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 firstname.lastname@example.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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?