- She smothered her own children.
- She had a dysfunctional relationship with her spouse.
- She fulfilled her emotional needs through her children.
- She couldn't maintain a healthy relationship with her daughter as her daughter grew into an adult.
- She has major insecurities.
- Lacks ability to be close to other adults.
- Takes over for the mother and overrides her. Often.
- The line that grandma knows more most likely came from grandma -- she may be working very systematically to undermine parents.
- Cannot admit when wrong, which shows she doesn't accept responsibility for own actions.
- Dad thinks that grandma is a nut case and doesn't want his child left alone with her.
- Mom is uncomfortable with the affect that spending time with her has on child.
The advice on mothering is general to listen to your gut, and both parents' gut level feeling is that the situation is unhealthy for their child. The question was how to go about talking to the crazy grandma, not whether or not the grandma was crazy.
My advice was to set clear boundaries, and I stand by it. It's solid advice for any parent when dealing with any other adult whose interactions with your child make you uncomfortable.
You know...after my first post, I found myself wondering why I'd reacted the way I had (I'm well aware that there are many grandparents who are nothing like my late grandmother). But, this really addresses that. I didn't note most of this consciously, but I think these factors all played into my reaction - just a general feeling that the grandmother is using the grandchild to fill her own emotional needs, which bothers me.
I remember a restaurant family dinner with my grandparents when I was about 14. After dinner, grandma gave me a hug goodbye...and wouldn't let go. She had a death grip on me, and it honestly freaked me out. I think that moment crystallized all my issues with her...kind of an epiphany. If I bruised more easily, I think she'd have left bruises. The grandma in the OP just pushed my buttons.