Jump to content
nephthysa

Parenting differently from Grandma

Recommended Posts

nephthysa

Little bit of back story - I have two toddlers, 15 months apart. Since I had number two, I’ve had my mum coming two days a week to help out. We pay her $150 a day cash to do this, since she doesn’t work those two days and we have all been happy with the agreement. My eldest is rather high needs, has had some medical issues when very young and is super attached to me. He has not until recently been able to be left with anyone, not even dad. He is now 2.5 and we are starting to be able to get some time apart with him staying home for and hour or so with Grandma and his little sister when dad is working from home.

Earlier this week was one of these situations - I ran to the post office and did a little bit of shopping, was gone just over an hour. Thought everything was ok, no issues. Have now heard today that my DS had a meltdown while I was gone about something totally insignificant (he wanted to play in the pink car and Grandma told him the green one was his and the pink one was his sisters) and he went running to daddy because he was upset. My DH has now told me too that grandma told him what happened when she came to get DS from him, and then she followed up with the comment, “mummy’s not here so I can be tougher”.

This is what has got me so worked up. I parent quite gently which is totally different to how I was raised. I have gone to a lot of effort to try to create ‘yes’ spaces and lean to the Gerber and Montessori styles of child interaction. My DS is thriving and seems to respond well to this. I really don’t appreciate the insinuation that I am too ‘soft’ and feel like I can’t leave the kids unsupervised with grandma anymore. I’m tossing up cutting back to one day a week too, which shouldn’t be an issue for mum financially as she will just pick up another day at her work.

Am I overreacting? I don’t know how to broach this with her as I am against confrontation and have a huge issue discussing things with my mum (we spend all day in small talk really). I don’t want to damage the relationship any further but I also don’t need this conflict in my own house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chamomile

.

Edited by Chamomile
  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silverstreak

I don’t think you’re overreacting, the pink is for girls crap would irritate me and the comment about you not being there so she can be tougher on your DS is both sly and cruel. I’d be looking into childcare as an option personally, even for one of the days. She sounds quite rigid and inflexible in her thinking.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MsLaurie

I didn’t read the “pink is your sister’s” one as necessarily a pink=girls thing, I read it as that car specifically is the sister’s, that other one is the brother’s, you have your own, use your own. 

OP, maybe your mum does think you’re a bit “soft”, but does it hugely matter? So long as you feel she fundamentally respects your kids and they love each other, a bit of variation in style won’t harm. 

  • Like 16

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PuddingPlease

Yeah, I think ensuring that older child isn't taking younger child's toy is probably likely to be more appropriately attentive rather than gender normative in this case.

I agree with PP's that if the arrangement is working then it seems like a shame to junk it altogether. It's important to be comfortable with the people caring for your kids but it's not absolutely necessary (in my mind) that their parenting philosophies are identical. It would be different if she was hurting your child or screaming at him for no reason, but a firmer approach to saying no is not that big of a thing in the overall scheme of things.

If your oldest can be a bit of a handful then she may simply be being cautious that the baby isn't getting walked all over, which I think is reasonable.

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CallMeFeral
1 hour ago, nephthysa said:

 I really don’t appreciate the insinuation that I am too ‘soft’ and feel like I can’t leave the kids unsupervised with grandma anymore. 

So... the above sounds like a massive leap. You feel criticised in your parenting style and that means the person who has been caring for your kids independently all this time can't even be unsupervised around them any more? Whoa.

 

I can't help wondering if it has some relationship to this:

1 hour ago, nephthysa said:

I am against confrontation and have a huge issue discussing things with my mum (we spend all day in small talk really). I don’t want to damage the relationship any further but I also don’t need this conflict in my own house.

It doesn't sound like you HAVE conflict in your house. You just have your mum making a slightly narky comment about your parenting style. But it's sent you into some sort of high alert "this is a huge conflict and I have to solve it in an extreme way" reaction, which is usually what happens in response to an old trigger. 

What's the trigger? Was your house a high conflict house growing up? Or was it one of those houses where you weren't allowed to have conflict/feelings? Was there a parent with extreme mood swings? Was your mum/dad slow to give you validation so you are hypersensitive to their approval? I know these questions are weird (sorry) but there really seems to be something else at play here, and if it's being triggered it's worth having a think about what it is. 

As for this situation specifically, there's nothing to solve. Your mum thinks your parenting style is softer than hers. Probably ALL of us have faced to a small or large extent a difference between how our parents parented and how we do, and some occasion expression of that. It's run of the mill, and while it's inevitably annoying, this doesn't sound like a massive example of it. Definitely not enough of one to endanger an arrangement that seems to be working well for all and creating a strong grandparent-grandchild relationship. 

I would put more work into figuring out what your trigger is than trying to solve the 'issue' that your mum is a stricter parent than you and thinks you should be more like her. That's just life with kids, everybody will have an opinion, doesn't mean you have to listen to it. 

Edited by CallMeFeral
  • Like 19

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
seayork2002

Why is your children not in organised child care? sounds simpler

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nephthysa
6 minutes ago, CallMeFeral said:

one of those houses where you weren't allowed to have conflict/feelings

Hit the nail there 😳

Probably the most common thing I’ve heard growing up is “You know what s/he is like!” - in other words, just let it go, leave it be, etc etc.

Thanks to all for the replies - yes, I think there are other issues at play here, what I didn’t appreciate was the “behind my back” kind of manner. I am actually seeing a counselor and going through a lot of processing of my upbringing at the moment. 

There is no way that my mum is stricter than I am - she’s a pushover. Her grandies are spoiled rotten and can do no wrong. It’s just that I don’t see the point in fighting a losing battle with a toddler aka banging your head against a wall for no reason 😂

There is not really any independent care either - she comes by so that I can get out of the house with two toddlers and do things, we go out all together.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nephthysa
5 minutes ago, seayork2002 said:

Why is your children not in organised child care? sounds simpler

Tried that - not gonna happen with my eldest. Maybe he’s getting closer to that now, but previously, he was just getting too distraught. Also, I don’t work so 🤷🏻‍♀️ Plus have you seen the cost for two kids full time when you don’t qualify for a rebate??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jenflea

Why would you need full time care though?

Why not put them in for a few hours a day or 2 days a week if you want to get stuff done or not have 2 toddlers under your feet?

I think it's going to be hard if you are paying your mum like an employee, but expecting her to behave like a grandma if you're not there. 

So in my mind, you put up with the odd comment if you want her there 2 days a week to help out, or you arrange other care. 

It's not like she smacked him, she made a comment you don't agree with.  That's going to happen the rest of your life, and theirs. 

I guarantee your husband parents differently to you too, every one does. 

And if you didn't like the way you were raised, don't expect her to be much different with your kids. It's ingrained habit by now I'm betting. 

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Prancer is coming

Sounds li,Ed your mum thunks your child needs a firmer discipline style.  And from the way you have described your son, it really does not sound like he is thriving.  Your mum may be concerned about him or that you never get a break.  But it is up to you how you parent your child.  
 

I have some issues with my mum, and there is no way I would want her taking on a child care role.  If you don’t like the way your mum will parent your child when you are not around, you have the wrong person.  I know when I used child care, it was important to me thst I could leave clear instructions when needed, and being questioned over this or concerned it may be taken the wrong way would annoy me.

 

You day you don’t like confrontation, but as a parent this is needed.  Whether it is passing in important information to the carer, sticking up for your child in a playground or advocating for your child at school, you really need to do this.  Practicing on your mum could be a good starting point.

 

Do you need help with childcare?  It sounds like you don’t work, your DH is working from home, and organised care does not work for you.  So sounds like not a lot of options for you, so if you need help, it is either your mum or trying to hire someone, though not quite sure what the cost would be. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
blimkybill

The only thing I'd add is that it is quite ok for kids if different caregivers have different styles. It doesn't hurt or even upset kids, they get used to it. It is pretty normal for different family caregivers to feel a bit out of sync with the way another family member gives care. It's not a problem on its own. Sounds to me like you have other issues with your mum. Maybe address that but don't break up her relationship with the kids just because her way of doing things is different to yours. 

  • Like 17

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MooGuru

I feel like there's some context missing given you've described your mum as a pushover. It seems like maybe you've been given a snippet of a minor incident and it's gotten bigger the more you think about it, without you having actually heard your Mum's point of view.

Would you feel exactly the same as you do now, if you'd been there and seen your DS try to snatch the pink car off DD, your Mum said no and directed him to his car? Or if he then ran off crying and saying "Mummy lets me!" and she responded with "well Mummy's not here..." ?

 

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PocketIcikleflakes
8 hours ago, Prancer is coming said:

Sounds li,Ed your mum thunks your child needs a firmer discipline style.  And from the way you have described your son, it really does not sound like he is thriving.  Your mum may be concerned about him or that you never get a break.  But it is up to you how you parent your child.  
 

I have some issues with my mum, and there is no way I would want her taking on a child care role.  If you don’t like the way your mum will parent your child when you are not around, you have the wrong person.  I know when I used child care, it was important to me thst I could leave clear instructions when needed, and being questioned over this or concerned it may be taken the wrong way would annoy me.

 

You day you don’t like confrontation, but as a parent this is needed.  Whether it is passing in important information to the carer, sticking up for your child in a playground or advocating for your child at school, you really need to do this.  Practicing on your mum could be a good starting point.

 

Do you need help with childcare?  It sounds like you don’t work, your DH is working from home, and organised care does not work for you.  So sounds like not a lot of options for you, so if you need help, it is either your mum or trying to hire someone, though not quite sure what the cost would be. 

I agree with most of the post (I don't get the impression that your DS isn't thriving, but I've had a clingy child so that's not a huge flag for me).

I hated back handed comments as well. I did let it go for a while from my PILs but I put my foot down in the end as it started as comments, moved on to derogatory comments to my kids, and ended in lying to my face and sneaking bribery food, telling the kids not to tell me important stuff and trialing them with food they had allergies to. They took each opportunity they could to undermine us.

We've always known that if we put in a boundary then they'll see it as a target to trample over. It's this the issue you have with your mum? 

From your posts I'd say it go, but she's your mum. You need to trust your instincts but probably have a conversation with your DH about if you need to decide on a point that you'd stop having your mum to help if you feel you might need to do that. It's important that you and your DH are on the same page if you think it's problematic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sweet.Pea

I think it's probably a bit of an overreaction.

Unless you think she is going to use violence around your children to be harsh, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

As a PP said, it was about him playing with his car, not about him wanting to play with a pink car.

Kids are smart. They know that they have different relationships with different people. If your son says to you that he doesn't want to see Grandma, then I would review the arrangements. Similarly if he is non-verbal and shows actions that indicate he doesn't want to be left.

At 2.5, I would look at daycare for him though. He will get a lot out of it. Even if your Mum just looked after the kids one day a week, and you look after your daughter the day he is at daycare to make it affordable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Crazyone26989

Perhaps daycare one day a weekend may be a better option. Even at full rates it wouldn’t cost much more than $300 for the two for one day and you already pay your mum $150 a day.

Edited by Crazyone26989
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CallMeFeral
9 hours ago, nephthysa said:

Probably the most common thing I’ve heard growing up is “You know what s/he is like!” - in other words, just let it go, leave it be, etc etc.

Thanks to all for the replies - yes, I think there are other issues at play here, what I didn’t appreciate was the “behind my back” kind of manner. I am actually seeing a counselor and going through a lot of processing of my upbringing at the moment. 

There is no way that my mum is stricter than I am - she’s a pushover. Her grandies are spoiled rotten and can do no wrong. It’s just that I don’t see the point in fighting a losing battle with a toddler aka banging your head against a wall for no reason 😂

 

That's great that you're seeing a counselor, definitely bring this up with them!

So what sometimes happens when you grow up in a 'let it be' type household is that in response to never being heard/acknowledged, reactions to small things can get really escalated. It's like emotions develop a "go big or go home" philosophy. Add to that that it sounds like you can't bring it up with her because your feelings won't be validated, so you end up with a big feeling and no outlet for it. 

In that context it's probably helpful to find an outlet, but you're allowed to just vent without solving. Vent here, vent to your husband, write it down, punch a pillow,  go to the garden and swear and rant, give your angry feelings a place to get out and not be stuffed down. You don't necessarily need to solve, but you do need to vent and validate your feelings right to be there. You may want to flag that when you post here or talk to your husband too - everybody's reaction in the face of big emotions is likely to be 'solve', but if you tell people you just need them to listen and let you vent, hopefully they will. 

And yeah if she's a pushover then it's probably more about her than you. Many grandparents go through a phase of seeing their kids do things a bit differently, and sometimes it makes them insecure about their own parenting, other times it seems like a direct challenge to their methods and becomes a battleground - be relieved that it sounds like it's only the first option that's happened here. Different people will never parent the same way, and will always think that they are doing it more right than the other person. That's just life. You definitely have the right to be annoyed by it. But you don't have to solve it. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MadMarchMasterchef

My parents have cared for my older 2 often during school holidays (their choice not an expectation).  Under normal circumstances I would say you have to pick your battles.  I let small stuff slide (like giving lollies or gender stereotyping even though I hate it)  because I think time with their grandparents is more important,  but I would bring up anything regarding safety.  I think its a bit different if your child has additional needs though because in that instance a certain style of interaction becomes more important. 
 

Id suggest maybe trying childcare too.  Perhaps family day care for a day?   Maybe a montessori childcare if thats your preference. I wouldnt imagine you need full time care  but I believe SAHP are still entitled to 2 days subsidy, and you might be able to get more depending on whether your son has a diagnosis - you could always call CL and ask. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FeralZombieMum
12 hours ago, nephthysa said:

 My DH has now told me too that grandma told him what happened when she came to get DS from him, and then she followed up with the comment, “mummy’s not here so I can be tougher”.

You're hearing this second hand, from your DH. As you weren't there to hear what your mum said, be very careful in jumping to conclusions. How your DH has retold this story, is from his point of view. He may not have been 100% spot on with what happened, and it may actually be him judging you, not your mum. Maybe he isn't happy to be paying your mum $300 a week to help out? Perhaps he thinks she should be doing it for free?

Kids are fairly resilient and quickly learn to adapt to different styles from other people. You need to accept your mum is not going to do things 100% to how you would do them, you cannot have full control over her. Maybe there is something like anxiety going on with you, if you are needing to control every interaction with your kids. This week's incident is fairly minor and you need to learn to pick your battles. It doesn't seem like it's a pink and boy issue - it sounds like she was teaching your DS to respect your DD's things - which is a good thing!

At 2.5 years of age, you can control more of what happens around your kids - but you can't do this forever. You'll face this issue when they start kinder & school, and are off on play dates. Learn to deal with it now, because although some of what's happening now seems like a big deal to you - once you have a wider experience to different people interacting with your kids, you'll look back at how minor these things were.

 

Edited by FeralZombieMum
  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lallalla

I’m a bit confused about this topic. It does seem like an overreaction.  Are you not confident in your own parenting style? Are you sure it is actually working if he can’t be separated from you for even short periods of time or hear the word no ever? You can’t shelter him from hearing no his whole life and you are going to have to get him used to other people at some point 

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Soontobegran
11 hours ago, nephthysa said:

Little bit of back story - I have two toddlers, 15 months apart. Since I had number two, I’ve had my mum coming two days a week to help out. We pay her $150 a day cash to do this, since she doesn’t work those two days and we have all been happy with the agreement. My eldest is rather high needs, has had some medical issues when very young and is super attached to me. He has not until recently been able to be left with anyone, not even dad. He is now 2.5 and we are starting to be able to get some time apart with him staying home for and hour or so with Grandma and his little sister when dad is working from home.

Earlier this week was one of these situations - I ran to the post office and did a little bit of shopping, was gone just over an hour. Thought everything was ok, no issues. Have now heard today that my DS had a meltdown while I was gone about something totally insignificant (he wanted to play in the pink car and Grandma told him the green one was his and the pink one was his sisters) and he went running to daddy because he was upset. My DH has now told me too that grandma told him what happened when she came to get DS from him, and then she followed up with the comment, “mummy’s not here so I can be tougher”.

This is what has got me so worked up. I parent quite gently which is totally different to how I was raised. I have gone to a lot of effort to try to create ‘yes’ spaces and lean to the Gerber and Montessori styles of child interaction. My DS is thriving and seems to respond well to this. I really don’t appreciate the insinuation that I am too ‘soft’ and feel like I can’t leave the kids unsupervised with grandma anymore. I’m tossing up cutting back to one day a week too, which shouldn’t be an issue for mum financially as she will just pick up another day at her work.

Am I overreacting? I don’t know how to broach this with her as I am against confrontation and have a huge issue discussing things with my mum (we spend all day in small talk really). I don’t want to damage the relationship any further but I also don’t need this conflict in my own house.

It really comes down to the fact that if you don't like the way your mum interacts with your children then think about not having her look after them. Talk to her gently about your concerns and you can see just how well she reacts to that and go from there perhaps.

I am a grandma, I 'parent' differently to my children but that fact is appreciated by my children and my grandchildren. Obviously I do not go against 'rules' even though sometimes I would like to. I successfully although not perfectly parented 5 children and all us parents and grandparents make mistakes but I always feel it is a 'pick your battle' thing.

My children will tell me if they are unhappy about something I have said or done but now we are 10 years into grand parenting for 12 children and all of them are still want to be with us so I gather there has been no harm done.

It really is up to you, if this is a deal breaker then it's best for both of you to stop the arrangement instead of trying to manage your mum and her actions. Obviously I am not condoning any type of abuse of power on her behalf but we are all different.

Good luck.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lallalla

I also had another thought, even with 2 kids in less than 2 years (One of whom is now closer to 3) and one with medical issues, if you don’t work, why do you need to pay someone to come help look after the kids two whole days a week? I feel like something is being left out of this story. Is your health ok? 
 

I had 3 under 2, one with serious medical issues and while it was freaking hard work we never got to that point. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FeralZombieMum
3 minutes ago, Lallalla said:

I’m a bit confused about this topic. It does seem like an overreaction.  Are you not confident in your own parenting style? Are you sure it is actually working if he can’t be separated from you for even short periods of time or hear the word no ever? You can’t shelter him from hearing no his whole life and you are going to have to get him used to other people at some point 

"Sheltered" is a perfect description.

nephthysa, it's great that you have a parenting style that suits you and your kids, but in the long run, you're not doing your kids any favours by controlling their environment 100%. In a way, you're setting your kids up for other issues down the track.

Exposing your kids to adults with different styles, will actually benefit your kids long term.

 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FeralZombieMum
1 hour ago, Lallalla said:

I also had another thought, even with 2 kids in less than 2 years (One of whom is now closer to 3) and one with medical issues, if you don’t work, why do you need to pay someone to come help look after the kids two whole days a week? I feel like something is being left out of this story. Is your health ok? 
 

I had 3 under 2, one with serious medical issues and while it was freaking hard work we never got to that point. 

I don't think it's fair to question the OP about why she needs the help.

I had 4 kids, and 3 were 3 and under - it was tough, and I had no assistance. It would have made a massive difference to get some help, even 2 hours a week.

My mum happily helped out other siblings, who had less kids, but she didn't really lift a finger to help me.  If we could have afforded it, I would have paid for some assistance at home. In the end, I put my 2 middle kids into creche for half a day a week and put up with judgemental comments from my mum and sister. (and this sister, who had many hours a week of unpaid babysitting from my mum - put one of her kids in creche not long after for one day a week !)

Edited by FeralZombieMum
  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hands Up

Our kids are 14 months apart and we had no family help. It really is hard and I survived it by the eldest being in daycare two days a week. 
It honestly does sound like an over reaction OP and I’d be considering two things. Firstly spending the $300 a week on two days of care for the eldest because it sounds like he needs some structure (it doesn’t sound like he’s thriving) and secondly whether a different style of carer is such a bad thing. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...