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How Much Is Too Much Attachment? - Page 2

post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by demeter888 View Post

Thanks:-) I did need warm fuzzies!  

 

I just spent the last hour-and-a-half reading the same 8 page book to my son to get him to settle down and sleep because the 30 seconds of crying he would have had to endure to get there right off the bat would have been too much for me with my inlaws in the next room.  We are basically sliding back in the wrong direction and the bottom line is that he sleeps fastest and best if I let him go to sleep without expecting more story and more milk and more huggies in an endless cycle.  Still my MIL had to make the point when I finally came out of his room that she would be more than happy to go lay down with him.  I explained that this would be the easy way when she is here, but after she is here, I am going to have a very small infant and a two year old and one of them is going to need to sleep without me.  Still she has no intention of giving me the warm fuzzies.

Oh no! Are you worried that they won't leave him alone if you leave him in the room crying for a minute or so? Can you just give him milkies, read a book, hug n kiss and then leave without them rushing in? It's ok to do it your way. You said that if they cuddle with him and then leave it will be harder on all of you. But you are doing something that's really hard for all of you now. So both of those options sound wrong for you and your son. Stand strong and do what feels right and shrug off their looks or whatever they do that feels like judgment. It doesn't even matter if they judge you since they aren't his mama. So there :P 

post #22 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by earthmama4 View Post

I wasn't sure of your situation when I posted. Sometimes in cross-cultural marriages one spouse is quite "Westernized" and everything seems like a regular American marriage (if there is such a thing!) and then when the IL's arrive/visit etc it can become a total culture shock. It was from this perspective that I was writing because your frustration reminded me of my co-workers and others I have encountered who just didn't understand or have experience with cultures with an interdependent model of parenting. I apologize if I made unfair assumptions! I like hearing kavamamakava's insight! 

 

And just so you know, I think it would be nigh unbearable to live with IL's for that length of time. True, I have an understanding of other cultures and I can see their good points and be tolerant, but I am also a very private and independent person and it would drive me freaking nuts to have anyone observing and then criticizing my parenting! I hope you find a solution you can live with and get some type of understanding between you. I don't think its too much to ask for them to give a little too in their approach and expectations. 

 

 

I am quite, quite in the minority compared the any other women I have ever known who married an Indian.  My husband is still extremely Indian and his family is uber conservative and we sought their approval very formally before announcing an engagement.  I have slowly regained my self esteem over time but still find it terrifying to assert myself in front of such judgmental people because I've never been under that kind of pressure before I we got together 7 years ago.  I am very irolated in this lifestyle and use the forum more than I should to get support; I appreciate your insights very much.

post #23 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kavamamakava View Post

Oh no! Are you worried that they won't leave him alone if you leave him in the room crying for a minute or so? Can you just give him milkies, read a book, hug n kiss and then leave without them rushing in? It's ok to do it your way. You said that if they cuddle with him and then leave it will be harder on all of you. But you are doing something that's really hard for all of you now. So both of those options sound wrong for you and your son. Stand strong and do what feels right and shrug off their looks or whatever they do that feels like judgment. It doesn't even matter if they judge you since they aren't his mama. So there :P 

 

I am so close to just giving in to them because in a few more weeks I will be too pregnant to police them. But yes they desperately want to comfort their grandson.  I take offense to them thinking I don't understand how they feel.  I am tortured to leave my son less than content.  I have them here because I think it will be better for my son, even if they do end up teaching him bad habits and unrealistic expectations and make my transition with him after they leave hellish.  That's why I'm fighting them NOW while I still have the chance to drill as much into their heads as possible.  Most women would have given in by now, but I truly believe that my son will do much better if they try to mirror my parenting style as much as possible.

post #24 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
Bolt.gif

 

This is a link to an article you might enjoy:

http://www.continuum-concept.org/reading/whosInControl.html

 

The author of the article also wrote a book called "The Continuum Concept" that is about how AP is practiced in another, very different culture. You can be AP and be child centered (like your inlaws) or you can be AP and not be child centered. I'm somewhere in between in a spot that feels comfy to me and seems to work for my kids, but reading about the more extreme ends helped me find my own center.

 

I read the article you linked to above and was comparing it to myself and my inlaws. We are both somewhat child centered, but I am much less so than they are.  My sister-in-law, their daughter, is a very insecure person and her kids are somewhat undisciplined and manipulative in my view.  They are also very loving, so I have tried to see the positives of her parenting style.  But, over all my impression has been with my SIL and MIL and other Indian women is that they are extremely, extremely insecure and sometimes use their childrens' affection as a way of measuring their own self worth.  This means there are very few boundaries and the women who come to the USA to try and practice this form of parenting often run themselves in to the ground if they don't have the support they had in India, including other caretakers and housekeepers and cooks.  My SIL has told her son when he was six that she hated him, and I was shocked, but I can understand that she has never known a different way of parenting, of defining her self worth, and of controlling her frustrated outbursts.  She has never even been taught to consider others, to listen to them, to question authority.  She has been super sheltered her whole life and married a typical indian male control freak.  

 

Sorry for rambling. I'm certainly not saying I'm better than she is; just a bit better at stepping outside and observing myself and others.

post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by demeter888 View Post

 

I am so close to just giving in to them because in a few more weeks I will be too pregnant to police them. But yes they desperately want to comfort their grandson.  I take offense to them thinking I don't understand how they feel.  I am tortured to leave my son less than content.  I have them here because I think it will be better for my son, even if they do end up teaching him bad habits and unrealistic expectations and make my transition with him after they leave hellish.  That's why I'm fighting them NOW while I still have the chance to drill as much into their heads as possible.  Most women would have given in by now, but I truly believe that my son will do much better if they try to mirror my parenting style as much as possible.

I have found that my children really do understand that different people do things in different ways. Like I let them walk and jump on the couch and their grandparents (both sets) freak out when they see them do it and tell them to stop. Even in our own home. So they understand that they just don't do that when the grandparents are around but they can do it when it's just us at home. Your children will know that the grandparents are not you and will develop their own relationship with them. I can tell you are conflicted about leaving your son when he's overtired and overstimulated. It seems like you shouldn't leave but you have discovered that when you do it's actually easier for both of you. When you aren't feeling strong it's hard to weather other people's influence. Just know that you are the only mother and the grandparents can't take your place and their relationship with your children will always always always be that of grandparents and grandchildren and not parents and children. Your children will figure it out too. It seems you're a bit nervous and anxious about how things will be in the future. I have a sick child and have learned with her recent diagnosis that I can never control the future. I have been forced to just BE and not live in the past or future and that's something I've always struggled with. I thought it was silly to pretend that the past doesn't have anything to do with the present or to not spend my time preparing for the future. I'm not saying just drift through life, but sometimes just taking stock of what is and not what will be can really bring peace and balance to a frustrating situation. Maybe it's late and I'm rambling and I'm actually worried about how to get my daughter to take her meds when she's already asleep instead of just enjoying a break from her because she is asleep, but when I do just focus on her and really soak her in during every moment we interact together, I feel less anxious and worried about how things will play out. I hope I've helped a little...

post #26 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kavamamakava View Post

I have found that my children really do understand that different people do things in different ways. Like I let them walk and jump on the couch and their grandparents (both sets) freak out when they see them do it and tell them to stop. Even in our own home. So they understand that they just don't do that when the grandparents are around but they can do it when it's just us at home. Your children will know that the grandparents are not you and will develop their own relationship with them. I can tell you are conflicted about leaving your son when he's overtired and overstimulated. It seems like you shouldn't leave but you have discovered that when you do it's actually easier for both of you. When you aren't feeling strong it's hard to weather other people's influence. Just know that you are the only mother and the grandparents can't take your place and their relationship with your children will always always always be that of grandparents and grandchildren and not parents and children. Your children will figure it out too. It seems you're a bit nervous and anxious about how things will be in the future. I have a sick child and have learned with her recent diagnosis that I can never control the future. I have been forced to just BE and not live in the past or future and that's something I've always struggled with. I thought it was silly to pretend that the past doesn't have anything to do with the present or to not spend my time preparing for the future. I'm not saying just drift through life, but sometimes just taking stock of what is and not what will be can really bring peace and balance to a frustrating situation. Maybe it's late and I'm rambling and I'm actually worried about how to get my daughter to take her meds when she's already asleep instead of just enjoying a break from her because she is asleep, but when I do just focus on her and really soak her in during every moment we interact together, I feel less anxious and worried about how things will play out. I hope I've helped a little...

 

 

I have barely slept because I am so upset about the attitude of my inlaws.  I went to sleep at 2am and was awake before 6am, scouring the internet for Dr Sears and AP articles about teaching and discipline for toddlers.  And I slept poorly.  You hit the nail on the head;  I'm extremely anxious.  I'm doubting myself, wondering whether the things I have been doing were any good at all and contemplating a huge overhaul to everything.  This is just not good timing and precisely why I was nervous about the inlaws helping to begin with.  I had to give DS a time-out yesterday because he kept doing something dangerous that it's unrealistic to remove from his environment.  The inlaws silently observed with no supportive words, as usual, when I put him in a 15 second time out and made him promise he wouldn't do it again.  That flash of tears and drama from DS is devastating to me and the worst thing in the world is to have people behind me who clearly think there is a better way.  It's no wonder that my SIL (their daughter) )has no confidence at all and I'm getting mad just thinking about all the times they should have said something positive but they had criticism instead.

 

Anyways, yes, your message is much needed and helpful.  I am sorry your daughter is sick; I think your perspective is one that I should learn from.  I think my anxiety is a problem in and of itself because that negatively affects my parenting much more than my inlaws do.  The fact is that they are here and my son will enjoy the time he has with them.  My SIL is so relaxed and has so few boundaries with her kids; but she is perpetually exhausted and the kids are eating loads and loads of sugar and no fruits or veggies.  I guess I need to really figure out what is important and what I can let go of while they are here.  It's just that 2 is such a very important time for learning boundaries.  DH has boundary and impulse control issues and I can see why.

 

Again, I am really sorry your daughter is not in the best of health.  You sound like you have some very special wisdom and I really am glad you shared some of it.

post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by demeter888 View Post

I have barely slept because I am so upset about the attitude of my inlaws.  I went to sleep at 2am and was awake before 6am, scouring the internet for Dr Sears and AP articles about teaching and discipline for toddlers.  And I slept poorly.  You hit the nail on the head;  I'm extremely anxious.  I'm doubting myself, wondering whether the things I have been doing were any good at all and contemplating a huge overhaul to everything.  This is just not good timing and precisely why I was nervous about the inlaws helping to begin with.  I had to give DS a time-out yesterday because he kept doing something dangerous that it's unrealistic to remove from his environment.  The inlaws silently observed with no supportive words, as usual, when I put him in a 15 second time out and made him promise he wouldn't do it again.  That flash of tears and drama from DS is devastating to me and the worst thing in the world is to have people behind me who clearly think there is a better way.  

 

I think this is just a basic problem with in-laws. They are all like this. Well, OK, maybe not all, but a lot of them do this. 

 

You are the mom. Your parenting is fine. Your child is securely attached. Please don't think that if you came from the same culture as your MIL that she wouldn't do this. She absolutely would! 

 

You know how people say that women don't remember the pain of childbirth? It's my impression that grandparents don't remember the pain of toddlerhood. At least not very accurately! They tell you to do things that they did, whether those things actually worked or not. 

 

Seriously. My MIL's eldest child didn't walk until she was over two years old, and my MIL told me to put my kid in a playpen, that he'd be fine. My dad, who is absolutely the best parent I know (really) freaked out when my then three-year-old started to get upset because he didn't get the right thing as a treat when we were on a visit. He was so worried I was spoiling the kid. (My kid is 10 now and very polite, so no, that's not what happened. Three-year-olds sometimes express themselves that way.) 

 

You have these folks in your house for months while you're managing a really difficult transition. Don't look for expert opinion to bail you out, because even if they agree with the experts, your ILs are going to criticize you ANYWAY. One thing I did that was effective (but not 100%) was to ask the grandparents for stories about when they were parents. This diverted them from telling me what to do a little bit, and was interesting, and made me feel closer to them. 

 

I do not think  your ILs will succeed in stopping your kid from becoming a successful older brother and a big boy. I saw in your other thread that your son is taking his time to warm up to his grandmother. I'm sure that's because she's not approving and supportive of you. Naturally, you can't tell her that. You are the expert on your own child. You are the mom. 

post #28 of 50
Thread Starter 

Captain, I really, really, really needed to hear all of that today.  Many thanks!

post #29 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by demeter888 View Post

 

That flash of tears and drama from DS is devastating to me and the worst thing in the world is to have people behind me who clearly think there is a better way.  It's no wonder that my SIL (their daughter) )has no confidence at all and I'm getting mad just thinking about all the times they should have said something positive but they had criticism instead.

 

 

Once they are gone, can you arrange to spend some time with like-minded mammas? There is something wonderful about in-person friends who are in the same parenting phase. If there isn't a group where you live already, may be you could start and APing playgroup.

 

I think that you are in a tough transitional phase with your son. When our children are baby, there tears mean so much and are really their primary way of communicating with us. In the toddle years, their tears mean a lot of different things, including that the word "no" makes them very unhappy. Our kids really aren't going to be happy all the time. No one is. I think that when we are clear and set boundaries and spend some time teaching them that certain things are just "no," then in the end, they can spend more time being happy. Even though the process of finding out that there are boundaries makes them sad *for a few minutes.* 

 

We didn't make it a priority to get DD#1 to sleep on her own or with Daddy before DD#2 was born, and I regretted it. We had several extremely tough months at our house. I think you are doing the right thing.

post #30 of 50

I grew up in a mixed culture family and am also in a mixed culture parenting relationship.  I come from the family with elder-reverence and more group oriented culture and who (in my mom's mileu) practice things like bed-sharing, breast-feeding, or other "attachment" type behaviors which continue far beyond what is typical in white US culture.  And also epic beatings.  Anyhow, there's cultural difference and then, there's the ever present trauma that seems to be in most people's lives.  It can be hard to sort out what causes what.  I truly don't and won't write off everything my Korean side of my family does as "cultural difference" any more than I will excuse the crap that passes for love in my backwoods Louisiana father's family as "cultural difference."  As I get older I understand that I also get to be the authority on myself and what my identity is and my values are.  And I agree that not every conflict is a matter of "cultural differences."

 

I also agree with what you said about wanting to equip your son with the tools to navigate the culture he will find himself in.  I have the same hopes for my children. 

 

I've come to believe that children are capable of code switching in many ways, including parenting style.  I used to get very stressed out about how other family members interacted with my child.  I do draw the line at anything violent or harmful (I don't permit my parents to be around me or her because in the past few years they've been particularly dangerous and egregious), and my FIL often says stuff I consider to be creepy, so I don't leave her alone with him, and I call him out in front of her, but otherwise I no longer try to regulate how other family members interact with her.  I do debrief if she is upset about something and I try to give her the tools to respond.  Even her father and I have big differences in how we parent, and yet she doesn't find it confusing.  She knows that mom does things one way and dad does them other ways.  

 

Of course I can't tell what the long term effects will be, but I like to think that I'm modeling something important for her.  I can't control the way others act, but I can control my responses.  I have boundaries for things I find non-negotiable, and I do not waver on that, and after some years of therapy, I have no guilt about it either.  This is how my daughter will learn the tools she needs to cope with the many cultural environments she will find herself in.  I value group oriented culture and individual oriented culture for different reasons, but she is growing up in a culture that values more individual oriented.  Being able to code-switch is an important skill, and one that I myself and learning still.

 

And, to be honest, parents from cultures with elder-reverence will almost certainly respond to any challenge to their authority with a hissy fit or an explosion of some kind.  It's the profoundest insult.  So the trick, for me, has been deciding what things were worth holding my ground over.  It's stressful and it sucks, and if you find a way around it let me know!

 

Anyhow.... hug2.gif to you.  When my mom used to visit, it was nice having her dote on my daughter but profoundly stressful because she picked on me over absolutely everything and would even physically chastise me in front of my daughter.  I never let her stay more than a few weeks at a time.  I would have been pulling my hair out if it had be 4-6 months, and if I were pregnant too.... that's a lot!  Do you have any female friends about your age who are Indian and raised in the US?  They might have some insight or at least commiseration for how to cope.

post #31 of 50

woops!

post #32 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

Once they are gone, can you arrange to spend some time with like-minded mammas? There is something wonderful about in-person friends who are in the same parenting phase. If there isn't a group where you live already, may be you could start and APing playgroup.

 

I think that you are in a tough transitional phase with your son. When our children are baby, there tears mean so much and are really their primary way of communicating with us. In the toddle years, their tears mean a lot of different things, including that the word "no" makes them very unhappy. Our kids really aren't going to be happy all the time. No one is. I think that when we are clear and set boundaries and spend some time teaching them that certain things are just "no," then in the end, they can spend more time being happy. Even though the process of finding out that there are boundaries makes them sad *for a few minutes.* 

 

We didn't make it a priority to get DD#1 to sleep on her own or with Daddy before DD#2 was born, and I regretted it. We had several extremely tough months at our house. I think you are doing the right thing.

 

 

I am already in a meetup; just too tired right now to go to any meetups.  But I need to!  My son is an extremely reasonable, emotionally balanced, and manageable two-year0old. He rarely has tantrums that last for more than 1-2 minutes and he even lets me give him medicine and trim his nails.  I feel him shifting just from being around his grandparents in the last few days.  He says "no" to me constantly and is just very unfocused.  Just like DH LOL.  

 

Hopefully it's just a phase and coincidence.  

 

I am glad to know I am taking the right direction with sleep training him now before the baby arrives. In fact, I turned that one overt to DH about six months ago and explained very clearly to him what needed to happen and that I would be happy to help.  I have a feeling he and I will be sleeping separately for a few more years because so far he has done nothing to sleep train our son while I have been the one who finally got him to fall asleep by himself most nights.

post #33 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post

I grew up in a mixed culture family and am also in a mixed culture parenting relationship.  I come from the family with elder-reverence and more group oriented culture and who (in my mom's mileu) practice things like bed-sharing, breast-feeding, or other "attachment" type behaviors which continue far beyond what is typical in white US culture.  And also epic beatings.  Anyhow, there's cultural difference and then, there's the ever present trauma that seems to be in most people's lives.  It can be hard to sort out what causes what.  I truly don't and won't write off everything my Korean side of my family does as "cultural difference" any more than I will excuse the crap that passes for love in my backwoods Louisiana father's family as "cultural difference."  As I get older I understand that I also get to be the authority on myself and what my identity is and my values are.  And I agree that not every conflict is a matter of "cultural differences."

 

I also agree with what you said about wanting to equip your son with the tools to navigate the culture he will find himself in.  I have the same hopes for my children. 

 

I've come to believe that children are capable of code switching in many ways, including parenting style.  I used to get very stressed out about how other family members interacted with my child.  I do draw the line at anything violent or harmful (I don't permit my parents to be around me or her because in the past few years they've been particularly dangerous and egregious), and my FIL often says stuff I consider to be creepy, so I don't leave her alone with him, and I call him out in front of her, but otherwise I no longer try to regulate how other family members interact with her.  I do debrief if she is upset about something and I try to give her the tools to respond.  Even her father and I have big differences in how we parent, and yet she doesn't find it confusing.  She knows that mom does things one way and dad does them other ways.  

 

Of course I can't tell what the long term effects will be, but I like to think that I'm modeling something important for her.  I can't control the way others act, but I can control my responses.  I have boundaries for things I find non-negotiable, and I do not waver on that, and after some years of therapy, I have no guilt about it either.  This is how my daughter will learn the tools she needs to cope with the many cultural environments she will find herself in.  I value group oriented culture and individual oriented culture for different reasons, but she is growing up in a culture that values more individual oriented.  Being able to code-switch is an important skill, and one that I myself and learning still.

 

And, to be honest, parents from cultures with elder-reverence will almost certainly respond to any challenge to their authority with a hissy fit or an explosion of some kind.  It's the profoundest insult.  So the trick, for me, has been deciding what things were worth holding my ground over.  It's stressful and it sucks, and if you find a way around it let me know!

 

Anyhow.... hug2.gif to you.  When my mom used to visit, it was nice having her dote on my daughter but profoundly stressful because she picked on me over absolutely everything and would even physically chastise me in front of my daughter.  I never let her stay more than a few weeks at a time.  I would have been pulling my hair out if it had be 4-6 months, and if I were pregnant too.... that's a lot!  Do you have any female friends about your age who are Indian and raised in the US?  They might have some insight or at least commiseration for how to cope.

 

Isn't it great how growing up more two cultures facilitates more objective introspection?  DH also comes from a very group oriented culture.  I too have had plenty of therapy and self analysis with a family with its own extensive (no less dysfunctional) issues that go well beyond cultural difference.  I have been taking care of my own food and laundry since I was 8 or 9; DH now thinks this is how all American families are.  He has no American friends!

 

As my son gets older, his cultural identity is going to be very important to him in ways I can't even anticipate. It's great to get your insight.

 

You and another mama have really clued me in to the idea that my son's relationship with me does not need to mirror his relationship with others.  While that is scary, it's relieving to realize.  I would be glad to be able to relax the reigns and let him get spoiled a bit, to be honest.  I just don't want him to think I'm the bad guy.

 

It sounds like you have a very clear understanding about your boundaries and have found your ground.  I think that alone is such an important parenting tool; one I'm definitely improving on with time and so glad I got the validation on that that I needed.

 

DH had a talk with his parents last night and MIL was much more supportive today.  We had a good day; they respected my boundaries when I asked that they not give snacks and sweets to DS.  I am hopeful.  

 

I have no good friends from India.  My fault.  Need to work on it more.   Sending you double the hugs!

post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by demeter888 View Post

 

Isn't it great how growing up more two cultures facilitates more objective introspection?  DH also comes from a very group oriented culture.  I too have had plenty of therapy and self analysis with a family with its own extensive (no less dysfunctional) issues that go well beyond cultural difference.  I have been taking care of my own food and laundry since I was 8 or 9; DH now thinks this is how all American families are.  He has no American friends!

 

As my son gets older, his cultural identity is going to be very important to him in ways I can't even anticipate. It's great to get your insight.

 

You and another mama have really clued me in to the idea that my son's relationship with me does not need to mirror his relationship with others.  While that is scary, it's relieving to realize.  I would be glad to be able to relax the reigns and let him get spoiled a bit, to be honest.  I just don't want him to think I'm the bad guy.

 

It sounds like you have a very clear understanding about your boundaries and have found your ground.  I think that alone is such an important parenting tool; one I'm definitely improving on with time and so glad I got the validation on that that I needed.

 

DH had a talk with his parents last night and MIL was much more supportive today.  We had a good day; they respected my boundaries when I asked that they not give snacks and sweets to DS.  I am hopeful.  

 

I have no good friends from India.  My fault.  Need to work on it more.   Sending you double the hugs!

 

Oh my gosh, yes!  I remember my parents talking about what was "American" and "Korean" and as an adult now I want to be like, "Y'all crazy!  Y'all crazy, that ain't nobody's culture!"  lol.gif  But I mean, some of it is, and, as you seem to know well, some is their unique brand of dysfunction.  

 

It's a really scary and lonely place to be when you feel like your relationship with your son doesn't find mirrors in other family relationships.  I think that typically as humans, we've parented in community, and community is important to our sense of stability and safety.  It's hard to find community and yet also find a way to live with integrity in our own values, which sometimes differ greatly from the people around out.  And it's a huge task to find a sense of community and good boundaries in the midst of very different ideas about what community is or boundaries are - and doubly so when you come from a background that didn't really equip you to do that, as it sounds like your family also had its own gaps in supporting you in getting your needs met in a healthy way.

 

I am hopeful for you too!  That's great that your MIL was receptive to what your DH said to her.  Lots of goodvibes.gifand hoping for more positive communication.

 

Also, are you familiar with [edit] Marshall Rosenberg's nonviolent communication book?  My therapist recommended it to me last year, and I go back to it a lot.  The language in it has helped me tune in to my own values and needs and be self-compassionate, and in turn to be able to listen to what others say and find understanding, and also ask for understanding.   Some of the stuff he says occasionally makes me roll my eyes, but I think it's a great tool for communication when two people have radically different sets of values and need to understand each other.  

 

My favorite moment he describes is when he walks into his house after a long difficult day and his kids are fighting, and he just yells, "I'm in pain!"  

post #35 of 50

I haven't read the whole thread, so pardon.  Just wanted to weigh in on two things:

 

1) It is clearly an independent vs. interdependent issue.  It's hard for us (even if we're intimately familiar with the practices of other cultures) to really wrap our heads around something so different than our 'habitus'.  AP seems like a pretty good go-between inter- and in-dependent to me.  I cannot imagine not setting boundaries and I think doing so (along with other more Western practices) will help raise a child who will strive in a Westernized society.  

 

2) I know leaving children to cry is the worst thing to mention on Mothering.  Sometimes I've found it has to be done in my house (will make no judgment on others) - maybe it's my own selfishness or temperament, but him crying alone for a few minutes is better to me (maybe just for me) than him crying in arms for an hour and me getting frustrated - by then I'm no longer the adoring mommy I want to be.  I wouldn't recommend leaving a young baby to cry, but I'm pretty sure your toddler can handle it.  Then again, I wouldn't leave my guy to cry with company in town - not fair to make them bear it, IMHO.  There, I said it.

post #36 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post

 

Oh my gosh, yes!  I remember my parents talking about what was "American" and "Korean" and as an adult now I want to be like, "Y'all crazy!  Y'all crazy, that ain't nobody's culture!"  lol.gif  But I mean, some of it is, and, as you seem to know well, some is their unique brand of dysfunction.  

 

It's a really scary and lonely place to be when you feel like your relationship with your son doesn't find mirrors in other family relationships.  I think that typically as humans, we've parented in community, and community is important to our sense of stability and safety.  It's hard to find community and yet also find a way to live with integrity in our own values, which sometimes differ greatly from the people around out.  And it's a huge task to find a sense of community and good boundaries in the midst of very different ideas about what community is or boundaries are - and doubly so when you come from a background that didn't really equip you to do that, as it sounds like your family also had its own gaps in supporting you in getting your needs met in a healthy way.

 

I am hopeful for you too!  That's great that your MIL was receptive to what your DH said to her.  Lots of goodvibes.gifand hoping for more positive communication.

 

Also, are you familiar with [edit] Marshall Rosenberg's nonviolent communication book?  My therapist recommended it to me last year, and I go back to it a lot.  The language in it has helped me tune in to my own values and needs and be self-compassionate, and in turn to be able to listen to what others say and find understanding, and also ask for understanding.   Some of the stuff he says occasionally makes me roll my eyes, but I think it's a great tool for communication when two people have radically different sets of values and need to understand each other.  

 

My favorite moment he describes is when he walks into his house after a long difficult day and his kids are fighting, and he just yells, "I'm in pain!"  

 

My mom is from a poor southern family and thinks all "normal" Americans curse like they do in reality shows.  She tried explaining that to my husband but he wasn't buying it.  It's just amazing how our ability to identify a cultural vs. a family issue seems to validate or invalidate our feelings about a particular quirk we have in our own behavior.  Like, if everybody is doing it, then it's somehow valid.  In the end I guess you and I get to decide for ourselves what we want our kids to learn from us is normal. Too bad there isn't an intentional community where I live that has a similar mindset on parenting/living.  

 

The book you suggested seems to be very much in the vein of the types of self help books my DH likes when I buy them for him. I.E. How to trust, how to convince others, how to be charismatic, Etc. But, I am betting based on you being the one who suggested it that it's a few levels deeper than this, so I will get it; and if I don't like it my husband will:-)

 

I am not sure how to use the emoticons yet (and too sleepy to look through what is probably a very long list of them), but I am certainly sending the warm fuzzies back your way.

post #37 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rktrump View Post

 I know leaving children to cry is the worst thing to mention on Mothering.  Sometimes I've found it has to be done in my house (will make no judgment on others) - maybe it's my own selfishness or temperament, but him crying alone for a few minutes is better to me (maybe just for me) than him crying in arms for an hour and me getting frustrated - by then I'm no longer the adoring mommy I want to be.  I wouldn't recommend leaving a young baby to cry, but I'm pretty sure your toddler can handle it.  Then again, I wouldn't leave my guy to cry with company in town - not fair to make them bear it, IMHO.  There, I said it.

 

These mamas are seriously sensitive about children doing CIO. It was a hard place to initiate the thread but it turned out to be good.   I was the most reactive mom I have ever seen in terms of how I would react to my son's crying when he was an infant; I would borderline freak out when he cried.  NO, I actually did freak out a few times, like got absolutely, completely hysterical when he fell off the bed at four months, and was not injured but cried loudly.  

 

Luckily he almost never cried for more than a few seconds (how long it took to breastfeed him), or else I'd have probably gone completely bonkers.  I have trusted my instincts very very closely in terms of how I respond to him, and it was around 9 months that I started to be able to handle it rationally.  I still don't handle it "well", but there are times when his tears and that heartbreaking  doubt in his eyes, I'm still able to struggle through it to prevent his further suffering.  Not always, but most times.  T

 

But you make a good point and it's that I can't expect people who love my son to feel OK with him crying when they don't understand WHY, because I couldn't imagine it either.  It's not fair to my husband so I have to remember his grandparents are part of his thingy...I  need sleep.  

post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by demeter888 View Post

 

These mamas are seriously sensitive about children doing CIO. It was a hard place to initiate the thread but it turned out to be good.   I was the most reactive mom I have ever seen in terms of how I would react to my son's crying when he was an infant; I would borderline freak out when he cried.  NO, I actually did freak out a few times, like got absolutely, completely hysterical when he fell off the bed at four months, and was not injured but cried loudly.  

 

Luckily he almost never cried for more than a few seconds (how long it took to breastfeed him), or else I'd have probably gone completely bonkers.  I have trusted my instincts very very closely in terms of how I respond to him, and it was around 9 months that I started to be able to handle it rationally.  I still don't handle it "well", but there are times when his tears and that heartbreaking  doubt in his eyes, I'm still able to struggle through it to prevent his further suffering.  Not always, but most times.  T

 

But you make a good point and it's that I can't expect people who love my son to feel OK with him crying when they don't understand WHY, because I couldn't imagine it either.  It's not fair to my husband so I have to remember his grandparents are part of his thingy...I  need sleep.  

I relate.  I too was soooooo unhinged whenever my little guy would cry in the beginning.  The mere thought of CIO seemed insane to me - how could anyone?....how cruel!.  But, I got more rational with his cries around 6 months and now have a much better sense of what the cries are saying and, thus, can respond accordingly.  I read somewhere that parents can have a hard time directing their children when the parent takes on the child's emotion instead of being a solid home base for the child to work from (e.g., me getting upset when my guys is upset instead of being a calm foundation for him).  I think I'm inclined to do the former, so I'm working toward the latter.

 

Regarding letting him cry with others' around - yeah, what you said.  You articulated my point much more eloquently.

post #39 of 50

What you're describing is not at all Attachment Parenting.  Check out API's website for what is.
 

post #40 of 50

OP i read the whole thread. 

 

and really if you take out the cultural aspect of the thread what it boils down to, is differences with MIL. 

 

this is a common, common thread here. 

 

i am not sure what the answer is - if there is one - except to vent and share where you feel supported. 

 

as an anthro student you are making a judgement against a culture according to what you call dependency. part of your issue is the conservativeness. again take the culture out of the mix - lets say the spoon feeding and use say any of the AP tennants. if you and MIL see differently - its going to be butting heads time. 

 

she is not wrong. neither are you. 

 

 

and the worst thing in your case is your dh is close to his parents.

 

4 to 6 months is a long time.

 

i think you have nothing to fear. as pp pointed out children code switch very easily. if you do your thing and they do theirs and there's a toleration on both sides your children can only benefit. it becomes a problem if one person decides that is teh best way and the other ways are all wrong. did you know in hawaiin culture a child has many mothers and the child has to listen to all of them. i think all her mothers sisters and sister in laws are the child's mother and the child is expected to respect each of their mother. since they are all on the same side of the family, there usually isnt any disagreements. 

 

so here's what you have to do for yourself. separate teh two issues. becoming more like an indian and having more indian friends is not going to solve anything. it is going to complicate matters. 

 

separate teh cultural aspect. dont look at it from the cultural point of view. hanging out with his parent and watching tv in their bedroom is common in many cultures in asia. dont try to stop that. esp. since ur dh is close and really as strange as it may sound - is it really that bad? 

 

instead really focus on what the main issues are. you will respect your inlaws if they follow certain norms of your house. they should not run in to stop your child crying as much as you dont run and try to stop them from spoon feeding your kid. kinda like a give and take. 

 

dont look at this problem as your kids are doomed. they are not. you said your dh has come around a bit. that is good news. just dont go over the top. 

 

btw japanese kids here have high suicide rates too. its i think the shock of isolating societies that are to blame rather than overbearing parents. 

 

and the idea that an adult dd of mine could just come over and sit on teh bed with me watching TV sounds heavenly. what a sweet connection. there is something sweet and informal about the bed than the formal living room. except we'd probably be on the computer. 

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