General Question


How would you reprimand "step-grandchildren, teenagers"?

Asked by RANGIEBABY (2097points) July 20th, 2010

I went with my son,his wife, their 3 year old, his wife’s 13 year old son, and his 12 year old boy cousin, to sea world. We were driving on the freeway trying to get there, and were a little lost. My son was driving, his wife telling him where to go, I was sitting behind my son. The two teenage boys behind me, wrestling, punching and being quite loud. I ask them at least 3 times to settle down. The ignored me and continued. With all the commotion my son was asking everyone to be quiet. The teens continued, so I turned and shouted hey! The both stopped, and everything got quiet. Except my daughter in law, who became very upset at me for raising my voice to get the boys attention. Apparently that was all it took. She absolutely ruined out trip from that point on. That was 2 days ago, and the saga with her continues.

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39 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

You did the right thing and DIL should have backed you up.
Those kids are doomed.

YARNLADY's avatar

You did the right thing, in the heat of the moment. Now, have a private talk with your son.

My DIL ruins all our trips together, so this year, we are taking the boys and leaving Sonny and her at home, until the anniversary party. We found cheap round trip airline tickets to fly them down and back.

chyna's avatar

I don’t see that you did anything wrong. If she gets upset over that, she has a lot of future upsets to endure. Now your son needs to talk to her and tell her to stop being an ass and ruining the vacation. Even if she did get upset, she needed to get over it and make the vacation fun instead of stewing for two days.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Them boys was lucky. My dad would have used the back of his hand to get their attention.


@YARNLADY I did have a talk with my son. He is at the end of his rope with her. Apparently she has issues from childhood or something. He finally got her to go to family therapy. The therapist said my son didn’t really need to come yet, because she has some real issues that need work. She stopped going to therapy, not a good thing. They have been married 4½ years and have a 3 year old together. She had 3 children before, they are now 21, 16, 13,. He takes complete care of all of the kids, cooks and feeds them, goes to all their events, helps them with homework. He loves all of them. Meanwhile, she is sleeping while not working as a teacher.

Bubblehead's avatar

As a teen myself. I think the yelling kinda is scary, but a lot of other kids don’t really mind. But I think sometimes raising your voice is necessary, and DIL should understand that.


@chyna He did tell her. It always makes it worse. There were too many of us to take one car and pull the 5th wheel too, so we took 2 cars. She drove their car, and my son drove my truck and pulled the 5th wheel. On the way home, she became irate in a restaurant so everybody could hear her. We went to the RV and said okay enough, lets just keep driving home. So we started back out to the highway and she was suppose to follow us in her car. We get at least 45 minutes down the highway, only to get a phone call with her yelling about how we drove off and abandoned her. Go figure.

chyna's avatar

@Bubblehead Welcome to fluther and it’s great to get a teenager’s point of view.

phil196662's avatar

With there disruptive actions I would have told the driver to pull over first, then said to there mother this has to stop and are you going to deal with it and if not I would be happy to handle it but you will need to support me.


@Bubblehead these are the same two teenagers that have told their parents to get up from where they are sitting, because they were sitting there first. Of course, the parents did not move, but in fact reprimanded the boys for rudeness. Since you are a teen, would you even thing about doing that?

Cruiser's avatar

That is what is known as a “tipping point” for her either with you, your son or both. That just burst the dam of all that has been building! You have your work cut out for you!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes, I’d do what you did which is what their mother should have done the very second they ignored you and your son. Since they don’t feel they need to respect anyone else, especially when engaged then it falls to her to tell them how it should be.

It’s sad at their age they have to be told why they should take others into consideration in such a small space as a shared car but it’s also an embarassment your daughter-in-law also doesn’t have respect for you others. If she was ashamed and then took it out on you in order to “stand by her kids” then that was pigheaded and he just reinforced to them how she doesn’t value you and your son and so they won’t have to either.

Thing is, your son chose this woman and her already existing kids so he must have observed them all together enough times to accept how they would treat him and other people cares about. Some of the burden is on him as well that he chose that kind of woman to bring into your family.


@Neizvestnaya Yes, you are right. My son has this idea he can help everyone in the world with all their problems. The children all come to him for answers, they also have serious problems with how their mother acts. They all roll their eyes and say things like, she needs help. Basically, the kids are good kids, but they have some manner issues, which are correctable with consistency.
I have gone out of my way to make her feel loved, but all of that doesn’t matter when it is all about her. This very minute, my son is out taking all the kids to lunch, and she is in bed where she has been looking for attention by doing the poor me thing. The whole family is trying to be considerate and loving to her, but to no avail. She definitely has anger issues with our family and her own. We don’t know how to help her at this point.
That is why I have had little talks with her 13 year old to be more supportive of his mother. He tries, but she does not acknowledge him. It is very sad, but I don’t have to put up with bad manners by her or her children. I will say something and do.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

The problem is your daughter-in-law but in the meantime then I’d do what you’ve done, I’d talk to the kids and acknowledge their mom is struggling so it means everyone else must be extra open with each other to get what they need and to help. She’s going to have to take responsibility to help herself now after everyone else has already shown they have tried. I believe when kids think they are helping or working on a project rather than trying to curb their own behaviors (especially those tied to the parents) then progress begins.


@Neizvestnaya Thanks, she needs help but doesn’t know it. Perhaps we call all help.

janedelila's avatar

@Neizvestnaya those are some really insightful answers. Good job.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@janedelila- Thanks. My ex husband and I once took in a teen niece of his when we were in our early 20’s and it was an experience! What I learned though helped me in my 30’s when I became a kinda-sorta step parent to a 9yr old girl who was mad at both of her parents.


You did the right thing. If the parents aren’t going to step up to the plate and “give it to them”, then someone else has to. And unfortunately, someday that someone is going to be someone the parents wished they had never knew, let alone have to deal with.

One thing I can’t stand these days is weak-spined parents who let their kids walk all over them. Most children, if not all, appreciate structure in their lives, and the only way to achieve that is to instill discipline and rules in the home. You don’t have to be an “authoritarian type” to do this, but you can’t be a soppy, irresponsible “role model” either.

filmfann's avatar

A harsh word and a tazer goes a lot farther than a harsh word.
If she can’t control her kids, I don’t blame you for raising your voice.

josie's avatar

Good for you. Tough lesson for her. Obviously, she didn’t like receiving the lesson.

SuperMouse's avatar

Warning: Dissenting Opinion Ahead

As the mother of two active pre-teen boys, I would be offended if someone yelled at them without bringing the situation to my attention first. I understand completely that you asked them more than once to stop to no avail, but prior to yelling at them, discussing the situation with their mother might have been a good choice. Your discussion might have included your making clear your intention to handle the situation should she decide not to. The mother could have chosen to step in or not. Of course if she had ignored your pleas for help and let them continue, you would be absolutely justified in taking action to stop the behavior.

Whatever you think of this woman, please remember there are two sides to every story and the fact of the matter is what you are being told by your son is filtered through his own sensibilities and is not necessarily objective. I would also tend to disagree with those who say you need to have a chat with your son about this situation. If all you say about his marriage, child and step-children, responsibilities, and wacky spouse is true, Dude has enough on his plate without being lectured about how his wife parents.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)

@josie No, she didn’t like receiving the lesson. Like my son said to me, she just sits back and makes him do all the discipline. So he does, along with everything else. @SuperMouse There are always 2 sides to every story. I have been an observer to a great many of these things. She would always try to drag me into the mess. I physically found out how she responds to someone saying ” now wait, let’s calm down and let each other finish talking”. She took it personally and got up and shoved me into a door and ran past me. I had to restrain my son from going after her, and told him to let her work off steam. Seriously, I am not a person that will automatically back up my child if they are wrong. I will tell them they are wrong, as I would expect them to tell me.


@josie Personally, I would have given each of them a swat on the butt if they were my blood grandchildren. I have done that with my granddaughters who are 16 & 18 now. It didn’t destroy their lives one little bit. They are beautiful well mannered young ladies. But of course I had the green light from my daughter and SIL, when they were in my care and just would not listen. Get their attention.
@SuperMouse By the way, the mother was sitting 1½ feet from me, hearing my request to the boys. She also heard my son tell them to settle down. She still did nothing, so I did. And I would do it again.

SuperMouse's avatar

@RANGIEBABY and @josie I shared my opinion as a mom. I will go even farther and say that I would be furious if my children’s grandparent, blood or not (my parents or the kids’ father’s parents) decided to swat my kid.

@RANGIEBABY if you are convinced that you did the right thing why even ask the question? After reading this and your other question I am wondering if you are actually looking for answers, or just trying to round up support for your feelings toward this woman.

Trillian's avatar

@RANGIEBABY This is why I refuse to go anywhere with people wh have kids. Period. Because if you don’t check your kid, I will. I cannot understand why people think it is ok to allow their kids to be disrespectful and obstreperous, in a car, in public, or whatever, but I don’t aim to put up with it. If they were knocking against your seat or hollering in your ear, I suppose you could have said something to their mother first, but I imagine she’s one of those people who think you should just have to put up with it and think they’re cute.
I think you should try going psycho back on her. Take your glasses off really fast, roll your eyes, start with something like “I had a bad day…” and just escalate it from there. Wave your arms, sit in a chair while you kick and flail. Pace around the room and shake your finger.
I mean it. Get down in the ground and kick your feet. Holler really loud. Get into it. THen just stop in the middle and tell her “This is what we listen to from you all the time. How does that make you feel?”

josie's avatar

@Trillian I liked you from the start. I want you on my team.

rooeytoo's avatar

I like the tazer idea and I guess throw in the semi harsh word in a semi nasty voice as well.

I was at the chiropractor’s office this morning. There were 2 women with 6 kids who were all yelling and running and letting baloons fly and neither woman said a word. Well not quite they occasionally said a word which was either not heard above the din or else simply ignored. I really wished I had a taser with me. Dr. Spock has a lot to answer for in my humble opinion.

Trillian's avatar

@josie, aw shucks ;-), I was just reading some comments of yours in another thread and mentally agreeing…

Trillian's avatar

PS, anytime at all you need another player, let me know. I’m at your disposal.


@Trillian Thanks, that is really funny, I would do it if I thought I wouldn’t hurt myself during the process. I always love your responses, you always come up with something I never thought of.
@josie can I have both of you on my team?
@SuperMouse I would not have asked if I didn’t want other ideas. I told you I would do it again, because your attitude provokes that sort of answer. Of course I want to know what others would have done. Perhaps I will do something different next time that will be just as effective without upsetting the mother. However, I must say she was not considering me or anyone else in the car now was she. YES, I am looking for answers to deal with this woman before she breaks up her family, which will devastate her kids and my son.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Trillian I am 100% serious when I say I am impressed that you have set a clear boundary for yourself. It is very cool that you understand your limits with dealing with other people’s children. In my book it is better to hear that you would rather stay away from misbehaving children than be tempted to use a tazer on them. I appreciate your honesty.


@SuperMouse I appreciate Trillian as well. However, I can’t very well stay away from my own son and grandchildren, nor do I want to. I just want to find the best way to handle the situations.

SuperMouse's avatar

Unfortunately, @RANGIEBABY if you are unable or unwilling to endure a) the children’s behavior or b) the mother’s tantrums, you may have no other choice. That is a harsh truth to face, and I hope for your sake it does not come down to that.


@SuperMouse Thank you SuperMouse, but no need to worry, I will endure anything I have to to help my grandchildren even if they are step grandchildren. I have only known them for 4 years, but they are really great kids, with some bad manners, not all. I do want to tell you, that I truly appreciate you taking the time to give me your advice. I value other peoples opinion, but don’t always agree. Thank you again.

flutherother's avatar

I know how awkward these situations are. Your daughter in law may have felt you were shouting at her indirectly for not controlling her kids. Something had to be done and you did it so good on you for that but perhaps it could have been done more tactfully. If you had tried to get your daughter in law on your side first in someway so it looked like you were enforcing her authority it might have worked better but I’m not sure how you would do that. Humour can also work, like if you had made a joke about carrying a tazer on board for unruly passengers. They might have got the message.


@flutherother I’m not sure it would have helped either, but worth a try. I will give it a try if there is a next time. HaHa.

Inspired_2write's avatar

At least someone showed enough sense.There could easily had been a serious accident caused by the stress that these clueless boys caused.
You could have added later to these two teenagers the reason.
Sometimes they are clueless.

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