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Is this mean or good parenting?
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amother




OP
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 4:41 am
ds is 5.5 years old and wants oatmeal for breakfast. None of the bowls he likes are clean. His mother gives him the option to choose one of two clean bowls that are available. He says he doesn’t want either of those (in a whining tone). His mom says “ok, If you want your favorite bowl, you can wash it yourself”.

Is this mean or good parenting?

I’ll add one thing- one of ds’s “love languages” seems to be “acts of service”.

And I’ll add another thing - family has a newborn baby and morning was hectic .

With just this information alone, I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Is the child being unreasonable and whinny or are they just trying to seek some love? Does the answer to this question change how you would respond to this situation?
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Elfrida




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 5:00 am
Organizing a five year old to wash a dish on a busy morning sounds like it would take more time and energy than doing it oneself. Does he know how to wash dishes? Effectively the answer he would have heard was that you can't have the dish you want.
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English3




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 5:06 am
I would answer the same, but waiting to hear if thier is a better response.
P.s I also have newborns so maybe that why I am thinking like that.
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amother




Oak
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 5:35 am
My 5 year old is my early riser and often eats breakfast before anyone else is up. By the time her siblings are eating breakfast she's often hungry again and wants a second breakfast. I'm happy to give it to her but I'm busy with all the kids and I hate having extra dishes to wash, so she washes out her bowl and spoon herself so she can use it again. She enjoys helping and feeling like a big girl so it's a win-win. I don't think it's mean and knowing how to wash dishes is a good skill for kids to learn.
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 6:17 am
You ask two questions. 1. Is the mom being mean? 2. Is the child being whiny and unreasonable, or in need of some love?

The answer to the first question is no. Of course mom's not being mean. Perfectly reasonable to say "here's what's available, choose one." Kol vachomer when there's a new baby to deal with.

The answer I have for the second question is yes.
Yes, the child is being whiny and unreasonable -- and yes, that could be because he's in need of some love.

Mom should stick to her guns in the busy moment, maybe along with the acknowledgement that it's disappointing not to have the favorite bowl, and discuss later with the child. Probably there's some reason behind the whine, but mom isn't a slave to cater to the whim. If needed, a later lesson in bowl washing is a lovely idea.

Slightly off topic -- can one accurately determine someone's love language so early in life? As a parent, I try my best to do all 5 (loving words, acts of service, small gifts or notes, touch/hugs, quality time) when feasible. I haven't noticed strong preferences emerging until closer to adulthood.
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amother




Aquamarine
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 7:04 am
IMO the child was behaving like a brat. No way would I give in to that or even give him an option to wash a bowl since it isn't age appropriate. I'd probably tell him to return to the table when he is ready to behave.
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amother




Floralwhite
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 7:18 am
I actually think it’s a brilliant response.
Any 5 year old can rinse a plate, no one’s measuring perfection , and it teaches her a lesson .
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baby12x




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 7:22 am
My 4 year old can wash dishes (plastic and age appropriate level of cleanliness)
He is super kvetchy and whiny and I found that teaching him to do stuff himself helpes a lot with that. He likes being independent and it bothered him that he couldn't do stuff himself.
I discovered this after I taught him to do a lot of stuff himself- wash dishes, get a drink, pick clothes, even cut a cucumber.
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amother




Sapphire
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 7:24 am
I'm finding it fascinating that so far people saying the child should wash the plate are using female pronouns, and people saying the child isn't old enough/don't know how to wash a plate are using male pronouns. Do different expectations start that early?

The OP consistently referred to the child using he or his.
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amother




Amethyst
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 7:31 am
I agree with Floralwhite. She is telling him to be the master of his own destiny. Find a solution and do the work yourself if you are not happy with the choices.
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Motherhood




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 7:40 am
To answer your question, no you are not mean. You couldn’t do it and gave him the opportunity to be able to have the bowl he wants anyways. And just because his love language is acts of service, doesn’t mean you don’t love him if you don’t do it. We don’t need to always be available to give quality time, verbal praise or gifts either.
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small bean




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 8:07 am
I think it's age appropriate for him to want a certain bowl. I don't think it's mean to tell him to wash it himself.

I do the same and I think it's great that my 5 yr old can help himself.
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amother




Mint
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 8:22 am
amother [ Aquamarine ] wrote:
IMO the child was behaving like a brat. No way would I give in to that or even give him an option to wash a bowl since it isn't age appropriate. I'd probably tell him to return to the table when he is ready to behave.


The child is behaving very age appropriate and not like a brat. OP handled it very well. It shouldn't be a big deal for a 5 year old to rinse and wipe a bowl. OP, you're only "mean" if you said it in a mean way (I wouldn't call it being mean though.) But if you said it calmly, you did goood.
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Zehava




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 10:10 am
I’d just sympathize and tell him his favorite plate isn’t clean right now. And yes his behavior is age-appropriate. And there’s no such thing as a child behaving “like a brat” (so triggering😢)
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Twinster




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 10:16 am
I don’t think you were being mean, so long as you remained calm and gentle. But I also wouldn’t call the child whiny and unreasonable. I would call it normal 5 year old behavior. He may have whined and the request may technically be unreasonable, but it’s so age appropriate.
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amother




cornflower
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 10:17 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
ds is 5.5 years old and wants oatmeal for breakfast. None of the bowls he likes are clean. His mother gives him the option to choose one of two clean bowls that are available. He says he doesn’t want either of those (in a whining tone). His mom says “ok, If you want your favorite bowl, you can wash it yourself”.

Is this mean or good parenting?

I’ll add one thing- one of ds’s “love languages” seems to be “acts of service”.

And I’ll add another thing - family has a newborn baby and morning was hectic .

With just this information alone, I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Is the child being unreasonable and whinny or are they just trying to seek some love? Does the answer to this question change how you would respond to this situation?


If he is capable of washing the dishes... Then sure I think. (Maybe I would word it different like... I don't feel like washing the dishes right now, but if you would like to wash your dish you can ). But if he is not comfortable with washing dishes or doesn't know how then I think it's more negative ... Like how would you feel if a pilot would say .. ok you fly the plane then ! Lol
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 10:22 am
amother [ Sapphire ] wrote:
I'm finding it fascinating that so far people saying the child should wash the plate are using female pronouns, and people saying the child isn't old enough/don't know how to wash a plate are using male pronouns. Do different expectations start that early?

The OP consistently referred to the child using he or his.


Interesting, nice catch! It's amazing how subconsciously these things run. I have a hippie friend who did a social experiment. When his girlfriend had a baby, they gave the baby a gender neutral name, and dressed the baby in neutral colors.

For the first 6 months they didn't tell anyone except immediate family what the gender of the baby was. Random strangers freaked out! They were very upset that they didn't know if they could say the baby was handsome or beautiful - like it matters to a 6 month old baby. Rolling Eyes (After 6 months they dropped the experiment and let the child grow up perfectly normal in every way, and he's just fine now.)

Anyway, back on topic. OP, you need to have all the same color plates and bowls. That way there will be no "favorite" bowl, sippy cup, or whatever. It's all a bunch of nonsense, makes more work for you, leads to tantrums, jealousy, and possessiveness. Nothing good can come of it.

If you want sanity, ditch the "special" stuff, and get some nice unbreakable melamine in a pretty pattern.
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amother




Mint
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 10:22 am
amother [ cornflower ] wrote:
If he is capable of washing the dishes... Then sure I think. (Maybe I would word it different like... I don't feel like washing the dishes right now, but if you would like to wash your dish you can ). But if he is not comfortable with washing dishes or doesn't know how then I think it's more negative ... Like how would you feel if a pilot would say .. ok you fly the plane then ! Lol


Yeah, a 5 year old rinsing a plate is equivalent to them flying a plane........
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Chayalle




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 10:23 am
Zehava wrote:
I’d just sympathize and tell him his favorite plate isn’t clean right now. And yes his behavior is age-appropriate. And there’s no such thing as a child behaving “like a brat” (so triggering😢)


Agree. Same reaction.

A 5 year old is a child. Annoying behavior is normal for a child (especially if Mom has a newborn and household is going thru changes.)

We can't always cater to their whims in the moment. So he might have to have cereal in a bowl he doesn't like. Maybe later in the day, Mom can give 5 year old some extra attention, which is clearly what he is craving right now.
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amother




OP
 

Post Tue, Feb 23 2021, 10:27 am
Most of your responses were very validating. Thank you. It’s nice to hear that it’s normal 5 year old behavior. I find myself getting frustrated with his behavior, but knowing that it’s normal, can help me stay more calm in the future. My tone was not as sympathetic as it could have been when I told him he could wash it himself (he’s washed it previously himself), but I tried to say it calmly. (In the end, he did wash it.)
For those of you who are good at responding to your children calmly and sympathetically when they are being difficult- how do you do it? Is there something you tell yourself in order not to get worked up yourself?
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