Am I wrong for shutting down the family’s suggestions about parenting – especially about hitting my kids?
So me (26 M) and my girlfriend (24 F) have been together long enough now that the family is asking when we’re going to start thinking about kids. We’re probably a few years off yet because we want to be a bit more secure financially and get married first, but we’ve talked about it a lot and how we want to raise our kids.
My mum (56) is the oldest of our parents and she is also in the worst health and is just genuinely eager to be a grandparent, so while she brings it up the most, we don’t mind too much. The biggest problems are my Stepmum (52) and Sister-in-Law (34).
Both are really opinionated people at the best of times, and yesterday at a family meal the topic of kids came up and we somehow got onto the topic of discipline. This is when my Stepmum dropped the bombshell that not only does she think hitting your kids is perfectly fine, but that I will do it.
Now I don’t know where she’s got this idea from, because as a kid who was pretty regularly beat by my mum, I am thoroughly against it. I never want my kids to fear me or dread coming home because there’ll be a belt waiting for them.
She goes onto say about how it’s the only thing that works sometimes and that it didn’t do her or my stepbrother any harm, which is a lie because everyone around that dinner table has been to or needs therapy, and getting hit as a kid probably didn’t help.
Now I work in education, so dealing with behaviour (I am a behaviour lead in my school as well as a teacher) without hitting kids is probably 40% of my job. My girlfriend also works in education. So I think we can keep our cool and manage not to hit our kids out of frustration, so why would we choose to do it?
I told her under no circumstances would I hit my child. I explained that I would reason with them why their behaviour wasn’t acceptable and follow that up another tactic such as removing privileges if that didn’t work. When my SiL asked what if they were too young to understand reason, I pointed out that in that case they were probably too young to understand why you’re hitting them.
Then things got a little messy. My Stepmum did the ‘under my roof, my rules’ spiel, implying she would hit my kids if they misbehaved, which really got my back up. So I said ‘Anyone who I trust to look after my kids hurts them, I’ll do the same thing to them, 10x harder’ which didn’t go down well.
When she responded that she wouldn’t look after them then, I said that was fine, it’ll just add more grandchildren to the list of ones she isn’t allowed to see which was a bit harsh (but I think justified) considering my brother’s ex won’t let her see their daughter. At that point my dad changed the topic of conversation, but it left a bit of a cloud over the evening.
Am I wrong for standing my ground on how I want to raise my future kids and pointing out consequences for anyone who tried to punish them physically?