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Mollycoddled children

(63 Posts)
maxgran Wed 22-Aug-12 13:06:19

I had a bit of a disagreement with both my DIL and my DD at the weekend because I said I thought they were overprotective of their children.
My DD has 4 children, aged between 5 and 15 and my DiL has a son from her first marriage who is 14 and my own 2 GSs with my son.

My DD has only recently allowed the 15 yr old to go out with his mates - and my Granddaughter the 8 yr old is not allowed to play out at all. The 8 yr old is always pleading with me to 'make' mummy let her play out !

My DiL will not allow my step-grandson to walk home from his Grandad's, which is less than a 3 minute walk away, if it is dark and he is not allowed to cut the grass or use an iron, amongst other things.

Our disagreement got a bit heated and then I told them both that they were being a bit selfish and it was all about 'them' and not their children because were more bothered about their own fears than they were about their children having some freedom.
Usually I keep my mouth firmly shut but I was absolutely fed up of them wittering on to each other about 'the dangers out there' !!

I think I was being unreasonable to stick my nose in,.. but I still think I am right in my view!.. ha ha

petallus Wed 22-Aug-12 13:08:50

Maxgran I think you went where angels fear to tread on this one.

I have noticed that today's parents are far more protective than we were. My opinion is that they are overdoing it.

I don't say this to my DD though (or at least not often)

Nonu Wed 22-Aug-12 13:10:47

I suppose it is difficult to find the right line to tread . However , they are the parents , I find sometimes I may make a little suggestion , and leave it at that

Greatnan Wed 22-Aug-12 13:14:16

Grandmothers are entitled to their opinion - but not to express it! I would never comment on how my daughters raised their children. Can you apologise and say you just got carried away because you were so anxious?

janthea Wed 22-Aug-12 13:19:50

I never step into that bear pit!

Ariadne Wed 22-Aug-12 13:20:56

Greatnan that is very much our maxim too, almost word for word - about opinions, I mean. Very hard sometimes, and maybe harder if you see them all every day?

ninathenana Wed 22-Aug-12 13:21:53

maxgran I agree it was brave of you to speak up.

I must say I think your basically right. I agree with Petallus that today's parents are over protective. Not being trusted with an iron at 14 can't do much for the lads confidence ! My 21 yr old was doing his own ironing at 15.

Children/teenagers need freedom to stretch their wings.

I hope it hasn't caused too many problems in the family.

janeainsworth Wed 22-Aug-12 13:27:18

14 and 15 year-olds not allowed to cut the grass or use the iron! Your DD and DiL are making a rod for their own backs. They should teach them how to iron and how to use circuit-breakers.
I can understand their anxiety about 'going out'. The papers are just full of stories about children and young people who have been abducted. I heard on the radio this morning that a 14 year-old boy had been raped in the Arndale centre in Manchester at about 6pm one evening, by two men.
Surely it's better to teach children that there are dangers out there and how to deal with them.
But maxgran perhaps try and be a bit more subtle next timegrin

vampirequeen Wed 22-Aug-12 13:47:50

Oooops you said what we all think maxgran. Surely your daughters won't take umbrage forever.

You're absolutely right. Children are wrapped up in far too much cotton wool these days hence the worry about exercise. No one worried that we didn't get enough because we were always running about outside.

The evidence shows that children are no more at risk now from other adults than they were when we were growing up. It's just that the media make much more of it and frighten the parents more.

We have to let children have some freedom. They have to learn to take risks and sometimes they will have accidents. It's all part of growing up.

maxgran Wed 22-Aug-12 13:49:55

I know, I know,.. Often it depends on personalities involved in families,.. we all tend to be a bit outspoken in ours and all have opinions !

I only spoke out because I feel sorry for the kiddies and because I allowed my own DS & DD a lot of freedom. I was always concerned when they were out and DID worry - but I always saw my role as preparing them to be independent from me.

When I think that it wasn't THAT long ago that people left school at 14 or 15 and were working, I find it amazing that a 14 yr old cannot be trusted to cut grass or iron a T shirt !

GREATNAN,.. I did apologise to them for sticking my nose in, but I did ask them to think about it smile

maxgran Wed 22-Aug-12 13:52:48

Vampirequeen,.......... Thank YOU !
I totally agree.

JO4 Wed 22-Aug-12 13:53:04

Sounds like you did alright Maxgran.

No harm in a bit of advice. grin

Ariadne Wed 22-Aug-12 14:02:39

It's all a matter of "roots and wings" isn't it? My DGC all have chores to do according to their ages, and have the freedom I think they need.

DGD1 (16) has just had her first week in London and went to the YouTube festival and to the Harry Potter whatever with her friends. They were all staying with the family of one friend, so there were grown ups to hand. I applaud DD for letting her go.

But you always worry, don't you? I suspect that there are GNs at the other end of the spectrum to you maxgran, who are worried about the DGC having too much freedom?

maxgran Wed 22-Aug-12 14:13:34

Ah, well, I have to admit - if they had too much freedom,.. I would probably moan about that too !
I must keep reminding myself that my own kids do not have to share my way on these things!

Ariadne Wed 22-Aug-12 14:18:30

But it sounds as if you are right, maxgran - it made me consider what my lot do and yours do sound over protected. Do they live in a town or city?

maxgran Wed 22-Aug-12 14:30:48

We all live quite close on the outskirts of a town.
There are safe areas to play away from traffic etc and parks.
The local primary school is a 5 minute walk from my daughters. There is a road to cross but its a small road with speed bumps and good visibility. My 8 yr old GD is not allowed to go to or come from school without her Mum or Dad,..even though she would be with a few friends.

When I was 8 I had to walk quite a distance to school on my own and cross a main road ( with a lollipop lady) I also used to play out all the time and we lived on a main road which was a bus route!

I just don't undersdtand how they expect their children to suddenly know how to do things when/if they are ever ready to cut the tight apron strings.

Greatnan Wed 22-Aug-12 14:44:09

I wasn't commenting on whether or not her fears are justified - just whether she was wise to voice them to the parents!
I do agree that we keep children infantile for far too long. I remember seeing a programme about nomadic Mongolians - their four year olds were skinning animals with vicious looking knives and lighting fires to cook them!
My grandsons learned to wash, iron and cook for themselves virtually overnight when they went to university.
It is true that it is often easier to do things yourself, but I agree that training in basic life skills is part of the package of parenthood.

HildaW Wed 22-Aug-12 15:01:53

Oh its a fine line we tread ..........we can't do right for doing wrong. I'm a bit of a coward so unless I felt something was really wrong I'd keep schtum.
However, I do have a bit of a way of turning conversations around if asked something particular.....I sort of go down the 'well I did such and such with you at that age, I'm no expert but I felt it was what you needed' then I ask their opinion on what I did. So far weve had some interesting conversations. I have had slightly more direct conversations but they are only with my daughter, not SIL as I feel its important they can discuss their approaches without my input. Touch wood no one has taken offence and we can talk quite freely within this framework.

Charlotta Wed 22-Aug-12 15:34:58

I think that sometimes Grandma should be able say quietly and politely what she thinks. Not nagging but just mentioning it once. I always remind my DDs what children in other parts of the world do and what the human child is capable of. If a school bag is considered too heavy for a 10 year old child then I say a lot of 9 year old girls carry their siblings about all day. I know this is not ideal but like to put things not perspective.

I think my GCs are over stimulated and too loud. Not TV or computer but outings to Zoos, swimming pools and theme parks and museums not to mention holidays abroad. They live in a city and have seen everything and they're not even teenagers. It worries me.

maxgran Wed 22-Aug-12 15:43:42

One thing I have noticed about my grandchildren is that they always seem to need to be 'entertained' They get 'bored' and seem to think their parents should provide constant attention and entertainment.

When my daughter comes round with the children I cannot have a conversation with her at all without their constant interrupting. It seems that I am the one who has to shut up and wait patiently whilst they get attention.

I often tell the GC to wait because we were talking ! My daughter doesn't seem to mind when I do this but never thinks to do it herself !

Bags Wed 22-Aug-12 15:47:11

Don't worry, charlotta, they won't have seen everything quite yet. Plenty of wondrous things out there to still find out about.

vampirequeen Wed 22-Aug-12 20:47:58

If I'd complained to my mum that I was bored she would have told me to read a book, go out and play or found me a job that I didn't like to do. I soon learned not to complain smile and amazingly I learned how to entertain myself. Children need to learn to entertain themselves and they need to learn that the world isn't there to meet their every desire. If a child is constantly entertained/occupied by adults how will they ever deal with being alone or be able to plan their lives.

Sorry I'm on my soapbox now smile

Parents always seem to be complaining how much it costs to keep their children occupied during the school holidays. Then you find they're planning an activity for every day. Why? Children have imaginations and toys. They can make up their own games and activities. You don't have to take them to theme parks, swimming, dancing, gym, etc etc, every day you just have to let them play. At first they'll find it hard because they've never had to think for themselves but soon they'll find ways to pass their time that don't involve spending huge amounts of money. Schools don't tell children what to do at playtime and lunchtime but oddly the children seem to find things to do. Whether its chasing each other, playing football or simply having a chat. In all my years in primary school I've never heard a child complain about being bored at playtime.

Children need time away from adults. That's when they develop their social skills and learn how to cope in different situations. Yes they may do things we'd rather they didn't and yes they might fall and hurt themselves but they'll also grow and develop physically and mentally into more rounded individuals.

nanaej Wed 22-Aug-12 21:08:07

I agree that many kids are not allowed to leave the apron strings as soon as I did or let my DDs do..but I do think that 24/7 media highlights risks and make parents think there are more nowadays.

I used to travel to Kings X from Darlington for holidays with grandma and the guard kept an eye on me! I was about 10 /11/12 at the time.

Annobel Wed 22-Aug-12 22:00:32

One DS and his partner criticise the other DS and wife (not to their faces) for being too permissive about letting the children go out to the local shop and park; the latter pair criticise the former for being too restrictive! I listen to both and refrain from commenting! I actually think both are right up to a point.

vampirequeen Wed 22-Aug-12 22:07:55

I was a 'bad' mother according to people who knew me. My children went out to play. They went to the local park with other children and played in mixed age groups. When they were 8 years old I stopped taking them to or picking them up from school (10 minute walk). They walked home with friends instead.

When they were 10 years old I first took them into town and let them go off alone with friends for half an hour and gradually extended this time. Then I let them go to town on their own.

At the age of 11 they had to catch the school bus to school. They had to travel with a variety of children and know when to get on and off the bus. My girls did this with no problem. Other children who had been 'looked after properly' found this change very difficult. They didn't know how to relate to new children or children of other ages. They also had problems walking in the street and crossing the roads because they'd never had to do it alone.