dealing with family members - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 01-26-2003, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I want to ask how you handle family members who don't practise the same gentle discipline techniques as you do. I don't mean my family or IL's spank my baby (i wouldn't stand for that) though they think spanking is necessary to discipline. but they say phrases like, "good, bad boy", "oh, that didn't hurt your a big boy", or waaaaaay overusing the word, "No!" for EVERY little thing.

They don't see my ds every day. maybe 2x a week to visit. My dh says that a few times a week they see him is not enough to make a difference in his discipline as long as we are consistent with our GD. Plus, MIL's and my own mother has a hard time dealing with trying us trying to "teach" them how to raise a child. :

So do you think i should let it go, and not worry. Or if i should correct them, how?

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#2 of 3 Old 01-26-2003, 10:44 PM
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This is indeed a tough issue. You don't want to be overbearing with family members whom you care about, but you also don't want to compromise your own *wise and wonderful* decision to GD. Of course, in any case, your DS comes first...

I do think you DH has a good point. DS seeing your family a couple of times a week isn't going cause any huge confusion for him in the area of discipline because he will always hold you and DH as the primary caregivers, disciplinarians. Also, your DS is a smart, perceptive young man and will know the difference between you and "them."

I do think it's prefectly acceptable for you as parents, to set boundaries for family members who may be in the position of disciplining him (say, if you have them babysit DS). While I don't think it's necessary to "teach your family how to raise your child" because usually family members don't take kindly to this, it is within your rights, indeed your responsibility to make sure that they respect how an why you discipline the way you do and carry this through when caring for your DS. If they can't accept that, then that's something they need to work out for themselves. Of course, in their house, they are will have their own set of rules (say, about what he can and can't play with) but they may not *insert any form of discipline you don't condone* him if he does something they deem "unacceptable" to them.

That said, I am frustrated to no end as to why other (mostly of the older generation) family members are so unwilling to embrace new and enlightened ways of doing things? Why it so difficult for them to be open-hearted about a new approach to discipline (among other things). I am sure they did the best they could with the information they had at the time but as they wanted for us a better life than they had, don't they so wish for us to better our own children's lives? If they truly respect us and feel good about having raised us right, then shouldn't they also feel confident that we've taken the time to truly educate ourselves on the matter of raising our own kids? I suppose it's just a healthy dose of guilt and concern for perhaps not following their own instincts. This in itself, should have told them something--if it feels wrong, re-evaluate but don't hold others to your old way of doing things simply to feel you are validated in them... the emotional health of our children is at stake for goodness sake!

Sorry for the rant... this is never an easy one. My advice, while it may be wise to refrain from "instructing" do stay confident in your own convictions. If they ask, then educate. If they don't, then carry out your mothering the way you always do for all to see. I have been lucky to sway many previously suspicious family members in our direction. Or shall I say, my wonderfully, happy and secure DS has. Give it time and they may see through your DS that yes, indeed you may just have a point there!

Best of luck!

Em 43 - Wife to hubby Mom to DS born: Jan. '01
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#3 of 3 Old 01-27-2003, 12:32 AM
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We had different rules at grandma's house and grandma had different ways of disciplining us (not much at all, really. lol) That's what makes grandma so neat.

If grandparents or other family are the childrens' guardian, you should probably press the issue so you know if they have the kids, they'll get raised as close as possible to the way you're doing it now. But with as little as they see them, I wouldn't worry about it.

I have more trouble getting my FIL to stop making comments about that guy on TV being a "GD queer" and "those blacks really blah blah blah" than him asking the kids if they've been a good girl or a good boy, kwim? (it could allllways be worse!)

Something MIL sometimes takes the kids to church with her if she sits for us on a Saturday night. Now, our kids are usually very good in church and we do praise them, but it's expected and not something we reward with something truly tangible. But when Grandma takes them to church, there's a trip to Walmart to follow and we're gonna get some GOODIES! If it was every week, I'd have to insist she stop. But she loves getting them treats and it isn't making them act any differently for us when we go to church.

I hope that answers your question a little bit.
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