We absolutely adore our 14 month old grandson but his mother is driving us mad. We are asked to babysit fairly frequently and jump at the chance. He behaves like an angel – we read to him, take him to the park, to see family, swimming and generally have a great time. He sleeps through the night and frankly is a pleasure to have. However, on returning our grandson to his parents our daughter in law then blames us for his resultant non sleeping because we have made him over tired, given him a cold by taking him swimming and the latest was that we had infected him with chicken pox (her self diagnosis, despite us not knowing anyone with chicken pox!) which turned out to be a small patch of eczema! She gave up work recently in order to look after him full time but it is clear she is not enjoying it even though she does have friends with young children who come round and visit and her parents fairly close by. We discovered last week that because our grandson is now walking she is shutting him in the sitting room with just the TV for company for hours on end because she is fed up with chasing after him. She says he is being aggressive towards her, being too demanding and biting her on the leg if she fails to pick him up. We have never experienced or witnessed this behaviour.
We have all attended several family functions over the past few months and my daughter in law will at every opportunity remove our grandson from the situation giving him a “time out” for his bad, unsociable behaviour (not an expression I am familiar with). Everyone is confused by this as he is as good as gold and we all tried to say so but she became defensive and unpleasant. My son explains it by saying his wife is embarrassed by bad behaviour, but our grandson is NOT misbehaving and is a happy little soul. If he so much as whinges his toys are packed away and he is not allowed to touch them for the rest of the day as a punishment.
From what I can see his only problem is that he is not sleeping very well but frankly I think he is bored stiff. He sits in front of the TV all day; she doesn’t play or read to him and if I suggest an outing or doing some activity with him such as I would at our house, my daughter in law says “he won’t like it” or “it will make him too tired and grumpy”.
My main fear is that she will make our grandson neurotic; making him fearful of doing anything and making him think he is a naughty boy all the time. Our daughter is law was very much like this when our son met her. She is a very fussy eater, won’t try any sort of activity and doesn’t socialise well. Our son is great with him but is obviously at work all day. Having said that, even he is told not to do this or that as his son “doesn’t like it”.
I have tried to broach the subject with our son but naturally he takes her side. I am so sad because the first two years of a child’s life should be so enjoyable for the parents and is the best time for learning and I feel he is missing out on so many levels. About 4 weeks ago our local zoo had an open day, a sort of “petting corner” for younger children had opened. We phoned to ask if we could take our grandson. Our daughter in law answered the phone and after making a few weak excuses as to why he couldn’t come, she passed the phone to our son whispering “don’t you dare contradict me, I’ve already told her he is in bed” which of course he wasn’t.
What can I do?
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