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How much advice should you give to your daughter/son regarding babies and parenting?

(54 Posts)
Speldnan Fri 06-Apr-12 17:23:59

I hace two grandchildren-one in New Zealand who I never see so advice isn't relevant-and a new grandson born in December last year.
I see my daughter and the baby at least once a week and she is always asking my advice about feeding, sleeping etc. She doesn't always like my answers though and I find it a minefield trying to be tactful and not go against my daughter's ideas of parenting.
Many of the things she does are completely different from the way I managed my babies and different again from the way my own mother brought up my brother and I. I am more flexible and easy going than my own mother who is always criticising my daughter to me about the way she fusses over the baby and picks him up at the slightest murmur.
I try always to be tactful in the way I suggest things because I am very afraid of my daughter getting annoyed with me and not wanting me to be such a big part of my grandson's life. I can see it getting harder as he grow up and discipline becomes an issue.
Does anyone have any advice/experience of how to deal with this issue? I really want to do the right thing by my grandson and his parents.

Mishap Fri 06-Apr-12 17:28:16

Welcome to grandmotherhood! It is an exercise in biting the tongue!

If she asks for advice then provide it in a non-critical way with the repetition of a proviso "Mother's are they experts, they know their own children best. This is just my idea - you must do what you think best and I will always support you in that"

bagitha Fri 06-Apr-12 17:32:40

Preferably as little as possible and only when they ask. Enjoy!

bagitha Fri 06-Apr-12 17:35:32

That above was the answer to the question in the title. After rceading your post, I'd still say refrain from giving advice as much as possible. There's more than one way to do it right. Just keep telling her she's doing great and what a wonderful mother she is.

Speldnan Fri 06-Apr-12 17:38:12

this is what I have found Mishap-the tongue biting! even so I do seem to put my foot in it occasionally (and unintentionally). She asks me what I did with my babies over 30 years ago and half the time I can't even remember!! I think my DD is doing a great job and so far being a grandmother is one of the best things that has happened to me. I am a little afraid of it becoming too important to me and being disappointed later if the family get fed up with me-does this ever happen?

jeni Fri 06-Apr-12 17:41:44

baggy that's what I do with my dd, although as she's become more confident it tends to be medical advice she wants..
I do wishshe'd get Skype though, it's very difficult to diagnose without seeing the problem!

Greatnan Fri 06-Apr-12 17:44:21

I agree that you should give as little advice as possible because you can't really win. I would say ' I think your own instincts are your best guide because you know your baby best. I am sure whatever you do will be just right for your baby'.
Your mother should stay out of it, it is not her place to criticise.
Thinking about picking up babies has moved on since your mother's day.

Speldnan Fri 06-Apr-12 17:52:32

re Greatnan's comment on 'Great Grandmother'-wish someone would tell my mother that-she's an old lady who thinks she always knows best! luckily it's only me she says things to and I never pass on her 'advice' to my daughter!!!
I guess at 85 she is entitled to her views! do many other gransnetters have parents around who are involved with their great grandchildren?

Ariadne Fri 06-Apr-12 17:59:01

Tell DD that you think she's doing a great job! I still remember how much it meant when my mother said that to me; I was nineteen and clueless.

granbunny Fri 06-Apr-12 18:08:01

for the first six weeks, daughter was recovering from her near death episode, so i tried not to say anything at all. in fact, she says i wouldn't speak to her for part of that time. i think i was out of my mind with worry.

now, baby almost nineteen weeks, i tell them if i think something isn't right and if i think it is. they are very good parents and i'm a good grandma. i tell them, and they choose whether or not to take any notice. wink

i am so pleased that DD is still breastfeeding and that they are co-sleeping. this is how i raised her, so it suggests she thinks i did a good job. she doesn't pick up the baby much, as baby is usually already in arms.

Greatnan Fri 06-Apr-12 18:41:25

granbunny, you are the only person here who understands your family dynamics, but I would never have told my daughter that I thought something was not being done right. When she became a grandmother, and started to interfere with the way her daughter was handling the baby, I was able to point out to her that my grand-daughter was doing a great job and would ask for help if she needed it. She backed off, and it helped her relationship with her daughter who was becoming quite tense when her mother visited.
Of course, if a child is in danger or is being abused, the case is quite different, but if it is just a matter of parenting style the best judge is the mother (or father).

Speldnan Fri 06-Apr-12 18:42:42

Very interested granbunny in your comments about your DD and her baby. My D has been co-sleeping and breastfeeding and carries her baby around most of the time (her son was premature and in SCBU for 2 weeks). She worries that this is wrong as the baby won't sleep in his cot at all now (3 months old) she won't even leave him anywhere in the house on his own. I don't criticise her for this at all although I did nothing like this with my own children. I do worry that she is making life difficult for herself though as she can't seem to do anything-not even have a shower, because it means putting the baby down for 5 minutes. When I go there she hands him straight to me so that she can do things-and I am not complaining!! is it ok to do this? won't it make the baby completely unable to be on his own ever? or am I worrying unneccesarily?

Greatnan Fri 06-Apr-12 18:48:12

I think you are worrying unnecessarily. Your daughter will gradually get more confident and start putting the baby down with some toys and the baby will get used to it as well. She is only doing what millions of women do all over the world, after all.

granbunny Fri 06-Apr-12 18:54:37

well, greatnan, i had every expectation of behaving just as you suggest. but it didn't turn out that way and its going ok so far.

Annobel Fri 06-Apr-12 19:04:49

I gave advice only when it was asked for. And my relationship with sons and their partners is still excellent. Perhaps because I don't live close to them.

granbunny Fri 06-Apr-12 19:36:53

third attempt at my reply, speldnan! i'll try not to lose this one.

do please reassure your DD that she is doing everything right. anywhere that 'western culture' has not taken hold, babies are brought up just in this way. they expect to be held, to sleep by mum, and if breastfed to feed all the time. it takes a while for new mums to get used to the 24/7 contact. but, its worth it in the end, because of the strong bond formed. also, if the baby's baby-needs are met, he can be more independent later in life. she might want to read 'the continuum concept' and 'the family bed'.

having a shower is frought with difficulty. DD solves this by having a bouncing cradle (fabric chair) in the bathroom and popping baby there while she showers

has she got a baby sling? i couldn't work with the kari-me sling but DD and DGD love it, so much so that when D mislaid the first one, she bought another.

the best early toy found so far for DGD is this play gym:
but of course it doesn't give mum time to iron or vacuum, only to have a quick sip of her soft drink...

i'm not on commission for any of these products - i've just seen how useful daughter has found them, whereas the gorgeous silver cross cot is very attractive in the nursery but not much practical use as yet. it will convert to a bed later, though!

Maniac Fri 06-Apr-12 19:59:31

Always refrained from giving advice unless asked for.When advice asked for it was usually for my knowledge as a pharmacist.They still ask but now as I'm no longer on the register I'm not allowed to give advice for medical problems.-so might say 'if you'd asked me 7 yrs ago I might have suggested.......'

jeni Fri 06-Apr-12 20:30:53

speldnan my dd is the same. Breast feeding Velcro, baby sling ,babyled weaning, cosleeping!
in fact I'm quite honoured that she thinks me coming up two days this week to distract Merryn so that she can get some sleep , is a good idea!

granbunny Fri 06-Apr-12 20:36:37

speldnan, i've just noticed in your o p the concern you raised about discipline. a close-kept child will rarely be naughty - they're like your arm or leg, mostly they do what you expect and if not, there's a good reason.

Anagram Fri 06-Apr-12 20:43:48

I can't believe that that compliant behaviour lasts forever, granbunny.

Grannylin Fri 06-Apr-12 21:03:28

It doesn't with husbands, does it?!

jeni Fri 06-Apr-12 21:05:10

Or with DDs

granbunny Fri 06-Apr-12 21:56:05

anagram - what can i say? she was a good child, she was a good teenager, she is a good adult and a good mummy - i hope her husband would say she's a good wife, too. if she was naughty, i can't remember...every single breath, every moment is unbelievably precious to me.

Anagram Fri 06-Apr-12 22:16:38

I think you were just lucky, granbunny. Every child-rearing method has its successes and failures.

granbunny Fri 06-Apr-12 22:29:47

i might just have a selective memory, anagram! who knows? anyway, i'm very pleased with her.