Google+ Authentic Parenting: And They Turned Out Fine

Friday, August 27, 2010

And They Turned Out Fine

During our holiday in Belgium, my grandmother (oma) visited while we were at my parent's house.
My grandmother was 16 when WWII broke out and her parents had been WWI survivors.
Thus, as many parents in her day, my grandmother held a very tight rule in raising her children. She smacked her children with wooden spoons on many occasions and often until they broke, all the while being deeply devoted to God.

Before I continue I want to add that I love my grandmother and she's generally a sweet and understanding person, but at the age of 87 - as many elderly people - she has radicalized in her beliefs and there is little room left for reasoning.

So my grandmother, my parents and my family spent a week together. Rather quickly my grandmother got annoyed by my free range child (my mother has learned to adapt early on to our parenting style, after all, she did her share with me and - the little one being my child - it is my turn now).
Whenever we were in another room we could hear my grandmother saying NO to my daughter. 'Don't do that' 'Sit here'...
We just let it pass as my daughter is a smart girl, she loves her great grandmother dearly and she already understood the rules are different when she is around Oma.

Now that doesn't mean I didn't get annoyed at the constant nay saying and correcting, but we let it pass.

Until one day it went over. Way over!
Maybe you remember how I talked about not letting people walk over me any more when it comes to my child?

My grandmother said to my sweet, lovely, kindhearted girl, that if she would open the cupboard one more time, she would get a serious spanking - she had just the spoon for that purpose!
I lost it.
I told her to stop this idiocy immediately and let the child do as she pleases. There were only tablecloths in the cupboard anyway, and I didn't mind folding them and putting them back. I would not tolerate anybody spanking or threathening my child. If she could not handle that, then she would have to go. Period.

Of course, my strong willed grandmother did not like being contradicted. She spent the rest of the day babbling about child rearing practices (I'll elaborate on that in another post) and said she knew best because she has raised four children and they turned out great.

I asked her that if she had raised them so wonderfully, then why did the three girls each marry an abusive husband?

My youngest aunt got knocked up at 18 by an abusive drunk who smacked her and her children, then left the guy for a man who only smacked the children (at least now she was safe).
The second daughter married a verbally abusive emotionless drunk and had a loveless relationship.
The eldest daughter - my mom - married an equally abusive man who is equally incapable to bond and has strange sexual tendencies. Yet again since he was only abusive against her daughter, this mattered little. And for her it is exceedingly amazing to play the victim and create a scene.

My grandmother's response was that she had nothing to do with their choiice in men.

Lesson of the day: No matter how your children turn out, you can say you raised them right and wash your hands in proverbial innocence.



  1. I think 'They turned out fine' is my most hated of all sayings. Because how on earth would you know? Is 'fine' good enough? And sometimes it's just a flat-out lie, as here.

    I've had a morbidly obese grandmother with two morbidly obese daughters with other health problems criticise the way I and many others feed our children in comparison to her daughters. Because they turned out fine.

    I'm sorry, I hope the rest of the holiday is better now you've got the vent out!

  2. That's so sad :( If people take time to look, they will see evidence of that in many, many families.
    And good for you for standing up for your little girl! I would do the same thing!!

  3. Good for you for standing up for your little girl! I needed to read this post today, as my little girl is rounding the corner to two and really challenging my patience lately....I'm usually poster child for gentle discipline, modeling behaviors, attachment parenting, respectful limits... but the past couple weeks, I have been extremely challenged by Abbey's new behaviors, and in my exhausted and confused state, the "punitive parenting" side of things (time outs, controlling behaviors with fear, threats, taking toys away, etc) and even spanking started to look...not so bad.

    I snapped out of it quickly (thank GOD), but even for a die hard respectful parent, things can get dicey, and the grass on the other side can start calling your name... it's statements like yours that remind us that punitive parenting has grave results, even if you feel that you're acting in the child's best interest at the time. Thank you for posting this!!!

  4. Love it when people pull out the "they/I turned out fine" card. Fine as in "alive"? Or fine as in the very best person they could be? Because that's what I'm striving for in my parenting. I think we can have higher standards than "fine". Good for you and your fierce Mama instincts!


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