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#1 of 50 Old 07-31-2013, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My MIL is Indian and there they practice what I consider a somewhat extreme form of attachment parenting.  Add to that the fact that she is a grandma and it's been very difficult to deal with her unsupporting attitude towards me and my decisions.  Here are some examples of things they do differently:

 

1. They spoonfeed the baby for as long as possible; this means they are shocked that my two-year-old son feeds himself about half of the time.  They would spoonfeed their children well into late childhood and even adolescence.

 

2.  They basically give in to whatever DS wants and never say no or set boundaries.  For example, if my son asks for ice cream when I have just served him eggs, I will tell him "no" very clearly, but they will repeat it back to him and ask him if he wants ice cream a few times so that he can convince them that he should have ice cream.

 

3. They feel like he should never cry.  My son rarely cries much, but today after trying everything to get him to fall asleep, I left him in his crib and he cried for  5-10 minutes before he went to sleep. I am pregnant and it will be impossible for me to put him to sleep  like an infant for very much longer, so I am trying to gently and slowly get him to fall asleep alone and he has not really had a problem with it unless he gets way over tired.  He was so exhausted that his nervous system had a hard time calming down; in this case I felt that crying was the only way to get over it and calm down.

 

My inlaws coslept with their children until they were teenagers and this also forced them to sleep away from each other, one with each child, throughout their children's childhoods.  While my husband and I sleep separately now for similar reasons, we are planning to slowly sleep train our son into being able to sleep on his own, especially now that another baby is due.  

 

Basically the issue I have with this form of parenting is that the children don't seem to learn any boundaries or independence at all.  In an ideal world, I would like to be able to raise my son like this, but I think (and have seen) that it creates problems in relationships after childhood with people other than ones parents.    My husband is still too attached to his  parents in my opinion.  In fact he is in their bed with them right now watching TV.  This is absolutely normal in India!  I do not want my son behaving like this, not because I wouldn't love to keep him as a baby forever and ever, but I don't think it's good for his development!

 

What do you think?

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#2 of 50 Old 07-31-2013, 10:29 PM
 
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I think all of it sounds weird and possibly more than I would want to do except for the part about not letting babies cry.  We can't keep our babies from ever crying, but we can choose to never leave them alone when they cry.  So I always stayed with my kids and patted their backs while they cried out their last bit of energy (after nursing and rocking and walking and bouncing and laying down together...)  SO I agree with them on that part.  As for the rest, I guess it won't be wrong to say that another culture's way of doing something isn't right, but for me, I thought it was cool beans when my infant son had the dexterity to scoop cous cous out of a bowl with a spoon and get it all in his mouth!  Left my hand free to stuff my own face!


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#3 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 12:46 AM
 
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I think all of it sounds weird and possibly more than I would want to do except for the part about not letting babies cry.  We can't keep our babies from ever crying, but we can choose to never leave them alone when they cry.  So I always stayed with my kids and patted their backs while they cried out their last bit of energy (after nursing and rocking and walking and bouncing and laying down together...)  SO I agree with them on that part.  As for the rest, I guess it won't be wrong to say that another culture's way of doing something isn't right, but for me, I thought it was cool beans when my infant son had the dexterity to scoop cous cous out of a bowl with a spoon and get it all in his mouth!  Left my hand free to stuff my own face!

I agree with this. The feeding and the no limits are not things I would choose to do. But we are always present for our children when they're crying and, so far, we've always stayed with them to go to sleep (ages 3yrs and 8months respectively). So I don't consider that strange or over the top.

ETA -.i still lie on my parents bed occasionally as well :-)

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#4 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 03:07 AM
 
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Our American culture values independence, and the value runs deep in our consciousness of what is "normal", even in AP circles. We all have our boundaries and they vary based on how we were raised. I learned working with a diverse population in our school district to be tolerant of the many cultures around the world that value "interdepedence". Its very outside our norm, but there are advantages. Interdependent cultures do not have the rates of anxiety and depression that we Americans have as a result of our social isolation. In interdependent cultures, a young mother would never be left alone to fend for herself after having a baby (after the American version of help consisting of maybe her DH taking a week off, and others making a few meals). She would be surrounded by her own mother or mother-in-law would would care for her, help her with the cultural traditions of caring and feeding her child. PPD is almost unheard of, and that doesn't surprise me. 

 

In our culture, each generation is seen as improving on the last, and we tend to look at how our parents did/do things with distain. In interpendent cultures, passing on cultural traditions and being supportive of your children at every stage is what is expected. There is no time when you "cut the ties" so to speak. Its very hard to understand and respect that view when we have been raised to expect autonomy after we reach a certain stage of life (adulthood, marriage, etc). I briefly dated a young man from India following my divorce. When I shared that I divorced my XH because of abuse, it was difficult for him to understand that no one in mine or his family intervened. That they "allowed" it to happen. He couldn't understand that in our culture, what goes on between husband and wife is private and that extended families really don't like to get involved. In India, he said, my parents and his parents would have met and discussed the issue, then brought him in and told him "This cannot continue!" and kept a close watch on the whole situation. Maybe we would have moved in with my parents so that they could help us. Honestly, the idea of that seemed so comforting! Instead, in our independent American culture my children and I suffered alone.

 

I remember teaching a summer program and some of our Asian and Latino parents would join their children for lunch. A large majority of them began spoon feeding their children as soon as they arrived. Their children were perfectly capable of feeding themselves as well as they had demonstrated on occasions where their parents were not present. It bugged some of the other teachers to no end, but I wasn't fazed. Maybe it was the anthropology classes in college (I love anthropology!) that allowed me to see it for what it was - a cultural difference based on a different set of values. It was important for these parents that their children relied on them. They wanted their children to learn and go to school, etc, but they had their traditions that allowed them to feel connected with their children. Its really no different IMO than a working mom who breastfeeds and co-sleeps at night to maintain that connection with her child, beyond the requisite 12 month mark! There are plenty of people in our culture who think that is extreme. 

 

I found this article by an early childhood teacher who works with diverse populations and I think its a good overview of what I am talking about.

 

http://www.childcareexchange.com/library/5011761.pdf

 

Also there is a book called "Hold On To Your Kids" that I first heard about here on MDC. Its written by an psychologist who feels that our push for early independence and the resulting disconnection from parents leads to all sort of behavioral and discipline issues for our children, who quickly become "peer-centered" and lose their innate sense to look to their parents for guidance and direction. He doesn't advocate spoon feeding past infancy or anything, this is a very American book. But the overall idea of the advantages of having an interdependent relationship with our children may help you be more tolerant of your in-laws cultural differences in how they related to your DH and your children.  


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#5 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Earthmama,

 

I am quite aware of the parenting styles you are talking about.  That is partly  why I married my husband; I love many things about his culture.  However, I don't think his way of being raised has produced the most confident version of himself.  He has issues.  I also have issues being overly isolated. I try to identify who's issues are who's, and approach parenting in a balanced and thoughtful way.  I'm not looking to submerge myself in his culture; I have lived in India and thought very deeply about the values there that are lacking where I come from.  I have been way down that road and back. 

 

Ultimately, how we raise our children should best prepare them for coping with, and finding happiness in, the world in which they ultimately find themselves as adults.  There is a reason Indian children growing up in the usa have a higher rate of suicide, despite their perceived lack of isolation.

 

I was being more specific about my own situation to gain insight from mamas who are familiar with western AP and the western perspective of AP.

 

I am not interested in being like my husband's parents.  Right now I need support, and they are not helping me by imposing their own style without consideration for my own.  It is they who need to be reading up.  Not me.  I have invested very heavily in  understanding them, they have no interest in understanding my culture.  Their level of attachment and sense of duty and protocol does not encourage scratching the surface of any topics, nor in understanding the depths of pretty much anything that doesn't help them or their family financially.  They have no clue how to open their minds, consider the other side, branch out, take risks.  This is a limitation of the culture that takes longer to recognize than the merits of their social styles.

 

I do a great number of AP related activities with my son, however, we are not all in the position to follow this philosphy 100%, and if I had not allowed my son to be alone for a few minutes to fall asleep he would have not slept, and his exhaustion would have continued.  After two hours of trying to get him to take a nap, I realized it was my very presence that was preventing his sleep.  

 

I am sorry if my defensiveness is coming out, but I do appreciate your interesting reply, have made most of the same observations, but have come to learn that just because people are near each other and up in each others' business does not necessarily mean they are better connected.  Sometimes I think it is best to let go for a second and have our children find their way a little bit.  

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#6 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 09:08 AM
 
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Everyone has their own limits of attachment, but my girls (8 and 6yo) just chose to move into their "own" beds (two twin futons placed next to my queen) and I still crawl into bed with them if, say, dd2 is tossing and turning and throwing her covers off every 30 minutes.  As for the other things, I never did things purposefully to cultivate independence, I did them because my kids expressed interest in being in control of the process.  So, no early demands for independence, no insistence that they stay dependent (beyond "hold hands in the parking lot" etc.)  I also didn't leave them crying for more than a couple minutes.  (My nerves go all to pieces, even hearing other kids cry, even when their mom's aren't letting them CIO.  Pick them up so my brain doesn't explode....ACK!!!!).

 

So, too much attachment?  It's possible, of course.  Our modern culture calls it "co-dependent" and I don't think it's a positive term, but then we have odd, disjointed feelings about independence in our culture, I don't even trust what I think is "supposed to" be the right balance.  I'm going on my gut, and I could be sooooooo wrong about what I'm doing with my own kids.

 

IL's cultivating "too much" attachment (dysfunctional attachment)?  Not much different from other grandparents who bends rules and spoil the grandkids, just with the added cultural context.  As long as my MIL doesn't wantonly defy my rules in my presence (right after I've said "no ice cream, for example"), I'm not too worried.  I suppose even that can go overboard-- the spoiling and doing things differently from mom-- but I guess what I mean is that if it isn't creating trouble when my girls get back with us, I'm OK with it, in general anyway.


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#7 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 10:07 AM
 
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I think there is a big difference between being available to our offspring when they need us, and completely smothering them. I think mainstream parenting in the US leans too far in the direction of not being fully available to our children, especially when they are very young, but that what you describe as Indian parenting goes to far the other way -- of not letting children do things for themselves when they are ready. I think too far in either direction isn't helpful to a child, that children are best off when we find that sweet spot in the middle.

 

While crying isn't a great thing, to me it seems unrealistic to say that a child should never cry. One of my DD's was very high need, and at times all I could do was hold her while she cried. Nothing soothed her, but I stayed with her and stayed calm. The notion that while I was doing so much and giving so with little sleep wasn't good enough because she still cried would have sent me around the bend. She was just a crier. And I just stayed with her and loved her until she outgrew it.  

 

I think sometimes, with some toddlers, they cry less if the parent just lets them get it out of their system. 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.

 

On a practical note, how much time do you spend with your inlaws? Do you all live together or very close? Could you spend less time with them?

 

A phrase I found helpful with my own parents when they wanted to debate my parenting decisions was "I can see how you would feel that way, but none the less, this is what I've decided to do."  I just kept repeating it to whatever they said until they figured out that I wasn't going to have that conversation with them. I was never going to convince them of anything, so I didn't see the point of continuing trying to explain.

 

Could your husband tell them to knock it off? Sometimes in marriages, it is helpful if the person related by blood sets boundaries. Or did the way his parents raise him make it impossible for him to set boundaries with his parents?


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#8 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 10:38 AM
 
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I don't think there is such a thing as too much attachment. I think the "attachment" in AP was meant to be the kind of healthy psychological attachment that happens in normal, attentive families of nearly all parenting styles. I believe the reason we have an AP style of parenting is that we've had weird parenting advice in the US for about 150 years, and a lot of families continue intentionally to undertake unhealthy behaviors that they think will be good for their children. 

 

What's too much is what is uncomfortable for you. Families have to meet the needs of all members, not only the children and not only the parents (or one parent!) This is especially true around sleep. If your child is sleeping well and is happy, and you are getting the best possible night's sleep, you're golden. In one of my favorite parenting books, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be, the authors described a lot of different sleep styles and took the position that you should just do the one that works for your family. When I was trying to decide how to deal with baby sleep, I found this frustrating, but right now I think it's sensible.

 

I certainly know people who thought they'd co-sleep and found themselves up all night worrying about rolling over on the baby, and people who were pro-crib who are still sleeping with their kids. 

 

Weaning is the same, I think. It's hardly fair for me to say that someone else should nurse and wean in the ways that I did. My boobs are my boobs and her boobs are hers. I find it frustrating for people to say that it's "gross" to nurse a toddler, since I did, but I'm certainly not going to reverse it on them and tell them it's stupid not to nurse a toddler. 

 

I think all grandparents, especially grandmothers-in-law, have lots of set-in-stone advice for what you should do for your kids and how you should think about it. Mine comes from basically the same culture as I do, and she had plenty of ideas about what I should be doing differently. I see posts about this issue on here constantly. I don't think this is a matter for "too much attachment" and the dependence/independence conversation. This is more of an MIL-management situation. I think. 


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#9 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 10:56 AM
 
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YOua re not in India, you are in US. Your in laws can do whatever they want in their fmialy but what your do in your fmaily is your business and not their.

 

They have their culture and you have your own.

 

This is time to be assertive and put your foot down right now.  You are the matriarch of your family. Do what fits.

 

Many kids fuss 5-10 mins before falling alseep. It is fine. It teaches them selfsoothing. Nothing is worng with it.

 

Unless I had household helpt 24/7 , I would enver have time to spoon feed a 2 years old. And hwo would your kid cope with rpeshool or school if he was sppon fed into late adultahood.

 

 

Indian's culture is very opressive toward woman. While I udnerstand why it evoled the way it evolved, it is not soemthing I owuld want to emualte in any way shape or form.

 

 

 Suffering is aprt of life. Everyone cries sometime.  Expriencing disaipotinemtts and failures produces resilent children. A child for whom all the problmes in life are fixed by mom and grandma will grow up self centered and unhappy.

 

Talk to your husband and simply tell your MIL that is she does not wish to follow your parenting emthods, she can not babysit and or tell you what to do in front of your child.

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#10 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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IL's cultivating "too much" attachment (dysfunctional attachment)?  Not much different from other grandparents who bends rules and spoil the grandkids, just with the added cultural context.  As long as my MIL doesn't wantonly defy my rules in my presence (right after I've said "no ice cream, for example"), I'm not too worried.  I suppose even that can go overboard-- the spoiling and doing things differently from mom-- but I guess what I mean is that if it isn't creating trouble when my girls get back with us, I'm OK with it, in general anyway.

 

 

I would generally be the same except that my inlaws stay with us for 4-6 months at a time, then disappear for a year or more.  Since they have a tendency to "take over" it's important that there be some level of consistency between my style and theirs.

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#11 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 11:42 AM
 
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I can already tell this thread is going to be difficult to read with a lot of culture bashing.  As a non-Indian raised in Indian culture, I have an outsiders view and can maybe explain some of this. Or I can try to generalize a bit but of course India is a huge country with hundreds of different cultures and languages. For the most part, Indian grandparents spoil their grandchildren. You are the parent and are expected to set limits and they are the grandparents and expected to have no limits. Feel confident in your role as a parent and they may not do things like you do, but they aren't trying to change you or challenge you, they just don't impose the same limits that they would have done as parents. Just let them know how it is in this country and what your intentions are. They might walk away shaking their heads, but if you explain what you are doing, they will likely respect it. Also, as parents, they change their tune after their children get to school age. There is no more spoon feeding or allowing them to say/have/do whatever they want. They expect them to be responsible and productive. As for your husband watching TV with his parents in their bed, that's more a personal space thing to me. Even if they weren't related, you might find Indian family and friends in closer physical proximity than we are used to in America. 
I hope I can explain my thoughts on this but I'm not sure it will come out right. Anyway, Indian culture is generally very fluid and you will find that hard limits don't come up with them very much. They also really really really spoil sons. An example I can think of to explain the fluidity is if you ask an Indian person a question they might answer with a head bobble. That doesn't mean yes or no but it could mean yes or no. It could also mean maybe or it could mean that they heard you and are waiting for you to say more. I'm sure there are other examples I can come up with that will explain rigidity in their culture, but I think in navigating your relationship with the ILs, it's ok to be strong and confident in how you are doing things without worrying that their opposite view of things means they are negatively judging you. They just do it their way, you do it your way, and if you need them to do things your way in your home, you tell them why. I don't think they will get angry about it at all. 
As a postpartum doula, I work with many different families of all cultures and languages and see many styles of parenting. I don't think it's possible to overdo attachment parenting because AP is a a relationship between the parent and child. If one party is overly attached, the other party might pull away and then where is the attachment? AP requires a balance to continue the bond. I don't think you have to emulate the ILs or that they expect you to. But sometimes you might not mind letting your ILs spoil the 2 yr old. They aren't the parents and your child will learn a relationship with the grandparents and that will be different from yours. Please don't feel challenged. Do what is right for your family and what works for you and let them share some of their culture too. 

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#12 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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On a practical note, how much time do you spend with your inlaws? Do you all live together or very close? Could you spend less time with them?

 

A phrase I found helpful with my own parents when they wanted to debate my parenting decisions was "I can see how you would feel that way, but none the less, this is what I've decided to do."  I just kept repeating it to whatever they said until they figured out that I wasn't going to have that conversation with them. I was never going to convince them of anything, so I didn't see the point of continuing trying to explain.

 

Could your husband tell them to knock it off? Sometimes in marriages, it is helpful if the person related by blood sets boundaries. Or did the way his parents raise him make it impossible for him to set boundaries with his parents?

I'll look at the link.  I stay home so I spend about 30% of my day around my inlaws.  The MIL speaks little english and makes little effort to understand.  I do try to maintain distance from them and hope to have a more active social life this coming winter, by which time they will have left.

 

My husband has slowly become supportive of my needs and is intervening with them.  I should be very grateful for that instead of feeling bad that he's the only person who tells me I'm a good mom I suppose! 

 

I think consistency is very important as a mom.  As long as mom is open minded about her parenting style, learning from mistakes, and making changes as needed, it's best for the mom's approach to be supported by the family even when they don't agree all the time.  If my own parents have nothing positive to say in support of me, I simply don't give much else of what they are saying any weight.  People should let moms do the parenting and help out where they are needed; which is most of all where the mom's need a little reassurance sometimes.  

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#13 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 11:52 AM
 
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Earthmama,

 

...

 

I am not interested in being like my husband's parents.  Right now I need support, and they are not helping me by imposing their own style without consideration for my own.  It is they who need to be reading up.  Not me.  I have invested very heavily in  understanding them, they have no interest in understanding my culture.  Their level of attachment and sense of duty and protocol does not encourage scratching the surface of any topics, nor in understanding the depths of pretty much anything that doesn't help them or their family financially.  They have no clue how to open their minds, consider the other side, branch out, take risks.  This is a limitation of the culture that takes longer to recognize than the merits of their social styles.

 

...  

Haha you are not going to change their minds. Ever. They likely think they do it the best way and might even be judging you that your way isn't as good. You really don't need to convince them since they won't be having more kids anyway, right? Just tell them what you are doing and leave it at that. "Little One is exhausted and can't fall asleep with me near right now so I'm going to see if crying for a few minutes will help him decompress and fall asleep." And then walk away and expect that they will follow your lead. They can certainly talk about it but you don't need to educate or convince them. You just need them to respect what you're doing enough to not get in the way. 

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#14 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 I'm sure there are other examples I can come up with that will explain rigidity in their culture, but I think in navigating your relationship with the ILs, it's ok to be strong and confident in how you are doing things without worrying that their opposite view of things means they are negatively judging you. They just do it their way, you do it your way, and if you need them to do things your way in your home, you tell them why. I don't think they will get angry about it at all. 
 

Thank you for the insights.  I definitely have to remember that my inlaws are not to blame when I feel insecure about my choice.  Their failure to see what is best for our family is just human nature.  I was very angry yesterday because I felt like my abilities as a mom were in question.  I need to take your advice to heart; that they will hopefully respect me and that I should not have any doubts.  If I had not met my husband and found his culture so interesting, I shudder to think what mistakes I would have made trying to be a mom.    It does not mean my own culture has not given me some really useful parenting tools!  

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#15 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Indian's culture is very opressive toward woman. While I udnerstand why it evoled the way it evolved, it is not soemthing I owuld want to emualte in any way shape or form.

 

 

 Suffering is aprt of life. Everyone cries sometime.  Expriencing disaipotinemtts and failures produces resilent children. A child for whom all the problmes in life are fixed by mom and grandma will grow up self centered and unhappy.

 

Talk to your husband and simply tell your MIL that is she does not wish to follow your parenting emthods, she can not babysit and or tell you what to do in front of your child.

What country are you from?  I think most cultures are oppressive of women, and America is not much of an exception. I would say the India is much more sexually oppressive of all people in general.   Where I take issue with India is in the mentality of servitude and self sacrifice.  I witness my DH and MIL pushing themselves to the point of exhaustion in order to feel worthy on a regular basis.  There is no sense of self worth without measurable and comparable "output".  People are what they do and nothing more.

 

And while I agree with some of your points and appreciate the fresh perspective, I find many things about India's culture that westerners have a great deal to learn from about adaptability, tolerance, family values, and some parts of attachment parenting.  They in turn have some things to learn from us and we shouldn't make simple judgments and close our mind entirely because we don't agree with one aspect of the culture.   

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. You just need them to respect what you're doing enough to not get in the way. 

 

Well, you have a point, but they are control freaks like my husband. They will find ways to remind me of their disapproval.  They will question me repeatedly, then sulk.  It would be different if they were just visiting for a week or two, but it's like living with three of my husbands in his most dysfunctional form LOL.  Not funny.

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#17 of 50 Old 08-01-2013, 12:28 PM
 
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You were probably upset because your little one was having a rough time too :( It would be nice if they ILs were supportive :( 

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I'll look at the link.  I stay home so I spend about 30% of my day around my inlaws.  The MIL speaks little english and makes little effort to understand.  I do try to maintain distance from them and hope to have a more active social life this coming winter, by which time they will have left.

 

My husband has slowly become supportive of my needs and is intervening with them.  I should be very grateful for that instead of feeling bad that he's the only person who tells me I'm a good mom I suppose! 

 

 

 

I'm glad to hear that your husband is supporting you and that they are leaving before long. It sounds like you just need some warm fuzzies to get through this because it is a temporary problem. Your in-laws sound like a PITA. I suspect few of us could stand having them around for a couple of months without getting a little shaken and feeling defensive.

 

here are some warm fuzzies -- goodvibes.gif


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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I'm glad to hear that your husband is supporting you and that they are leaving before long. It sounds like you just need some warm fuzzies to get through this because it is a temporary problem. Your in-laws sound like a PITA. I suspect few of us could stand having them around for a couple of months without getting a little shaken and feeling defensive.

 

here are some warm fuzzies -- goodvibes.gif

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.

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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. 


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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 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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#27 of 50 Old 08-02-2013, 08:14 AM
 
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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. 


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#28 of 50 Old 08-02-2013, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Captain, I really, really, really needed to hear all of that today.  Many thanks!

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#29 of 50 Old 08-02-2013, 09:11 AM
 
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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.


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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.


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