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Would you be offended if a parent said this to you?

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93 replies to this topic

#1 Chocciecake

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:30 AM

A parent I've never spoken to at the kids' music class said (about DS) "he's a handful, isn't he?" It wasn't said in an,"wow, you're doing a great job with such an active child" way or even an "oh it must be challenging at times" way, her tone appeared to be critical of DS. But maybe I'm just being overly sensitive? What do you think? Would you be insulted?
I replied, "no, he's alright!" I was flabbergasted at her audacity and am plotting comeback lines for next week...

#2 Sif

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:35 AM

Out of curiosity, does she have a boy or boys? I tend to find mothers who seem disapproving of any of my mild mannered but energetic boys are usually mothers of girls, and then most young girls (preteen)...

#3 snortle

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:36 AM

No I wouldn't be offended. Maybe he looks like he'd be a handful. Maybe it was just an observation.
The fact that you are "flabbergasted" and planning "comeback lines" is a pretty good indicator that you are WAY over thinking this.

#4 BadCat

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:36 AM

I wouldn't think too much about it.  She was probably just making conversation. She could probably have used a better opening line but some people are awkward.  Give her the benefit of the doubt.   If she turns out to actually be a judgemental cow then you can tell her off, but don't write her off on one offhand comment.

#5 bakesgirls

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:38 AM

No, I wouldn't be offended for someone saying my child was a handful. Chances are that they are a handful or were appearing like they are at that point in time. Or the parent was pointing out that they would find it hard to cope, so well done to you.

Sure, they could have just kept their mouth shut and said nothing, but not every comment parents recieve is going to be a 'wow, great job', or 'what a great child'.

Does it really matter what some random said? You know your DS, and you know all the wonderful things about him that randoms don't.

Edited by bakesgirls, 29 November 2012 - 11:39 AM.

#6 Rosie R

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:39 AM

Possibly a little oversensitive but I think I would be offended too.  I don't think I'd bother with the comeback lines although I'd probably stew on it for a couple of days Tounge1.gif

I tend to think your reaction is fairly natural coming from someone you don't know.

#7 Lagom

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:41 AM

If someone said that to me I'd probably say, 'Yes, she is.  Isn't it brilliant.'  original.gif   DD is full on but she's also witty, intelligent and loads of fun.  Who cares what some stranger thinks?  Don't let it bother you.

#8 tres-chic

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:41 AM

I too think it's a 'could have kept your trap shut' situation. But then, I've heard that a fair bit with DS1 so I'm not objective.  smile1.gif

#9 Kay1

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:44 AM

Very rude IMO. I'd also give her another chance but another comment like that and I'd write her off.

#10 Oriental lily

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:44 AM

Not at all.

I would heartily agree with her!

#11 Swarley

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:48 AM

No, I wouldn't be offended for someone saying my child was a handful. Chances are that they are a handful or were appearing like they are at that point in time. Or the parent was pointing out that they would find it hard to cope, so well done to you.

This... I see plenty of kids I think this about it. It's not an insult, just a realisation that all kids are different.
Out of my 4, my youngest is a handful. I tell people that. It's not a negative thing. Just an observation that he is harder work than the others were!

#12 FrmGrdnGirl

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:48 AM

I wouldn't have been remotely offended. I have two boys and often when I am trying to get them changed after swimming lessons I get the "boys are a handful aren't they" type comments. I often struggle to keep them under control as I am trying to get them both showered and changed without the youngest running off while I am drying the eldest, he also loves to pull his bathers off and do his nudy dance in front of other Mothers and their quiet little girls. All you can do is laugh at the looks of condemnation/sympathy you get.

I totally agree and laughingly tell them I want to set up a company that hires out 2-3 year old boys to schools so that teenagers have to spend a few hours chasing after them and dealing with their tantrums, high energy levels and constant noise, I feel it would quite effective as an additional contraceptive. wink.gif

If it is from a mother of girls I also will respond with a "yes I feel I am doing the hard yards now, but at least I will not have teenage girls...... at least teenage boys just eat heaps, smell and grunt."

Whilst they can be just beautiful, snuggly creatures..... on bad days they can be total energy crazed noisy monsters monsters, who are apparently optionally deaf.

#13 LeggyBlonde

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:48 AM

Nope.  Would not be offended.  I am proud of my two handfuls, they aren't aggressive, not even boisterous, just lovely, fun loving, energetic boys.

Her tone might have been critical, but that is her failing, not yours or your sons.

#14 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:49 AM

QUOTE (Sif @ 29/11/2012, 12:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Out of curiosity, does she have a boy or boys? I tend to find mothers who seem disapproving of any of my mild mannered but energetic boys are usually mothers of girls, and then most young girls (preteen)...

Yes this  ^, and yes I would be a bit affronted....but I am a bit sensitive about my son...maybe because he can be a bit of a handful at times?! (But only I'm allowed to say that.... ph34r.gif )

#15 boatiebabe

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:49 AM

What was your DS doing during the music lesson?

Perhaps he was acting up and it was spoiling the other childrens' (and parents') enjoyment of the lesson and she was p*ssed off about it. (?)

#16 ~river song~

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:50 AM

Oh stop being so precious rolleyes.gif

#17 JJ

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:50 AM

I would regard it as a slightly misguided attempt to make conversation. Or maybe she has a "handful" child and was trying to commiserate and actually be friendly.

I would only be offended if she continued to make remarks that somehow implied she had a problem with your son's behaviour.

#18 Jacina

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:50 AM

You have to be able to differentiate between someone who is trying to be offensive and someone who has said something innocent that you have taken offence to. If it's the latter you smile and let it go.

#19 kittennic

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:50 AM

I had people say that to me when DS1 was small. And I'd agree with them - he certainly was! A very cute handful, but an exhausting handful nonetheless. So no, I wasn't/wouldn't be offended.

Edited by kittennic, 29 November 2012 - 11:51 AM.

#20 PattiODoors

Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:58 AM

Not offended.
DD is a handful. I've been told it and I know it.

Perhaps she was just making conversation. Ok, so she could of said 'livewire' or 'little ball of energy' to make it sound better but she may not have been thinking to much into it.

As for thinking up comeback remarks for next week.... Come on, give the woman a chance.

Edited by starboard, 29 November 2012 - 12:01 PM.

#21 baddmammajamma

Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:03 PM

Hi Foxy:

When my daughter was your son's age, YES, I would have taken offense -- not because I was/am overly precious but because I had these niggling concerns about her behaviors and quirks.

And a comment like that -- and I did receive them -- made me feel defensive because I didn't want there to be any "reason" that my daughter's behavior stood out. I wanted to convince myself that people were just being rude if they mentioned anything about what a handful she was. Truth is, though, her behavior did stick out then...and it often still does now.

I remember your earlier posts, and I know that your paed hasn't taken your concerns seriously. If you haven't had a chance to do so (and you still have the previous concerns you shared), do think about calling a good developmental paed. Getting answers and professional guidance is always better (IMHO) than wondering and worrying.

P.S: I am now much better at dealing with comments like those. When people say, "Isn't she a handful (or some variation)?" I usually respond with "The most interesting ones often are (smile)." wink.gif Good luck & hang in there!

Edited by baddmammajamma, 29 November 2012 - 12:07 PM.

#22 CocobeanLillylove

Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:04 PM

QUOTE (FrmGrdnGirl @ 29/11/2012, 12:48 PM)

If it is from a mother of girls I also will respond with a "yes I feel I am doing the hard yards now, but at least I will not have teenage girls...... at least teenage boys just eat heaps, smell and grunt."

To be honest, as a mother of two girls, I get so sick of hearing these sorts of comments. I don't know why mothers need to make it in to a boys vs girls thing and I get sick of mothers telling me I am going to have to deal with 'b**chy' girls as teenagers. To these mums that say this - I'm sorry but just because you were a hormonal nasty teenage girl it doesn't mean my girls will be. I have several family members dealing with their difficult teenage boys at the moment and have several teenage girl family members who seem to be plodding along just fine. It doesn't have anything to do with their gender, it's just their personalities.

Sorry OP just adding in my little vent there. And for the record I have lots of nephews and I think little boys are divine!

Edited by CocobeanLillylove, 29 November 2012 - 12:05 PM.

#23 BearBait

Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:06 PM

Foxy, I get this all the time with my DD 2.5yo. I believe most people are just stating fact from their viewpoint & it's not intended to insult. If you find people backing away furtively then yes there may be a problem.

#24 kryz

Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:11 PM

I would probably think nothing of it - but on the other hand I might find "Wow you're doing a great job etc........" a bit patronising coming from someone I barely know.

I agree with JJ - it was probably a misguided attempt to make conversation. Many people fumble over small talk, but most don't bear any malice.

Of course, a large part of communication is non-verbal, so since you were the only one there, you perhaps sensed something that the rest of us can't gauge from merely reading about what was said. But if you are going just by the words that were spoken, you maybe over thinking things a bit.

#25 bikingbubs

Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:12 PM

Personally, I wouldnt be...because I know my DS is busy/active/a handful/whatever you want to call it.

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