Monday 25 September 2017

I'm worried that my bold grandson will turn into an obnoxious man

He told his grandad to 'shut up' last weekend
He told his grandad to 'shut up' last weekend
David Coleman

David Coleman

I AM worried about my five-year-old grandson. He is so badly behaved that I have started to dread when he comes to visit as it just raises our stress levels.

He is rude and grabby. He thinks he can do what he likes and takes no direction from anyone.

He told his grandad to 'shut up' last weekend when he was told to bring his food back into our kitchen to eat it.

I am sorry to say that I place the blame for this squarely at the door of my son and his wife.

They both work long hours and I am sure he gets left in his after-school care far longer than is good for him. But even when they are home with him they never say no to him.

They indulge his every whim, he even has his own iPad – at age five!

I have tried to talk to my son and daughter-in-law but they just discount my opinion as "you're so old-school".

Maybe ordinary manners are 'old school' but I do consider them to be the basic requirements for any child to grow up with.

Have you any ideas for how I can get through to my son that he needs to sort out his own son before he grows up to be a rude and obnoxious man?

 

David replies:

I COULD imagine that it is difficult to sit on the sidelines, as a grandparent, and watch your own grown-up children making what you consider to be mistakes in rearing their children.

However, as part of the natural developmental cycle, as your own children became adult, you had to give them increasing independence and autonomy to make their own decisions and, consequently, their own mistakes.

It may, indeed, be that your son and his wife are making many mistakes in rearing your grandson. They may, for example, not be setting enough limits on your grandson nor trying to structure his behaviour enough, so that he becomes more considerate and respectful.

I would suggest to you, however, not to be too quick to blame your son and daughter-in-law for all of your grandson's behaviour. While his parents do have a huge influence on him, they are not the only influence.

If they have always worked, and worked long hours, then his experiences in creche, preschool and presumably now school will also influence him. He also came into the world with his own innate temperament.

I would guess that if you go in all guns blazing, complaining about their son's behaviour and attitude, that they will become defensive and protective of him. This may be why they have discounted your opinion to date.

Even if you are intending to be constructively critical of how they respond to him and the expectations they do or don't place on him with regard to his behaviour, they may just perceive it as criticism and so ignore the constructive advice.

The best way to discuss him might be to talk about the impact that your grandson has on you and his grandad. Perhaps you could explain how you feel upset, or hurt, by the rude things he says.

You could explain how you feel stressed or worried that things may get broken in your house because his behaviour seems so uncontained or because he has so little respect for other people's possessions.

You could empathise with the possible stress it might also cause your son and his wife. You may find that if they don't feel criticised, that they can in fact admit that they, too, worry about his behaviour.

That then provides an opportunity to suggest that they get some help or advice about how they can manage him better to reduce the stresses they feel.

Could you offer to look after him after school, instead of him going to an after-school care service? Your influence on him and his behaviour, on your own, for a few hours each day, could be really positive.

It also gives you a much greater standing, as a co-carer, to suggest ways that his parents might intervene with him, too.

Ultimately, though, you have to remember that they are his parents and so the primary responsibility for raising him is theirs.

Even though you may have many suggestions for them, you may have to just stand by and wait until they ask for help.

dcoleman@independent.ie

 

 

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