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Pregnancy & Parenting
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Need some friendly advice

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So I have this close friend who is a mother of 3, ages 3, 1 1/2, and 4 months.  i love her to death but I can hardly stand going to visit her because of her parenting.  Her 3 year old is very naughty which I believe is exactly how her husband was at that age.  Her method of discipling drives me insane.  She screams at him and spanks him.  While visiting this weekend, within the first 10 minutes of being there he lightly threw a toy because it broke and she screamed at him told him to quit being a moron.  Then he did something else and she calls him ****.  Then he pushed his little brother a little bit and when he walked away she pushed him really hard and he fell on the floor.  This happens all the time!  She swears using the f-word and any other word in the book and thinks it's not big deal.  When he does something and she gets up he takes off running.  I assume that spankings are normal.  None of her discipline is effective, but it's all negative.  For god sakes she calls him a moron at 3!  The 1 1/2 year old is my godson, so I feel obligated to go hang out with them.  Does anybody have any advice for me?  Would it be wrong for me to say something?  I know she would blow up on me and tell me if he wasn't such a brat she wouldn't have to do that to him.  But I think that is what's causing him to be a brat.  Help me! 

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Ugh. That's a tough situation to be in. Maybe when you guys are just hanging out and things are calm you could mention something like " You know I saw something interesting on Dr. Phil about different parenting methods...or, I read something interesting on parenting the other day. Tell her what  you saw/read and then ask her opinion about it. Maybe if you just casually bring it up she won't think you are making a dig at her. And if she is to stubborn to agree with a different method verbally maybe it will give her something to ponder silently. Good luck, I hope you can get through to her. Poor kids!

Yeah I don't know.  She thinks she's gods gift to children and thinks she is the best mom ever.  I have no doubt she loves her children.  I think if I even said anything about parenting she'd freak out.  I feel bad for her oldest.  He gets so embarrassed when she yells at him in front of people.  I think I just might be gutsy next time and be like "name", quit screaming at him!  My boyfriend has a 3 year old.  He is actually 4 days younger than my friends 3 year old.  They'll be 4 in a few weeks.  But my boyfriend's kid is an angel!  Sounds ridiculous to say that but he is.  He has good manners for the most part, does yell or act out and he listens very well.  I have heard that he's completely different with his mom but better for us!  We discipline a completely different way but it seems way more effective.  Maybe I'll just start emailing her stuff about parenting! 

I would just tell her. Think about what she is doing to these poor kids. I am very against screaming as I grew up with a mother that did that and I can't stand it now and have a very strained relationship with her. Spanking?!?! No way. I believe people that spank have no control over their emotions and take out their frustrations on their children. I had a friend that did the same thing and we ended up not being friends after 10 years because I could not stand the way she treated her kids. I was very young at the time and did not know how to approach it and wish I could go back and do it again. Kids need someone to look out for them especially when their own parents are not doing what is best for them.

My brother has 3 kids around the same age as your friend and his wife does an amazing job raising them. She never yells or spanks and uses a firm tone to discipline and time out. They get out of control every now and again as all kids do but they listen to her and other adults and are great kids.

Please talk to your friend. It makes me so sad when I think of children living in that situation. How would you feel if you lived with someone that was always yelling and hitting you?

Talk to her now and advise that she takes parenting classes.  that poor child.  who cares if she's embarrassed-  she needs to take a long look at her life.  Get intervention.  Verbal abuse is just as bad as physical abuse.

Sorry I haven't looked back at this one until now.  I forgot I had posted it.  i haven't been over there since I posted this.  Next time I'm over there and she's being ridiculous I'll probably just say something and if she wants to get mad at me about it then I will just leave.  It's hard because the middle one is my godson and he's not usually the one she is screaming at.  So, the next time she starts yelling at him or spanks him, which is not really a "spank", more like tap on the butt, WHICH I SITLL HATE, I'll say something along the lines of "I know I'm not a mom, but you should maybe try some other techniques if these aren't working."  My boyfriends sister used to be the director of a very good daycare center and I have seen how she disciplines her kids.  She never yells, but uses a stern voice and give them choices, not usually more than 3 and if they don't choose any of them they get to go sit in their room.  Or if they need to do something and are putzing around she says, "You have 5 fingers to sit on your butt and eat,"  then puts them down one by one.  Needless to say with one finger left they are sitting and eating! 

Isn't there a TV show about parenting techniques? Supper nanny or something like that. Maybe insist on watching that with her? 

I hate to compare the two but I run into this problem all the time with dog training. People truly believe they're using the correct methods of discipline, rewarding, etc for their dogs and it's not until they actually see the other methods used an how effective they are that they start to question their own actions. 

You often can't abruptly tell a person there's a problem but you can help them see the problem without words (which come across as accusation). 

Unfortunately, it's her decision on how to raise her child.

I don't think you should give her suggestions on how to parent her kids. It's none of your business. What you can do, though, is tell her that you don't appreciate the way she treats her children and will not be around her in those situations.

You could also buy her a parenting book as a gift, although she'll probably find it insulting. Screamfree Parenting or Parenting with Love and Logic are both excellent reads. Love and Logic is along the same lines as your boyfriend's sister's method: giving the children choices and letting them suffer natural consequences based on their decisions.


Yeah it's hard because I know it's not any of my business but it kills to see a child in a situation like that.  But what bugs me is if someone is acting like she does in public she is the first to comment on how white trash they are behaving and how ridiculous it is how they are treating their child and I want to be like hello you do that exact same thing!


9 Replies