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DEARSUGAR NEEDS YOUR HELP: My Mom Constantly Criticizes My Parenting Style

DEARSUGAR and Smothered Samara need your help. Calling all mothers. What can Smothered Samara say to her mom so that she'll back off and respect her a little bit more?

Dear Sugar
I've got one of those mothers who can't help herself from criticizing those around her. Any chance she gets, she'll let you have it. Being as I am her daughter, I have caught the brunt of it many, many times. I usually just let it go and rationalize that this is just her way, but now she has taken up criticizing my parenting style and it's really beginning to offend me.

I have talked to her about this and for a while she was being respectful but now she's starting up again. She'll say things like, "He sure knows how to get his way with you," referring to my three year old son. She also often interrupts me when I'm trying to explain something to my son and she'll thrust her two cents on us.

I understand that she is my son's grandmother, but I am my son's mother. I feel as though that if she has a problem with my parenting or if there is an issue that she wants to discuss, she should tell me in private, away from my son.

I am extremely grateful to my mother for doing what she has for my family, but I believe that she's overstepping her boundaries with all of her criticism. I feel as though I'm constantly being watched and examined while I'm parenting my own son.

I am not the perfect parent and I know that. I've made mistakes, but I always make sure that my son is provided for and that he feels loved. I am open to a suggestions from my mother if I ask her for her help, but when she steps in uninvited, I get a little angry. Do you have any suggestions for me? What can I do about her? Smothered Samara

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WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 9 years
Wow, this one hit home because my mother is very critical as well. I don't have kids so she can't criticize my parenting style, but she sure has something to say about everything else - my weight, my career choices, my apartment, my boyfriend. For a long time, I'd lash out at her when she did it and I'd end up getting upset. But now, I say the same thing over and over, with variations - "Well, Mom, if you think my boyfriend is lazy, it's a good thing YOU'RE not dating him." "So, Mom, if you think my apartment is a mess, just be glad YOU don't live here." It eventually shut her up. Maybe you can try the same thing with her. "Well, Mom, it's a good thing he's MY kid and not yours." Make it clear that her criticism isn't helping. But also, make it clear that you appreciate her input and when you need it, you'll ask for it. Tell her firmly but calmly. If you get upset, she might think you're just overemotional and not take you seriously.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Yikes. Look, you have two options. You can deal with it. Or you can fix it. But fixing it will not be fun, and it will not be easy. First, you need to let your Mother know that you love her and appreciate her. But, that you will not tolerate her constant criticism or her undermining your authority. You need to make it clear that if she does not stop, you and your child will not spend time with her. Then, every single time your Mother starts in, you must stop her immediately. "Mom, this is what I was talking about. Please stop." If she will not stop, you need to remove yourself. "Mom, I'm leaving now. I hope next time we see each other, we'll be able to respect each other's boundaries." Then leave. No threats. No caving. No sniveling. No whining. No exceptions. Good luck.
t0xxic t0xxic 9 years
You can simply avoid her. If youve told her that you appreciate that she not step in while you are trying to discpline or teach and shes still doing it then well shes prolly not going to change. Next time she says her comments regaurding him getting his way with you maybe try a comeback? "He wouldnt think he was getting over on me if people would stop saying that he is." She may get the hint. GL but moms will be moms and they never seem to understand we dont always agree with the way they raised us. We can only try to be better and keep that in mind when our kids are grown. -------------------- The baby in my belly made me do it I swear.
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