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Monday, August 28, 2006

Different child rearing values between parents and grandparents

"You talk too much. I'm not bringing any of your cousins to see you. I don't like you. Nobody likes you because you talk too much. Nobody wants to come and see you."

My girl tends to be chatty to the point of annoyance. Recently when my dad couldn't stand it anymore, that was what he told her. This has happened more than once. He has said the above to her a few times in different words but the message is the same.

I do not think it is good for a child to hear such negative things. I want to bring up a self-confident child with good self esteem and hearing such things is not good for anyone's esteem. So when I heard that, I immediately told my girl (in the presence of my dad) "No. Kong kong is just kidding. You are sometimes a bit noisy but that does not mean that nobody likes you because of it."

First, I did not bother to explain to my dad because he thinks differently. He will only say I am spoiling my girl and I feel hurt because he has scolded her etc. He is also not young. He has had a stroke and I treasure every moment that he is still around with us so if I could, I would keep quiet instead of arguing with him.

However, I did not hesitate but to explain to my girl in front of my dad. He just smiled but I wonder how he felt and what went on in his head. Perhaps I should have waited till he was out of sight before explaining but I was afraid that she would have forgotten about the incident and to bring it up again would have been unneccessary. Did I do the right thing?

Immediately after that, when dad wanted to leave, my girl said "Kong kong naughty. Don't come again." to which I immediately reprimanded her and asked her to apologise to her grandfather. She only did so reluctantly and after being told off by me repeatedly to which kong kong said "She won't say one lah. She is very stubborn."

Sometimes as parents we are caught between our children and their grandparents. Sometimes they feel the way we bring up our children is wrong. However, my problem in this area is limited to the twice a week visits from my dad. The rest of the grandparents are all gone now, sadly. I wonder how those who stay with their parents or in-laws handle or cope when their child rearing values clash. Its must be tough to be caught in the middle.


  1. I think it boils down to how you, as a parent, want your child to be raised. If the hubby has an opinion on the way my parents are raising or treating our child, he will let me know and I will sit my folks down and have a nice little chat..vice versa when it is his folks. I'm just glad that we rarely have to do the "talk" with our folks.

  2. I absolutely agree with you. Often, the elderly people say the wrong things that could cause low self esteem in a young child, and that could impact her for a long time. You are torn between protecting your child and not wanting to hurt your father. There's no easy solution and needs XXL size diplomacy on your part.

  3. Grandparents will always have their own say. No one can change them, because to them, they've raised you and they think they did a good job (and most prob did). Sigh.

    It can be quite a headache sometimes, when you want to "reprimand" them for not understanding your parenting views. BIG SIGH!

    Maintaining family harmony can be extraordinarily difficult sometimes!

  4. Oh dear! Ithink the values are changing. Just think of the phrases used on us as kids...'Dont be too clever!' 'Shame on you!' 'Bad' or 'Naughty' - these are so negatives. Can u imagine a child growing up thinking, I must not be too clever ? Or those who think that it is shameful to do most things. We want to instil confidence in them and get them to question when they dont understand. But atthe same time not to the point of being arrogant. It is a tricky balance, this.
    I have heard many a quarrel between grandparents and parents over this.

  5. My mum sometimes 'complained' that i am too lenient with Damien, it's a fact that she's 'stricter' when it comes to disciplining Damien. I still have a lot to learn from her. ;)

  6. My MIL and SIL used to use the neighbour's girl to threathen JS. "If you naughty, ah mah will love Sara" "If you dont want..., ah mah will give it to Sara" etc etc , and yesterday I was getting JS to eat a certain vege and the bossy SIL#1 said "She won't eat vege one lah..." all these things happen and I just very straight foward told them off. At least now they stop using the neighbour's girl as a threat and SIL just keep quiet and me continuing feeing JS with the vege. But good thing I never have such problem with my parents...

  7. vien,
    At least you can talk to your folks. Sometimes there is a communication barrier.

    I try but I think in this case perhaps it was a mere L sized diplomacy. :P

    Don't lah sigh so often. Hehe.

    kak teh,
    Yes, negative labelling is a no-no but sometimes I'm guilty of it too....

    Good for you then to have your mum as a guide instead of having to "fight" with her.

    I sense your frustration. Its really bad to qualify our love to a child. "I won't love you if...."

  8. old folks....like the saying goes - it's hard to teach and old dog new tricks. Tricky..

  9. My dad used to complain that I spoil my kids. When he tells his grandchildren off for no real reason, we just have to keep quiet because once I told him that we don't tell our children to 'shut up', he was most upset with me. Since then, I learn to let him do things his way. Now that all the grandchildren (7 of them) are older, they know that his bark is louder than his bite. They all love their grandpa to bits even though he has told them off many a times, sometimes even when they are playing amongst themselves.
    Your children will be fine because they have you to guide them 24/7. I am sure your daughter also loves her granddad very much.

  10. flowsnow,
    The old dog may say "Its hard to teach a new dog old tricks" Hehe.

    Thanks for the reassurance. :)

  11. I agree with you. I don't believe in using negativity in raising/ disciplining the child. Even though my son is still a baby, i will talk to my mom if she say negative things to my son. Like if he gets frighten easily, and my mom will say "why so chicken, no use, like that also scared". I will tell my mom not to say that because he is scared because he does not understand what is going on and we should calm him instead of teasing him.

  12. I would rather my parents be as strict with my girls as how they dealt with me when I was a child... But I suppose they dare not be as strict thinking that I may not like the idea of them scolding or caning my girls. Well...it's a learning process for all - grandparent, parent and child.

  13. my mom is also very negative, e.g.she always say that i waste money sending my son to piano lessons just becos he refuses to play for her! but cannot say anything to her..sure kena tembak one!

  14. Hey.. MG,
    I'm just glad that i donch have this problem with my in-laws yet. So far .. they never say anything.. about how i bring chloe up.. and all.. nor are they negative in front of her. I think my "ang-moh" in-laws just wanna enjoy the lil' brat.. ;)

  15. shooi,
    Yes, negativity is bad and so is comparison which happens quite often too "Why can't you be like your brother/sister?" You know what I mean?

    My dad is strict with the kids too which I think is a good thing. It won't do if the parents are strict but then the grandparents spoil them rotten. Now that could also cause problems too.

    Haha. Better shut your gap then.

    Good for you then.

  16. It takes effort to be positive with children. Unfortunately, most of us live on automatic negative mode. The thing with grandparents is that they know the children are not theirs, they are YOURS. At the end of the day, its not them that have to deal with the consequences. So, we parents have to work EXTRA hard to undo whatever harm. Yes, not easy to tell your own parents what they do wrong. My mom sometimes still don't respect me as a parent. Already give children durian at 8:30pm. She gives them durian again at 10:30pm even after I said NO. My children tell grandma that they already brush their teeth but grandma say nevermind, can brush again. Grrrrr.... geram or not?


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