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?
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?
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?