Mistakes I have observed in child rearing

I have observed some mistakes that my wife and I have made. Now these are just my interpretation and are not based on anything. I invite others to point out their views too.

Here is the one on my mind right now:

Getting excited when the child says a new word rather than responding appropriately to the correct use of language. It cuts off communication and decontextualizes the word usage. I’ve noticed my daughter say a word quite clearly in the correct context and my wife and I will be like, “Did you hear…?!”, and the result is she never uses it again because the proper meaning was not rewarded with an appropriate response.

I’ll add more later, but that is the one that’s on my mind right now.

I really don’t think children’s language acquisition is all that delicate a process. Kids just enjoy a good conversation.

They certainly do, and they also don’t necessarily need a dumbed down version.

Oh I don’t mean it like that. I am just saying that my daughter ceases to use words that don’t receive the appropriate response. Not that I think she never will or that we are stunting her language development.

You’re quite right - her gradual development may be apparent to an adult, but to her, she’s living and speaking in the present, and you responding to her as a conversational equal is the way to go. Even thinking of ‘rewards’ is perhaps pushing things too far in another direction, because a crucial skill is the appropriate use of language.

When I say, ‘reward’, I mean showing her that she used the word correctly rather than the sharing of the joy of it with my wife. Right now her trouble with speaking is bringing up the words in context. She can say, “di di”, for diaper, or “stinky”. She’ll even bring a diaper to us, but she rarely says di di when she needs one, sometimes she’ll just start crying, but if we say, ‘Do you need a diaper?’, she’ll reach out take our hand and lead us to her changing table and say ‘di di’. So in that the mistake we are making is that we’re not helping her contextualize words enough. As I said I’m not at all worried about her development, she’s whip smart and I think she’ll be speaking in full sentences regularly in six months. She occasionally says sentences. Her favorite one now is, “I did it!”

This all sounds fair enough - I hadn’t clocked that she was quite that young, in which case my comments don’t make so much sense! :slight_smile:

Oh yeah, she’s 21 months. :wink:

My daughter’s favorite sentence when she was tiny was “No, me!” She liked doing things for herself. Still does.

Here’s one my wife and I notice other parents doing all the time:

If you ignore your children until they start making loud, ugly noises you’re teaching them that it’s effective to make loud, ugly noises!

You’d have been better off responding promptly to those little whimpers and tugs on the sleeve that you’ve been ignoring. Yeah, it’s annoying to have to interrupt your adult conversation and answer a question about the Wiggles. But it’s not half as annoying as the whining and screaming that comes later if you don’t.

The biggest mistake I have observed is making threats and then not following through: “If you keep on throwing a fit, I’m going to remove you from this store!”, then the kid keeps throwing a fit, and the parent keeps shopping.

This teaches the kid that the parents mean nothing they say.

Or making meaningless threats that they know you’d never do, as in, “I’m gonna whup your ass til you can’t sit for a week!”

Or overreacting for every little thing to the point that you have nothing left for something really important. Save the extreme reactions for extreme situations, as opposed to shrieking aaalllll the time.

Projecting your own childhood experience onto your kids, or projecting your experience with your own kids onto another family with their kids.

My sister and I were “easy” kids. We just did what we were told. A mere stern look would have us in tears. Then my sister had kids of her own and tried to raise them like she was raised. A stern look? The kids laugh in her face at that. Different techniques are required. Kids are not a blank slate - they are all different.

Pochacco I find that one the hardest to do. Sometimes you just tune the kid out.

She’s too young for the useless threats yet. Hopefully I won’t make that mistake.

I am not a parent, but spending time with my husband’s young cousins makes me think of this issue: teach them not to whine. I know a 12, 10 and 8 year old who all whine in a way that I’d have trouble accepting from a 3 year old!

Also, while you’re free to be as strict as you like about things like dinner time, I think that allowing children to get up, run around, come back, eat a bit, go play, return, go watch tv, return to eat, etc is a really bad idea. Again, the 12, 10 and 8 year old are allowed to do this, and I find it stressful when we go have dinner with them and while I’ve actually never been to a restaurant with the family, I can’t help but think how awful it must be if they behave in public the way they do at home!

This is a useful thing to know when the child invariably picks up some very special language and tries it out in the most inappropriate of times and places. :smiley:

Just play it cool.

A big one that I see all the time:

If your child is throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get what they wanted, do not attempt to entertain them, appease them, talk to them, or argue with them, and please never give them what they want because they are crying. Ignore them! Just walk away!

We do not negotiate with terrorists!

My mom used to throw some cold water on us when we threw a fit. Said it worked wonders. Shocked us into stopping. I’m pretty sure I won’t resort to that though, no matter how effective.

The “I’m leaving without you” maneuver (excepting only those cases where the child is safe and you really ARE happy to leave them there)

Used all the time by the father of one of my daughter’s preschool classmates.

Scene: Johnny is happily playing in the sandpit. Parents are coming in to pick up all their kids, including Johnny’s Dad

Dad: Hey, Johnny. Time to go now.
Johnny continues playing*

Dad: Did you hear what I said? Go get your shoes on.
Johnny continues playing*
Dad: Come on Johnny. If you don’t get your shoes on, I’m going without you. Look, I’m walking over to the gate.
Johnny continues playing*
Dad: I’m opening the gate. I’m going without you. Look, I’m closing the gate. I’m out on the street…
Johnny continues playing. Dad gives up, comes back inside, crams shoes on Johnny’s feet and drags him out the gate.*

Nashiitashii Says that when she was a toddler, her father got down on the floor next to her and threw a fit while she was having a tantrum. Apparently she was so mortified she stopped, and didn’t throw too many after that incident. YMMV.

How can you be certain she wasn’t saying “Know me!”?