Is it OK for me - the soon to be mother-in-law - to send an article on positive parenting: "Dealing With Power Struggles" (concerning a 2-year-old) to my son and his fiance? They have a son, 26 months old - our grandson.
We spend time with our grandson and can see some alarming effects of their parenting style. They are young parents and are isolated - no daycare, no playgroups, no seeking answers -- wanting to do it all on their own. He is throwing BIG tantrums, and it breaks our hearts knowing things could be avoided. We are worried about the long-term effects of this overpowering attitude they have taken to "control" their son.
From: Lucy, Freeport, ME
In my experience, parents of toddlers are exhausted and happy for whatever help they can get, including parenting strategies. But it depends on the people (some people hate getting anything forwarded to them) and the relationship: Have they ever talked to you about parenting strategies? Do they come to you for advice or with questions? It sounds like they are operating with some sense of an over-riding principle in mind; have they ever shared that with you? Or have they stopped coming to you for advice because you've already expressed dismay at their "over-controlling" methods which, by the way, I wish you had described...
If you've never sent them an article before and you suddenly send one that speaks to a perceived "problem," your action -- even though intended to be helpful -- may come across as judgmental and critical. That could be a problem to what may already be a fragile relationship, and something tells me that's what you've got -- a fragile relationship -- or you wouldn't be asking the question to begin with.
Here's my idea: Start off by telling them that since you've become a grandma, you're paying more attention to articles about parenting and you've even discovered some good websites. If you promise not to inundate their inbox, would they like you to send some along? If they are open to it, start with articles that are likely to be inoffensive and work your way up to ones that might be instructive, such as the one you describe. If they are not open to it, I'd start more modestly by finding a way to have conversations about being parents in which you are able to listen without being judgmental, and without saying things like, "Well, when I was raising Johnny...."
Meanwhile, I can't help but wonder (and I mean this in as respectful a way as possible): Is it possible that what you're describing as BIG tantrums are age-appropriate and you've forgotten what tantrums can look like?
Suggestions from the grandparents out there? Or from DIL's....?
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