Health & Family

Let Grandma cater to toddler if she likes

Q: My daughter is 33 months old and has been potty-trained for a year now. When my mom comes to visit, or when we go to her house, she still reads my daughter books while she goes and helps her do everything. Should I ignore this or should I insist that my daughter take care of herself? Mom also wants to sit or lie down with my daughter at nap or sleep time until she is asleep, which we haven't done for at least a year. All of this grates on my nerves, but I try not to say anything. My daughter can be needy, and it took a lot of work on our part to get her to this point. What do I make an issue out of and what do I leave alone?

On behalf of grandparents everywhere, I encourage you to look the other way when your mother does her “grandma thing.”

I can understand why it grates on you, but Mom is simply trying to maximize the time she has with your daughter. Her being a potty- and nap-sitter has caused no harm. Your daughter is old enough to understand that what she can expect from Grandma, she cannot expect from you.

You should be pleased that Grandma wants to share these special moments with your daughter. Then, in the unlikely event your daughter wants you to help with the potty or sit with her while she goes to sleep, you can simply point out that those are special things only grandparents are allowed to do. It's the rules.

Summer doldrums

Q: I don't allow my 13-year-old son to watch TV or play computer/video games during the summer. Outside of the occasional thing done with a friend, he doesn't seem to have any outside interests. He's smart, and a good kid, and in football at school.. His lack of interest in finding things to do bewilders me. When and how do I step in?

You are in grave danger of developing Magnificent Micromanaging Mom Syndrome, one symptom of which is an obsessive desire to create the perfect child.

The fact is, your son's lack of initiative is not causing problems in anyone's life. It's his problem to fix or not fix, and he has every right not to fix it.

The fact is, he's a good kid, smart, does well in school, and is sufficiently active during the school year. Count your lucky stars. Every day I communicate with parents who would give their eye teeth for a child whose only problem was summer doldrums.