Each set of parents has different disciplinary measures for their children that they see fit. Some parents take the gentle talking approach while others enforce harsh punishment for bad behavior.
However, when you leave your children in the care of others, you should alert them of your parenting strategies in case your child acts up and they need to know how to handle the situation.
One mother was left feeling conflicted after learning that her son’s grandfather took it upon himself to discipline his grandson in a method she completely disagreed with.
The boy’s grandfather ‘smacked his bottom’ when he was misbehaving.
Sharing her dilemma to the U.K.-based parenting site, Mumsnet, the mother sought the advice of other users on how she should go about the situation.
She began her post by explaining that her four-year-old son is prone to tantrums and meltdowns, especially when he is tired. The boy’s bad moods happened while his grandparents were babysitting him, and they expressed this to the woman.
“They have communicated to me that they found his behavior very difficult at one point, but it seems to have resolved now,” she wrote.
The boy’s grandparents are his paternal grandparents and the woman’s ex-husband’s parents.
Recently, her son disclosed some shocking news to his mother regarding a time he was being babysat by his grandparents.
“[He] told me yesterday evening that [his] grandad had smacked his bottom because he was being naughty and that it ‘really hurt’ he got upset as he was telling me and cried,” she wrote.
Additionally, the boy told her that his grandfather “pushes” him back onto the bed when he is being naughty at bedtime.
The mother admits that she is unsure of what to do. She heavily depends on her son’s grandparents to provide childcare for her while she is at work, and his father is unable to look after him at certain times due to traveling a lot for work.
Still, she has strong feelings about the way her ex-father-in-law disciplined the boy. “I am furious that he has hit my child,” she wrote.
The mother acknowledges that her son’s behavior can be difficult to deal with at times, and asked other forum users if she was overreacting over a “smack on the bottom.”
Some users encouraged the mother to forbid any future unsupervised contact between her son and his grandfather.
“I don’t think you are overreacting. I would not want them to have my son unsupervised again,” one user commented.
“He has hit your child, stop using him for childcare,” another user urged.
“Personally I would be fuming and it would be the last time they had contact with my child or at least unsupervised contact,” another user wrote.
“You don’t know what to do next? You stop allowing these people to abuse your child is what you do next,” another added. “No unsupervised contact as they are not safe to be around.”
However, other users suggested that the mother talk with her son’s grandfather to ensure that it does not happen again.
“Personally, I would remind them that you don’t want any smacking but I wouldn’t cut them off unless they refused to stop,” one user recommended.
“You could discuss it with them and say that smacking even on the bottom is no longer acceptable. And tell them how you want challenging behavior dealt with,” another user wrote.
“Could you make it clear to them that smacking is not acceptable and if he does it again you will refuse contact?” another user commented. “In his generation smacking was normal. It doesn’t make it right but he is using what was probably his normal form of discipline.”
As generations come and go, so do certain parenting methods. While smacking may have been a normal disciplinary tool during the grandfather’s day, there are different approaches that exist today that will enforce good behavior in children.