February 4, 2008

When Grandparents Take Control of Your Parenting...

(photo courtesy of 123RF, Photographer: Rick Becker-Leckrone)

I have been dealing with this for awhile now. I feel as if my motherhood is being taking away from me by my own mother. The last time I checked, my husband and I are the ones who take care of our son, feed him, change him, clothe him, take him to the doctor, kiss his boo-boos, and stay up all night with him when he cries or is sick.

My problem is that I think my mother thinks I need help taking care of my child, that I am not fully capable of understanding what my child needs. I can't count how many times leaving my moms house to go out or go home, she's told me to put shoes/socks/jacket on my son....uh, how stupid can I be to not cover him up in this cold weather? And if my son has a poopie, she'll proclaim that he's smelly and needs to be changed....or if he fusses, she immediately asks if he needs to be changed! Again, I know what he needs, when he needs it...she's been outta the baby making business for over 26 years. Let's don't forget that she has tried to give my son peanuts and strawberries on several occasions....even after me explaining how they can be potentially dangerous to toddlers before the age of 2 for fear of allergic reactions. Not only that, but she keeps asking my son when he's going to stop going potty in diapers and get potty trained. WTF? He's 12 months old for Pete's sake! Most babies/toddlers don't have the understanding until 18 months.

It's awesome if Grandparents worry a little about their grand-babies, but sometimes it gets overbearing. Don't tell your kids how to raise their own kids...times have changed and a lot of parenting issues have been scrapped with all the new technology and research. Give advice, but don't belittle your kids parenting skills. I'm sure your kids can come up with a story or 2 about how you've screwed up as a parent too.

So I leave all you parents out there with a few questions:

1. Do you have parents/relatives that constantly tell you how to raise your child?

2. Also, do your relatives/parents disregard your parenting ways while watching your child?

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18 comments:

Kristin said...

Great advice I know so many women with this same problem!! It's too bad because once parents ahve children and they ahve children they just need to stop being a parent and relax. Sorry you're having such a hard time!!

Mike said...

We've been lucky. Our parents are both very good at following our lead. They are not quite as firm with the rules as we are, but we don't expect them to be since they are grandparents. In general though, they follow the spirit of how we are trying to raise the kids which has been awesome for us and the kids.

Kim said...

I'm thankful that I've never had to go through this myself. But I know a lot of mother's who do.

I hope things work out for you.

Annie said...

My Mother-In-Law moved in with us for awhile and decided my child rearing skills needed honing. My son was 12 at the time and this was actually his step-grandmother. I had been doing the single mom thing for the first 8 years and all was quite nice. Needless to say. the Mother-In-Law doesn't live with us anymore and the kiddo turned out great!!! Moms know best!!!

Noelevz said...

I agree with you my wife's parents are like that. I know they have done a wonderful job in caring for us back then. For that I thank them greatly. But they have to understand also that some of ways that they are used to in the past may not be good for children now a days.

Margaret said...

Grandma of 6 here and I try really hard to keep out of the way of my son's and daughters-in-law parenting. Two sets are really good parents, but one set is lousy and that is really hard for me to do. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders.

My advice to you is to give grandma something specific she CAN do with the baby and don't take the other stuff so personally. She may mean it that way, but then again, maybe she doesn't. You, however, don't have to let it bother you.

Just my .02 :)

katef - www.picklebums.com said...

I have this problem with my MIL - especially in regards to food. I am a 'mean mother' because I don't allow my kids to eat sugar and junk all the time. The thing that most bothers me though is not that we have a difference in opinion on what is or isn't ok for kids (I can accept that she has experience I don't and that no one knows everything) but it is the way it is handled in front of or involving the kids. If she has a problem with my choices I'd much rather she talk to me about it rather than do the black mail thing of saying to my kids 'oh your mum is so mean!' or "I'll let you have it but don't tell your mum"... grrrr... that just shows a lack of respect if you ask me.
Ok rant over... feeling for you here!

Jasmine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leesa said...

There is a book called "Boundries" that sort of touches on this. Okay, it is what the book is all about. May be worth the effort to check out. And, no, I am not the author.

Kristen said...

Oh Man! I completely relate. My mom is great to my kids, but I can't stand when she steps in. She's even gone so far as to reprimand our kids after we've already dealt with the situation! I haven't come up with a way to make it stop...I look forward to reading more!

Mrs Hannigan said...

Great topic, BTW. I don't think these grandparents intend to say "we don't trust you to parent our precious perfect grandbaby you stupid, overprotective idiot." but that's what it feels like; isn't it. They'll get over it. Try not to take it personally; they love you & baby and don't realize how hurtful they are. If you ever get the balls to confront them, they'll probably feel horrible and never do it again. I don't think it's necessary, though- unless you feel the kids are in danger. It's a huge topic for mothers, isn't it. I hope I don't do that to my daughters when they're moms. I hope if I do they will tell me instead of getting all upset. I would feel horrible. It would be hard to stop, though. You're mom- it's your job to be protective and aware of all possible threats to your decisions. Good job.

Anonymous said...

I am going through the same problems with my parents. I tell my daughter not to run off/be cheeky etc. and their response is 'Oh it's what all children do.' etc. They undermine my authority constantly to make me into the bad guy and also discipline my child when I am in the room. It drives me crazy - I am almost 40 - I think I can raise my own child!!

Did you ever sort your situation out? I need to be forceful with my mum but she is a very complicated and controlling woman who is liable to have a complete breakdown at the slightest hint of me sticking up for myself.

Any advice?

Anonymous said...

I have a very easy going twenty one month old daughter, who has become a bit cheeky as she morphs from baby to toddler to little girl. My husband and I have a few rules for her to follow to teach her some manners, keep her safe and keep our house(mostly) intact. My mother wants to be really close to my daughter and is totally afraid of my daughter hating her so she won't even take something off her that she shouldn't have and laughs at naughty behaviour feigning there is no need for rules. We don't ask my mother to do any disclipining at all. I only want my mother to respect our need as parents to set some boundaries and be capable of an adult conversation that involves accepting that sometimes my toddler can be a bit naughty and a handfull. I tried to bring it up with my mother but she got totally offended and wouldn't talk about it any further. Then it blew out of proportion because I got cranky that she couldn't discuss it in a reasonable way.

Anonymous said...

I'm lost for words, reading aloud what you wrote is the exact same situation I have been dealing with for nearly 2 years. I don't know what to do, it is to the point they are pushing me away from them. The hard part is, it is too expensive to move out of home as I have always been a single mum. I dont get time to myself or if i do I have a kerfu. I get told how to raise my son and my faults picked daily, can someone tell me how to get out of the situation I am stuck in..?

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