I am going to take a little time today to talk about parenting instead of homeschooling. Today I am trying yet again to potty train my daughter. Before you decide to be scandalized by my 3-year-old not being potty trained yet, let me tell you a little story.
This last December my daughter was on track with potty training and doing really well with it all on her own. We let her do potty training at her own pace and in her own time, because none of the usual methods you see on parenting websites or in books worked for her. But giving her gentle support did. So, along comes New Year. My husband’s family does a yearly family get together that day. I decided to stay home because I had a multitude of things to do. I was planning to pull out underwear for my daughter the very next day, because she was 90% potty trained.
So my husband got lots of the usual flack from his family about our daughter. His mother tells them all we aren’t parenting ‘correctly’ on a regular basis. She isn’t the kind of kid who is instantly comfortable with people she doesn’t really know, she doesn’t hug people or like physical affection from people she doesn’t know either. This is fully supported by us because she has been this way since she was an infant. It took her almost 2 years to hug my dad, whom she adores. This is apparently unacceptable to husband’s family and by respecting her body and wishes we are disrespecting the various random people in his family that she doesn’t know because they don’t show up more than maybe 2 times per year. But anyway, my daughter doesn’t really know her grandmother very well because she expects us to always visit her and rarely ever comes to our home, unlike all the rest of the grandparents who make an effort to be much more involved in our daughter’s life.
So my husband gets through the gauntlet of concerned for my daughter’s welfare relatives, and they are visiting with people. My daughter is comfortable and playing with the other kids. So she allegedly said she had to go potty to the general room, and my MIL, instead of getting my husband decides to take her herself. She undresses my child and puts her on the potty, this person my daughter barely knows or remembers, without letting anyone know or asking. Mind you my daughter also hates getting dressed or undressed so that aspect usually means a fit, even with people she loves and knows well. Suffice it to say she was traumatized. So she came back home and the next day wouldn’t go anywhere near a potty. It’s been almost 6 months and she is resisting all my attempts to help her get back on track, in fact she still barely goes near toilets. So this week I am potty training by refusing to give her diapers which results in epic melt down tantrums that last for hours each day. All because my MIL decided that my child should be comfortable with a stranger just because they share DNA. This entire process could be long finished in a much easier fashion but I am now stuck with this instead. I am feeling a bit angry and frustrated. I am glad to be able to get this situation off my chest.
We often clash with my husband’s mother on questions of parenting because she is of the ‘my parents and I did it this way so it is good’ school of thought, whereas we like to use up to date methods that are supported by actual research and scientific study. We do not spank or use other physical punishment, I do not use older methods like Vaseline on the butt (so bad for skin), rice cereal (useless), and so on. She told us last Thanksgiving that we would make our child a weird hermit by homeschooling. Thankfully neither my husband nor I have any issues with ignoring her ‘helpful’ suggestions. I am not keen on taking advice from people who think children are little more than objects to mold. My goal is to raise a person who owns her intelligence,her body, and can think for herself. Obedience will never be on my list of parenting goals, because obedient adults never question or think for themselves.
I apologize for the long rant like post. I just wish sometimes that people wouldn’t interfere when they don’t know anything about my child, especially when it is by their own choice of priorities. I wish the entire situation would improve. Although she is not the only grandparent that creates issues. My mother also does similar things, but she has never done my child any lasting harm. My mother has actually gone so far as to say science is stupid. Obviously I no longer ask her for parenting advice either (MIL is also a nurse but she recommends medical advice that is 20 plus years out of date because she is a paper pusher and has been for years, so clearly she isn’t even a medical resource). Thankfully we do have my husband’s father and step mother to help with advice, and they are also peaceful parents (well ahead of their time) so that is wonderful. It is nice having one set of grandparents that isn’t offended by our every life choice, at least. And they are far more open to choices they don’t agree with and will parent the way we ask in our absence, unlike the rest who ignore our wishes completely.