Every mom has her own unique way of parenting her children, especially when it comes to discipline. Our parents, and their parents, might have relied on different disciplinary methods, but in the end we all, as mothers, decide what works best for ourselves and our unique kids. Yes, our moms can be a great source of information because, well, they've been there and done that, but I'd argue there are times when you shouldn't listen to your own mom, especially when it comes to child discipline. In the end she's not the mother of your children. You are.
As a grandmother, my mom is the best. My kids adore her uncanny sense of self and her ability to laugh at just about anything. Even though she and I haven't always gotten along, she's always been close with my kids. In fact, of all the grandparents in my children's lives, she spends the most time with them. Still, there are times when her "helping" is her really butting in and derailing my parenting efforts. It's probably hard to step back and let your own baby take care of her babies, but that's exactly what I need my mother to do sometimes. Instead of making things more difficult, she needs to trust that, in the end, I got this.
If you and your mom have a close relationship, and she isn't toxic or abusive, I'm going to go ahead and assume that she has a lot of solid parenting advice and you should probably listen to at least some of it. Experience is priceless. But in terms of discipline, you can feel free to ignore your own mom if (read: when) she tries the following:
When She Says "It's Not Their Fault"
Every time I'm trying to discipline my kids around my mom, it's like a siren goes off in her brain and she has to interject immediately. No more than a minute into my diatribe about why I'm enforcing such a punishment (usually a time-out or taking a privilege away), I'll hear my mom, defending my kid even if she didn't witness what happened in the first place. Yeah, not helpful.
When She Voices Her Opposing Opinion On Spanking
My parents were spanked as children, and, in turn, spanked my brother and I whenever we misbehaved. But now that I'm a mom, I've decided not to spank my children. I don't want to use corporal punishment as a form of discipline, and have found other ways to help my children understand that their choices have consequences.
My mom would never urge me to spank my children, and she's expressed her regret in spanking me as a child. But if she did tell me one of my kids needs a good spank? Yeah, I'd ignore her.
When She Undermines Your Punishment
Every time I try to discipline my children in front of my mom, she will inevitably butt in. When I'm disciplining my daughter? "Well, you know she didn't mean to!" When I'm disciplining my son? "Are you sure it was really his fault? I mean, parents make mistakes, too." She will defend them until the end, because she loves them. And yes that's sweet, in theory, but it also undermines my parenting while simultaneously positioning me as the bad guy.
When my mom undercuts my authority in front of my children, she becomes the good guy and I become the emotional mess that obviously doesn't know what she's talking about and shouldn't be trusted. That, my friends, is not how I want my children to view me.
When She Tells You To "Let It Go"
Sorry, mom, but I can't exactly let go of the fact that my daughter lied about something huge and her father and I have decided to ground her for a month. OMG go sign that annoying Frozen song somewhere else.
When She Tells Your Kids About Your Mistakes
Is it just me, or do all moms love to talk about their own children? And not just when they're parenting their kids, but when their kids are grown and parenting children of their own.
If I had a dollar for every time my mother told my children a really ridiculous story about me messing up, I could pay for their college. If I had a dollar for every time my kids said, "Well, mom you did the same thing when you were a kid!" I could pay for an extravagant vacation when my kids finally leave for college.
When She Renegotiates A Punishment
Whenever I finally figure out how to handle punishment for something, here comes mom: ready to barter for my child's freedom and happiness. While it's great my kids have such a loving grandmother, can we just skip this step? Parenting is hard enough without trading a time-out for an ice cream cone.
When She Mentions Buying Toys To "Fix It"
Apparently, when you're a grandparent, toys are the answer to everything. I can't exactly knock it — because I'll probably (read: definitely) do it when and/or if my kids have kids and I totally look forward to it — but for now I don't have to listen when mom offers to take them to the store when they should be headed to the nearest time-out chair.
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