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How do I handle my mother in law? She thinks she should be allowed to spank my child!

Okay, so my MIL spanked my husband (more like HIT) and her DD too when they were little. We've announced and made VERY clear to both our families that we will NEVER spank/slap/or otherwise physically discipline our children. Furthermore, we believe that IF (ifififififififif!) any physical discipline were EVER to come to our children, it would be at our hands only. Period. MIL has brought it up 5 times in my baby's 1 year on Earth that some kids just need to be spanked and that she will never tolerate any disrespect. I always calmly tell her that "our kids won't be spanked ever" and she just bristles. She won't agree to keep her hands to herself. She is already seeming controlling over my daughter (pulling Annika's face to hers and saying "look at Nana!"), and she's just a little baby. DH has talked to her too, but we're not getting anywhere it seems. What are my options? Am I going to have to threaten her?


Asked by laadeedah at 10:07 AM on Dec. 3, 2008 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (16)
  • I agree about a swat on the butt as a last measure...but if you have another method of disciplining your child, that's your right. I would strongly suggest that you have a meeting of the minds with MIL and the rest of the family that would be responsible for babysitting and ask for their help with your discipline plans. Lay out exactly how you would like things to be handled (being polite and matter of fact the whole time...even if you have to pinch yourself to not react!). Tell the family you are counting on their help. IF they don't want to follow your plan, then tell them that you are sorry but you won't be able to ask them to babysit...too many methods of handling the child will confuse them.

    Answer by companygoddess at 11:30 AM on Dec. 3, 2008

  • Absolutlry threaten her. She shouldnt be putting a hand on your child no matter who she thinks she is and if she has a problem with that, then I wouldnt let her be around my child.

    Answer by asholan_07 at 10:09 AM on Dec. 3, 2008

  • agree with asholan

    Answer by krazyash023 at 10:11 AM on Dec. 3, 2008

  • I think as pp have said you need to threaten her with no contact with your children if she carries on doing this, when it comes down to it this is your child not hers and it is your decision.

    Answer by haleykarson at 10:15 AM on Dec. 3, 2008

  • Don't let her keep your children over at her house alone.Like babysitting them alone or staying the night their her house alone.(without you). Always have supervised visits when she is around. Every time she does something you do not like,to the children, tell her.

    Grandparents are not the ones who should be disciplining the grand kids.


    Answer by louise2 at 10:18 AM on Dec. 3, 2008

  • Im sorry but if my child needed a swat on the butt while she was at a grandparents house then so be it!!! now if they were beating or hurting the child that would be a different story!!but I would never say anything about a little spank on the butt!! I dont mean to critisize but i have alot of friends who take to no spanking route and they have horrible kids that are bad in public and outta control!! my kids do get a swat when they are naughty and I can take them anywhere and everyone always tells me how wonderfuly behaved they are!! This is your choice if you want to spank or not to spank but it is not abuse what so ever!!! I had my share of spankings as a child and I think I was a better behaved kid because of it!!

    Answer by scaredmommy08 at 10:44 AM on Dec. 3, 2008

  • I spank, and I don't mind if my mom or dad swats my baby's butt. HOWEVER if my choice was to never physically discipline my child, I would not tolerate anyone else doing it either. I wouldn't threaten your MIL..... I would PROMISE her something. I would promise that if she EVER physically disciplined you child she would be seeing a lot less of her. Or if you feel uncomfortable already, limit the contact with the baby, starting now, and let her know exactly why. She won't tolerate disrespect??? Well neither should you!

    Answer by drowninginboys at 11:02 AM on Dec. 3, 2008

  • dont threten just break off all contact when she asks why tell her why and then lay down your terms say if u want to see your granddaughter again ............... she will either agree or not but u will know you tried your best

    Answer by jajamama at 11:12 AM on Dec. 3, 2008

  • We spank when it needs to be done. My 2 1/2 year old slapped my MIL in the face so she spanked her.. Thats just what happens. But If its over something stupid then i would be flippin pissed off!

    Answer by BallardMomma at 11:15 AM on Dec. 3, 2008

  • I agree with some of the pp. I would not tolerate MIL spanking my child. My MIL wouldn't dare, lol. I'd say warn her next time she brings it up that if she "spanks" your child/ren she won't see them. I think you have a right as a parent to look out for the well being of your children. You said that she hit your DH and SIL I think your concerns are valid. Stand up for your beliefs, it is your responsibility as a parent to do so.

    Answer by mlregalado at 11:27 AM on Dec. 3, 2008