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Mum being a bit off with me and discipline of DD (20 months)

(25 Posts)
cottonreels Mon 04-Jul-11 13:09:43

I don't know if this is really in the right section, but here goes. Its also a bit long winded - sorry!
My mum is lovely. Always helpful, cant do enough for her children (I have two brothers), tells us all the time how much she loves us.
But recently there have been a couple of times Ive felt quite hurt by something she has said.
Incident 1:
My DP and I took our DD (20 months) to a caravan site where they were staying. We decided to stretch out bedtime and stay and have a couple of drinks with them and some other relatives (also staying there). It was a bit of a party atmosphere and we thought - why not? However DD started to become obviously tired only 20 mins after her normal bedtime. No problem I though - I'll walk her around the campsite for a bit in her pram until she's dozing off and transfer her into the bedroom in the caravan.
To cut a long story short, she ended up crying a lot and I took her out of the caravan and rocked her a bit outdoors where she promptly vomited over herself and me. I was a bit shock because we had no spare clothes with us etc (only live a few miles away). My mum then said, as I was trying to undress still screaming little girl "Well, you wanted a baby" (back story is I tried for a baby for a long time). It was quite sort of snidey and I was really taken aback as its so unlike her, so just responded with " thats not very helpful right now is it". Nothing else said about it, we kissed all and left.
Incident 2
My mum and dad have just been staying for a few days with us. I went on an overnight spa break with my friend - first time Ive ever had a night away from DD. They looked after DD (Partner works away in the week). I was really grateful, thanked them profusely, they were happy to spend time with her etc etc - so far all good. BUT, on my return DD (20 months ) was super clingy.
We called at a sale at a nearby industrial unit the following day. DD was whiny and my mum popped her outside to wait with my dad who didnt want to come in. I guess she did that as the sale only lasted 1/2 hour and she thought I wouldnt be able to browse anything.
I shop, get to desk, suddenly hear screaming bloody murder outside, I leave my purse on counter as it sounds so bad and run outside. I see DD standing next to my dad arms up just bawling her eyes out and my dad just turning away from her and saying "what (do you want)?" Clearly, he couldnt cope with her whinginess and I wanted to know why he didnt just bring her in to me (he didnt try distraction techniques or anything as when his children were young mum would have done all this). He just said quite angrily "that was really embarrassing. You should just tell her no more often". Mum was quiet.
Ok, I could have just left it there as dad loves his DGC but doesnt really know how to interact with them until theyre older. But later, I said to mum "so, was that what you think aswell, that I should say no more often too" and she said "yes. Youre always giving in to her". I asked for examples once it had sunk in that she thought I wasnt disciplining effectively but she wouldnt/couldnt give me even one example. Said " I dont really want to talk about this" almost as if there was a lot more she was afraid of saying??
So, now im at a loss. My DD does not speak yet other than name some nouns that are in her direct sight. She can't tell me what she wants other than by pointed and babbling.
I dont give her everything she wants eg bar of chocolate, a glass, an expensive anything etc, but if she points to one of her toys, an empty juice carton with the lid on or a random sock or something than yes, she can have it.
Basically, Im confused. I feel like my mum is getting at me for some reason (If I asked her, I know she'd deny it) and feel really down that I give my DD a lot of myself (SAHM) and I thought we were doing really well, but that maybe people are thinking I'm not discipling enough.
I do withdraw attention from my DD if she's hit out at people or things ( a sort of time out), or if she throws a tantrum over not getting her own way, but I do think I cant really start proper discipling until she can communicate with me and understand a sentence like " you need to wait with grandad, mummy will be back in 5 mins).
I guess I have 2 issues really, something is going on between mum and me, and am I being blind to the fact my 'baby' is now of an age where she should get a stricter approach?
Well done if you read all that! blush
Im really dwelling on it and would appreciate any thoughts.

Proudnscary Mon 04-Jul-11 13:46:27

It took me years to realise that, in the same way that we have to adapt to the huge challenges/shock (and delights) or parenthood, so too do grandparents.

From an outside perspective, these incidents are really quite minor and the comments not so bad - I'm not belittling your feelings however.

I remember similar comments and having to keep the steam from coming out of my ears!

Nearly all grandparents believe that today's parents are too indulgent. This, I think, is partly because it's true but largely because it has been a looooong time since they had little ones and, quite simply, they have forgotten what toddlers are like and the different strategies you employ to pacify them.

According to my MIL, they NEVER picked up a crying child - EVER. That's three children - yeah right! All three kids slept through the night at 12 weeks, sprouted teeth with not a moan or a snivel etc etc etc. The kids 'more or less brought themselves up'. Riiiigghht.

When we put ds on the naughty step I was met with 'seems far crueller to me than a quick smack'. When I confided in her that I felt we'd been too harsh with dd as a toddler, she listened for ages then simply said 'God your generation overthink things, I don't think we ever had a conversation about how to bring ours up'!!

Anyway all the GPs are now generally lovely and it all sort of sorted itself out.

I hope this all makes a grain of sense!!

Proudnscary Mon 04-Jul-11 13:48:12

(adapt to the changes of parenthood, not or parenthood obviously)

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Mon 04-Jul-11 14:02:08

your mum is jelouse of you because when she looked after her own kids she didnt have nights away and stuff like that so she dosnt see why you should have it . Thats my two pennith worth . lol

ChristinedePizan Mon 04-Jul-11 14:02:18

I think grandparents quite often forget how completely unreasonable toddlers can be. You could try talking to your mum and explaining to her that your DD responds better to being distracted so that if your dad had shown her some trees or found some ants for her to watch or something, she would have calmed down a lot quicker and that that's what you find works best.

It is really difficult at times but she is your DD and she sounds completely normal to me and I can't see any evidence of spoiling her from what you have said.

And what proudnscary said too

cottonreels Mon 04-Jul-11 14:05:17

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply proudnscary. You're right, the comments dont seem so bad written down, but its all in the way they were said and that the first situation was so out of character for my mum. I seriously wondered for a moment if Id misheard (I didnt). Also that as I'd waited a long time to conceive, I should have a huge grin on my face for evermore. Like Im not 'allowed' to feel a bit agrieved or tired or anything - because I wanted this.
According to my MIL, they NEVER picked up a crying child - EVER. This really made me laugh and seems to epitomise what I feel they are saying to me. However, my DD had been left for the first time ever and is now super clingy (probably as a result, so now I feel guilty too). How could someone not offer comfort to a 20 month old? I totally don't get it. Although I DO wonder if I'll recognise that the time is here to start upping the anti on all the discipline.
Just sad really about mum not understanding and not feeling as close to her all of a sudden.

cottonreels Mon 04-Jul-11 14:12:11

Ahh thanks everyone, am starting to cry now. Really have been bottling this up I think.
Theres been a lot of remarks about how their children didn't need black out blinds, slept easily in the car didnt need 'all this equipment' too. Though when i asked in detail how mum had done it then it transpires they never had a night away from home, we slept on mums lap or laying down on the back seat of the car (pre- seatbelt legislation). When I asked how she got the daytime naps sorted she said we just used to fall asleep over the toys spilling out of the toy box where she either left us shock or transferred us up to the cot.
It doesnt therfore add up to me that she was so laid back but then told us 'no' every five minutes.

cottonreels Mon 04-Jul-11 14:14:01

It doesnt help that I can't turn to a discipline book to see if I'm not acting quick enough as the ones Ive found all start from age 2. Doesn't that say it all though?

naturalbaby Mon 04-Jul-11 14:18:29

20 months is far too little for proper discipline - other than what you describe you are doing. they are going through a difficult time (terrible two's are called terrible for a reason!) and need understanding, sympathetic adults to help them deal with this huge developmental growth spurt they are going through.

you can either bring it up with your mum to challenge her comments or tell her how you feel about things, or wait till another situation comes up where you could prove/explain your point e.g she's crying because she wants to be picked up, she's only little and she's tired so what is wrong with picking her up??

obviously your parents aren't going to treat your dd exactly the same as you but that doesn't mean they can leave her distressed and crying without trying to distract/comfort her. kids cry when they are upset/confused, they need an understanding adult to comfort them!

i don't know what her problem was when your dd vomited at the caravan. unless you were complaining about dealing with it at the time then i can't see why she felt the need to say what she did.

naturalbaby Mon 04-Jul-11 14:20:41

if you want a book about 'discipline' for this age then toddler sense is a great one. it describes how and why toddlers act the way they do and what you can do to help them.

oohjarWhatsit Mon 04-Jul-11 14:44:09

If you reflect, do you think she is overly whiny and do you think you give in to her?

wrongdecade Mon 04-Jul-11 15:25:12

I've been in this situation its hard to keep the steam for coming out of your ears and not to become homicidal with rage.

you did right to pick her up ask for examples etc don't let that kind of behaviour slide or you make a rod for your own back, (I mean rude remarks)

toddlers are difficult just aslong as you know you say no when appropriate etc

Go and have a really loud scream and then carry on lol

Proudnscary Mon 04-Jul-11 15:36:21

Cottonreels, there were times I cried too (and trust me, I ain't a crier!!) - I really do empathise and sympathise.

I found it so helpful when I had the lightbulb moment. Well two lightbulb moments. One - they have to get used to being grandparents and get used to dealing with very young children again. And two - their 'memories' of life with toddlers are largely a load of old bollocks!!

Oh and the other big thing was my ds was NOT keen on MIL for the first 3 years because she was too harsh and clearly trying to counterbalance my obviously over-indulgent parenting hmm - but when she adapted her behaviour and had more fun with him and was more affectionate, she got so much in return from him.

cottonreels Tue 05-Jul-11 10:08:18

Thanks sooo much everyone, youve all been really helpful. Got too busy yesterday to return to MN!
oohjar - I do give in to her whinyness if she just wants to be picked up. I have no idea whether thats a bad thing or not, but it feels right to offer her comfort.
I think im going to have to develop a thicker skin, just shrug and say 'that so?, mmm, hmmm?' and leave it there.

cestlavielife Tue 05-Jul-11 10:18:47

" " you need to wait with grandad, mummy will be back in 5 mins)." youc an teach "back soon" - do it at home, make it a game - extended version of peek a boo really - settle her with a toy, go out of room saying "back soon" - go out til she notices you gone and shouts - then come back "hi i am back".

keep it simple - teach her "back soon" really means that you will be back at some point .

if you use same words every time she will elarn - doesnt have to be "back soon" - use whatever words make sense to you but be consistent, same phrase each time. dont make it too complicated "stay with grandma, mummy back soon" is enough

tigana Tue 05-Jul-11 10:19:24

As everyone has already said:
-20months is too young for 'discipline'. Sounds like you are doing fine, give her appropriate things she is reaching for but cannot access herself (her own toys, random socks" and not sharp knives/beer/pills. Hug her when she needs comforting. Say "No" when she is actually naughty ( hits someone for example) but be ready for her to do it again ( she is 20 mnths she is learning)
- grandparents have to adjust. First to being around a young child again, and also to the fact that the child isn't theirs to parent as they wish.

Stand firm. Stay confident, you are doing fine. Perfect the art of singing "lalalalalalala" in your head and smiling serenely while your parents/in laws/anyone give you "helpful advice" on child rearing.

pallymama Tue 05-Jul-11 10:35:34

Sounds like your father's reaction was more out of embarassment than anything else. (I don't mean embarassed of your DD, but of the situation he didn't prevent or control.) I agree wholeheartedly that you could have just left it there! Although I know that in the same situation, I would have had to call them later and ask what was meant by it! blush

My DD is 20 months too, sometimes she whines to be picked up, and I always do! I won't even consider not giving her a cuddle if she wants or needs one. Distraction doesn't seem to work very well on her though, she's as stubborn as a mule! (No idea who she inherited that from <looks shifty> ) After something I read on here, I have taken to reasoning with her, which so far has worked wonders, from bringing her back from the edge of a total meltdown, to avoiding tantrums before they start.

Everyone does what works for them. I'm no expert, but it sounds like you're doing just fine. The thicker skin sounds like a good idea, if you have any tips on how to grow some, please let me know! :D

pallymama Tue 05-Jul-11 10:37:46

Cross posts with tigana, really should hit refresh before posting. blush I will remember the "lalalala" tactic, thank you!

pippop1 Tue 05-Jul-11 10:58:18

I agree with cestlavie. I think you need to explain in the most simple words what is going to happen. Even if she doesn't understand it at first she will eventually.

BertieBotts Tue 05-Jul-11 11:06:54

If you change the way you think about "discipline" it really helps with little ones. Remember it's not just about rewards and punishments - children aren't dogs, they can understand much more grin

Discipline means "to teach" - so in fact you're doing it all the time, probably without realising it. Model the behaviour you want, saying please, thank you, sorry, you're welcome etc. She'll pick it up then as a normal pattern of speech. With things like hitting, under the age of about 2 I would treat it as though they didn't mean to do it or they didn't understand that it would hurt someone. (after 2 use discretion) So instead of "No, that's naughty!" I'd say "Hey! Be careful, that toy is hard" or "Careful, you just hurt mummy" etc. And remove hard toys (with a warning) if they aren't being played with gently. I try not to shout, and I never hit, including e.g. if DP annoys me I wouldn't go and punch him in the arm in front of DS. DS will pull me up on it if I am shouting, and I always try to listen to him if I can or explain why. This seems to work because now even if he's really upset about something and shouting if I ask him to talk nicely he will do. That did take a while, but with me consistently listening and obliging when he said "Stop shouting, mummy, talk nicer-ly" he talks nicely when I ask now as well.

And remembering to tell him what's going on and what's likely to happen and what's expected of him before we go into a new situation is really helpful as well, especially if it's something like we're going to a friend's house where he had trouble sharing before, I remind him before we go in that we need to play nicely and take turns and if he feels cross he should say "Stop it, X!" etc etc.

IMO cuddles can never be construed as a reward - you should never ever withdraw love, even if you're withdrawing other privileges etc. Once she's talking better you can say "I don't like that whiny voice, DD, if you want a cuddle you only have to ask for one." but I wouldn't refuse a cuddle even if she was whining.

I think it's really hard too when people are being critical especially just in a moment when your DC are playing up. I don't know about you but it tends to make me feel really self conscious if DS is acting up, especially if I can tell people are watching and disapproving, so I get defensive even to well-meaning, supposedly helpful comments, if someone was to say something smug or imply that I was doing everything wrong then I probably would snap at them! Even though I am happy with the way I am bringing DS up, know that generally he's brilliantly behaved, and I know all children just act up sometimes whatever style of discipline or whatever you use, in the moment I just always feel as though I have to defend myself.

Chandon Tue 05-Jul-11 11:10:58

sounds like normal generation gap problem to me.

It is just quite different now, we don't let our toddlers cry as much, we try to appease them more, we want them to have a "perfect childhood" we want to be "excellent mothers". We would drop everything if we hear them cry (your DC would probably have been fine really, and crying for a bit won't do her any harm probably?)

Whereas for our parents, often having children was something that "happened to you" and you made the best of it, but you'd expect the baby or child to fit in with the adults.

Whereas our generation of parents try to fit with their toddler/child's world IYSWIM.

It's quite a different approach.

when my children were a bit older than your one, they learned very quickly that if they whined or cried, granddad would ignore them or walk away.

So they were much better behaved with him, they knew that to get his attention they had to be on best behaviour, and then he would do fun games or read to them. He just didn't "do" whining/crying, and I was amazed how well it worked, a nd it really helped me to remember that when I disciplined them at home! Kids are smart.

Mind you, your DC is still a bit little for this approach.

cottonreels Tue 05-Jul-11 13:13:40

Do you know, I was reluctant to post on here as it felt disloyal somehow to my mum. BUT, I'm really glad i did, you've all given such great advice!
Chandon - there is a lot of truth in what youre saying. My mum started having her chidren when she was 19, me - Im aproaching 40. Theres a massive difference there alone, and when you consider that times have changed too, its hardly suprising that we would have different approaches. And yes, i want for her the 'perfect childhood' and I want to be the 'perfect mother' - Im already finding thats quite a challenge!
pollymama - do you think you could post a 'typical' way in which you might reason with her? Im wondering if Im not doing a lot of that thinking that she just wont understand.

cestlavielife - Thats a really good idea (back soon). Im gonna implement that today (if I can peel her off me!)
Her daddy started working away for part of the week a few months ago now and she's been incredibly clingy since then. I even rang the health visitor and she confirmed that shes probably wondering if mummy will just disappear for a few days too. Shes absolutely fine when Im not here but often she'll even want to play with her toys whilst on my knee, one hand holding on to my top. Ahhh, it IS lovely to be so loved smile

cottonreels Tue 05-Jul-11 13:16:40

Thanks Bertiebotts, thats helpul too

cottonreels Tue 05-Jul-11 13:25:16

Just ordered Toddler Sense

naturalbaby Tue 05-Jul-11 14:43:14

Yay! good luck with your dd (and your parents!)
ds1 is going to start nursery soon and has been so emotional and clingy it's making it all really hard. i've had hysterics with dh left for work from him and his little brother - normally they say a cheerful bye bye and carry on with their day.

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