Tell me about bad parenting....

…of friends’ and family’s kids. Where you have to bite your tongue but you really want to point out the flaws in that parenting style.

I’ll start with a friend of mine (yes, the same friend I’m talking about in my other 2 threads right now. I need to vent). She does not understand the idea of reinforcing behavior. For example, she once bitched about one of my cats investigating (read: trying to eat off of) her plate of food while she was eating on the couch. Then, when she’s done with the food, she let the cat lick the plate.

No, dumbass! You can’t bitch about an unwanted behavior and then reward that behavior!

Same thing with her daughter (2 1/2) while we were out shopping recently. Kid starts screaming for some of the pretzels her mom put in the cart. My friend held out for a while, maybe 5 minutes, but then she gave in. Opened the bag right there in the store and gave her daughter all the pretzels she wanted.

No. You don’t do that. A toddler needs to learn that bad behavior gets punished, not rewarded. When you give in, you just guarantee it’s going to continue happening, and probably getting worse.

So, what bad parenting skills do your friends and family possess that you want to correct, but can’t for fear of ruining your relationships?

You can teach animals to wait, without begging, until you are finished and then let them have the remainder. I used to have a dog trained so. It is not easy.

Sure it is.

My dogs don’t bother me at all when I’m eating. They may hang out a little bit, but they definitely don’t beg. When I’m done, I put my plate down, they can lick it. I never give them bites while I’m eating, though.

Mr. Athena gives them bites when he’s eating all the time. They hound him excessively, to the point where when he’s eating certain foods (eggs, for example) he retreats to his office and closes his door so they can’t follow him.

Someday, he’ll figure out that bites = begging. No bites = no begging. There was no training involved on my part, just a steadfast refusal to give in to doggy mind control.

“bad parenting” is what other people do with their kids. It is really easy to diagnose when you don’t have any kids of your own.

8 months pregnant with twins, with a screaming 2 1/2 yr. old, a friend sleeping on the couch, that’s not about good parenting or bad parenting, that is about surviving without murdering someone.

Sometimes the bad behavior you are trying to prevent is your own.

This drives me crazy. I never say anything, because I am not a parent, but I can vent here:

Whenever these particular parents are out with us, they seem to coddle their kid to the point of insanity. Kid is bored? Hand her the iPhone and put a little song on, or the PSP, and put a little video on. She’s bored at home? Throw on a Sesame Street video.

This TV thing REALLY bothers me. The kid should not be watching TV all the time, I’m sure of it. She’s barely older than 2.

Then, they also lift her and carry her around constantly. The kidcan literally not play alone for five minutes (with supervision). I thought little kids learned to entertain themselves pretty quickly? But pop in a DVD and she is transfixed.

The best example that comes to mind is three cousins. At one point they were all under the age of 4, and they were little hellions. No one could stand having them around, which caused friction at family get togethers. The source of the situation became clearer when their mother announced, “My husband and I can’t agree how to discipline the kids, so we just don’t.”

I’m with you, Anaamika. TV isn’t good for young children (doesn’t the AMA or some such group suggest no TV at all for kids under 3?) and it makes me sad to see these kids mesmerized by Nemo or whatnot.

Now the oldest (5) is so ADD that they want him to repeat kindergarten because he’s having such a hard time staying on task.

I look at the kid:

  1. Watches TV all the time.
  2. Cannot play alone for even five minutes.

And I see a clear correlation. She is so easily distracted, flitting from one thing to the next, and I wonder how the parents don’t see it.

You wanna know the worst of it? The 'rents are having serious marital problems.
…knowing this, they got pregnant again. I willl calmly walk away now before I let loose with the invective suited to this behavior.

If watching TV excessively causes ADD, then why don’t all the other kids in the class whose parents let them watch excessive (in your opinion) amounts of TV have ADD, also?

I knew plenty of kids growing up, and plenty of kids in my children’s peer groups, who watch TV all the damn time, and the vast majority don’t have ADD. I am not advocating letting the TV be a babysitter for your child, but I hear this “TV watching = ADD” thing all the time and I’m tired of it.

I’ve told this story several times on this board and told it to someone yesterday, even though it happened almost 10 years ago;

Couple I’d known for many years finally had kids. First kid gets to about 2.5 years old. It’s 11:10pm on a Friday night and the kid is throwing a fit. Punches me in the leg, punches dad, throws a toy at the piano.

I say “He looks like he’s really tired. Maybe you should put him to bed.”

They make all sorts of noises and roll their eyes. “Oh he’ll just cry!”

Me (innocently): So?

Them: Long and angry speech about how they’re the parents of a small child and therefore they know EVERYTHING they need to know about raising a small child. I am a single man with no kids, therefore I know NOTHING about children. Therefore they do not ever want to hear another word out of me about how to raise their child. :rolleyes:

Monday morning, the dad calls me at 10am while I’m at work (a big no-no with me). The first words out of his mouth are to complain that he just now got to work, three hours late, because their son refused to go to bed the night before.

Me: Friday night you had to lecture me about how you didn’t want to hear another word out of me about how to raise your son. Therefore I don’t want to hear another word out of you about how you’re too goddamned STUPID to put a two year old to bed. (SLAM!)

The next Friday, the child had a bed time, but it would be another year before they made even the slightest effort to actually put that child to bed at his bed time.
Same parents, another 2.5 years later;

Five year old is playing by himself. Larger than normal 2.5 year old keeps trashing ANYTHING the five year old does, coming through like Godzilla anytime the five year old gets something set up. Naturally, the five year old complains.

Parents tell him to shut up and live with it. :eek:

Foolish me, I try to defend the five year old. I get another lecture.

Don’t judge other people’s parenting until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

I’ve seen some parenting styles I don’t engage in. And I haven’t lived up to my own ideals in parenting. However, I’m not certain I’ve ever been close enough to judge when a parent has actually been a bad parent. I’ve seen people in Target do things where I’ve thought “whoa!” but who knows if that moment was an aberration, I’ve had my aberrations.

(OK, I have been close enough to judge - when I was in high school the family down the street was parented by man who had incestuous and physically abusive relationships with his daughters. And a wife that looked the other way through all five girls. That was a bad parent. Giving into pretzels…nah…not even hitting the bad parent radar)

Sometimes you just give in. No, it’s not what you are supposed to do. But when you are at the end of your rope, you do. Especially when you are 8 months pregnant with twins with a strained marriage and a house guest.

Seriously, if you so disapprove of everything this woman does why on earth are you staying with her and exposing yourself to the <gasp!> horrors of giving in to a kid when you are just really fucking tired?

Wait a minute. The OP is a houseguest sleeping on the couch of the person she is complaining about? And said person is 8 months pregnant with twins? And has a 2.5-year-old?

It is really unfortunate that the Pit rules were just changed. I will merely say that I hope your friend, who is allowing you to sleep on her couch at what is already a stressful time in her life, does not find out that you are bitching about her parenting skills to strangers on the Internet.

My SIL and her hubby planned a nice weekend get-away at a B&B with their 3 year old in a town about a 4 hour drive from their home in Toronto. They get there, have a nice afternoon at the lake, and then it’s time for the 3 year old to go to bed.

She screams, cries and throws a fit saying she won’t go to sleep anywhere but her own bed. The parents hold out until 11 pm and then give up and drive the 4 hours back to Toronto and give up their nice weekend and the entire amount they paid for the B&B for the 3 nights.

Of course the 3 year old was mostly throwing a fit from being overly excited and tired from the trip. Of course she fell asleep within minutes of driving in the car back home. Of course she was disappointed the next day waking up in her own bed and wondering why they didn’t get to play at the lake again.

They taught their daughter that if you scream enough you get your own way, even if it means your parents have to drive for 4 hours twice in one day. Even if they have to give up a lovely paid-in-advance weekend.

They claim the girl is just stubborn. I say she is spoiled, and it’s the parents’ fault.

Those of you guys who are picking on the OP for daring to criticize her friend, please remember, OP has just gotten out of an abusive relationship, and that is the only reason why she is staying with her friend. She is presumably trying to vent here so she can go to her friend with smiles and help out as best as she can. I see nothing wrong with this.

And it’s not like I ever criticize parents to their face, directly or indirectly - but I reserve the right to complain about it online, too!

Well, another thread backfires. It’s amusing to think that someone wants to pit me because I disagree with my friend’s constantly giving in to bad behavior. What, did you think the pretzel incident was the only time I’ve ever witnessed this sort of behavior?

Whatever. :rolleyes:

Maybe… just maybe… she’s really stressed out, because she’s in a bad marriage and is hugely pregnant with twins and has not only a toddler to take care of, but an ungrateful houseguest. Maybe she decided that a bag of pretzels isn’t the hill she wants to die on today. Maybe she decided that today she’d rather just give the kid a bag of pretzels than have to haul a screaming child out of the grocery store while hugely pregnant, uncomfortable, and tired. And maybe you should find someone else to stay with, OP.

(Or, you know, maybe she really is just an unbelievably shitty parent and deserves to be judged for it. But based on what we know, I’m personally willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, and it’s too bad that someone who is supposedly her close friend, who should be insanely grateful that this person is providing a place to stay under the circumstances, doesn’t feel the same.)

I didn’t realise that being grateful to someone meant turning off your critical thinking faculties. Certainly the OP’s friend is in a stressful situation, but so is the OP. I’m with Anaamika. If venting here helps her not vent at her hostess, I’m all for it.

To end this hijack, thankfully none of my siblings have small children, except for one whom I don’t see very often. The few times I’ve seen her she’s very polite if a bit chatty, and my step-sister has no issue with our parents stepping in and telling the kid to put a sock in it if she gets overwhelming and her mom isn’t around to rein her in.

DH’s sister is big on empty threats. “I’m going to count to 3 and if you don’t stop, I’m going to spank you. 1…2…3…” Bad behavior continues. “I mean it, if you don’t stop by the time I get to 3…” Lather, rinse, repeat.

DH’s brother and SIL just give in on everything. Last time we visited, their daughter was allowed to hold the entire visit hostage because every time someone suggested something to do, somewhere to eat, whatever, she screamed until we were pretty much reduced to sitting around their apartment staring at each other. Other relatives have confirmed that this wasn’t unique to our visit, and that at the age of 12, that sort of behavior continues.

My brother seems to be under the impression that because he’s a cop, his kids are just automatically “fine.” His son’s teachers have been recommending anger management classes, and he’s not allowed in our house after he hit one of our dogs in the head, but, no, “I’m a cop, there’s nothing wrong with MY kid.” Dude, someday you’re going to be arresting your own son when he becomes your friendly neighborhood axe murderer, and I’m frankly relieved that he couldn’t find his way to my house!

It is pretty common for a 5 year old to repeat kindergarten, especially a boy. Some schools now recommend that summer birthdays even wait until they are 6 to start. I have not been following all the other issues or threads, so I have no comment on all the other things, but holding a 5 year old back in kindergarten is not uncommon and does not mean he has ADD, some kids just need another year to mature.

I know that the AMA suggests no TV for kids (under 2), but my own pediatrician, and all the parents of children I know, give in once in a while at least. It is really really hard to not let kids watch any TV at all, especially if they have older siblings that watch. I admit to putting in a Sesame Street or something more often when I was pregnant with my second because I needed a break. This is not to say they should just watch Nick or Cartoon Network all day, but as a parent, I have to defend a little TV. :slight_smile:

This is not to say there is not a share of bad parents out there! But after having 2 of my own, I sure am much more less likely to judge someone else, especially when it is an abnormal time in their lives or they are under stress, or if you only see a brief moment playing out.

I don’t mean to second guess what you are observing, you are there and we are not. I just feel a little sympathetic for anyone pregnant with twins, even vicariously :).