One of the things I am well aware of regarding being a grandmother is the fact that I cannot interfere at all in the way my grandchildren are brought up. I remember bringing my son home from hospital for the first time in 1982, and my mother-in-law ringing me to say that if she lived any nearer, then she would be round every day to interfere. I thanked my lucky stars that we lived 150 miles away, and that my own mother was still working at the time.
Mindful of my thoughts in 1982, I let my sons and daughters-in-law get on with the task of raising their children, but when speaking to my husband’s sister at the weekend, who is also a grandmother, we bemoaned the fact that we cannot speak out when we see our children making mistakes. We both agreed that we would lose the love and respect of our own children if we came down too heavy-handed on what we see as blatant mistakes in their child-rearing practises.
My eldest son has a daughter who is 8 years old and has been terribly overweight all her life. I can see a mountain of problems for her as an adult if her weight keeps rising. When we have her to stay she complains constantly that she is hungry, but will only eat junk food which she always announces is delicious. I always cook lean meat, fresh vegetables or salads, none of which she will eat. I try and give her fruit snacks, but she is not keen on those either and doesn’t want to listen to any advice I give her on healthy eating. She has a chronic sugar addiction and craves sweets, chocolate, crisps, chips, burgers and cheese. The large amount of cheese she has eaten in 8 years will probably have already started affecting her arteries.
Thinking along a different tack, we bought her a kite to encourage her to run, but that didn’t work either. She is too used to sitting in front of the TV and her legs are not very strong. Apart from talking to our son about her, which we are loathe to do, we as grandparents can do nothing. Our son is out working all day, is often home late, and has next to no input in what the family eats. Our daughter-in-law’s parents see nothing wrong with giving our granddaughter whatever she wants to eat, and so the little girl is getting two conflicting points of view whenever she stays with either set of grandparents. Our daughter-in -law of course goes along with how her parents brought her up, and also has the same sugar addiction.
What would you do? Sit on it or say something? It’s a tricky situation, but I’m thinking ahead of diabetes, painful joints, and possibly endometriosis, as it’s a known fact that fat cells store oestrogen. My daughter-in-law’s sister is hugely overweight and suffers from all these conditions, but now in her early thirties she is at last trying to lose weight and so far has lost 3 stones and is still motivated.
We want the best for our granddaughter and don’t want her to suffer these illnesses when it is so easy to rectify the problem now with a healthy diet. The poor child is storing up trouble for later life and she has no idea of this fact. Hey ho, I suppose we have to hope that one day she finds the motivation to follow in her aunt’s footsteps…