'My granddaughter is a spoilt brat': a frustrated grandma's week-long nightmare

This grandmother loves her granddaughter. But after the three-year-old stayed with her for a week, she's not sure she likes the little girl very much. She shares her story with YOU – and she wants your advice.

"I’d like to share how a grandchild can disrupt your life. I hope other grandmothers and grandfathers will be able to give some advice, because I believe this is a fairly common problem grandparents experience with their grandchildren – who really should be a pleasure to be with and not a nightmare.

Recently my granddaughter came to visit me and my husband. She’s now nearly four. We had to borrow a trailer because she has lots of things that must come with and grandpa’s vehicle’s boot is too small for all her necessities.

First all the toys are loaded – two crates full, and then there’s the trampoline. Then there’s another crate with storybooks, colouring-in books and crayons. Next are two suitcases with clothes and her “blankie” without which she won’t go to sleep. There’s also a case full of DVDs and a bigger one full of medicine. And more bags with cookies and sweets.

Finally there’s an entire rulebook: this must happen at six o’clock and that at eight o’clock; at exactly 10 she must get a snack, and so on. There’s Day One’s educational game, Day Two’s and so on.

All this for just one week’s visit.

I wonder if I should write it all down in a notebook but I hope I remember it all, in the right order.

The portable DVD player is mounted on the seat so she won’t be too traumatised by the three-hour journey, and finally we hit the road. After a packet of chips (distributed all over the seat) and an organic juice, half of which also ends up on the seat, she mercifully falls asleep.

At home a kind of nightmare begins. Even before we’ve unloaded the trailer she’s demanding to watch a DVD. She screams our otherwise calm roof off its foundations because grandpa’s taking too long to unload. Once the DVD case is unpacked a half-hour long search for the right movie follows, which turns out to be an extremely difficult choice.

From day one she issues command after command at grandma and grandpa: she wants cookies NOW; she wants chips NOW. We soon learn to give her whatever she wants otherwise there’s a temper tantrum.

And for the whole week there’s no eating at the table because at her home they eat in front of the TV. And speaking of the TV: the sound must be loud otherwise she stamps her feet and complains, “I can’t hear!”

The entire week everything is done on her terms and according to her wishes. She doesn’t eat this, she doesn’t eat that, food and drinks are messed everywhere.

We’re exhausted, dejected and shamelessly delighted when she finally goes home.

What has changed in our society? Do parents no longer teach their kids manners, including table manners?

In our experience children listened to their parents and not the other way around. These days kids get exactly what they want: too many toys and sweets and their own way way too often.

And don’t even think of forgetting their birthdays: they go large, very large. Gone are the days of a nice party at home with snacks made by mom. Now grandma and grandpa must buy all kinds of expensive things they can’t afford.

No really, I think parents should go for marriage counselling before the wedding to learn about raising children.

I’d love to hear from you.

-Despondent Grandma

 To share your story, experience or advice, email us on web@you.co.za.