Updated on July 23, 2011
T.V. asks from San Jose, CA
11 answers

Recently my 6 yr old granddaughter misbehaved. When confronted by her mother the child struck back shouting, "I'm going to go live with grandma and grandpa". Her punishment: she wasn't allowed to visit grandma and grandpa for a week! My wife and I were stunned by this choice of punishment. Is denying a child access to people she loves appropriate punishment? Thanks to all who respond.

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answers from Kansas City on

As much as it's like you are getting punished too, YES, it's appropriate. In normal, healthy, family relations, grandparents are not a part of the child's everyday existence. They don't have any business using their grandparents against their parents.

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answers from Fargo on

Hi T.!
Her parents have the right to make that decision, and since not one of us were in the home, we can't judge whether it's appropriate or not.

Your granddaughter needs to learn to respect her parents. One week, in the scope of things, isn't very long. I hope you and your wife make the decision to support the parents even if you don't "agree" with the punishment. They are the parents and as long as they are not doing anything abusive, it's their call.

The week will fly by, and hopefully your granddaughter will have learned how NOT to speak to her parents.


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answers from Sacramento on

I doubt that it was an effective punishment, and it likely hurt you more than it did your granddaughter. As others have said, it is the choice of the parents, not you. However I think dealing directly with the way she talked back, not expressly what she said, would have been much more effective. I would probably have had her sit out for a time, then had a good talk with her about the proper ways to express frustration. Yes, even though she was being reprimanded for another - unnamed - misbehavior, the child was frustrated with her parents and lashed out in a manner that is fairly typical for a young child. This was a prime time for the parents to teach her some vital ways to appropriately deal with frustration (which she will experience throughout her life) but I don't think parents lashing back with a prohibition on visiting the grandparents was an effective way to teach this important life skill to her.

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answers from San Francisco on

Indirectly mother punished herself as it is not going to make her daughter love her or respect her. The daughter is going to harbor more resentment with her mother. Harsher the punishment to child, bigger the distance between parents and child. Parents can make a child obey with parental power but they can't teach the right values this way. Teaching respect, care, consideration, and good manners requires modelling such behavior. Rather than addressing the issue at hand by showing respect to her child and listening to her feelings, mother manipulated the child to get back at her the same way. The message she gave to her daughter is that I have power over you and you live by my rules or else. The daughter gets the message that 'you can force me to do what you want but just wait and see when I grow up' or her spirit will be broken. Either way, it causes damage to their relationship. Unfortunately, you can't make the child's mother chose what is right or wrong. All you can do is that you can express your feelings by talking respectully to her and asking her if she has any concerns with you.

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answers from Williamsport on

It's not what we personally would have used (not firm enough-she probably had a fine time at home) and her saying she wanted to live with grandparents wasn't bad, it was cute, it's the talking back that was bad. Time will tell if this is effective. Since technically she was talking back, she needed a firm immediate consequence for that which is consistent at all other times, not something relying on what she said this time, which will be something different next time....and denying kids experiences with loved ones is never good for them in my opinion when something firmer and faster would have worked better...but aside from that:

As a grandparent, you have to let families do what they will do. I'm having this battle big time with my in laws who feel entitled to the kids in many ways. I know it will be hard when I'm a grandparent to stand back and let my kids handle their kids without me, but I'm very thankful for the grandparents on my side who are very "what mom and dad say GOES" realizing that parents have the final say. If you are gracious about letting the mom "win" this one, she'll be less likely to do it again in the future. She'll be more likely to realize it was unfair to you and not really the best choice.

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answers from Fresno on

I am sure there are a lot of things at play here, but going with limited information, my first thought is that the mom let her emotions (jealousy?) get the better of her and made a snap decision to strike where she thought it would hurt most. unfortunate.
A week of any type of punishment (grounding) for a 6 yr old sounds tough, regardless of the initial transgression. just my opinion.
However, I must admit I just recently cancelled plans to take my daughter to see grandma (my mom) because she was having a snowballing bad-behavior day. But these other things factor in: I called my mom and told her and she generally backs me on these things. also, she is local and we see her 2-3 times a week. And I felt that it was an appropriate consequnece (losing something fun) and did not think that I was "denying her access to people she loves" because it was short-term and she knew that we would be seeing grandma soon after so I wasn't taking grandma away from her, just her fun-time.
If you can find a way to let your grand-daughter know that you love her, but that her words towards her mom were hurtful and that she needs to follow Mom's rules, and that running away to your house is not an option or a solution, maybe that will make the mom feel that you are on her side or at least not working against her. It might help in the future.



answers from Atlanta on

Well I don't think that was fair to Grandma and Grandpa. Clearly there are other punishments in place but what are you going to do about it? It's difficult to tell a parent that their technique is wrong or should have been handled different. No parent likes to be told that and only causes them to become defensive no matter how it is presented to them.


answers from Dover on

No, that seems like a weird way to punish a kid.

The first pediatrician I ever went to when my kids were first born gave me a great piece of advice that I've never forgotten: when you need to punish your child make absolutely positively sure you are not also punishing yourself at the same time. For example, if it's been raining for the last 4 days & today it's sunny, all anyone wants to do is get out of the house & go to the park. If Tommy acts up in the morning while you're getting him ready & your first response is, "We're not going to the park today at all if that's how you're going to act!" then you're stuck in the house as well on the first sunny day in a while.

I think your son & wife (or daughter & husband, whichever) were trying to find a punishment that had to do with what she SAID rather than the actual crime, which was nothing more than hurting their feelings when she was being reprimanded. In all honesty, it sounds like an immature punishment for them to have given her in the first place.



answers from San Francisco on

Sounds childish and totally unappropriate it has nothing to do with the grandparents.


answers from Chicago on

No, it's not an appropriate punishment, but there isn't a thing you can do about it.


answers from Houston on

Sounds good to me, especially if she's been having other attitude problems. Obviously you see each other frequently. Now, if a summer trip to a far away grandparents house was canceled, then I would say it would be a little cruel, but this isn't the case and I think her mother acted appropriately.

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