Parenting in an extended family is tough

I stay with my In-laws. My niece comes here daily from Monday to Friday while my Sister-In-Law goes to work.

Parenting styles differ greatly between my In-laws, sister-in-law, husband and me. I’m the tyrant in their eyes, I gather. I’m the no nonsense Mother.

I have been troubled about how to discipline my children – I don’t allow them to whine and jump when I say “no”, while they see my niece get away with screaming and crying and whining? When I don’t discipline my niece, on request of my husband, my Mother-In-Law says I should. When I start to discipline her in gentler ways compared to my methods for my children, my husband asks me to robe down. Because my girl is the eldest I task her to set a good example for the other children. She gets scolded if my niece follows a negative behaviour she displays.

Though this has been a big issue for me all along, it has bothered me more recently. Maybe because I’m pressured to mold my younger boy to stop his whining. I feel alone. It’s a lonely journey especially on days my husband returns home and stops me from disciplining my niece.

I want to straighten out my thoughts soon. None of my friends stay with in laws and managed to parent their way. So I have no one to turn to.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t see the benefits of staying with in laws and having a niece play with my children. While I appreciate all these, I seem to be paying a price of not being able to be a parent I want to be.

I don’t like this feeling as I’m not thinking logical now. I have lots of feelings and wants suppressed, as I pay the price of family harmony which my husband wants of me.


About chewingonit

I'm a mother of two, facing challenges each day in all aspects including building family ties, relationship building, parenting, income earning, career building, self-awareness, intellectual learning, ... the list goes on.
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6 Responses to Parenting in an extended family is tough

  1. sheenasnyder says:

    Ran across your post. I have lived with my parents and my in-laws. May I suggest a list of “house” rules. You can talk to your family about them and come up with things that everyone agrees to, follows, and enforces. This way everyone works together as a family. Worked for me. Good Luck.

    • chewingonit says:

      Thanks sheenansdyer. I agree and have tried that. However because it is not nice of me to discipline my niece in my no nonsense ways, I am troubled as to how I can fit her into the house rules. 😦 I have tried to keep her outside my room when I play with my kids because she is very active and is accident prone and I cannot manage her without being fierce. But family members will pity her when she knocks on our door and let her in again. I also don’t know how to explain to my kids why she is allowed to whine and scream while mine are not allowed to. I think the family sees me as a terrible person, not being able to tolerate her nonsense and too fierce to her. My morale and confidence is hit yet I have no solution. 😦
      I have a part time job so I’m only home in the late afternoon. I’m really lost.

      • sheenasnyder says:

        It is tough if everyone won’t work together. When it comes to different standards of behavior I tell my daughter all the time that different families have different rules. It doesn’t make life fair, but it does give an explanation.

      • chewingonit says:

        I see. What do you say if one day your children say “I want to be so-and-so’s child because they can ….”
        This is something I have not figured out how to handle.

    • sheenasnyder says:

      I haven’t had to answer that question. I would probably say. Well, God put you in our family for a reason. I am sorry, you feel that way. I am your mom and I hope you know I love you.

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