Amanda - posted on 06/01/2011 ( 2 moms have responded )
I am a BIG fan of teaching my daughter to stand up for herself in hopes that she'll be better at it when she's my age than I am. She has one cousin right now and my husband and I are polar opposites to his brother and sis-in-law in almost every way. It's becoming more and more obvious that our parenting styles are colliding badly as our girls get older. It's really frustrating and I dread whenever they come into town for weekend visits at my parents-in-laws' home. This last weekend was awful.
My daughter, at 2, is very sensitive and kind-hearted. Her cousin (almost 3), while mostly sweet, is also extremely unpredictable (much like her parents) and will be playing nicely and then start yelling at my daughter because she wants a toy my DD is playing with or the game isn't going the way SHE wants it to. That alone is maddening because my DD will back away in fear and confusion and may sometimes cry because she's so confused as to why she's being yelled at. What makes it worse is that before I can get the words out of my mouth, someone else (usually my MIL or sis-in-law) is mistaking her fear for "sharing." I feel like my daughter's bigheartedness is being taken advantage of.
She doesn't throw fits and won't get angry when a toy is taken from her without her consent. She shares so willingly and has little attachment to things (she's a people person!), which I love. It makes her the "easy" target when it comes to pacifying the "situation." Between the two girls, she is WAY more mature (and some of that could be my Mom-bias) and knows how to handle her emotions a lot better. I think this is what my in-law's are taking for granted.
I love my MIL (she's awesome and totally supportive of our parenting choices) and I know that she's trapped in the middle of a not so pretty mess. I do plan to talk with her about the reoccurring incidents over the weekend and I know that we'll be able to figure something out. I'm just wondering if you have any ideas on how to handle such a situation with love and grace!
How do I teach my daughter to stand up for herself without squashing my niece (she gets enough of that at home) at the same time? Is such a thing possible?