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Family Feuds

Is there a right and wrong on raising kids? When is the line drawn between families?

I ask that because my husband and I got into a verbal battle with his brother and wife (my in-laws) about our kids and how they are raised. Fingers were pointed (mainly at me), we were called names (again, mainly toward me), and silence has become between our families. The biggest part was about discipline of our children. 

We choose not to spank, hit, and beat our children, whatever you want to call it. When my kids were younger, yes, they had a few swats on their hands or butt around their toddler years. Now, they are almost thirteen and eleven and there is no need. My children have always been good kids when we are around them or not. (By no means am I saying they are perfect, but there is no reason for physical structure.) My husband and I prefer to discuss it amongst ourselves and then include our child/children in the discussion.

But my brother-in-law believes and I have witnessed to physical disciplining his children, usually without finding out what has happened to cause the occurrence. And that is just what happened this last time. Their five-year-old said my son spit on her through a hole in the wall and it got in her eye. Yes, she was crying, but instead of him asking questions or coming to get my husband and me, he let loose and hit his step-son. That didn’t go over well. Everyone got upset, which caused us leaving the family get together early.

Upon finding out what happened from our kids, the situation was said to be that the five-year-old was spying on the two boys, my nephew and my son, and sticking her fingers through some holes on the other side of the wall. She poked one of the boys in the eye. So the boys started blowing in the holes, and as you can imagine—I’m sure it happened that way, and it wasn’t spit; sounds like drywall. She got it in her eye and started crying. I’m sure it did irritate the eye. But instead of asking questions, my brother-in-law just lost it.

How is that my fault, that he hits his child and blames me? Then he is upset because I didn’t spank my child for spitting. Then everything escalated from there. Hate emails came through the wires to us about how we are bad parents for “not putting our kids in their place.” What? 

A lot of truth from my mouth came out and I shouldn’t have, but it’s out and feelings are hurt. It went so far as my brother-in-law then turning it onto my daughter, saying she has a mouth and is hateful and disrespectful. Okay, what thirteen-year-old do you know who doesn’t have their own opinion anymore? And the only rudeness she carries is telling her littler cousins to stop climbing and jumping on her. At thirteen and being a girl, you need your space from a five- and eight-year-old. I know she loves them and I know they love her. But why attack my children? Then turn it back to me and judging my character and past mistakes out of the air? What is that all about? 

And as open as I am, my husband and I set our kids down and tell them the reasoning behind the family feud, and what needs to be done and how we are going to handle it. 

So am I so wrong to not physically discipline my children, but talk with them? And since it is family, where is the line drawn?

Any opinion would be appreciated—good or bad! I need all views.

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