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Can't Stand My Sister-In-Law's Parenting Style

This post was submitted by an anonymous member in our A Place to Vent group.

I can't stand my sister-in-law's parenting style. There. I said it. She's an amazing woman — smart, fun and a joy to be around — but her parenting skills are old school to say the least. She was raised in a very traditional family and hasn't updated her tactics. She spanks her kids (something my husband and I don't do), she lets her twin 6-year-old boys watch as much TV as they want, lets them eat whatever they want and defaults to the laziest route when it comes to instilling any discipline or rule for her kids. It's not that my husband and I are without struggle in the parenting department, but her "let let them do what they want so they are quiet" attitude makes it hard for me to let my children play with hers — or even consider leaving my children with her. I understand it is hard to parent twins and not everyone wants to raise their children the way I do, but there has to be a common ground. Anyone have any suggestions for broaching the subject with her without coming off as "holier than thou"?

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juliadabeach juliadabeach 5 years
OK so I am aware I will not be that popular here, but I have to get this out.My kids Boy(15) Girl (10) are fantastic. They are well-behaved, do good in school, I've never heard "I hate you mom", they never bit or hit me. I spanked each one maybe twice, just a tap. Now I can raise my voice for sure and I'm a big girl so most people know when I mean business, but I feel in NO WAY whatsoever do I rule with tyranny. My sister-in-law and I were best friends, when my children were growing I spoke with her every single day, she knew my style of parenting,always remarked on how great a mom I was and how great my kids are. So, then please tell me why she absolutely, unequivocally refuses to punish her children or even acknowledge their bad behavior. Brooklyn (now 5 and i don't believe she is yet reading) and Luke(3) are terrible. Luke was a happy baby until he was corrupted by my neice. Don't get me wrong, i still adore my neice,I had to set her straight one time-firmly eye level I let her know that her behavior was unacceptable in my home and when I told her to sit in the chair and she refused I sat there and kept putting her back over and over-from then on she was a perfect angel. This is my list of issues with Elena. She still at five forces her daughter to take a nap whther she sleeps or not, she has to lay there for an hour. Ok whatever, but then at 7pm bedtime it takes her an hour EVERY night to get her to sleep because she's not flippin tired.Poor Luke is pretty well ignored for the constant demands of Brooklyn the terrible, who also raises him while Elkena is endlessly on the phone wondering why NONE of her life long freinds will bring their children around hers. Elena has bought a playgroup through a school with zero structure where the kids call their teacher by first name, decide their own curriculum and if they don't want to work or be nice to others, they can sit in their cubicles and shut out anyone they choose.Sadly Elena doesn't think THEY are helping Brooklyn reach her full potential.. On two separate family vacations, my sister slept in well past the time her children arose, lying there listening as we took care of her kid's breakfast and tolerated a 2 year old repeatedly hitting everyone in the room. I tapped the back of his hand and told him stop hitting, you would of thought I took a wire hanger to him. She flew out of bed snatched him up and took her lazy ass back to sleep. Money is actually what has changed her sadly, I remeber before she lost her mind-she used to speak plenty about how she would"bust her neighbor's daughter's ass if her daughter ever spoke to her that way".She had plenty to say when her freind Erin's child Tribe was hitting people, that was a travesty...but it';s OK for her kids, they don't know better. Right they don't because she doesn't let them know it's wrong. Well normal Elena has long come and gone. Brooklyn screams "I hate you and I'm leaving home" if Elena doesn't jump and put in Scooby-Doo. What's really puzzling is that Elena doesn't have a potty mouth like I do, where does she hear the foul stuff she says??When my children last stayed the night and My son was enjoying playing a game with his aunt, the she-child tyrant knocked the playing board and pieces from the table. Her mother said nothing. At a family gathering Brooklyn with complete malice and intent shoved her young cousin backward off the porch steps landing him on his head with a concussion.Elena comforted her , I swear to God and went a got her a popsicle because at the precise time this was happening, my husband was getting the kids Ice Cream cones and refused to give Brooklyn hers until she apologized. Indeed she was not made to apologize. The entire family was appauled.Leaving her son unattended like Theresa/Audriana from Real Housewives, Elena caught her infant son just in time as Brooklyn was about to roll her baby brother down the steps because he was crying.Yet, she constantly leaves her kids to their own devises.We were having a baby shower for my husband's other cousin Ilise who's surpasses Elena as non-parent of the century(her daughter Avery bit my son's face for touching her sidewalk chalk and Ilise refused to make her daughter apologize and asked me well' what do you want me to do?) Anyway as everyone is showing up to the shower, Brooklyn (2) is in the middle of the street. Now does Elena explain to her that she cannot go in the street, NO she carries her in kickin and screaming and allows her a half hour tantrum. It was ridiculous, not to mentio the airhead could have lost her daughter. My family and I LOVE Amusement Parks, it is our thing. We made the mistake of bringing Elena and Brooklyn to hersheypark. Bar none it was the worst experience, no actually the worst was Harry Potter World also with the two of them. My husband I swore to one another under no circumstances would we take them with us, we knew she would ask because while she never does anything alone with her children except go to some stupid red violin coffe shop where mother's go to ignore their kids, but she's quick to try and hione in on someone's else;s time and let her kid ruin it. The worst experiences EVER. The idiot lost her daughter's "Other" a blanket....I picked up that damn blanket twenty times that day while moron watched the sky,and of course come the end of the day when she can't find it, she was about to let my son go in and try to locate it in the dark at closing time. She was furious when I forbid him from doing so. Brooklyn wasn't even phased by the loss, no bug deal. You know this pathetic woman mailed her a replacement six months after the fact with a fake letter as if it was from lost and found. Her kid was over it , and she goes and re-introduces it. Her comments"I just don't know how I would have made it through life without my blankie" For God Sake really? My moron of a neocon mom SIL decided to strap her infant son into a running vehicle with no parking brake on and of course non-controlled Brooklyn was not fastened in and decided to put the car in gear, pinning my Sis-In-Law between the vehicle and garage.Brooklyn's response at 3 years old was"Well mommy it's your fault, if you had told me what that lever did, I wouldn't have touched it". Kid is a serial killer in the making.She gave her baby brother a cup of urine to drink. If she is watching a program (4 years old) and doesn't feel like going to the potty, she'll urinate on the hardwood floors. She sat at her Grandmother's and completely tore to pieces a styrofoam cooler. When my Mother-in-law corrected the child the child said"I don't like you I'm leaving" and when she went to tell her mother who is NEVER monitoring her, did elena correct her NO OF COURSE NOT, she was pissed that her mother was upset over a $4 cooler, but never once thought to go replace it for the woman who put her through college and still works 60 hours a week to pay her bills. No, Elena uses her mother as an example and since Blanche actually corrected her as a child unlike her loser insane absentee letch of a father which whom she adores...."I don't ever want my children to have the relationship I have with my mother. Why, your mother takes off weeks of work at a time to come to your home to look after your bratty ass kids every six months while you jet off dying to get away from your own monsters, and to boot she makes us lie to her children and say she's at a mommy's conference instead of jamaica or Bermuda or wherever else. Hey instead of the Plaza in Manhatten once every six months, take them to a damn theme park like they ask you to.That's all for now, i have many more examples, curious what people think, please let me know. Thanks for listening. Sorry for any offensiveness.
Aunt-Tee Aunt-Tee 7 years
Wow, this is a hard situation to be in. First, let me say how impressed I am with your attitude. You do not come across as trashing your sister in law, which would be so easy to do, given the situation! I am not a mother but I am Tee Tee (aunt) to five beautiful nieces and keep them quite frequently. In our family, we very much take the "it takes a village to raise a child" mindset and I don't hesitate to follow my sister and brother in law's rules. (Just as an example, we do spank when needed.) If I were in your shoes, I don't think I would be able to leave my children with somebody that would not be willing to abide by the rules that I enforce. (within reason) If your sister in law were to ask you why you don't ask her to baby sit for you, I would simply tell her the truth in as gentle a manner as possible. "Well, it really bothers me when Susie comes home from your house and immediately flips on the television and asks for a snack." Something along those lines. As for play dates, the only thing I can say is that you might have to stick around and keep a close eye on things. Just because her children are allowed to run wild doesn't mean that you are obligated to allow your children to follow suit. Yes, you might come off as the "mean mommy" but in the long run, that won't matter. All that will matter is that your children have been taught how to behave. I wish I had better advice for you. Good luck!
jenni5 jenni5 7 years
As long as she is not abusing her children I think you should mind your business. And not leave your own children alone with her.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 7 years
All you can do is do it better yourself, either when you're around those children or (maybe later) your own. I feel exactly the same way about my neighbors.. they tell me constantly they're not letting their daughter watch as much TV any more and only feed her organic food and things like that, but whenever I come by (which is very often), she's in front of the TV, eating Chef Boyardee.
crochick crochick 7 years
i dont think that your SIL is doing anything that is putting her children in imminent danger, so i believe you have no place to say anything about her parenting style. have you ever considered that perhaps people disagree with your parenting style? how would you feel if someone critized the job you are doing as a parent? you are well within your rights to keep your children away from her, but you have no right to judge. and obviously, if she and your husband were raised in, as you put it, traditional manner, they must have turned out ok; they are still alive and your husband must obviously be acceptible to you since you married him.
MissSushi MissSushi 7 years
I'm going to have to agree with most of the posters. There is no way to bring this up becuase its none of your business. My sister, sadly, is a horrific mother, but other then speak to my mother when something really awful happens, becuase its not overt child abuse, i keep my mouth shut. She is fully within her rights to raise her kids how she wants. You're fully within your rights to internally judge, and to keep your kids away from hers. You just don't have ANY right to tell her anything. A day will come when my sister doesn't understand why I don't let her daughter/kids over much anymore and asks about it, and I will explain why in a simple non detailed way why. It's a shame, and I love my niece, but the kid is almost positively destined to be violent and manipulative, and I have no patience for that. that being said, to be honest, spanking and too much tv isn't the end of the world, and it shouldn't be a dealbreaker for your kids to have contact with their cousins. As long as she knows not to spank your kids, a couple hours of tv isn't going to kill them. Her parenting methods will also be a good discipline/learning point for your kids. Other parents have other rules, but our rules are still set in stone at our house, etc.
starbucks2 starbucks2 7 years
There's no way to properly adress this. Just don't leave your kids with her.
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