Parenting, Thoughts and Feelings

Parenting in an extended family is tough

I stay with my In-laws. My niece comes here daily from Monday to Friday while my Sister-In-Law goes to work.

Parenting styles differ greatly between my In-laws, sister-in-law, husband and me. I’m the tyrant in their eyes, I gather. I’m the no nonsense Mother.

I have been troubled about how to discipline my children – I don’t allow them to whine and jump when I say “no”, while they see my niece get away with screaming and crying and whining? When I don’t discipline my niece, on request of my husband, my Mother-In-Law says I should. When I start to discipline her in gentler ways compared to my methods for my children, my husband asks me to robe down. Because my girl is the eldest I task her to set a good example for the other children. She gets scolded if my niece follows a negative behaviour she displays.

Though this has been a big issue for me all along, it has bothered me more recently. Maybe because I’m pressured to mold my younger boy to stop his whining. I feel alone. It’s a lonely journey especially on days my husband returns home and stops me from disciplining my niece.

I want to straighten out my thoughts soon. None of my friends stay with in laws and managed to parent their way. So I have no one to turn to.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t see the benefits of staying with in laws and having a niece play with my children. While I appreciate all these, I seem to be paying a price of not being able to be a parent I want to be.

I don’t like this feeling as I’m not thinking logical now. I have lots of feelings and wants suppressed, as I pay the price of family harmony which my husband wants of me.

8 thoughts on “Parenting in an extended family is tough

  1. Ran across your post. I have lived with my parents and my in-laws. May I suggest a list of “house” rules. You can talk to your family about them and come up with things that everyone agrees to, follows, and enforces. This way everyone works together as a family. Worked for me. Good Luck.

    1. Thanks sheenansdyer. I agree and have tried that. However because it is not nice of me to discipline my niece in my no nonsense ways, I am troubled as to how I can fit her into the house rules. 🙁 I have tried to keep her outside my room when I play with my kids because she is very active and is accident prone and I cannot manage her without being fierce. But family members will pity her when she knocks on our door and let her in again. I also don’t know how to explain to my kids why she is allowed to whine and scream while mine are not allowed to. I think the family sees me as a terrible person, not being able to tolerate her nonsense and too fierce to her. My morale and confidence is hit yet I have no solution. 🙁
      I have a part time job so I’m only home in the late afternoon. I’m really lost.

      1. It is tough if everyone won’t work together. When it comes to different standards of behavior I tell my daughter all the time that different families have different rules. It doesn’t make life fair, but it does give an explanation.

        1. I see. What do you say if one day your children say “I want to be so-and-so’s child because they can ….”
          This is something I have not figured out how to handle.

  2. Happen to come across this old post of yours and I really appreciate the woes you share. I stay with in-laws including my teenage SILs. I struggle everyday with the lifestyle, values and level of discipline in the household on a daily basis and unlike you I haven’t been able to get a hold on my girl. My (and my own family’s) values are so vastly different from theirs. Being high D too, it’s so frustrating that I can’t control the environment my child grow up in. With my new baby coming soon, it’s a second chance for me to right things while at the same time I can’t help but feel anxious.

    1. Dear Etoile,
      Thank you for much for sharing. Like you, I am a D personality. Three years has passed and I have learned much. How I managed to get by this time with more smiles and fewer frowns, was to make great effort to appreciate every family member, and value the positive influence they play in my immediate family’s life. After I managed to do that, I coach my children to appreciate our family members through my lenses. In July 2012, I wrote a post about how I can play an important guiding role for my children to appreciate our family members, after giving much thought about the positive actions I can take, while keeping in mind the whole extended family. It feels great to be adding positivity in the family. The best part, is that after a couple of years of coaching my children to appreciate their grandparents and other family members, I start to sense their appreciation of me! Appreciation is a happy and addictive habit! The other VERY IMPORTANT (to me) thing that I do (three times a week, if not daily) is to find a quiet time and place and say to my children (and my hubby too, if I remember, haaa!) in a very serious tone “Mommy Loves You A Lot!” while giving them a big hug. I am still doing that, and my boy will sometimes tell me “Mummy, I super duper like you!”, and I just LOVE to hear him say that! My girl will hug her grandparents, Daddy and me when she is at home. The sight of her hugging everyone really melts my heart; the feeling cannot be described with words. Nowadays, I keep reminding myself that how much my children LOVE the family, depends on how much I LOVE them, AS WELL AS our family members. Feel free to drop me a personal email if you are comfortable, and I’ll be glad to share my journey (not perfect, but it’s a learning one).

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