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Grandparenting

Fourteen year old granddaughter is harder to mind than when she was two

(65 Posts)
willa45 Thu 30-Mar-17 05:17:35

Hubby and I watched our fourteen year old twin grandchildren (in their own house) while DD and SIL were on a seven day vacation. We got up at the crack of dawn every day to drive them both to school and then again in the afternoon. I made them breakfast, fixed their lunches and cooked dinner. Our grandson was always ready to come home on time but our granddaughter is another story.

On day one she texted us that she was going for ice cream (about a mile from the school) and to pick her up there an hour later. An hour later, we arrived to get her and she asked if a young (male) schoolmate could get a ride to his home. Every day there were similarly unscheduled and unplanned activities. The last day, she was at her friend's house and friend's mom kindly offered to bring her home. At six she called asking if it was ok for friend's mother to take her to another friend's house. She added that another mother could then bring her home. That's when I said NO! She was to come home as we originally agreed. Needless to say, she wasn't happy and demanded I call my DD right away. Unfortunately,
DD and SIL were mid flight and no way of getting in touch.

Long story short, my DD later called me about it. She claimed that I had upset DGD tremendously and had 'embarrassed' her in front of her friends. DGD also accused me of not trusting her. I explained that it wasn't about trust but about being thoughtless and inconsiderate. We are now in our 70s and no longer have the energy to be chauffeuring her ad hoc and on short notice.
MY DD is now upset with ME! So what could I have said differently? DG is not a bad kid, but I find her behaviour to be somewhat manipulative. MY DD and SIL travel frequently and they count on us to watch the twins. I don't know what DGD told her mother, but there is now some resentment. I love my granddaughter very much but would like to avoid a repeat and not sure how to do that without breaking some more eggshells.

Anya Thu 30-Mar-17 06:49:45

Sod the walking on eggshells! Tell your daughter that this was more than you signed up for and in future you want to know the house rules before you agree to child mind again.

I'd suggest this, a written agreement that if granddaughter needs to socialise after school then she must 1) give you a days notice and 2) arrange her own lift home with a parent. This patent must be one that your daughter knows so she should to leave you a list.

That way you are not running about after her.

OK your GD is getting to 'that age' but so are both of you. Stand up to your daughter, she needs you more than you need this sort of behaviour.

MawBroon Thu 30-Mar-17 06:49:52

Teenagers!
It sounds as if your DD and SIL need to make an alternative arrangement. Do they really both have to be away together so much? Why don't they take their children away on holiday with them?
They are putting too much responsibility on you and teenage girls can be a devious lot - we should know, wevwere teenage girls once.

''Twas ever thus.

Starlady Thu 30-Mar-17 07:30:43

"Twas ever thus."

LOL! So true, MawBroon!

Willa, I think both pps have good suggestions. You need to let dd know that you and dh can't put up with such an irregular, everchanging schedule. Use your age as an "excuse" if you want. Tell her she and sil will either have to make other arrangements in the future, as MawBroon suggests, or agree to some ground rules like the ones Anya has posted.

If they get mad, that's unfortunate, but oh well. Kids change as they get older, sure, but that just means that parents have to do some things differently, like maybe travel less and stay home more. But that's for dd and sil to figure out. You just need to let them know what their childminding choices are.

janeainsworth Thu 30-Mar-17 07:37:11

By the time I was 14, my only surviving grandparent was frail and not able to look after herself. But even if my grandma had been fit enough to look after me and my sister, there's no way we would have dared to give her the runaround and then have the brass neck to complain to our parents😮
willa your DD and SiL are the problem, not your DGD.
It's time they grew up, stopped taking you for granted and took responsibility for teaching their own children courtesy, consideration and good manners.
If there's a next time, have a few ground rules in place first and make sure that you're the ones reporting any infringements to the parents!

gillybob Thu 30-Mar-17 07:54:37

I used to do the opposite jane smile and complain to my grandma about my parents ! She always listened and sympathized (she was my only ally) but never intervened. My dad was a miserable so and so when we were children and my mum was so in awe of him she never disagreed with a word he said no matter how ridiculous. I would have given anything to live with my grandparents.

thatbags Thu 30-Mar-17 08:01:28

Take no shit, willa. My sixteen y.o. daughter is a lovely person, but she's also a world expert at pushing boundaries/being manipulative. One has to be assertive. Eggshells will be broken but they are only eggshells. Good luck flowers

f77ms Thu 30-Mar-17 08:12:44

Willa, I am shocked ! Your DD and SIL should have backed you up 100% . Teenage girls can be `difficult` and really need their parents to be present and not to palm them off on aging parents so often . Why do they need to go traveling so much without their kids ? You are being taken for granted in a big way , from both your DD and your DGD . If you really want to have responsibility for two teenagers hmm then written ground rules from the parents need to be put in place before they leave and what to do -when- if the rules are not adhered to x

Greyduster Thu 30-Mar-17 08:13:48

Fourteen year old girls are a nightmare - I remember my DD at that age - but I think this teenager is taking the p**s with you, and her behaviour is unacceptable. If your DD has taken umbrage she will be the loser - she should go down on her knees and be thankful you are prepared to look after her children while they swan off on vacation, not berating you on the word of a child. Tell her there have to be some changes, and an apology, or she can make other arrangements. That'll put the brakes on them and hopefully make them sit up and think! Children are very cavalier about riding roughshod over any arrangements one may have made with their safety - and your convenience - in mind. And fourteen year old girls can overdramatise any situation that comes their way! Be strong!

f77ms Thu 30-Mar-17 08:15:40

ALSO - why do they need driving to and from school at fourteen ? unless of course there is no bus route etc .

Christinefrance Thu 30-Mar-17 08:20:48

I agree with everyone else, your granddaughter was pushing the boundaries as teenagers do and your daughter should have supported you. I would set ground rules with all the family in agreement before you take on this responsibility again. There are times when you have to stick to your guns and this is one of them.

grannypiper Thu 30-Mar-17 08:39:01

Your DGD needs to be told that the world does not revolve around her and your DD needs to apologise to you and remember you are her Mother not a paid Nanny

Badenkate Thu 30-Mar-17 08:44:47

For goodness sake, willa45 break eggshells and stamp on them hard. You are doing your daughter and her husband great favours by looking after their children fairly regularly by the sounds of it. And yet they are all making you feel guilty!! I would tell them in no uncertain terms how hurt and upset you are and that your grand-daughter needs to understand that you are unable to keep running around after her. My feeling is that this has become accepted behaviour from you from past years and like all children, she will keep pushing boundaries until she hits the wall. Like others on here I am shocked by the fact that your own daughter appears to be supporting her in this. Foot down and think about being 'unavailable' the next time they are off on one of their trips.

TerriBull Thu 30-Mar-17 09:39:11

Your daughter should have backed you up and should have made clear at the outset to the children your rules would apply as you were stepping in for a week and doing them a great favour. I remember one of my kids pushing the boundaries a lot at 14 and was never where he should have been. As a grandparent my exerience is that you feel even more responsible for grandchildrens' welfare and are less relaxed as you aren't around them all the time. I tend to focus a lot on the fact that grandchildren are NOT MY children and the onus to return them to their parents in one piece is an over riding factor in my being more cautious. The children should have been told what would be expected of them, after all they are 14 and should be able to understand your point of view. If I were you I would suggest that maybe your daughter takes the bolshie 14 year old with her the next time she fancies a break, and you look after her siblings.

TerriBull Thu 30-Mar-17 09:44:00

Reading this to my husband he said his reponse would be "too old, too tired, too much effort, and as you didn't back me up, make alternative arrangements next time"

annodomini Thu 30-Mar-17 09:45:40

Willa45 is there no public transport where your family lives? And if they are far enough away to need a ride, there should be a school bus.My 14-year-old GD and her 12-year-old brother cycle to school and back every day. Both have phones so that they can contact parents and vice versa if they need a lift (punctures, for example!) They go by bus with friends to the nearest big town to go shopping. They are mature for their years because they are trusted. Come to think of it, I was doing exactly the same at that age.

TerriBull Thu 30-Mar-17 09:57:40

I get the impression from the words "vacation" and "mom" you may be American Willa45, or living there?

TerriBull Thu 30-Mar-17 10:01:09

I meant to add, if that's the case, I thought the "yellow school bus" was pretty much the standard way all kids got to and from school in the US.

Jalima Thu 30-Mar-17 10:06:16

It's no surprise that teenagers are more difficult to look after than two year olds.

I agree with all the other posters - your DD is in the wrong here and she will have to forego her trips and the parents look after their teenagers themselves. You could be there for emergencies only - and make sure the DGC know the rules.

thatbags Thu 30-Mar-17 10:10:20

willa, maybe you should ask your daughter to tell your grand-daughter that you don't 'trust' her to be in the right place at the right time because the evidence at your disposal suggests that she can't be trusted on that score and that, yes, she should be upset about that if she has a modicum of respect for her grandparents. If she wants to be trusted she has to prove her trustworthiness.

You are not in the wrong. Your grand-daughter is, and so is her mother.

henetha Thu 30-Mar-17 10:16:23

I too have a fourteen year old grand-daughter. How can I put this without feeling disloyal? Er.... I am just hoping that the phase she is going through now will not last too long....sad

willia Thu 30-Mar-17 10:42:37

Excellent - wise man!

dizzygran Thu 30-Mar-17 10:45:30

Very disappointed in your daughter's attitude ... she should have completely backed you up. You were quite right to ask your daughter to come home - she can go off with her friends at other times when her parents are looking after her and you were right to be worried. Granddaughter is old enough to be expected to respect your worries about where she is and who she is with. Well done for looking after the family for 7 days - well and above the call of duty!! Ask daughter how she would have felt if anything had happened to her daughter.

ap123 Thu 30-Mar-17 10:49:38

willa, why don't you have a chat with your son and DIL? How do they cope with the daughter's unplanned activities? is she allowed to do that every day? in this case for how long? (1 hour after school? be out the whole evening?) If it turns out the parents are happy to chuffeur around then you will have to kindly explain that you are older and don't have this kind of energy and agree on some boundaries for when the DGD is at your house. One rule I have for when my adult children and their spouses and or children are visitng is that dinner is at 7pm. No delays, no exceptions. If they are late they will have to open the fridge, put food on a plate and heat it up, then place all dishes in the dishwasher when they are done. Yes they have labelled it one of my quirks but once they understood that this is the rule in my house life is easier for everybody. And I do hold dinner for a few minutes if they call to say when they'll be home ;)

meandashy Thu 30-Mar-17 10:50:35

I'm afraid if you have children I think you should take them with you on holiday!
They definitely should back you up and tell dgd how many beans make 5 and give her a kick up the backside for disrespecting her grandparents who have been good enough to give up their time to look after them!
In your situation I'm afraid I'd be very unavailable the next time they want to swan off!