Am I over protective?

Jennifer - posted on 11/29/2010 ( 19 moms have responded )

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I am a first time Mom but not a stranger to taking care of babies/kids. My son is 18 months old and I love him to death(of course)! lol. I feed him mostly healthy foods and drink. I only give him juice once a day, otherwise it's milk and water. I don't give him sugary juices nor do I give him candy. My Mom takes care of him when I work. She has given him candy once and I was pissed. Then I go to pick him up the other day and she gave him this basically all sugar blue raspberry drink crap that turned his mouth blue! Grrrrr! She got upset at me and called me over protective because I was upset at her for giving him that junk knowing that I don't. Also her and my sister allowed him to play in the basement alone with my nephew who is 3 years old! Now they did have a gate blocking the doorway to going upstairs and kept the upstairs door open to listen but they were completely unsupervised! I just feel uneasy about that. Am I being over protective? Don't I have the right to make those choices of how my son is taken care of without having to put up with the bickering about it? It just frustrates me. Until my son is older and regularly brushing his teeth I don't want him playing unsupervised or consuming overly sugary junk! Any thoughts Moms??

19 Comments

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Kaitlyn - posted on 12/10/2010

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I agree with Kristin T. If you are going to have your mom take care of him then there are some things you have to just get over and move on from. I would absolutely voice your concerns and explain to your Mom and sister (calm and collected) how things work at your house in regard to your son, but you can't get angry every time they do something that you wouldn't. You definitely have to decide what is more important, his relationship with his extended family or ensuring that you have total control over every last little thing that concerns him. Frankly, some of my best childhood memories involve the time spent with my Grandparents and the "special treats" they would give or do for me that my parents didn't. I think your son's memory of his Grandmother and their relationship far out weighs a little sugar consumption from time to time. Especially since his time with her could be limited. Good luck and hope you find peace with whatever you decide.

Amy - posted on 12/09/2010

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Over protective to me is hovering around them so they don't make any mistakes or get hurt and not let them do things themselves. There is not a thing wrong with wanting your children to avoid certain foods. when my daughter eats anything with Red 40 in it - she has anger tantrums!! So, hell no, I don't want her to have it. When she or her brother eat refined sugars they start to hit each other. When they eat fruits, veggies and homemade food....gee, they're little angels. My mom is the worst because she KNOWS all this and owns a health food store, but still likes to M&M up my kids. I get so frustrated. One day she joked about all the sugar she gave them and sadly, I lied to her. I told her they threw up because it was just too much sugar. She never did it again because she realized it may be FUN for grandma, but that it didn't turn out good for kiddos.

As far as the other issue.....a 3 year old is NOT a babysitter!!! If they were in the same room watching them play from afar, fine. but to not even be there....they could pull up a chunk of carpet, feed it to the little one and he could choke. Listening cannot "hear" a pillow being put over a little one's face either. Good Lord, too many things could happen! If they had to leave to pee for a second, fine, but to just have them down there, uh uh. You are not being over protective in either of these cases.

Tajma - posted on 12/09/2010

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Hello, Jennifer
I see we have alot in common. My parents go against every instruction I give. I breastfeed for 9 months they were trippin about that. Saying it was too thin and it wasn't filling him up. I made my own baby food they complained it wasn't real food and not enough. I also made his juice they complained it was a waste of time. Fried foods and sugar are not allowed. It is frustrating because they are my parents but I still put my foot down they will what they want to as long as I'm heard and consistant thing will change over time. Now being unsupervise I'm raising hell too. Anything could happen. Your not alone.......
Good luck

Kristn - posted on 12/08/2010

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I actually have a different way of looking at this, I think. You're using the wrong word. You're not over-protective. What you're having is a control problem. I went through this (and frankly still am) with my mother. Your son is only 18 month old and (rightly) you want to control as much of his environment as you can-to protect him. Like you, we don't allow our daughter to have many sweets and we have some other rules we follow and would like my mother to follow. However, my mom watches Lily once a week, usually on a Friday or Saturday evening going into the next day. I used to get upset when I would find out some of the things that my mom was doing or allowing. I found a way to eventually address the issue with her and she has (sort of) adapted to some of our rules. But she is still going to do things her way for the most part. However, the trade off is that my daughter has a GREAT relationship with my mother because she gets to spend that time with her Grammy. On the other hand, my brother and sister-in-law are much stricter about my nephew. They almost never let my mom watch him for more than a few hours (primarily b/c she won't be as strict as they are) and mostly they require her to come to them. They have only allowed him to spend the night 2 times (in 3 1/2 years). As a consequence he doesn't have as close of a relationship with my mom. So here's what I think. If your mom watches him regularly, specifically talk to her about what you would and would not like her to let your son eat and or do. If she doesn't "follow your rules" you have to decide what's most important to you-the relationship your son will have with you mother for life or what he ate/drank one day. If he's in real physical danger-that's one thing. But if he's not then you have to ask yourself how important the rule is. You follow your rules for him most of the week, so I don't think you should be so concerned with one or two times a week. He'll learn that certain things just don't fly with mom. That's OK. There IS something to be said about the fact that she did raise at least 2 children. We survived the way our parents brought us up.....your son should be allowed, to be spoiled by your mom. That's part of her job (within reason, of course). Most of us got to do things with our grandparents that we couldn't do at home.

[deleted account]

Ok. First let me say that your demands are not unreasonable.
HOWEVER, she is your mother and she has grandparent rights of honor. Grandparents have the god given right to spoil their grandkids. Grandparents have the rights of raising kids before and those kids turning out all right. No, I wouldn't like what she is doing either. However, they only truly wrong with the whole situation is that the 18 month old was left unsupervised. Depending on the environment and choking hazard risks I would have wanted my child supervised. Again though....
HOWEVER, if you don't pay your mom for childcare you should just deal with it. If you DO pay her for childcare I would expect you had a contract made up and signed about what each of you expects about days off, vacation, pay, and type of childcare provided. You can always find another provider. That is probably what you SHOULD do since you can't find her caring for your child as acceptable.
HOWEVER, be forewarned that ALL providers are going to have different standards than you. Most get paid far less than you make an hour and they have to feed as well as provide all the other essentials with the small amount paid to them each week. I know it doesn't seem small but if you want fresh fruits and veggie served at every meal and snack, along with the cleaning supplies, wipes, (maybe diapers) water, electricity, and so on that your child uses through each day it all adds up. (and so on) I really think you need to relax a little and just accept that your mom is being a typical grandmother and NOT a childcare provider in her mind. In her mind she is grandma and isn't JUST the childcare provider. If you can't accept it then find another childcare center and put your child there. I am sure after you deal with the constant sniffles, sick days, fees, meals, snacks, and "extras" that a childcare center comes up with you will appreciate what your mother actually does more. Oh and most providers have no problem giving kids sugary foods for snacks. They also give fast food type meals to kids for their meals so that will need to be another consideration on your part as well as the kool aid drinks, juice boxes, and so on.

good luck and god bless

Mel - posted on 12/04/2010

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You do have the right to say to people about not feeding your kid sugary foods or being unsupervised. These people are your family though and, as with my daughter, whom is 4, they spoil her. What i say falls on deaf ears. I think that as we dont feed them no junk, then other people feeding it too them occasionally wouldnt hurt. I want them to enjoy the time with my daughter, not be harrassed all the time.

Kristen - posted on 12/03/2010

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Your Mommy raised you, and you seem to be perfectly sane and happy to me, I would remind her how strong you feel about junk foods and let her know how you feel for sure! Im sure she doesnt mean harm!! GOOD LUCK!!

[deleted account]

You get what you pay for. When you get free daycare - you don't get to dictate things the same way as you would with a paid daycare facility. that is the unfortunate truth.

Here is how I look at it: for the people who get money from me for watching my kid - i get to say things like "No TV - no sugar - etc"
for the people who do it for me as a favor (aka family members) - I only leave my son with those who I feel he is 100% safe with (they won't let him stick his finger in a socket, or they won't show him age innapropriate tv. But what he eats, well - i just accept the fact that i cannot micromanage that situation the same way and accept that the rare spoiling/giving of foods he usually doesn't get won't kill him. My mom gives him chocolate milk. it is the ONLY PLACE he gets chocolate milk. and he sees her maybe 3 or 4 times a month. I figure his diet is healthy enough to withstand the occasional glass of chocolate milk.

Angie - posted on 11/30/2010

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I think you have every right to expect a certain level of respect for your parenting choices. If your mom knows how you feel on certain subjects, then she should honor your decisions. It's your son and you get to say if he gets a sugar drink. But that's the drawback of family watching your kid. They can be nonchalant about certain things, thinking they are family and are doing you a favor. Whereas a non-family daycare provider is being paid to follow your parenting choices.

[deleted account]

You are not being over protective. I would be very upset if faced with the same situation. If your mom can't respect your wishes and abide by your requests (because it is after all, your child), I would find a new babysitter.

Christy - posted on 11/30/2010

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Seems to me you may have to take him to a day care if you want your rules followed. She's your mom and will probably continue this behavior. If you can't afford daycare, you may have to bite the bullet. Make sure you are sending him with what you want him to eat and drink. Make it clear this is what you want. Do you pay her any money? If you aren't, she may feel a sense of entitlement to feed him whatever she wants. I know someone who went through this and ended up putting her kid in daycare.

Dora - posted on 11/30/2010

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You are definitely NOT being overprotective. I completely agree with you. His diet is up to you not your mom or your sister. I hear crap from people around me because I don't believe in giving my son juice or sweets unless it is for a speciall occasion. I just laugh at those people and tell them that I am the mother and not them. If they don't like my comments then don't give me your opinion unless i ask for it. Also for your child being unsupervised that is serious. A 3yr old should ever be left alone with an 18 month old. They don't know the difference between right or wrong or understand if they are playing too rough. If they don't want to listen to you and follow your rules when it comes to your child then start looking elsewhere for another care giver. You shouldn't have to worry about your child when you are away from them. You should be able to feel comfortable and at ease. good luck with everything and I hope things work out for you.

Mary - posted on 11/30/2010

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Are your parenting choices wrong or even over-protective? No, not in my opinion - it's never a bad thing to limit sugar intake that has no nutritional value. As for leaving an 18 month old and 3 y/o unsupervised on a separate floor...well, again, not something I'd be comfortable with.

However, you are in a bit of sticky situation since this is your family. Unless you are paying your mom as a day care provider, your "rights" to tell her what to do pretty much exist at her discretion, since she's watching your kid as a favor to you, and not as a job. You can ask her to follow your rules...but my guess is she's not going to, especially since it seems as if your sister does things in a manner similar to your mom's.

You can certainly try talking to you mom about what you want you son to be eating, and any foods you outright ban. You can also try packing all his drinks and snacks for the duration of time he's going to be there, and ask that she only give him those things you've provided - although that's going to be hard if your sister's kids are there drinking kool-aid and eating M&M's. Other than that, your only other option is to pay someone to watch him...this gives you more control over what they can and cannot do.

Oh - and by 18 months, we had gotten into the habit of brushing my daughter's teeth every morning and at night just before bed. It can be a huge struggle at times, but, like changing a diaper, it's a non-negotiable necessary evil.

Jennifer - posted on 11/29/2010

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Thanks for the input ladies. I do brush his teeth but it isn't long enough or consistant enough at this young of age. He loves fruit and eats lots of it though which is a goot treat. And I do give him mini popcicles throughout the week after dinner. I think I was more upset about the actual argument. And upset about the playing unsupervised with another young child (his 3yr old cousin). If it were an older cousin then I may have not been so upset but I personally don't think kids should play unsupervised ever until they are over 10 and mature enough. But knowing me even then I would be constantly checking in on them. But that's just who I am. Kids can choke at any moment or get into something you thought was child proof. Plus my sisters 2 kids already have cavity's at ages 3 & 5. I would like to prevent that as best as possible! LOL.

September - posted on 11/29/2010

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Nope not over protective at all! In fact you sound a lot like me when it comes to foods and drinks that I allow our son to have. Our son is 2 and since he started eating solids at 6 months I've been super picky about the foods he eats and the drinks he gets. In fact our son will ask for water or milk before he will ask for juice. However I do not disapprove of a treat now and again. I do believe that you have the right to make choices for your child and I think that your Mother should respect your choices especially when it comes to safety however grandmas do tend to bend the rules a little when it comes to "junk food" and I think that a treat here and there from grandma is harmless...imo. Also at 18 months there is no harm in daily teeth brushing. I started brushing our son's teeth as soon as one popped out! :)

Rebecca - posted on 11/29/2010

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I agree with you totally! I have an 18 month old as well and wouldnt want him eating/drinking sugary crap or playing on his own without some supervision!

Iysha - posted on 11/29/2010

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I give my daughter (17 mos.) sugary things...we eat candy and give her pieces her and there, or ice cream, popcicles, juice...howver, I'm aware of how to clean my daughter's teeth and do so very often. I used to work for a DDS/MSD. It isnt going to hurt if you monitor the amounts being given and if it's only once in a while....not an every day thing. If your child goes over to grandmas all the time and is given sweets every time, then there's a problem...If your little one is watched by grandma a couple times a week, well then it isnt going to hurt.

As for the basement unsupervised play time, that is just irrisponsible and dangerous.

Jennifer - posted on 11/29/2010

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Thanks Chrissy. Well the one who mostly takes care of him is my Mom and she is one of the Grandmas. And sometimes Grandmas feel like they can do what they want with some things because they know everything..lol. The basement is carpeted and a big open space that has a bunch of toys to play with. I don't mind him playing down there just not unsupervised by an adult. Thanks!

[deleted account]

You are totally right in my opinion. He is your child and you have the right to make all of the decisions concerning his health, diet, and safety. You need to give all of his caretakers clear instructions on what he can and can not eat and what you feel is safe regarding supervision. If someone is taking care of him they should be watching him and playing with him, not sticking him in a basement. I would be just as angry if I were in your shoes!

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