Relatives undermining discipline

  • We are very lucky to have both my wife’s and my extended families involved with our kids’ lives. While this involvement is wonderful and at times very convenient, it can cause issues as well. We are very strict with our kids at the dinner table. They get served what everyone else does, and there are no alternative meals. On birthdays and special occasions, they need to eat dinner in order to have some cake. Recently, my oldest flipped out at the table and refused to eat. A close relative stepped in and began feeding my 5-year old like she was still a baby in a high chair. Is it wrong that this bothered me?--Chris, Strongmoms facilitator

  • Nooo! I don't think that it's wrong at all that it bothered you.  The best thing for kids is clear limits and consistency in following through on them.  Deviating from them leads to confusion and worsening of behavior.  That being said that is a super hard position to be in-do you step in and interupt the relative or do you stay quiet and leave well enough alone?!  Hard call....


  • It is a tricky situation and one that should be dealth with delicately. If it is a once in a while situation, then I wouldn't lose sleep over it. BUT if every time your child acts out at the table, another relative is stepping in, then I would address it nicely. You could say...oh thanks for your help, but she is a big girl and if she doesn't eat then she doesn't get cake. It is a tough call though when to say something and when to let it alone. 

  • No I don't think it is wrong that it bothered you at all. It would have bothered me too! That is not good for teaching a child. It makes them think you will do everything for them. You could talk to the person about it and explain how you would not like them doing that.

  • Still mustering up the courage to speak up.. we were recently on vacation and our Aunt began feeding my older two girls and I felt my blood pressure go up. Drives me crazy but the remedy may be more painful than the problem!

  • It is hard AnswerDad03....sometimes we have to pick our battles not only with our kids, but also our relatives!!!LOL!