So we visited my sister and BIL and family this past weekend - they live about 4 hours away. They have 3 kids - 5, 3, and infant. There are major discipline problems with the older 2. The kids run wild and have constant violent physical fights with each other (and the older one often gets into physical fights with other kids). "Discipline" in their house involves screaming at them (and zero consequences for ignoring the parent), time outs/threats of time outs (followed through on ~50% of the time, so the kids don't take it seriously), bribes (clean up toys and you get a cookie, at 6:45 AM), no follow through (you have to eat your veggies before you get these chips, then letting kid have the chips), and controlling the kids with TV (the TV is ALWAYS on, 100% of the time). I honestly think the parents are overwhelmed, and my sister does make an effort, but I see zero effort on the part of my BIL.
Anyway, I try to be a loving, positive influence in the kids' lives, as best as I can as their aunt and living far away. But this weekend was too much. My nephew (5) was being annoying, getting in his parents' way as they prepared for his sister's birthday party. They yelled at him to stop. When he didn't, my BIL smacked him hard (not hard enough to injure him, but still pretty hard) on the forehead with the heel of his hand. I was shocked and horrified, even more so as my 2 year old daughter was right there. I removed her from the situation, but didn't know what to do from there. I told my husband about the situation later (he wasn't there), and my concerns not only for my nephews and niece, but now about the impact on our own child. I don't want to tell other people how to parent - I'm sure there are those out there who would question things I do as a parent. But this action was totally inappropriate. When I brought up my concerns for our daughter, witnessing this type of behavior, my husband said we would explain it to her. I told him I should not have to explain why some daddies hit their children and everyone else with their silence says this is ok (no one actually witnessed this but me, sister's back was turned, but I did tell my mom later, so word will spread). THIS IS NOT OK!
I guess I'm just looking for some validation of my perception of this situation, before I talk to my sister and figure out action to take to at least protect my daughter (considering no longer staying with them when we go to visit, etc). I want to continue to be in my sister's life and the lives of my nephews and niece. I want to continue to be a loving positive influence. The kids need it!
Thanks for listening!
Asked by Anonymous at 6:04 AM on Jun. 14, 2011 in General Parenting
Answer by louise2 at 6:24 AM on Jun. 14, 2011
Answer by caramelH at 6:27 AM on Jun. 14, 2011
Answer by dullscissors at 7:09 AM on Jun. 14, 2011
Answer by rosiemendo at 7:33 AM on Jun. 14, 2011