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How to deal with 5year old who hits you?


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#1 Marianne69

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 05:18 PM

I read the article and my impression was that we are to meekly submit to what the parents tell us, as grandparents, we should/shouldn't do or say. My problem is that my grandson, whom I dearly love, has decided it is okay to run up and hit me whenever the mood strikes him. Along with that are the insults he directs at me, saying "You don't smell good," and "You're a poo-poo head." My mother would never have put up with this type of behavior from my children, yet my daughter was seemingly insulted when I told her about my last babysitting, overnight, with her child. For a long time,she and her husband didn't believe in spanking at all. Now, my son-in-law spanks him occasionally, and he does seem to have a little more respect for him than for my daughter. When I had finished telling her what transpired, her comments were "Yes, Mom, I'm a terrible parent." She is a very busy person, has worked full time since my grandson's birth, and I do understand how frustrating his actions must be. But it appeared to me that she would have preferred my never making any comments about my grandson, when I was really only trying to help by making her aware. After all, if this behavior continues, I strongly feel he will have a very hard time in school. As I told her, I had tried very hard to please him by allowing him to do what he wanted, letting him sit on my lap and play computer games for more than an hour, watching cartoons, and going to the park, not to mention buying special snacks and a couple of toys for him, one of which he hit me with. Tell me, should I have taped my mouth and never mentioned his behavior? Personally, I'm at a loss to understand this right now, and believe me when I say it really hurts my heart, not only for me but for my daughter and her child. I could really use some advice!

#2 marykw

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:37 AM

I can understand your frustration... with your daughter as well as your grandson. I, too, would have talked to my daughter about the experience. When she responded with, "Yes Mom, I'm a terrible parent", I would have asked her what is going on with her that caused that response. Perhaps you can help her understand that you were simply sharing your experience with your grandson... not making any kind of judgment on her. And I want you to consider something. while I understand the desire to talk to your daughter about it... you do understand this was a situation between you and your grandson, yes? In other words, despite what you may feel from whatever you're reading, the experience you had with the disrespect and hitting from the grandson didn't involve anyone but the two of you. Now, I'm not sure how you would have handled this if it had been your son rather than your grandson, but it seems to me this little guy needs some firm guidance and clear boundaries. I hope, for both of you, that you will make it clear to him that this behavior is unacceptable. Let him know that if he chooses to behave in those ways that you will not be able to spend time together. I know, as a grandmother, this might feel that you risk him choosing to act out rather than spend time with you and that feels sad and scary but let me share that it's highly unlikely. And even if he 'tests' you, you will be giving him a huge gift if you can provide him with clear expectations and the ability to trust you to follow through. Become his 'port in the storm' by guiding him towards his own inner knowing of what is needed by following your own inner knowing -- he really needs that right now. Sounds like Mom and Dad are a bit wobbly as they navigate through busy days with a level of exhaustion that is affecting their clarity and follow through with your grandson so hold your light steady for yourself and your family and all will be well.
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#3 Leele

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 07:44 AM

Hi, I surely understand what you are going thru. Yes it is very confusing at times to be a grandmother of our daughters children AND son in laws. I too experience this frustration of knowing when to speak and when not to. The way I always raised our children was always to tell the truth and I must say we raised two beautiful daughters who are not only beautiful on the outside but also on the inside but when they had their own children something changed in our roles as should which makes it difficult for us to know our boundries but I'm learning. Why do they (DIL SIL ask us) I think they really don't want to hear our opinion and I'm learning just to say nothing other than everything is great. I think there are too many experts with too many opinions and it makes them confused as adults. I read lots of books when I raised our girls but I followed my heart I think it would help parents today if they would follow theirs also and not just think with their brains. There also should be somethings written for our children to read about knowing that they were raised and loved to the fullest by their parents who have a brain too and only have their best interst in mind to raise their children our grandchildren and that we too have experience. Afterall how did they survive. I am actually insulted sometimes reading some books today on grandparenting and how we are suppose to shut up and not respond because blah blah blah we are only suppose to be supportive of our overextended children....please we too were overextended raising them and we got thru with respect of our elders and they surely spoke up and we listened and maybe or maybe not took some of their suggestions but we did so with RESPECT. I believe that should show up somewhere in some book and wish Grandparenting books would be written about what we think and how we feel about not being able to be other than the people who feed our grandchildren, sit for them, and keep our mouths shut like we have no helpful advice. So hang in there grandparents MAYBE just MAYBE in parenting books there will be a chapter in the books our DIL SIL could read about RESPECTING GRANDPARENTS.

#4 Marianne69

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 02:30 PM

Leele, thank you so much for your comments. Yes, I absolutely agree that a book written in regard to teaching childen to respect grandparents would be wonderful, although it might only be other grandparents who would buy and read it. If our children only want a "robot" who will sit with and feed their children, then perhaps they should hire someone with an armored suit who would not be hurt by a five year old hitting them. I didn't even bother to tell my daughter that her son also caught me, almost asleep a few feet away from him as he watched cartoons, lying on my tummy on a couch, at which time he ran and jumped full force onto my back. My daughter had him when she was thirty seven, so needless to say I'm not a young grandmother. I was raised to believe that one's grandparents were to be respected and revered. I cannot imagine ever trying to hurt them, either physically or verbally. If our society has reached the point of thinking the children should do exactly as they desire, without regard or respect for others, then something is terribly wrong! If anyone knows of any books on this subject, I would love to know the titles.

#5 Leele

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 09:17 AM

Hi Maryanne, Your welcome for the reply. I do understand like I stated. You asked if there are any books to read about parenting etc. I am a Christian and love the writings by Dr. James Dobson from Focus on the Family which you can search online about different things on this subject. He has a lot of books. He also has a radio station that you could listen too. While raising my daughters years ago I read lots of his books and even attended a Conference he gave. I just want to add one more thing which has been on my mind about being a Christian and raising our family to be Christian which I have said to them recently. Never forget one of the greatest commandments which is HONOR THY MOTHER AND THY FATHER. Fortunately this has stuck in many areas with our family. I do understand the stress our children as parents go thru and want to be supportive to them but they have to know we too go thru stresses with growing older with changes we go thru. I try to keep the line of communications open with love in my heart and on my tongue but if I hold things in for a period of time and don't speak truthfully than it builds up on both sides and it comes out not in a Christian way. So I seem to get in trouble sometime thinking that the truth will set me free but have to watch out on the timing of it and the way it's presented. It just shouldn't been this hard. I pray I will be guided daily by my best teacher Our Lord.

#6 Marianne69

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 03:30 PM

Thank you for your answer and advice, marykw. Yes, I do understand that what happened was between me and my grandson. However, as I was attempting to discuss his actions with my daughter, she was practically screaming at me, "I'm doing the best I can with what I have" and "Don't worry, Mom, you'll never have to keep him again!" Of course the conversation rapidly went downhill, with me trying to soothe her hurt feelings, although I did say to her that I had seen her walking along with him hitting her on the back, and she did nothing and said nothing. I added that, IMO, taking away a privilege or two in today's world doesn't seem to be the answer, as there is an abundance of "privileges." She responded that he might have ADHD. I don't believe he does, although my study of that was not extensive before receiving a degree in psychology some 22 years ago. (He will sit on my lap for an hour or more in front of the computer playing on pbsKids.Org and will watch cartoons for two hours, which makes me think his attention span is fine when doing what he likes.) My daughter does know (or should)that I have a condition that causes chronic pain, due to torn ligaments in both feet eight yrs. ago. I attempted to reason with her, which should not have been difficult, as she is a minister currently working on her PhD. She has always kept her feelings to herself, and even though my mother and I were extremely close, it hasn't been that way with us. I know that she loves me very much, but she seems to think that any criticism is an attack on *her and not the problem itself. We haven't spoken since this incident and his last sleepover. My heart aches for her and my grandson, and for me as well, because I'm at a loss to know what to say right now. I do appreciate the advice from everyone here, so please feel free to offer suggestions.

#7 marykw

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 06:10 PM

Oh Marianne... OUCH! It's no fun to feel that separation it sounds like you're feeling right now. As I shared with you in a message... I agree it doesn't sound like your grandson suffers from ADHD or ADD. It sounds more like he has an unhappy mother. Understand... that is NOT your fault! . I have a suggestion that just might help break the ice you might feel forming...Why not send each of them a greeting card? Before you decide I'm crazy let me share with you that I have been participating in something called The 30 Day Gratitude Challenge this month. It's bringing about some amazing shifts for me and those I connect with. That's why it occurs to me that you might be surprised how taking the time to select a card and sharing one thing you are grateful for about daughter, and doing the same for your grandson, can give someone a truly unexpected lift. (And it's so much fun to receive a card in the mail out of the blue... for no occasion other than that you are loved :)) No need to mention the experience you had... or the passing of time. Just a brief note filled with love and gratitude just might make you feel better... and them, too. Mary K

#8 Marianne69

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 07:02 PM

What a great idea! I don't usually send cards other than for birthdays and Christmas, but I agree that would be a nice thing to do and might help her to realize how much they are both loved. I have thought about this situation a lot, and of course I've wished a few times I'd said nothing at all, but I felt it was "right" to let her know about his behavior, because as I mentioned it would only get worse if nothing were done. Thanks so much for your suggestion, and I believe it's one I'll carry out! :)

#9 rosered135

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 02:37 AM

Oh, Marianne, I'm so sorry you're facing this situation! Hugs! I hope, by now, you've picked out those cards, sent them and that they help to turn things around. As the regular "nanny granny" for my 2 DGC (dear grandchildren), I want to tell you that my little DGS, sometimes, hits me and I certainly don't tolerate it! I only use the discipline methods his mom/my DD (dear daughter) approves of but discipline him, I do. If it's any help, though, I've also come to realize that he only does this when he's very tired. So I try to make sure not to let him get to that point, no matter how much fun we're having, etc.

"I read the article and my impression was that we are to meekly submit to what the parents tell us, as grandparents we should/shouldn't do or say." I'm not sure what article you're referring to. But, here, I'm afraid, you've hit a sore spot with me. As a nanny granny, I try to follow my DD's rules and routines for her kids, at all times. (If something isn't working for me, we discuss it and, usually, come to a compromise.) A couple of times, I've had well-meaning (I think) friends ask me why I was being so "submissive" to DD and why I didn't just "do whatever" I "want" when I take care of my grands! But, IMO, I'm *not* being "submissive" in any "meek" or otherwise negative sense. I'm just respecting the fact that DD is the mother, this time around and I need to follow her choices for her kids, just as I would have wanted others to follow those I made for mine. And yes, IMO, that means disciplining them *her* way, as I mentioned earlier.

Fortunately, in my case, my DD and I have very similar ideas about discipline. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be true for you and your DD and SIL (son-in-law). I take it that you favor spanking while they prefer "taking away privileges." Of course, you have a right to your opinion. But when you're watching *their* child, IMO, you need to discipline him the way *they* want. It's not about being "meek" - it's about recognizing that we GPs *don't* get a vote in how our GC are raised. If a GP tries to have that kind of "say," they often find themselves pushed away, as has happened to you (only temporarily, I hope).

If your DD's asking you to accept GS' hitting and insulting you though, IMO, that's a different matter. I'm totally with you if you won't go along with that and let her know it. Also, I understand your wanting to make sure DD is "aware" of the problem. You tell us, though, that you've seen him hitting *her.* So it seems to me that she *is* aware of it. Also, you admit - and thank you for your honesty - that in your recent argument, you did bring up the fact that you saw him doing that and that she "did and said nothing." She may have heard that as, "GS hits me b/c you don't discipline him!" - translation (in *her* mind), "You're a bad parent!" Especially (sigh) coupled with your questioning of her choice of consequences for him. Marianne, I'm sure you *didn't * mean it that way. And, no doubt, you truly intended to focus on the problem and not criticize her. I believe you. But I can see how *she* may have taken it as a "vote of *no* confidence" in her parenting skills. Can you? If you're hoping to have a better parent/grandparent relationship with her, in the future, I think you need to make up your mind not to repeat these mistakes. And you may need to let her know that you don't plan to repeat them if the 2 of you are truly to move forward. Best of luck!

#10 rosered135

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 02:47 AM

I just want to make sure, Marianne, that you understand that I'm not trying to put you down when I point to what I think were mistakes. Just trying to show you what might be wise *not* to repeat so that such a falling out is less likely to happen again. *Not* saying it's all on you, either. Just talking about your part in it b/c, well, you're the one I'm talking to, not your DD. In that same vein, I notice that DD is concerned that GS might have ADHD. Please rest assured, that suggests she definitely knows there is a problem and is giving it a lot of thought. Unless I'm misreading, however, you seem to have pooh-poohed her suspicions about this. I'm guessing she was very hurt by that. From now on, IMO, you would do better to hear her out, even if you don't agree with her fears. And, of course, as you might point out to her, if it comes up, the only way to know is to have him tested. That would show her you're taking her concerns seriously, w/o your having to pretend you share them. Again, many hugs! And best of luck!

#11 Marianne69

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 01:42 PM

Thanks again for your comments, and I can tell that you read and understood completely what I was trying to convey. The one thing I failed to mention is that, prior to what happened, there had never been ANY discussion at all of my GS's behavior, other than my DD occasionally telling me (followed by a short laugh) that my GS is "somewhat of a bully." Because she laughed, it seemed to me that she did not disapprove of that, but she has always been rather hard to read and throughout her childhood kept her feelings to herself or, in her later years, shared some of them with a close friend. Unless there was something akin to a real disaster, she never shared true feelings with me.

My actual comment to her was this: "How was I supposed to know there was a problem if you never tell me anything?" That was verbatim, btw, followed by silence on her end of the line. My son-in-law had told me just before that incident, "Sometimes I get so irritated when (she) tells (him) to do something three times and he doesn't, that I just spank him." He confided this to me when my DD was not in the room. He was the one who picked my GS up after he had spent the night, but I didn't mention my GS's behavior to him, primarily because he didn't ask and also because I felt it would be better to discuss that with my daughter.

I really did not "poo-poo" her suggestion of the possibility of ADHD, and in fact I took it quite seriously, mainly because my B.A.(having returned to college in 1990) was in psychology. I said to her, "If it actually IS ADHD, there are various ways of dealing with it." Also, my GS did most of the hitting rather early the morning after spending the night w/us and was definitely not tired at all. Let me ask you, do you really feel it is okay for a five-yr. old to hit someone because "they are tired?" I do not feel that should ever be considered "appropriate" behavior!

I feel this will all work out in time, after the wounds are healed. I tend to be an outspoken person, but it seems that in the future I must be very careful with what I say. IMO, however, it seems that my DD should also understand that dealing with this type of behavior is not easy for someone my age(69) who deals with chronic pain. Also, in my defense, did I mention that I almost never get a call from my DD unless it is to be asked to babysit? Last Christmas I gave my son and daughter a four-night stay at a nice resort, not to mention several other gifts in addition to the GC's gifts. I often feel that the only consideration (or time) I get is whenever they need something, so believe me when I say it is not all my fault. All our situations are different, aren't they?

As for me, I've been told recently that, along with having torn ligaments in both feet and constant pain, I also have kidney disease. I don't intend to make this sound as though I'm looking for sympathy, but if you sincerely wish to help, then these are factors that I feel should also be noted. I have never indicated to my son or daughter that I don't want the GC spending the night, but to be honest, it takes a huge toll on me. My husband helps some, but he is my second husband, as their true grandfather is deceased, so most of the care and responsibility is up to me. Thanks again for your honesty, and I believe your intentions are to be helpful. :) (I'm not familiar as yet w/the abbreviations, so pls. bear with me.)

#12 rosered135

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 02:25 AM

Thanks for taking my comments in the spirit in which they were made, Marianne! And for filling us in further. It must be very difficult communicating/knowing how to communicate with your DD when she holds back as much as she does.

No, I don't think it's ok for a 5-yr-old t hit just b/c he's tired. I just offered that as a possible reason for why it might happen sometimes. But since you say this occurred in the morning, then I guess that suggestion doesn't fit here.

Sorry I misunderstood about your response to DD's mention of ADHD. But whether he has it or not, I'm getting the impression that she and your SIL are not quite "on the same page," as they say, about how to handle him. I know there's nothing you can do about that, but I doubt the inconsistency is helping the situation. Hopefully, they'll work it out soon. And hopefully, they'll get him tested for ADHD, and, whether he has it or not, maybe get some counseling on how to work together to parent him more effectively. But again, I understand that you can't make those things happen, whether you agree with me or not.

I am so sorry about all the pain you are dealing with! And yes, I agree, DD *should* realize that it's especially difficult for you to deal with GS' behavior, under the circumstances. In fact, right now, perhaps you need to rethink whether or not you'll babysit him in the future? Unless you fear that's the only way you'll get to see him, except for Christmas and a few other special occasions. You may have to think over which means more to you - the time with GS or your own peace and comfort... Food for thought...

I'm also sorry that DD doesn't seem to call you much, except when she needs a babysitter. That must hurt, I know. Chances are, it's just thoughtlessness, on her part - that she's just a busy mom and doesn't stop to think how this tendency is coming across. Or, I hate to say it, but your very health problems may be driving her away - it may be very hard for her to face. You may see that as a selfish attitude but it's not unheard-of (one of my brothers was like that). Or perhaps there are some longstanding issues between you that have never been resolved? Since she tends to be so close-mouthed about how she feels, I realize you may not even know.

Regardless, please take care of yourself, as best you can and let DD and SIL figure out what to do about GS. You have enough to deal with. You and yours will be in my thoughts and prayers (if that's ok)... Meanwhile once again, I hope the cards are a success!

#13 Roxy559

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:17 PM

Oh my. I thought my husband and I were the *only* grandparents in the world experiencing these things! Short story: 2 grown daughters, 3 grandsons 5 & under, all now live on the opposite coast (jobs). They seem to be raising their boys with no consequences...when the boys were with us for visits, I would say things like "gramma's rules at gramma's house" and they totally got it. But they didn't spend that much time with us that it would make any difference in their lives. Now they are becoming too assertive and unmannered and ... rude. Not that I am happy others have my issues, but it is LIFESAVING to know it's normal. I am going to share the information I absorbed in this site with my poor husband who is currently with all 3 of the kids at one daughter's house.. he keeps contacting me saying how horrible the experience has been. In a way, I'm glad we will only be seeing them occasionally... does that sound pathetic? I think I'm happy to reclaim my life PRE-KIDS ! Roxy

#14 2involved

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 01:39 PM

I know EXACTLY how you feel. I have a very close relationship with my niece, I now think too close, and she is very disrespectful (For one, she thinks it's funny to kick me in the seat of the pants. Her mother, my sister, only sometimes corrects her.) My niece is an only child and her mother is a single parent (father not in the picture at all). My niece is almost 7, and will sometimes throws a temper tantrum when her mom leaves her with me. I thought things were getting better for a while, but now they are as bad as ever. I actually left the state where I was living very happily to be near them and to help out, but this disrespect that goes uncorrected is too much. I am beginning to have interests in my new home, and like it a little better than even a few months ago, but I'm not happy with my sister's inconsistency in not correcting, or rarely correcting my niece. When I do say things, I'm curtly reminded that I am NOT the parent. I commend you for speaking up for yourself, and I believe I also have that right when someone, no matter who, is disrespectful to me anywhere, and especially in my own home.

#15 Sanctimommy

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:06 AM

You aren't helpless. There's a phone right there. Use it to call the parent and tell them to come get their errant child as your babysitting gig ends when Jr insults, namecalls or strikes you.
Be sure that you have rules posted.
Any other babysitter would do the same thing. I certainly would. In a trice.

#16 Guest_Kalana_*

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:03 PM

You have a right to not get hit or have your grandchild say things that are hurtful to you. I think I'd tell the little one that hits me that it hurts and tell the one that says hurtful things that it hurts my feelings. Children don't usually want to hurt other people, and respond to being told they are hurting others. If they want to hurt, that's a big something that needs to be addressed!

Your daughter could feel overwhelmed with her life as it is now, since she's so busy with things. Maybe you're a handy person for her to throw her stress onto. It's often those we love that get the brunt of our stress. Maybe that's what happened.

#17 rosered135

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:36 AM

Rereading this thread, I'm surprised that there is no mention of TOs ( time-outs). The OP (original poster) and her DD and SIL seem to be divided as to using spanking as a consequence or removal of privileges. But in my experience, a TO can be very effective for a little child. (IDK if that's true if he has ADHD.) If DD doesn't approve of spanking and the OP doesn't feel removing privileges is doing the job or doesn't have a significant privilege to remove when GS is at her house, it seems to me that a TO might be a solution they both could agree to.

I agree w/ the PPs who said that the OP had a right to speak up for herself and even that she has a right to call the parents and tell them to come and get GS if he begins to hit or insult her. But I think part of the problem is that her relating what happened got beyond that into a questioning of DD's discipline methods, etc. This is not uncommon, I realize, and I'm not saying they're "bad" or "unreasonable" people for letting it happen. Still, I know if ever I have particular trouble with one of my DGC (which is rare, TG), if I tell their mom/my DD, she'll let them know that's not ok and, sometimes, give them a consequence for it, herself. But if I were to tie my complaint to a questioning of her discipline - or if she misconstrued and thought I was calling her a "bad parent" - I'm sure it would end up in an argument between us, instead of her focusing on the child's behavior. Obviously, IDK the OP and her DD. But how different would the situation have been if the OP had merely said, "GS hit me today" and DD had said, "I'll deal with it" or even "I'll deal with it at home" and the discussion ended right there?

#18 blondiex46

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:27 AM

My grandson who is 2 is hitting my DIL and I told my son that he needs to deal with it now, he hits her and laughs, I said it isn't funny, you don't hit your mom. I have a real issue with kids hitting their mothers, which as I have seen it really is, my granddaughter who is 2 also does it and I tell her, don't you hit my daughter....if the name calling comes out like poopy head, I said and did yesterday, we don't talk like that....

If you need support or "backup" by the parents you ask for it....I don't have a problem saying anything when things like that happen with my grandchilden, it has to do with respect to all parents and grandparents, and need to be taught it by the direct adults in their life, consistently....that is MO.

Sandy

#19 dhyder43207@yahoo.com

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:11 PM

First of all if they allow your Grandson, to hit you whenever he feels like it, who else is he hitting. It is not OK, and to call you a poo poo head is very inappropriate.

When my grandchildren have done something to me that is not right or appropriate, I do tell the parents, I tell them together, not just one but both, that way they are hearing it together and can decide together what should or should not be done. I also correct the child as soon as they do it and I let the parents know that I did so.

I remind them that while they may think it is cute and funny, the one receiving does not. Before it gets out of hand and they get into a situation that is embarassing to all it is better to stop it now.

I must also say that doing it this way works for our family. The best phrase I hear is "you are not being respectful to grandma, now apologize". It works every time.

#20 tedybearnana

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:39 AM

There are lots of good ideas here and I appreciate all the 'newbies' posting their views. Good job and we're glad you're here! WELCOME!

I'm afraid that my son and dil don't do much any, disciplining. The 2 year old is an adorable, well, 2 year old, beautiful smile, sunny disposition - when he's not saying NO! He's also quite rough and tumble. Sometimes, he starts feeling his oats and does something not permitted. When I tell him 'not to do that again', he raises his arm up and either swings it down and slaps his own leg or a table or chair or whatever is nearby, always with a 'NO!'. I tell him he can hit himself if he has to, he can say no (after all, what are the terrible twos about?) but he cannot hit the chair, table, me - nothing but himself, if he thinks he has to. He nearly immediately stops. (I try to leave him an acceptable 'out' of autonomy, which is the definition of the TERRIBLE TWOS!)

The 5 year old is often a sulky, sullen little boy - always has been, tho he does have some wonderful moments. They are night and day and we all have to work at not having a favorite, even the parents.

The one thing that they will know is that their Grandpa and Nana both love them dearly, that we never played favorites and that we had 'expectations' of them that their parents don't seem to. They act so horribly, especially the older one at restaurants (with the little one mimicking his big brother, always, now) it's just hard to be sitting at the same table. My son tells me that they NEVER go out to eat unless it's with us - all because they have no rules and act as if they are blind. Food gets thrown, the oldest crawls under the table and comes up on the other side - maybe into your face. It's rediculous. The might crawl over the back of the booth to the next one if it's empty. No one says a word. The 5 year old still mostly eats with his fingers. Every once in a while one of us - especially Grandpa comes out with a "Gabe!" that is totally involuntary - it just escapes unbidden! (then he gets an elbow in the rib by Nana!) The parents don't bat an eye or say a word - and, when they are with us, we keep quiet.

When they come (usually, each one night and day a week, each), mostly separately because of the jealousy factor of the older brother which is very sad, we ALWAYS take them out to eat to a family type of restaurant (NOT fast-food but child tolerant), so if the worst happens, it won't be too bad, but they are totally different children at a restaurant us. We are polite, we are firm, we don't raise our voices, we have never spanked either of these precious (sometimes devilish) boys, but even the 2 year old has had just a few time outs (a minute for every year of age). One question, quietly and calmly spoken: "Do you need a time out?" and each almost always straightens up immediately. The oldest is the hardest nut to crack as he can pull out his sullen stare in a heartbeat. But I try to have small toys - cars, mostly, for them to play with and we have expectations that they be big boys. It works like a charm.

They just need some direction, some discipline, much love, and an occasional serious look, making sure they DON'T outstare US. We also don't let them fill up on bread or crackers or whatever, before the food arrives as the parents do. A little taste that we give them if it is served and they are still hungry when the food arrives and eat, rather than act out because they are bored. Their parents fill them up on rolls et al, to try to keep them happy and busy. When the food arrives, they're full and fiesty - combined with no manners - disaster!

What we do is teach them what we can and are blessed that they come regularly to see us. We give them 2 adults they can't bluff or bully. We give them 2 adults they can't ignore. We give them (along with a lot of love), concistancy, discipline, manners that CAN be taught 1 day a week. Fair to us? No. Good for the 2 little boys we love most of all? Yes. They may not use them at home, but they will KNOW them. They love us, they respect us. They want to come. They believe us when we say something.

Although we raised their father with these same rules and methods, it ISN'T fair to us to have to be the ones with the stiff backs this time around, but it is what it is. We help them to grow up to be better people. It isn't a lose, lose, It's a win, win. We know OUR turf, and we know their PARENTS' turf. It is very touchy with our dil and ds, especially, ds! DDIL appreciates what we do but she really doesn't know most of it. Whether or not they use them at home, (only because the parents enforce nothing) they will know and understand and be able to be respectful when a teacher speaks to them or a boss tells them to do something - and they can still grow up to be decent, polite men. That's my goal and as long as we're around (and we're not young), it will work.