July 02, 2015

Q: My parents tease my toddler, sometimes don't know when to stop, calling her a "spoiled crybaby" or "she needs to learn" when they made her cry. They get mad at me for not teaching her to not throw tantrums. My in laws are the opposite. She cries or throws a fit and they baby or pamper her. They kinda of cater to whatever she wants. They get mad at me for asking to not let her do what she wants. As a mother I have mix emotions on both my parents and In-laws. I'm not sure what to do?

A: Oh Mom! This is tough stuff - it's that fine line between how to be tactful, stand up for what you know your child needs and still keep the relatives happy. But - you've now crossed into the world of parenting and you are now the authority. Nobody knows your child's needs better than you. Your best bet is to sit down with index cards (my technique) and write out a few notes you want to say to both sets of parents. The message needs to be strong but also kind. In a nutshell you're saying: "I know you love her, but this is what we think is best for her. Then describe the technique or strategy that you hope they will use and then add WHY you think it's important. End with, "I hope you'll support us." Ideally, your husband is with you (especially helpful when he talks to his parents). Know that Grandparents have that special privilege of being able to spoil their grandkids with love, but when it comes to discipline and parenting you rule. Go MOM!

Answered by Dr. Michele Borba