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#1 of 16 Old 08-24-2007, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Right off the bat, my mom is a wonderful woman with years of child rearing experience. She is pretty open minded and accepting of just about everything DH and I do. She provides care for dd1 (and soon will help care for dd2) while DH and I are at work so she is an important and constant part of our children's lives.

However, this past week has made me realize that although she is tolerant of our parenting decisions she really doesn't approve of them. DD will be starting preschool in a few weeks and the school requires potty training. DD was almost trained (on her own) prior to our second child being born but she now has no interest in potty learning. Because of the preschool policy we tried to push a bit...treats for sitting on or using the potty, stickers, neat undies she picked out herself, a potty learning book and dvd, etc. Not too surprisingly it backfired and dd became very resistant. We backed off and the preschool has told us that as long as she is in a pull-up they're ok with it (it's a half day program and I doubt dd will poop during those three hours away from home anyway).

Well, when my mom found out we had "started potty training and then backed off" she was furious! She just told me on the phone just now that she has never and will never understand us/our parenting philosophy, that dd is learning she can control us, that we need to enforce what we say so dd learns that "it doesn't matter if she cries", etc. She even suggested making dd go on the floor (if she wouldn't go in the toilet) and then forcing her to clean up the messes for a day to "teach her". I didn't want to get into an arguement over the phone but we will see them tomorrow and I'd like to have something I can present in a reasonable and non-confrontational manner...

How do you explain GD (or at least respecting your child) to a person who grew up in a very strict household where "the parents are the ultimate authority and god help you if you go against their wishes"? Since she plays such an active role in our children's lives it's important that she at least understand GD enough to apply it (even if she doesn't agree with it). She has told us repeatedly that she will comply with whatever parenting decisions we make, but now I'm not sure she really understands what that means or how to do that.

I was going to print out some of the discipline "cheat sheets" from the Dr Sears page for her so she at least sees we're not the only ones, but how have you all addressed this? She worked in the public school system for 20+ years and hates "permissive parenting" so it's important that part of the explaination include the fact that limits really are set, and GD does not mean a free-for-all with the little one calling all the shots.

Thanks!

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#2 of 16 Old 08-24-2007, 08:41 PM
 
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Oh mama, I'm sorry. That's really hard. We are going through that too. My mom is great, really she is, but secretly, I know she disagrees with alot of what I do with dd. And while she doesn't provide care for dd often (maybe once a month for 2 hours) she does live with us. She's said little comments to either me or dd and I know she doesn't approve of our parenting. It's frustrating, because while I do want to respect her, I also want respect from her. She does not undermine me or anything, but she'll say things like "Abby, when are you going to sleep in your OWN room? When your baby brother/sister comes, he's going to keep you up all night long you know..." Instead of supporting our decision to continue co-sleeping, she thinks dd will miraculously sttn if she is left alone. She is a nanny and has worked in daycare for a long time, so she is also a self proclaimed 'parenting expert'. : Not really, but I know she thinks she knows better than I do. She says she agrees with what we do, but in practice it's not always t he case. For example, with the little one (also 2.5) she nanny's for, she is so strict on (IMO) really meaningless things. And she sees interactions with her as a "I'm the adult, and I'm going to win" whereas I strive to work WITH dd on every situation. SHe thinks I cater to her. Ah well, I dont have any advice, just wanted to commiserate. One thing I've found that helps ME is to read a TON and connect (here on MDC) with other like-minded moms. I get more secure in our decisions, and I realize I AM doing what is best for MY child. I am not afraid to correct my mom (in a respectful manner) in front of my dd. Like once, she was kind of shaming dd for peeing in her pants (she's been potty learned since about 20 months, but still has accidents) by saying "Abby (in THAT tone, yk?) you KNOW how to use the potty! That's gross to pee your pants!' I simply said, "Abby, everyone has accidents, even Nana! It's no big deal at all, let's just get you cleaned up." And gave my mom a look. She knows we dont shame and dont punish at all. I think sometimes she just can't help herself. Different times, different phylosophy. Thing is, we were raised pretty gentle, no spanking, yelling, hardly any punishing. But she did shame and guilt trip us alot, so it's something I watch with her and dd. HTH
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#3 of 16 Old 08-24-2007, 09:00 PM
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She just told me on the phone just now that she has never and will never understand us/our parenting philosophy, that dd is learning she can control us
Our mother's have been talking I see jk

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She has told us repeatedly that she will comply with whatever parenting decisions we make
There ya go!

So, why do you care? I ask that in a loving, supportive way. Be secure in your parenting -- you don't need anyone's approval or understanding. Sure, it would be nice if you and your mom could come to a mutual understanding -- but don't hold your breath.... Really what you are wanting is your mom to completely agree with you and become a gd convert so your life will be easier when you are together -- I joke, but seriously there is no shame in wanting a mutual respect there....

...but really, let her feel the way she feels, respect that you don't agree and make it clear that she is entitled to her opinion but that your child is to be treated in a manner that honors who they are and you trust she will respect that.


I will not engage my mom in parenting discussions anymore -- unless I believe she is genuinely asking a question with the intent to learn and not to fight me on how wrong she believes it is. I allow dd to navigate her own relationship with her grandmother, so there are things I let slide (while inwardly cringing) such as praise here and there and whatnot -- HOWEVER, dd's autonomy is to be respected -- shaming/manipulating/punishing is not something I will tolerate from my mom, though to her credit she has been really good about treating dd with respect and really does love her...

...but she doesn't hesitate to tell me personally what she thinks. Again, just don't engage. Inform her it isn't open for discussion and you didn't ask her advice and aren't seeking her approval on this matter, then change the subject.
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#4 of 16 Old 08-24-2007, 09:04 PM
 
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I had the EXACT same conversation with my mom after I backed out of potty training because it got my daughter anxious just before preschool. Except my mom sent me an article by James Dobson of all people telling how to torture my daughter into being potty trained.

Honestly, just ignore her. If you get into a discussion, that says to her that it's open to discussion. Don't even engage her in a discussion.
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#5 of 16 Old 08-24-2007, 09:27 PM
 
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It's unlikely you'll convince her. I say you shouldn't feel the need to explain.

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#6 of 16 Old 08-24-2007, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!

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Again, just don't engage. Inform her it isn't open for discussion and you didn't ask her advice and aren't seeking her approval on this matter, then change the subject.
I'm not worried about my parenting decisions (DH supports me 100% and was raised in a GD family himself) and I learned long ago that we're not going to see eye to eye about much (she is very old school catholic and religiously/socially/politically conservative in many many ways while I'm, errrr...not ). I'm not trying to convince her, or win her over, or do anything but make sure my dd has consistant (and non-shaming/non-violent) discipline in her life.

My mom's reaction tonight showed me how far apart our views are and now I'm worried that she may not be providing the sort of environment I want for my littles. She watches dd for about 5 hours a day (or did prior to my maternity leave and will again in a few weeks) and if her first reaction was "make her poop on the floor and then make her clean it up" and "you need to make sure she knows that you don't care if she cries"....well...we have discussed how we want dd to be disciplined, but I guess maybe we didn't explain well enough?

I guess I just wonder...when you say "I'm the parent and this is what we do"...how do you follow that up when the person says "okay, tell me exactly what to do"?

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#7 of 16 Old 08-24-2007, 09:50 PM
 
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I totally get what you are asking. It's like, do I have to explain what to do/say in EVERY situation?!?! Sheesh. I would sum it up like, "Treat dd as you would any other adult human being. If when you are old and are loosing control of your bowel, you would not want someone making you poop on the floor and shaming you as you clean it up, please do not do that to dd." Ok, so that was kinda harsh, but you get what I mean. I also 'tell' my mom things in an offhand, non-confrontational way. Like, "Wow, I read the coolest thing about child development/co-sleeping/not CIO/ect." Or I'll say, "I'm so sad, at the grocery store I heard this mom shaming/guilting/ect. her little toddler for XYZ Doesn't she understand that he's just a little guy? He's only been on earth for 2-3 years!" She usually agrees with me when I bring it up that way, I think it's an easy way to being it up in conversation. And if I had to leave dd with my mom often, I would be very upfron and specific on how to handle certain situations. That way it would be very clear. HTH
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#8 of 16 Old 08-24-2007, 11:47 PM
 
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I don't think you're going to be able to get your mom to come around to your specific style of parenting with articles, though. I think it is something that she will learn by watching you and how you interact with your dc. GD means something different for every family, and if she gets to observe often and you explain what she doesn't understand, it will do a lot more good than a lot of words on paper.
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#9 of 16 Old 08-25-2007, 12:11 AM
 
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Depending on your mother, I would either say

"Well, mom, you made your mistakes, now it's my turn. I didn't turn out so badly, so have faith in the daughter you raised." (It's hard to argue against this one, because if she does, she's saying she doesn't think SHE did a good job.)

OR

"Well, you know, research shows that it's actually better to....."

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#10 of 16 Old 08-25-2007, 12:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sweet! That's perfect! I'm going to print that out and bring it tomorrow... thanks.

And thanks all for the ideas/support.

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#11 of 16 Old 08-25-2007, 03:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy View Post
I will not engage my mom in parenting discussions anymore -- unless I believe she is genuinely asking a question with the intent to learn and not to fight me on how wrong she believes it is. ... Again, just don't engage. Inform her it isn't open for discussion and you didn't ask her advice and aren't seeking her approval on this matter, then change the subject.
Thank you for this. My mom is the anti-GD and she thinks it's silly. Just today we were talking on the phone about how my oldest son started kindy yesterday and he tried something out. We picked him up from school and were driving to pick up dh at work. My son said "Oh mom, we missed our road (thinking we were going home)." I said "No, we're picking up daddy, so we need to go straight." He said (in a "tone") "Well, whatEVER." I asked him what he said and he repeated it. I knew right away that he got it from school because he's never said that and we don't say it in that context. He said "I heard it from someone that I don't know their name." I thought it was funny and not a big deal at all. My mom said "Well I hope you told him that he should never speak to his mother again with that disrespectful tone." Um, no. She's convinced that he's suddenly going to become this out of control kid that has nothing but rudeness for me.

And she's always trying to pick fights. She'll ask or say something that she totally knows my answer for, about breastfeeding, cosleeping, babywearing, not spanking...And I end up getting really upset because I'm trying to defend our position and get her to understand. Thanks for your post. It helped me see that she doesn't have to understand or even like it. Just like dh and I keep reminding each other when one of the boys is having a bad time and arguing about everything with us, that it takes two to argue and not to engage, I'll remember that tip for my mom as well!
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#12 of 16 Old 08-25-2007, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our dinner went pretty well...I printed out the article and brought it for her and she seemed okay with it.

Quote:
I don't think you're going to be able to get your mom to come around to your specific style of parenting with articles, though.
I'm actually not worried about changing her opinion or anything like that...I just want her to treat dd (and now dd2) in a certain way. When she started watching dd1 we had a long discussion about our parenting philosophies and how we wanted certain things done. Sadly, we don't have a lot of chance for her to observe us with the littles...DH and I work opposite shifts so we can care for dd as much as possible ourselves, and my mom fills in the gaps but also works and cares for my dad who has a serious mental condition. So it's pretty rare for us all to be in the same place at the same time. Anyway, dh and I thought she understood what we meant when we discussed gentle/positive discipline but apparently there was a disconnect. (she told us she didn't see taking away dd's clothes, forcing her to go on the floor, and then having her clean it up as shaming/disrespectful...she saw it as a logical consequence if dd wouldn't use the toilet.)

She read the article and we talked about shame/guilt/punishment/etc and discussed specific options (which is where that article was really helpful). I don't care whether or not she thinks we're making a horrible mistake (which she does )...I just want to feel confident that dd1 and dd2 are getting consistent and loving discipline round the clock.

But on a slighty different note...I totally agree that at some point you realize that you can only be responsible for yourself. You can't take on the responsibility for how other people feel about your choices. In my case that happened when I left the church and realized that I can only do what I feel is right. And that clearly applies to parenting philosophies as much as it applies to anything.

Thanks again all...the advice and ideas helped make tonight a lot more productive than it might have been otherwise!

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#13 of 16 Old 08-26-2007, 09:03 AM
 
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I'm sorry you're going through this. It can be really hard. As gentle as I am with DS my mom is even worse. Now my MIL, ugh complete opposite. I think her favorite thing to tell DS when we visit her is "NO." Maybe that's why we only visit about 2x/year

I've found that with my MIL, nothing I say will change how she thinks I should parenting DS. One time I emailed her an article about not spanking because I've seen both of my ILs spank my nephews and she called me back all confused and asked if I agreed with that article. Duh! Then she started telling me how the bible basically instructs parents to spank their kids. If I had been on my feet I would've pointed out that it didn't say grandparents! She wouldn't just come back with something else out of the Bible anyway.

Sorry to ramble...I always use these things to vent.

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#14 of 16 Old 08-27-2007, 12:58 PM
 
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I know this is not what you asked and maybe impossible for you, but IMO you really need to make every effort to get someone else to care for your dc. You can explain everything and show articles and your mom might say she is going to try to do it your way even though she disagrees, but I don't think that will work. If she honestly does not see what you described about potty training as shaming/punishing then she may not do that specific thing, but something else will certainly come up and she will treat your child in a way you don't want without thinking she is doing anything wrong. I think GD is an approach and an attitude and your mom clearly doesn't have that. So much of child care is reacting to an unexpected situation (as much as we try to be proactive) and I think your mom's instincts are always going to be to react in a non-GD way.

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#15 of 16 Old 08-27-2007, 01:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
Sadly, we don't have a lot of chance for her to observe us with the littles...DH and I work opposite shifts so we can care for dd as much as possible ourselves, and my mom fills in the gaps but also works and cares for my dad who has a serious mental condition. So it's pretty rare for us all to be in the same place at the same time.
So, how many hours a day does your mom have your kids? And how much do you pay her?

Honestly, your mom sounds completely overwhelmed she works, she cares for your dad and your kids? I'd be worried about HER ability to cope, period. Let alone cope with 2 kids, a husband with a serious mental condition AND working.

Maybe it's time to look for someone else. Not because you don't trust you mom, but because the poor woman needs a break. And if you hire someone, you have much more control over how they discipline your child.

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#16 of 16 Old 08-27-2007, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Honestly, your mom sounds completely overwhelmed she works, she cares for your dad and your kids? I'd be worried about HER ability to cope, period.
I know, I know! It's even more dysfunctional, but this isn't really the forum for it... but basically my mom literally refuses to take a break. Before she was watching dd1 she was still working two jobs (one day, one night) while caring for my dad. Both jobs were what I'd call "abusive" and she FREQUENTLY talked about how she hated them and they made her sick...but she refused to quit. When she offered to quit the "worse" of the two jobs to care for dd1 it seemed like a good option since (up till now at least) she has been amazing with dd and really seemed to relax and enjoy playing with her.

(we need roughly 5 hours of care a day including some night and weekend hours for a toddler and infant, and can't pay more than 100 a week...we simply can't afford decent non-family care in our area even with subsidies, and due to certain fixed expenses we can't cut our budget much further so we really need my salary/benefits right now. DH and I work opposite hours as much as possible to be with dd and now dd2 for most of the day...)

Anyway, she cares for dd and my dad in our home while I work, then I care for my dad while she is at work. When we discussed finding someone to help her she became irrational and a danger to herself until we backed off the idea. She also went and begged her old abusive employer to take her back so it's not like she would be "relaxing" if she wasn't with dd. At least right now we can make sure she and my dad are physically "ok", and my dad doesn't sit alone in an empty farm house in the middle of nowhere while she is at work.

Honestly, it's a complex situation...my brother and I (and our families by marriage) have been doing all we can to help our parents but, like everything, it's tricky. My mom has a very stubborn "old school" reluctance to admit need or ask for help or even accept gifts/help/random acts of kindness (though she bends over backwards to do these acts for others)...my brother and I used to sneak money into her purse ever since our high school jobs, and these days it's even worse. Having them in my house (despite our religious/philosophical differences) is about the only way we can make sure they are ok, eating a healthy lunch/dinner, etc.

With this new twist though...I'm heart broken. I just don't know what to do anymore. My children come first, but...

sorry all...I didn't mean to ramble down depressing side notes! But I guess it's useful background for the situation.

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