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Parenting, unsolicited advice, I can parent my own kids

How to Parenting advice ~ Unsolicited Co-Parenting

by Deborah Cruz

How to parenting advice ~ Parenting without unsolicited advice or intervention is something that I am happy to do. I love my kids. I had them because I wanted to be a parent. I don’t need anyone else, no matter how well meaning their intentions may be, stepping in and grabbing the parenting reins. We all get our fair share of “how to parenting advice”, sometimes by people are not even parents,but how many of us had had someone actually step in and flex their how to parenting muscles?

how to Parenting, unsolicited advice, I can parent my own kids, children,moms

Kindly STFU, I can parent my own kids. NO how to parenting intervention needed

We are in a situation where we are currently living with the Big Guy’s parents. It is very generous that they allow us to live in their house while our house is on the market. It really is and I truly appreciate the sacrifice they are making. We tried the whole commuter marriage for two years and Sunday’s just became too much to bear. But lately I see the lines becoming blurred. It’s slowly but surely evolving into a too many cooks in the kitchen scenario.

I’ve noticed my MIL raising her voice a little more at my kids lately. She’s taken it upon herself to tell a 4 and 6 year old that they need to help out around the house more. What? 4 and 6, people not 14 and 16. They already set the table, help load the dishwasher and feed the dog. This seems like a lot to me, aside from picking up their toys. After a particularly aggressive conversation between her and the girls my husband stepped in and reminded her of their ages. She responded ,”Well, I just thought I’d teach them some responsibility.” Is she implying that we do not discipline them or are too permissive in our parenting?

How to parenting interventions are Most always Unwanted

I can feel the judging eyes and impatient stares when the children misbehave. I feel like my every parenting move is under scrutiny. How do I stop this? I ‘ve tried the firm yet gentle approach but my efforts seems to go unnoticed.

Sitting at the dinner table the other night, I watched in muted shock as she scolded my children for not eating everything on their plate. I am trying to teach them to eat until they are full and then stop. I have rules that they have to eat certain amounts of fruit, vegetables and milk. They are never obligated to finish carbs. In fact, I prefer they not. But she stepped in and reprimanded them for NOT eating the 3 helpings of carbs in its entirety.

I feel like my hands are tied because of the situation we are in and I really prefer not to be homeless. How do you tell your MIL that her, assumed, well meaning how to parenting interventions are stepping on your parenting toes? I know she loves them and she’s a good parent, after all, she did raise the Big Guy and he’s pretty freaking amazing. But these are our children and we are the only authoritative figures that should be parenting our children. I appreciate wise how to parenting tips from someone who’s been there already but I feel we can parent effectively all on our own.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think she is doing this to be nasty or undermine our parenting or even intentionally. I just think she thinks she is doing what is best. She’s a fixer. If there’s a perceived problem she fixes it. I am more concerned with the effect that it is having on the girls. They are getting confused about who is in charge. My 4 year old told me the other day that is was Grandma’s house and she makes the rules. Which we all know is true except for when you live at Grandma’s house. In any case, Mommy and Daddy always have supreme reign over the children. Even worse, I am afraid that going from being the visiting, doting Grandmother who loves to spend time with them to the Grandma who they see every day and she reprimands and has no patience for them may hurt the relationship between her and our girls.

Am I looking a parent resource gift horse in the mouth or am I right in feeling like my parenting skills are being questioned? We all know how hard it is to parent in the first place, try doing it with your every parenting move being under a microscope. Has this ever happened to you? Has a parent or well intentioned family member or friend stepped in and parented on your behalf, without your permission? What did you do? How would you handle this sticky how to parenting situation?

No how to parenting assistance needed

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Jennifer 2012/01/24 - 11:06 am

I have no idea what I would do in this situation. Probably stew about it until I blew my top and made everyone mad. The best thing is to have your husband explain to her every time that while you really appreciate staying in her house, you would prefer her to be the grandmother and not the mother. It isn’t her job to correct your children or to teach them what is “right.” Even if she disagrees with your right.

Truthful Mommy 2012/01/24 - 11:11 am

I totally agree. I did tell him that he has to talk to her. It’s not my place. It will be softer coming form him because he is her son. But it’s hard not to get aggravated. I know she doesn;t do it on purpose, but it doesn’t make it any less hurtful to me. Thanks for your advice.

Bobbi 2012/01/24 - 11:14 am

I agree with Jennifer.

Truthful Mommy 2012/01/24 - 11:24 am

THank you for weighing in!

Tracy 2012/01/24 - 11:31 am

My in-laws are … well, my words for them are not for polite company 😉 I kept thinking that no one else could be dealing with the kind of crap I get from them but then I hear about everyone else and decided that bad in-laws are just a universal truth.

We actually had to go to marriage counselling to learn how to deal with them – the best thing that came out of it was the rule that the child deals with his/her own parents. So if your MIL is overstepping, your hubby is the one to tell her to back off, while you stay in the good books. Best of luck to you. That didn’t work for us, since my husbands parents are completely narcissistic. :/

Truthful Mommy 2012/01/24 - 3:54 pm

I think that sounds like good advice. If it were my parents,I’d handle it, no problem.
Did I mention she occasionally reads the blog so I may in fact be homeless after hitting publish on this one:)

Carolyn West 2012/01/24 - 11:58 am

What if you told your MIL that the girls were getting mixed signals with both of them disciplining them and teaching them the rules. Explain that you are their mother and need to be the only one setting rules for them and telling them what to do. If the MIL has an issue, she should come talk to you or your husband first before she disciplines the kids.

Truthful Mommy 2012/01/24 - 3:52 pm

THis is what we actually did, a couple weeks ago after our pediatrician said exactly the same thing. Apparently, she didn’t fully realize what I was saying:) I’ll try again.

Abbi 2012/01/24 - 4:24 pm

Dude… we lived with my inlaws, sister-n-law (holier than thou bitch), and her husband and at the time 3 kids. At the time, we only had our firstborn. It was HORRIBLE. You may have to have a come-to-Jesus meeting. I feel your pain.

Cynthia M 2012/01/24 - 8:05 pm

It is absolutely your husband’s place to deal with his parents. The problem here is that you are living in their home. It is easy for parents to slip back into a parenting role when their grown children move back home. And to some extent, Grandma does makes the rules in Grandma’s house, even if you are living there. That doesn’t extend to telling them to clean their plates or do more chores than you and your husband feel they’re ready for.

I think the compromise here is that your husband needs to encourage Grandma to come to the two of you with her concerns rather than going directly to the girls. He should let her know that you both value her opinion and experience, but that you still reserve the right to make the final parenting decisions.

This is a stressful time for all of you. Grandma and Grandpa haven’t had small children living in their house for some time and are used to living a certain way. You, of course, are stressed with the uncertainty of selling your home. As long as everyone recognizes the impact of the situation on all concerned, you should be able to work this situation out. Good luck.

Sonita Lewis 2012/01/24 - 9:00 pm

How about you and hubs sitting down with the in-laws and discussing and then WRITING OUT AND POSTING rules.

Yes, you are the parents, but it is their house. So, you both should have some say in it.

Maybe your MIL would be willing to back down form the clean plate rule if you’re willing to give your kids more chores. My kids are exactly one year older than both of yours-and for over a year now they have been in charge of cleaning their bathroom (with Clorox wipes) daily. They also sometimes sweep and mop. They wipe down the tables daily. etc

But decide together what the rules are (you and hubs should discuss before hand which rules you aren’t willing to give in on and which ones you can) and how to handle when rules are broken.

A ‘house rules’ poster might sound corny, but in this situation I think it is worth it.

Truthful Mommy 2012/01/26 - 9:51 am

GReat ideas. Not corny. It keeps things straight forward and leaves no wiggle room for blurred expectations.Thank you for the idea.

susan 2012/01/25 - 3:48 am

ouch ouch. going through the same thing with my parents right now – when they come to me evenf or a few hours – certainly there’s the issue of their age, the fact that I have noisy kids, one is bolshy in the extreme at times…but still REALLY hard when someone else is parents MY kids in what I consider MY space.
This is one for the bloke to sort I think…and better now than when you have a massive blowup and it wrecks the grandparent relationship irrepairably

Truthful Mommy 2012/01/26 - 9:51 am

I agree. The big Guy is going to have to handle his own parents.

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