Occasional visiting of non-AP/GD kid ... help on how to handle it? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 01-29-2013, 06:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DH and I are pregnant with our first.  We've been reading and learning about AP/GD, but haven't gotten to really put it into practice yet.  We see BIL/SIL four or five times a year and it's usually unpleasant to watch them with their kid.  Every time we visit, we discuss on the ride home what we saw, what we liked or didn't like about the way they parent (usually don't like), and how we think we would handle it ... but again, it's just theory at this point for us. 

 

The last few times we've seen them have been quite the challenge. Their DS is two and is a little monster.  His latest behaviors include biting, spitting, slapping, and kicking.  If he is playing with something he's not supposed to, and I try to take it from him and hand him something else, he tries to bite or kick me.  They also have a four month old baby and if someone he wants attention from is holding the baby, he tries to attack either the baby or the baby-holder.  When this happens, DH and I say "No hitting!" (or whatever he's doing).  He ignores us and continues his attack.

 

At this point one of his parents usually comes over and spanks him.  He cries, throws himself on the ground, has a kicking/screaming tantrum, and then runs off and does something else.  According to them, this is "the only way to handle it", because they tried time out, but he wouldn't stay in the time out spot, so he had to be physically restrained, and they'd usually end up getting bit.

 

DH and I are not spankers.  Even if we were, I probably still wouldn't hit someone else's child.  We are also not interested in trying to physically interact with a violent child in any way ... he's not my son, so I see no need to subject myself to biting or slapping.  He's not talking much yet - just a few words here and there, but mostly grunting, crying and screaming.  It's also not possible to hold his attention long enough to attempt reasoning with him or to simply say "we do not bite other people".

 

I know this is not his fault.  He's a very frustrated, angry child, and he hasn't a clue what else to do with his emotions.  But frankly, I'm not interested in being around this, or exposing my child to it once he/she is born.  DH and I have discussed this, and we really don't feel that staying away is an option ... all the in-laws want to be together as a family and will want to see our new baby.  To them, the spanking "works" and so there is no problem here.  They think we're crazy new-age idiots who will learn soon enough that talking and other non-spanking methods are a load of crap.  They really could care less that the whole child-hitting thing is upsetting to watch.  To them, DH and I were both spanked, and we turned out pretty great, right? (Sigh).

 

I guess I'm hoping that someone can offer advice from experience from a previous similar situation, or how to handle another person's kid in a non-hitting way.  Right now the best we've come up with is to physically remove ourselves/our child from the area that he's in when he acts this way.

 

Thanks in advance.

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#2 of 21 Old 01-29-2013, 06:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, I forgot to mention.  His parents and grandparents refer to him as "their sweet little baby" and think this is just typical two-year-old behavior.  Maybe it is, but I've never seen a kid act THIS violent before, and I've been around a lot of nieces/nephews/friends' kids.  Usually it's snatching of toys, tantrums, with occasional hitting.   When DH and I look shocked at the behavior, they shrug it off and say it's because we don't have kids.  To them, there is no problem.  Child misbehaves, child is spanked, the day goes on.  They think he's cute most of the time.  Us asking for them to modify what they do in some way would not be taken seriously, as they think we have no idea what we're talking about ... as in, "we will not help physically correct or discipline your child, because we don't plan on spanking ours" gets eye rolls.
 

 

 

(Edited for context issues.)

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#3 of 21 Old 01-29-2013, 06:51 AM
 
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The fact that he's 2, and the fact that he has a new sibling, and the fact that he doesn't have much language now, makes me wonder if he might behave pretty aggressively regardless of how he was parented. I'm sure spanking isn't helping, but kids that age with new siblings often have trouble, and kids that age without the ability to communicate well often have trouble, so a kid that age going through both might very well bite/kick/act out regardless. And when he gets older, more used to the baby, and gets more language, it'll probably get better no matter what is done.

OTOH I do think kids can pick up the idea that you can get people to stop doing things by hitting them if they're used to being hit when someone wants them to stop doing something. So yeah, maybe he'll keep up with that behavior. I wouldn't assume so, though. I just wouldn't assume that a) he'd behave better if he weren't spanked, or b) that he won't get past this regardless.

You never have to spank anyone, and can simply refuse to spank their kids. Is the problem that you will have to watch these kids sometimes and you're worried that they won't respond to anything but spanking at this point? I think you might be surprised. I have two nephews who were spanked, and I watched them sometimes, and they behaved much better for me than their parents. Probably just because it was a different place and I was a different person. Kids behave worst for their own parents.

If you're afraid they will spank your kids, then I would definitely not leave your kids with them. There are several people who have never and will never watch my kids for this reason. I learned when my oldest was a baby and I had family watch her for just a short time. They decided to try sleep training her, even after I expressly told them not to and they promised they wouldn't. They said they had to since I never would, and they'd been looking for an opportunity. I don't mean to scare you about this kind of thing, but this is where the real potential problem is. If you leave your kids with a family member, expect that they think they do things right and will do what they think is right with your kids whether you're there or not, at least in my experience.

As far as exposure goes, my older child became aware other kids get spanked by seeing it happen at Target, at which point she yelled and cried about why someone would hit their own child. Loudly. It was a shock but she came away from it not disillusioned with humanity, but thankful that her dad and I don't believe in doing that. She hasn't been scarred. The younger one is still little and I don't think has seen anyone get spanked yet. The situation pops up in stories sometimes though so even if she never sees it she'll probably hear about it. Still, I think how you behave with your kids is more important than how they see others behave with other kids. I guess my point is that you won't be able to insulate your children entirely from the concept of spanking in our society. I would just explain it to them as something that people used to do because they didn't know better, and that more and more people are learning not to do it, and that you'll never do it. They need to know they're safe but, unfortunately, they will learn that the world as a whole isn't perfect. And in more than just this way.

It's good that you're thinking about this stuff so early! And welcome to Mothering! When is your baby due?
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#4 of 21 Old 01-29-2013, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're due in June, and thanks for the detailed response!  We've discussed that we don't intend to let any of them watch our kids.  We do worry that if his aggression doesn't end by the time the baby gets here that we'll have to constantly be staying out of physical range of him to keep him from harming us or the baby.  We'll do it if we have to, I suppose, but it's not ideal. 

 

Here's an example.  We're all together (us, BIL/SIL, Grandma and Grandpa) and for one reason or another everybody walks out of the room to do something else except me/DH and the two-year-old.  This happens a lot.  It's assumed that whomever is in the room will watch the child.  So we're not exactly babysitting, but we do have to deal with the situation if he tries to do something he's not supposed to, like pick up an iPhone to play with it, or try to put a dvd in the machine ... you get the idea.  Last time I just yelled "he's trying to play with your phone".  The response was (in an annoyed voice) "well, take it away from him!", with my reply "I am NOT going to get bit.  Come take care of your child.".  Now I'm the unhelpful uncooperative aunt, you see?  To them, we need to be team players, and all helping out with everybody's kids, which may include spanking.  No thanks.  So DH and I either need to learn how to handle their son, or we're causing the problem (as they see it).

 

PS, since I'm new, my posts get held for moderation .... can't exactly provide speedy responses.  smile.gif

 

 

(Edited for context issues.)

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#5 of 21 Old 01-29-2013, 08:05 AM
 
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The fact that he's 2, and the fact that he has a new sibling, and the fact that he doesn't have much language now, makes me wonder if he might behave pretty aggressively regardless of how he was parented. I'm sure spanking isn't helping, but kids that age with new siblings often have trouble, and kids that age without the ability to communicate well often have trouble, so a kid that age going through both might very well bite/kick/act out regardless. And when he gets older, more used to the baby, and gets more language, it'll probably get better no matter what is done.

OTOH I do think kids can pick up the idea that you can get people to stop doing things by hitting them if they're used to being hit when someone wants them to stop doing something. So yeah, maybe he'll keep up with that behavior. I wouldn't assume so, though. I just wouldn't assume that a) he'd behave better if he weren't spanked, or b) that he won't get past this regardless.

I would just explain it to them as something that people used to do because they didn't know better, and that more and more people are learning not to do it, and that you'll never do it. They need to know they're safe but, unfortunately, they will learn that the world as a whole isn't perfect. And in more than just this way.
 

 

 

Agree with these bits, especially.    Both of my GD, never spanked children (heck at that point we were completely nonpunitive with them) went through aggressive stages between 18 months and 3 yrs....my son hit for several months, my daughter bit and kicked for at least 6 months.  It's developmentally normal (especially with a preverbal, new sibling, spanking etc) - not acceptable, and not like you just let it happen, but it's not necessarily a problem with parenting....though obviously spanking is not going to help at all with it.  Oy.  

 

Also, FWIW, seeing someone 4-5 times a year isn't going to impact your kid nearly as much as the daily, gentle, positive interactions you will be having.  If you saw them weekly, I'd say it would be more of a problem.  But every few months? Eh....it will be uncomfortable, and it sucks, but should get better as the kids get older.   Sadly, parents still spank, and probably some of your child's eventual friends' parents will spank them.  It's unfortunate and ridiculous, but it is a fact of life. 

 

I'd also be cautious as to how you phrase your discussions with your kid (about this and many, many other issues related to GD/AP/NFL)....there's a fine line between stating your opinion and being condescending/insulting. I would absolutely say that I completely disagree with it, and that I think it only teaches the child to hit when they're mad, more.   But I would stay away from loaded phrasing that implies that you are superior/enlightened...even if it's true....because that does NOTHING to help the situation for anyone.  People can often have the same information and draw drastically different conclusions from it, and even make very different choices from the same background as a loving, caring person.  This is one of the most difficult parts of ...well, being a human being in society!  Standing up for what you believe in without alienating people who disagree....a difficult balance!

 

Good luck!!

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#6 of 21 Old 01-29-2013, 01:48 PM
 
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We don't have other kiddos in the fam yet, just our DD at the moment, but we have friends who are very NON-GD and we do see them (4 kids) quite a bit (and quite often unannounced and hungry!).  Their dad will yell and lecture, but mom...she scares me when she goes off and it's frequent.  I honestly wonder why she has so many kids if all she wants to do is yell at them for every little thing, and she goes beyond yelling to damn near beating at times.  I will say that DH was one of those kids - he bit, scratched, pulled hair, kicked...the list goes on I'm sure.  But rather than address the causes, my IL's chose a belt.  To this day he still has a temper - all the belt whoopings in the world were not going to change that.  We learned he's got gluten issues and I do keep our home mostly gluten free although he makes no attempt to follow the diet on his own (even though there is a marked difference in his behavior when I can keep him GF for any length of time).  I do think that bc he was SO strong willed as a kid, hitting didn't change him into a better adult.  Our friends have thus far been lucky to have 'good kids' who unfortunately still have to go through these ritualistic "mommy will scare the crap out of you so you never even think about being bad" events that I just can't handle, and they haven't lashed out.  Every kid is different. 

 

For us, DD is a sensitive kid in many ways, BUT, attempt to use force or any kind of anger to control her and she fights back fiercely.  I can't imagine using anything but GD in raising her or any future kids bc it just makes sense.  I'm a dog trainer - I use a clicker and positive reinforcement, I don't hit my animals so I can't imagine why I'd want to hit my kids.  DD obviously is exposed to those other kids and sees them being yelled at.  She's too young to understand what goes on in a way that I could explain it to her with words, but it doesn't go completely over her head.  She watches the angry yelling very quietly with a slight look of concern - at which point if I'm not right there, I go and get her and take her away from the yelling and belittling.  There's no reason she should have to sit through that which I suspect you worry about with your up and coming LO.  There's nothing rong with taking baby and walking away if things get heated.  If they (friends/family) don't like it, well too bad.  I'm waiting for the day it comes up in conversation with these particular friends (as you can imagine their mom is also quite 'outspoken' on her opinions) and I'm sure I'll get an attitude from her and I'm already working on what exactly my response to her will be (I can get a bit snippy when people question my parenting, especially when it's coming with a negative undertone like she would be doing!).

 

Stick to your guns - If you want something done a certain way, sometimes you have to exclude people to accomplish that.

 

Like mamazee said, sometimes people will go against your wishes purposely just to impose their morals on you.  It's rude, distasteful, and it happens - often by those you'd least expect it from.  My IL's are guilty of feeding DD foods with dairy in it bc they not only refused to read lables but insisted she had no issue even though she has a sensitivity!  So not to make it sound like everyone is bad, just be prepared.

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#7 of 21 Old 01-31-2013, 11:51 AM
 
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We're due in June, and thanks for the detailed response!  We've discussed that we don't intend to let any of them watch our kids.  We do worry that if his aggression doesn't end by the time the baby gets here that we'll have to constantly be staying out of physical range of him to keep him from harming us or the baby.  We'll do it if we have to, I suppose, but it's not ideal. 

Here's an example.  We're all together (us, BIL/SIL, Grandma and Grandpa) and for one reason or another everybody walks out of the room to do something else except me/DH and the two-year-old.  This happens a lot.  It's assumed that whomever is in the room will watch the child.  So we're not exactly babysitting, but we do have to deal with the situation if he tries to do something he's not supposed to, like pick up an iPhone to play with it, or try to put a dvd in the machine ... you get the idea.  Last time I just yelled "he's trying to play with your phone".  The response was (in an annoyed voice) "well, take it away from him!", with my reply "I am NOT going to get bit.  Come take care of your child.".  Now I'm the unhelpful uncooperative aunt, you see?  To them, we need to be team players, and all helping out with everybody's kids, which may include spanking.  No thanks.  So DH and I either need to learn how to handle their son, or we're causing the problem (as they see it).
He could change a lot by the time your baby arrives, but if he is still pretty violent, absolutely move away or gently restrain him as needed to keep him from harming your baby!

For your example, I think you handled it perfectly and I wouldn't worry one bit if they think you are the unhelpful aunt. Their expectations are unreasonable, sure you would keep him from hurting himself if you happen to be the only adult in the room, but I too would not be willing to discipline him. Sorry, I'll risk getting bit by my old child, but not someone else's unless their safety is at risk! I would keep handling it that way or just don't allow yourselves to be left with the 2-year-old. When everyone gets up to leave, go with them or go the bathroom or whatever. While I am on board with everyone helping out watching kids, to me if you are the parent unless you explicitly pass off kid watching duty to someone ("Hey can you watch X for a few minutes?" "Sure!" is the way to do this, it's not hard), you should assume no one else is watching them. Again, you or I are not going to be ridiculous about it and let 2-year-old jump off the table or something just to prove a point, but you or I are also not going to risk getting bit to save someone else's iphone or whatever, I might not even bother to tell anyone next time if it were me innocent.gif

And I agree that some amount of hitting/kicking/biting is normal for that age, yes it should not be accepted and should be dealt with appropriately, but it isn't abnormal. I always felt so bad when daycare would tell me DD bit/hit/etc. another kid and she got her share of bites/scratches/etc. from others too. But it isn't possible to stop all of it before it happens, only to deal with it after sometimes. Spanking can make it worse to be sure, but yeah, something all parents have to deal with to some extent for sure!
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#8 of 21 Old 01-31-2013, 03:35 PM
 
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  Usually it's snatching of toys, tantrums, with occasional hitting.   When DH and I look shocked at the behavior, they shrug it off and say it's because we don't have kids.  To them, there is no problem.  Child misbehaves, child is spanked, the day goes on.  They think he's cute most of the time.  Us asking for them to modify what they do in some way would not be taken seriously, as they think we have no idea what we're talking about ... as in, "we will not help physically correct or discipline your child, because we don't plan on spanking ours" gets eye rolls.
 

 

 

(Edited for context issues.)

 

Not to beat a dead horse, but my never spanked second born was and is a fiery child.  Strong willed, intense.  Tantrums, snatching things, biting, scowling and shouting at strangers; from 2-3+ years old, you name it, I was embarrassed by it (until I realized it wasn't my "fault", and I was doing what I could do help her process/outgrow it).  All the stuff you're saying, for real.  All I could do was prevent it as much as possible by shadowing her when I could, be consistent with my action/reaction/redirection/etc with her as I could, and wait for her to outgrow it.  It wasn't a fun time, that's for sure - and I absolutely thought she was cute ALL of the time when she wasn't doing that stuff.  lol.  

 

So the problem here is not that the kid's behavior is that shocking or remotely abnormal, but that the parents are not addressing it with any kind of redirection or guidance for the kid, and just whacking him instead.  

 

Were I you, in the iPhone situation I would have looked for something to trade him, a toy he likes, a non-electronic item, and see if that worked, before I called anyone in.  That's exactly what kids that age, and with that problem, need.  A trade, a distraction, something fun and active and engaging.  

 

You could luck out and get a calm, compliant kid.  You could get a kid who is mostly calm and has a rough spot as a 2-yo.  Or you could get a kid who is intense, and have to deal with this anyway - it's a crap shoot, you never know.  My firstborn was easy peasy baby/toddler.  I thought I was the SHIZNIT as a parent and that GD was the bag of chips.  Then I had my second child and was served a ginormous humble pie.

 

I won't disagree with you that it sucks to have to deal with that kind of behavior....I know from experience.  lol.  And I also won't argue that what the parents are doing is not helping....whether it's going to make it worse and the kiddo will continue to have problems with aggression, or whether this is a developmental thing and he'll outgrow it, can't tell.  

 

What I *would* do is try to get your mind wrapped around the fact that 1) some kids are INTENSE just by temperament to begin with, that can then be compounded by other things, and that GD is not a cure all for having calm, compliant children, and 2) brush up on some toddler distraction/redirection techniques so you can interact with this kiddo and see if you can resolve a situation where you're alone with him before calling in the reserves.  That way, you're not just saying you won't spank your own kid, you're *showing them* how you're going to handle things effectively without spanking them.  And just in case you *do* have an intense kiddo, you'll already have some tricks up your sleeve instead of being blindsided like I was!  lol.gif   

 

And I mean - you *are* going to be seeing this kid, semi regularly, for years, and IMO should learn how to interact with him - it's not as if he's a monster, he's just an intense 2-yo....and honestly if I was your family member and you automatically pawned a problem off on me from another room, without trying anything to resolve it first, I'd probably be a little irked, yeah.   You're almost kind of playing into their "you have no idea because you don't have a kid yet" thing.  Read up a little on "spirited kids" , learn some GD techniques for spirited kids (cause they're not the same!) and then wow your fam at your next gathering.  It might not work, but surely you can try something, I'm sure the kid isn't gonna go lunging with his teeth if you just try to get him interested in something else from a foot away. (I could be wrong about that, but imagine I'm not).


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#9 of 21 Old 02-02-2013, 08:26 AM
 
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Here's an example.  We're all together (us, BIL/SIL, Grandma and Grandpa) and for one reason or another everybody walks out of the room to do something else except me/DH and the two-year-old.  This happens a lot.  It's assumed that whomever is in the room will watch the child.  So we're not exactly babysitting, but we do have to deal with the situation if he tries to do something he's not supposed to, like pick up an iPhone to play with it, or try to put a dvd in the machine ... you get the idea.  Last time I just yelled "he's trying to play with your phone".  The response was (in an annoyed voice) "well, take it away from him!", with my reply "I am NOT going to get bit.  Come take care of your child.".  Now I'm the unhelpful uncooperative aunt, you see?  To them, we need to be team players, and all helping out with everybody's kids, which may include spanking.  No thanks.  So DH and I either need to learn how to handle their son, or we're causing the problem (as they see it).

 

 

 

(Edited for context issues.)

I'm going to offer a different perspective here. The child is your nephew and not a rabid animal brought to family functions. I can't imagine a family member, or even a friend, yelling at me from another room to come take care of MY child while they are sitting right there. Surely there was a solution somewhere between not doing a single thing and spanking him? I'm not trying to be harsh, I realize it is challenging to be around this family, and I have no idea what it's like to be around a biter.  

I guess I'm just saying maybe look at the little boy with a little more compassion. You don't have to agree with how his parents deal with the situation but maybe bring something new to his life when you have to be around him. 

The attitude of everyone helping out with the kids may benefit you someday - provided, of course, that no one ever thinks they can discipline your child in a way that you don't approve of. 

I totally get how irritating it is being around difficult children. I hope his behavior changes by the time your babe is around.

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#10 of 21 Old 02-02-2013, 11:14 AM
 
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I have a son who's a senior in high school and one who is almost 3 y.o.  Some children are honestly just more inclined to physicality than others.  Though I don't think it's right to hit someone as a consequence for hitting someone, a toddler can be immensely strong-willed and very, very physical.  Yes, we do GD and AP and all that jazz, and he's never seen t.v. other than the occasional youtubed episode of something very innocuous (my point is--his hitting is not a learned or observed behavior).  Never spanked him and he's never seen spanking.  That said, he fairly routinely hits, pounds, kicks and bites.  It sucks.  We are consistent with doing the "right" things, but when it comes down to it, kids have their own personalities and passions and proclivities.  It won't last forever.  His brother was a hellacious biter.  He is 17 now and doesn't bite me anymore, promise.

 

I have a friend whose son is 5 and gentle as a ghost.  They could take him to 3 hour formal dinners when he was 3 and he would sit still and be quiet.  She chalked it up to her superior parenting and high expectations, though she wouldn't have admitted it.  Then she had a girl (same parents) and everything changed...all her parenting superiority was still intact, but somehow that girl turned out to be a wild thing.  Sweet and loved and loving, but wild as a buck.

 

Be grateful they don't live close, and be as kind as you can when you see them.  You can't go wrong with that approach.


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#11 of 21 Old 02-03-2013, 02:09 PM
 
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I have a niece (2.5) and a nephew (15 months) and if I'm ever in the situation where I need to keep an eye on them for a little while, I just do exactly what I would with DD. While as far as I know neither family spanks, they still parent in ways that don't always sit right with me. It's less complicated since there aren't very strong tempers at play and I have 22 months of parenting under my belt. Before I had DD, I would do what I felt comfortable doing and got the parents for anything else. Any attitude I got I deflected with "I'm not a parent yet, I'll learn when I have mine". I know your situation is more complex but I would just go with what you're comfortable doing. When you have a toddler of your own it will be a lot easier to relate to a then 4 year old.
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#12 of 21 Old 02-06-2013, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can't imagine a family member, or even a friend, yelling at me from another room to come take care of MY child while they are sitting right there.

 

If my kid is causing a ruckus and I'm in another room, I do NOT want them to handle it the way they normally handle their own child (spanking, yelling, etc).  I hope/expect that they would call for me to come in there to deal with the situation.  I parent my way, they parent theirs, and I don't want to open the door for them to discipline or correct my child. 

 

Additionally, I think it's offensive for them to assume that whomever's in the room will watch the kids without them asking.  Once SIL went upstairs to take a shower (without telling anyone she was going) and was upset when she came down and hour later that DH's elderly aunt (who does not have children) did not change her son's diaper.  Because we're related we're automatic babysitters?  I don't think so.  You made the child, it's your responsibility.

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#13 of 21 Old 02-09-2013, 06:49 AM
 
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 Once SIL went upstairs to take a shower (without telling anyone she was going) and was upset when she came down and hour later that DH's elderly aunt (who does not have children) did not change her son's diaper.  Because we're related we're automatic babysitters?  I don't think so. 

This is freaky weird to me.  Just goes to show that everybody sure has different ways that they want situations handled.  I don't even take a shower in my own house without making sure DH is clear to keep an eye on our little guy.

 

My SIL asked me to babysit her then-18 month old so she could go out.  It was supposed to be until 11:00 or 11:30 at the latest.  One of her friends drove both SIL and BIL home close to 3 a.m.  SIL was so drunk she could barely walk and was sobbing uncontrollably about being "the worst mother in the world."  That was the last time I babysat for her.  I don't think she's the worst mother in the world, but I have no interest in overnight babysitting.  MIL and FIL do it constantly...my 3 year old thinks my in-laws are his cousin's parents.

 

Sorry to hijack, just saw the SIL story and had to share.


 sleepytime.gif I got tired of my signature, but I still love my children and husband and miss my little brotherkid.gif

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#14 of 21 Old 02-09-2013, 09:21 AM
 
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I wouldn't find it offensive in any way for someone to assume that when you are sitting near a two year old relative of yours that you will provide general supervision (including taking away cell phones) instead of shout for someone to come in from another room every time something comes up. If you don't want to deal with it then go into the other room with the other adults and politely tell the parents their child is now unsupervised in another room. In my family I don't expect others to discipline my child but I would find it strange if a close family member or someone we see on a fairly regular basis did nothing but repeatedly call me into the room when one of my kids was near them. Instead of waiting for a situation (like a child picking up a cell phone, something pretty much every child does when phones are left right in front of them) to arise be proactive and go somewhere else, making sure an adult is still keeping track of things. Perhaps the child is acting out more when you're the one 'babysitting' because they know you're not going to do anything?

 

I want to be really polite about this, please don't take offense. You are pregnant, you have never been in a situation where you had to discipline your own child. Some children will hit, kick, bite, spit, etc. no matter how gently they are disciplined. I, myself, remember having one (and to a lesser extent when I had just two) still very little kids and judging how other people parented their children. I would talk about how I would never do the awful things those parents were doing and how my children would never do mean things like that. As many people have said in this tread, things don't always work out how you think they will. Many kids will have phases where they try to hurt other people. It doesn't indicate that child will always be mean. Some of the sweetest, gentlest children I know were like that as toddlers - even those who were spanked (no to condone it).

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#15 of 21 Old 02-09-2013, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would find it strange if a close family member or someone we see on a fairly regular basis did nothing but repeatedly call me into the room when one of my kids was near them.

 

Perhaps the child is acting out more when you're the one 'babysitting' because they know you're not going to do anything?

 

I want to be really polite about this, please don't take offense. You are pregnant, you have never been in a situation where you had to discipline your own child. Some children will hit, kick, bite, spit, etc. no matter how gently they are disciplined. .

 

Two points:  First, we DON'T see the kid on a regular basis.  That's the problem.  We see him four or five times a year, and he doesn't know us from strangers.  We don't have any kind of relationship with him, and it's not possible to know what he will respond to and what will result in a physical attack.  I've tried redirection to doing something else, and replacing whatever he's got with another toy, both of which ended up with my getting kicked, slapped, and him coming at me with an open mouth trying to get something to bite.  His parents want us to spank him, which I'm not going to do.  My solution so far is to leave a wide space physically between me and him, or to leave the room.  It doesn't matter if it's a phase or not, my response is the same.  I can be just as understanding of his phase from the other side of the room.

 

Second, you're right, I don't have kids to discipline yet.  However, if my kids are physically aggressive in the future, you can bet I won't leave the room and expect anybody else to watch them and get physically attacked, that's for sure.  I hear you saying I shouldn't judge their parenting, and you're absolutely right, but I will judge his parents all day long for expecting that anyone other than them should subject themselves to being kicked or bitten.

 

I appreciate all the responses, you've given me a lot to think about.  Right now I'm feeling that I should just stand my ground - I will try what I am comfortable with, and if his aggression continues then I will continue to expect his parents to come deal with the situation.  I understand a few here feel as they do, that's it's weird to do that, but honestly I am not interested in being attacked in order to fit the role of team player.  Especially once the baby gets here, I'm not taking any chances.

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#16 of 21 Old 02-09-2013, 06:57 PM
 
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I don't think anyone is saying you should sit there and be a toddler's punching bag. Please understand that children will test their boundaries. When the adult next to them while their parents are in another room doesn't do much of anything (from the perspective of a child used to being spanked) they will continue to act out. As a parent I do think that if you choose to stay in the room you should be prepared to be the default caregiver (the norm in many families). If you're not comfortable with that or are worried about being hurt (a legitimate concern) you should get up and hang out near the parents (assuming the child is in no immediate danger). They will, almost certainly, realize after a minute or two that no one is watching their child and will go in the other room. If they get annoyed with you over your choice to hang out in a different room casually say he was biting, hitting, whatever and you think it would be better for him if his parents were there. That way it doesn't sound so much like you don't want to do things their way, more that you have the child's well being in mind. Sitting there next to the child and yelling for the parents to come help you is probably making the behavior worse. 

 

Something to keep in mind.... parents know when someone is judging them. People just have a look about them when they're thinking about what an awful parent you are. It's not a good feeling, especially when it's coming from someone who has never experienced the same parenting problem (or anything similar).You've mentioned that you have talked about your parenting ideals in front of these parents. Maybe the parents are setting up situations where you are having to deal with their child to show you that your ideals aren't as easy to implement as you are presenting them as? Try to see it from their perspective. Spanking does stop their child from being aggressive. To them they are not leaving you to be hurt by their child, they have said you can stop it by spanking. Choosing not to spank is great but to those parents you are not doing the one thing that will stop what you don't like. That's your choice but saying that they are leaving you defenseless is not accurate when using their way of thinking. 

 

Saying you would never leave the room when your child is showing any signs of aggression is easy to say now. What happens when you're stressed out, are running on very little sleep, doing nothing but cleaning and laundry, spending every spare second trying to reason with your aggressive toddler, and haven't had a conversation with an adult in a week? You just might walk out of the room to let someone else deal with the problem for ten minutes so you can have an adult conversation and sit down. Before I had kids I said 'I would never' a lot. I would never.... let my kids watch junky tv shows, watch more than one tv show a day, eat anything that wasn't organic and homemade, yell at my kids, give them a made in china toy to play with. The reality of parenting is different than what I had pictured.

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#17 of 21 Old 02-11-2013, 11:14 AM
 
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You know, I never realized so many took it as normal for family to watch kids without some acknowledgement of parents going off duty and watcher(s) going on. I guess this is probably the first thing you should clarify with your family or if they are going to continue to expect this, I just wouldn't let yourselves get put in the situation anymore. For my family/friends, it would be very weird to expect this without doing a quick "Can you watch X?" or something like it. Again, anyone would certainly keep a kid from doing something unsafe if the parents look away for a minute or something, but I certainly wouldn't expect anyone to discipline my child for me when I am standing in the other room.

A few months ago I had a long, awkward talk with my Mom about DD (and future kids) and it sucked to have the talk, but things are so, so much better now! Not sure if it makes sense to have a long clarifying talk in your case, but for us it was well worth it as we like to get together often, but certain behaviors and expectations of my Mom (and Dad too occasionally) were making us dread visiting.

Katie trekkie.gif - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13  hug.gif 

 

 

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#18 of 21 Old 02-11-2013, 11:28 AM
 
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It would be weird in my family also to leave the room without your young child without asking if someone was OK watching them. Or even unheard of. I wonder if this is a regional thing? When I took a toddler somewhere, my dh or I tailed that toddler. We didn't assume anyone else was watching them, and I think would have upset people if it had occurred to us to do that. But you, Quinalla, are from Ohio and I'm from Illinois. Maybe this is a Great Lakes thing?

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#19 of 21 Old 02-11-2013, 05:03 PM
 
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You titled your  thread about dealing with a non AP/GD child, but I don't think that is the problem. Your primary question is about how to handle your nephew's behavior, which may or may not be related to his parents' style.

 

It's very tempting to think (because a lot of books imply it) that parenting is like following a recipe and if you follow the right directions, you will get a certain result. It just doesn't work that way. It would be lovely if it did, but it doesn't.
 

Some kids are more physical than others, and many children are a real handful when they are two. Lots of children display their most challenging behavior in the months following the birth of a sibling. Yes, his behavior is currently very challenging. It doesn't mean he's a "monster."

 

Some types of special needs make it more likely that a child will be impossible to reason with, especially during the toddler years.

 

I agree with a point that has already been stated -- for the sake of all the relationships, you need to avoid being in a room alone with this child. You can't stand him, and don't want to be in the position to redirect his behavior. You and your spouse need to physically make sure you aren't alone with him.

 

Correcting other people's children is always very dangerous ground, and most relationships are better off if the adults avoid correcting each other's children. I recommend that you talk to your relatives about the things you have in common, not your parenting philosophies, which isn't an area of common ground.

 

Your nephew will not stay 2, and your own child will not always be an angel. I'd avoid saying or even thinking that his behavior is because of his parents'  choices because it really sets you up to eventually hear that your child's behavior is also because of you.

 

I raised my kids very AP and with only GD, but one went through a biting stage. Both acted so badly at a holiday dinner that my relatives told me that if only I spanked, they would be well behaved. We once had to leave a restaurant because our then toddler was so out of control.

 

The real reason to practice GD is because it is morally  the right thing to do, not because it is a recipe to produce perfect 2 year olds.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#20 of 21 Old 02-14-2013, 02:44 PM
 
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Kids can be wild and difficult. I liken it to herding cats sometimes smile.gif

I think that we should all be helping with each others kids. It takes a village and its important for kids to develop relationships and trust with adult family and friends. I dont hesitate to step in - I don't punish - because it's all about the village smile.gif
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#21 of 21 Old 02-16-2013, 06:52 PM
 
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Dear Soon-to-be Parents,

If you take nothing else away from this forum but the heart-felt advice  not to parent like your brother and sister in law you will be doing yourselves and your child an enormous favor.

There is no logical reason to ever spank a 2 year old. 

2 year olds bite and kick and slap because they can't verbalize their inner turmoil. 2 year olds act out because they are tired, hungry thirsty or frustrated. Fill the need and the behavior improves.

2 year olds need lots of eye contact when spoken to. When you want to interact with a 2 year old, they have to see your face.

Gentle discipline is about disciplining your own behavior first and foremost.

children do not have to conform to our expectations.

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