Boundaries around parenting?

Lotte - posted on 08/12/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )




When I'm around certain people I feel like they're trying to parent my kids and I get extremely angry to the point where I can only handle them for so long before I start getting snappy. I mean babysitting is different but when I'm there, I'll be the one to threaten my own kids with time out, thank you very much.
Now obviously, regarding safety concerns if another parent has an initial reaction towards say a child heading to a riverbank, I would allow their 'instinct' to take over for the moment because in the heat of the moment I'd really have no choice and I'd EXPECT someone to react quickly out of fear for my child, otherwise when we're all just sittin around drinking coffee or whatever I expect to be allowed to parent my own kids. I just feel like I"m always protecting them from getting overwhelmed by other people - it's especially hard in interpersonal relationships; I not only have to let down my own guard I have to let him into my kids lives as well if i want him to be a part of us. I'm NOT good at opening up and I'm not good at letting other people take care of my kids. Any thoughts?


Elfrieda - posted on 08/13/2011




It's hard to answer this question because we don't know what you're like and we don't know what these people are like. I'll give you my "normal" and hopefully that helps.

I like it when I'm in a large group (family gathering, community baseball game, church, etc) when people that know me and my son help him behave by reminding him to be gentle, taking away breakables, or putting their legs up so that he can't wander too far away, and generally help with kid management. If I'm 15 feet away and the person right beside him can't be bothered to move a cup 4 inches farther onto the table so it's out of reach, it annoys me that I need to jump up and sprint over just to avoid an accident that my sister-in-law could have prevented by burning 1/2 a calorie. If she didn't notice, that's one thing. It's not her job to watch my son. But if she saw what was going on but didn't take action for some "not my kid" reason, it just sets my teeth on edge.

I do that to other kids, too, like the other day a little kid (4 years old or so) threw a wrapper on the ground because she was in such a hurry to go and play with her friends, and I ran after her and brought her back to the wrapper and explained that we don't throw garbage on the floor, and pointed to the garbage can and asked her to put it in there, and then thanked her when she did.

Another time my son and a little girl were banging on a park bench with sticks very loudly during an outdoor concert, and I went over and took both of their sticks and directed them over to a pile of pinecones instead. I did it to both of them, not just my son. Her mom was just a few feet away, but why would I make her get up when I was right there?

So my opinion is that verbally correcting and teaching (and physically restraining in the case of toddlers) is good, but to put another person's child in time-out or to spank them is way out of line!

Shannintipton - posted on 08/12/2011




I have a neighbor girl who was like that. She is 21 so she doesn't have the patience that a mother does. She would tell them to go play in the other room. And give them time outs. She would chime in when I was handling out a punishment. My son felt like we were ganging up on him. I could see that. So I put a stop to it right away. I do let her baby sit though. Just not when I am there.

Jenn - posted on 08/12/2011




I guess I haven't had to really deal with that issue. If someone was trying to discipline my child, I would have to wonder why. Am I not paying attention to what they're doing? Or is the other person just being a dick about it?

Merry - posted on 08/12/2011




I really hate it when my mil tries to parent Eric in front of me. Like I'm sitting next to him and we are all eating and she says to him take another bite! Ok so she's overweight and so is my husband (her son) so when she tries to make Eric eat more I don't like it. He will say all done and she will say no you're not, finish your food, or take one more bite, etc. I just pick him up and put him on the ground so he can go. I'm sorry but he is not going to be force fed. When he's full he's full.

When he's watching tv she tries to make him sit on the couch, why?!?!

I mean it's bad enough he's watching tv, at least if he's standing or walking around he's burning a few calories along with his brain cells. Lol

I tell her. No it's ok he can stand.

Why does she even care if he stands?

Or I'm sitting outside with them and he starts throwing balls into the flowers and bushes. And she yells acceoss the yard, no don't do that. He does it anyways. She says again no Eric stop it! He keeps doing it. She says oh well once he throws them all in there I just won't get them out and he will learn not to do it.


Ugh. That's NOT how I'm teaching him!

In front of her I just walked over. Squatted down. Looked him in the eye. And said, we do not throw the balls in the flowers, if you keep doing it we will be all done with the balls.

He said ok mama!

Didn't do it again.

If we were on the same wavelength as far as parenting styles and discipline etc I'd be ok with it to some extent but if I'm right there then back off seriously!

Now if she says no Eric don't touch my vase, fine. It's her property and she's giving him a boundary. But certain things are just not her place to tell him no, especially in front of me. If I'm not correcting it then it doesn't mean she should step in and make a point to correct him.

Unless it's her personal property etc. That I understand.


View replies by

Katherine - posted on 08/13/2011




My MOTHER tries to discipline my kids and it makes me batty. I can't stand it. She's even gone as far as spanking my 5.5 year old and that's when I lost it. NOBODY lays a hand on my child like that, nobody.

She is very over-bearing when it comes to me and my kids. I should do this and not that. Ugh I just want to throttle her sometimes.

Elfrieda - posted on 08/13/2011




@ Heather
*boggle* That's so mean! What did you do? Did you make her give it back to your daughter?

My aunt was a bit like that when I was younger. Not that she meant any harm, but her way of helping was extremely overbearing, almost to the point of bullying.

Lady Heather - posted on 08/13/2011




Gah. Brother-in-law's wench of a wife. She lives to parent other peoples' kids because she hates parents. I think my kid is pretty well-behaved for a 2 year old. She has the odd tantrum, but it's nothing too crazy and she knows better than to try it when we're out for a meal or something. But man, if we are with BIL's wife she has to pick on everything. She doesn't seem to get the picking your battles part of parenting. Strange example: Freja likes pinecones. She likes to walk outside and collect them in a bucket and carry them around. She helped pick up the pinecones in a relative's yard. She decided she wanted to keep one. Cool. So we load her into the car seat and I sit down. BIL's wife gets in on the other side and says "No, you can't have pine cones in the car. They're too dirty" and yanks it out of her hand. This was after she saw me tell the kid it was okay. wtf? It's my damn car and my damn kid beyotch. Very minor thing, but after three days of her telling me about the evils of sippy cups and her trying to prevent Freja and I from visiting my dying really pissed me off.

I really don't mind relatives stopping my kid from doing something if I'm not there to monitor her - sometimes Granny has to be in charge, you know? But if I've already said something is okay and some other person comes along and says it isn't, that might be a little confusing.

[deleted account]

I don't let anyone in my family deal with my daughter, they are a bunch of savages. I have no problem with the inlaws taking care of her when im around, because we have the same parenting style.The only real problem i have is that my MIL is a little overbearing so sometimes i have to put my foot down.

[deleted account]

I hate when others want to butt in and say don't be doing that and there kids do worse.I am actually a mom that will not sit and allow my kids to run riot.So i feel there is no need to butt in as more than likely i would of got there before them.There have been times others have butted in before i got the chance to parent my kids lol.There very well behaved so its a laugh that others say anything in the first place.Its mostly one family member i am ranting about really.

Stifler's - posted on 08/12/2011




I hate it when my MIL does it for the simple fact that she cannot stick to her guns about anything. One minute its okay to do this or that and the next Logan is getting in trouble for it.

Stifler's - posted on 08/12/2011




I let my friends discipline my kids at their house and feed them food and stuff and lots of people feed Renae her bottle so I can have a break. Their house, their rules as long as it isn't ridiculous. Then again my friends are nearly as close as family, Tamara was in the delivery room with me when I had Logan.

Katharine - posted on 08/12/2011




I only have a select few people I really am close to and trust to discipline my kids, I don't like it when someone else tries to do it like a close friend of my mother that I can't stand will try to do that like telling my son what he should or shouldn't do. I have had a few words with her, even my mother she tries her own brand parenting and discipline than mine, her and I have a different approach to parenting. I wish she would respect that.

[deleted account]

Im ok with my parents helping out in that department... when they do, but other than that its up to my husband and myself. With my son im not even ok with his bio dad doing it considering they hardly see each other. If he cant be here regularly to help parent then he can not help with disipline, and he is alright with that. When my husband and I and our kids first moved in together it was hard not being the only one to give the lectures time outs ect. But im good now, my husband is my sons father biologically or not, so I dont mind him disiplining my son.

Jenni - posted on 08/12/2011




I don't mind when close family or friends 'parent' my child, it takes a village, right?

But I do understand where you're coming from. I'd prefer others to leave the decision to 'punish' or apply a consequence up to me. Other than of course, when I'm not there.

But I haven't had anyone try to punish them in front of me. My family and friends respect those boundaries so I can understand how that would bother you.

They will still reprimend certain behaviours with words or help encourage manners. But I invite these sort of interventions. I will also mutually 'parent' their children. Of course only when it's mutual and they are people very close to me (immediate family and very close friends). I think that can be beneficial for children. As long as they are behaviours we agree should be disciplined.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms