My eldest, L, is spoiled. Pain-in-the-rear spoiled. Some of it is related, I believe, to how lax we were with him when he was very small. (He had apraxia of speech and was effectively non-verbal–that made it hard to discipline him when we could hardly understand him.)
The problem I recurrently encounter is my MiL. Since L was born (he and D are her only grandchildren), she’s treated him as if he can do no wrong. Oh, there are the times where it’s “now, L, you shouldn’t do that” and–if she’s very exasperated–a firm “no.”
Other times, however…like two weeks ago. We were at Lowe’s, the kids had just finished their kiddie building project, and D found a decorative yard stake of a butterfly that she wanted. It wasn’t much, so I agreed. L decided he wanted something, so. Said to choose something–whereupon he marched off with B and returned with a $20 book. I said no.
Cue massive meltdown. I mean down on the floor wailing. It was horrifying and embarrassing. He’s seven years old for Pete’s sake! I was angry, and couldn’t do anything about it (there’s a whole ugly history about MiL not liking how I handle the kids), until I finally told him that I wasn’t buying him anything after such reprehensible behavior. We get out the door and halfway to the car, and MiL escorts him inside and buys him one of the yard stakes.
The tears and whining dried up like someone turned off a tap.
I was raging. I’m still frustrated, because I tried to talk to her about this whole thing, and she turned her back on me and started doing her dishes. Ten minutes later, she’s suddenly announcing that she likely won’t be going with us to Florida next weekend. No mention of feeling bad until now. Do I believe her? I don’t know. It was awfully convenient, but she’s not in the best of health…that’s not the point, though! Why, when I’m trying to address the spiral my son is in, do I get tuned out?!
Why can’t she recognize that we’re hard on him now so he’s not a disaster when he’s older? Why can’t she support our parenting, rather than undermine it?