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#1 of 24 Old 09-02-2011, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is 4 1/2 and very spirited and outspoken (very verbal). She often "talks back" to us and sounds angry, even mean, especially to her dad. I try to gently discipline her and talk to her about the effect her words have on others, better ways to get your message across without hurting, etc. My SIL has three children of her own. We were at a family gathering last weekend, and my DD told her dad (DH) not to move a chair in a bossy tone, sounding mad at him. SIL jumped right in and told her that her dad was just trying to help her with the chair, basically correcting her. She wasn't mean about it, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. First of all, we (me, DH) were right there and could handle it. Secondly, I see this as DD more expressing how she feels, and I don't want to tell her her feelings are wrong, which I think is the message SIL was giving her. Am I overreacting? How would you handle this in the moment? I feel like I should have said something, like "oh, we'll handle this SIL."

 

Part of what might be bothering me is that a few years ago, I warned SIL's DD about something that could hurt her and there was a lot of fallout, with SIL basically telling me not to tell her child what to do. I was nice about it, but worried about SIL's DD getting hurt, so there was urgency in my voice, which SIL took as me reprimanding her DD. So, I guess I am a little thin-skinned about this as a result. Personally, I would want someone to say something to my DD if there was something that could hurt her, but I don't think others should be correcting my DD's behavior. KWIM? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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#2 of 24 Old 09-02-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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Well, SIL may have been doing a "tit for tat" thing to rub it in again.  I used to always say to DD, "that your tone could be politer" or "that hurts my feelings when you talk to me this way" and she got it over time and is better about it.  As to the correcting, I have, in the past said "thanks but we will take care of it"...now if dd was about to fall into a flaming pit of lava, yeah, if you are there first, DO SOMETHING lol but otherwise, let me handle it.

 

 

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#3 of 24 Old 09-02-2011, 11:33 AM
 
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Meant to also say..that next time SIL does it - and there will be a next time, trust me on this, you are perfectly in your rights to say ...do you remember when you got all upset that I corrected your child....."

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#4 of 24 Old 09-02-2011, 04:38 PM
 
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When I read the first half of your post I was thinking that it really didn't sound like that much of a big deal to me.  My (very close) friends and I often "correct" each others' children and it's 100% fine with all parties involved.  For us it's more in the spirit of giving the other parent a break, iyswim.  I think that the incident you describe was very much flavoured by what when on before between you and your SIL - both her motivation in stepping in, and you feeling bent out of shape about it.  In that case I think it's totally fine to say "that's ok, we'll take it from here" or similar.

 

 


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#5 of 24 Old 09-02-2011, 06:40 PM
 
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I agree with what pianojazzgirl wrote-- when we're with friends who have similar aged kids (most of whom we've known since basically birth and spent lots of time with) we all pretty casually "correct" each other's kids... the spirit is generally that we are usually interacting with all the kids and not more likely to be with our own.  We help each other out with the kids, and especially when we are at someone's house, that person is even more likely to say things in a "correcting" way if the behavior is off limits or whatever for their particular house.  An example from my day today is that a friend was over with her 6 yo and almost 3 yo and I have a 6 yo, 2.5 yo and a 12month old... her six year old was whiny and difficult about lunch and finally asked me directly (instead of whining to her mom and just complaining) if she could have something specific from the fridge that she knew we had. I said something to the effect that I could tell she was aksing me for something, and I'd love to give her what she wanted, but that she'd have to try again because I didn't speak the langauge of whine.

 

I guess one way to handle it is to just casually say, "I got it" to your SIL... but even if you do that, it might also be a good opportunity for youto have a discussion with your DD about how her tone and communication style can be interpreted by others as offesive or impolite.  Even though she is young, as a verbal preschooler, my DD definitely benefitted from those "real world" examples when she was that age.

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#6 of 24 Old 09-02-2011, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the replies! Yes, I agree that for me this probably would not be a big deal if that previous episode with SIL hadn't happened. I like the whole "it takes a village" aspect to some of the posts. Maybe what's missing here is trust in my relationship with SIL...

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#7 of 24 Old 09-02-2011, 09:21 PM
 
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Yucky situation and obviously a lot deeper. This needs to be talked about between you two. You're obviously a capable caring person, and if she did that as a jab... that was very immature.
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#8 of 24 Old 09-03-2011, 05:15 AM
 
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This might have nothing at all to do with you previously correcting your neice.

 

Honestly, if I was around a kid that was whiney and demanding all day, and around my kids (who I know pick that stuff up in a hurry)...I would have a really, really hard time biting my tongue all day.

 

I try to remove myself (and my kids) if the parents are there, so this situation is a little different, but, I still can see how your SIL got to where she was.  We had friends over recently and their younger 2 were so awful for their mom.  Not the dad, or me, or my dh.  It was all I could do not to intervene when they were giving her a hard time.  It's hard to watch when you know that if you were the one to say, "Please put that in the trash." instead of their mom, they would have happily done it...but instead they are writhing on the floor and screaming. 

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#9 of 24 Old 09-03-2011, 06:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Just1More View Post

Honestly, if I was around a kid that was whiney and demanding all day, and around my kids (who I know pick that stuff up in a hurry)...I would have a really, really hard time biting my tongue all day.

I agree that your SIL shouldn't have said anything but I would have a really hard time biting my tongue, too.  I have ZERO patience for my kids behaving like that.  It really, really grates on my ears.  

What you're calling 'spirited and outspoken' is most other people's definition of a brat.  I hate that word and never use it to describe children.  But I know other people do and that's a terrible burden for your DD to bear.  It's one of the reasons we have major consequences in our house for that kind of thing.  I loathe to have my kids get a bad name.   

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#10 of 24 Old 09-03-2011, 07:57 AM
 
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It sounds to me that what your SIL was saying - that her father was just trying to help - was a benign comment and the same thing you might have said to your dd yourself. Frankly, I'm of the opinion that kids need to hear these things from a variety of adults in their lives. They need to know that their parents are not the only people who expect kind, courteous behavior from them, but that these are things our society values. So, unless the correction is really outrageous, or something we don't do (for example, if someone admonished my kid to call an adult "sir" or "ma'am") I don't mind at all when other adults step in. It only reinforces what I've been teaching my kids all along.

That said, I agree with a pp that your description of "spirited" sounds very much like the world's definition of "obnoxious." I don't think you are doing your daughter any favors by considering this behavior simply a "spirited" child "expressing what she feels." She needs to understand that there are consequences to her rudeness (reputation as a brat - though like the pp, I never use that word irl - and social isolation being two of them), and it doesn't seem that you are teaching her that.
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#11 of 24 Old 09-03-2011, 08:20 AM
 
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wow, seems like posters here are quick to jump to statements that a child could be seen as a "brat" and "obnoxious" without much information.  The only info the OP gave was:  "She often "talks back" to us and sounds angry, even mean, especially to her dad."  Without knowing more, or what the frequency and severity of it is, it seems very presumptuous to label a kid negatively.  She may just be finding her voice and her power and experimenting with that.

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#12 of 24 Old 09-03-2011, 09:03 AM
 
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Maybe your SIL has rethought her position on this now that her child has grown, she has more experience as a parent and with others redirecting her child, and she knows you more.  I used to bristle at family members correcting my child, even if she needed to be redirected, but as my dd got older I stopped seeing their redirection of my child as an insult and started seeing it as the positive thing it is.  I really appreciate it when family members jump in the way your SIL did.  One mild comment from my dd's grandparents or uncle can really change her perspective and make her rethink how she is expressing herself in a way that all of my redirection can't sometimes.  It also lets my dd know that I am also a person who deserves to be treated with dignity, that I have family members who care enough for me, and she typically rethinks how she is expressing herself and does so in a more appropriate way.

 

 

 

 

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#13 of 24 Old 09-03-2011, 11:03 AM
 
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"We were at a family gathering last weekend, and my DD told her dad (DH) not to move a chair in a bossy tone, sounding mad at him. SIL jumped right in and told her that her dad was just trying to help her with the chair, basically correcting her. She wasn't mean about it, but it still rubbed me the wrong way."


Honestly, history or no history, this probably would not have even crossed my radar. Saying, not meanly, "your dad was just trying to help you with the chair," to a child that was perhaps speaking in a rude kind of way would not ruffle any feathers of mine. Since you asked in your original post, I would vote overreacting in this particular instance.
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#14 of 24 Old 09-03-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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You know I was just thinking this over in Costco... I know I need to get a life. And there have been times that my kids were very difficult in family situations and me being at the end of my rope it helped to have my SIL or MIL say something to them. They snapped to pretty quickly. With their own parent they know they can get away with more, but when someone else says something to them they usually stop their inappropriate behavior.

Did DD stop her behavior and listen to her Aunt? If so she did you a favor and you can either harbor resentment or know that in another situation like this she's there to back you up. Sometimes we need back up.
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#15 of 24 Old 09-03-2011, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaveTheWild View Post

wow, seems like posters here are quick to jump to statements that a child could be seen as a "brat" and "obnoxious" without much information.  The only info the OP gave was:  "She often "talks back" to us and sounds angry, even mean, especially to her dad."  Without knowing more, or what the frequency and severity of it is, it seems very presumptuous to label a kid negatively.  She may just be finding her voice and her power and experimenting with that.


Thanks for saying that. If PP got the wrong idea about my DD I obviously did a poor job of describing her behavior. She is a wonderful little girl and most everyone sees her that way too. I was talking about a small aspect of her behavior that while I certainly do not appreciate, we are working on it. I would think that everyone's child has done something similar at some point? No need to throw names around.
 

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You know I was just thinking this over in Costco... I know I need to get a life. And there have been times that my kids were very difficult in family situations and me being at the end of my rope it helped to have my SIL or MIL say something to them. They snapped to pretty quickly. With their own parent they know they can get away with more, but when someone else says something to them they usually stop their inappropriate behavior.

Did DD stop her behavior and listen to her Aunt? If so she did you a favor and you can either harbor resentment or know that in another situation like this she's there to back you up. Sometimes we need back up.


Really? I think you had it right the first time. And no, I do not need anyone being the parent for me if I am standing right there. Also, SIL would not back me up on much of anything. And she would absolutely have a problem with me saying something similar to her child. No doubt about it. I realize that is my real issue with the whole situation. But thanks for the response.

 

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I would think that everyone's child has done something similar at some point?


Of course they have.  But your description of how you guys deal with it is what people are reacting to, IMO.  How you don't want to discount her feelings.. she's 'spirited' and 'verbal'.  I guess we can all think of kids we know who are described that way by their parents and what the real deal is.  I appreciate it might not be the case.


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#17 of 24 Old 09-04-2011, 07:27 AM
 
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We are pretty casual about dealing with each other 's kids in my family but I would NEVER insert myself into an interaction like that between a parent and a child.  I would not let a child talk to ME like that, but I'm not going to tell her how to talk to her father when he's standing right that.  That is crossing a line, even in my family, where we don't have a lot of lines.

 

However, I can also see how it gets old listening to a child talk to her parents like that.  I can imagine that at some point someone would be moved to say something out of sheer frustration.

 

To SIL, I would just say, "I've got it," and go on dealing with my child.

 

I would correct my daughter and remind her to use nicer words/nicer tone ("try again" usually gets the point across) because expressing yourself is fine and dandy, but you don't get to express yourself at the expense of those around you.  Feelings might be wrong and maybe you can't control them, but actions are a whole different issue. 

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#18 of 24 Old 09-04-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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Some thoughts...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaveTheWild View Post

She may just be finding her voice and her power and experimenting with that.


I think of this as a big part of the "4s".  The behaviour is totally age-appropriate IMO.   I certainly wouldn't label a 4yo kid who acted like that a "brat" (and pps I know *you* weren't calling her that, but just pointing out that other people might think that).  I say this to reassure the OP that this is v. normal stuff that she's dealing with. 

 

I think it's fine to see this girl as "spirited" and "verbal" (it sounds like she is!), and I think it's equally important to acknowledge that the bossiness and whining are behaviours that aren't ok.  Of course her feelings are valid, but how she expresses them is what needs working on.  It sounds like the OP realizes this and is working on it.  And OP don't be afraid that in correcting the behaviour that you are somehow telling dd that she isn't allowed to feel what she's feeling.  You said:

 

Quote:
my DD told her dad (DH) not to move a chair in a bossy tone, sounding mad at him

 

Quote:
I see this as DD more expressing how she feels, and I don't want to tell her her feelings are wrong, which I think is the message SIL was giving her.

 

Honestly I don't really see this as an example of dd expressing how she feels.  I see how she was likely having some strong feelings, but mostly I see it as her wanting to control the situation/control someone else's actions.  You say SIL said:

 

Quote:

 

that her dad was just trying to help her with the chair

 

To me that feels a lot different than, I dunno... "dd, don't be stupid, your dad can put the chair where ever he wants", or "tough luck dd", or "watch your mouth young lady - don't talk to your father in that tone of voice", or a bunch of other things that jumped into my head as non-gentle responses you might not be surprised to hear someone give.  Instead she said "your dad is just trying to help you with the chair".  Sounds like she was trying to reason with dd, to explain the situation to dd.  SIL's response is not the one I would have given, but I don't find it un-gentle.  And I don't see anything there telling dd that her feelings are wrong.  AND, moreover, I think your dd's response to her dad moving the chair, while age-appropriate, was not ok.  I mean "not ok" as in she needs to learn a different way of saying "dad, please don't move the chair", or "please let me move the chair myself", etc.  OP from what you said upthread I'm assuming that the way you would have handled it was to give your dd those words - to model a way of getting her thoughts across that weren't hurtful to anyone else.  Even though that's not what SIL did I don't think her interjection would negate that or give your dd a negative message.

 

Also, I'm curious: is SIL your DH's brother?  If so I can see it as a sister stepping in to help her family member (to "defend" someone she's close with???).  Maybe this is more about their relationship?

 


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#19 of 24 Old 09-04-2011, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Pianojazzgirl--thanks for your thoughtful remarks. I do just want to clarify a bit though. I am not overly concerned about DD's behavior, and that wasn't really what I was seeking advice about. I feel pretty secure in how I am handling her, and I agree that her behavior is pretty typical. We don't allow her to get away with making hurtful comments to others, including her dad, of course. Also, the "talking back" doesn't typically happen in front of others, and this may have been the first time in front of others outside our little family. I wouldn't call it a problem. I suppose I could have been more clear about that in my original post. Although it did seem that some PP's were reading a whole lot more into things than I ever expected!

 

You questioned how the chair incident had anything to do with DD's feelings. Well, she was certainly having some strong feelings at time (yes, I find myself amazed how worked up little people can get over seemingly insignificant things-- to me at least!) I do try to validate her feelings before showing her how to improve or before telling her some action/word is so hurtful that it is simply unacceptable. Otherwise, I do not think she will listen or learn what she needs to learn. For example, if she takes a toy from her brother: "DD, I know you really want that toy. It is a fun one. But we do not just take things from others. DS was playing with it first, so you will need to find another toy to play with." I agree that the situation over the chair with her dad is not solely about her feelings, for sure. But I also don't want to completely alienate her with a rebuke and no empathy either. Fine line. And that's why I like gentle discipline because it goes deeper and is not solely about controlling behavior but about teaching the child to control his/her own behavior. And that does require empathy.

 

But getting back to what I was really seeking input on. I am sure all of us have had times where others have stepped in and corrected our children's not-so-pleasant behavior, and my focus and original question concerned SIL's action in doing that and whether it crosses some line. I also gave some background for why it might have felt wrong for me at the time, for full-disclosure. But getting beyond my personal experiences with SIL, I think it is a timeless question of what is the parent's role and where is there room for input from others. Maybe the thread has run it's course, and I feel I have gotten what I need out of it. But if anyone else wants to contribute, feel free.

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#20 of 24 Old 09-04-2011, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Pianojazzgirl--I tried to edit my previous post because I realize I didn't really answer your question, but I can't edit for some reason. Anyhow, DD was upset because DH had moved the chair around to a position so she was unable to sit on it and she was unhappy and mad about it. Hence the "bossing" and anger. So, she really was expressing how she felt, in her four-year old way. Again, for me none of this is the real issue, but I don't mind talking about it, I suppose. smile.gif

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#21 of 24 Old 09-05-2011, 06:13 AM
 
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So... aside from DD's behavior, what are you going to do about your issue with your SIL.  Are you going to approach the subject with her?  And were you planning to do it anyway but just wanted to get some insight on the proper way to do it?

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#22 of 24 Old 09-05-2011, 05:03 PM
 
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Really, I'd let this one go and promise yourself that next time you'll say "thanks Sis, we've got this under control." It sounds to me like the time she jumped on you for 'correcting' her child was several years ago. This incident is slight. If this is a bigger pattern of behavior with your SIL, then think about what that bigger pattern is that you're worried about.

 

I once yelled at a friend's child. I was horrified the instant I did it, but it was a visceral reaction to an unsafe situation. There was a pinata, and the child darted through the pinata area to pick up some candy just as an older child was getting ready to swing with a bat. It's possible to overreact innocently enough. If SIL was in 'parenting' mode or was 'protecting' her little brother, I could see it happening without any other agenda on SIL's part.

 

The 'work' that you need to do is to figure out of SIL has an agenda, and if she does, whether ignoring or discussing it is the best you can do.

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#23 of 24 Old 09-05-2011, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 I am going to let it go. But in the future I will have a standard response to SIL correcting my kids. Something non-inflammatory and innocuous, like: "Thanks, but I got it."  There are issues with DH's side of the family anyway, unfortunately.

Yes, SIL does have an agenda when it comes to me as a result of that incident so long ago. I still have trouble believing that my warning her DD caused so much damage, but it did nonetheless. This all plays out in subtle comments. The comment to DD was probably part of that. Oh well. I am just going to handle it as described. If she pushes too far with the correcting, we will have to talk about it.

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#24 of 24 Old 09-06-2011, 04:25 AM
 
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Good on you mommy!  I hope this all works out well. 

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