My Grandchild Is Intimidated By Her Father
by Gila Frischer
How can help my 1.3 baby granddaughter who is intimidated by her father. My daughter doesn't see the damages they cause this little angel.
They don't have any patience with her. She was a happy baby and now is very quiet. They won't listen to me!
Being A Supportive GrandparentAnnie's Reply
Sometimes as a Grandparent the hardest thing is to hold back when we don't approve of the way our children are raising their kids. But it may well be you are making the situation worse if they feel constantly judged by you.
Of course if you are concerned there is physical abuse then you have to confront that - but if it is more that their expectations of good behavior are unrealistic when parenting a toddler, and her father is overly authoritarian, then you constantly confronting that will actually cause more disharmony and confusion for the little one.
You are better to model by example rather than criticism - they are clearly defensive and the more you push the more you will back them into a corner and you may well jeopardize the contact you have with your grand-daughter.
If you concentrate on building a healthy happy relationship with her, she will have someone else important in her life that provides perhaps more of a balance.
I am not a fan of strict parenting, but children do thrive in families with all sorts of varying parenting styles so long as they are loved.
Your son in law may well have grown up in a family that did not show love and approval or have much patience with small children. He may well never have thought about the best way to parent, most of us simply automatically repeat the way we were raised.
But I do know, people seldom change when they feel judged and unaccepted. They are much more likely to retreat into old familiar behaviors to protect themselves.
Your son-in-law must have some good traits, and will be good at lots of things. He may not be parenting the way we would like, but your daughter has chosen him as her partner and she is clearly united with him. The more you can reinforce his good points the more he will trust that you are on his side and will be more open to change. The more you criticize and try to tell them what to do the more defensive they will be and you are actually contributing to the situation because they will feel the need to justify their parenting style.
The most important thing is for you to maintain a great relationship with your grand-daughter, but also to build a good relationship with your daughter and her partner. They are going to learn far more from seeing your level of patience with the little one, and the kinds of activities and games you play with her, than they will from being told they are not good parents.
More to follow in the comments below . . .