QuestionsCategory: ParentingGrandmother’s advice: My mum has strong opinions about how my partner and I should discipline our daughter
Douglas Howard asked 3 years ago

My mum has strong opinions about how my partner and I should discipline our daughter. Basically she thinks we are far too soft and that we need to be more consistently tough. She has a problem at nursery because she pushed another child. But my mum was not different in the way she raised me and I keep telling her that we are doing nothing different but she insists I didn’t need strict discipline but Carly does.

1 Answers
Riverside Cares Staff answered 3 years ago

Grandparents can be a great support but often have different ideas about what they think is right which can be informed by how they were brought up and what was the norm when they were young, which can be very different to now. Bear in mind that as some people mature they can become less tolerant than when they were a new parent or they might simply remember things differently or wish they had carried out certain steps. Combine this with the fact that society has changed and continues to change rapidly, for example a decade ago smart phones being used all the time and frequently at a dinner table was not the norm, which it is today for many.  Grandparent input can vary in a few ways ranging from just fantastic, to seeing themselves as the folks who can spoil grandkids  to the arbitors of correct behaviour and procedures and in fact the same grandparent can be all three of those types at any given time. Some grandparents are the opposite and spoil their grand children telling the parent constantly how perfect they are and ignore any less then admirable behaviour leaving the parents to discipline.
Lets be clear grandparents are really important and can provide great support and advice.
Every child is very different and it may be your daughter is different to you in how she responds to instructions and requests. Views on the best way to handle unwanted behaviour have changed a lot over the last 20 years and this could be a factor. The advice now is to reward good behaviour and yes when needed intervene, but making sure the child knows how they have hurt someone. Enforcing ground rules is important but do try to keep this to a minimum and only use ‘time out’ when needed. Positive feedback works much better then telling a child off or removing a desired object or activity.
It may be worth having an honest chat with your mum, ideally when you are both relaxed and explain how you manage Carly and why you take the approach you do. You can also ask advice making this a wideranging conversation,  give an example of challenging behaviour and ask your mum how she would respond. This may give you a better idea of what her approach is and expose any concerns she may have. Another approach may be to sit down with your mum and Carly and discuss house rules then put them up on the wall/fridge bringing mum into the process but also allowing you to make clear what your priorities are as the parent. 
Hope this helps cement your thoughts 
best wishes 
Jill Wheatcroft is a Lecturer in Child Health and is co-founder and Director of Training at Riverside Cares. She can be contacted at and is available for individual consultations.  Join our mailing list to hear about other free pop up events, sessions, training sessions and first aid courses and