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Questions from readers: Grandparents, Entertaining kids, Talking to teens about sex

 

 

This week Dr. Ramey answers questions from his readers. Do you have a question for Dr. Ramey? You can e-mail comments, questions and column ideas to Dr. Ramey at rameyg@childrensdayton.org.

Questions directed to Dr. Ramey will be posted on the Ask and Expert section of our website or they may be included as a resource for a newspaper column (without identifying private health information).

Question:

I am the grandmother of two girls who are seven and nine years old. However, I can barely tolerate to visit them because of the way they act. Their parents are extremely indulgent and allow behavior that I regard as extremely disrespectful.   I’ve spoken to my son on several occasions about my concerns, but nothing has changed. I need to talk to my daughter-in-law, and want some advice about how best to approach her.

Answer

Being a grandmother does not entitle you to offer unsolicited advice to the children’s parents. If you feel the youngsters are being abused or neglected, then of course you should act. Otherwise, say nothing.

 When the children visit your home, you have every right to enforce your rules about appropriate behavior. Make those expectations clear to the girls (and to their parents) beforehand. Otherwise, respect the fact that people have different ways of raising their children, and it’s not your job to convince their parents that your way is better than theirs.

Question

My kids are constantly asking me what we’re going to do every day, and I feel more like an entertainer than a parent. I am a stay-at-home Mom and enjoy being with my kids, but feel like they should show some initiative rather than waiting for me to plan out every day during the summer. They are ages eight and eleven.

Answer

Kids look to you for entertainment because you have assumed that role in the past. Rather than taking on that responsibility, why don’t you simply let the kids plan out their own day, within certain limits that you should clearly specify. It is their job to think of things to do that are productive, fun, engaging, and educational.

 Be certain to place limits on TV and computer usage, or I suspect many hours will be wasted sitting mindlessly in front of a screen.

Question

My 16-year-old daughter spoke to me in confidence that she was sexually active and wanted help getting birth control. Although I disagreed with her decision, I took her to our family doctor. 

She made me promise to keep this between us, and demanded that I not say anything to her dad. My husband and I have always had an open relationship and I feel guilty keeping this from him. Did I make a mistake?

Answer

Yes. While I think it’s great that your daughter came to you about such a personal and difficult subject, she had no right to “demand” that you not discuss this with your husband. Your promise may make her feel better, but you shouldn’t be keeping secrets with your spouse and the father of your child. If your daughter is afraid of her dad’s reaction, you should help her and him work through those issues rather than maintain this conspiracy of silence.

 

Next Week – What is one of the worst days in a young mom’s life?

Comments

  1. Reply
    Machelle Arbon August 24, 2011

    I wish more people would write blogs like this that are actually helpful to read. With all the garbage floating around on the web, it is rare to read a blog like yours instead.

    • Reply
      Dayton Children's August 24, 2011

      Machelle- Thanks for your comment! We are glad that you enjoy the content on our blog and hope that you are able to share it with others!

  2. Reply
    Mrs. Samuel Riegle October 15, 2013

    Rencently, my husband and I were leaving a resterant, when a woman came in to order a takeout meal.  She had a child of a different race with her, he came to stand beside her, he was about 6 yrs. old; she bent down, grabbed him by both arms, pulled both arms toward her, and told him, he better not cause trouble, she then told him to go sit down on the bench the resterant provided.  He did as he was told without comment.  She had to wait for her order, so she went to sit down, when she got over to the child, who was sitting quietly, she bent over him, got in his face, and threatend him again, and sit as close to him as she could.  The child sat there, with tears running down his cheeks, and not making a sound.  No one said anything to this woman, about the way she was treating this child, including me and my husband.  I felt sorry for the little boy, but I didn’t know what to do, if I said anything to this woman, I’am sure she would have told me to mind my own business.  Is this child abuse?  Should I have called the police?  What is the proper thing to do in this situation?  Please e-mail me your advice about this event, I’d appreciate your input on this situation.

    • Reply
      Dr.Ramey October 16, 2013

      This is a very tough question, as I’ve encountered this situation myself on several occasions.

      You are correct that it is usually not helpful to approach the parent in any type of accusatory or aggressive manner. This typically results in a parent that becomes increasingly agitated, placing the child at greater risk.

      Calling the police or totally ignoring the situation are also not viable choices.

      In general, I typically approach the family and try to distract the parent and diffuse the situation by making some neutral comment such as “…it sure is difficult raising kids these days…..” I then try to speak with the adult in an attempt to help defuse the situation.

      Great question. Thanks for being concerned about the welfare of other children.

      Dr. Ramey

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