Grandparenting/Absent Grandparents


Hi Debbie,
I have a problem with my very selfish and clueless parents who will not follow my rules as they pertain to my four month old son. The rules are simple. They must both get TDap vaccinations. They are both smokers, so they must wear fresh clothes and wash their hands before touching my baby. I told them this while I was pregnant and I also explained that after the baby was born, I could not take him to visit at their house because they smoke in it. These are just common sense rules that I laid down for my baby's health and safety, but they just don't get it.

They did not come to the hospital when I gave birth. When I asked my mother to help me at home during for the first week, she said she was busy! They don't even call to see how we're doing and they have never laid eyes on my son. It is like they have disowned us and we don't exist! It really hurts my feelings that they are so uninvolved. My friends' parents are nothing like this and they can't believe it when I tell them how my parents are.

Hi Sharon,
I'm sorry you are having issues with your parents.  I guess you are at a point where you have to choose your battles.  Your parents are giving you what you asked for, in that they choose NOT to comply with your request and as such, have decided they are not welcome at this time.  Perhaps, as the baby gets older and stronger, you might make other considerations.  

I grew up with a smoker in our family too.  Our kids, and my husband would get terrible migraine headaches when exposed to the smoke in heavy concentrations.  When I met my husband, I didn't want him to know my father smoked and I would meet him at the door when he came to pick me up.  Finally, after a few weeks of dating, my "true confession" came out.  He smiled and said, "I've known your father smoked since I started dating you.  You smell like smoke."  I had no idea!  I tried to be so clean.  No matter how clean and fresh my clothes were, they still smelled like smoke.  Babies, can handle that.  It's just a matter of whether or not we can.  It's the actual second hand smoke that makes the difference.  My father never smoked around us.  HOWEVER, when we went to dinner, (and smoking was allowed in the restaurants) he did smoke, therefore, we chose to sit at a different table.  That really bugged my mom, but our health was more important.

I didn't have issues with clothing because I knew how clean I tried to be.  Again, choose your battles because you get the consequences, intended or unintended.  It's not that your parents don't love you or want to be with their grandchild, but they have been limited to the amount of personal attention they can give and holding the new baby is one of the great grandparental pleasures.


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Debbie Preece


I answer all kinds of grandparenting questions, give ideas on how to interact and be a positive influence with grandchildren ages 3-12.


I have raised three children who are now raising 11 of my grandchildren. Everyone should have the experience of being a Grandparent before they are a Parent,it is so much more fun! I live in the area of 5 of my grandchildren and I have experience teaching them how to cook, clean up after themselves and give happy, first time obedience. This flows over into their own homes and often helps with relations between the in-laws. I have experience using The Happy Face Token System and offer ideas for variations and adaptations with the token economy concept.

From Combat Zone to Love at Home: The Happy Face Token System

Raised three happy and healthy children who are now raising children.

Past/Present Clients
"I've listened to the [CD]and read the book,and really got a lot of ideas. I already use sort of the same system but I call it "Nana Bucks". The kids get paid for good behavior, chores, etc. Seems to work but I'm incorporating some more of your ideas in it."

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