The background: I have a sil who is verrrry mainstream--even my other mainstream family members have had concerns with her parenting style. She firmly believes that children need to be as independent as possible, and that if life is hard, you just suck it up and get over it, regardless of whether you're 2 years old or 22 years old. They CIO, spank, and all the rest. She doesn't like to hold her children very often. She's just very hands-off. She does care about her kids, but just comes from a totally different perspective on what being a parent and being a child is all about. Since we got ds, I can barely hold a conversation with her about any aspect of parenting, because it simply turns into a debate. One thing I have seen is lots and lots of power struggles, because proving her parental authority is soooo important to her, and any form of resistance from a child is seen as disrespect that cannot be tolerated.
Anyway, her ds turned 3 in Oct and still is not potty-trained. He was finally making some progress and things were going really well for a few days, then one morning, he woke up and appeared to have somehow lost the connection of how to do it. She worked with him the entire day, and he was extremely disconcerted about the whole thing. The day after that, he woke up and began stuttering--not just minor stuttering, but he was really having trouble speaking. Sil, bless her heart, has decided that he's simply not ready to potty train, and that it's definitely not worth her child's speech to force him to do it! The stuttering lasted for several days, but has now gone away completely. She feels like he definitely *wants* to be potty-trained--he HATES wearing diapers, refuses to let them change his diaper, etc. But he just isn't ready to be able to do it, and it was so traumatic for him to not be able to master it. He has also been having major sleep problems and tantrums, which they were solving by CIO, shutting him in his room at night, etc. After the stuttering, they have decided that he must be experiencing trauma from this too, and they are going to lay off the sleep and work with him more to develop some soothing nighttime routines. (Their previous "routine" has consisted of telling the happily-playing children that it's bedtime, picking them up, and dumping them in their beds, protesting or not.)
I am so thrilled I can hardly find words to express it! Sil's mother (who is even "tougher" than sil) is now criticizing their decision, telling sil that he is manipulating them, they have given in to his "demands" and he has gotten the best of them. That poor little boy! I told sil that I agreed with her decision and I thought it was wonderful. I know there will not be a complete turn around in her parenting approach, but I was so relieved to hear that they finally listened to their child! I wish I could say this happened because of my good example, but I know it didn't.
I just had to share!