Not to drag this out interminably but I would like to reply to the right-on posts that came after my last post. First of all, an update: DH called SIL back who right away apologized for suggesting psychologist and questioning our choices of parenting and they talked awhile and worked it out that not being in the same place with both kids for a while was unnecessary and SIL was content with dh's promise to supervise our ds better. So I felt better and calmed down enough, thankfully, to be able to take the high road when she called last night and very nicely said she wanted to also talk to me personally, and again apologized and said she didn't want us to feel bad, etc., and that she realizes she has no right to suggest what we do for ds, just to ask us to keep more on top of him. I realized in was being made in good faith and that she really did feel bad, so I told her that I feel that we really do need to keep better watch of him (which I do think is true). So it was a good conversation and all (PHEW) is smoothed over--to the point that the next family gathering will not be tense and unhappy, which I was dreading. Taking the high road IS the best advice so I am glad I didn't talk to her right after we got the first phone call as I have such a hard time with that. I realize fully that with these things, children become an extension of ourselves and I would have been reacting defensively to what I perceived as an attack on my character. However I STILL think it would have been a release to finally be able to say, OK here's what I think of some of the ways that you parent . . . because as I said everything they do we do the opposite pretty much on down the line including what they feed him.
Yes, he's the first kid. Also interesting, is that we were talking to one of ds's therapists about it, who asked about ds's cousin's father, who was really whipped up about it. We said that his older brother was bullying and domineering when he was growing up and she said it's therefore not surprising that he is unusually anxious about his own son being bullied.
Also, delighted.mama, you biring up a good point in that it is not a good thing for SIL and BIL's kid to be sheltered completely from other kids who are rough. Not that he should be allowed to be bitten--every kid deserves to be respected and protected--but that the knee-jerk reaction to pull him out of any potential situation is not good. I agree. I think that it is a parents' job to have the good judgment of when to intervene and when not to and that you have to give your child the opportunities to learn how to deal socially. Not easy to call every time, I know. And I am not advocating a laissz faire attitude toward children being bitten. I bring it up because BIL is convinced that his kid being around our kid will make him afraid of other kids in general which I don't agree with. I think in general his kid would benefit from being around other kids more often.
I think that the whole situation brought up a lot of good questions and in retrospect I talked a lot about it with dh, with a friend of mine, here on the board, and in the end had the most intimate conversation w/SIL yet. I also think it was a wake up call for us. We had been very watchful and hovery in the past, when ds was worse, but Early Intervention and just growing and beginning to talk had such dramatic effects for the better that we had relaxed alot around ds and other kids. The thing is, it hasn't disappeared completley. So, we have resolved to be much more on top of it than we were and really only let them play together with one of us right next to him, and with some distance. He is also 25 months, and at the height of his NO! MINE! thing.
In Early Intervention, when you transfer from one-on-one therapy to a group, they ask you if you think your child needs someone whose whole job is to stay on top of a kid who has such a problem with controlling himself, in order to protect the other kids and keep the kid from getting into trouble, and when the coordinator asked us if we felt he needed that we said, yes, definitely.
I realize that SIL and her husband, and dh and I will never see eye to eye on the whole discipline/parenting issue, and I don't see that debating it will be so valuable (I'm right of course, and can send them the books to prove it). The main thing is that it is comfortable within the family and that the two kids can one day, if not become friends which I don't think is all that realistic because they'll live in such different worlds, at least have fun with each other during those big long boring family events while the grown ups talk.