Hey, Are You Spanking My Child?

Dear Mr. Dad: My mom watches my 3-year-old son while I work part-time. I appreciate her help but it bothers me that she spanks him when he misbehaves or disobeys. I’ve been meaning to speak with her about this, but have been holding off because I can’t afford to hire a babysitter and I don’t want to antagonize my mom. What do you suggest?

A: Boy, that’s a tough one. On one hand, it’s comforting—not to mention more convenient and less expensive—to have your son cared for by a loving relative while you’re at work. On the other, if you and your mom can’t reach an agreement on how to discipline your child, you’ve got a real problem—regardless of the financial savings or the convenience factor.
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Grandma Spoils the Grandkids

Dear Mr. Dad: Grandma spoils our preschool twins to death! Whenever they’re with her, they seem to get free run of the house—with no rules. When we pick them up, they need an attitude adjustment to bring their whining and rudeness under control. How can we get my wife’s mother to supervise them more appropriately?

A: The old saying about grandparents is true—they get to spoil the grandkids, stuff them full of treats, and then send them home to Mom and Dad. Fortunately, the “damage” usually isn’t too heavy and it’s relatively easily corrected. But sometimes the effects last a little longer, especially with kids who are at the age when they disagree with parents over just about anything (which could be toddlers and preschoolers or teenagers—amazing similarities between the two groups).
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