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Dr. G.
Dr. G., Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1492
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist in the state of Minnesota
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I have my 27 yr old daughter living with us with her 2 1/2

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I have my 27 yr old daughter living with us with her 2 1/2 year old son. We do not believe in spanking as a means of discipline and none of my 3 children were brought up that way. I have witnessed my daughter spanking my grandson out of pure frustration and anger for not doing what she asked...without even trying other forms of discipline - reinforcement or "time-outs". Do I have a right to tell her that I do not approve of this in my home? We care for our grandson the majority of the time while our daughter works and feel like this behavior undermines the positive "parenting" we practice when he is in our care.
I don't know if you have a right but you do have an obligation and moral duty to intervene. The child needs an advocate; someone to stand up for him because he cannot do it himself. If you see a child getting disciplined out of proportion to the "crime" then intervene. Let your daughter know that it is not acceptable for her to behave in such a manner and you will not have that in your house. Give her alternative methods of disciplining, like the ones you mentioned above. If she knows better then she may do better.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks so much for your candid reply and helping substantiate our position. We are in a very tough situation - always trying to model alternative methods, but instead of considering what might be appropriate for the child, her perspective is that we aren't respecting her "parenting" style and are overstepping our bounds when we suggest that it's "not okay" to spank a child out of frustration. She is caught up in a power struggle or sorts, responding with messages like "It's none of your business" or "It's MY child, I don't care what you think!". She takes the stance that any "house rules" are not applicable to her when it concerns how she chooses to parent/discipline.


When we explain that we've had success with other, non-violent techniques, she gets defensive and says that "...things that work for us, don't necessarily work for her because he behaves differently with her..."


We've given her a couple of parenting books with the hopes that she might be open to other sources, but she doesn't seem to be interested in seeking information or advice from anyone to assist her with the hardship of being a single parent.


We are trying to help her out by letting them live with us until she is in a position to be in our her own and provide for her child. My grandson's father is a deadbeat who abandoned them 2 years ago and has had no contact or financial contribution and lives out of state.


She threatens to move out any time we choose to confront issues (usually out of concern for the welfare of our grandson). We know she is nowhere near being in a stable financial or emotional position necessary to independently support herself and her son - she knows it too but throws out the threat of "up and leaving" whenever she disagrees with us. She uses it as a manipulation tactic, knowing we are helping her out largely because of our grandson. It's not fair that a innocent infant/toddler has to suffer because his parents don't have their act together. We've tried to at least give him a stable, loving environment, as a base, during his formidable years.


We just feel that it's immature and selfish for her to repeatedly threaten to leave - knowing she can't afford to provide the basics for her son and it stresses us out, nevering knowing if she will actually "pull the trigger" and put herself and my grandson in an unstable, struggling situation because she doesn't want anyone "telling her what to do".


It's created a draining environment is which we feel like we are always "walking on eggshells" and trying to balance providing a healthy environment for our grandson and choosing our battles and deciding when to "weigh in", if necessary.


Any further suggestions on how we might handle her threats and convey that while the ultimate goal is for her to live independently, the reality of our daughter's stage of finances doesn't responsibly or realistically present that option right now.


Entitled, irresponsible, and manipulative is what she is. Your house, your rules. No more tap dancing around her manipulative ways. It is time for tough love. Set the rules and expectations it will take for her to remain in the house. If she can't abide by them then she needs to go. If the child is being abused or neglected then report it to child protection services. It is parents like her that won't change their behavior unless drastic intervention takes place.
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