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2 Bumps

Was I wrong - or was she?

My mom moved into MY house a couple months ago. She helps out with the kids, but ultimately DH and I make sure we're the parents and she doesn't take over. DH is currently out of town so it's her and I with the kids. My 6yo ds was doing homework and he was fighting it pretending he didn't know how to write a letter. I became stern with him and we were working through it and she butted in and said "Do you want us to think you're stupid?" He looks up (hurt) and says "I'm not stupid!" I quietly asked her not to use the word stupid and she started arguing saying that she wasn't calling him stupid, she was asking if that's what he wanted us to think. I tried telling her that to a 6yo there is NO difference in what she said and calling him stupid is not OK. After a minute of arguing I finally told her he's MY kid and I don't want her to say that to him. She came back with he's her grandson as if that gives her the right to not abide by my wishes. Now she's acting all hurt because I put my foot down. Am I wrong in thinking that saying things like that is damaging? I have rules in my house, my kids have discipline and there are consequences for inappropriate behavior and they are generally well behaved kids, but I never ever use the word stupid, dumb or whatever to describe them as humans in any context.


Asked by Anonymous at 1:21 PM on Feb. 10, 2011 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • I think you're right. But I think it probably turned into a bigger deal than it had to be, as in a Mom vs. Grandma showdown. Your Mom was wrong to use that word but I see that she wasn't trying to call him stupid so her intentions were not bad, however to a 6 year old hearing the word stupid in reference to himself in any way is going to be taken that he is being called stupid, as evidenced by the fact that he immediately replied with "I'm not stupid." I would go to your Mom and apologize that this turned into a big ordeal, and then stress to her that you go out of your way not to use words like stupid at all and that she needs to do the same. Acknowledge that you know she wasn't calling your son stupid but remind her that 6 year old minds don't know the difference and it would crush him if the Grandma he loves didn't have faith in him. Of course you have veto power as the mom but it's best not to wave it in your Mom's face.

    Answer by MaryMW at 1:54 PM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • You did the right thing, that i believe. Not only is that a word that a child shouldnt not be called in any way shape or form but should never be encouraged to use that word in general! What your mother did was out of line. You asked her to stop and she should have stopped. I have a feeling that she kept defending her actions because she felt embarressed. Not only was she repriemanded by her daughter but called out in front of her grandson when she thought she was doing the right thing, i assume she figured you were going to back her up. What i would do is pull her aside and say mom, we enjoy you here, you get to see your grandchildren and they get to see you and we all spend more time together. I know you know what your doing in parenting and im so glad you can give me advice. But let me try it out on my own first to see how i do as a parent. You acknoweldge her worth, her presence, and in a gentle way tell her to back off.

    Answer by Bobbysgurl at 1:46 PM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • YOu were right :)

    Answer by minimo77 at 1:42 PM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • You are 100% right. Being the grandma doesn't give her the right to not abide by your wishes. You are the mother, what you say goes.

    Answer by JLS2388 at 3:45 PM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • YOU are right. Tell her as long as she is living under YOUR roof that she has to follow YOUR rules and that includes not using those words towards your children!

    Answer by coolassmom87 at 1:47 PM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • You are not wrong...he won't think there is a difference. But living with other family is hard. Particularly when it is a parent. Clashes will happen. Privately tell your mom ground rules have to be made and that you appreciate all her help. Start with all the things she does that you appreciate. Then do general house rules. Acknowledge you do things differently: a blend of your husband's childhood and yours. A blend of your thoughts and his. Which means it is different from the way she did things. And it isn't a bad thing. Just different. Acknowledge that what parents in this generation do now also may change - that each generation has their own parenting ideas.  Make it clear what are straight up NO's.  And taking your mom aside privately instead of correcting her in front of your child.  Later, tell your child Grandma made a mistake but we all do. 


    Answer by frogdawg at 2:04 PM on Feb. 11, 2011

  • You were right, it is your house, and he is Your child. and it is damaging to a child to use the words like stupid or dumb or anything like that. Children do interpret just the way you told her. They don't know the difference they aren't mature enough to be able to know a difference.

    Answer by stitchintime at 11:12 PM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • But doing it right then and there may just cause tension all the way around. Let it sit if there is no immediate danger, distract your child with transitioning to a different activity, and then come back to it when the moment has passed.  You have a situation that is very hard.  There are advantages to having your mom in your home - just easing the moments of the difficult ones can help.  It takes practice.  It is learning how to be political and helping both your mom and your child.  It does get easier when you have a plan ahead of time.  Knowing that you will distract and revisit the issue later, giving you time to think, may allow you to find a gentle path for everyone involved.


    Answer by frogdawg at 2:09 PM on Feb. 11, 2011

  • you were in the right

    Answer by devinalexis at 5:01 PM on Feb. 11, 2011

  • You're right. If she feels hurt she knows where the front door is at.
    It's your house & your child. She's just the grandma. You are the mom.

    Answer by downsznmomof4 at 9:08 AM on Feb. 12, 2011