Gransnet forums


when to stop

(33 Posts)
Cath9 Sun 17-Apr-16 10:31:49

There is the saying that one should always remember that your grandchild is not your own child, so one should not interfer, but how far does one go?
My son is married to a lady from Tanzania, so if anyone from Tanzania is on this website and can help that would be fantastic.

My daughter-in-law works mon-friday, so tired by the w/e and naturally wants a rest in bed on Saturday, sometimes for most of the day. Also, I realize that in Tanzania it must be difficult for children to play outisde.

Yesterday I went into town for around two hours, when I returned I found my granddaughter was in the sitting room watching the box, still in her night clothes.
As it was a sunny day I suggested coming outside on her bike, which she agreed to do. She really enjoyed riding her bike over the stones, but it seems her mum had other ideas, as she came out saying that she was very confused. Hence it appeared I had gone too far taking her outside, so left my granddaughter with her mum.
My son is away at present, but when in the house, he too now likes to lie in bed during the w/e.

Alea Sun 17-Apr-16 10:38:14

Most of who worked when the children were small were tired by Saturday -but lie in bed? Chance would be a fine thing! All day? A lie in even until 8 was out of the question.
No you are not being unreasonable, but perhaps an offer to takes your DGD on a Saturday morning would be a tactful approach, if tact is needed. Not sure who was confused - your DIL? Why?
(Are you posting from Tanzania, or this country? Just thinking, different country, different habits)

ninathenana Sun 17-Apr-16 11:23:58

How old is your grandchild?
I would assume a person from any country would want to be a good parent. Lying in bed all day and leaving a child to amuse herself isn't very responsible in my opinion. I agree with all Alea says.
I would have taken the child outside too. If DiL confusion was that the child wasn't where she expected her to be then I'm afraid I think that's point proved.

Wendysue Sun 17-Apr-16 17:22:14

Basically agree with the above posters. I take it you all live together, so you're right on top of the situation, which must make it harder for you.

"She really enjoyed riding her bike over the stones, but it seems her mum had other ideas, as she came out saying that she was very confused. "

I'm also going to echo the question about who DIL said was "confused" - GD or DIL?

If DIL thought GD was confused by being taken outside on her bike, is it cuz that's not usually part of her schedule? Does DIL often take GD out later in the day (after DIL gets up)? If so, then I can see where DIL may have found this disruptive, even though I don't think you really did any harm.

If it was DIL who was confused cuz she didn't expect to find GD outside, well, I know that must have been scary for her. But as ninathena says, "point proved" - lying in bed for hours, leaving a child unattended to is a bad idea.

DIL may not see it that way, of course, which could lead to some tension between you if you were to repeat it. As Alea suggests, better to ask first, IMO. But that's hard to do, I realize, if DIL is still in bed. Perhaps you can work out something with her where you leave a note if you take GD out or agree on a time on Saturdays when you can take GD out on her bike (and how far she can ride, etc.) - or something like that. (Be sure that you don't sound critical of DIL.) If she says no, however, I'm afraid you'll have to accept it.

Cath9 Sun 17-Apr-16 20:27:49

Thanks all,
It was my DL who said she was confused. My GD will be five on the 26, so just over a weeks time.
I think she wants my GD to have a quiet w/e as now she attends school.
We used to live together when my late husband died, but now I have my own property, so I come over when my GD returns from school on the mini bus. I also have her over the school holidays, but I am now thinking whether to carry on doing this now. I just popped in yesterday on my way back from town, which my late husband and I sometimes used to do, to take her out in the car, while they were still in bed.
My GD was born in Dar Es Salaam, where they had a nanny for her until she came here. Over there, as it is cheap to get help and the well educated ladies are all for working not looking after kids, so, at first, my DL found it rather difficult without being employed in the UK. Also, over there the windows are all wired in, so it maybe that she didn't go out much as a child.

As you say, maybe I should have asked first. It was just one of our first reasonable warm days, so I was surprised to see her still in her pyjamas.

Alea Sun 17-Apr-16 21:26:45

Right, I think that is a bit clearer.
I do think maybe a note in the kitchen to explain you had taken your DGD outside, I could imagine panicking if I got up/woke up and a child wasn't where I expected her to be.
However, and this is a big HOWEVER, a child of 4 should not be unsupervised while her mother is asleep as a matter of course in the daytime, so I think that situation needs addressing. If there were any sort of accident, for instance, your DIL could be seen as guilty of negligence. I apologise for sounding so judgemental, but parents should not BOTH be staying in bed over the w/e when there is a young child in the house.
Many of us were/are working mums so we have been there, race doesn't come into it and if your DIL is so used to having cheap childcare that she doesn't realise that, she has to put her child first then she needs a tactful reminder, not an accident or other emergency teaching her the "hard"way. You say you' have her after school but are having second thoughts about the school holidays. Again, they need to take responsibility for their childcare, if they are both working and earning that gives without saying.
If you do live close by, you could offer to have DGD on a Saturday MORNING to give them a break, but it sounds as if they need to wake up to the responsibilities of a young family.

aggie Sun 17-Apr-16 21:37:04

I agree with THEM BOTH taking responsibility , maybe they should take turns to have a sleep in , that is what my lot do

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 17-Apr-16 21:59:54

confused Surely loads of people work Monday to Friday, but don't stay in bed all day at weekends. Shouldn't they be having a weekend life?

Very odd.

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 17-Apr-16 22:15:07

Why are the windows wired in in Tanzania? Is it to keep lions out?

Newquay Mon 18-Apr-16 08:00:05

I find this whole thing strange. As others have said it is completely unacceptable to leave a child unattended like that. Parents somehow need to know that and take it in turns to have a lie in-till about 8am-not all day though. What happens for meals? Do they need help? E.G. Why not have GD for a sleepover Friday night then?
We have new (Nigerian) friends, lovely people but such different attitudes to children. We have become friends and the Mum calls me Momma so I speak to her (kindly I hope) about the children. Mum doesn't work but was always late collecting children so youngest was always the last standing forlornly by the door with teacher. So I said you DO know finishing time? Little girl always sadly waiting. She asked if I was telling her off, we both laughed and I said yes! Much better now. Little girls runs smiling to her Mum with the rest of the children being collected.
And she and husband booked a week's holiday abroad and THEN started asking round who would have children! I was asked in front of children. I told them afterwards we did not go away on holiday without our DC until they were over 18. That seems to have worked as they've just had a lovely sunny holiday week abroad all together.
It is difficult but I do believe a child is raised 'by a village' and all have a part to play in that.

Alea Mon 18-Apr-16 08:33:11

It is so hard for you cath9 I suppose to voice an opinion as you clearly feel reluctant to sound critical, but a little girl of rising 5 should be doing more at the weekend than watching TV alone while her parents "rest"!! Most families have weekend activities which they do together although I can remember staggering round the supermarket on a Friday night to free up Saturday and then spending Sunday evening ironing DH's shirts and getting the school uniform ready for our 3DDs as well as doing my marking for school. Makes me feel tired just remembering!
But also, it seems hard for all the responsibility to fall on you, much as you enjoy your DGD's company.You already shoulder a massive burden of childcare if you go to them to look after her every day after school. Am I being too nosey to ask what sort of hours your DIL works? And have they recently come to this country, I mean, have they got too used to the availability of staff/cheap childcare?
Many school age children whose parents are still at work when school comes out would go to a childminder or perhaps an after school club if they are a bit older than 4 or 5. Have they got a "Plan B" if ever you were ill or unable to be there?
Needs thinking about.

Wendysue Mon 18-Apr-16 09:10:18

How wonderful that you are willing and able to help out, Cath! I watch my own GC after school a few days a week and I know GPs who do it every day, so you are not alone. But I know it can be quite tiring and have a big effect on a GP's schedule.

But you say you "have" GD "over the school holidays." Not sure if that means you watch her each weekday, until one of her parents comes home or that you take her to your home for the duration. But that does put a lot of responsibility on you. I know GPs, including myself, who watch their grands during some/part of these holidays, but it seems as if you do it all. Whew!

Is it getting to be "too much?" Is that why you're rethinking having her on the holidays? Part of me feels she needs you in her life, given her parents unfortunate lack of attention and lack of effort to provide activities for her. But another part of me says that shouldn't all be on you and her parents should be willing to pay for extended care if that's what they need.

I agree with PPs (previous posters) that GD needs more activity on the weekends (or do they do things/take her to activities later in the day?). But, IMO, the main concern is her being left unsupervised while her parents lie around in bed. Can you speak to DIL about any of this without it's causing a major battle? (You may feel it's worth the risk, of course.) Or do you think it would be better to wait till DS (dear son) comes home and talk to him?

Wendysue Mon 18-Apr-16 09:27:26

Newquay, bravo for speaking up for your friends' kids the way you did! Kudos to the mother, too, for taking your advice in the spirit in which it was given! Fortunately, she seems to look up to and have warm feelings towards you (calling you "Momma"), so I guess you were on fairly "safe" ground.

As I'm sure you know, some parents wouldn't have taken as kindly to it or responded so well, even if you were their own mother. You're lucky you didn't hurt the friendship/lose the friend. But again, I take it that you felt you were on safe ground. And, generally speaking, the children's welfare is more important, anyway, IMO.

However, I think it's much trickier for GPs. There's the risk of being distanced or cut off from their adult DS or DD, as well as their GC - and for many, as you surely realize, that prospect can be more painful than losing a friend/access to a friend's kids. Sometimes the risk is still worth it for the sake of the children's safety, etc., IMO. But except perhaps in the case of outright abuse, I think we GPs have to weigh our options carefully.

Wilks Mon 18-Apr-16 09:51:11

I adore my Brazilian daughter in law, but there is no doubt there are differences between the cultures. I do sympathise with Cath9 and agree with the advice given. Our grandson's Brazilian grandparents have just been over for 3 months and despite our son's firm instruction that GS should not be given too much sugar, they were spooning it down him in various forms, saying he needed it for energy! Hyper due to too much sugar?! I couldn't keep quiet on that one, but it was all done good naturedly and had no effect at all! My daughter in law also likes to sleep but luckily my son doesn't and she wouldn't leave liitleun unattended anyway. In Brazil they too have help at home and never walk anywhere. We could call it laziness but I think I'll stick to 'cultural differences'.

meandashy Mon 18-Apr-16 10:04:58

My gd is 5 & lives with me, I'm her guardian. I wouldn't dream of lying in bed when she's up let alone all day! Parenting is tiring, I understand that but really? Who's feeding this kid & monitoring what she's watching? The TV is not a child minder! I don't even like to doze on the couch when I have a migraine because kids that age get up to all sorts of mischief. Try speaking to your son if your dil isn't approachable?

annodomini Mon 18-Apr-16 10:10:52

jbf, when I lived in Kenya, many moons ago, we had grids over the windows to keep thieves out. There was a gap for the handle which allowed my cats to come in and out. When I found them, in the middle of the night, under my bed with a rat, I put some extra wiring over that gap! There was a special kind of burglary known as 'pole fishing' when a rod with a hook was inserted through the gap and anything that could he hooked and pulled through was taken. We lost a bath robe and a large towel that way.

cath9, I hope you are able to have your GD at some time during the weekend and take her out and about just like other children. Does she have any friends she plays with? She does sound like a rather solitary little girl. Girls love to go to and host sleepovers with their friends. That would put an end to your DiL's lie-in! All parents of young children I know spend a good deal of time taking them to various activities, most of them outdoors - tennis, football, bike rides. You name it...

Sourcerer48 Mon 18-Apr-16 10:13:33

Children actually have much more freedom in Africa generally and there is usually the 'Gogo' grandmother or other relatives around to keep an eye.
As to your question Jinglbellsfrocks about the windows being wired, this is for security - mainly to keep people out not to keep a child in!
Although I am from Southern African and not Tanzania, I would think the cultures are fairly similar, just very different from here in Britain...

annodomini Mon 18-Apr-16 10:20:04

BTW, a relative who lives in Dar es Salaam has a ten-year-old daughter and pictures appearing on FB show her enjoying outdoor activities with a multi-national crowd of kids, especially football. Children in Tanzania can and do play outdoors.

harrigran Mon 18-Apr-16 10:33:36

I am horrified at what I am reading, ' so tired you have to lie in bed all weekend '
clearly we have a generation that don't know they are born.
A child should not be left in front of TV to view without supervision. I am sorry if they are not prepared to put in the effort they should not be having children, it is neglect.

Blinko Mon 18-Apr-16 10:58:55

In bed all weekend...' Good grief, I don't get (or indeed, need) that now I'm 70 let alone as a young woman when the kids were small. And I worked full time Monday to Friday. Words fail me!

Linsco56 Mon 18-Apr-16 11:47:18

Indeed fail me too. I worked Mon-Fri in a stressful role and still had the energy to care for my daughter evenings and weekends. Supervising outside play in the garden, driving to drama class, piano classes, badminton and swimming sessions, just being a normal mum. I didn't see any of this as a chore, it was spending enjoyable bonding time with my daughter. Like other posters, I don't wish to appear judgmental but your DIL sounds a little selfish. My advice would be to help where you can and offer to take your GD on a Saturday and if DIL is not happy with her playing outside then there are lots of structured play groups and classes she could attend.

Alea Mon 18-Apr-16 12:11:01

cathy9 on another thread you say you hae a DS and family in NZ with a similar age daughter. Would he be able to have a word with his brother as they sound to be in a similar situation?
Bottom line seems to be that you are assumed to be there as principal child care when it suits and DIL (and DS) feel they can lie in bed at weekends instead of looking after their little girl and enjoying play and other activities as a family.
It is not a question of independence, but basic childcare and family life which she is clearly not getting.

trisher Mon 18-Apr-16 12:35:26

Should it not concern your DIL that you were able to go into her house, get her child and a bike ready and take them outside all without her hearing or knowing. I would be inclined to tell her that she was damn lucky it was a caring GP who took her child and not anyone else. Dumping a child in front of TV and staying in bed is bad enough but not knowing what is happening downstairs is positively dangerous. But you must be in such a difficult position if you say too much it could cause more problems. Maybe at some point you could begin to talk about other families and your GCs school friends and what they do at weekends and suggest GC is losing out. Good luck!

LesleyC Mon 18-Apr-16 15:01:44

I have no idea what your DIL was confused about. If she has a bike, then she must be used to going out on it!

My daughter had a terrible time with her 2 sons who hardly slept as babies and toddlers. There is no way she would sleep in and leave them watching TV when they were a bit older. She often texted me at 5 a.m. saying she was up playing Lego! She and her husband would take it in turns to have a lie in on Saturdays but only until about 10 a.m. and then they would do exhausting family things all weekend to try and tire the boys out - which never worked!

Cagsy Mon 18-Apr-16 18:21:45

While I agree with most of what has been said and I certainly wouldn't want this for my DGC I sense too much blame being put on the DIL, parenting is a joint responsibility and both parents are to blame for this. I hope you can speak to both of them about your concerns Cath9, and I hope they're grateful for your love of your DGD, I think they're all very lucky to have you flowers