Monday, May 23, 2016

How to Deal with Someone Undermining Your Parenting.

Single Mom, Undermining, parenting, tips

There are many ways a person can undermine you as a parent. The two that I see most often are other parents or someone you live with undermining you. In this post I am going to focus on those being undermined by those they live with. This is something that I have had to battle with on and off for the past year. These suggestions are best for those who have already tried talking with the other person (you really want to try that first others cannot read your mind). If talking is not working, try these suggestions.

First things first pick your battle. Do not fight with someone over something stupid.
Example of not worth the fight: Your mom gives your child a cookie every once in a while right before lunch.
In this situation you do want to talk with your mother about giving your child something like that before launch (or if you are against sugar, giving it at all). However, if they keep doing it remember it is the jobs of others to spoil your child. Grandparents and other family will do things you may not 100% like but fighting over a cookie and keeping tension in the house is not worth it.

Second, both you and the person you feel is undemanding you come up with rules you both feel are realistic.
Example of coming up with shared rules:
Your rule: little to no sugar.
The other person’s rule: Children are children once give them what they want.
An agreed upon rule: Your child can have 2 cookies on Saturday.
You as a parent may feel like this is a compromise and that you are having someone involved in something that is none of their business. However, living with others you CANNOT control others behavior. The best you can do is keep tension down and stay focused the priority, and that is the child growing up in a loving and happy environment.

These first two suggestions work best on things that are not that serious. The nest two suggestions are for more serious things.

First intervene with the child. This is not my favorite thing but it is the point my son and I are at. If someone is going back behind you and doing or saying something you do not agree with sit down with your child go over the rules again. 
Example of a big problem: feeding your child a cookie EVERYDAY.
It is one thing to give a child a cookie every now and again when the parent is against it, it is another to do it every day (or more times than not). Then it becomes a problem of major UNDERMINING. This suggestion will also help with other things like others letting your child watch TV programs you said no to, playing with toys and games you said no to, and other things that you have made clear should not happen. Sit down with your child and make it clear the answer is NO it does not matter what the other person says.  I do not like this because it requires the child to have to be the bigger person and follow the rules when an adult is not.

Second, let your child say No! I know this is something most of us teach our children to not say to adults but sometimes they need to hear it. What you need to do is stand behind their decision when they say it.
Example: Noah is allowed to walk ahead of me when going on walks. He is allowed to run around and be crazy as long as he stays out of the street. However, the person I live with wants Noah walking only a few feet ahead at most and holding his hand. I know this does not seem like a big deal but I can see how this is effecting Noah’s self-esteem, killing his curiosity, and he does not want to do it.
At this point when going on walks and the other person tells Noah to hold his hand Noah says "no." I have taken to letting him do just that, and telling the other person he is fine and he does not need someone holding his hand.

Last thing, MOVE!
If you cannot live with what is happening and as adults, you cannot figure things out, move. Chances are you are in a situation where this is not really realistic so you need to make things work. Try these suggestions and let me know how it goes.

If you have any other suggestions leave them in the comments. Have you used any of these suggestions before, how did they work?

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Shakirah is a single mom to a 5 year old. She is a blogger, teacher, and graduate student. Her goal is to bring a more positive and realistic look into the lives of single mothers.


  1. Ugh! You are reminding me of our time when my baby was around 1 year old and we had roommates. So much undermining. Thankfully for him he was too little to realize what was happening. Was majorly stressful for me though! He just turned 3 though and while we don't have undermining going on at home, there is another mom at his preschool who has been incredibly disrespectful to us. Yikes, it has been a hard thing to navigate...

    1. I am really sorry to hear you are going through that.