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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<i><b>(I'm bolding the real question at the bottom for those who don't want to read the whole thing as it is long)</b></i><br><br>
My family is nice. They don't try to discipline or anything. They just talk about how every other kid they know are SO GOOD because they don't cry, they come to them easily (don't feel shy). And talk about HOW CUTE all these other children are, while rolling their eyes at my kids. Basically what equates a good child is one who isn't shy and comes to them easily without crying and spends lots of time with them without crying for mommy when they get worried or scared.<br><br>
I unintentionally get frustrated because I feel like my kids are constantly on performance to "prove" they are good kids. And I'm on performance.<br><br>
I lived my entire life being (probably unintentionally) reminded that I wasn't as good or well behaved as my brother. He was GOOD and I was BAD. They've made the same decision about my kids. 4yo=good 2yo= bad. My dad tries to say things in a reassuring way like "you just have to try and manage those differences" but I don't want her to be loved "in spite" of herself- I want her to be loved for exactly who she is.<br><br>
And to make it worse, our newborn was overtired and crying last night and they said something like<br>
brother: "this is what you get for having a Malia" (my 4yo)<br>
me: what do you mean???<br>
brother: well, Malia never cried... this is payback<br><br>
She is only 4 weeks and she is being pegged already. And WTH???? Don't all babies cry? Why do they act like crying makes her BAD??????<br><br>
When they come our schedule gets thrown off and that is half of it right there. The kids barely fight with each other, they say please and thank you, they put away their toys well for their age, they go to the toy store without asking for anything, they are pretty well behaved, but Eliana (2yo) cries when they try to tell/ask her not to do something and she runs to us for reassurance. She is BUSY compared to Malia her mind is everywhere and her actions show that. And even though they consider Malia the good one, Malia repeats a lot of questions and phrases and they roll their eyes at her when she isn't looking. She is SN, so this is just part of her. These two things are essentially what make my kids SO BAD and make them think that my parenting is SO WRONG. (they are spanking, CIO, etc fans- have no kids but around them alot)<br><br>
You have to know, I'm a pushover. So if someone says something in a joking way about my child being "a hand full" (not in front of her) I feel obliged to laugh and look away to hide my irritation. On top of that it takes me right back to being that little girl who was never as good as her brother. Always reminded of it. So I'm not standing up for my kids right now and I WANT to, btu I don't know <i>how</i> to.<br><br><b>I need positive, calm, and gentle things to say in response. How do I change negative obervations into positive traits? I saw this on a post before and in one of my many books, but I can't remember it now that I need it. Like repeating what they say, with the positive of that trait rather then the negative? And how do I learn not to care what they think of my parenting?<br></b>
 

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How do you learn not to care what they think of your parenting? If you get a good answer to that one, I want it! I have not been able to not care.<br><br>
Here's what I would say: "Listen, my children are really young. Stop commenting that one is the good one and one is the bad one. I am afraid that they will hear you and think that you are right. Then the "bad" one will always misbehave. Just chill out and let's see how they change as they get older."<br><br>
I don't know how to deal with the comparisons, either. My mom does this in a slightly more subtle way and it makes me really sick. Finally I told her, "You know what? I don't want to hear about how other people are parenting differently. Your job is to say to the other grandmothers, 'Well, as you know my daughter has always been so smart, and she read every book and did lots of research, and <i>she's</i> doing family bed, and <i>she's</i> going to nurse as long as she can, and her parenting methods are completely up to date and well researched.' and stop telling me why my parenting is weird."
 

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How about, "And I'm so glad!" as in:<br><br>
"E. sure doesn't like to be corrected, does she?" <i>"No, but I don't think many people do. I know I don't. I'm so glad she feels free to show her hurt. I love to see children expressing their emotions fearlessly."</i><br><br>
"Boy, the baby sure does cry a lot." <i>"And I'm so glad she does so I can respond to her needs. Imagine if she didn't cry - I might miss a cue that she was wet/hungry/hurt or whatever was going on. Nature sure is smart."</i><br><br>
"M. has a stubborn streak. How are you going to fix that?" <i>"I'm not! I'm so glad that she knows what she wants and stands up for it."</i><br><br>
Good luck with all this, family can be tricky.
 

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I am sorry you are going through this. I hope you get some really great suggestions. Unfortunately I have found myself in a similar position. I spent all of my childhood being compared to my brother. He was always the good one and everything was always my fault. The bad part is my brother wasn't the "good one". He has had countless wrecks and tickets, and he has been arrested for minor in possesion and drug charges. But never mind that, he is such a "good boy". <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> Now my parents are doing the same things with our kids. I have a son who is almost 4 and my brother has a son who is almost 2. My parents love my son, but let my brothers son be here visiting with ds and all of the sudden ds is the bad guy. If A cries ds must have done it, all of ds's toys should be given over freely to A. A is such an amazing child, much better at eating, napping, talking ect than ds was at that age. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> Ds has SN and it makes it even worse because the things that my parents rave about A doing are the things that are hardest for ds. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I've tried to just ignore it, but it really irritates me. I have gotten to the point where we try not to be around if A is going to be visiting. I just don't want to hear about how wonderful A is, especially while he is screaming and stealing ds's toys. Lately I have tried to counter each comment about all the things A does better by reminding everyone of the wonderful things Ds did that day. So when I hear things like "Look how well A is eating, K has barely touched his food." I say "Yes he isn't hungry now, but he did set the table for us with hardly any help. He is such a good helper." I want ds to know that I think he is great, and I appreciate him and the great strides he has made. I am hoping that eventually my parents will pick up on it. I have noticed that when I mention things like "Yes ds set the table all by himself," my mom will react with "Oh my he is a good helper." It may not be perfect, but it is something, and it makes ds feel proud.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Wilhemina</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How about, "And I'm so glad!"</div>
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I like this advice and it's worked great for me My mother has even used it with my MIL:<br><br>
MIL to my MOM... "Wow the baby sure is attached at the hip to Kitty isn't he?"<br><br>
My MOM.... "Yes he is - isn't it wonderful how they enjoy each other?!" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
It really catches people off guard and is great. When our toddler "acts up" I like to be proactive and exclaim how it's so nice that he is so "spirited" :LOL
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">My family is nice.</td>
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You're being very nice. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">They don't try to discipline or anything.</td>
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That's good, because, since they "believe" in spanking and such, you'd probably have to keep them away from your children if they did try to dicipline, wouldn't you?<br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">They just talk about how every other kid they know are SO GOOD because they don't cry, they come to them easily (don't feel shy). And talk about HOW CUTE all these other children are, while rolling their eyes at my kids.</td>
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See, that would make me mad. Really, really mad.<br>
There are few things that bug me worse than people who insinuate insults. They're implying that you're messing up your kids, but if you "pick up" on the implication, it's your problem.<br>
I don't know a lot about psychology, but there must be a term for people who do this sort of thing.<br>
They say this stuff not only in <i>spite of</i> the fact that it will hurt you, but *because* it will hurt you. And they're doing it in such a way as to not even be able to be held accountable for it.<br><br>
This might not be very good advice, but I'd try to confront them (gently) with this issue.<br>
Have you spoken with them in-depth about your parenting philosophy? Maybe they feel defensive that you're doing things differently than they did?<br>
Maybe you could have some long, heart-to-heart conversations with them about the individual natures of your children. Get them to come out in the open with their opinions, whatever they are. They need to just go ahead and say whatever it is they think.<br>
If you can get them to say, "I think you're kids are lacking independence because you baby them too much", then you can really discuss the matter, and hopefully they'll quit with the unspoken cut-downs.<br>
Maybe you could, at the right time, just ask "Why do you think Eliana comes to me when she gets upset? I get the impression you think that's somehow a bad thing."<br>
And be prepared to gently share your perspective, keeping in mind the data that supports it.<br>
Even mainstream parenting philosophies say it's a sign of good mental health when toddlers run to their mommies for comfort when they get upset!<br>
Sorry you're having to deal with this.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br>
Reading your post, I'm feeling very fortunate to have family that, even when not wholly agreeing with my parenting style, fully respects it, and feels no need to create unnecessary insecurities in my sense of myself as a mother.<br>
That's really, really not cool what they're doing to you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Rainbow</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So if someone says something in a joking way about my child being "a hand full" (not in front of her) I feel obliged to laugh and look away to hide my irritation.</div>
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This made me think of something I read once in response to this: say cheerfully <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> "Better full hands than empty arms!" As in, you wouldn't trade your kids for the world. I've used that a couple of times when I heard "You've got your hands full with those two, don't you?", and it makes the person really stop and think. Children are to be cherished. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
I know what you mean about being a pushover. I don't particularly like confrontation. But since I became a mom, I have learned to stand up for myself where they're concerned.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Wilhemina</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How about, "And I'm so glad!" as in:<br><br>
"E. sure doesn't like to be corrected, does she?" <i>"No, but I don't think many people do. I know I don't. I'm so glad she feels free to show her hurt. I love to see children expressing their emotions fearlessly."</i><br><br>
"Boy, the baby sure does cry a lot." <i>"And I'm so glad she does so I can respond to her needs. Imagine if she didn't cry - I might miss a cue that she was wet/hungry/hurt or whatever was going on. Nature sure is smart."</i><br><br>
"M. has a stubborn streak. How are you going to fix that?" <i>"I'm not! I'm so glad that she knows what she wants and stands up for it."</i><br></div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> Wonderful responses!<br><br>
To the OP: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> family is a complicated and wonderful thing. Hang in there!
 

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My former ILs did this a lot- especially my FIL, who didn't have the insight to realise that if someone constantly criticises a small child, that person will be feared by the small child. (my MIL.) Things eventually came to a big and messy head after I separated from their son, but I never found a solution.<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">s Hope you can.
 

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I totally agree w/ Wilhemina on this one. I also make a point to say things in defense of my DD, before anyone can even open their mouth. For example, if she is frustrated that she can't do something and throws a tantrum, I pick her up and hug and kiss her and say something like, "It is so hard being a baby, isn't it? So many things you want to do but can't figure out how."<br><br>
I also make sure that people see how much I really enjoy my DD. At family gatherings, I like to stand in a corner w/ DD and dance in the way that always makes her laugh, kiss her the way I know makes her laugh, and tell her how much I love her. I do this at home, too, but by making a point to do it in front of people, I think it kind of takes some of the steam out of the comments in their head. "Gosh, why does that baby insist on only being held by its mother?......Well, but I guess the mother really DOES enjoy it."<br><br>
But, I gotta tell ya', nothing can shut up my grandmother. Why a woman who hasn't had a baby in 50 years has to put my mothering down to make herself feel better is beyond me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: DD does not like being held by my grandmother. She usually cries, and I respond--of course--by taking her back. My grandmother loves to tell me about my cousin's baby that will sit on ANYONE'S lap and smile at them. I swear, if she tells me one more time, I'm going to tell the old biddy that that is a personality trait I associate w/ a stripper, and I'm glad my DD doesn't do that. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mischievous.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="mischief">
 

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:LOL OMG, Jennisee, that's priceless!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Jennisee</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">For example, if she is frustrated that she can't do something and throws a tantrum, I pick her up and hug and kiss her and say something like, "It is so hard being a baby, isn't it? So many things you want to do but can't figure out how."<br><br>
She usually cries, and I respond--of course--by taking her back.</div>
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I have said and done these exact things! My father is the problem in our family.<br><br>
+++++++++++++++++++++<br><br>
In response to the OP, I really try to indirectly make my point by responding to what was said directly to my child. For example:<br><br>
My father says something stupid to the baby like "You just stop that crying" . I say to her "It's okay to cry. You are just a little baby, and it is your only way to tell folks you are upset. Mama will always listen to you!"<br><br>
My mother will also use comparison to try and manipulate the behavior of my two kids. The toddler cries when we try to wash her hands or face with a wet wipe (quite normal for a toddler). But the baby doesn't. My mom says to the toddler "Look at how nicely the baby lets us wash her face". I say to the toddler "When you were a baby, you were really good like that too, but now that you are a big girl you don't like it as much. Soon you will be doing it all by yourself!"<br><br>
******<br>
I look at it this way...my goal is to protect my children's sense of self worth and esteem, not to change the views of my parents. However, I do try to bring these issues up in the form of something I read in a book or a discussion about a post on the internet. This way, I can get my view points in without attacking theirs. Otherwise, the tension never ends.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the feedback.<br><br>
I have a hard time because they tease about everything- even each other. They "get along" by ribbing each other even with things they agree with. I.E. they tease me about not buying much new things unless it is fair trade or whatever- but they do the same thing so I know they don't mean it seriously.<br><br>
So I don't know if they are just teasing the kids and ribbing or being mean. I did try it though yesterday adn today to turn any negative into a positive and I do think it is helping. I also didn't chuckle and look away out of "duty" I just let my discomfort show briefly and then looked away. Since it is helping I think they were always just trying to be funny... my brother even asked "you don't take the teasing personally do you?" and I said "I can take being teased all day, the only time I can't take teasing is when it is directed at my kids..."<br><br>
So it is improving, next my dad comes to town to visit and I'll just have to take that one day at a time.<br><br>
I only see these people like once a year usually- so it isn't to big of deal. They are coming right in a row though because of the new baby's arrival.
 
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