Other people's parenting styles.... (contentious ?)

My sister parents very, very differently to how I did/do. There's a few years between our boys, and their personalities couldn't be more different but I find her style really difficult to be around.

As much as I am disparaging about my mum (in general, lol, we're very different) I lean towards her style in a no-nonsense "oh dear, you fell over, nothing's broken, up you get then", "sorry you don't want to do x/y/z but that's what we're doing I'm today, I'm afraid", "I told you one more time and you'd go to your room, off you go".

Whereas my sister seems (imo) to mollycoddle. She seems to need to be needed, IYSWIM. When my boy was growing up I wanted him not to need me, if that makes sense. Perhaps it's because mine was shy and needed bringing out and hers is a little 'crazy' (he's super lovable but volatile and diagnosed with mild autism) and needs reigning in.

I hear things she says to him that really worry me. He was a bit quieter than usual with me one day and when I mentioned it she said to him "oh no, have you been worrying again?" and then went on to tell me, in front of him, how much he worries. With my son I could pretty much 'tell' him he wasn't worried and hey presto, he then wasn't, not really. My nephew loves my dog and is bold as brass, but my sister, in front of him, tells me how scared he is and makes dramatic noises when they play together.

Then there's food issues, and they built my poor mum up to be The Punishment for being naughty for so long he refused to visit her alone for ages.

My sis and I know most of the same people so I tend not to talk to mates about this, but I do worry and my husband and I feel like things are getting worse not better. But who are we to say 'worse/better'? It's just our call on it because it's not how we'd operate. So I feel a little bad posting but I would love to hear other people's views/feedback or experience if you've been in a similar position. I don't chat to mum, even though I know she feels the same, because I don't want her to feel she's picking sides and because she has the tact of Simon Cowell.... 



  • I kind of had the same thing with my brother and his (then) gf.  My neice is only 2 months younger than A.  The differences in our parenting style when they were babies was quite a contrast, I breast fed, BLW @ 6 months, followed SIDS guidelines, etc etc, whereas she always intended to formula feed, weaned at 4 months because that's what it said on the packet, gave her a dummy on day 1, etc. etc.  Now, at 2 yearsm  there's less of a void between our parenting styles, although I don't see the mum as often as I see my neice so it's difficult to know wat she's like with her.  We're both of the 'pick yourself up and dust yourself off' school rather than running to them at the smallest wimper.

    It will be interesting to see how different our parenting styles are as they grow up, go to school, leave school etc.  It bothers me a lot less than it did before though. So long as my neice is happy and is being brought up with good morals, it's fine.  

  • Well... we just got back from a weeks holiday with the whole of my Family.  My dad and step mum,  stepsister,  stepbrother,  stepsister with her BF and 12 week old, brother,  his GF,  7 year old,  and ten week old plus me,  H and our almost 8 Month old

    It's so clear that we all parent so very differently. Brothers Gf does CIO, feeds 4 times a day and no more,  puts baby in own room.  I vlw which they all found vile,  wouldn't leave E alone in the Gite asleep nor drink if my H was drinking, and while I never let E cry don't run for every moan.  My stepsister on the other hand never puts her baby down, ever.

    I've been moaned about to my mom that I don't bath E enough (we shower after every meal due to blw), that I leave her in dirty clothes because I won't change when she's a bit dusty from crawling round the floor, that I feed on demand and stress when E doesn't feed (she was having 2-10oz a day instead of her normal 35 and it was 30odd degrees).

    Anyway it's taught me how differently we do things. I was horrified at SIL leaving the 10 week old upstairs,  sleeping,  without a monitor while her and my brother drank but equally she was horrified I gave E whole strips of chicken... All swings and roundabouts I guess,  but I've learnt..  won't be going out with them again!

    Eta: I waalso completely flabbergasted by my brother's lack of help to his GF.. he can't sterilise bottles nor make them.  She loaded the very heavy cases into the car,  did everything for the baby.  While sil layed into me for requiring so much help from H..

  • To be honest unless the child is in danger you have to accept that it is her choice to parent the way she does. Your styles are so different there is a good chance she feels the same about you, that you are cruel and uncaring because you don't rush when your child falls, that you are too harsh when you expect your child to fit in with your plans.

    I have a friend who is very like your sister in style of parenting and to be honest, unless she asks for advice on how to deal with a certain problem, I keep off the subject. we are great friends and have a good time together and our sons play well together. her style is so far and away from mine there is no point having an argument about it when neither will change our minds. her son is in no danger, he is just clingy and more demanding than I would suffer my child to be. I parent very much the same as you, my kids are much more independent than my friends son and I like it that way. but that is my choice. my friend finds it very tiring dealing with her son, but she doesn't feel comfortable using the methods I used so she accepts that until she is ready to be stricter/harsher, this is her reality. that is her choice. and I respect that even if its not what i'd do.

    so basically, i'd not cause unnecessary issues with your sister over this. you parent your way, let her parent hers.

  • QoK, I definitely wouldn't raise it with her, she's really not the sort you can have that conversation with, and I get that it's her call. It just frustrates me because I think he could be happier. And because, when I do things with him I'm aware I'm definitely not following his mum's example. It will be very interesting when the babies all come along, I think it's going to be hard for him not to be the 'baby' any more. Probably be great for him though too.

  • I don't change my parenting style for other people's kids - my house, my rules. (this doesn't include if looking after very smalls and the parent wants the baby to nap in the room as per SIDS, or is puree rather than BLW, I wouldn't give finger food etc). once they are toddlers though I treat them all as I treat my kids. my friend's son doesn't give me the jip he gives his mother, he knows it wont wash with me.

  • QueenofKelsingra

    I don't change my parenting style for other people's kids - my house, my rules. 


    my friend's son doesn't give me the jip he gives his mother, he knows it wont wash with me.

    Ditto. Caused me no end of probs when I was heavily involved in looking after my ex's kids for 8 years. Still maintain it was the right/only thing to do though.

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