Tough Talking Grandmother advises eighteen month old to "man up"

I have a problem and I'm not sure how to handle it.

MB's mother and father live about 4 hours away, so they aren't around every day but they do come around fairly often, it usually ends up being once a month for a long weekend.

The grandparents are probably in their late 50s early 60s, and neither one likes the 18 month old baby. They love the 5yr old but they can't stand the baby and they make it very well known and I'm not sure how to address it.

Grandfather totally ignores the youngest. When the baby tries to go over to him he engrosses himself in his Ipad and ignores the child. It sounds silly but I think grandpa actually pinched or hurt the baby. The baby crawled up on the couch and grandfather wasn't sitting all the way up against the back of the couch. All of a sudden baby starts screaming, and it's the I'm hurt cry. The baby is right behind grandpa and he ignores it! I run over there and pick the baby up and start asking what happened and grandpa continues to ignore me and the baby. Finally gramps says Ohh he's just mad. Ok I've had this baby since the day he was born, that was not a mad cry. That was a hurt cry but I let it go. I didn't strip the baby down to see if he had a mark and I just let that incident go

Then the next day in front of the baby grandma says that grandpa doesn't like the baby and tells me the baby dumped a cup of water out under the table. I just half smiled and walked away. Later when thinking about that incident I realized that if they had been watching the baby he wouldn't have been under the table and he wouldn't have had a cup of water to spill in the first place.

Well they went home but not before I heard about 4 more times that grandpa didn't like the baby....and keep in mind this is all said in front of the baby.

Grandma is back now without grandpa but now I'm concerned about her. Yesterday the kids were sitting down for snack and the oldest told grandmother she wanted a manicure and pedicure while pointing at her fingers. Naturally the baby points at his fingers so I engage him. I ask him if he wants a manicure and pedicure just like his big sister. He just smiles and then grandmother says "Oh no that's for sissys, you don't need a manicure, you're a boy." I looked at the baby and said "ohh painting your nails won't turn you gay" and then I picked up the baby and left the room.

This morning at breakfast I put the baby in the high chair and went to fix his breakfast and he started crying. It was a temper tantrum because he wanted to go run around, he didn't want to eat but when he throws temper tantrums I just ignore it. He only cries for a few moments and then stops. Well grandmother looks at him and tells him to "Man up. Come on, Man up" This time those comments were in front of both parents and neither one said anything or ever looked shocked.

Thankfully an 18 month old has no clue what man up means but one day he will. Besides the fact that crying is developmentally appropriate. He's 18 months old! He's supposed to cry, he's supposed to throw temper tantrums. He's still learning how to communicate.

I need to say something because one day those kind of comments are going to affect him, but how? What do I say to mom because this is HER mother. In the past when I've told her things about what her friends do to the kids she brushes me off so what can I say to her now?


Be Their Voice said...

I'm sorry I don't have more time to say more because I'm leaving for work, but this posting bothered me enough to write my first brief reaction: If you suspect physical abuse, which pinching certainly is, it is your duty to dress the child down and check. As far as the emotional abuse, while it is directed only toward the 18 month old, the five year old is certainly witnessing it. Don't let her develop thinking this is the norm and that the other adults present accept it. All around, something needs to be discussed with the parents here. You are the children's advocate. It is your job to speak up for the little ones. Please.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Unfortunately it seems neither the grandparents nor the parents seem to want to advocate for this precious baby. They seem so detached from her. I don't understand why they would favor the oldest child. Anyway, people are strange and this family is the definition of that word.
I would check the body for any physical marks and then report them accordingly. Perhaps you can take pictures as well if you see any marks.
You sound like a great Nanny. I wish you could adopt this child because it sounds like you love the child more than her own family.
I guess blood is not thicker than water.

Phoenix said...

Grandpa will more than likely like him when he's older. It may be that grandpa never raised his own babies and that is how he handles it. He may just be uncomfortable and not know what to do. I think you shouldn't say anything. You may insult the parents. If my parents behavior was brought to my attention by someone outside the family I would immediatly get defensive even if the bahavior was wrong.
Leave it alone it will correct itself eventually.

another nanny said...

I find this whole thing bizarre and sad, but I don't think you'll be able to change it. Maybe Grandma and Grandpa raised kids old school with very strict gender roles as well as "children should be seen and not heard" and all that. Maybe when their kids were small, Grandpa had no part in caring for them (due to the strict roles) and/or maybe toddlers spent all their time in a playpen so they couldn't get into stuff.
Another thought that occurs to me...they are mom's parents. What if they don't really like dad, and the boy reminds them more of the dad so they take it out on him?

oh well said...

Well, I have had my share of crazy grandparents but I don't understand why the grandmother would need to make it known that her husband does not like the baby. What's the point? Not to mention that an 18-month-old understands much more than they can express... However, I am afraid there is little you can do about them, OP. I don't think confronting them or the mom would be helpful. Luckily, you are there for the kids, and they will know whom to trust sooner than you think.

Be Their Voice said...

I am extremely bothered by the responses that nothing can be done. So you offend the parents? So they think children should be seen and not heard? Just wait until the baby grows up and things will be better? At what cost? In a profession where there are young children being cared for (whether a nanny, teacher, pediatrician, etc) it is your obligation to assure that they are being treated well. As well as a human obligation. These adults need to be reported if in fact there is bodily harm. The emotional harm? Well, sadly, hard to prove. But still it needs to be addressed one on one. There is always a tactful, from the heart with courage and strength way to do it. No, it won't be easy or comfortable. But you will know you have done your part. When we decide to become nannies we agree to be the advocates of the children in our care.

Judy said...

I don't understand a grandparent that would say such things and in front of the child. The parents are not very good parents to let this continue. Man Up? to an 18 month baby? I would say something, do you really want to keep a job working for parents that have no concern for their little boys feelings? I would keep that kid away from those people and the next time they say they don't like him I would say ,yes,we know you have made your dislike for your grand son veru clearand I am sure he will remember this treatment when he gets older. The next time you think this creep grandfather has pinched this boy strip him down in front of him and let the creep know that you have proof of child abuse. Take a photo of it and tell the father when you can get him alone and show him the photo. Maybe because it is not his parent he will put a stop to this,
There is NO excuse for these peoples behavior ,it doesn't go away, it gets worse. Anyone who says to ignore this,and says it is going to go away is the same caliber as abusive Grand parennts.

Nanny nanny bo banny said...

How disturbing. What a crap situation with this wacko family. If the grandmother told me that the grandfather doesnt like the baby, I would look at her like she had 4 heads, and ask her what in God's name did that little baby ever do to him. What an a-hole of a grandparent.

MissMannah said...

I agree with another nanny that these people probably raised their children (your MomBoss) very old school and they probably will grow to like the baby in time, when he's more self-sufficient. MB probably hasn't done anything because she was raised by these people and she knows they don't really mean any harm. If you are certain there is physical abuse happening, you have to tell the parents--but you have to have proof, like a mark on the baby. You can also very casually bring up them saying Grandpa doesn't like him, but only after they've left and if you're pretty close to your MB. Maybe say something like "I heard your dad say several times that he doesn't like *name*. Is he just kidding around or just not a baby kind of guy?" See if she laughs it off or gets upset and then decide what should be done from there.

anon nanny said...

Anonymous said...
I was in a similiar situation...not with my own charge, but with my charge's 4-year-old neighbor. Her grandparents watch her while the parents work. They love her and that's obvious, but one day, I was in my charge's home and the windows were open as it was a nice day. I could hear the neighbor girl crying. I looked out the window and didn't see her. She kept wimpering so my charge and I went outside to look for her. She was in her grandparents car and the child locks were on so she couldn't get out. She apparently fell asleep there on the way home from preschool and the grandma jut left her sleeping in the car. I had to open the door to let her out. I also witnessed the grandma leave her home alone one time to go pick the older sibling up from school. It's a 5 minute trip, but still, you just can't leave a 4-year-old alone! I brought it up casually to the parents and they were upset and immediately went to speak to the grandparents about it.

It's a tough situation to be in, but you know what the right thing to do is! You can't let a child be injured or neglected. Period.

Mar 11, 2011 10:11:00 AM

repost for anonymous

when said...

i would understand because my cousin has 2 kids and one on the way 1 gets most of the attention and the other just plays alone on the swing and your situation is very tough you know so you shoud tell off your grandparents so they don't hurt your child any more because he is only 18 monthes old ya know

with all the wishes you get this figured out