My parents

gooseeggJanuary 15, 2008

I have a house that is being built. In the meantime, we (my hubby and son) have had to move in with my parents. UGh! we have lost all privacy, all independence, and our minds. Whenever i discipline my son, ie, not doing his homework, and he ends up in trouble, my parents come behind me and pat him on the back and reassure him hes doing just fine. they constantly stand behind me and totally undue any punishment or "talking to" either my husband or i have with my son. my son now thinks he can pretty much run to my parents when he is getting in trouble, or if he is grounded, he just asks them. we have tried and tried and tried to address this with my parents, and my son, but my parents refuse to acknowledge that they are doing anything at all. they are ruining what little parenting we are doing, and we only have less than 60 days to go, but we are at our wits end!!!! anyone have any ideas?

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Be thankful that you have a place to live while your new house is being built. If the issues with your parents are that bad and they won't respect the way you discipline your son, then perhaps you should look for some other place to live.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 4:49PM
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Move out, it's their house. Go stay in a hotel for the remainder of the time.

It's a problem that can't be solved. They adore your son (and you and your husband) and it hurts them to see him unhappy. They are probably very uncomfortable with this situation, and especially dislike the bad feelings between you and your son when you discipline him, so their behavior is directed towards getting those feelings out of the house. Don't scold or correct your parents, that's disrespectful, and a bad example for your son.

If you have to stay, understand that this is a difficult situation for everyone involved, that life isn't normal for any of you, and enjoy the last two months by basking in the love and attention from your parents, and then when you are all living in your own house, you can do what you want.

Good luck and enjoy your new home.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 4:56PM
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we do have to stay, and it is extremely difficult for everyone, but we (the parents) have to deal with my sons attitude and behaviors when we finally do move. We are noticing a huge decline in his respect for us, as well as them, and they think its funny, until they get their own feelings hurt, adn thats just not fair to us.

Realizing that i do know that my parents love me and all of us, thats what makes this so much more difficult. Realizing that they have opened their home to us, but also, they need to realize that we are the parents, and what we say goes.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 5:15PM
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Perhaps the crux of your problem lies with your phrase: "what little parenting we are doing."

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 5:37PM
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How old is your son?

Gee, everyone, she came here for SUPPORT!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 6:27PM
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I know what you are going through. I noticed, when my girl was little, I would go and visit my parents. If I had to do some disciplining, they would just not support me.

I realized, they where coming from a completely different angle, they loved us both, they didn't want to see my daughter upset, so they just tried to "cool" the situation.

Mind you, I was not living there, so I could just go home, and get on with my life. But I knew that this was the situation and I decided it was unfair of me to expect them to back me up in these situations.

So my advice to you is:

Don't assume you will have monumental discipline problems when you move into your new home. I am sure if you are using "positive parenting" techniques, your son will soon fall back into the pattern of behaviour that you want in your household.

60 days will pass quickly, try to enjoy the moments and treasure this time with your parents. They are really helping you out, and your anger and annoyance with the situation is clouding your feelings of happiness in spending time with them.

If your son is misbehaving a lot then perhaps you need to question YOUR methods in controlling the situation. Are you yelling a lot at him, are you a good role model ?

It could possibly be a curious situation for your son, perhaps he is a bit stressed by it all, and just does not know how to react.

Remember they are all good people, you love them, and want the best for them.

Look to yourself to find a solution, perhaps that is the only option you have, perhaps modifying your own behaviour will work wonders.

All the best in your new home.

I am sure things will work out for you.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 6:29PM
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wow, ok. my parenting was never an issue until i had complete resistance from my parents, which is what the issue was. how to handle/cope with the continuing resistance, not how i should just find another place to live, nor was it on how to just enjoy the ride. I just wanted some ideas of how my husband and i can continue to parent, without the parents going behind us, and patting my son on the back for his misbehaviors.

Just imagine this: you discipline your child, and your husband/wife goes right behind you and starts muttering to your child, oh, its ok, dont worry about it...things will be are doing great. and this happens EVERY day, would you not look at the situation a bit different now? you would be angry, dissappointed, distraught, and hurt.

I love my parents more than anything, but this has been addressed, and like i stated before, they refuse to acknowledge that they do anything wrong, or anything at all.

I was just wanting to know if anyone had some opinions.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 6:50PM
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I have never lived with my mom (since my children were born), but for years my mom spent almost every weekend with us, then for about a year she lived with us during the week, then she bought a house one street over from ours. So she is involved in my children's lives a lot, and believe me I can imagine how difficult it is to be in your shoes.

We absolutely had to address the issue with my mom ( who really is a wonderful grandma), as it was never going to go away. But it sounds like your issue is mostly temporary, just 2 or 3 more months.

So you asked for opinions. My opinion is that if they aren't going to change and refuse to acknowledge that they did anything wrong, then just let it go a couple more months. You don't say how old your son is, but if he is elementary school or below, you have plenty of time to correct his behaviors when you're in your own home. Kids are amazingly adaptable and he will learn quickly that his day in the sun is over when you are in your own home. If he is an older elementary student, he should be well able to understand if you explain that grandma and grandpa did their time enforcing rules when you were a kid, and now they just want everyone to be happy. So out of respect and love for their feelings, some of the rules are relaxed but that is temporary.

If your son is in middle school or high school, then he is surely old enough to understand the situation. In that case I would just lay it on the line for him now. I would remind my middleschool or highschooler that this is a great opportunity for him to build my trust by exhibiting mature behavior in the face of great temptation. I'd remind him about how he wants to gain and keep my trust so he can (fill in the blanks here - drive, date, go to the movies with friends, etc.). And I'd remind him that, naturally, if he is immature I will have to keep that in mind WHEN WE ARE IN OUR OWN HOUSE. As tempting as it was to misbehave at Grandma's, it will be even more tempting to misbehave with friends when he can drive and he is out with his buddies. So this is a great opportunity for him to show me what he's made of.

I'm assuming you're not having any problems with a high schooler missing curfew, drinking, drugs, bad grades, which are things I'd have to hold the line on no matter how my parents felt.

I'm sure this situation is about to drive you up the wall. It's temporary, and your son will be fine, unless there are some special considerations or needs that would cause him to have a hard time bouncing back into his normal groove.

I can tell you that I have been the strict mama, and I am so glad I have been. My kids are great and worth every bit of effort I used trying to parent them well. But when I have grandkids I want to just smile, hug them, tell them they are great. Laugh when they have bad table manners and tell them they're sweet, give them candy without worrying about tooth decay. I'm tired of being mom, I want to be grandma. I am so with your mom - just pat them on the back and tell them they're great when you're the grandma. If your child is elementary school or younger, then you will find when your son goes through those difficult teen years that loving grandparents who adore him and tell him he's wonderful even when he loses his retainer, makes C's on his report card, dents the family car, and puts his wet muddy uniform in the laundry hamper on top of mom's nice sweater, well, having grandparents like that in the teen years is a blessing to the entire family.

Hang in there!


Wise and wonderful mom of college freshman boy who (wise) forced him to apply to colleges on time and (wonderful) makes homecooked goodies for dorm.

Evil mom of 15 year old daughter, who doesn't accept C's on report card from daughter who can easily make A's and B's, and doesn't consider "I was trying to make the green light" a valid excuse for speeding or taking the curve too fast.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 7:47PM
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daisy, thank you sooo much for your well written insight. My son is 11, and i really do believe i need to put it out there for him to understand that when he is at our home, when its ready, that i will have to remind him of his lack of respect, therefore he should begin to earn it now, instead of later, as the rules dont just start when we get our house.

As i type, i can totally see many things that need to be said, but to my son, not parents. I understand their wanting to spoil, love, hug and kiss on him, but it was a constantly at all the wrong times..but i am glad that they love him as much as they do :o)

thanks again for the advice.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 8:17PM
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When you discipline him, is your discipline loaded with emotion? If so, perhaps your parents are uncomfortable with the tension.

I believe that children should be respectful, no exceptions. However, in order to get that respect, you have to be consistent and clear with your expectations. Your anger (if it exists) will not get you what you want.

Sit your son down away from your parents, and come up with a game plan. Have consequences for disrespectful behavior, and follow through, without all the loaded emotion.

And thank your parents every single day that they have taken you into their home! :)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 8:42PM
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Ahhh, 11 year old boy, bless your heart.

11 year olds have an amazingly complex world where they constantly weigh competing goals and interests. Your son can understand your dilemma.

Stop expecting help from your parents, accept them the way they are.

Pick your battles. Don't insist on rules that you can't or won't enforce.

11 years old is still very much a child. Pick a carrot-stick approach, make sure all your consequences (both good and bad) are not all long-term, have some short-term rewards and punishments as well as long-term. Pick punishments you can enforce, be creative if you have to.

Make sure you find some time for just your little family, apart from your parents. You want to keep that parent/child bond strong. Go away for a weekend sometimes if you can afford it. If the budget is tight, plan some type of inexpensive day trip. Your parents might need the break as much as you do. Once a week have dinner at McDonald's or somewhere just your little family, or go out to breakfast on Saturday morning. Or spend some time working on your new house, cleaning up the construction area or something.

As much as you think is appropriate, explain the situation to your son. The elephant is in the room, he sees it, best that you acknowledge it and put it in context for him.

Be thankful you are doing this when he's 11, not when he's 15.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 10:21PM
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Daisy has wise, wonderful advice.

Whatever happens in the next 60 days with his grandparents, you will still ultimately have much more impact on your son's life. The living arrangement is temporary, and so is the discipline situation. I agree, too, that as a child, having a grandparent that much in your corner will feel really good when life gets harder. My grandmother was that kind of person for me. I remember my mother having a tizzy once when I was about 14 and tried on some pretty heavy eye makeup. My mother was trying to make me go wash it off, and my grandmother told me how pretty I looked. LOL. The makeup was a phase for me, a short one. My mother's influence lasted all my life, so has the feeling of my grandmother thinking I'm perfect (although I lost my grandmother when I was 19). It's a priceless feeling that lasts a lifetime. Let them have it.

In the meantime. I was thinking you and your DH need to make more time just parent to child. Maybe you could take your DS to the library to get some homework done. Take walks out of the house to chat. Go for a drive, or just to get a softdrink and chat. Get out of the house for a little while when the stress gets high and you need to re-assert yourself as the parent.

At the same time, tell your parents when they have done/said something helpful with your son. All of you can play a game together, to remind you to just enjoy the time together at play.

Decide what is non-negotiable, like homework, and hold your ground. But let other things go, knowing it's temporary. For example, you want him to clean up after himself but Grandma is happy to do it for him, let her and make sure he says thank you.

It's tough to be in a family dynamic where you are both the child and the parent. It's confusing for everyone. I'm sure you son senses there is multiple authority, and maybe takes advantage of it. But it is temporary and you will be able to be the only boss again soon. I think you should remember that one goal here is to leave with a still harmonious relationship between everyone.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 10:23PM
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I read a saying once that said 'grandparents and grandkids are natural allies against the parents.' :)
It's not meant to undercut the parents, it's because grandparents are in love with their grandkids. We think they do no wrong. When we raised our families, we were parents. Now we get to sit back and spoil the grandkids. Be glad your parents have love for your children.
You are living in your parents home. They don't want fighting and fussing..they are use to living alone. There's enough stress with family members moving back in. Don't take what I'm saying personal, I'm just talking from a grandmother's view point. Your parents aren't trying to upsurp your authority, they just see it as 'their grandson', and have a big heart when it comes to him. Try to overlook it. You'll be in your new home in no time and then won't have the daily interference.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 10:38PM
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On the good side, I bet your son and his grandparents, are building up a lovely relationship.

He will always think that they are there beside him, supporting him.

That's kinda nice.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 12:48AM
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thank all of have made me see a whole new side of things, and how i can handle things a lot better, all the while taking much "un-needed" stress off our backs. I was constantly angry for the going behind me, but i especially love the suggestion of going to the library to finish homework (the grandparents cant seem to let him alone to finish that) going and getting a drink, so on and so forth. i always like to give them their own time, and we do in fact go out several times, to give them a breather-so to speak- but i especially like reconfirming the "parent circle" while re-enforcing that us, the parents are the final sayers, not the grandparents.

My purpose was never to beat them down, because i know that they are giving up as much as we (our family) has as well. I love them everyday, and i think that whoever said i need to thank them every day, was right. Maybe they feel under appreciated too.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 9:30AM
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I actually had this same problem with my mom. I tried talking to my mom about it and it basically fell on deaf ears. So, I worked on my kids (mostly my daughter) It took some time of repeating the same things If I say no it means no no matter what. And you don't ask anyone else when one adult especially me has already given you an answer. Eventually it worked. So well infact that over the holidays we went to visit my family and I told the girls no more candy today. When my mom and granny tried to give them some more they replied Im sorrry momma already said no. But we are grandparents we get to spoil. No momma said no I can't.

I was so proud. (infact so proud I did let them have some candy)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 1:08PM
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Sorry, can't let this one go -

Mom of 4, I know you aren't asking for input but I have to say, that's a confusing message to give a child - to give the candy as a reward for refusing the candy.

The best reward to give a child in that situation is to say, "aren't you proud of yourself for having the self restraint to follow my directions, even when grandma offered you candy?" and leave it at that.

Such a response teaches the child to 1. Self reward, by being proud for following rules...which leads to self esteem and responsibility with personal worth as a motivator 2. Count on and trust you and your rules - (there must have been a good reason that mom doesn't want us to have candy - yet here she's giving it to me? There must not have been a good enough reason to begin with...maybe next time I'll ignore the rule, etc)

Sorry to hi-jack, but that was just too good. Funny, and yet a perfect example of something many of us have done which undermines our influence as parents - :)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 2:34PM
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oh I am fully aware... but the I absolutely couldnt resist especially since it was my mom that came and told me "You should be so proud of your girls" "Why" and then she told me the story. I was like woo hoo... So I wandered back inside saying well you know I suppose if you would like you girls can have one more piece of candy...

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 3:17PM
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I know - we've all been softies from time to time - those kids just melt our hearts and make us do crazy stuff - LOL!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 3:44PM
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