Hello. I raised my now 35-year-old son using John Rosemond’s methods, and he turned out great! Much to my dismay, however, he and his wife are not interested in raising their sons, 5 and 7, with the same discipline, and the boys’ behavior is getting worse and worse. My son and the boys visit every Sunday for play and supper, and while it’s the highlight of my week, I often become frustrated and short-tempered especially when the boys fight and squabble the whole time. The underlying problem is that they do not mind their parents. My policy has been that I discipline when I have them alone, but I let my son handle it when he is present. The boys give me no trouble at all when the parents are not there. Is it appropriate for me to be in charge whenever they’re under my roof, or should I stay out of it at home when a parent is present?
Hello, and thank you for writing. You ask an important question. I would ask your son and daughter-in-law what they prefer, and then do that. You could say something like "Son, when my dear grandsons are under my roof I want them to obey my rules. If you're here with us, do you want to be the enforcer or should I?" You most certainly can have hard and fast rules in your home, and consistent consequences when they're broken. There should be no discussion about whether you enforce your rules in your home with your grandsons when their parents aren't there, because of course you do, can and should. However, if they'd rather be the ultimate authority, even in your home, you'll have to abide by that decision.
Here's a way to turn your Sundays into a win-win: Offer your son some time to himself by suggesting that he drop the boys off and go do something else while you're with them. Or maybe your son and daughter-in-law would want to turn those Sunday play and supper dates into a time for the boys to be with you while they spend time together. The fact that the boys are obedient to you when their parents aren't present is all you need to know to come to the accurate conclusion that they don't respect their parents' authority. Your son and his wife are in for a very bumpy road if they don't get a handle on things now, and there really isn't much you can do about it. It's possible that if your son sees his sons respecting your authority he might consider making some changes, but don't hold your breath. Assuming that you want to keep seeing your grandsons, you can only do so much, and you can only do it in your home.
Please write again if you need clarification or further guidance. Wishing you happy Sunday visits ahead!
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