From  The Boston Globe

Q. I am 26 and a single parent to a 3-year-old girl. I love my daughter more than anything. However, in the past few months, she has become a brat, doing everything she can to test me.

Due to recent financial problems, we had to move in with my mother until I can finish my degree and get a job. No matter what discipline I use, nothing works because my mother undermines me. There is no consistency in what is right or wrong. My mother always gives in to her every request.

Once in a while, I will spank my daughter. My mother, however, cornered me and gave me a lecture on how awful I am for spanking my child. Yet I can clearly recall being spanked by my mother when I was little.

Mom questions my parenting in front of my daughter. I am grateful that she opened her home to us, but I can’t be an effective parent when she constantly undercuts my authority. How can I get her to keep her child-rearing opinions to herself?


A. While we agree with your mother that discipline does not require spanking, we also understand how difficult it is to raise a child when an indulgent grandparent rules the roost. First, have a sit-down discussion with Mom when your daughter is asleep. Get her to acknowledge that a lack of discipline is not healthy for her grandchild. Compromise by agreeing to use different forms of discipline other than spanking. Create rules you can both abide by. If that doesn’t work, bring Mom to your next pediatrician appointment, and ask the doctor to speak to her. And find other living arrangements as soon as possible.

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