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He and his wife decided they were now old enough that they could bring the paddle into play. My niece (10) was telling me that both of her brothers (8 and 3) had already had an encounter with dad's "scary new friend" but she was going to do everything she could to avoid it.

Now, they are the best-behaved kids in the extended family but it's parenting by fear, which is how my parents had the best-behaved kids on the block. It pulls me in two to see them behave so well, which is what I want for my kids, but to know that fear-based parenting is ultimately damaging in the long-run (and in the short run, if you are the child of out-of-control abusers, as I was).

This was so hard to hear. It's also hard to have all the other SILs ask this particular BIL and SIL for discipline advice. I married the youngest by many years so everyone sort of disregards dh's maturity, which is part of it, but it's probably more that our kids are so young and the effect of our methods of raising them is not yet seen.

I just had to put this out there somewhere...I will not be able to change them or even discuss it with them, but it gnaws at me and I had to externalize it. Thank you.
 

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