempt to put her in it). So there was not enough chairs for us all...the mom stood next to the chair to eat her food!

She had a bottle with her dinner because they say she refuses to use sippy cups. After dinner the pacifier was immediately placed in her mouth. During dinner the mom stood next to her and fed her. The girl would throw food on the floor and cry and then mom would go get her something else.

After dinner we went to the family room and the 2 1/2 year old was playing with toys she brought over. When the mom sat down the child cried right away and the mom picked her up right away and frantically tried to stop the crying. Then the dad said they do not let the child cry EVER!

The child sleeps in their bed at night. One of them HAS to go to bed when the child does because otherwise she will not go to sleep. And if the child falls asleep and wakes up to nobody in bed with her she "gets scared" so that is why one of them has to go to bed when she does.

Is it me or are they letting a 2 1/2 year old run their home??

Me and hubby found it ridiculous and talked about it a lot after they left!

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That would drive me CRAZY!

I think I mentioned a few things about DH and SD when I first met him.... I had a few concerns. She was almost 6 years old:

1. She got in the car to go somewhere with me and just sat there. I said 'you need to buckle your seatbelt' and she says she can't... doesn't know how to. I tell her how, you know... walk her through it, she does it and there you go... 'you can do it!' (accomplishment)

2. She was always wearing velcro closing shoes. She did not know how to tie her shoes and this was 'easier' (per DH). Well, yeah it's easier, but she is never going to learn to tie her shoes if she always has velcro or slip on's. So, we got her some laced shoes and now she knows how to tie shoes. (accomplishment)

3. When we were dating, I came over to watch TV with DH in the evening. SD went into the bathroom and a few minutes later "DADDDDDYYYYYYY!!!!" and he goes in there. I'm thinking something happened so I ask if everything's okay? 'yeah, she had #2' OMG!!! You still wipe her a$$??? Oh hell no! I guess my reaction made him think about it and he started having her clean herself. He says she never cleans herself good enough. I said she never will if you keep doing it for her. GROSS! (necessary accomplishment)

I was able to tell my husband what a disservice he was doing to his daughter if he doesn't teach her to do things for herself. He is very anal and wants things done 'right' so he's always just done it (which is great when I don't want to do dishes or vacuum! but at least I know how). He's gotten better about it and since he has also realized that BM lets SD do lots of stuff on her own at her house... he realizes that he's been coddling her.

It's funny because BM does treat SD like a little grown up at her house. She talks about the court case and personal 'adult' problems with her relationships, lets her cook, lets her stay up after BM has gone to bed, lets her ride her bike around town with no grown ups, basically do anything she wants... but then she calls DH last week to b!tch at him about how SD should not have to do her own laundry at our house. BM says "she's just a child". He told her no, she's getting old enough to have chores and do things for herself, like wash her own clothes & put them away. (and for the record, maybe BM just doesn't believe in doing laundry... the last time we were invited into her house, she had piles of clothes all over and it was a mess!)

But, it's a HUGE disservice to kids to never let them learn to do for themselves, it limits their autonomy, motivation and self esteem. One of the things that makes us feel good is our accomplishments and abilities. I feel sorry for that child.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 12:19PM
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"But, it's a HUGE disservice to kids to never let them learn to do for themselves, it limits their autonomy, motivation and self esteem. "

I couldn't agree more! My younger (autistic) son does more for himself (and for the rest of our family) than any other kid his age that I know. It makes him feel great that he is able to do so much --

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 12:40PM
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"Is it me or are they letting a 2 1/2 year old run their home?? "

Yep. What can you do? Probably nothing. Some people seem to like to torture themselves, and sometimes others.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 3:09PM
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this sounds very annoying. such babying teaches kids nothing good. plus it annoys others. my SIL did some of that wiht my niece and nephew. very annoying.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 4:37PM
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How annoying!

My cousin and her husband are the same way with their son. He is 3 and it is INSANE how she babies him. We were all on vacation together in Colorado last fall and I got to spend a few days with them and witness it firsthand.

She feeds him every single bite of food! He is THREE. One of his parents HAS to lie down on the floor next to his crib (yes, CRIB, and he is 3!) every night and "pretend" to go to sleep. If they so much as sneak out before he's out for the night, he screams and cries.

The kicker was when we went out for dinner on our last night. My DD is 6 and pretty independant. She orderes for herself in restaurants, etc. Let me just say---I am a pretty health-conscious person and I make sure my DD and SS eat good, healthy foods at our house. BUT I will be the first to say--there is nothing wrong with a Happy Meal once in awhile, or ordering pizza now and then!

So--we are in the restaurnant and my DD orders chicken fingers and fries off the kids' menu. My cousin leans over to me and whispers "could you maybe ask them not to bring her fries? B___ is not ALLOWED to eat fries and if he sees that your DD has them, he will not eat any of his dinner."

I was FLOORED. Thankfully, before I could even respond, the waitress asked B__ if he wanted fries with his meal, too, and he said YES.

HA on my cousin.

Some people are so funny! Is this their only child? My mom and I are always talking about how boy, is my cousin in for a rude shock when she has another baby--then she will be wishing her son was more independant!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 5:29PM
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I don't understand the laundry thing. I would never make them do their own laundry, it takes way to much water and soap for everyone to wash their few clothes. I would have her help with all of the laundry and teach her sorting, what to wash on the gentle and hand wash WE do the laundry. . I guess I am a little like my mom, she didn't make us do anything except when she was punishing us. We are all good cooks and housekeepers.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 6:48PM
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I can introduce you to the 17 year old she will become. It's not pretty.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 10:38PM
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"I don't understand the laundry thing. I would never make them do their own laundry, it takes way to much water and soap for everyone to wash their few clothes."

SD doesn't have 'gentle' clothes or whites. She does her load of clothes when her hamper is full so it's a full load. My kids all did their own laundry from the time they were big enough to reach and operate the machine controls. My son's too! If you teach them how to fill the machine properly for a full load and not use too much soap, then there shouldn't be a problem. I guess it's a problem if they have a favorite item that needs to be washed more frequently or don't have very many clothes to make up a full load. It was never a problem with my kids. They also learned to vacuum, mow the lawn, wash dishes and cook by the time they were in middle school. SD should also learn those things. Her dad won't let her cook but there are a couple of issues... one having to do with her sneaking food issues. But, she helps me cook dinner. (at her mom's she cooks all by herself but also gains a lot of weight)

Teaching children self reliance is the goal. Making someone do it as 'punishment' may lead to negative feelings about it. (ie. if you make a child wash dishes as punishment, they may learn to HATE washing dishes instead of developing a sense of accomplishment, which is what I would want for my kids)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 11:09PM
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Gawd - they are hurting their child, themselves and their marriage. I can't even IMAGINE parenting in such a manner. Gives me a head ache to think about it.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 12:39AM
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Arghhhh !!!! (This is gonna be a vent. Sorry to highjack.)
It drives me nuts. Let me say that my situation with my step sons has improved exponentially. But DH (and his family) and I just have different ideas regarding fostering independence. The boys (6 and 8) cannot tie their shoes. The 6 year old still wants his bum wiped. DH still completely washes the 6 year old in the bath (I can see making sure itÂs done correctly or doing it every once in a while when heÂs really dirtyÂ) He dries off both boys. DHs mom still spoon feeds them if theyÂre tired or donÂt want to eat (not the whole meal, but still...). They never get their own food or drink, and for breakfast theyÂll only eat their cereal with hot milk. Whenever they get any toy like Legos or a puzzle, they wonÂt play with it. They expect DH to put it together as they watch. When I moved in, they weÂre 4 and 6 and still using a potty chair in their room! I could go on and onÂ
WeÂre making progress. They put their dishes in the dishwasher, theyÂre doing their own seatbelts now, weÂre building a chore chart, etc.
I want them to do things by themselves. Not only for my own sanity but when they do learn something or do it by themselves the first time, you should see the looks on their faces. DH has a hard time realizing theyÂre not babies anymore. Plus, BioMom does all this stuff for them (we have them EOW Fri-Mon and one day during the week) so itÂs a bit hard to teach them this stuff with so little time to practice.
But, I canÂt really complain too much, because this babying/whining/super-dependence is really our only issue now. And weÂll get there. With baby steps. (But not too *baby*!)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 8:02AM
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Not to get too distracted, but my DD has done her own laundry since she was 10ish. She's also responsible for puting the dishes away. My boys like to match socks (5 cents per pair-paying job), they also vacuum the stairs...they're closer anyay ad they like the two chores I hate the most! There's nothing wrong with kids helping with household chores. They live here, they can contribute to all it takes to keep it running ESPECIALLY because both my DH and I work FT.
My SS does his own load of laundry-not because I'm not willing to do it for him, but because I'm not willing to send my clothes swimming in the fecal matter. At 9 1/2 he is unable to wipe himself and no, I'm not willing to wash those grundies. I pass that right on to DH who then has SS take care of it.

As for the 2yr old ruling the roost---I have a girlfriend who has one of those. No discipline...ever. Dining out with them is a nightmare as she sticks her arm in anyone's glass for ice to chew on. My girlfrined also complains about how her daughter is a monster and all DH and I say to each other is -- she is what you've let her be. My friend made the comment once when she was about 18 mo's what am I supposed to do spank her she's only 1! Well, when your kid is sticking things in the plug ins you should probably do something....if she walks right over and hits another child you should probably do something...not just say Oh, she's not very nice.

So, being around her makes me feel like the best mommy ever!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 12:02PM
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My dd age six sorts her laundry and gets it ready to wash. Then I wash it, and she folds it and puts it away. She vacuums her room (with a mini vacuum) and I go over it with the big vacuum as well. She bathes herself, washes her own hair, fixes her own breakfast (cereal, toast) without direct supervision and uses the stove to cook with direct supervision (eggs, french toast). She wipes her own bum.

I do spot checks on her body, hair and teeth to make sure cleanliness is being upheld but she is very responsible for her own general state of being. She clears the table, and sets the table for herself (her dishes are in a special cupboard that she can reach, ours are up too high).

She hangs up her towel after use (on her towel rack that's her height), helps me with gardening and taking out the trash.

Kids need to be shown what to do, how to do it, and how much effort it takes to run a house. I'll tell you what, the amount of barely worn clothes in the hamper reduced significantly when I pointed out that she would have to fold and put away those clothes (she hates laundry). Now she wears her PJs more than one night (and who doesn't!?)

I'd have a hard time being around a person who parents like that.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 12:48PM
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My kids all help with laundry too. They have hampers to put their dirty clothes in and when the hampers get full they have to bring them to the laundry room. Also, I fold and put the clothes on hangers and then they have to put them away neatly....well we try for neatly!

I also have my kids wear pj's for more than one day. And if on the weekend we just sit around the house all day they can wear the same outfit again (as long as they did not spill on it or get it dirty). During the school week they have "school clothes". After they get home they change into a play outfit and most times the school clothes are not dirty and can be hung back up. My sd14 does not do this anymore since she is busy most days after school....but my other 3 all do. It really cuts down on laundry because they can wear play clothes for days afterschool. And I get 2 uses out of most outfits before they have to be washed. So the clothes don't fade as quickly either and we save $ on detergent and fabric softner :)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 10:15AM
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My DD was well behaved especially on public and was very independent in many areas (never needed help wiht homework/school work or reminded about anything education/school related). Could keep herself occupied and busy wiht productive activities such as crafts (she is very handy) like knitting (yes she can knit) or constructing something, read, draw etc. Get herself ready for bed early and don't argue at bed time, get up when needed etc Certainly nobody was feeding her or serving her hand and foot, she loved to do her own thing. She was pretty easy child but she didn't do any of what people say their kids do. Didn't do laundry, rarely cleaned her room, didn't cook etc

She does now though haha. has to. i was not made to do much when i was a child but i was on my own early and am a decent housekeeper. I think some of the things could wait. i also think sometimes balance is important. It is discusting to watch some kids being spoiled rotten.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 4:54PM
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The girls are five and we are already giving them chores. Their room is straightened every night before bed. They put their dishes in the sink. They lay out clothes for school. We are fixing to teach them to rinse their dishes and put them in the washer. Any kid who can bake and Easy Bake oven cake with little adult help can clean up the dishes used to make the Easy Bake oven cake!

If they can drag the toys out then they can put them away. If they can pick out dress up clothes that match and put them on and off then they can get school clothes ready and dress themselves in the morning.

You cheat a child by babying them too much. All kids need to be nurtured but some folks go overboard. Sounds like your family members practice Dr. Sear Attachment Parenting method. I actually agree with some of the the practices of attachment parenting. I breastfeed on demand, I carry Layla in a carrier, I sleep with her etc etc. She's only 3 months though. The point of attachment parenting is to help children become independant and secure by reacting quickly to their cues therefor building a trusting relationship. If the child never moves beyond the extreme neediness stage it (AP) kinof has defeated it's own purpose.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 9:32AM
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I have to agree regarding chores - if you don't expect your kids to do anything when they're little, don't be too surprised when they do *nothing* when they're older.

My ex-MIL did everything for the kids, and harboured much resentment about it, my ex pretty much the same (didn't do much anyway) and then got rude shock when the kids wouldn't help out.

It was a battle I fought time and time again, that the kids ought to do *something* to help out, according to age and ability. Ex disagreed but like I said, she may have rethought that position.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 11:49AM
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Neglected to add, SS was pretty much the same. Mom did everything, he did nothing. Never offered, his excuse was "we didn't ask" - I think when you're 25, you're beyond waiting to be asked.

He wasn't contributing much financially, in a situation like that I think it's only right you try to contribute other ways, chores-wise etc. He didn't do much, unfortunately. Caused a lot of friction and stress.

I think there's a pending (if not already here) problem with these 'princes,' boys raised I guess quite often by single parents who do everything for them. Life is good and parents are a lot more liberal so living at home doesn't cramp their style too much. When they do meet someone and start a relationship, they are looking for someone who'll cook and clean just like Mom did. It seems to be happening a lot and it may happen with girls too, but I just get the impression it's more prevalent with boys.

Teach your kids there are no free rides and slavery was outlawed. They may not thank you later (although I guess if they're brought up well they may) but they will be better adults for it.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 11:55AM
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Once again I believe in balance and choosing priorities. people here talk about hours helping children wiht homework but then those same children do their own laundry or clean their rooms spotless! DD did her own school work (and did it well), i never ever had to help, yet she didn't do her laundry or rarely cleaned her room (which was usually just shoving stuff in her closet LOL).

i think since she was doing her own school work, it freed me to do her laundry. I think it is about priorities. It was extremelly important for me that DD becomes independent and motivated learner, an avid reader and so on. it was not that important for me that she does her laundry at a young age. There is plenty of life to learn to do laundry. I was raised the same way, as a child I didn't have too many chores but I never had to be told to go do my homework.

It depends what people find important. I find rather disheartening when children do long lists of housework and chores and yet those same children do poorly in school. I think that instead of teaching them how to wash dishes parents need to read to them more, or do anything else that develops children intelectually before it is too late. i find huge disconnect here. I would much rather my child reads books then folds her laundry.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 9:06PM
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I did my own homework. My parents never helped me, they didn't need to. I wanted good grades, I paid attention in class and I enjoyed getting good marks on my report card. and I also did my own laundry. I learned to cook from the 2nd grade (easy recipe's) and I sure made a mess when I cooked so I learned how to clean up before the parent's got home. (yes, we were 'latchkey' kids and my parents started their own business so we were home alone for two hours after school) I also learned to entertain myself. We lived on 5 acres rural property so we built tree houses from scraps.. we improvised and it wasn't pretty but it worked. We were proud of our achievement. We also had horses and it was our job to feed them, brush them and clean up after them. I also packed my own lunch and fixed myself breakfast, dressed myself and cleaned my own room. (and the bathroom when I was done taking my bath).

I think overall, kids today are babies that want it easy and most would just 'die' without a cell phone or computer. They just wouldn't know what to do without their gaming system or ipod. and now we are supposed to let them live in a messy room (or we should clean it for them?) and we are supposed to do their laundry??? should we iron them too? and all they have to do is their homework on their own??? Something they should ALREADY be doing!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 12:08AM
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"and all they have to do is their homework on their own??? Something they should ALREADY be doing!"

so then why aren't they? :) you tell me.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 10:18PM
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My kids did their homework on their own, they also did their chores. I can't speak for anyone else on why their kids don't do it. I believe my SD 'plays' like she can't do her homework to get attention. She is smart and could do it, she chooses to spend her evenings erasing & redoing problems that she could do if she wanted. Why? Maybe her dad gives her the attention and puts up with it. When she was told that daddy isn't helping her.. he will spend time with her when she has done it correctly, she got it done correctly in record speed because she wants to spend time with her dad. She knows how to do it but when he gives her more attention for not doing it, he ends up spending the evening 'helping' her do work she can do on her own. That doesn't mean she should not have to clean her room or do her laundry or learn to do things for herself. She should. You don't have to agree.

It's amazing that your DD didn't have to do anything for herself... but she is independent. That is wonderful. You are truly blessed.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 10:58PM
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yes we do need to wash and iron (when needed) little children's clothes. yes I don't think 2nd grader has to iron his own clothes. and no 2nd grader should not cook for himself.

Cell phone replaced land phone for many, so yes one can die without it. Computers are required in school and most work has to be done on computer. many jobs that teeangers hold require computer.

Overall your perception of life is very remote from reality. it seems stuck in the past and is not very realistic.

DD required up to 4 hours of homework in high school daily, and more on the weekend (IB) and she had a job, also attended religious school on the weekends that she graduated from as well, she was a high school newspaper editor and GSA president etc, plus she rode horses competetivelly on the weekends (yes horse had to be cleaned as well). And DD wasn't even A student, those who were did even more school work. Plus she has a lot of family that she is involved wiht.

I understand not every teenager has this type of life but many many do. the fact that you are not exposed to it in your life does not mean it is not out there. many teenagers attend magnet schools, schools for gifted, prep schools, Sunday schools etc they are extremelly busy, many teenagers are artists, musicians, athletes. Most have jobs and even demanding jobs.

Of course everyone has chores and have to help but assuming that children/teenagers live this leisure life and have nothing else to do just play games and listen to ipod is very simplistic view that probably comes form your lack of experience wiht different kind of life and different kind of teenagers. It is just ignorant to assume that every teenager lives this way. It simply is not the case.

Many children/teenagers do have great things ahead of them and it does take a lot of work and effort in school and in college and yes sometimes it means no time left for cooking. and sometimes certain things require a lot of practice on a daily basis such as certain sports or music etc.

and most career oriented people are able to pay for services such as carwash or landscaping or even washing or ironing that will free time for doing other stuff in life including reading to children or taking them places or teaching them what is important.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 11:02PM
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yes when DD was a little child she didn't have too many chores, she didn't do her own laundry, certainly she didn't do it at 9. i never said she didn't do her laundry as a teenager or an adult. you said your SD did laundry at 9, mine didn't. if SD's doing her own laundry at 9 is going to take her far in life I am all for it.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 11:08PM
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DD is a grown woman, she lives on her own far away from home, of course she is independent.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 11:12PM
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ima you said that one of your son's dropped out of school and didn't want neither work nor go to school and second one followed in his foot steps not wanting to go to school or work (maybe got better later). In any case maybe they did their chores but it sure didn't accomplish much. Didn't teach much responsibility or priorities. Plus they sure had a lot of free time not going to school and not working, of course they had to do something, do chores at least. i mean seriously you don't practice what you preach.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 11:26PM
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My son dropped out of high school and moved out when he was 18. He went back and got his GED. He is now in the Army. I was concerned about him for a while (about his choices in career and choosing not to go to college) but he is now talking about using the GI bill to go to college later and he is still young enough to get it together. He has his priorities straight... for the most part. Of course, he's not perfect like your DD. I'm still proud of him and all he is doing.

My second son did not drop out of high school, he took a high school proficiency exam when he turned 16. He did nothing for one semester and then started college. He had a choice of going to college or working full time. He got a 3.8 his first semester and during summer session. He began failing classes in his next semester (because he got interested in a girl & wasn't focused on school) and I told him he needs to work if he isn't going to pass his classes. He has brought his grades up and I still think he should get a part time job so he can afford a car. He told me that this semester he isn't going to hang out with any of his friends because they distract him from studying and he is not going to pay any attention to girls for a while because he wants to bring his GPA back up. I think he has his priorities straight. (he also helps out in the family business) But, he's a kid and not perfect... like yours. He let his priorities slide for a bit but he is only human. I'm still proud of him.

As for my SD, she's in the 4th grade and she is capable of doing what is asked of her. It will get her far in life if she learns she is capable and doesn't need to be taken care of, that she can take care of herself. (especially financially since many women, including her mother, seem to think they need a man to fix things around the house and be the breadwinner... hopefully she will see through my example that she can work, be financially independent, and do household repairs/chores without a man)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 12:02AM
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