“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 Jun 30, 2014
DEAR AMY: My wife and I have two wonderful kids. Our 5-year-old daughter is polite, well-mannered, outgoing and uncommonly nice. Our 18-month-old son is shaping up in a similar vein.

Neither child is prone to tantrums or chronic negative behaviors. I believe that this is because we stress the importance of good behavior and hold them accountable for their actions. We also try to coach them through coping with being upset, frustrated and disappointed.

My wife's sister recently relocated to our area. She has a son, who is almost 3, and an infant daughter.

Her son has been acting out quite a bit. Most of it is due (at least in part) to his difficulty in adjusting to all the changes in his life (two big moves in the last year, a new sibling, potty training, etc.), but he's always been prone to extreme tantrums and defiant behaviors.

I am convinced that their parenting is part of the problem. They are very permissive and give empty threats. If he doesn't get his way, he throws a fit, and they back off and give him what he wants.

They are growing very tired of this pattern, and my nephew's behavior is getting much worse. My sister-in-law has received advice from her pediatrician (set expectations and consequences and stick to them), but she hasn't followed through. She has been reading stacks of books, but hasn't been able to translate her learning into action.

My wife and I struggle with how to respond to her sister's growing concerns. We can be very helpful in showing them some strategies that will help, but this can be perceived as insensitive, meddlesome and unwelcome.

Should we talk to them about it -- or be unconditionally supportive without the slightest hint of criticism?-- Perplexed

DEAR PERPLEXED: Talk to them about it and be unconditionally supportive and uncritical. This is not a mutually exclusive concept. Tell them, "You can turn this around. Do you want to hear some of the things that have worked for us?"

At the risk of providing yet another resource your sister-in-law will ignore, I highly recommend the work of Jo Frost, the "Supernanny." Frost enters households like your sister-in-law's, diagnoses the family dynamic and then offers very sound and practical fixes. If you agree with her approach, you might give this couple a DVD collection of her TV show. Watching other parents screw up can be educational.

Given the extreme changes and challenges in this boy's world, I suggest being as tolerant, loving and positive as possible with the boy. He is crying out for structure, adult attention and loving limits. Punishment will not be as powerful for him as tons of TLC, confident parenting, positive reinforcement and, yes -- an occasional brief "timeout."

DEAR AMY: My ex-husband's sister died recently. She was very well known in the community, and during my 25-year marriage to her brother, she and I were close.

My ex asked me not to attend the funeral because it would upset his current wife. He also claimed I was no longer part of the family. Was he right to tell me I wasn't allowed to pay my respects to someone I cared about?
I also posted her obituary on Facebook to let out-of-town friends know of her passing. My ex said that was inappropriate, even though it was already published in the newspaper.-- Disappointed Ex
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: It was kind of you to be responsive to your ex-husband's sensitivities, but one of the benefits of being divorced is that you no longer need to listen to your ex's assessment of the appropriateness of your actions.
DEAR AMY: "Concerned Dad" wondered how to handle the awkwardness with his grown kids and his ex-wife when his longtime girlfriend finally moved to town. I know when my ex-husband remarried, he and his wife were worried that I would be pouty, but that's like giving a shirt to Goodwill and then complaining that someone else is wearing it proudly -- it's time to move on.-- Moved On

DEAR MOVED ON: tougher when the donation is made against your will -- but yes, I agree.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#2 Jun 30, 2014
1- don't throw your arm out patting yourself on the back, guy. MYOB, unwarranted advice is never welcome

2- tell him to suck it, he doesn't dictate you

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#3 Jun 30, 2014
1 Well, arent we just Mr and Mrs Perfect! I grew up just the opposite, could throw all the tantrums I liked, and it never changed the outcome. See, thats what happens when your the last child instead of the first.

2 Your X is a POS. His sisters death is NOT about his new wife. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

3 Concerned Dad is a spineless wuss that is using his fear of rejection by his kids to form an emotional attachment to his girlfriend.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#4 Jun 30, 2014
Lw2: Why can your ex see your facebook posts?

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#5 Jun 30, 2014
1. I just saw the news that the Finger of God pointed to LWand gave the Word about how to raise children.

"I believe that this is because we stress the importance of good behavior and hold them accountable for their actions. We also try to coach them through coping with being upset, frustrated and disappointed."

For an 18 month old? Give me a break.

That's not to say that your SIL doesn't need help, but it is well to remember that free advice is not often heeded.

If you want to be kind, offer to take the boy for a few days and let the parents have a break. You have use your helpful strategies when she is not around. If they work, keep inviting the boy back. If they don't work when he is with you, STFU and MYOB.

2. I hope you attended your friend's funeral. If she was ill before you died, I hope you kept her company and mourned her when she was here to know it.

I have a guy friend whose second wife is extremely insecure about his first wife even though the couple was divorced for sometime before he met his second First wife' family and my friend attended the same church for many many years and 2nd wife won't go there. No 2 has disappeared to the car to avoid meeting No1. The upshot is that I hear a lot about No 1 and her family and things they did , told with a good deal of nostalgia that I don't think would be there if No 2 had a thicker skin
Kuuipo

Salinas, CA

#6 Jun 30, 2014
LW1: I don't have kids but I do think that some are easier than others and you got lucky. And maybe your BIL and SIL aren't the best of parents, but you should stay out of their business unless asked and avoid telling them that you've never had problems with either of your kids.

LW2: You should block your ex from seeing your FB posts. As for your friend who is your ex-SIL, if your presence would have been a problem for the current wife or anyone else, it was wise of you to not attend. You can pay your respects privately. But I don't think you were wrong to want to go or that it would have been inappropriate.
pde

Bothell, WA

#7 Jun 30, 2014
LW1: it sounds like statistically you've hit the jackpot on mellow kids. Piece of advice: don't risk a third one.

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#8 Jun 30, 2014
Sorry, forgot a word
RACE wrote:
.
3 Concerned Dad is a spineless wuss that is using his fear of rejection by his kids to NOT form an emotional attachment to his girlfriend.

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#9 Jun 30, 2014
L1: Some people who brag on their kids like this, I figure the kids are fine with their parents and all hell breaks loose when they're not. I've never met an 18 month old that was tantrum free.

L2: Weird. Quit caring what he thinks! You're free from him, live your life.

L3: Over this letter.
Cass

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#10 Jun 30, 2014
LW1 - You are a good parent. Your SIL is a bad parent. Gotcha. Now, just don't wrench your shoulder patting yourself on the back. I wonder how you hold a toddler accountable for his actions and "coach" him on how to deal with frustrations.
Cass

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#11 Jun 30, 2014
pde wrote:
LW1: it sounds like statistically you've hit the jackpot on mellow kids. Piece of advice: don't risk a third one.
They may not yet have lucked out with the second one. He is only 18 months old. Just wait until he is 2.5 or 3. He is going to start having opinions, and he'll be speaking in more than two words at a time. And when he is 4, he may start arguing.:-)

“On Deck”

Since: Aug 08

French Polynesia

#12 Jun 30, 2014
L1. Yeah, my brother thought he had the perfect family too.
Until, that is, his son hit high school. He got into a lot of trouble, I found out later on.
I don't know the details. I didn't ask.
pde

Bothell, WA

#13 Jun 30, 2014
loose cannon wrote:
L1. Yeah, my brother thought he had the perfect family too.
Until, that is, his son hit high school. He got into a lot of trouble, I found out later on.
I don't know the details. I didn't ask.
See, I'm already well aware that my kid's teenaged years are probably going to be ... fun.
Cass

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#14 Jul 1, 2014
loose cannon wrote:
L1. Yeah, my brother thought he had the perfect family too.
Until, that is, his son hit high school. He got into a lot of trouble, I found out later on.
I don't know the details. I didn't ask.
Hah. Yep, the LW is way too smug. Counting his chickens before they are teenagers.

Also, all this 'polite, well-mannered, and unusually nice' description makes me think of sociopaths. A lot of them are absolute charmers when they need to be. Of course, that doesn't mean that an "unusually nice" 5yo is a future sociopath, but when things are too good to be true, one can't help but wonder....

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