For about the last three years my wife's grandparents have watched our daughter whenever we are both working. I have always worked full-time and my wife has had part-time jobs or no job. I admit I have jumped around a lot trying to find a stable career, which has caused her to stop working when money is good, and go back to work when it is bad, which is not a good example for our daughter, the inconsistency, but it is the way things are now.
My wife swears that when she works regularly, our daughters attitude and temperament become worse. I have always kind of threw this out the window thinking that it is just there lack of compromise with each other. (My wife is easily stressed and sometimes talks to our daughter as if she is older than she really is. They kind of go at each sometimes.)
We have had a problem of not being consistant in our discipline. We are spankers, but do it very little, and I have found that no, in our case it does not work. Our daughter is extremely intelligent for five, and also very tender hearted. I have found that because of her intelligence, we talk to her like she is older than she really is, which is not good, just because she uses larger words, and acts older, does not change the fact that she is stil five, and may not truly understand those larger words, beyond it's compositional use.
So i've decided that from now on I am going to go out of my way to explain things better to her when she is told no about something, and to talk to her more often, to curve the need to discipline. She hates leaving peoples houses, and has always thrown fits, so we've always responded with equal tantrums and gotten loud with her. This past weekend, I did not do this and instead talked to her and comforted her because she hates leaving places, and this worked! There was no need for discipline because things did not get heated between us. She was calm after a minute and we were able to leave.
But here is the problem, all weekend she was wonderful, and then yesterday she had to go to my wifes grandparents all day because we both had to work. I went to pick her up when I got off, and her attitude the rest of the night was terrible. She didn't listen, she would talk back constantly, or just not pay attention when she was being spoken to. We know full well that she runs things over at their house. And my wife's grandparents think things are fine, they will discipline only if absolutely necessary, but she gets to do almost whatever she wants. She can make messes and leave them, snack on things all day long, talk back without repercussions, and aside from taking a nap, have absolute control. We cannot afford a babysitter, but to allow my daughter to know bounds, have rules, and have a healthy childhood, something must change.
Any advice on how to approach her grandparents about this, about her attitude when she leaves their house? Any would be greatly appreciated!