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Just wanted to know what you think?

Started by Nana, March 12, 2012, 04:20:28 am

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Dear Wise-Women
Today my son and dil came home with my three grandchildren. So my two eldest 3 and 5 were playing and my 3-year old granddaugher accidentally hit my 5-year old grandson.  She said I am sorry, and my grandson said "Ï dont forgive you".   So we were all together in the living room.  I said to dil " gd said she was sorry and gs said he did not forgive her (said it in a joking way).  She turned towards me and said (in a very serious mode) "Ï cannot reprimand son because sometimes its the other way around and daughter says No when son apologizes to her".   I just shut my mouth....well no, I actually said "ökey" lol. 

I wonder now.....did I do the correct thing?     I really think that two wrongs dont make a right one. 

I really dont have now problems with dil....but I hate not being able to debate or express an opinion.  I think that maybe she was not in a good mood.   Oh Well.   


Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:


But Nana - what did you expect to happen? 

Because I see 2 issues here:

1 - Did you expect your DIL to reprimand DGS?  Because he's allowed to decide that he doesn't forgive her.  It's just 'play' at this point, but it gives them the idea that they don't have to 'turn the other cheek' all of the time.  I don't think this is a bad lesson for them to learn that sometimes saying 'sorry' is not enough.  Also, it's a good lesson for DGD that having your apology rejected is not fun, so she shouldn't do it to her brother.

2 - DIL was right there and she saw it with her own eyes.  You calling attention to it just makes it look like you're criticizing her parenting.  Either for not stepping in, for not telling DS that he HAS TO forgive his sister or for even letting them have the option of "not forgiving". 

I don't see that you gave an opinion or opened a discussion/debate, you just repeated something that just happened.  You could have started a discussion with DIL about forgiveness or you could have discussed sibling relations, or how your kids were with each other, or how things were with your siblings.  I don't know, it doesn't sound to me like she 'shut you down'.


Hi Nana, this was real interesting to me because I am in the throes of something similar.  about 3 weeks ago I made a  'date' to spend day on an outing (at their request) with my two g/sons, and when I arrived to pick them up they were still in bed (not the first time they failed to be up and/or watchful for me).  I waited 15 min, gave up, and I phoned them later and reprimanded them for bad manners.  (My g/sons are age 14 and 18, not little kids.)  It all hit the fan.  My DD was furious with me, refused to take my calls, g/sons all over the map in their accusing attitudes, fostered along by their DM blasting me in front of them.  I have been very upset now for days and days about this, still not much talking with DD.  I've made apologies.  Things are better with g/sons, but not with DD. 

This is one of those really difficult calls, when opinions vary and you just keep going in circles.  Was I wrong to reprimand my g/sons?  I am a regular part of their life, a semi caretaker all their lives, not a distant grandma that visits now and then.  Were you wrong to just make an observation?  I don't think so.  What is wrong with the world?  Does an older and wiser person not have the responsibility and the privilege of pointing out bad behavior (yes, and I mean bad behavior, it is what it is) and expanding on that?  What is wrong with mothers, that they don't want their children to learn how it feels to have their conscience pricked, and to learn to respond quickly by making amends and saying I'm sorry?  Are you wrong to even tip toe around making a suggestion that the child MIGHT reconsider the value of having the relationship restored?  And now YOU are worrying that YOU did something wrong.

I am upset that my DD did not immediately rally to my support, and suggest boys make a formal apology.  What kind of future are you training your children for, when they are not made accountable for their actions and be sent to make restitution when they have erred?  No, it seems the norm now is to step back and if there's any blame whatsoever on the other side, one is totally absolved from accountability.  I am upset that I have spent the entire 14-18 years of my g/sons life never dropping the ball or skipping a beat as far as I know, and I make one possible error in judgment, and get no benefit of the doubt, no personal contact for explanation or clarification.   This is what stumps me.  But the worst of all I think is the loss to the child.  G/P should (and used to) play a unique role in a child's life, as a reference point.  I think parents are now often too insecure or too jealous of their child's devotion to want the g/p to have that role.

It seems to me that you dil is enforcing and endorsing her children be raised in the school of the animal kingdom.  I would hope that we could aim a little higher than that, i.e. take a little time to talk about how it feels to not be forgiven, and what our responsibilities are to each other in relationships and honoring one another as human beings.  Maybe only one sentence, no big deal, but to say that they will learn values and ethics on the basis of 'do unto others what they do unto you', is well, just deplorable I think.  My Grandmothers were not timid about pointing out bad behavior, nor were they timid about lovingly and consistently reinforcing positive values.

sorry I know I sound harsh in this email, I don't mean to.  It is probably just a topic that has hit home with me right now.



My take: I think we need to teach our little ones how to get past the rough patches more honestly. Sometimes they are sorry and sometimes they aren't. If they hurt another accidentally, that's one thing...but when it is done purpose, that's what it is. I was taught to lie and say I was sorry when I wasn't and it didn't get past me that lying was a social expectation, even though I didn't think in those terms. With my kids, and don't get me wrong, I made tons of mistakes, I explained that it wasn't OK to attack and hurt another person. We had to approach and resolve it in some other way. I made it clear that if they were too tired or wound-up to play, it was timeout. Taunting sometimes provoked attack and the one hit wasn't blameless and sometimes I didn't see what happened and had no idea. However, I think that at any age kids can start to learn other modes of expression and options to deal with anger. It will hold them in good stead all of their lives. Conversely, if we teach them to bury their feelings and their truth and lie about it, we are setting something in motion that could have long range effect.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Thanks you for your responses.
Scoop:  What did I expect to happen?  Well I really dont know.  I was not judging dil or her parenting.  GD was crying because brother said "I dont forgive you".  It was just a comment which I suppose she did not like.  You are right in the sense that now gd knows what it feels not to be forgiven.  I only realized that she was just hard on me (by the tone of her voice).  No big deal....  After that, my husband invited us all to Chinese Food and we had a good time.  Maybe you feel Scoop I was being nosey, but as Ruth says...when you are a regular gm who regularly babysits you are family with a voice.  Times have changed.  My mil (who still lives) was not intrusive, but express her opinion without me getting upset.   My mother was just the same with her dils and with me.  And we all loved and respected her.  I appreciate your point of view.  It helps me be more objective.

Ruth:  Thanks also.  I do remember your story about your gs not being ready when you came for them.  I also thought that you as a grandmother had the right (or privilege) to reprimand them and let them know you did not approve of their rudeness.  They did understand but not your daughter.  Of course we as gp make mistakes, but as you said we have the right to be wrong sometimes.  Your daughter should have supported you but she didnt and she feels she is right.  Boy, things did change my dear Ruth, our children see things different.  You did the correct thing so dont be upset.  Life will tell. 

Dear Luise.  As always with your wise comments.  My gs was honest with himself....he did not forgive her because it did hurt him.  I saw everything.  They were jumping all over me and hit my gs with her shoe on his head.  It happens very often.  What called my attention is that gs finally said "ok, I forgive you" and went to his mom and said "Mom, I forgave my sister eventhough she sometimes doesnt forgive me"  just the words dil had said.  Lol. 

Love you
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:

lancaster lady

Nana ,

You know by now that sometimes whatever we say , can always be taken the wrong way .
That's why we hardly ever say anything to do with GK's .


My take: There is a huge different between "I'm sorry" and "I forgive you." We are only sorry if we are. To deny how we feel and lie about it can do serious damage all around. "I forgive you" can mean, if the child is taught the concept..."I am not going to hang onto to this because I'm in no position to judge." Kids can learn authenticity.

My DH I used to get into it sometimes in the mornings. Then he would call me after he got to work and say, "I'm so sorry you were bad." LOL!
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Lancaster Lady

Thanks for your response.  Yes....we have to be very careful with what we say.  Walking on egg shells.  No problem.....can bear with that lol.     I

Such is life.

Love you LL
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:


Nana, I think you were fine, you said "okay" and moved on. 

On a side note, I heard a kid say "I forgive you" in a similar incident.  Accident and person apologized, really minor thing, no damage or hurt.  Anyway, the way he said it and the expression on his face sent chills up my spine.  I know that's not very nice but maybe it was a you had to be there moment but I just have not heard little ones speak like that, they usually say "its ok!" or "i'm going to get you back!" in my neck of the woods.

It happened a couple years ago and I still have not forgotten it, no point to it really but I think perhaps he was really offended (the look on his face) but is used to or told to say "I forgive you" when he didn't mean it.  He's still not a very pleasant child and I prefer not to be around him.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift