Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Permissive Parents

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,                                           

My granddaughter is a spoiled brat. She tells her mother—my daughter-in-law—what to do, how, when, and where to do it— everything from what she wants for dinner to what time she will go to bed.

I don’t get this. I had rules and if my son didn’t follow the rules, he had consequences.

I was very good to my son, however, I didn’t let him talk back to me or tell me what he was eating for dinner and then order me to make it for him. When he was young, he had a star chart and was rewarded for following a schedule and our home’s rules. When he had so many stars, he got something special. If he volunteered to do something, he received praise and only sometimes … an extra reward.

I don’t understand why he lets this go on. He says its better this way and he respects how his wife is almost like a friend to their daughter!

I love my daughter-in-law, but she coddles her daughter way too much, takes her shopping, out to eat and to spas all the time. She doesn’t make her wear clothes that are appropriate for her age.

Lately, my granddaughter has started trying to manipulate me the way she does her parents. Now she doesn’t want to come over because I am “mean and boring.”

What did I do? How do I handle her without wanting to hang her upside down by her toes?

Grandma’s Not Spoiling Granddaughter

Dear Grandma,

You sound like you are an amazing mom who did a fantastic job of raising her son to be a self-regulated and responsible young man. You set boundaries for yourself and as an example for your son. You are no doubt a strong willed person. We need more loving leaders as parents and fewer “friends-with-your-kids-parents.”

Your daughter-in-law has good intentions, however, she may not realize she is creating a narcissistic daughter who may bully, manipulate, and damage herself and others with this self-centered behavior.

How you approach your granddaughter is really important. She needs you to have rules but not your anger. She is confused and doesn’t understand something she hasn’t been taught. Try to be patient but in your best neutral way, say no and don’t accept her disrespect.

Here are the top five damaging results we’ve seen from permissive parenting:

• Difficulty in self-management and self-discipline which causes low self-worth masking pseudo-confidence
• Letting her always get her way leads to future disappointing relationships when she doesn’t get her way
• Instant wish fulfillment but not long term satisfaction that comes from hard work, ethics, manners and healthy relationships
• Thinking of herself in the same role as her parents and non-acceptance of authority
• Parents make constant compromises on important issues such as education which hampers the girl’s life opportunities

Your granddaughter is need of structure and limits. For all of your sakes, speak up in a kind manner to your son and his wife first.

We applaud your concern for civility!

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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