There is more to GD than time-outs and easy talking. A LOT more.
It's never too late to educate yourself, Tgerk. Even Grandmas from the good ol' days can learn how to be respectful and nurturing to small children and let go of antiquated notions that a child should be a submissive empty box for the public school system to fill with indoctrinated propaganda of the state.
Most of the mothers here at MDC want more for their children than for them to become mindless bricks in the proverbial wall.
If that is not the life you envision for your grandson, if indeed you think he would be most happy spending his life going through the motions and toeing the line, then by all means find a support group to help you convince your daughter that despotic discipline is best. I have an inkling you want more for that little boy and his mother, and that's why you came here.
What I really sense is a feeling of distress for your Daughter who is working so hard to give that little boy love, who is probably burnt out as a single mom (BTW there is a single mom forum here, you may want to lurk there, or guide your DD there?), and who is running out of emotional energy, and you think this little boy is taking advantage and being disrespectful to your beloved baby girl. Is that close? I think that is a natural reaction and one of the reasons grandparents struggle to not get involved. Even when your children are grown and in their own homes they are still your babies, and your mama bear instincts still rage at the thought of someone hurting or abusing your little angels. Even if that someone is a grandchild and very much loved by you themselves.
I don't know what to say for you on that point, because it must be terribly hard, and I have no experience as my children are quite young (Is that perhaps what you mean by young mothers, as in their journey as a mother is still quite young?) I think finding a group of other grandma's (grandmothering.com?) with whom you can commiserate is a good idea...my mom might join. She is forever telling me how I spoil my kids and let them abuse me and use me...I just don't see it that way and it's my choice. That is the mother *I CHOOSE* to be. Like letting go of your child when they are a teenager and they choose the wrong friends, bad music, crazy hairstyles and horrible boyfriends, you kind of have to let them take their own journey and yet still find it in your heart to hold them in your arms and take them back when everything goes awry resisting the irresistible urge to say "I told you so."
Your job as Grandma, as I see it, is primarily not to protect your daughter anymore, but rather to love that little boy rotten. Sneak him gummy bears, kiss his forehead, and make the best danged chicken soup a boy ever had. That's it. You don't need to worry about rules and control (beyond protecting yourself and your belongings, of course). You need to worry about all the fun parts of parenting and let your daughter take the role of disciplinarian. Because it sounds like for her that means gentle guidance and trust. It does sound though like she needs better tools and better books. There are some great recs here on this forum, and some excellent mamas who have seen it all from docile to crazy strong willed, and made it out alive with perfectly lovely children. You don't need to be bossy and aggressive to have well-behaved kids, even really strong willed ones. I have two of them, and they are coming out pretty great, if I do say so myself.
To address the idea of making them know so much, I do not think we as parents make our kids know more. Children are natural scientists and parents who foster that and provide space for creative exploration are allowing kids to be kids. School's a great place to learn reading, and maths and how to wait in line, or wait to be heard, but they are hardly a place to learn about how to think creatively or solve problems. That comes from home. Well at least that's the sort of home I try to create.
I empathize with you. It must be heart wrenching to watch your daughter make parenting choices you think are too much for her to handle. These are her choices. Rather than struggle to find a way to change her bahvior, or control a small child to be a "better kid", try to find another way to meet your need to know the person you love is okay (perfectly valid need). Maybe you could write her a loving letter, take her for a spa day, treat her to a mani-pedi girl's day, or just share your feelings of fear with her over a cup of tea and sympathy. You might find she is doing okay and likes the choices she has made and feels good about it. You might find she just needs you to be her friend for a little while...at that point you have to just let go and let her follow her own journey as a mom. That's just my 2 cents.
Edited by hakeber - 8/13/11 at 2:23pm