Annie's Mailbox: Parenting skills questioned

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Dear Annie: My daughter, “Jennifer,” is 33 years old and has a 2-year-old child. Jennifer is generally a good mother, but she does two things that I question.

The first is that she forces my granddaughter to watch TV in the bedroom because Jennifer doesn’t like to watch children’s programs. She insists on watching her TV shows (some of which are quite violent) in the living room. I think she is missing out on watching her little girl sing and dance to her favorite shows.

The second is that she brings alcoholic beverages to the pool when she goes with my granddaughter. I am appalled by this and suggested she not drink when at the pool with the baby. She said everyone does it (not true) and as long as she doesn’t get “blasted,” everything will be fine. I have told her that she can get plastered anytime she wants, but not when her child is in the pool. I have taken my granddaughter swimming, and believe me, she has to be watched every second.

I am at my wits’ end about these problems. Jennifer has become very selfish. She is influenced by her friends who have children and do the same things. She thinks I’m a prude, which I am not. She tells me she can raise her child any way she wants. Any suggestions?

— Yulee, Fla.

Dear Yulee: It would be best if Jennifer supervised what her child watched and was available to explain things and encourage learning. Using the TV as a babysitter isn’t exemplary, but it isn’t horrible, provided she keeps an eye on the child to make sure she isn’t in trouble.

Your second problem is more acute. How much alcohol does Jennifer drink while her child plays in the pool? Are there lifeguards or other sober adults present? Does the child’s father know? Your daughter doesn’t sound like the most conscientious parent, but unfortunately, there is not much you can do if she doesn’t recognize the dangers of insufficient supervision. We hope she doesn’t have to experience a tragedy before she puts her child first.

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