Posted by: Sad | 2003/12/08

Bad mother?

My problem is this. I have a beautiful son of 4 years old. He is my only one, and I had waited for him. I had two miscaraiges before him and 3 after him as well as 2 tube babies.

The thing is, he spends most of his days with my mother in-law and the way she chooses to disciplin him and the way I think is right are two very different things. I get so frustrated with some of the things he does, and for him they seem normal as these are the things that granny allows. I end up shouting at him most of the time that he is with me and I feel awfull about this. He does not know the meaning of the word "NO". He also will get a hiding, and will cry until I pick him up and say I am sorry. He also still sleeps in the same room as my husband and myself. He will stay up as late as his father and I do. We will tell him to go to bed but he refuses. He basically gets everthing that he wants (yes mommy's fault) as I feel quilty for being a working mother and then when we do have time together all I seem to be doing is saying no, shouting and sometimes a hiding.

Am I a bad mother? How does one teach your child the right way when he can do the wrong things by granny. He will be starting nursery school next year, so I hope that that will help. But how do I disciplin him now. How do I make him understand that he is wrong wothout having to feel guilty or having to say I am sorry just so that he will stop crying.

Any advice out there?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Firstly === NO, you are absolutely NOT a bad mother ! And don't feel guilty about having to work. It sounds liek the little fellow has sensed that guilt and is learning to exploit it, helped, without her probably realizing it, by granny who is over-indulging him, as grannies often do. ( grandchildren can be the perfect kids to enjoy --- you can spoil them rotten, and then send them home to have the parents enjoy the consequences of your spoiling. )
I strongly agree with Denise --- this is the time to have a long, cheerful but firm, chat with granny ma-in-law, and explain your policies regarding discipline, and what is and isn't allowed, and how you would like her to help to teach him to keep to YOUR rules. Emphasize her importance in this role, but how essential it is for you both to be keeping to the same rules, rather than to confuse him. And you can mention that this is important to coordinate now, before he goes to nursery school, to mee still other standards. And discuss this with your husband, so that he can support you firmly and enlist his mother's cooperation.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Denise | 2003/12/08

No, I dont think you are a bad mother. It is quite normal for people to have different ideas about discipline. As long as you are not being unreasonable with your discipline. It is a good thing that he is starting nursery school next year. In the meantime, could you not talk with Granny and explain to her your views on discipline. What you allow and don't allow? If you are going on leave over Xmas this would be a good time to start setting your parameters.
Also, a good read is a book called Toddler Taming, by Dr Christopher Greene. I found it helped a bit with my 3 year old.
Good Luck!

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