We are living with my parents who have very different ideas about discipline than I do. I have not read many books about GD but I try to
-understand dc's point of view
-ignore some behaviors as they are age appropriate
-focus on what they are doing well
-pick my battles which sometimes means I change my mind and "give in"
-allow transition time from their dad's house and here (which can be wild)
-help them follow directions
-lead by example
-use time - in first, they are dealing w/ emoitional stuff as a result of divorce. I think a lot of their undesirable behavior stems from that.
My parents intervene in my discipline. I have tried setting boundries about this and it has fallen on deaf ears or they adhere to the boundries for a time and then start acting like the parents themselves.
For example, this morning, dd was whining at the table. I was reminding her to use a pleasant voice when she needs something as I am always happy to help. My mom swoops in from the other room, picks up dd and places her in time out. Mom stayed with dd duirng this time and dd did get the point that mom wanted her to stop whining. But a) I hate the authoritian attitude and b) this is really my job and not hers.
Later today, we all went to pick up dc's birthday cake. Originally, I had said that dc could not hold their cakes until we got home. Dd began to cry and scream about this and I changed my mind. Thinking that she was excited about her 3rd cake and wanted to look at it and it really wasn't a big deal. My dad is up front telling me to stay firm. I said I wanted to pick my battles and this was not my hill to die on. My mom snidely asked what battles did I pick?
So as you can probably tell, there are other issues at play here than my parents stepping in when they shouldn't. Are there quick responses I can give them as to why I gd w/o making them feel like I am insulting their parenting style?
Have you have a serious talk with your parents about not undermining your authority? This is a big enough issue to force you to look for other living arrangements. Do they realize this?
The book Kids Parents and Power Struggles by Mary Kurcinka is really good. It focuses on understanding the emotions behind the misbehavior and dealing with it instead of reacting to the misbehavior. I've told a couple of people that humans learn behavior by example so we're teaching our DD how to respect other people by respecting her. Also your parents being snide and disrespecting you will teach your children to disrespect you too. I needed to live with my father for abit when my oldest DD was a baby. He didn't interfere in my parenting at all. He enjoyed that he could be just grand dads and didn't need to do any discipline. You could try telling them that they did a good job parenting you so now it's time for you to parent your children and they get the fun of being grandparents. Giving them a book or two that explains or follows your discipline style could reassure them that you do have reasons why you parent the way you do.
I'm looking for our own place. We will probably be here for a few more months.
I have had many convos with them about me doing the discipline. They respond that dc's behavior affects them and go off on how I'm not parenting correctly. I've explained that dc have been through some major changes and their behavior will reflect these changes for many months. They poopoo these thoughts.
As I type this, I realize that the only solution is moving. My parents were in their routine and my leaving an abusive husband and needing a place to land was sprung on them. They want peace and quiet in their home - I want peace, and we are taking different paths to achieve this.
For the most part, the solution is moving, but presumably you want them to have a relationship with your children in the future and might need to have them babysit from time to time. If you find their discipline style unacceptable, then this will continue to be an issue, albeit not as often or as intensely. You're in a tough place because since you *need* their help, you can't threaten to keep the kids from seeing them (which hopefully you would never have to follow through on, but this is how I keep my parents in line when they are inclined to act like yours are acting -- it is VERY effective). They need to understand that there are boundaries with grandchildren that were not there with their own kids. You can't force them to affirmatively do things that they don't want to do -- e.g. if you believed in spanking and they didn't, you could not force them to spank your children -- but they should be able to refrain from doing things that you find wrong or abusive. That's a tricky line to find, but it is sooooo important, IMO, that they not undermine you in front of your kids or behind your back. Are they really as disrespectful to you as it sounded from your post? I would be absolutely livid if my parents were treating me that way.
SAHM to Bird (6/07) and Bear (7/09), and now enjoying our newest addition, born June 1, 2011!
I would draw the line at physical discipline or shaming/screaming at the child. But I think for that to work they must feel that other discipline solutions are acceptable, because it is their home, and it is impossible for them to relax in it if they feel that even fairly mild things such as asking you to not hand cake to a screaming child, will be challenged. In the time out example you said your mother DID get her point across while remaining with your dd in time out. Honestly, I think most people would be ecstatic if their parents knew about time out and actually used it instead of insisting on old fashioned spankings.
In the cake example, to be honest I see their point. Your dd is throwing a tantrum and you gave her what she wanted. Even though you and I understand your thinking on this, they still *might* be correct too. Giving her the cake might be choosing your battles wisely with dd--or it might be sending dd the message that screaming and throwing a fit get her what she wants. I think it is asking too much to expect elderly people to forgo the latter conclusion.
If you feel your parents basically love your child and intend the best for her, I would be sure to thank them for showing such an interest in her upbringing. I would not take their help for granted, not that I think you are, but often advice given in these situations kind of puts the child on a pedestal and ignores the fact that "choosing your battles" goes for the grandparents too. It sounds like they sincerely just want to provide consistency in discipline. They don't sound like they are toxic or abusive, but simply stricter than you are. Well, I would let them be stricter, as long as it doesn't cross the line into spanking or screaming.
I will add though, that it is important for you to not feel undermined, and I get that. However, realistically, that means that you need to be very proactive in dealing with your dd, whenever possible, make it clear you are dealing with the situation, explain why, and then carry out your decision with confidence. Your parents don't always have to agree with you, either. When my son was that age and we visited my parents I was careful to only have them "hang out' with them during his 'best" times of the day. I basically did not expect them to co-parent at all. I just trotted out ds for them to love on, and then when he seemed to get tired, I took him back to our room, or took him out alone to the park, or ran errands with just he and I. If he acted up in any way I picked him up and immediately left to a private area to deal with him on my own. I did not expect anyone to put up with the 'normal' stuff of children such as crying or tantrums or whatever. You could try this approach if you really dislike your parents discipline. You have to basically shoulder the job of keeping your child from having any negative influence, by making yourself 100% responsible for supervising and preventing your child from disrupting their routine. It is probably easier to just co-parent instead.
We live next door to my mom and so there is alot of interaction there. I would not be ok with my Mom swooping in from another room and removing my child from me because she (my Mom) felt my child needed a time out. That's my decision, not hers (or anyone else's, except DH). If my Mom is babysitting DD and has to discipline her, that's another story but If I or DH is there, it's up to us. I have found that a polite but firm "Thanks Mom, I've got this." has been very effective. "Thanks, I've got this" and then removal to private space is even more effective. The thing is if you say you've got it, than you do have to have it. The more confidence you can radiate when dealing with this kind of situation the more people will back off.
I find it very difficult to deal with both a freaking out child and backseat "discipline" driving from outside parties at the same time, so I know how you feel.
Hang in there!
If she does interfere, physically prevent her from placing your daughter in time out.
I do want to say though, the the fact that your disciple choices are effecting more than just you, it is really important that you are not permissive. Because not only will your childrens behavior suffer, but your parents behavior will probably continue along with their lack of understanding.