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Dutchess_III's avatar

How can a person recognize that they are the cause of their child's misbehavior, yet not take steps to correct it?

Asked by Dutchess_III (46881points) December 8th, 2017

Say the child is very well behaved with everyone except the mother. When she shows up he turns into a wild, screaming brat, throwing things and hitting people. She even acknowledges that he only acts this way with her.

What steps could she take to correct it?

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17 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

See a family therapist.

With the whole family including the child.

longgone's avatar

In her mind, don’t you think she is trying to correct her child’s behavior? Does she ever do anything that looks like parenting – good or bad?

Dutchess_III's avatar

How would I go about suggesting this? I know she’s sees seeing a counselor for her own issues. Maybe I could suggest it via her counselor?

No, she is the cause of his behavior @longgone. She screams a lot, she gets physical and yanks on him a lot and she slaps at him. Not like, in the face (I hope) but she’ll slap on his hands or legs screaming “NO!!” Just screaming all the time. Plus she frustrates the hell out of him a lot.

NomoreY_A's avatar

As the wise guy said, monley see monkey do.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Exactly. When she thinks she,s disciplining him she’s actually displaying the exact behavior she doesn’t want to see in him. He’s simply copying her.

Unofficial_Member's avatar

I won’t be so quick to judge that the kid is actually well behaved to other people. It could be that he’s shy toward other people, especially strangers, thus is more reluctant to show what he usually do in daily basis. I have seen vivacious kids that are rambunctious toward their own parents but turn in to quiet kitties when interacting with other adults. Don’t judge on the first glance, there’s usually more to it than that.

I would like to chat with the mother first before deciding whether the kid is actually needing more discipline or the mother herself that needs to consider more on her parenting style. Don’t put all the blame on her shoulder, she could be equally innocent for all we know.

seawulf575's avatar

Just a clarification: Are you asking what she should do or what you could do to help?

BellaB's avatar

It’s a reality of life. People, not excluding children, often behave worse with people they love and trust.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What I could do to help @seawulf575. I think the family counseling is a great idea, just have no idea how to approach it. Maybe I should start with my son…..

@Unofficial_Member I know a lot about this child. When I have him, it takes about 30 minutes of constant vigilance, consistency with the discipline (2 minutes time out) and consistency with my expectations to get him to stop acting with me the way he does with his mom. After that, he’s just a great kid. He’ll start to hit me for no reason and I’ll just say a firm, “No.” and he’ll stop (and not do it again,) whereas if he hits his mom she just whacks him right back.
After an hour or so there are no more problems. He is a lot like his dad was at that age. Just laid back and unfazed. It’s uncanny. It’s like getting to revisit my son as a toddler. (My son is the one who put himself in time out once!)

I had a daycare for a long time. Sure as hell, with about half the kids (the really spoiled ones) the instant their mom’s walked through that door they turned into completely different children than the ones I saw in the hours I had them.

seawulf575's avatar

If this is a close friend, tell her your observations. Offer alternative options for dealing with the child or offer the idea of getting family counseling. Do it from the point of being like her and wanting to do the best for the child. That may or may not be true of her, but in her mind it probably is. If this is not a close friend, but is related to a close friend or relative, I would suggest just mentioning my observations to the person I am close with and letting it go at that. Much more than that and you could be seen as meddling which would take the focus off the issue and put it on you. If the child spends a lot of time with you, just love him and treat him as one of your own while he is around. He will absorb what a normal, healthy relationship looks like. It might help turn the tide later on in his life.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I recently encouraged her to go back to work and offered free baby sitting for her. It just makes me so sad. He’s 2½ and these first 5 years are so very critical….I’ve baby sat all of their kids at various times, on a regular basis and my son said everyone of them was better behaved when they came back from being with me for extended periods.

I’ll wait for some opening to come up and see where I can take it.

NomoreY_A's avatar

Go for it…

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was with them a good part of the whole weekend, but no opening ever came up, but it will. It was pretty wonderful….they had the twins for 3 days so their Mom could work so there were 6 kids rampaging through that house! Boy, you should have heard it when I walked in the door on Saturday….”GRAMMA!!!” and they charged! The oldest said it sounded like a herd of thundering bison!

Something I noticed….I think dad tends to go too easy on the baby, kind of a counter point to his mom’s harshness. He let a lot of stuff slide that I thought should be addressed. Only time will tell with this.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Thanks for putting up with my dual personality y’all!

longgone's avatar

@Dutchess_III I see. So she’s taking steps to “discipline” him, but all the wrong ones. Sounds like an awful situation for the kid, and anyone watching too.

Could your son have a word with her? Maybe suggest a week of a drastically altered mode of parenting, and see how it goes. If he needs some arguments, Alfie Kohn has great ones.

Good luck with the plan of offering free babysitting. It’s nice of you to do that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

He does try to talk to her. She doesn’t take it well. She somehow actually believes that screaming is more effective than actual discipline, such as time outs. She just isn’t very mature. When the kids upset her she tends to react like a two year old herself, rather than an adult in charge.

I have actually created a pseudo-fictitious character who lives across the street from me, who tends to just yell and scream at her kids. She’s actually a real person who does just that, and it makes me sick, but when I see my DIL doing something that is actually self defeating, after a few days I’ll replay it in the guise of the lady across the street, then give my opinion of what she should have done differently, what would have worked better.

Interesting article @longgone. Thank you.

And I’d LOVE to babysit!! I could turn that child around in half a day! He could be the utter delight his father was, instead of a bratty, whiny brat.

Working on keeping the lines of communication open with my DIL.

Thank you for all the suggestions. I’ll let you know when the opportunity comes up to address some of this stuff, and how it goes.

She has a counselor she talks to on a regular basis…I wish I could be a fly on the wall so I could hear what kinds of things she tells her. Wish I could make an appointment with her counselor myself, so she gets a different perspective.

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