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Dilemma: I don't agree with my daughter-in-law's parenting

Jo Brand / 08 November 2016

A reader does not agree with her daughter-in-law's strict parenting and would prefer her to be less strict about treats and bedtimes.

A reader finds that her daughter-in-law is too strict with bedtimes and treats

Dilemma: I don't like my daughter-in-law's parenting

I am a Grandmother of two adorable children. My problem is with my daughter-in-law.

She has very clear ideas on how to parent but I think she is too rigid with her two. I'm a firm believer in letting children be children - if they want to eat some sweets or stay up late, I don't have a problem. Life is for living, surely?

But she gets very frosty if I bring her up on any of her parenting choices. I think she should be more relaxed with them and obviously I have my grandchildren's best wishes at heart, what can I do?

Jo Brand's advice

Oh dear, I fear I am going to upset you. 

You are not the children’s mother and as such, you don’t really have a say in the way they are being brought up. 

Unless you feel that your daughter-in-law is actually maltreating your grandchildren in some way, you don’t have any jurisdiction over their care and I’m afraid your daughter-in-law may find interventions from you difficult to swallow and see them as an assault on her parenting skills.

Having said that, there are things you can do. Firstly, you don’t mention your son… he is half of the partnership involved in the children’s upbringing. What does he think? Could he perhaps talk to your D-I-L about it? On the other hand, if he’s happy with the way your daughter-in-law is bringing up the children, I’m afraid that’s even more difficult.

I should also say that your idea that children should have sweets when they want them is now somewhat discredited. Most children would eat sweets 24/7 if we let them and not go to bed either. With increasing child diabetes and kids under the age of 5 losing teeth which are rotten, I’m afraid you’re on the wrong side of the argument, unless you are determined to have fat grandchildren with false teeth.

Read more answers to reader problems in our dilemmas section

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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