Grandparents and Discipline

My mum looks after my 2-year-old son while I’m at work. It fits in well with my work hours and she enjoys spending time with her grandson. However, she has very different views on discipline to me and seems to contradict what I do. How can I make her respect my views and let me bring up my son my way?

Are we talking smacking here? If so, you have every right and every need to tell your Mum you love and respect her and have no intention of “dissing” her upbringing of you, but that in your family you do not hit. You don’t hit him and since this is your son, neither should she. Full stop.

If it’s other less harmful behaviour, you can say you are raising your son the way that feels best to you, and that she could be confusing him if she insists on contradicting you. Is he finding it difficult to go from one style to another? If so, raise it with her that being very different to you is proving bewildering. Tell her firmly you have your way and you’re happy with it and you would like her to respect your views and prefer her to follow your lead.

If she can’t and you are unhappy and so is he, you may point out your only recourse may be to limit the time she does spend in the future with her grandchildren because while you respect her, you don’t like her way of doing it. Faced with your resolve, she may think again.

He may cheerfully recognise that what happens at grandma’s is different from what goes at home –many children can manage such inconsistency. Rather than her views on how enjoyable is this contact, think about his. If you think he’s happy, be assertive about how you’d like her to behave with him. If he isn’t, look for other childcare.

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