What would you do when a caretaker, whether it’s a grandparent or sitter do something that you don’t agree with or makes you uncomfortable in regards to your child? That’s right, you say something! Well, I had one of those moments with my mother in law. My mother in law is a sweet woman. She sees the good in everyone and everything. She would talk to anyone and would have a conversation for hours and to her it’s like she made a new best friend. I like that she is a free spirited person grew up in the hippie era, everyone was wild and free and everybody loves everybody. When she watches The Don, she gives him room to explore and breath without hounding over him. It’s a different take on life than when I was growing up where I was sheltered and my parents were paranoid. My mother in law is lax sometimes too relax with The Don and the people that are around him. I don’t want to be a parent who is overly protective and paranoid like my parents but I don’t want to be relaxed in a sense that I believe everyone is harmless and you shouldn’t be cautious. I want to be the parent that’s in between. But this situation at the park yesterday afternoon really gave me the creeps.
This picture is showing The Don holding hands with an unknown man and I guess a woman that he knows that was in the park when my mother in law was there. Looking at this picture, The Don seems uncomfortable holding this mans hand. The Don usually is nervous when he puts his fingers in his mouth seen in the picture. When my mother in law sent this picture to me, I flipped out. ‘How could she let this man that she just met at the park hold my son’s hand?‘
When she brought him home, I asked her,
Me:” Who was the guy holding The Don’s hand?”
MIL:”Oh, he was at the park. He’s harmless.”
Me:” You let a stranger hold my son’s hand?”
MIL: “He’s not a stranger, I know him. He has a wife and a daughter and I was there with him.”
Me:” You don’t know this guy. You had a conversation with him at the park so you don’t know him. I’m trying to teach The Don about strangers and don’t go with strangers. You’re teaching him that it’s ok to hold a strangers hand if you just met him.”
MIL: “Would it be better if he knows its ok since I’m with him?”
Me:” What if you’re not there? You telling him it ok to hold hands and go with a stranger. He’s going to think its ok because grandmamma taught him that.”
MIL: “Well, you don’t teach him that it’s ok to go with strangers. What was I suppose to do I wanted to take a picture and I didn’t want The Don to run in the street so I had him hold his hand.”
I don’t know what’s worse this strange guy holding The Don hand or she taking pictures of strangers she just met.
Me: “I can’t believe you don’t understand how this upsets me. Now I’m concerned because I’ll think every time you’re with him, you’ll allow a stranger to touch him.”
MIL: “If it bothers you that much, although I don’t see anything wrong with what I did, I won’t do it anymore.”
Me: “Thank you.”
See, I felt that I shouldn’t have to explain myself to her and I figure it was common sense that you don’t allow strangers near your grandchild I don’t care how long the conversation you had with this person male or female. My mother in law was good about respecting my wishes from now on to not let strangers touch my son. But now I wonder how many times have she let this happen?
I told my husband what happen, he didn’t seem that concerned.
HUS:”I don’t know what the context was and I wasn’t there.”
This isn’t a surprise because he would never say that his mother did anything wrong.
Me:” So it’s ok that she let a stranger hold your son’s hand? That doesn’t bother you?”
HUS: “I’m not saying its ok; I’m just saying that I wasn’t there.”
Sometimes I feel that my husband would never agree with me in my concerns when it comes to something his mother does that I feel will put our children in danger.
His responds is usually, ‘She raised me.’ But I have to remind him that he also had two older brothers looking after him as well. Who’s looking after The Don?
I said, “She teaching him that it’s ok to let a stranger hold his hand or if the stranger offer their hand its ok to take it.”
HUS: “You don’t want to be too lax but I don’t want my mother to say stay away from my grandchild because his mother doesn’t want anyone near him.”
Me: “I’m not saying that she has to stop being herself, she has to be cautious when it comes to the kids.”
My husband and mother in law are the same when it comes to situations like this. I think they are both too lax when it comes to the kids. I think I had every right to express my concern over my son and it doesn’t matter if it was my mother or his….they are my children.
This is why I’m teaching The Don about expressing himself and learning to say no to people if he’s not comfortable doing something he doesn’t want to do and not go with strangers. In the picture above, The Don looked uncomfortable and my mother in law told him to hold this man hand. I have to make it clear to my mother in law that if The Don or Bambino when he’s old enough doesn’t want to do something or it makes them uncomfortable don’t make them do it. My boys will need to speak up and say no matter who it is. If that person makes them do something that they are uncomfortable doing, then they need to come to me and let me know. I’m going to do my due diligence in making sure both my boys know it’s ok to say no to any and everyone and not feel guilty. Children are impressionable and if they feel uncomfortable doing something and a parent, grandparent, sitter, aunts, uncles etc says they need to do something, guess what? The child will do it to please the adult even at their own discomfort. If I can’t make my mother in law or my husband understand, then I will teach my boys to understand that they have to do what makes them comfortable and to SPEAK UP!
Parents, don’t be afraid to speak up when it concerns your children’s welfare because it’s your mother, father, mother in law, father in law, aunt, uncle etc. Your children need to know that they can come to you if they have an issue and not be worried that you won’t defend them because it’s grandma/grandpa or Aunt Sally or Uncle Lou. If your motherly instinct tells you something wrong or something makes you uncomfortable, you better listen to it. It’s not about hurting the family members feelings it’s about doing what you feel is best for your child. Justifying the behavior wouldn’t make the behavior acceptable, you’re delaying the inevitable. Protect your children. You are their first line of defense.