we are at a loss - FamilyEducation
we are at a loss
01/08/2008 at 21:34 PM

My husband and I need some help!   We are very concerned about our 4 yr. old grandson.  My step-daughter, my husbands' daughter is so overprotective of our grandson who is 4 1/2.  This boy is afraid to try anything new and now we found out she won't let him ride the bus to school.  She told my husband that something could happen to him so he won't be allowed to ride the bus.  I grew up riding the bus and so did she, we don't know where her fear is coming from.  She told her father that she knows it's her and that's ok.  It was great making freinds with kids in the neighborhood riding the bus.  This is just the tip of the iceberg and is the most current issue that came up in conversation.  Our grandchildren have only spent one night at our house in their lives.  We don't smoke, drink or do drugs.  I currently babysit a little girl of 4 who has spinabifida and have since she's been a month old.  We are allowed to take her where ever we need to go.  Not so with our grandchildren!  One day I wanted to take my granddaughter to my dearest friends house and the mom say no, I prefer you don't.  If they come to our house, the children are very rarely let to go outside alone with one of us, a parent always has to go along.  Are we overreacting?  We haven't said anything to the parents, as we don't want to be interfering parents.  But we are becoming more and more concerned about them.  They are very isolated.  Our daughter is a stay at home mom and the children don't go anywhere with out their parents.  We try and make sure our house is safe, with outlet protection and cabinet locks, etc.. We get the distinct feeling that they don't trust us with the children.  What do we do?  I came into my step-daughters life when she was young and she was raised to be very independent as was I.  We don't understand where this is coming from?  Can someone give us some insights?

Your story reminded me of some neighbors. The dad wouldn't let the 4 year-old stand on anything higher than the curb! He might fall off. Oh, and walking along the curb, no way! Their nearly 2 year old wasn't walking yet, and I wondered . . . But being overprotective is so much better than the other extreme. Your stepdaughter or son in law may have experiences that have nothing to do with you that make her protective. Be supportive and happy about the time you get, even if it feels like supervised visitation. Try to have a loving relationship with all of them. Be kind. Don't demand anything, don't criticize, don't talk to either of them privately about it. If it changes so that it really seems like a psychiatric issue, and you are that concerned about it, talk to Child Protective Services or whatever your state calls it. If it's not so bad you want the authorities involved, just do your best. As for the children being isolated, first, the one is still in school; second, if you tick off the parents, that will be even worse. And if they are safe and happy, what's so bad?

I can see why you are very concerned and hurt. It is a very delicate situation. You can continue to build a relationship with your grandson even if you can't see him as often as you wish. Send notes in the mail telling him about what you are doing and include photos. Ask him to write you a storyor draw pictures about something he has done and send it in the mail. You can even send a story book with a recording of you reading. He can listen to it at bedtime. Hopefully things will change soon but in the mean time you will be be building memories. 


I can see some of your concern, maybe she is fearful with all the things going on in the world today. Have you been on a school bus lately. Oh my, it is much different than when you rode. I had to remove my children from riding. They were learning language they would never ever normally hear and children can get out of hand on the bus. It can be very intimidating to ride on on especially if you are young. It could be that she is watching too much TV and news and seeing all the negative things going on. Things like abductions, and school killings, etc.. It's enough to scare anyone. When my youngest daughter moved out on her own to the city, I had to stop watching CSI and shows like that because the built up fear in me. As far as letting them stay with you, maybe invite her over more to visit with you while she is there so she can build some trust. Hang in there and just keep showing the little guy that you love him...

From a mom's perspective, it took me a whole yr to get comfortable w/ the idea of my son riding the school bus. The grandparent that first posted on this subject reminds me of my dad. He is a wonderful grandfather to our kids, but as stated above, times have changed quite a bit. I don't consider myself an over-protective parent; I can be quite lax about certain things. However, w/ some issues, it's hard not to worry. My dad often gets upset b/c he feels that kids learn from their experiences, which is very true. However, to what extent is it ok to promote independence in a young child? For expl, my dad once let our kids run free in the front of our house. We live on a side street off of a busy street. All our kids need to do is run down the block and into that cross street. Am I wrong to be nervous about that? When I told my dad how I felt about it, he got a bit defensive. My kids know they're not supposed to go in the street, but I don't totally trust them yet to not try. As a grandparent, you need to respect the wishes of the parents. Enjoy your grandchildren, but try not to interfere w/ the parenting part if it. You've raised your children the way you saw fit. Now let the parents do the same for their children.