Gransnet forums


daughters lack of confidence in us

(56 Posts)
silverlining48 Thu 07-Aug-14 09:59:13

does anyone else get lists of instructions lists, texts and phone calls every time they look after their grandchildren to check that all is well. Nothing untoward has ever happened and this constant supervision is making us miserable. We love seeing our grandchildren, and have spent lots of happy times together. None of my friends have this experience Any advice?

Mishap Thu 07-Aug-14 10:20:46

One of my DDs does this, the others do not. I just go with the flow and provide reassurances. I try not to take it personally! Last time I cared for GC I was asked to make sure I provided drinks of water!

Do not fret - some mums are like this - I am sure it is not a reflection on your competence!

GrannyTwice Thu 07-Aug-14 10:20:48

How old are the dgc? Are you talking about one or more of your dc and is it/ are they ddil or dd?

GrannyTwice Thu 07-Aug-14 10:22:14

Sorry - just seen it says daughter in the title.

gillybob Thu 07-Aug-14 10:27:03

I can honestly say that having looked after my three DGC 2 days a week from them being just a few weeks old I have never received any list or set of instructions on how to look after them. The occasional concerned text maybe if one of them has been under the weather, but nothing more. The difference might be that my son and DiL rely on me to have the children so they can work on those days plus the occasional night out, so perhaps they have thought that if they bombard me with instructions I might decide not to have them afterall. Or maybe they just trust that I will make the right decision as to the care of my grandchildren? My DiL is very laid back and never stresses over anything unless it has 4 legs, neighs and eats oats grin

I can understand you being miserable about this silverlining48 you must feel like pointing out that to be a grandma you are also a mother . Sorry can't offer any useful advice but I do hope someone comes along soon with some experience of this. smile

suebailey1 Thu 07-Aug-14 10:33:02

Not really had much of this except youngest daughter was horrified when I let her 18 month old have honey on some bread and butter ' not until he's 2 Mum!' she cried in horrified tones. He now at age 10 eats all his food covered in gloopy sugary sauces!!!
Neither of my daughters are at all encumbered by anything I have ever

kittylester Thu 07-Aug-14 11:57:58

DDs 1 & 2 always provided very precise instructions when the children were babies and I can understand that from the point of view of the baby's routine. They are fine now the children are toddlers and upwards and just let us get on with it. To be honest, I preferred that then I knew where I was.

DD3 has always been quite laid back - sort of ' if it screams you could try feeding it!' grin

Eloethan Thu 07-Aug-14 14:04:33

It is probably not the intention to question your ability but perhaps reflects her own anxiety about getting things right. Parenting has become such a minefield these days (and marketing of certain products ramps up all sorts of fears about nutrition, hygiene, etc.) that it's no wonder some parents become overly concerned about the smallest things.

I can understand that it is unsettling for you and it must be quite a nuisance too with all those phone calls and texts. Hopefully, once she feels more confident and relaxed in herself, things will get better.

Elegran Thu 07-Aug-14 14:32:23

The first time that I entrusted her first granddaughter to my parents for the day, i left a written minute-by-minute account of her daily routine. She seemed to survive OK.

Many many years later my mother presented me with the piece of paper with the list - she had kept it to laugh quietly at. At the time she had said nothing, just accepted it and (I imagine) did what she thought was best.

glammanana Thu 07-Aug-14 14:53:49

silverlining don't be upset about the constant text's etc maybe the parents are feeling guilty about leaving them and are finding it hard to ajust just answer what you have to and nod your head at the right time and things will settle down soon I'm sure. flowers

Liz46 Thu 07-Aug-14 15:29:15

Silverlining, I think your daughter is just a bit anxious and you should not be offended. The first time I looked after my baby granddaughter overnight I was given three foolscap pages of instructions. I have a photo of me with my little granddaughter on my knee and I was showing her that she was not doing as she should have been doing! There were so many texts that I hardly had time to look after the baby.

Another baby later and the children are almost thrown into our house with no instructions as the parents leap away for a bit of freedom.

ninathenana Thu 07-Aug-14 15:49:45

When they were babies it was me who asked DD for instructions about routines. DD printed and laminated a drugs regime for the youngest, as at the time it was extensive and complicated. I was grateful for that. Now they are 2 and 5 it's as Liz46 says, dump and run !
I wouldn't be offended if DD did give me a list. To be honest though, I'm not sure how much attention I'd pay to it grin

Eloethan Thu 07-Aug-14 16:40:31

Liz46 Your description of what happens now made me laugh.

HildaW Thu 07-Aug-14 17:39:16

Oh silverlining, I've just had all this as we had GS (age5) to stay. Its as if we've never had children??? Am glad I'm not the only one who feels I am being vetted.....fgs I ran Pre-Schools as well!!!!

HildaW Thu 07-Aug-14 17:41:46

P.S.....I just smile sweetly and nod......then carry on in my own sweet way......which is hardly radically different, we just give him a bit of space, let him eat his meals as slowly as he likes and allow him to make a den under the stairs. He goes home saying 'I've had the best time ever Grandma'!!!

Tegan Thu 07-Aug-14 18:21:31

I don't get strict instructions but if I'm told to do something in a certain way I do it to the letter because I can remember how annoyed it used to make me when my MIL ignored things that I said with regards to being with the children [not that it happened very often].

Penstemmon Thu 07-Aug-14 19:20:40

They are just grateful I will have them..they come instruction free unless of course there is medication involved then I demand times/dosage etc! When DD1 went away for 4 days I did have a timetable but that was to help me deposit the lads at their different parties, sports events etc and oick them up again at the right time. Re food/weaning/routines etc they felt they were reasonably OK so maybe I knew a bit about child rearing! wink

janeainsworth Thu 07-Aug-14 20:24:19

Silverlining All my DCs were born in Hongkong.
When No 3 was due to arrive my poor mother came out to look after DS, DD and DH.

I still have the long list of instructions that I wrote out for her in the back of a recipe book.

It starts off: Rule No 1. Don't open the security door if you don't know who it is.
and continues in horrible detail to describe the minutiae of what the children have for breakfast ("Susie has thin scraping of marmite on her toast and the crusts cut off") and the preparations necessary to get DS off to school ("make sure he has got any reading books he brought home")

I cringe to read this now.

Don't take it personally. I'm sure your DD is just trying, as I was, to help. blush

FarNorth Thu 07-Aug-14 22:01:38

Even if we did a reasonable job as parents, things can change. For instance, nowadays babies are put to sleep on their backs, as being the safest position, whereas we were told absolutely not to do that.
Just accept your DD's lists etc and make use of whatever seems relevant. As others have said, she's just trying to do her best for her DCs and probably also hoping to help you.

Deedaa Thu 07-Aug-14 23:33:50

I used to have detailed instruction sheets when the GS's were babies. Now she's just glad to have somewhere to leave them! Any time DD or DS get too paranoid about what I'm doing with their offspring I just remind them that I've hand reared one baby squirrel, two baby kittens and two baby humans (allegedly!) and they all survived grin

FlicketyB Fri 08-Aug-14 09:22:41

Both DS and wife are anxious parents. DS is worst as he worries about both wife and child. When DGD, aged 6, made her first solo visit to us I was provided with a long list of and don'ts, by DS, not DDiL, and they constantly rang to see if she was OK. To such an extent that on the third day of her visit even DGD turned to me and said: ' I wish Mummy and Daddy would stop phoning all the time it is SO boring'.

However, as the first visit went so well and DGD keeps asking if she can come and stay again (she is). However DS has decided that they will now collect her a day earlier and than planned!

I console myself with the knowledge that DS is, and always has been, a compulsive worrier. At the age of 7, asked to write something about himself at school he wrote: 'I am aged 7. I have blonde hair and blue eyes and I worry a lot'.

silverlining48 Fri 08-Aug-14 10:56:12

Thanks so much everyone for your advice none of my friends have this problem and its wonderful to feel I am not alone in this. I know my DD is anxious and a worrier, and have accepted this minute scrutiny without comment, but its not abated despite caring for both children for more than 4 years without incident, the eldest starts school next month!
Sometimes it just gets too much, like yesterday when we were going over to look after them. More detailed instructions just for an afternoon's care , and this time we reacted and said 'if you are not confident in our care then maybe.... etc. etc.' Something we do not want of course.
Would hate to fall out . She knows how much we love them both, they are our only grandchildren and they love us. We would never ever put them at any risk and watch them every minute.

I suppose we must accept it and try not see it as personal and remember we did after all bring up two daughters without anything terrible happening. I feel a lot better today. Thank you all.
PS I have kept our first child care manual which runs to 7 closely typed A4 pages. You never know one day we may laugh about it... perhaps!

Terrafirma1 Fri 08-Aug-14 11:20:10

Let's face it none us has the slightest idea of how to look after a baby or a toddler. Like Manuel "we know nothing! " . It's not as if we ever had any children of our own is it?grin But seriously - their babies, we were just as bad at teaching their grannies to suck eggs!

TriciaF Fri 08-Aug-14 11:53:51

Even so, Terrafirma, I was terrified when asked to look after first grandson when he was only 6 weeks old. His parents had to go back to work (not in the UK) and his Mum expressed breast milk into bottled for him.
As it happened, he was a sweet little lad, not much trouble, but the feeling of responsibility was huge. Much more than with my own babies.

Kiora Fri 08-Aug-14 12:56:08

My own daughter and one d.i.l never said a word just bye bye when I looked after their children. However my other d.i.l wrote copious ordersinstructions. It didn't seem to matter than part of my job is advising parents about such matters, or that I'd looked after children in one way or another practically all my life. I just acted interested in the list. I did try to follow some of the orders instructions. If I couldn't I just kept my mouth shut or make a quick get away if I was dropping them off. I'd lie if I thought it would smooth things over. blush

papaoscar Fri 08-Aug-14 13:14:28

Many parents now are incredibly sensitive about how their children are brought up and the alleged inadequacy or inappropriatness of previous parenting customs and practices. We are facing a challenge in this area. That is doubts suddenly being expressed by our mature offspring about the way we brought him up. If only we'd pushed him harder all those years ago in this or that direction....etc., etc. This is causing us a lot of angst.

janeainsworth Fri 08-Aug-14 13:59:39

You can't win there, Papaoscar. If you'd pushed him, you would have got the blame for him being stressed out because too much was expected of him.

I think it's probably the hardest thing in parenting, to strike a balance between encouraging a child to achieve his or her potential, and harming them by forcing them too far, but in the end they have to find their own level. Presumably your mature offspring is old enough to motivate himself to achieve whatever they want.

I like Sheryl Sandberg's motto: What would you do if you weren't afraid?

Is he using the fact that you weren't a helicopter parent as an excuse for not pushing himself now?

silverlining48 Fri 08-Aug-14 15:05:44

Thats great while they cant speak, but now the GC's are perfectly able to tell mum and dad exactly what went on at grandma's........... so no way could we ignore 'instructions'. It just puts us on edge, which is not how we want to feel given we are saving them a good deal of money for child care, which we do willingly.

Eloethan Fri 08-Aug-14 15:06:07

As jane says, equally critical comments could be made to parents for allegedly "pushing" their children. It's my view that it can cause far more emotional issues in later life if a child is constantly urged to do better and if his/her behaviour and educational achievements are always found wanting.

It's very upsetting to be told by our children that we have fallen short. I have experienced it myself - and I have to admit I dished out a bit of it to my own parents when I was younger. I expect a lot of people harbour some disgruntlement about various issues in their childhood but - unless they have experienced serious neglect - using it as an excuse for everything that goes wrong in adulthood is not very fair or constructive.

Mishap Fri 08-Aug-14 16:49:10

The trouble is that we have benefit of experience and know that if a child does not get stuck into learning the piano, for example, when they are young, they will find it a jolly sight harder when they are older. How much to encourage (?push?)? - very difficult.

Nonu Fri 08-Aug-14 17:48:01


Just saying!!

HildaW Fri 08-Aug-14 17:51:03

Nonu, a thought that always flashes through my head....but then I remember to be charitable and accept that many people feel they need the two incomes. I might moan about my Daughter laying down the law but she is being a fulltime Mum at the moment even though they have to count every penny.

Nonu Fri 08-Aug-14 18:00:48



pinkprincess Fri 08-Aug-14 18:09:03

I have already replied via Facebook on this subject.
I have provided childcare free of any charge for all of my five grandchildren since they were babies.As the youngest two lived with me it was almost full time.
My son and his wives (he has been married twice) never dreamed of giving me instructions as they knew better.I always felt free to ask though if I had any queries. They were grateful of the care I provided and I felt good that they trusted me.
I have collected my DGC from school and cared for them in school holidays.The three eldest who are now aged 22,20, and 18 still remember those times with great affection.My DGD2 is expecting a baby in November and is already looking forward to me giving help when she needs it.
Babies do not come with instructions, but neither do teenagers and in my opinion that is the more difficult stage.I am presently caring for my DGD3 who is 18 and has MH and substance abuse problems.I would like to have been provided with information and instructions on that.Caring for a baby is like a walk in the park compared to this.


rosequartz Fri 08-Aug-14 18:53:04

silver just wondering if the teacher is going to get a long list of instructions when the older one starts school in September hmm

janeainsworth Fri 08-Aug-14 21:03:40

pinkprincess flowers

harrigran Fri 08-Aug-14 23:54:35

I don't get instructions, I am the only help they have. Grandma's house, Grandma's rules grin

thatbags Sat 09-Aug-14 08:01:19

Likewise. When in Rome and all that. Not that's there's a fundamental difference between us. Same principles and the same aims tend towards the same kind of behaviour.

shysal Sat 09-Aug-14 08:40:36

Never mind instructions on childcare, I needed written guidance on how to work their TV and access the DVD player, Sky box, Playstation etc.! I even struggled with the washing machine - couldn't find the washing powder etc. until I was informed that it was already in a reservoir inside the machine, never knew they could do that! Switching it off in order to open the door was also a puzzle! blush
Of course, at a very early age, the GCs were soon able to take over. smile

Liz46 Sat 09-Aug-14 09:04:57

What about discipline? We find that we are stricter than the parents and we were upset that we 'told off' our 5 year old grandson a couple of times when he last stayed with us for a weekend.

Tegan Sat 09-Aug-14 15:07:03

Last time I looked after the grandchildren I couldn't work out how to unlock the front door. And there was another time when I couldn't put the rubicks cube that is the clip on the car seat strap together.

shysal Sat 09-Aug-14 16:12:21

Not to mention the folding/unfolding of the pushchair or pram!angry

Nonu Sat 09-Aug-14 16:30:53

We had exactly the same problems with car seats ,buggies and stair gates.

Glad to say that is all behind us now they are old enough to be in booster seats and can put safety belts in themselves !

So there IS a God!!


Tegan Sat 09-Aug-14 16:39:39

Usually get a two second instruction as to what to do before they disappear confused.

whenim64 Sat 09-Aug-14 17:10:23

I can't work the TV remote at my daughter's house - it's been so well used that all letters and numbers have disappeared. She's shown me once, so assumes I'll remember. That's once I can turn the thing on because Sky needs a different remote and I have to try several before one works. If a channel needs changing, I hand the remote to the nearest child grin

The microwave is like a foreign language, so I heat things in a pan. The kettle has different temperatures for tea and coffee - I realise when I've finished making grey looking tea. The safety gates all have different ways of unlocking. The phone is so tiny I can't press the numbers I want. The conservatory lock is the reverse of the front door so I keep leaving it unlocked by mistake.

How do they live with all this confusing technology? A manual I could refer to would be quite helpful in their houses. In my house, all they ask is that no fizzy drinks are given. Everything else seems acceptable.

rosequartz Sat 09-Aug-14 17:16:32

I usually manage to buggar mess up the remote controls at DD's house. They have had to get the Austar man out twice - I swear it wasn't me last time!

The main thing I worry about is if the DGC hurt themselves or are ill when in my care.

Mishap Sat 09-Aug-14 17:36:53

That made me smile when - I know just what you mean. If in doubt, I ask a grandchild!

5timesnannie Sat 09-Aug-14 18:01:02

I have 2 d.i.l, one never gave instructions/orders but the other with her first left me with 5 pages of A4. As Kiora says read or listen then do what you know you should do and don't take it personally. This d.i.l has now had her 3 third child and we now laugh about her notes. 3rd child is left with me once a week and I have to ask for an update on the day's routine. Stay calm, smile and don't worry, I am sure you are a great granny.

pinkprincess Sat 09-Aug-14 20:01:01

Thank you JaneAinsworth

silverlining48 Thu 21-Aug-14 19:45:10

Lovely reading everyone's points about my initial question. Some made me smile and some made me feel better. So thanks to you all. We will carry on and try to take the lists of instructions with a pinch of something, and know we are more than capable of taking good care of our lovely grandchildren.

Stansgran Thu 21-Aug-14 21:17:00

A friend told me to practice saying with a direct smile and eyes wide open"we've done everything you asked"best to say it to the mirror first.

Magmar Thu 21-Aug-14 22:19:19

For me it's mostly the other way around - I fretted about doing things right and sticking to the grandchildren's routine when they were small, and then yesterday when I visited my daughter and found her in the garage putting things in the tumble dryer and asked her where the 22 month old was, I was told she's in her high chair in the kitchen - and discovered her NOT strapped in!! Call me old fashioned, but if I had left her like that and something had happened there would have been hell to pay! And I would have deserved it! There is a happy medium!

FlicketyB Fri 22-Aug-14 10:10:36

I can remember all too clearly the first day we had precious GD in our care, we live 200 miles away so she was 4 before this happened.

We took her to the beach at Filey - a mix of sand and stone. We were walking along the concrete path to the Brig, when it became seaweedy and slimy. I immediately started to say 'I think its time to turn back now the path is getting slippy', (I was worried for myself as well as her) when she went base over apex and grazed her knee and had a nasty scrape down her leg. We returned her to her parents cringing and apologetic, as they are, at times, a bit over fussy (or seem so to us), but they were very relaxed about it and we were allowed to have her again the next day. We headed inland then to somewhere less hazardous!

chloe1984 Fri 22-Aug-14 13:04:09

I have looked after my two grandsons from a few weeks old for the weekend etc. never have they arrived with any instructions/ advice etc. whatsoever. Yesterday we took charge of the dog for a few days he arrived with a page of A4 instructions.

Summerisle Fri 22-Aug-14 13:52:16

I can see how frustrating it must be to be given a list of instructions but then I don't actually assume that just because I managed to bring my sons up to adulthood without any disasters, it makes me an unquestioned expert!

Also, guidelines about caring for babies and children have changed in many ways - as is always, historically, the case - and I find it much easier to just agree with any recommendations about my DGDs.

Only I remember how irksome it was to be constantly told by my former MIL that I was "doing things all wrong" when I fed on demand and refused to attempt to potty train a 6 month old baby. My own mother was great. She provided advice if requested but otherwise kept schtum. I'm sure I did things differently to her but she never forgot that my babies were MINE. So I've always taken the same approach with my DGDs.

I don't get a list of instructions but sometimes I do quietly laugh to myself when my DDIL and DS worry whether my eldest DGD will be "naughty" in my care. Trust me, I brought up the King of Tantrums (my other son) and I find being a grandmother an absolute breeze in comparison!

FarNorth Fri 22-Aug-14 18:07:00

I'm happy to get any instructions as I don't see my DGD very often (because of distance) and she is a little person with habits and preferences that I may not know about.