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How would you handle this?

My daughter has an adopted nanna and papa (a couple from church). They love each other very much, and since my parents aren't in the picture and my boyfriend's folks are out of state, I'd like to preserve the relationship for my daughter if at all possible. Nanna and Papa attend a lot of school events, and she goes to their house now and then for sleepovers. Nanna is going to babysit tomorrow so I can get some work done for my upcoming deadline.

But here's the problem. I asked my daughter to clean up the living room before she went to bed because it looked like a tornado had blown through. She was none too pleased about putting toys away, so I told her Nanna and Papa would be picking us up for church in the morning and she'd get to go home with them afterward for a while. Instead of the excitement and anticipation I had anticipated, my daughter started frantically stuffing toys in totes and shoving junk under the coffee table. When I asked her what was going on, she said that when Nanna picked us up for church last week and saw the house all messy with toys and coloring supplies, she told my daughter that if she walked in on that kind of a disaster again, she'd spank my daughter's butt. She said it wasn't safe for the floor to be strewn with stuff I could trip on. I wasn't in the room to hear her say that or I would have nipped it in the bud then and there, believe me.

My boyfriend says to just let it go, she probably won't do it and there's no point starting an argument. But I feel that Nanna stepped way over the line. I wouldn't dream of threatening to spank somebody else's kid, even one I knew well. Or telling someone else's kid how to act in her own parents' house. I don't want to start a needless argument, but I don't want Nanna threatening to spank my daughter, especially without my knowledge. And God help the woman if she ever went through with it, especially for something non-dangerous like an untidy living room. Typically, she's used time-out when my daughter is at her house, the same as I do here. I have no problem with her expecting good behavior from my daughter and disciplining her accordingly, and I wouldn't necessarily even having a problem with her giving my daughter a swat on the butt for doing something dangerous like running in a parking lot.

So what are my options? What would you all do?


Asked by Ballad at 1:31 AM on Oct. 13, 2013 in General Parenting

Level 45 (193,996 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • It sounds like you don't want her to threaten your daughter that way so I think that's what I'd address. I guess I'd just let her know what my daughter said about the exchange, and that of course I understand the context of why it happened & the intended goal, and that I appreciate her good intentions, but that I don't want her to use threats.

    I don't know if she would get into what is she "supposed" to do, or "Then what am I allowed to do?" but if so I think I'd clarify that in that situation, I'd expect someone to express their reaction of dismay (or whatever) and to say what they think. She thinks it's not safe for the floor to be strewn with stuff that way, and that the child should do a better job of cleaning up her things.

    I'd just be clear that I believe that message itself can be forceful & compelling without involving leverage (threats), and that that kind of personal feedback is what I want in those situations.

    Answer by girlwithC at 5:34 PM on Oct. 13, 2013

  • It sounds as though you've chosen this couple from church to play an integral part not only in your life but your daughters. It seems reciprocal as well.
    As such, the Nana feels it's her matronly duty to watch out for you and instill in your daughter the danger this imposes to you. threatening to spank her only instills fear in your daughter and as you obviously know with your childhood, this is not healthy nor is it encouraging your daughter to want to be with them.
    If this relationship is what you say, then you should have no reason to not address it before something worse happens and then the relationship/friendship is severed forever.

    Answer by KTElite at 2:01 AM on Oct. 13, 2013

  • I would say something in a HaHA isn't it funny what kids say, manner, and if she confirms that she did say she would spank your DD, and she ment it, then you kindly say, we don't spank in our family, time outs work for us.

    Answer by musicmaker at 1:44 AM on Oct. 13, 2013

  • There is always the direct approach. When I heard my mom call my kids stupid idiots, just like she used to call me, I told her directly that I did not want her to ever call my kids stupid idiots. She actually did what I asked.


    Answer by musicmaker at 1:47 AM on Oct. 13, 2013

  • Have you ever talked about discipline with her? You might start a conversation like, "you know we have never really discussed disciplining my daughter and I just want you to know we use time outs ...we are not into spanking"....something along those lines to open up the subject. Then make it clear along the way that there is to be no spanking and for them to let you know if there are any difficult situations they can discuss them with you. GL

    Answer by silverthreads at 8:07 AM on Oct. 13, 2013

  • I agree that you should broach the subject, but in doing so, please remember the generation in which this nice couple grew up. I'm sure spanking was common for them, and she probably just used it to "motivate" your child. Did you ask your dau if she had ever been spanked by either of them?

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 6:49 AM on Oct. 13, 2013

  • I would tell her what she said and politely say that you don't spank but you appreciate her caring enough to want to help.
    Tell her she is more than welcome to put her in time if she isn't doing something.

    Answer by luvmygrandgirl at 11:20 AM on Oct. 13, 2013

  • I am with your hubby. Sometimes the threat of an action is all that is needed to spark better behavior.
    Nanny was (IMO) trying to help your daughter to think about how her actions can affect others. This is the relationshiop you want, right? A grandma, grandpa kind of thing? This is what we do and that relationship allows a little greater lee way that say a play date or a babysitter.

    Answer by Dardenella at 2:00 PM on Oct. 13, 2013

  • I would just ask her(nanna) if she has ever, either spanked or threatened to spank. If she has did both. Take action. If she hasn't, just apologize. Explain what your DD said.


    Answer by louise2 at 8:47 AM on Oct. 13, 2013