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Tactfully introducing AP methods to relatives?

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  • Tactfully introducing AP methods to relatives?

    Does anyone have some light they could shed on this issue?

    My sister in law (husbands sister) has a 2 year old (23 mos)who has
    a very volatile temperament. He becomes quickly frustrated
    when he is unable to do something or have something he feels
    like he wants at the time. Then his irritation is blown way
    out of proportion when he is ignored, or spoken loudly to or spanked.

    When I am around him, I try my best to show that
    he is giving cues by responding to him and trying to occupy him
    while he shows signs of being bored, offer him a drink or a spot on my lap next to his baby cousin, (my 9wk old DS who is getting a lot of attention now), or help keep him contented by giving him my focus and showing him
    that I am genuinely interested in him.

    He is very quickly distracted though unfortunately and has a short fuse
    due to his cues being mostly ignored throughout the day and he finally
    blows up when he's had enough of it all. I don't want to come off like a know it all and sometimes when I offer suggestions for her to try to see if they might work I get the feeling that she's thinking "How dare you offer me advice, your baby is only 2 mos old...(etc.)"

    The most difficult, and frankly sad thing to me is, that she and my mother in law run an 8 child in-home daycare and have the hardest time with taking care of her own son/grandson.

    My feelings are she can improve his mood by

    a.) helping him ease into a healthful, balanced diet
    (he eats fried processed foods or white sugar at every meal and I don't
    think I've ever seen the poor guy eat a veggie)

    b.) Weaning him off of his pacifier so he can learn communicative simple
    words and phrases instead of screaming for attention when he needs something. (he knows yum yum for food, and points to his diaper for changing but that is the extent of it)

    What would be encouraging? How can I help her empower herself?
    I feel guilty because they choose to come over and disrupt my household
    peace at least 2x a week and I can't stand how sad I feel over the lack of connection between them. I feel like a jerk for wanting them to go home So funny, they want me to work in the Daycare with them or leave
    my DS there (free of charge of course) so I can find a job to support my family. Im not that desperate and Im certainly not that quick to leave my son!

    *ahem* so, Im starting my own Work from home business

    Thoughts please!

  • #2
    This would be the worst to me---
    they want me to work in the Daycare with them or leave
    my DS there so I can find a job
    That sounds like a horrible situation! BUT you might think of working there a little to demonstrate some AP techniques, while wearing baby of course. That might end out frustrating you more but would show them your willingness to be involved and as a result they might be open to your ideas. You might find sources on home daycare info that is gentle and responsive to children. (I will look for you too) That might not feel so personal to them.


    • #3
      This is a really tough situation. We have a close friend who had a child 1 month before ours (she's 18 months old) and they are having another one any day now. They spank their son and swat his hands for throwing food on the floor and I'm sure discipline will be even harder on them when the new baby comes.

      We live far away from them, so haven't seen this personally, just heard about it. But we're about to move close again and I'm trying to be prepared.

      Of course, the most obvious thing is to lead by example. This is harder for you since your baby is so little. I've decided in my own mind that it may be more helpful to share why I'm doing something differently rather than just saying that I think the other way is wrong (ie, "we thought about spanking, too, but when I read all of the research on it and learned of other ways to handle discipline, I knew it wouldn't be necessary"--rather than saying spanking is wrong, which I've found really alienates people, of that it's ineffective, which those who were spanked will often argue with).

      Another option would be to find some sort of literature or book that she would be willing to read. For example, one of the books out there that talks about diet and mood, or one of the recent journal articles showing that food additives cause hyperactivity. And, with that, model ways that healthy food is doable, by always having plenty of healthy snacks with you that a toddler will eat and that you eat.

      I really struggle with this because I know it will be so hard for me to see them hit him for behaviors that all toddlers do. I hope I'm able to model an empathic response and not an agressive reaction that's unlikely to help (but what I really would like to do!).

      It's great that you try to give your nephew that connection. It sounds like he really needs it! It must be especially tough on him if his mom is dealing with 7 other kids every day, and I'm sure she's low on energy at the end of the day, too.