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Susan Adcox

Grandmother's Actions Lead to Rockergate

By July 14, 2012

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After I wrote about whether grandparents have the right to spoil their grandchildren, I heard from a grandmother whose indulgence sparked a reaction that most would regard as severe. I call the incident Rockergate.

The grandmother is a long-distance grandparent, so she doesn't see her granddaughter often. When she does visit, she stays for several days andgets to babysit during the day while the parents are at work. The baby's parentshave very definite ideas about child-rearing. The granddaughter has been taught to self-soothe and to go to sleep by herself. One afternoon during the grandmother's most recent visit, when it was time forthe baby'snap, the grandmother couldn't resistthe rocking chair and ended up rocking the baby to sleep. That night, when her parents tried to put her in her crib, the baby screamedand pointed toward the rocking chair. That led the mother to ask the grandmother, "What have you done to my baby?" A full confession followed, with the result that the grandmother wasn't invited for a visit for months. She now has a trip scheduled, but has been toldthat she's on probation.

There are several ways to look at this situation. Most grandparents will think that the punishment was too harsh for the "crime." The bottom line is, however, that the parents asked that naptime be handled in a certain way, and the grandmother didn't respect their wishes.

What do you think about Rockergate? Was the parents' reaction extreme or totally justified? Leave a comment below.

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July 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm
(1) Kimberly says:

To live in a time where diversity is supposedly respected, it surely doesn’t apply to grandparents. This is a case, to my notion, of legalistic behavior on the part of the parents. Do they have the “right?” Sure they do. Does that make it right? Absolutely not. We are not bringing up children in a world where everything will done perfectly. Allowing their formative years to pass with the notion that there is only one way to do things is setting up a child for failure. Many times I tell my grandchildren how great it is to have so many different people in their lives who show them so many lifeways. Just because they aren’t my ways doesn’t mean they are wrong ways. Why not just say to sweet little baby and that poor grandma, “How wonderful for you to have a had a change today, but bedtime rules with Mommy and Daddy stay the same.”

July 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm
(2) Laurie says:

Only one of my three children was easy to get to sleep. Now 11, he is still the first one to bed!

Maybe these parents had spent months trying to get this kid to self-soothe. Maybe they were both exhausted, so they had a lot invested in this process. After all, you can’t go to bed unless the kid does!

That being said, banishing grandma seems really extreme for a first offense. Even if mom lost her temper in the moment, you’d think after a couple of days the parents could put the incident in perspective.

Unless this was actually part of a pattern of ignoring the parents’ wishes, grandma’s punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime.

July 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm
(3) Mari says:

I agree with the previous posters. There are many worse things than rocking a child to sleep. One of them is “banning” a parent and putting her on “probation” for 6 months. What is she, a convicted felon? OMG when I think of what my in-laws did, smoking and drinking around the baby, blowing second-hand smoke around the house, feeding chicken bones to the dog. That’s behavior you ban and respond strongly to. Other behaviors such as not fastening seat belts, feeding forbidden foods, and behaviors that jeopardize health or safety certainly should result in sanctions. Safety first. However, a preferred way of putting kids to sleep so that they learn to self-soothe? Is there any evidence that this works better than rocking? Or is this just a theory?

Maybe there is more to this than meets the eye, but on the surface, it appears that mutual trust and respect, perhaps even love, aren’t present in this relationship. Well, if I were this grandmother, I’d save my money, skip babysitting for the kids, go out to Vegas with some girlfriends and enjoy!!!

July 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm
(4) Naomi says:

What did they have a rocking chair for then? I have sweet memories of rocking my grandchildren to sleep and my grandchildren love the memory. Who raised those parents anyway? I appreciate the comments of Kimberly****, Laurie*** and Mari**. I have just recently retired from working as a nurse and I know tired! Rocking my own children to sleep was great for them and me then and now I hope it soothes not only the grandchildren but also the parents. SO if that is not appreciated let them find someone they trust more than me to do the job or relax and enjoy themselves all the more because they are not in any danger with your own parents when the worst thing is rocking the little ones to sleep………

July 19, 2012 at 7:17 pm
(5) Joyce says:

Good Grief! – on both issues presented here! “Self-soothing?” Give me a break! The picture that comes to mind is from chapter one in my college Intro to Psych book – the pathetic baby monkey clinging to his wire form “mommy” with 2 metal eyes attached. That monkey was also a “self-soother” – before he grew up to be a primate sociopath!
How sad for that little grandbaby to point at the rocker and cry. He/she had one fleeting experience with ageless, natural human comfort and craved to enjoy it again. Exhausted parents? Boo hoo! Try treating grandma with respect and maybe she’ll come more often to help you! Where do these people come from? My mother spent nights at our house for the first month so we could get a good night’s sleep and enjoy our babies during the day. I do the same for my daughters now. Never mind the baby shower gluttony. That service is the best gift anyone could ever give a new mother and father. And at least in our family, no one ever gets quizzed in the morning over how many times the rocker was used. We just say, “Thank you, grandma, what would we do without you?”

July 19, 2012 at 7:51 pm
(6) Sally Kabak says:

I can picture the grandmother sitting in a rocking chair rocking her beautiful grandbaby to sleep and the joy the grandmother must have felt was quickly dashed by the unfair reactions of the parents. Ok she broke the parents rules but did it warrant denying her access for months, absolutely not. Should the grandmother be put on probation, absolutely not. The parents have totally over-reacted, they should be grateful to have such a caring loving grandmother who travels out to see them,

Little ones shouldn’t have to self-soothe they need cuddles to ease their discomfort/distress. Perhaps the parents need to take a hard look at their parenting skills and reflect on what they are doing to their own child.

July 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm
(7) Sue says:

I agree with all the comments listed. These parents need to relax! Actually Grandma got off easily though……….my Daughter-in-law got mad at me the first time she saw me and I haven’t seen one of my grandsons since he was about 8 months old (he’s now in second grade) and I’ve never seen my younger grandson!

July 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm
(8) Amanda says:

We are denied-contact grandparents who have had to take my own daughter to court for a very similar story. We have spent 7,500 so far and are due back again next month. My daughter says we spoil our grandson and stopped us seeing him for 6 weeks the first time, 4 months the 2nd. We won in court but still only see him for 7 hrs every 3 weeks. He is 3 tomorrow and now finds things not quite right between his parents and grandparents. My daughter did admit to being jealous that he seems to prefer his grandparents to her, which I find childish, but I tried to reassure her that it was the same for me and her grandparents, which it wasn’t. I had the greatest respect for my late mother and trusted her judgment, unlike my daughter, who has no respect for anyone and treats my grandson abysmally, although I have to go along with their rules now. This saga has been going on for a year, and I cannot see an end to it.

July 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm
(9) b says:

I think that we all make decision that we regret and we regret them for different reasons. In this case, the grandmother will never forget rocking that child to sleep. It will comfort her in some rough times. The reason she regrets the error is because of her children anger. A simple explanation to the grandmother about “what happened next” probably would have been enough. After all, what grandmother wants her grandchild to be miserable at bedtime because of something she did?



July 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm
(10) Mary says:

The parents definitely over-reacted. It is understandable for the grandmother as she does not see her grandchild very often and just wants to hold and love the child. Why would you so severely punish someone who just wants to love your child?

July 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm
(11) Phyllis George says:

Totally unjustified

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