On dealing with children

Well, I’m on this subject again. Maybe it’s me, because I don’t have children of my own yet. And I certainly don’t want to be judgmental, but I just don’t get a few things that parents around me are doing.

I know most of you have children, so I just have to ask the following. Also, since I babysat C up until a few weeks ago, a nearly six-year-old, I’m asking in regards to her age.

What is the deal with picking up after children?

C had a play date a few weeks ago. I took her and two of her kindergarten mates home, to C’s place. They had her small room’s floor covered in toys in under five minutes. There literally was no where to step; I “sent in” apples as a snack for them, they took it handing the plate around.

They asked to watch cartoons, and I said no. Because they really wanted to, we settled on watching one cartoon later, after a good hour/hour and a half of playing first. Everyone can watch cartoons when they’re in their own home, this was a play date. Plus, I don’t want to get paid for not doing my job. Play dates make my babysitting easier as is, as the kid doesn’t need me to be around her every second of that time.

Just when the kids sat down to watch the promised cartoon, C’s father arrived home. I told him about the cartoon thing, and that I’d be taking C’s friends home when they were done watching and helping straighten toys. He said okay. He went by C’s room and marveled at the mess. After washing his hands, he went inside, and started picking up all the toys and such. He was done by the time the cartoon was over.

Now… I have to admit: there was a huge mess, and a lot of toys to pick up. However. I really don’t think this was the best idea. I mean, how can one teach their kids to pick up after themselves if they’re cleaning up after them without a word? I, personally, was thinking of something more along the lines of all of us straightening up. And okay, let’s say he didn’t want the two girls helping since they were guests and all. But then, since there really was a lot of work on it, help his daughter pick everything up. Why do it for her?!

Especially since the following week, C asked me to hang her coat up for her because “Dad said he’d throw it out if he finds it on the floor again”…

PS: no wonder she refuses to blow her own nose, while a three year old does it for herself…

Help getting dressed and undressed?

Sure, I can see why one helps a small child, one who hasn’t yet learned how to get dressed on their own. That’s how they learn.

When I go pick C up from kindergarten she dresses herself. I may need to help with zippers, scarf, sometimes boots (depends what kind), but that’s about it. She’s throwing a tantrum because she doesn’t feel like it? Go ahead, I can wait until she’s finished – with both things.

Then, when we her mom’s firm was taking the employees and families for a weekend trip, I took C up to her office. Mom greeted us, showed us to the kitchen and left to get her purse telling her kid that “Estrela will help you get undressed”. My initial (unspoken) thought was “Yeah, I’ll get her scarf so she won’t choke herself, cause she just pulls at it. Other than that, she know how to get undressed.” And she did.

The other day, her mom arrived home before us. Upon greeting us, C started muttering she wasn’t in the mood to take her shoes off, and demanded help. Mom immediately started undressing the kid.

Is it just me, or is that showing C that she will get her way if she throws tantrums?

Not teaching them foreign languages?

This applies more here in my city of Kolozsvár, but still.

Being a Hungarian person who lives in Romania, one is required to speak Romanian. Logical, I know. It doesn’t make someone less Hungarian, and knowing other languages is always a plus. However, can’t recall what exactly the conversations was about, but C’s mom said to me once “I am glad C wants to learn Romanian. But I will not teach her.” Queue a million questions running through my head…

Yes, there are many parts of Romania where there are more Hungarian people and so, Romanian is barely spoken. I had classmates like that. But my gosh, Romanian literature classes were tough on them when they couldn’t properly string a sentence together. Romanian literature is required at exams! And there are so, so many collages in Romanian only! What if the kids wants to be a doctor? There is no Hungarian college for that.

For me it was easy, I learned both languages while growing up. I speak both since I was three. So, while attending a Hungarian school, Romanian classes were much easier for me. If one teaches their kid Romanian, they’re making both their lives easier for when school starts. And in life in general, because she will be living in this country…

So I simply don’t understand: why, why, why would one not want to help their children when they’re young enough to learn and not leave it until fifth grade when learning a foreign language is so much harder?

Telling kids to shut up and not embarrass themselves and you?

This last one is something I overheard a mom telling her little girl on the bus. She was taking the kid with her, to her work place. I don’t know any more details.

But does that sound like something one should say to their child?

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8 Comments to “On dealing with children”

  1. I’ve noticed things like this before and wondered what it would be like to live with some kids full time. There is a point where you have to stop doing things for your kids or they will never learn how to do it themselves. My son has learned how to make his own grilled cheese sandwich if he doesn’t want to eat what I made for the rest of the family to eat. :)

    • Right there with you on the wondering what it’d be like to live with certain kids full time. And I’m sure it’s different when one has kids, but I can’t imagine doing everything for them would be good for them to learn to function later.
      I like that your son can make his own grilled cheese sandwich if he doesn’t want to eat what you made for the family. Fair.

  2. I share your concerns Estrella; some kids are just not raised properly and you’d think maybe a license should required. :) I spent 16 months volunteering as a big brother and I spent my last year in college volunteering once a week for a year with a kindergarten class on one of my spare days; my mom used to be a teacher. I’ve seen some very cute, heart wrenching stuff from the kids, but some questionable stuff about their home life. I could go on and on, because it can get frustrating! You would think parents would know better…. not true in some cases. But like anything, there is the good and the bad….. unfortunately it sometimes seems the bad outnumbers the good.

    • Funny, but good point with the license ;)
      I overheard a parent tell the kindergarten teacher “good thing this kid listens to someone”. It makes one think what in the world is living in their house like…

  3. Since I have three (adult now) children, I have lots to say about this and I’m sure they have lots to say about what I did/didn’t do. Re: picking up. For the most part, I always had them pick up or at the very least, help pick up. When they got older, this seemed to be an issue because I knew they knew how to pick up, but it wasn’t always that easy. As a single parent, I’d pick my battles and let them have their messes in their rooms, until I couldn’t stand it any longer, then…
    Re: getting dressed. Anything that I could have them do versus me doing for them, I was all for. I think the more children you have, the less you do for them because you just can’t do it all for all of them. When there is only one, well I think they tend to be more spoiled and have more done for them… at least what I observe. I remember when my first child, my son was about 2 and we were getting ready to go somewhere and he picked out his clothes. Stripes and checks and the colors clashed. I told him he had to pick out something else. We argued. I finally thought, how ridiculous is this arguing with a two year old. I didn’t want him to wear it because I thought people would think I didn’t know how to dress my kid, but then I decided, who cares. (I guess that was like giving in, but…) He’s still no fashion plate :-), but he’s loveable, respectful, helpful, kind, (oh, I could go on).
    Re: foreign language. Seems like a no-brainer.

    • That seems most fair, at least help pick up.
      I don’t think letting your son wear the stripes and checks and clashing colors was like giving in. Though I wouldn’t care much what other people think. But more important is that the kids turn out loveable, respectful, helpful, kind; just like you descried your son!
      And yes, languages. Seems like a no-brainer. Can’t wait to teach my kids Hungarian, Romanian, AND English right from the start!

  4. I’d love to tell you that I am the ideal parent but I’m not. My kids are polite and well behaved but there issues like picking up after themselves that they could do better on. I did raise them speaking Spanish from birth so they do have the ability to learn languages at a much faster rate and their accents are tremendous. Yesterday when company was coming and I needed help picking up and cooking, they jumped right in and delivered. I have learned to choose my battles.

    • There are always some issues where any one of us could do better, I’m sure. But being well behaved and polite is a must, that’s for sure. Choosing your battles is probably also a requirement at some point, but so is choosing well. You’re a great mother, sounds like your kids are good at jumping in and delivering.
      And oh, how wonderful that you’ve taught them Spanish from birth, having the ability to learn languages at a much faster rate will benefit them greatly!

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