Advice for first time grandparent

crpsmomJanuary 7, 2013

Hello all. I do not wished to be judged here, only to receive some much needed advice because I love my grandson with all my heart 2 months ago my daughter and son in law and their 1 year old child needed to move back in with us because they became unemployed. We agreed because my daughter has always been so helpful and we jumped at the chance of being able to spend more quality time with our grandson. ( selfish reasons, I know.....but family means the world to us).

Anyway, over the past 2 months we have held our tounge at all costs. We don't want to overstep our boundaries as grandparents. They are the parents now. We made mistakes, and so will they. Live and learn, right? We told ourselves when this journey first began that we would be there for them and just shower our grandson with the love and attention that any grandparent would.

But it's getting harder and harder to hold our tounge. We see things that we probably otherwise would not of with them living under our roof and being together pretty much 24/7.

Let me give some background. The father (our son in law) goes to school 6 hours a day, comes back home, goes to his room where my daughter makes and serves him lunch, he sleeps until dinner time where my daughter makes and serves him dinner again (usually in the room, but not always), he stays in the room on his laptop until bed time. And that's about his day :-/ He has taken out the garbage 3 times that I have seen while he has been here. No other contributions to the household. (They don't pay rent or help with utilities because of no income at the time) He doesn't spend much time at all with his son. Won't babysit him, never seen him change a diaper, very rarely ever see him hold him, etc.

My daughter used to be a very kind, careing, and extremely helpful person. A heart of gold. But lately she always seems depressed and tired. She is pretty much not helping at all around the house. Not even with their own messes. And she seems to have a short fuse when it comes to me. Seems no matter how I watch every word I say, I'm always getting reprimanded.

Ok. Onto my grandson. Now take into account, in 2 months I have only spoke my mind on two occasions. Held my tounge the rest.
My grandson is not kept on any schedule what so ever. Not for feeding or sleeping or anything. He is the best child any parent could hope for. Very well tempered, hardly ever cries, a absolute joy to be around.

This is his day usually. Sleeps in until around 11. Wakes up. Mom makes him breakfast. Sits him in the high chair in front of TV. Leaves him alone, goes back to room. Gramma tries to keep an eye from afar to make sure he's safe. I usually end up taking him out of the high chair and waning him up. Because no one is around when he's done and starts crying. I play with him until she finally comes down to check on him. He pretty much gets ignored the rest of the day. He plays by himself. Only to get talked to when he is told "NO!".

I don't believe in ignoring a child. Especially a one year old. I feel they are a treasure a blessing that you should spend all the time with them that you can. They grow up so fast! But that's from a grandparents view. I've been there. I know you have to treasure every moment.

Ok. To the point. One night last week, I heard him crying in his crib (not unusual, that's where he gets his time outs when he's being punished for touching things he shouldn't or being too loud playing that they couldn't watch TV) but he was screaming for what seemed like forever (prob was only a little over an hour), I went up to their room (this is the first I have said anything remotely negative in 2 months) and softly knocked on the door, I asked in a quiet voice, is he alright, is everything alright? She replied, yes why? I just said (very comly) he's been crying a really long time, just wondering. She said, yes that's just how we put him to sleep. I said ok and walked away. Didn't press the matter. The room became very quiet. After about 10 minutes, they had bags packed and the 3 of them took off out the front door, not to return until the next night. They had his other gramma pick them up.

Ok. 2nd occasion. The grandbaby has figured out how to open doors. He opened a door in our house and walked out. When the door closed, it slammed hard on his little fingers. Poor guy. I opened the door to see him screaming in pain with his poor little fingers all curled up in different directions. (Didn't know if they were broken or not) upping opening the door, my daughter cried out, LEAVE HIM ALONE, he's fine!! I looked back at her and against my better judgement, picked him up to make sure he WAS indeed fine. He was screaming but his hand was fine. She reprimanded me for picking him up. Was very mad at me. But I had to make sure he was ok when no one else would. Was I wrong?

I for sure don't want to over step my boundaries. But it breaks my heart when my grandchild gets ignored, when he is given no attention other than to be told, when I hear he can wait to eat he's fine, when he's not allowed to do the things a normal one year old does only to be treated like because he's walking he should be acting like an adult, when he gets spanked for being a one year old, or mouth and nose covered for being too loud, or crying for hours on end in his crib because he's a one year old, or left alone because they have other things to do (take a shower, look at the computer,etc).

But through it all, I keep my mouth shut except for those 2 occasions. I'm trying. Please guide me on what to do. I need help. I don't want to over step. But I also want him to be safe and happy and enjoy being a kid (baby). Need advice. Please no bashing. I'm having a hard time with all of this. Just need advice. Thank you :-)

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i am so sad after reading your post. i think you are right to be concerned about your grandson. and i hope i don't step on any toes in expressing my thoughts about your situation.

first, it is very difficult to share your home with adult children returning to the nest, even for good reasons like their being unemployed. hard for you&your husband, hard for them, too. i understand your "biting your tongues at all costs" attitude, but here's my take on it:

#1, it's YOUR house, and you need to have your house rules firmly delineated and followed, whatever they might be.

#2, i know you don't want to overstep your bounds as a grandparent, but you are definitely NOT out of line to step in when you feel your grandson is being neglected. a one-year old, especially if he is normally active, takes a lot of watching (perhaps you need to buy some of those child-proof door knob things). and he needs lots interaction with people in order to develop properly. at this age, their attention span is short, so "time-outs" really do no good and become cruel and abusive, in my opinion. he has no real conception of what the time-out if for. simple re-direction will usually cure the problem and not let him sit there alone.

#3, i fear your daughter and her husband are just not ready to deal with a young child. the methods they are using as stated in your second-to-last paragraph to "punish" their son are not good ones. he is just a baby. babies are aggravating, certainly, but your daughter & husband are so lucky that you and your husband are right there to lend a helping hand.

#4, so with that last staement of mine, i think you ought to definitely get more involved with the baby. let your daughter know that you don't intend to be a busy-body, that she is the mother, but you certainly have a normal vested interest in that child's well-being, and therefore you are more than happy to give her a break and deal with the baby when she is busy/tired/needs time for herself.

#5, it seems that your daughter & her husband are not interacting much except in negative ways with their child. this is so bad on so many levels. first, a baby needs to be cuddled (YOU know this, of course!!). and played with -- they learn through playing. building blocks, thick crayons, simple vehicles, soft toys, musical toys are all important! and reading to him is the best thing of all -- being held while looking books is so beneficial and wonderful.

it rather sounds to me as tho your daughter might be somewhat clinically depressed by her situation (unemployment, an active baby, not much support from husband all join to make her life at the moment difficult for her). maybe she is not getting enough rest/sleep herself. maybe she is worried. this is an area where you might need to sit her down "for her own good" and discuss things. she may need help. sorry if this seems harsh or judgemental -- it is NOT meant to be. i'm on your side!

#6, i advise you to keep fully involved, even more than you have been, and don't let your daughter continue to ride rough-shod over you when you feel you need to step in for your grandson's sake. HE is the most important person here. your involvement may be the best thing for him at this time.

i hope things become better for all of you as soon as possible! hang in there!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 3:33PM
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Your house your rules. Why does not the dd get a job? What is the son taking that requires so much studying etc? My DH went to school full time, worked part time and still helped out. I would call a family council NOW, and discuss some things ASAP. What does your spouse say? As for the child getting hurt? Fingers in the door? You tell DD, GET into the car, we are going to get it checked out. DD not feeling good? Go to the Dr and find out why? Sounds like she and hubby need some counseling. And by the way, with no one working, who will pay medical?
Yes, it is called tough love. IF there appears to be emotional abuse, tell her to get counseling or child services will be called.
Again. your DD is an adult and needs to be treated like one.
Remember tough love!!! it works.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:16PM
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It may be that they are both depressed and embarrassed about the state of their lives. And no wonder your daughter is tired.

You could also take the tactic that you can see they are overwhelmed and you plan on helping with the baby to give them a break (a little white lie). Then do all you can to give that little guy some attention.

I'd also say that you no longer want food anywhere except the kitchen/dining room; it's too risky for pests and they will be expected to eat with the family. He might be feeling really sheepish about having to move in with the in-laws and want to avoid feeling judged or unmanly. Or he could just be a freeloader. I wouldn't make it so easy on him. Get a chore list for them both. Tell them the time as guests is over and they will be expected to contribute - get a job even if it's less than ideal, do their share. If he won't and you're willing to help with the baby, then she needs to get a job.

If you need to get tougher, put a password on the internet connection and make it available for only a few hours per day. That might blast him out of the house or his room.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 3:39AM
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No judgement from me.. I am in the same shoes you are, in part of the situtation....39 year old son been living with us for over a year and acts similar to your son in law... But your poor little grandson.. with no reflection on you, the poor little things sounds like he is nothing but a nuisance to his parents. It just broke my heart to hear how cold hearted his mother was when his little fingers got slammed in the door. Does she get upset if you pick him up and play with him, or change his diaper, give him a bath etc? Basically if you just spend time with him? He probably needs all that from you because it sounds to me like you are the only one that loves the child and he certainly needs love and nurturing from someone...I agree with the above poster.. you need a family counsel meeting and as soon as possible. It is your home and there needs to be boundries and they need to be made clear. Maybe you should sit down with your husband and write them out, so when you have your family meeting you could read them to your daughter and son in law. I know for a fact, from being there before.. once you get into a conversation, you may forget something. I think that when a child is being neglected or treated as he is I would take the chance and possibly over step my boundries and tell both parents how you feel about how they treat him. I do not think their actions are in any way "normal".. is there any possibility drugs could be involved?... I used to swear there was no way.. but that is my son's problem.. prescription drugs have ruined his life and mine...I also think you should keep a journal on your grandson and possibly his parents. Writing down things such as when you think he is mis treated and the details, like you did in your post here. It could come in handy some day if it got so bad that you think DHS should be involved... once again.. speaking from experience. The stress from our situtation finally broke my husband.. caused him a mental breakdown and he had 3 strokes...and he is a very strong person. Not only did our son ruin his life, he ruined ours...I am not going to say I wish you luck.. I am going to say that I am going to pray for you... and I pray for the strength to do and say what needs to be done and said....

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 2:56PM
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i do so wish the original poster would come back and let us know how she is doing. i think of her and the dear grandson daily, and check back here often in hopes that she has posted updates... guess i'll just keep hoping for the best and keep them in my prayers!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 6:29PM
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My sentiments and feelings are the same as all posters:
- the daughter must be depressed and feels helpless; but she acts more dedicated to husband's needs and not at all to the child's needs; it is as if she is saying "no one loves me, so I dont have to love the child"
- they are adults in charge of a human being. they need to do their duty regardless of their current circumstances. We all know many people who raised wonderful kids during wars and disasters
- the grandparents are supplying food and living for 5 people. what are the young parents doing to pay back - no kindness? no chores? no family time?

I am a first time mom, with a 20 months old, and both grandmothers are far far away. We both work full time, so he goes to a wonderful nanny during the day where he plays with other kids, and learns to be with other people. It is exhausting to be with an active toddler - so I keep asking God for patience because HE is patient with me. I look forward for few hours once a month when my husband watches the kid so that I can get out of the house alone. It is needed for all of us, for all of us to be able to love each other. But I always try to treat the kid as a human - he needs attention, quiet time to himself, active time playing and throwing things around, splashing in bathtub, playing with kids his age at a playground, food and basic education.

You were a mother once. How did you feel? Did you have helpers around? Did you have a role model? Think back to your thoughts and try to reflect on what your daughter might be missing in this picture. Take your daughter out for a shopping and lunch downtown, or get a manicure session together. Sit down and talk. Ask her what she thinks about the kid's needs. Maybe she is completely clueless. Maybe she read some book/website that is using completely moronic idea of raising kids.

That's all. I hope to hear back from the original poster.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 11:10PM
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