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Things people say

13th September 2013

We’re continuing to experience challenging times. I’d put it slightly higher than challenging now; in fact, I’m not sure when the last time I got more than 2 hours of sleep a night was :P

In any case, this has highlighted a lot of things people have been saying when faced with the behaviour D has been exhibiting:

  • This is your fault; you let him become this way.
  • He’s too old for nursing/co-sleeping/finger-feeding/nappies/[insert anything here].
  • He should be doing X and Y by now.
  • You should be doing X and Y by now.
  • Just leave him to it; he needs to learn.
  • You need a strict routine.
  • You should have/you needed to/if you had just [anything] then you wouldn’t be in this position.
  • Look how good that child is over there. His parents did X and Y; you did A and B. That is why yours is not like that.
  • You knew what you signed up for; no sympathy here.
  • You shouldn’t have brought him with you; this isn’t an appropriate place for him. You need adult time away from him.

And of course, not forgetting the classic…

  • I told you so.

It’s true, some of those statements might have an element of truth to them. But the thing I take away from this is that I cannot win. Everyone has an opinion on how you bring up a child, and if you don’t do it the same way they would, with the same child they have (or perceived idea thereof) you are automatically wrong. Never mind the fact that all children are different, all children go through phases of extreme difficulty (for their parents), and all children have moments where nothing works, ever. Not to mention the fact that I’m sure most parents have had these experiences. Telling me I should have done things a certain way or insulting me for the way I do things now does not help me. What does help me is a reassuring “this is normal, it’ll pass”-type pep talk, and possibly a hand so that I can get things done or have a break when things get too much. That rarely happens, however.

I get that a screaming child is annoying. I know that at a fancy gathering the last thing anyone wants is for the baby in the corner to start throwing a tantrum and spoil the occasion. I know this because I used to be one of those people giving evils to the parent desperately trying to control their child while making loud comments similar to the above. But saying these sorts of things does not do anything except make you seem self-righteous (to the parent) and thus making the parent feel even worse about things. Yes, it’s possible that had I/they done things differently in the past, the child would be different now. That’s all fine and good – let me just go back in time and fix that :P However, for the most part, I disagree with those sorts of statements. The bottle-fed, routine-driven child that’s calm and confident is not so because of the bottle-feeding and strict routine (in my opinion, of course /disclaimer); they are that way because that is just the way they are. I am fairly sure that had the same child been breastfed and baby-led, they would probably still behave the same way.

Let’s just take a moment and calm down, shall we?