to think we must all suffer from some extent of parental blindness

(43 Posts)
MummaEss Fri 30-Aug-13 21:29:35

Ever since I have become a school mum there has been the regular conversation about how some mums will not have it that their little darling could ever set a foot out of line. Little angel is clearly a terror but mummy truly and honestly believes they are a sweet, sensitive little soul and if they have come in to any bother it must be the fault of some other child. I understand that this is a common state of affairs.

As time has gone on I have found that the very people with whom I have had this conversation are massively guilty of the same thing. Good friends of mine confide in me that they 'know' that darling child just would not have exhibited the behavior that they have been accused of, when to everyone else it is clear that they did.

I know that we all say (and I think we all think we are being honest) that we know our kids have the potential to be little buggers etc but when it comes to any sticky situation it is often "well, I know little Johnny and he just does not hit/lie/say mean things....".

I have tried to think about this from my own perspective and I would accept that my particular child might potentially be verbally aggressive, shout, intimidate or undermine other children and if they were accused of such behavior I would deal with it appropriately. However, if my child was accused of being physically violent or lying I would be dubious (to be fair I have never actually been called on my kid's behavior but hypothetically this is how I think I would feel).

Am I being blinded by my own maternal defensiveness of my child, just as my friends are of theirs?. I can clearly see some of their children are indeed guilty of minor misdemeanors that they just cannot see. Do we all do this?

AllDirections Sat 31-Aug-13 09:05:49

Nope of anything I am the opposite, when mine come running and say 'so and so just...' I say and what did you do first/what was happening a so know it's often six of one ams half a dozen of the other.

I'm exactly the same and it's the way it should be. I get fed up with parents claiming their children's innocence when there's been a scuffle or a squabble. And don't get me started on 'he/she doesn't lie'. I KNOW they do.

carabos Sat 31-Aug-13 09:41:57

My friend has a DS who gives her a lot of trouble. He's always on report at school, he's feral, he gives her constant back chat and he's a bully.

Not only does she do nothing about it, she pretty much does the hands over ears la la la thing whenever she is tackled about him. The latest incident of bullying was reported to her by the school. Her reaction was to ring up the parents of the bullied child and tell them to tell their child to get a grip and stop being a victim. And she told them that they were over-reacting, their DS is ginger and everyone knows that ginger kids get picked on - get over it.

This is a highly educated professional woman, wealthy with a lovely home and DCs in private education. She firmly believes that her job as a mother is to protect her DCs and always take their side, no matter what. She doesn't get that there's a difference between loving them no matter what and defending them, no matter what. I find it difficult to be around her.

BalloonSlayer Sat 31-Aug-13 09:52:53

I sort of have the opposite as I have caught my kids out lying outrageously and generally taking the piss - yet teachers are always telling me how delightful they are.

So I feel I know their faults well. BUT on the other hand I totally agree with you OP, I think parents miss their DCs faults, often in a spectacular way. So I worry about what I've missed, that other parents can see and are thinking "why can't she see that her kids are . . . "

pictish Sat 31-Aug-13 10:00:07

I know of what you speak, but like 5mad - I'm not one of these, as I always wonder what my kid did, and how they were involved. I wouldn't put anything past my lot. Now...they are all 'good' and other than ds1 once, have never been accused of anything or been in any trouble...but I still keep a beady eye, because that could all change in the blink of an eye.

It would be unrealistic to imagine otherwise.

pictish Sat 31-Aug-13 10:01:55

I do know a handful of parents who suffer from the blindness you describe though - I would be embarrassed to be like them, so I am very consciously NOT.

SlobAtHome Sat 31-Aug-13 10:04:25

I genuinely don't. I know DS can be a little shite when he wants. Don't know where he gets it.

<wanders off innocently whistling>

enjolraslove Sat 31-Aug-13 10:09:28

I see it sometimes from the other side - I'm a teacher and I deal with a lot of behaviour issues. I lose count of the number of times kids do something silly, own up, take the consequences- all good, calm, no hard feelings etc. I call the parents to let them know what has happened and the outcomes, ( I always stress the honesty/reasonableness when caught as well). Parent tells me I must have the wrong kid!! I stress the fact the kid admits it, parents are still very unwilling to accept. I have to say my feeling is this is because the kids in these situations never admit anything when at home so parents just can't imagine them acting that way. Makes me very sad that the kids are able to be more honest at school than at home, due I think to more predictable and less horrific outcomes. Particularly see it with teenage boys whose mothers cry if they do something and wail about 'woe is me, why is my life so hard etc, all I've done for him.....' And with the girls it is the fathers who still think their daughters are six and hate the idea they might be growing up! Again cue much dramatics.

jamdonut Sat 31-Aug-13 10:29:19

I'm afraid I am of the "I believe what I'm told" brigade,although, mostly my children's teachers etc have told me that they are very well behaved and polite! <stealth boast,lol grin>

As school staff,we see your children and how they behave away from you. It is not always the same behaviour that they display for you. Parents have been told their child is well behaved at school and they can't believe it and say they are a problem at home. Or, there are the parents,as others have said, who insist that their child could not have lied/stolen/bullied others/damaged school property etc,etc,because "they are just not like that". Well,we have 6 hours a day with them,5 days a week, and I can assure you that they definitely are like that!!

tallulah Sat 31-Aug-13 11:09:37

When my older children were little they fought all the time and when one said "DS hit me" I couldn't work out who was telling the truth. My youngest, aged 2, came to me with genuine tears and told me that her brother had hit her. As DS was 18 yo at the time and minding his own business watching the TV I knew she'd made it up. But it was so convincing and she was so young shock

I tend to always assume that one of mine is guilty of whatever they've been accused of blush. Think I've got my goggles on back to front.

AgentZigzag Sat 31-Aug-13 11:22:33

It's one thing to be realistic about what your DC are like, but I'm not sure about the competitive 'my little shit is shittier than yours'.

'Nope of anything I am the opposite, when mine come running and say 'so and so just...' I say and what did you do first/what was happening a so know it's often six of one ams half a dozen of the other.'

Or the not getting involved either, I don't believe in micromanaging them, but sending them off with six to one half a dozen to another is horrible when you're a DC. A lot of the time it's not that they're as bad as each other, and you can miss some important stuff (to the DC) just brushing them off.

Siblings are different to their friends, but if they were being bullied at school they need to be listened to, not told they're not important enough for an adult to give their take on it.

BoozyBear Sat 31-Aug-13 11:22:47

i work on the '6 of one, half a dozen of the other' principle if people complain about my kids.

I will deal with the bad behaviour, but i can guarantee 99% of the time if one of mine has hit/kicked/whatever another child, there is usually a good reason for provocation.

Also, if another kid has hurt one of mine, my first question is usually 'and what were you doing when they did it?'

I have no illusions on them being perfect, DD is a bit feisty and DS is being assessed for HFA because of some behavioural problems and i'm trying to teach him to walk away rather than react.

BoozyBear Sat 31-Aug-13 11:26:07

Agent, there is a difference between knowing it not all black and white and ignoring bullying.

If the same name of another child crops up more than a couple of times in regards to hitting/being hit i will query it with the teachers and ask them to keep an eye to see who/what is the instigator in case there is something odd going on.

Shellywelly1973 Sat 31-Aug-13 11:28:51

One of the reasons i think people dont acknowledge their dc bad behaviours, is that our dcs behaviour is seen as a reflection on our parenting.

I have 5dc. Older 2 dc are very successful. 3rd dc has never been in trouble at school & is a good student. 4th dc has ASD & ADHD. His behaviour is extreme & challenging to say the least!! I've had teachers say they can't believe dc4 comes from the same home & family! 5th dc is currently being assessed for ASD. So only time will tell!

AgentZigzag Sat 31-Aug-13 11:35:35

'One of the reasons i think people dont acknowledge their dc bad behaviours, is that our dcs behaviour is seen as a reflection on our parenting.'

I've just posted that exact thing on another thread a second ago, but as the opposite, talking about a woman who constantly goes on about how people love her DD.

But how will you know what's going on Boozy, if you send them off with a flea in their ear before they've had chance to tell you?

The ins and outs of DC's friendships can be tedious to listen to (and I'm not saying I was/am overly involved in DD's), but they have to learn how to negotiate the difficult bits, and sending out a generic 'go away and play nicely' doesn't help.

TwasBrillig Sat 31-Aug-13 11:46:09

Agent I'm with you there. I think its easier just to send siblings off to 'sort it out' but I really want to avoid falling into that pattern too often if I can. I grew up feeling very unlistened too (and abused by my brother but that's another story) and I think its important children are heard. Just because something seems obvious, trivial or unimportant to us doesn't at all mean it is to them.

I've bought the sibling rivalry book by the author of how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk and keep meaning to read it!

AgentZigzag Sat 31-Aug-13 11:52:41

'I grew up feeling very unlistened too (and abused by my brother but that's another story)'

Same here.

They can seem insignificant to adults worrying about how to pay the mortgage, but in a child's world they're not (and looking back on some of mine, they were serious, enough for me to take further action if a child told me that had happened to them).

5madthings Sat 31-Aug-13 13:42:53

realising that my children are just children and therefore not perfectly behaved does NOT mean i dont listen to them or believe them.

i always listen to them and acknowledge their feelings but along with that i can try and find out if anything led up to an incident and can talk to them about their behaviour. i have how to talk to kids will listen and also siblings without rivalry. i think they are both by the same author? anyway you can listen to your child and understand and respect their feelings whilst still looking at the bigger picture and realising your own child was not without fault.

that works both ways of course so if i hear that my child has been badly behaved i will lisren to their sisr of events and if necessary i will speak to the teachet or if its a good friend and it hapoened outside of school i will speak to the parent etc.

with five we do get the usual sibling bickering. on the whole they are pretty good and i wont tolerate name calling, winding each other up or any kind of violence but as i dont have eyes in the back of my head i dont see everything. i will always acknowledge their feelings and stress the importance of trying to think how others feel. our main rule is to treat others as you wish to be treated yourself and if i cannot get the bottom of who did what (amongst my lot) i will just stress what is acceptable behaviour and acknowledge how each child feels etc.

i dont micromanage but i dont ignore either. i will always listen and its certainly not competitive 'my child is a little shit' because they are not. they are very good and i get lots of positive comments about them and their behaviour but i am still aware that they are children and they are therefore learning. mine seem to save their bad behaviour for at home anyway.

i am guiding them to help manage friendships and fallings out but i do stress to them.that they cannot control others behaviour but they can control their reaction and their behaviour. i acknowledge they are young and learning and listen to their feelings and i can understand why they reacted or behaved a certain way.

there is no sending them away with a flea in their ear or dismissing their troubles. there is understanding and listening but still being aware of the bigger picture.

AllDirections Sat 31-Aug-13 14:10:04

Well said 5madthings

Just because some of us are realistic about our children's behaviour (which is generally normal childhood behaviour) doesn't mean that we're ignoring them and sending them out to be bullied.

As always there is a line inbetween the two extremes of micromanaging behaviour and ignoring children. Children need to be able to deal with minor issues themselves and I often think that we had it easier because it happened for us whilst we played out as children. Parents rarely got involved unless it was something serious so we learnt to deal with stuff ourselves.

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