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Mother's parenting punishment style to my three year old.

(86 Posts)
supremelmp Wed 12-Mar-14 11:01:13

It was my daughter's birthday a couple of days ago. She just turned three but very advanced for her age, so my mother decided to present her with a minnie mouse ballerina statue to keep on her bookcase. It was her's when she was a little girl and I think her's mother's as well. When she opened the present we had a big talk with her about looking after it and it was to go on top of her bookcase where she couldn't reach but she could look at it. My mum told me she had hopes that she'd grow up with it and pass it on to her children. Anyway yesterday I went to a uni lecture and my mum was looking after her. When I got back my daughter had been put to bed (it was lunchtime bit odd for her) and found my mum very upset in the lounge. Apparently my mother was showing her how the statue's mouth moved when you pulled a lever at the back so it looked like it was talking. Apparently the phone rang and she nipped in the next room to grab it, literally 2 seconds (I only live in a small flat) and my daughter picked up the statue and threw it against the wall. Breaking apart of it off. My mum was devastated and smacked her bum and put her in the naughty corner for 15 mins. She also told her that she'd hurt minnie mouse and now she could never get better and it was her fault. Apparently she also said to her about how she changed her mind about taking her to disney in a couple of months time as a late birthday present and now the princesses would never want to see her, then put her to bed to 'think about what she'd done'. Went in to see my daughter and her face was streaked with tears. She said she'd done something really bad and she was really really sorry and didn't want the princesses to hate her. (She's obsessed with disney princesses she's been excited about this holiday for weeks now). I told my mum it was too excessive of a punishment but she's standing her ground saying that she deserved it and she would have done the same with any other child. She said she'd never learn if you just told her it was wrong put her in time out for 3 mins and then gave her a cuddle. We've fallen out now other it, but was talking to my boyfriend about it and while he wasn't big on the smacked bum he agrees with her with the rest of it. Now its 2 against one and I'm doubting my parenting skills when my daughter does something wrong. What do you think of the way she handled it?

AlpacaLypse Wed 12-Mar-14 11:05:24

Your mum is way way over-reacting. She has to accept some of the blame for leaving a three year old with something fragile. She could have taken it with her to the phone, or just let the phone ring a few more times while she put it away.

I also find it hard to believe your dd actually deliberately broke it.

Catnuzzle Wed 12-Mar-14 11:06:14

Way over the top. You're poor DD. She's 3, advanced or not, these things happen. She's been given numerous different punishments for a careless act. You are right, your mother is VERY wrong.

scarletforya Wed 12-Mar-14 11:07:11

Totally and utterly over the top. She's three!

Your Mother was naive to leave something so obviously precious in the hands of a three year old while she left the room. Ok, your Dd shouldn't have thrown it but three year olds do things like that.

A fifteen minute time out and sent to bed is bad enough. But to tell her the princesses will hate her was spiteful and childish of your Mother. She's supposed to be the adult, she let her own emotions get the better of her.

Ubik1 Wed 12-Mar-14 11:07:42

She's three. sad

She has done something in a moment of impulse without fully realising the consequences of her actions. yes it was wrong to treat a toy like that...but if you give a pre-schooler a gift like that you have to bar in mind it may be broken.

Anyway it's done now.

I would tell your mother:

1) Smacking is absolutely forbidden (if that's in line with your parenting)
2) child does not understand about disneyland etc etc
3) 15 mins in time out is also too long

It's fine to tell her off for throwing the toy

OrangeMochaFrappucino Wed 12-Mar-14 11:08:09

The situation was completely avoidable and entirely your mum's fault. She should never have given a 3yo anbreakable toy with sentimental value. Her punishment is wildly excessive and frankly horrible. I feel so sorry for your daughter.

The smacking alone would ensure that woman was never left with any of my children again. I would be furious and would never forgive that.

MeepMeepVrooom Wed 12-Mar-14 11:10:23

You're Mum is beyond out of order.

Got to admit I would lose the plot if my Mum did this. I wouldn't want someone like that around my child either if I'm honest.

Nobody including myself has any right to raise their hand to my daughter. For me there is a line and your mother has gone waaaaaay beyond.

Hope your daughter is ok. I just want to give her a cuddle after reading your post. Stick to your guns OP you sound like a good Mum.

shakinstevenslovechild Wed 12-Mar-14 11:10:32

Oh my goodness that is bloody awful.

This may not be helpful but if anyone smacked my child, let alone all the rest of it about the princesses hating her, putting her to bed and being in the naughty corner for 15 minutes they would never see me or my dc again.

Your poor dd.

thanks for you, what an awful situation to come home to.

scarletforya Wed 12-Mar-14 11:11:53

Just re-read your Op and saw she smacked her too!

I'd be seriously annoyed about that.

PublicEnemyNumeroUno Wed 12-Mar-14 11:11:56

Wow that is way over the top, how many punishments for one incident?! Yes the figurine was precious and had been in the family for a long time, but knowing that, why would you leave it in the hands of a 3 year old?

Your mum was really out of order

BrianTheMole Wed 12-Mar-14 11:13:38

Bloody hell. Thats very OTT. Was your mum supposed to be taking her to disney land then?

elfycat Wed 12-Mar-14 11:14:33

She's 3 for goodness sake. No matter how advanced she's still a very young child who is at the beginning of a lifetime of learning. This is one tiny broken item out of many to come before she can possibly start to understand that things can be precious, or that broken things cannot always be mended.

And as for the smack... if it is in your parenting style, and your mother is in loco parentis looking after her then I could see it as OK-ish. But I would imagine the smack was not for the perceived bad behavior but rather as punishment and out of anger for the broken item that your mother was emotionally attached to. In which case I'd be angry.

It's your mother's fault as she should have supervised her precious item. As it's an acceptable punishment to your mother I suggest you smack her and send her for a time out to think about her behavior (not really but...)

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Wed 12-Mar-14 11:18:48

Your daughter is THREE! your mum totally overreacted.

It sounds like she hit your daughter out of anger and then really went for her in every way she could. That is wrong. Really wrong.

Perhaps the figurine frightened your daughter and that's why she threw it.

Or maybe your mum had been waving it in her face for ages.

Or maybe she has the lack of impulse control that, oh, I dunno, a three year old has! hmm

Either way, a three year old child behaved like a three year old child and a grown woman behaved like a three year old child!

hitting, yelling, threatening, talking about how it's All Your Fault and I'm not going to do X, Y, Z now... - is someone who has lost control. She wasn't punishing your child for throwing something, she was raging at her because that figurine obviously means so much to her. In which case - she should never have given it to a toddler.

MeepMeepVrooom Wed 12-Mar-14 11:19:26

Do you know, besides everything else in your post your Mum was also in the wrong for leaving it in her care while she answered the phone.

This post has really annoyed me.

Blu Wed 12-Mar-14 11:19:28

So, after expecting a 3 year old to understand the preciousness of things, and to take care of delicate things, your Mum smacked her, made her stand in the naughty corner for 15 mins, sent her to bed, withdrew a most fabulous trip and birthday present, AND guilt tripped her and made her feel that all the princesses will hate her?

I can understand that on the spur of the moment your Mum would have felt upset at the damage ot a sentimental heirloom, and at that point ant reasonable grandparent would have been kicking themselves.

She was projecting on to your dd, wanting your dd to live out her childhood for herself. Of course your dd shouldn't have thrown it - and should have been told off for that. And shown that things break and cannot be properley mended if you throw them.

Your Mum completely over-reacted and I think it is even worse that as she has calmed down she has dug her heels in and tried to justify herself rather than calming down and admitting that withdrawing the Disney trip and smacking her etc was way way over the top.

I think it is horrible that she smacks her anyway. Do you accept your mother smacking your dd?

Did your dd say why she threw it at the wall? It may be worth asking her that?

Morgause Wed 12-Mar-14 11:20:22

She knew if she threw it at the wall it would break and she also knew how important it was to your mother.

At 3 both my DCs would have known not to do that.

I disagree with the smack but not with the punishment, at 3 she knew what she was doing.

MeepMeepVrooom Wed 12-Mar-14 11:25:48


You agree with sending her to bed in the middle of the day? Making her stand in the naughty corner for 15 minutes? Withdrawing a holiday which has been promised? And making a small child believe that the princesses hate her?


Fuck growing up in your household.

elfycat Wed 12-Mar-14 11:25:54

Then you have amazing DC Morgause because I'm not sure my emotionally mature, normal trending 5yo DD would understand all of that to a decent level. My 3yo is at the 'what happens if I stick a blue ball up my nose?' phase so not really able to think through consequences. I'd say that doing something to find out the result is quite normal experimentation for young children. Or doing things and not being able to express why because there is no logical explanation.

At 3 she would not have known what she was doing in the same way as we perceive it.

Blu Wed 12-Mar-14 11:27:24

How is your relationship generally with your Mother?

Would you be able to have a calm sit down with her, tell her you really sympathise with her upset at the damage, understand the sentimental value etc, and do agree that your dd should not have done it.

But you need to discuss how to care for he together, and that in the end she is YOUR dd and while you value her advice you are not obliged to agree or follow it.

The poor, poor child. tbh unless your Mum shows some perspective over this and promises never to lose it like that again and hit her and shout at her, I honestly wouldn't let her look after her again.

Blu Wed 12-Mar-14 11:30:02

And the child is only a few days past being 2.

There is a MASSIVE differnce between an 'almost 4' 3 yo and a 'only just past 2' 3YO.

DesiderataDisciple Wed 12-Mar-14 11:32:04

Did you mum over-react when you were a child and did something wrong ?

I'd say your mum lost her temper with a 3 year old and would be wary of leaving them alone together from now on.

I know it may be of dubious assistance but have you asked your DD why she threw the figurine against the wall ?

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 11:34:50

Your mother lost her temper and carried on punishing wanting to hurt your child in any which way that she could.

Way out of line. A smack (and how hard) AND a naughty step for 15 minutes.. then sent to bed not to mention anything else. Christ I would have laid my mother out.

LadyInDisguise Wed 12-Mar-14 11:37:18

Your mum was in the wrong all the way, starting wi8th the fact that she left something very fragile in the hands on a 3yo (It doesn't matter if they are advance. She is still 3yo).

The issue is that this object was actually very precious to your mum so she was expecting your dd to treat it with utmost care, a care that she couldn't have.
As for throwing it on the wall... unless your dd has form to do that (but them I would have never left it with her), I am hmm

runningonwillpower Wed 12-Mar-14 11:37:33

I agree with PublicEnemy - how many punishments are appropriate?

I'm not even sure that any 'punishment' at that age is appropriate other than a cross word and explanation.

But regardless of age and the merits of the offence, I'm a great believer in the 'punishment should fit the crime'. Even the smacked bum is better than than withholding the promise of a future treat. At least it is relevant to the moment. What 3 year old can understand consequences to that extent - it's just cruel.

She did one silly thing and it should be treated as such. Instead she's being made to feel like a bad child and that's not right.

littlemissbrum Wed 12-Mar-14 11:38:37

If my mum had done that, she wouldn't be left alone with my kid again. Way out of line. Your instincts are right. Don't doubt them

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