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Old 05-31-2006, 12:41 AM   #1
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Need some advice from Mamas who gently parent (only those mamas please)...

So a friend of mine wants to come up & stay a week with her 2 1/2 yr old (at a 22 mos level) twin foster (getting ready to adopt) daughters... I am very concerned that I will not be able to deal with how controlling she is over the girls...

I cared for them for 2 weeks before Christmas & witnessed a few power struggles (in the time she & I were both there) between her & the kids that made me cry (literaly)... one was that she would not give the girls their super until they signed the name of the food... another was that they had to eat (gage down) food they didn't like to get more of the other foods...

I'm not a total push over, I do have limits, like eat at the table, very little sugar in the house, hold my hand while walking or ride in sling/stroller, etc... but I am worried that I can not deal with her being so hard on them...

Is this normal? Do I need to get over this & just realise we parent differently, but both love our children? Or is this a just thought, that maybe I don't want that type of parenting in my home for a week?

Please be kind with whatever you say (be it agree or disagree)... I had a bad couple days last week & don't know if I can handle any huge attacks... Thanks...

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Old 05-31-2006, 02:24 AM   #2
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Re: Need some advice from Mamas who gently parent (only those mamas please)...

That is a tough one... what you described would really upset me too! Does she know it made you cry or did you talk about it at the time? Could you talk about it ahead of time? On the one hand, maybe she would learn something when she sees that your style works, but if it's coming from a controlling personality it seems unlikely that she'd be open minded. A week is a long time to spend with a parenting style that is that upsetting to you & dd.
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:02 AM   #3
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Re: Need some advice from Mamas who gently parent (only those mamas please)...

Controlling food is setting those children up for eating disorders!!! These children will either be obese or they will be anorexic!!! How sad!

Also, signing before eating? That is unnecessary force! You cannot MAKE somebody learn, just like I can't make my children sleep. I can get them in bed, turn out the lights and tell them to sleep but you can't make them sleep. THat is forcing and she is setting her children up for psycological problems and they will be geared towards HER. She's shooting off her own foot.

If she is adopting them, isn't she suppose to be taking a parenting class? They will discuss issues like this, I believe they will anyway.

Bless those children!
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:43 AM   #4
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Re: Need some advice from Mamas who gently parent (only those mamas please)...

jeez now the only excuse for her could be that the children are picky eaters ... but so is ds ... as he never has been forced to eat until he gaged I would just treat them the way I treat my own kids when watching them ... show them what a normal parent is like!!! This may show them they can come to you for help in the simple gesture of not acting like their parents do. As for talking to her about how she treats the kids ... very touchy ... You caould make something up ... like "zander never eats his peas" and then say how you would deal with it ??? Then he doesn't get to pick his dessert ?? The signing thingy uggh if your kids learn to sign great!!! if they dont Great!! Some parents are so concerned in how they (their Family) look to the people around they dont take a chance to stop and look at what harm they may cause themselves or their children!!
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:19 AM   #5
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Re: Need some advice from Mamas who gently parent (only those mamas please)...

I want to add one more thing: about them gagging, is that really going to make them feel good about eating? NO!

When I was a small child, my mother was old-school about eating (clean plate club president!) and I was made to eat everything on my plate, even if it was too much. Well, the problem I had as a kid was, when I did eat, I gagged every single time and my mother thought I was being rude about her food when that had NOTHING to do with it!!!! I had HUGE tonsils and whenever something touched them it caused an involuntary gag reflex that I had NO control over and I got into trouble every single meal over them until a doctor said that they needed to come out as they were so big, I couldn't eat or sleep properly (snoring).

Sometimes gagging is a sign of another problem or just simply the kids are full!
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:23 AM   #6
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Re: Need some advice from Mamas who gently parent (only those mamas please)...

Oh how sad I do not think I could deal with that for 2 weeks, it would be so upsetting. Have you tried to talk to her about what she is doing?
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:26 AM   #7
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Re: Need some advice from Mamas who gently parent (only those mamas please)...

Yeah that, what Lisa said.

I would just set your own example and hope she sees what your parenting style is. Maybe you could gently help her do some critical thinking of other ways to help her children eat (if it's really a struggle, not just something she wants them to do). Maybe you could suggest doing something like signing as they eat. With my son who is just over a year, we sign with him while he eats but don't make him do it before he eats. If that were the case he would never eat. I'm wondering if maybe you suggest to her that maybe they'll eat better/learn better if she did it with them...like signed, took a bite, said yum and then signed it again. That's what we do and my son laughs and thinks it's a game. If he learns it, then great, if not, oh well.

Maybe once she sees how you parent, she'll start asking you questions and you can share your parenting style with her. Even if she's not open to it, it might peak her interest enough to parent a little more gently at least when she's around you? I find people watching me when I parent gently. They don't ever say anything but I do tend to think that people are more gentle around me when they see that I'm doing that with my son.

You can rub off on her .
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:33 AM   #8
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Re: Need some advice from Mamas who gently parent (only those mamas please)...

I agree with Lisa. That is a tough one. I'd cry too if saw that.
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Old 05-31-2006, 08:04 AM   #9
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Re: Need some advice from Mamas who gently parent (only those mamas please)...

mama. i'm not as gentle a parent as i want to be. i think that in particular the force-feeding thing would bother me. but i know how easy it is to get sucked in to power struggles with your child. i think esp. if she's not aware or concerned about her behavior that it could be really really hard to talk with her about it. i mean, i'm aware of the times that i get worked up about dumb stuff (like diaper change struggles) and i try really hard not to fall in to those traps, and i think that i would still be very defensive if someone else brought it up.

i'm assuming if she's coming for a long visit though that you guys are good friends. so maybe there is a way to let her know what you're concerned about - esp. regarding her visit.

good luck mama.
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Old 05-31-2006, 12:21 PM   #10
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Re: Need some advice from Mamas who gently parent (only those mamas please)...

I hope I can say all this without offending you, I mean don't mean it that way, but sometimes type comes out different then speak. And I'm not the best at explaining things the way I want to.

I totally understand these things are hard to watch. And this woman may just not know how to parent any other way. I'm not saying you are wrong or anything, but I just want to put another perspective out there for you to consider.

I am the mother of 3 children I gave birth to. I am also the mother of 2 children who were/are in foster care. Both of these children were exposed to drugs and/or alcohol before they were born. Neither has ever been in an abusive or neglectful home (well, not since they were born anyway). However, both still and always will suffer the effects of the drugs and alcohol. It has actually changed their brain function, they don't process things normally.

I have to parent these children differently then I do my birth children. I show everyone the same love, affection and attention, but I can't parent them all the same. I have had to really let go of my pride when it comes to my parenting. With my first 3 children it was so great! People would tell me all the time how well behaved they were, and they were all just compliant for the most part. That has all changed! I have to do things that others see as "mean" with the younger 2. I can't, not even once, let something slide or else we start all over again at square one. I have to be firm, and can't waver, or give in.....ever. Their brains have literally been damaged (yes, it's documented) and in order for them to learn rules (house and societal rules) they have to be enforced EVERY time.

This gets old, and it's frustrating. With my oldest if we were in public and she didn't want to eat her veggies I could let it slide, not make a scene and know that the next meal at home she would know she had to eat the veggies (just using veggies as an example). With the youngest 2, their brains can't process things in the abstract. There are no grey areas, it's all black and white. So if I were to not make them eat their veggies while we were at someone else's house they would have no clue the next time we eat at home they they need to eat their veggies and we would start alllll over again. Does that make any sense?

It's just not fair to them to always be changing the rules to fit the environment, and the goal is for them to have a great life and be healthy, not for me to look good in public, kwim?

There are so many more examples I could give you. I don't know what these girls lived through, and chances are unless this friend tells you everything about her life you don't either. Most likely, if they are still in foster care, she just can't tell you everything. It may seem mean to you, but maybe she's doing it because it's less mean for the girls to follow the same rules always, then to change them to fit the environment. Or I could be totally off base. I don't know, but I do know that it kills me inside when people think I'm just being mean or controlling for the he** of it, when what I'm doing is actually LESS mean for my children. My youngest 2 just need more control, and although that doesn't sit well with some people I am going to give them what they need, even if I don't want to.

Hugs to you, I hope you have a wonderful visit with your friend and her girls
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