i have a 3.5 y/o son, he is pretty spirited and an only child in a house with 3 adults (we live with my parents). my parents are much more stern in their discipline and occasionally smack his butt, and i am not like that. they accuse me of being too permissive, but i feel like i am parenting in a way that feels right for me... usually.
lately he's been driving me INSANE, i am fully burnt out and need a vacation but it's not coming for another few weeks so i've got to get it together and pull through. the past few weeks i have SCREAMED at him, threatened him, all of it. my usual parenting style, which involves identifying feelings, redirection, empathy, etc is just gone as a result of being so burnt out. i'm operating on fumes, the fumes, really, of how i was raised.
my mom lost it today and spanked him because he bit me and i screamed. then she yelled at me that i needed to be more firm with him. i've always believed that kids need boundaries to feel safe etc but my boundaries are not as firm as she would like.
obviously i'm not permissive about hitting... but at dinner sometimes he wants lots of hugs and i give them to him and when we're playing throughout the day he pushes my boundaries even after i say things like "no thank you, i don't want to do that" or "no thank you, that hurts me" or "no thank you, i don't play with people who hit me!" and these are two of the issues that are driving her crazy-
ok i have to go put him to bed, but i'd love to hear any ideas or experience or questions for clarification!
How do you feel about your parents disciplining your son (and to some extent you, it sounds like)? Do you believe that your mom has the authority to expect you to change your parenting because she doesn't agree with it? Or vice versa, do you believe you can ask your parents to do something different because you don't agree with it?
I couldn't figure out from your post how you felt about what happened, or what your values about parental/grandparental involvement are (although I can infer something by your use of the term co-parents).... anyhow, better to ask, right? :)
It does sound like you have a good idea of what would help you, though - a break. Is there any way to get that before your vacation (from school?) ... perhaps with your parents' help? Or with the help of a trusted friend to watch your son? 3.5 can be a pretty tough age.
I thought I'd add something. My parenting partner is my DD's father, and he and I have different sets of boundaries. Not radically different, but different enough. And I am comfortable with having those differences because I view our relationship as being of equals, with equal authority. One of us doesn't outrule the other; we come to consensus. On the other hand, my family of origin has boundary issues and in that case, would totally try to out rule me at every turn. (To give a little example, I was a 26 year old grad student, who'd been living on my own, paying my own bills for nearly eight years, in a long term relationship with my DD's father when I got pregnant. My mom told me she would disown me if I didn't have an abortion. She's also hit me in front of my daughter because she didn't like what I was doing as a parent. Boundary issues!) I am not comfortable with their differing standards of boundaries with my DD because I don't think they respect me as her parent. It's difficult to trust them. I'm fortunate enough (when it comes to my parenting, though I wish it didn't have to be this way) to have flexibility about whether or not I have contact with them.
I assume living with your parents is the best option for you right now. From my outside perspective it sounds like they are trying to parent you like they would parent a child. That might be your choice, or you might feel it's the best thing for you right now. Or you might not like it, but not have other options. Or you might start with setting some boundaries with them, if you can. I couldn't begin to guess. But that's what came to mind for me, when I was reading your post.