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Disciplining grandchildren

(16 Posts)
GrandmaAnge Thu 19-May-11 12:59:06

Just wondered how other grandparents coped with the thorny problem of "disciplining" grandchildren when they are at their house?

As ours live in New Zealand and we go out to see them each year, we tend to have them over to stay for a day or two at a time. My philosophy is to keep any stern words about behaviour to a minimum and usually along the lines of "I'm sure your mum and dad would not be happy to hear that you've been ....."

However, it does beg the question Should our rules always apply in our home? Our four are not, thank goodness, very unruly or difficult, just normal, boisterous children sometimes getting over-excited.

My husband struggles with the concept of not imposing discipline on home turf, and I've been known to take away toys or sweets if bad behaviour persists. But when we are at their house, my daughter has already asked us not to be involved in any discipline-related matters (even backing up her and her husband) as she says this is a parental not a grandparental matter.

absentgrana Thu 19-May-11 15:05:19

Your house, your rules. By asking you not to be involved in any discipline-related matters your daughter is basically giving her children carte blanche to do whatever they like – children pick up unspoken messages very quickly. However generally well behaved they are, all children can sometimes do something dangerous (to themselves or others), destructive, rude, unpleasant, selfish or otherwise unacceptable. Equally, she will be sending confusing messages to her children if the behaviour she doesn't allow is, apparently, allowed in your house.

maxgran Thu 19-May-11 16:56:57

My Grandchildren know what behaviour we expect in my house and they behave.
We started as we meant to go on - if they did something we did not like they were told firmly and were stopped if necessary. We have always been consistent with them and because of that we find we don't really have any naughty episodes.
At my Daughters or sons house its up to them, however, I have been known to give my teenage grandon a 'look' when he has been cheeky to his Mum - and that is usually enough. The grandchildren usually respond to me and my husband better than they do to their parents !

Your rules should always apply in your home - but always rethink them if there are conflicts with your children.

Jangran Sun 22-May-11 13:02:31

You need to discipline your grandchildren when you are in charge of them, and you need to know the approach your children take towards discipline, so that there is a similarity.

Discipline is important for young children, but remember that the word "discipline" comes from the Latin "disco", which means "I learn".

Incidentally, what thrills me is that my grandchildren can misbehave with me, but not with either of their other sets of grandparents.

My own children were always little angels with their grandparents, but it meant that the grandparents never really knew much about them. And they were always little horrors when they came back to us after a visit!

Magsie Sun 22-May-11 16:50:12

When my eldest grandson misbehaves, his mum threatens him with "telling Grandad". I don't like my husband being made to look like an ogre but she says that Grandad''s opinion is the only one he cares about!

apricot Sun 22-May-11 19:19:28

One of my daughters waited a long time for her precious baby and has to leave her 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. The result is that she is totally spoilt. When I say "no" to her she gets very upset, as she never hears that at home. I'd never tell her parents what I feel about their parenting but in my house I set the rules.

Nannyliz Sun 22-May-11 22:22:41

Magsie......My daughter does exactly the same thing if my grandsons don't do as they're told. It's probably because my OH is much more strict than I am.

When my OH looked after them for a few hours when I was at work and their Mum asked them if they'd been good, their reply was 'Well Grandad didn't tell us off '!

Gillt Wed 13-Jul-11 17:33:17

I am relieved to see someone else having my "problem" regarding the disciplining of the grandchildren. I am not too worried about when they are at our house on their own....I know I am fairly soft and I struggle a bit however when on my childrens turf, any comment by us is frowned upon and I do not feel at liberty to give any advice either. I am sometimes left to feel that my experience would count for naught. I have to say most of the time I find they manage it very well but just sometimes I find myself thinking "that's a bit tough" ! I must say that my Daughter is very strict in her approach and my Son is very easy going but all the grandchildren are delightful.

GoldenGran Wed 13-Jul-11 18:20:03

My daughter's last resort is also to threaten to tell my husband, which at first I really didn't like- I don't want him to be the bogey man. He is not their actual Grandpa,- they have one of those, but he doesn't get involved much. But my DH is a very gentle man who never needs to raise his voice to them,and has a natural air of quiet authority. He involves them in any chores he is doing, handy work DIY, whatever, and they just have huge love and respect for him, and therefore hate being in his bad books, so whatever works! We do it our way if we have them in our house on their own, but if my daughter is here she is the authority, and yes we do have to bite our tongues now and again!

Lindyloo Sun 17-Jul-11 00:35:26

I need some advice. I look after my four year old granddaughter 2 days per week. She is like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead. Yesterday she came in dressingup shoes which were hurting her toe so I took her to buy some new shoes. She was demanding and difficult over the selection, wanting totally unsuitable Disney flip flops so we came out without any. She howled all the way back to the car and as I was strapping her in telling her that I was cross with her behaviour, she stuck her tongue out at me. In the heat of the moment I slapped her. I know that was wrong and immediately wished I hadn't. I don't believe in physical punishment and my daughter doesn't either but now I am afraid that I will lose my temper again. I can't believe that I can let a small child wind me up so and do not know how to deal with her or myself.

Baggy Sun 17-Jul-11 07:36:43

Your brain doesn't believe in physical punishment but your body does believe in the occasional corrective slap. I don't think it will have done her any harm. Most animals cuff their offspring when they're being tiresome. Did it work?

Now that you know she can drive you to this and you don't want it to happen, you need to have strategies to prevent it. In similar circumstances (strapping the child into the car) perhaps you could just shut the car door and walk around the car for a bit. You're not leaving her on her own but you are putting a barrier between you while each of you calms down.

It was very generous of you to take her for new shoes because she was impractically dressed. Would it have been possible to let her run around for the day in bare feet? If you were going places, I know that's not really possible but at home it probably would have been allright. Good for her feet too.

Don't worry too much. Most of us have 'been there'. An occasional corrective slap is not abuse and I bet she has learned that sticking her tongue out at grandma is not acceptable.

grannyactivist Sun 17-Jul-11 09:22:45

Lindyloo There's no point in beating yourself up over what has been done, but you definitely need strategies for dealing with difficult behaviours if you are going to continue to take care of your granddaughter. When a mother is in this position, the usual advice is to solicit support from grandparents! confused
You are now in a position where you feel 'unsafe' with your granddaughter and that must be very worrying for you. Can you talk honestly with your daughter about your feelings? That would be a good place to start I think. For some practical tips check out:

Lindyloo Sun 17-Jul-11 13:43:40

Thank you for your comments. I have been wracked with guilt. You are right that I should have walked away.

No actually it did not work - after a second of shock that I had done it, she stuck her tongue out again. This time I managed to control myself but ended thinking she had wonthe battle anyway

Stansgran Sun 17-Jul-11 14:31:32

You're human-nothing more stressful than shopping with a small child especially if you started with good intentions to treat said chlld. forgive yourself or she really has won

janreb Mon 18-Jul-11 10:58:53

If they are in my house (or car) then the children have to abide by our rules and they have always accepted this. Middle granddaughter was an horrendous toddler - believe me I am not being nasty - and her mum would walk off and leave me with her, her excuse being she looks like me so everyone would think she was mine!!!! The times I have walked through the town with her under my arm (you couldn't hold her any other way as she would kick) and she'd be screaming that I was kidnapping her! I don't think my daughter ever actually threatens the children with being sent to us but when the 17 got into some trouble last year she said for him to think what we would think about what he had done and he burst into tears!

Baggy Mon 18-Jul-11 11:15:09

She hasn't won; she's merely had the last word, so to speak, or thinks she has. I suspect she has still learned a useful lesson.