Grandparents Caring for Grandchildren

Question: Dear Luise: I am at a loss. My husbands parents are good grandparents, they love the grandkids a lot. I have some common complaints, they refuse to childproof (even leaving things like dishes of marbles out) and they don’t seem to try and follow some of our important rules about food, but they love the kids and want to be with them. The big problem is that they don’t watch them to the point that its dangerous. My kids are 3 and 1 and they have been left out on the front lawn by the road twice (the grandfather just went inside to do something else), and at a cottage I’ve found my son (who was 18 months at the time) left alone outside near the lake, and outside near a large group of steps leading to the water (again by the grandfather who just went off to do something else). We have since decided that they can’t watch them on their own until the kids are older and then being left by the road is not a problem. The grandparents are very upset about this, we’ve had discussions, which always end in crying (grandmother), yelling (grandfather), or weeks of ignoring (them ignoring us). We have tried to have open and rational conversations but it keeps happening and my husband and I don’t know what to do. They take no responsibility for it, the grandmother supports the grandfather in all things and so does not talk to him about hisleaving the kids in dangerous situations. All that has happened is that they have said that I have trust issues, and ‘things happen’. I hate this situation and need help. I can’t leave the kids with them, its too unsafe, but if we don’t let them have the kids they are hurt and create a big family rift (they talk to others in the family about us). Any advice? H.

Answer: Dear H.: Your issue is incredibly serious, as you know. I’m a grandmother and a great grandmother and I’m furious! Your little one’s depend on you for protection. That comes ahead of everything else…including your relationship with anyone who puts them at risk. Others don’t have to agree with you. You are the parents and in charge and fully responsible. You make the rules. Your in-laws can cry and yell all they want to but it’s your way or the highway! Don’t ever leave your babies alone with them again! None of the family politics matter; the cold-shoulder, silent treatment or bad-mouthing you to others. The survival of your children is what matters. That’s it! What would they say at a funeral? Oops? Trust issues? You betcha! Stand tall and never back down, even if it leaves you without any in-laws at all!

Please consider bringing your situation over to my Web-forum at so you can have the benefit of input from others as well as from me. I hope to see you there. Blessings, Luise


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