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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
okay, we are a badly floundering set of want-to-be-much-better-at-GD-ers and I have a particular issue that I need help with. I can get plenty of answers (thusfar) from the forum and from one mom in particular that I have linked up with via PM about the basics of GD in our own home, but when it comes to my mom i am really lost.

my mother is very much the norm for our culture when it comes to "naughty chair" and the "you NEED to's" and generally forcing submission. it makes me SICK to think that unfortunately, THIS was my model and i am working to correct MY behavior because this is all i know. well, sort of. i know what all the wonderful mamas of the GD forum have been "teaching" me!


but, part of my problem is that my mother seems very *proud* of herself for insisting on compliance. AND she is in the same town and very much involved with the kids. cutting her off is out of the question.

now, my son loves to be with Gram, BUT, he also sadly doesn't know anything radically different. GD is a new concept and we are not very good at it, just working and learning every day. so it isn't like he knows total respect and "proper" treatment at home and then gram's house is like a catholic school circa 1932 or anything. but her house IS still worse. when we resort to pathetic screaming or forcing at home, the calm parent calls the maniac parent on it and we cool off and also apologize to DS (who is 3.5). but my mother would NEVER even THINK she was wrong, so forget acting human and apologizing. she was happy with her accomplishment of making him hesitantly ask if he had to go to the naughty chair at her house today. she threatened that punishment when she took him to the park. and then she boasted about it to me. but sort of rightly so because, up until this point, i have led her to think i agree with her ways of parenting.

she DOES love him. i know it and can see it and he must know it because he asks me to call her so he can ask to spend the night at her house. she just believes that this is *how* you love children. and she wants to spend time with him, and i want him to spend time with her. she WILL refuse to let him stay the night or come for visits when mommy and daddy need "couple time" if this whole difference in opinion on child raising gets too extreme. i just want him to have the chance to have a Gram in his life until he is old enough to say to her himself, "hey, treat me respectfully and i will you."

so i don't know how to even begin where she is concerned. she has been witness, and even accomplice, to my "crimes" against our son. because everyone in our family thinks this "must-comply" attitude is right, DH and i have found ourselves OFTEN regretting actions toward DS that were taken just to *fit in* to the family. so not only is it a slap in the face to say, "mom, your way is wrong for our son/family" but it's also saying, "your way is wrong and NOW in the middle of it all we are changing gears."

i don't know. maybe i need the support here to be able to do that - to say, "it all stops now. and no matter how radical it is to try to change course this way, we are doing it."

i REALLY want her to be on my side, b/c it will be easier and BETTER. but i know that will NOT happen. she does NOT believe any way but her way is right for ANYTHING, from parenting stuff down to how you load the dishwasher to how you wipe your a$$ on the john! DH detests this about her.
and she and i have had conversations, NUMEROUS, about her thoughts on more gentle, nurturing, AP, GD parenting. she sees it all as "hippie" and in her mind "hippie" = deadbeat/worthless/no discipline, etc, etc, etc. and she also firmly believes that what we, here on the GD forum, see as treating a child with respect and patience will lead to inflated egos and self-centered kids who just can't get along in a society where they "don't always get their way."

she is not someone i can talk to. and that compounds it. i find myself thinking that i have to "lay down the law" with her and just tell her that "this" is how it is going to be, when THAT VERY way is what i am trying to change in my house and WANTING to have stop at her house. the WRONG way is so ingrained in my head from her teaching that i automatically feel that i should treat her the way i know is wrong to treat people, young or old.

so, maybe i am asking for pointers on how to approach this with her?

any of you mamas who now espouse GD principles have parents used "must-comply" means with you? have you bridged the gap? how??????
 

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I know of a family that was exposed to GD when they certified to become foster parents. They decided that if it was required for foster kids, their kids deserved it, too! It took 2 years of hard work (they had elem school age kids) and a lot of hard work inside the home and outside with friends and family, but they did it. I am still in awe of them because it was such hard work to keep it up with a united front for their church, families, neighbors and their kids.
:
I think that taking strength in each other and having a strong marriage was key for them.
 

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Hang in there momma. Great job trying to bring GD into your child's life. My parents also had old school values when it came to parenting, luckily no yelling or hitting, but they thought children should "know there place". This is very hard for me, as I am very AP oriented, not only as a mom, but also as a professional (I am finishing up my PhD in child psychology). I think my parents were a product of their enivronment, which makes me sad for them and for some aspects of my childhood. They also live in the same town as we do and watch my 15-mo old DS when I am in classes. I explain things to them about discipline, but the thing that has worked best for me was to give them the Dr. Sears Baby Book and email them articles from www.askdrsears.com. I think b/c he is a pediatrician, that carries some weight for them (they are from the Dr. Spock era). Also, MODELING works miracles. For example, if DS was upset and cying, my dad would say, "be quiet" or "what are you fussing for". These things obviously don't work. I would go to DS and say, "Oh, I see you are frustrated because of X. We can't do X right now, so instead let's do Y." Validate and redirect. Now my dad has seen this work and uses the same strategy with DS. Actions speak so much louder than words, so if your mom can see you handling situations successfully without raising your voice, etc, maybe she will begin to see there are more ways to do things than "her" way. However, it sounds like she is a tough cookie, so don't be dissappointed if she never fully accepts these choices. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by HappyHSer
Do you want to convince her or establish boundaries. At this point, the two are likely mutually exclusive.

AH! very good point! i guess boundaries, b/c really, as much as i want her to be on our team, that isn't going to happen so it's about her not being AGAINST our team!

apricot, that family is very inspiring. we CAN do this. although the strong marriage is going to be a challenge. DH is wonderful - loving and very well-intentioned, but not at ALL the "intellectual" type that wants to "go the analytical distance" with me. so if i can make this simple on him, he will be on board. "we do X. we don't do Y." he will go for that. but all the rest is up to me.


fiveredhens, you know, you are onto something with the sears thing for our family, too. mom was a dr spock mom and the ped being a god thing is right on for her. why didn't i think of that? well, because if we thought of ALL of these things we wouldn't need MDC!!
 

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Well, a helpful book about setting boundaries that I read was "The Dance of Intimacy" (and "The Dance of Anger"). Basically, it helps one to establish "bottom line" relationship boundaries for actions and allows ongoing discussion to change each other's beliefs to the degree that both are interested. You also might find the tools of non-violent communication helpful. See www.CNVC.org

So, for your mom, I would consider what is your bottom line intolerance for coercive caretaking? Can she use the naughty chair if she will never hit him? Can she use shaming but not the naughty chair? Can she use directed compliance against his voiced dissent? Can she refuse to call you when he wants to leave? With which of these choices of how he is treated are you willing to leave it up to your your son?

I guess it depends on who has the locus of control over your child's autonomy? You or your son, or grandma or whatever adult you leave him with who tells him and makes him comply to their wishes, regardless of his will?

Our son has no obligation to go to grandma's. That alone changed her dynamic to respectful, gentle caretaking. He loves grandma and she is tainted with coercive beliefs; however, they are within our son's tolerance and own personal limits based upon his foundation of respectful time in our home. As your son has more free choice to come and go to grandma's, supported by you 'coming to his rescue' or your supportive presence if he doesn't want to be left alone with her, he will come to have higher standards about how he wishes to be treated with respect.

Hopefully, grandma won't withdraw love based upon his desire not to be treated disrespectfully. But, if she will do this, and it sounds like she might from your comments about her withdrawl of support if you don't do things her way, then it is probably easier for ds to learn this now than after years of becoming attached to her and having it pulled out from under him. However, I would not expect grandma to caretake in the same manner that you might idealize, nor would I make visitation contingent upon that except to the extent of your 'bottom line' (like no hitting). Expecting others to change is unrealistic. But I wouldn't give up on trying to convince her to change either.


While providing support to your son's needs and desires it is challenging to represent his needs, rather than your ideals. For instance, it is more effective to mention 'he doesn't seem to like when he is spoken to that way', rather than a directive from you 'don't talk to him like that'. Your opportunity is to model and demonstrate how to discipline differently and upon what to base your "discipline" actions. I consider inner discipline much more portable and practical than external discipline tools. Learning how to treat other people has a skill set. One of those is listening to verbals and non-verbal cues about how other's wish to be treated and how they feel about how they are treated. By modeling to grandma in advocation of your son, your son will be learning how to interact with other's and see his feelings considered. Just as you will model consideration of grandma's feelings when he 'crosses' her line too. 'Joey, see grandma is upset. She doesn't want her flowers pulled up. Could you dig over here instead?'

Oh, and I agree; for expert-itis type people, Dr. Sears, Dr. Ross Greene, Dr. Jan Fortune Wood, Naomi Aldort (I believe she has a PhD), are excellent expert resources of 'new research'. Not sure if Alfie Kohn has a PhD. Providing little easy to read articles of theirs that help her to see the logic behind gentle discipline may change her mind along with your modelling. Maybe not. This way, the onus is on "them"; it is not coming from you for her to change.

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
oh my goodness, Pat, can i ever express enough gratitude for your contributions to this forum?
your children are so greatly blessed to be yours, i do believe.

your words of advice are so well received. deciding what is acceptable and what is not is JUST what we need to do. along with advocating. because then DS will see (i hope) what i want him to see - that we (daddy and mommy) are his allies, whether he feels a bond with grandma or not.
and she won't hit, didn't me either and that is a big one. and since he doens't LIVE with her, she can't have such an influence on him as she did me, day in and day out, for EVERY circumstance of childhood. but i do have to do some careful consideration, because although she didn't hit me, she DID have quite an impact with her words and actions.
and pointing out JUST articles, instead of thinking she will read a book, i have realized, will be more effective. she will NOT read an entire book because she "is an expert already!" and thanks for the other names to add to the list of PhDs who have written on GD issues. i have already begun scouring for some things to "casually bring up" as conversations "develop." she is, afterall, the woman who took EXTREME offense when she mentioned using a playpen and DH, in no uncertain terms, SHOT the idea DOWN. i realized that day that i have to disguise all my attempts to change her opinions as subtle suggestions that SHE can then turn into her OWN ideas.

oh, what will come of me when i do all of this and my DC end up telling ME, "mom you are so screwed up and i hate the way you raised me???"
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by HappyHSer

Here is an idea for establishing boundaries:

http://morejo.blog-city.com/a_seasonal_re_write.htm

oh my this was WONDERFUL. i am ashamed to admit that i only NOW read your blog entry, but so be it, i did only NOW read it. who cares? the message got to me and i really liked it and i especially liked the idea, (so pertinent to me and my situation) of not bothering to cite references because it isn't a debate and no matter how long i *feel* i have been an APing mom, i am still that *new* AP mom you talk about!
thanks, HappyHSer!
 
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