Raising Kids is Tough : Adult Differences

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Every Monday through September, we’ll be going through some Unwanted Behaviors. I’m very excited for this part in the series, because I often wonder what is expected of my child at his age, or how to cope with certain outbursts. And boy, the experts have some great answers to share!

These hands on experts have given their professional and personal answers to help deal with or accept those unwanted behaviors that you submitted.

The Hands On Experts:

Your Unwanted Behaviors:

  • Adult Differences (experts’ advice is below) : What do you do when other people try and manage your child’s behaviors… even though their expectations for your child (and other children) are not developmentally appropriate? Or you have a different opinion regarding what the behavior should be in the particular situation?
  • Gender Awareness : What do you do when a child in your class seems to be a little too aware of private parts & boy/girl relationships?
  • Acting Out :
    • My 2 yr old, otherwise well behaved, has started to change. She is getting stubborn and demands things to be in a certain way in public or else she raises her voice and if she gets angry she raises her hand on me too.
    • My two young boys want to fight, wrestle, kick, hit, and bite each other all the time. Do you have any suggestions for channeling this energy into a more positive direction?
  • Nagging Questions : How do I limit my children from asking the same question over and over?

(Do you have a question that wasn’t listed? Submit your Raising Kids is Tough questions and I’ll post them throughout the month on the hands on : as we grow Facebook page!)

The experts each chose a couple questions to give their input on, some questions have answers from multiple experts, while others may only have one expert’s advice.

UNWANTED BEHAVIORS : adult differences

What do you do when other people try and manage your child’s behaviors… even though their expectations for your child (and other children) are not developmentally appropriate? Or you have a different opinion regarding what the behavior should be in the particular situation? (ex. I am OK with my son getting excited and jumping around if he is happy about something. I have a friend who is always telling her child to calm down… and mine too.) I would love suggestions regarding how to talk with adults without being offensive.  — asked by Kristina

This week’s advice and helpful tips come from all four experts:

Parenting Expert (Erin from The Intentional Parent) :
This can be a tricky situation for most parents to deal with, and in truth how you deal with it depends on “who” is trying to “manage” your child, and what your relationship is with them. My guess is that your friend is trying to be helpful, or  just stuck on “mom mode” and automatically redirecting your child without thinking. Having two very… excitable boys, I have been in this situation many times before and there are several ways to handle it. I would try to keep it light. Perhaps next time your son gets excited and starts jumping around, and your friend tells him to calm down, you could say something like, “that’s okay, I don’t mind it when he is jumping around like that, I like to see him excited”. Be firm, but friendly, and let your friend know that you are fine with how your child is behaving, and you are on top of it. Ninety nine percent of the time, your friend will not redirect your child again. If it does continue however, you will need to take a more direct approach.– Erin, The Intentional Parent

Teaching Expert (Deborah from Teach Preschool) :
Often times, as parents, we tend to be far more sensitive to having another adult tell our child(ren) what to do than the child does. So start by watching your child’s response. If your child isn’t bothered by having the other adult correct his behavior – then don’t let it bother you. If your child is bothered or it is in any way making your child feel embarrassed then consider saying something to the other adult but not in front of your child.I know when my daughter was little and a stranger walked up and tried to correct her behavior it would instantly make me steaming mad but then I realized that my response had greater influence on how my daughter felt about the situation than what the other adult had to say.I learned to have secret communication with my daughter. If someone said something to correct her – she would instantly look at me and I would give her a sweet smile and tell her where others could hear, “you are such a good helper or listener – thank you for being so sweet.” This gave everyone in the room the message I felt that needed reinforced.

The most important place to focus is on helping your child learn to positively process the instructions of other adults by your own behavior, reactions, or words and your child will learn to still respect other adults but know that what really counts is what mommy has to say!

— Deborah, Teach Preschool

Mom Expert (Jill from A Mom with a Lesson Plan) :Oh this is a good one. With parenting there are so many different ideas, beliefs and techniques. You would be hard pressed to find two people with exactly the same parenting style. Since socialization is so important (for parents and kids) there are bound to be times when your parenting styles clash with those around you.I think I would start by asking you “Is talking to the adult really necessary?” The reason I ask is that kids are pretty good at determining which behavior is appropriate at which times. “Library behavior” is much different than “park behavior” and kids are taught early the rules for each situation. Depending on the amount of time you are spending with this friend, the simple solution might be to have special rules for this particular friend. “She prefers quiet and calm, so when we play at her house we will do our best to respect her feelings.” When the play is on your turf it will be easier to explain, “I planned this great ENERGY spending activity! Do you want to join in, or sit back and watch?” You will be teaching your kids how to survive in a social world…as well as passing on a few hints to your friend.

Of course if you feel like passing on some of your techniques, sharing ideas can be wonderful thing. If you approach the topic in a positive way you both may walk away learning something.  Find blog posts, or magazine articles that support your values. “I read this great article; it was about the importance of movement and excitement.”  Keep in mind that every kid is different and there is no set “right” way to parent.
— Jill, A Mom with a Lesson Plan

Lifestyle Expert (Sarah from Füdoo Boards) :It annoys me too when people are down other kids’ throats expecting what they think is “acceptable behavior”. I am a pretty laid back mom, so being calm at all times isn’t that important to me, but to some people quiet and calm seems to be a reachable virtue they want to instill in THEIR children. If this person is a friend that you want to hang out with, you might want to look at where you are meeting. Don’t set yourself up for her corrections by going to her house, to a restaurant, or somewhere rather quiet. Instead try to meet at parks, simple hiking trails, or mall playgrounds. You can even meet with her regularly to walk with strollers and get some exercise. As long as your children are not hurting or offending anyone, she shouldn’t be trying to “fix” anyone’s behavior.  I hope this helps!– Sarah, Fudoo Boards

You, too, can weigh in with your opinions right in the hands on : as we grow Facebook Community. Add your very own expert advice to the Unwanted Behaviors : Adult Differences discussion!

These four experts are very generous for giving their time to answer these questions on hands on : as we grow. Please check out their websites listed above. Thank you experts for your extensive knowledge!

Next Monday, the experts lend their advice for a touchy topic. Private parts and personal space may become an issue with children, learn the best way to act in these situations.

In case you’re just stopping in for the first time here on Raising Kids is Tough, last month was all about Eating Battles – many questions were answered by the experts and fans of the hands on : as we grow Facebook community!

And thank you to all the readers who have submitted questions! Head over and submit your question – next month’s topic I’m hoping to talk about Learning Skills – how to encourage learning, or maybe there are specific skills that your child lacks and you’d like some advice on how to teach them. Whatever it may be, submit your nagging questions that makes Raising Kids Tough! (All topics are welcome, we’ll get to your question in the future!)

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  1. Sarah says

    I totally agree with what you guys are saying and I have asked people to please not correct my child if I am there. But at the same time we need to teach our children to obey adults. They need to realize that when they go to a friends house that adult may have different rules and they need to obey them. Or they need to obey the rules at school, church, daycare, etc. Some of these adults may have different ways to discipline or different standards but children need to learn to act according to how the situation dictates. As adults we do this all the time-work, school, home, store, etc. Just my tidbit!

  2. Anonymous says

    Great article. I'm wondering what the experts would have to say about the need to protect your children from always being hurt by another child; whereby that child's mother chooses to do absolutely nothing about it, in the name of gentle discipline and unconditional love?!?!?!?!

    Whilst I agree wholeheartedly that others should not correct someone's child, especially if the parent is right there. But what do you do when you find yourself in that situation time and time again?

  3. Erin says

    I think that if another child does something that hurts your child, there are time when it is completely appropriate to step in. Sometimes "rough play" is normal childs play, and if you take a step back you will see that your child is able to handle it themselves. Often, if it is another child acting out, the other parent will step in to discipline their own child. These are of course the ideal scenarios! If a child is doing something dangerous such as pushing, throwing rocks (or really anything that will hurt your child) I think it is compleely appropriate for another adult (such as yourself) to intervene to insure safety.
    If it is a friend of yours (and it is continually happening on a play date) you could address your concerns with the other parent. Anoher option would be to try to plan out your playdates differently, maybe a different environment would work better, or a more structured activity.

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