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Attachment Parenting

Explaining to family

DH have made the choice to use gentle discipline/ AP methods with our daughter. We both come from strict, traditional families however and I wonder how and when we should have a conversation with our families. DD is approaching the age where she is starting to get into things. In my family, the approach is usually to swat little disobedient fingers not my approach. My concern is that over the holidays we might encounter someone else trying to discipline DD on a way that I wouldn't approve. Both families kind of know where we stand with spanking and I am not sure they would discipline her or not. My question is how did you all handle this with families? Sit them down and lay it all out or just model our own parenting as we go and use teaching moments with DD to educate them?
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Re: Explaining to family

  • I'm just a lurker here, but this is something that hubs and I have talked extensively about. His family would discipline like you've described that your family would. (my family would take the more gentle/AP approach if they did anything at all)

    We feel like it's only our place to discipline our child when we're around. When we're out/working, my mother is our babysitter. I know that she'd take more of an AP discipline stance. It's not an issue there. Long story short, there's no way on Earth we'd leave Aria alone with hubs family. 

    For now, we just plan on modeling our parenting and  If a situation arises where someone else feels the need to try to discipline her, hubs is going to explain to them that 1) that's our job, nobody else's and 2) that we do things a bit differently than they did/do, and they need to respect it.


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  • My family is the same way and so is DH's.  But, I think that being a grandparent vs a parent changes it all.  My in-laws already have 3 other grandkids and I have never seen them spank them, although I know they did with my DH and his brother.  My parents think my LO can do no wrong.  So, it may not even be an issue.
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  • It's not reasonable - by a certain age - to expect that you will be the only ones ever disciplining your child.  When they're two, and you're in one room and they're in another room, someone else is going to be involved in disciplining your child on occasion.

    It is reasonable to draw the line at what type of discipline you allow for your child, of course.  I don't know that I would do it pre-emptively, instead waiting until the first time it comes up.  I would certainly SAY something if it were to come up, and not rely on them passively watching you alone.

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  • I would NOT say anything before hand.  We had decided not to spank before E was old enough for it to matter and sharing that decision only got us criticized and taunted long before it needed be addressed.  Just wait and see how it goes.  If an issue arises then address it then.  My father and BIL would absolutely spank my child without question if I hadn't made it clear it wasn't allowed.  My father and even sometimes my ILs try to overstep me and discipline E while I'm trying to discipline her.  It's an ongoing issue.  However I agree with PP who said that it's unreasonable to expect to be the only one disciplining your child.  If I'm not in the room I expect them to keep her safe.  We're still working on boundaries and what is/isn't allowed.  It's a learning process for all of us.
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  • Also a lurker, but I sort of dealt with this same issue.

    I handled it by trying to always be the one to correct my LOs and not leaving it up to the grandparents.  Even though this meant a few years of not being relaxed at family gatherings,

    I found that what the older generation REALLY cares about is that younger parents set boundaries and maintain firm control of their kids.  Any hitting that they do is usually in the service of this idea, not done out of a sheer love of hitting.

    I'm a very firm disciplinarian, but DH and I don't hit our kiddos or yell at them.  We used age-appropriate interventions with our kids (distraction/redirection when they were young toddlers, limiting choices with older toddlers, preparation and consequences with preschoolers, etc.) My kids are very well behaved, and Fortunately, the grandparents really saw that I had things in hand, and they didn't feel the need to take matters into their own "hands" so to speak. 

    All that being said, my dad -- who babysits my kids quite a bit on his own, without the more gentle influence of my mom -- is harsher verbally with them than I would be.  I have learned that it's not the end of the world.  He's entitled to interact with them and have a relationship with him that's independent of me.  And it's not horrible for them to learn that you don't disobey Pop-pop, because he'll really YELL at you!  There are all different flavors of people in the world, and it's okay for kids to experience that initially in their interactions with family members.

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  • We never sat anyone down and explained anything. They are our children, and they are ours to discipline--it's not anyone else's place to do that. They know, through observation, how we are raising our kids.

     I think I did specifically request that no physical punishment be used on my children if anyone was baby-sitting, but that's it.

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