:Dear Abby: When my 9-month-old grandson, “Eli,” comes to visit, I become frustrated to the point of leaving the room, if not my house. Not only must we put away things he shouldn’t get into, we must tape shut every drawer and cabinet, block access behind couches and chairs to keep Eli from electrical cords, then constantly be on guard for the “unexpected.”
Eli is never restricted in any way, and would never be confined to an “inhumane” playpen for even a few minutes. At the slightest whimper, he is picked up. He’s walked to sleep (or taken on car rides to “soothe” him), and his parents literally run to him whenever he awakens.
I’m reluctant to criticize because I know they’ll be offended, but I’m aching to suggest they teach the child about limits and restrictions and correct him when he misbehaves. Let him experience being in his playpen or even allow him to whine a little before jumping at his every whim. We’re not allowed to say “no-no” — the preferred response being to distract Eli and let him go about doing as he pleases. By the way, both parents are professional psycho-babble people.
Am I unreasonable to think my grandson is capable of learning limits with a simple “no-no” and, perhaps, a little smack on his hand? Or should I keep my mouth shut?
Dear Grandpa: Well-meaning as you are, I doubt that you will be able to convince two “professional psycho-babble people” that by not giving their little one limits, they’re creating a monster. Rather than allow his visits to upset you, I suggest you visit this family in their OWN home.
Dear Abby: I am shocked at the rude treatment I see many older mothers receive from their children. I spend considerable time at various doctor appointments. Fortunately, I can drive myself, but many senior women must depend on their caregivers — often their daughters — who treat them badly. I can’t help but wonder how they treat their mothers in private since they are so insensitive in public.