Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

SamanthaCarter

Is it appropriate to have your homeschooled grandchildren sit with your aging spouse while you are away?

Recommended Posts

I’m honestly asking. My FIL thinks my kids can be asked to come over and sit with Their grandmother while he has things to do away from  home. He is retired. She has something like Addisons and could have an adrenal insufficiency episode at any moment. Part of me feels like they are overstepping, they can afford a sitter, my kids need to be home for school. The other part feels like this is what families do for each other, and to refuse sets a bad example to my children. What do you think? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How old are the grandkids? Keeping their grandmda company occasionally - sure, I consider that normal.

Being required to perform regular care tasks or medical intervention  - nope.

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would not have my kids, homeschooling or not, providing care for anyone who might have medical needs more extensive than “sit and chat with Granny so she’s not bored and lonely.” 
 

ive been faced with this situation and it’s a bad idea for lots of reasons for kids to be put in that situation.

i would allow the “sit and chat” stuff occasionally but not regularly. It would take place at “after school” type times. In other words, school would come first

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Confusing scenario.

Your kids are how old?

The in laws can afford a sitter for your kids? Or sitter for grandma?

How ill is grandma? How far away and how would kids get there?  Could grandma be dropped at your home when grandpa has to run errands?   Aside from potential adrenal crisis could she be a homeschooling helper?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't have a problem with an older teen essentially babysitting a grandparent for a few hours on occasion.  I would not be comfortable with a very young teen or elementary age kid doing so (any more than I would be comfortable with a kid that age being home alone.  

I would not be comfortable with it if the grandparent has specific needs such as help going potty or a complicated med schedule.  Those sorts of things are better handled by a live in or paid caregiver, not a teen who only visits a few times a month.

I would not be comfortable with it if it was something that was happening very often and/or was really interfering with the schooling.  

I think an older teen is probably capable of handling some of the most basic aspect of elder care, much like an older teen would be capable of babysitting a baby or a toddler.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've actually been faced with this circumstance. And made a poor choice, putting my 16 yo in a very awful situation. You have to balance the likelihood that the older person might have a medical thing while on the teen's "watch". Because even if the same thing would happen if an adult was there, you have to consider whether the teen can figure out what's going on, what to do about it, and if they can live with the guilt/what if's.

 Also, you have to deal with the possibility that the primary (or secondary) caregiver(s) might be miffed with the teen if something goes awry and teen doesn't respond very well. It's a LOT for an adult to deal with, so I don't know that I ever want one of my kids put in that position again. 

  • Like 8
  • Sad 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I’m prone to not give enough detail. FIL would be in the next town over for a few hours for three days. He thinks that if one kid would come each day for several hours (school hours) so that if something were to happen to her, they could call for help. The concern is a sudden drop in blood pressure, confusion, fainting. She is self sustaining, she doesn’t really need care, or even someone to keep her company.  Kids are 13, almost 11, and 8. No way I’m leaving the 8 year old on her day, I’ll stay for sure. I believe he thinks of each kid takes a day, it shouldn’t interfere with school. I also believe it will set a precedent. 

Edited by SamanthaCarter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nope. *If* something happened, I would not want kids that young to have to deal with it happening ‘on their watch’.  And school time is for doing school, so I agree with you about setting a precedent- not something you want to allow. 
 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 13 year old, maybe. If they understood that if there was a medical emergency the child would call 911, I'd be okay with that if it was just for a few hours.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even with the 13 year old, it would depend on how level headed and anxiety prone and mature that kid was.  And if they WANTED to do it.  I would not force a kid who did not want to do it and feel comfortable with that level of responsibility.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, SamanthaCarter said:

Sorry, I’m prone to not give enough detail. FIL would be in the next town over for a few hours for three days. He thinks that if one kid would come each day for several hours (school hours) so that if something were to happen to her, they could call for help. The concern is a sudden drop in blood pressure, confusion, fainting. She is self sustaining, she doesn’t really need care, or even someone to keep her company.  Kids are 13, almost 11, and 8. No way I’m leaving the 8 year old on her day, I’ll stay for sure. I believe he thinks of each kid takes a day, it shouldn’t interfere with school. I also believe it will set a precedent. 

I am not yet comfortable leaving my 11 year old home alone.  I certainly would not be ok having her home with an elderly person who cannot be home along.  

If your MIL and FIL live close enough that if something happened, you could get there quickly, then I really probably would not have a problem with the 13 yr old doing it.  A few hours a day, for a total of 3 days, that wouldn't bother me in terms of missing homeschooling.  I would send my kid with several books, probably some math sheets on something she needs practice on, and figure it would be a good thing for all.  

Now, if it was 3 days a week on an ongoing basis, that I would have a problem with.  But for 3 days one time, close enough that you could get there quickly (or FIL, depending on how close) that wouldn't really bother me.  

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, so this is less than two weeks away, possibly not enough time to find a sitter since they don’t have one set up. And no, there’s no money issue. I think I’ll just bring all three each day and do school there. Not ideal, but I’d feel better about it, and it sets no precedent of using the kids. ILs are not clueless, just maybe a little blind in this area, so likely he’ll feel badly that I felt the need to be there. I feel fairly confident they’ll get the subtext. If not, we’ll have a conversation. 

I just want to make sure I’m not being a jerk. 

Edited by SamanthaCarter
  • Like 17

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you felt okay with grandma being at your home that seems like it would be okay.  Unlikely to be an event and you’d be there if needed.  

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Pen said:

If you felt okay with grandma being at your home that seems like it would be okay.  Unlikely to be an event and you’d be there if needed.  

Duh! Thanks, I’ll suggest that! 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, SamanthaCarter said:

Okay, so this is less than two weeks away, possibly not enough time to find a sitter since they don’t have one set up. And no, there’s no money issue. I think I’ll just bring all three each day and do school there. Not ideal, but I’d feel better about it, and it sets no precedent of using the kids. ILs are not clueless, just maybe a little blind in this area, so likely he’ll feel badly that I felt the need to be there. I feel fairly confident they’ll get the subtext. If not, we’ll have a conversation. 

I just want to make sure I’m not being a jerk. 

 

You Being there with all kids would also be okay, but much easier to do school, deal with snacks, etc, at your own home probably.  And you would not lose time to ravel back and forth.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, SamanthaCarter said:

Okay, so this is less than two weeks away, possibly not enough time to find a sitter since they don’t have one set up. And no, there’s no money issue. I think I’ll just bring all three each day and do school there. Not ideal, but I’d feel better about it, and it sets no precedent of using the kids. ILs are not clueless, just maybe a little blind in this area, so likely he’ll feel badly that I felt the need to be there. I feel fairly confident they’ll get the subtext. If not, we’ll have a conversation. 

I just want to make sure I’m not being a jerk. 

Is this your FIL's new routine or is this just a temporary schedule? If this is temporary, then, ask him to drop off MIL at your house (or ask if your DH could go pick her up and drop her off) so that she feels safe and it reduces the hassle of 4 people + school supplies + whatever food and drink you need being transported back and forth for 3 days a week. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SamanthaCarter said:

I’m honestly asking. My FIL thinks my kids can be asked to come over and sit with Their grandmother while he has things to do away from  home. He is retired. She has something like Addisons and could have an adrenal insufficiency episode at any moment. Part of me feels like they are overstepping, they can afford a sitter, my kids need to be home for school. The other part feels like this is what families do for each other, and to refuse sets a bad example to my children. What do you think? 

 

Take the kids with you when you go visit outside of school hours. Visit with her, read to her, work a puzzle, do helpful things. That’s relationship. 

What your FIL is asking is a job for an adult old enough to recognize a need for and take responsibility for potentially activating EMS. He needs to hire a professional, unless you and/or your dh are willing to take a shift. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FIL has no real routine other than being accustomed to independence. MIL had an episode of super low blood pressure that had her in the ER last week, so he’s worried and afraid to leave her at all. She didn’t faint. She recognized the problem and let him know.

Dh helped her with her EMS alert on her Apple Watch that would ping dh, me and FIL if she called 911. But he’s still not okay with no human there. I just don’t know what’s reasonable here. 

Edited by SamanthaCarter
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not reasonable for the ages of these kids. If FIL is worried, he either needs to adjust his schedule or drop MIL off with you, a friend, etc. 

What is FIL needing to do out of town for 3 days that MIL can't come along? Medical stuff for FIL? Or is it hobby activities? Important appointments I am willing to work with, but "Have your kids babysit grandma while I toodle around with my friends" gets a hard no. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it’s sounds good either to invite MIL over or to do school there on the three days that are upcoming. If FIL is wanting this regularly and MIL is highly unlikely to have a real health emergency, it would be ok, but on your terms.
 

Since people know we homeschool they have a tendency to think we are available anytime during the day. Most family members try to be respectful of that time but don’t really know how. So I just tell them we aren’t available before noon on school days. I try not to be too rigid about it, but exceptions to that plan have to truly be exceptions. It makes it easier for me to say no when something comes up, because something is always coming up. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the grandma is still mentally with it, she might be able to help one child with a subject while you are working with others.  Or even could perhaps listen to reading by a child or help keep someone on task.  So it could perhaps work well—as long as you are the adult responsible in case of an emergency.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mentally, she’s great. Maybe a touch of depression from the health issues, because nobody expects at 67 to have the kinds of stuff she’s dealing with. I could give her some school jobs for sure. She’s not great overseeing it (because she thinks you just give a kid a checklist), but listening to reading and having her check a page of copywork would work. 

I’m going to bring her over here. You all helped me see the simple solution that was right in front of me. Thanks! 

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think everyone made good points and like your solution.

When talking to Grandpa, I would emphasize the worry about if something went really wrong with a child that young on their own, the stress and the regret if it wasn't handled well or even if it was handled well but there was a bad outcome and there was still guilt. 

If it is going to be a long term problem, he might want to look into eldercare babysitters and/or some kind of medical monitoring, smart watches and other things are probably getting almost good enough but there are probably specialty devices out there that are currently capable of monitoring and calling someone if there is a problem.

Edited by ElizabethB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, ElizabethB said:

I think everyone made good points and like your solution.

When talking to Grandpa, I would emphasize the worry about if something went really wrong with a child that young on their own, the stress and the regret if it wasn't handled well or even if it was handled well but there was a bad outcome and there was still guilt. 

If it is going to be a long term problem, he might want to look into eldercare babysitters and/or some kind of medical monitoring, smart watches and other things are probably getting almost good enough but there are probably specialty devices out there that are currently capable of monitoring and calling someone if there is a problem.

I am also not sure if the 13 year old wants to be the one responsible in this type of situation. So, it does not matter if the grandpa assumes that it is OK for one of the children to sit with grandma, given her health situation, but, the child has to consent (and the parent as well), though, ideally, the child should never be involved in decision making of this kind.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well....I know you already made your decision, but reading through....while I wouldn't leave the kids (even at 13, unless very mature and medically inclined) by themselves, I would ABSOLUTELY, without a doubt either go over there or bring her to your house.  Even if FIL went gambling / fishing / driving around for no reason.  That's what families do and spending time with grandparents is a gift to kids where I come from (unless, of course, it's a completely dysfunctional situation).  And I certainly wouldn't worry about "setting a precedent' - bc what's wrong with spending some time with grandmother weekly?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m not understanding.  If this is a one time thing that’s isn’t going to be a regular issue beyond these three days why can’t you and the kids take some time to help?  It’s essentially respite care for him so he can get a break from caregiving, and very normal in families with sick or otherwise incapacitated members.

I would not let my kids do it alone, but I would absolutely go over with them together and sit with her and keep her company to help him out.  Heck, doing it a few times a year in little chunks is not beyond the pale.   But I say that as someone who needs respite care and has family who does that for me whenever they are in town, including tomorrow afternoon. Sooo.... maybe I’m biased.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be okay with helping out, even if it meant taking a break from school, if it would be an occasional thing. I think I would all spend the days with her, either her house or yours, or maybe the 13yo with her. Probably not the 11yo, but maybe. My current 11yo would probably be okay with it; my 14yo would not have been comfortable as an 11yo in that situation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, SereneHome said:

And I certainly wouldn't worry about "setting a precedent' - bc what's wrong with spending some time with grandmother weekly?

I interpreted the comment about "setting a precendent" to mean that grandpa has a tendency to take advantage of favors, so op wants to proceed with caution.  I could be wrong. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

I interpreted the comment about "setting a precendent" to mean that grandpa has a tendency to take advantage of favors, so op wants to proceed with caution.  I could be wrong. 

May be you are right.  I just would hope that if my kids' grandparents ever wanted them to visit, for whatever reason, it wouldn't be seen as a burden. And i don't even like my IL"s!!! Just think that relationship between generations is really important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, SereneHome said:

May be you are right.  I just would hope that if my kids' grandparents ever wanted them to visit, for whatever reason, it wouldn't be seen as a burden. And i don't even like my IL"s!!! Just think that relationship between generations is really important.

 

Oh definitely! I would love for my kiddo to have a relationship with his grandparents like I had with mine. (I used to cut school to visit my grandparents, lol.  I really loved spending time with them).  Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out that way. Kiddo's grandparents are more like "What have you done for me lately?" type people, so requests for favors are scrutinized carefully.  

Edited by MissLemon
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, SamanthaCarter said:

Okay, so this is less than two weeks away, possibly not enough time to find a sitter since they don’t have one set up. And no, there’s no money issue. I think I’ll just bring all three each day and do school there. Not ideal, but I’d feel better about it, and it sets no precedent of using the kids. ILs are not clueless, just maybe a little blind in this area, so likely he’ll feel badly that I felt the need to be there. I feel fairly confident they’ll get the subtext. If not, we’ll have a conversation. 

I just want to make sure I’m not being a jerk. 

This is exactly how I’d handle it.  That way they see it’s not just you not wanting to help but genuinely uncomfortable with the scenario and hopefully to a rational person that helps them to realise it’s not an ongoing solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would let the older one or two, as a one-time thing.  They could bring some school work to do for that time period.

I think Granny needs one of those emergency call thingies though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

We've actually been faced with this circumstance. And made a poor choice, putting my 16 yo in a very awful situation. You have to balance the likelihood that the older person might have a medical thing while on the teen's "watch". Because even if the same thing would happen if an adult was there, you have to consider whether the teen can figure out what's going on, what to do about it, and if they can live with the guilt/what if's.

 Also, you have to deal with the possibility that the primary (or secondary) caregiver(s) might be miffed with the teen if something goes awry and teen doesn't respond very well. It's a LOT for an adult to deal with, so I don't know that I ever want one of my kids put in that position again. 

Ditto this. We have that exact scenario possibility right now with my MIL staying here. Someone suggested my son could do a shift, but I’m not comfortable with it for several reasons. If all that goes down is Grandma naps on the couch while Fox News drones on in the background, fine. But if something medical or psychological happens, it could be bad, bad, bad for all involved. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, SamanthaCarter said:

Okay, so this is less than two weeks away, possibly not enough time to find a sitter since they don’t have one set up. And no, there’s no money issue. I think I’ll just bring all three each day and do school there. Not ideal, but I’d feel better about it, and it sets no precedent of using the kids. ILs are not clueless, just maybe a little blind in this area, so likely he’ll feel badly that I felt the need to be there. I feel fairly confident they’ll get the subtext. If not, we’ll have a conversation. 

I just want to make sure I’m not being a jerk. 

No you are not being a jerk, you re being very helpful.  I agree with you completely. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, MissLemon said:

 

Oh definitely! I would love for my kiddo to have a relationship with his grandparents like I had with mine. (I used to cut school to visit my grandparents, lol.  I really loved spending time with them).  Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out that way. Kiddo's grandparents are more like "What have you done for me lately?" type people, so requests for favors are scrutinized carefully.  

Oh how so very sad 😞

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like you have a great solution for this time.

I wanted to add that in my family of origin, there was a conflict between generations about what kind of care grandchildren (female grandchildren, that is) should provide to grandparents. When I was in college I took care of my grandmother as a part-time job, buying her groceries, preparing all of her meals, taking her to appointments or church or to run errands, or sitting with her and having tea, when everything else was done. My 10+ hours a week meant she could stay in her home for several more years, and took some pressure off my dad and his brother. Two of her sisters thought I shouldn't be paid for any of it, and it caused a rift. 

If the requests keep coming and it feels like too much given your family's schedule, consider whether outdated assumptions about women's/children's work are part of the picture.

Amy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Quill said:

Ditto this. We have that exact scenario possibility right now with my MIL staying here. Someone suggested my son could do a shift, but I’m not comfortable with it for several reasons. If all that goes down is Grandma naps on the couch while Fox News drones on in the background, fine. But if something medical or psychological happens, it could be bad, bad, bad for all involved. 

 

In the time our medically fragile elder lived with us, our young teen was never left alone with the elder.  Odds were against something happening, but the consequences would have been awful, so not worth it. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, SamanthaCarter said:

Sorry, I’m prone to not give enough detail. FIL would be in the next town over for a few hours for three days. He thinks that if one kid would come each day for several hours (school hours) so that if something were to happen to her, they could call for help. The concern is a sudden drop in blood pressure, confusion, fainting. She is self sustaining, she doesn’t really need care, or even someone to keep her company.  Kids are 13, almost 11, and 8. No way I’m leaving the 8 year old on her day, I’ll stay for sure. I believe he thinks of each kid takes a day, it shouldn’t interfere with school. I also believe it will set a precedent. 

Given this information, no, I wouldn't have them do this. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...