25 Jun
Speech Therapy is Not for Mocking

I’ve been a fan of Melissa Chapman for approximately forever, so I was delighted when she agreed to step into The Mouthy Housewife stilettos and give guest advice.  Don’t forget to check out Melissa’s parenting blog and follow her on Twitter, too! – Marinka, Mouthy Housewife (Extraordinaire)

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I need advice on handling my father around my school-age daughter. She is currently in speech therapy, yet my dad (her grandfather) mocks her speech deficiencies. He does this by talking back at her with “baby” talk. He is being a total jerk-face, though he sees no harm in what he’s doing, (he thinks he’s being funny.) I’ve told him to stop, I’ve gotten angry at him and let him know, but he hasn’t stopped. What do I do?

Signed, Mama Bear

__________________________________________________________
Dear MamaBear,

Well, it would seem as if you’re smack in the middle of a pretty sticky situation, but nothing that a Mouthy Housewife can’t handle. Since I come from the school that says you shouldn’t let anger well up inside of you until it morphs into a something even more unpleasant, I say it’s time you sit your pops down and have a nice, respectful heart-to-heart. (Out of your daughter’s ear shot, of course.) While he may think his jokes are harmless, as a woman, you know how tender and malleable a little girl’s sense of self can be. And therefore, there is no way you can just sit back and let him continue to make jabs at her.

I know confrontation is hard, but it’s a lot cheaper than shelling out $150 an hour for your daughter’s psychoanalysis which she will most certainly need after years of bring belittled by her grandpa. Or even worse—she could embark on a life-long mission to recapture her unrequited need for approval from distinguished older gentlemen and then end up with a major daddy complex. And that’s going to be tough considering Larry King’s dance card is already full.

If after you’ve had a little tête-à-tête with your dad and broken down exactly what he shouldn’t be doing vs. what you’d like him to do it’s still a no-go, tell him that, unless he’s willing to transfer a substantial sum of money into your bank account to offset your daughter’s future therapy bills,   he’s no longer welcome in your house. Hit him where it hurts and I guarantee he’ll get the message loud and clear.

Best wishes,

Melissa, Guest TMH

6 Responses to “Speech Therapy is Not for Mocking”

06.25.10#1

Comment by Diane.

Great advice Melissa! I totally agree! But if confrontation is not your forte, you can always do what we introverts do best – blog about it. Or the low-tech solution for the older generation – write him a letter.

06.25.10#2

Comment by Marinka, TMH.

I had a similar situation when my daughter started speech therapy. My parents didn’t mock, but they did constantly let me know that they thought that speech therapy wasn’t necessary and that I was some kind of new-fangled mom who over-reacted to everything.

I told them that I was doing the best that I could as a parent. That I researched the issue, spoke to professionals that I trusted and was doing what was necessary for my daughter. And I told them that I needed them to support my decisions because otherwise I’d have to get language therapy in order to fully express my frustration with them.

And they totally got it.

06.25.10#3

Comment by Helena.

This advice is very good, and realistic. Sitting him down and being frank about it is going to have the best results. And if he refuses to be respectful, then you need to protect your daughter. When he sees that you are serious, he will probably back down. Ether way, your daughter won’t get hurt anymore.

06.25.10#4

Comment by Plano Mom.

I’m not so sure that the daughter shouldn’t hear and see her mother standing up for her, in a loving yet firm way, to someone she still loves and respects. What better way to demonstrate how you can love someone and yet still not agree or appreciate their actions.

In that way she isn’t acting out of her own frustration and feelings, which is something her father doesn’t give value to. Instead she is being a voice for her daughter’s feelings, and her grandfather must acknowledge that.

And then, if he doesn’t stop, it is quite clear that his intentions are not harmless and Mom would know exactly what to do-goodbye Grandpa.

Kokopuff Reply:

Exactly! Why not let your daughter see and hear you stick up for her and her feelings? You will teach her not only that she is worth fighting for, but you will also teach her the right way to confront people who are rude and obnoxious. (then when she’s out of sight, I’d kick gramps right in the nuts. What kind of sick twisted grandfather makes fun of his own grandchild?)

06.25.10#5

Comment by dusty earth mother.

Yep. Cut off his access to his granddaughter and he’ll stop being a dipstick. Good call, Melissa.

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