Would you send your 1-year-old on a vacation for a week with your parents but w/out you? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 06:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a friend with a 1-year-old boy, not sure precisely how many months old but pretty newly walking, whose grandparents (the mom's parents) want to spend time with him. They don't live near these grandparents so they found this to be a solution.

I wouldn't have been able to do it because mine were still nursing frequently at that age, but this mom is no longer nursing her baby.

Honestly, even without nursing it seems really really young, and it's during the whole separation anxiety age. On the other hand, I do understand the grandparents wanting to spend time with their little grandson. And I think that grandparent/grandchild relationship is worth nurturing.

What do you think?
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#2 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 08:00 AM
 
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It truly depends on the baby. My nieces were spending 2 weeks at a time with their grandparents by age 2, something my own girls wouldn't make it through.
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#3 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 08:18 AM
 
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Just my 2 cents, I know it would have been too young for any of my kids. My kids were all still nursing, and even the one who weaned at close to a year and a half wouldn't been happy away from Mama for a week! Babies and toddlers need their Mamas for other things than nursing!

 

My husband works with a man who is on his second marriage and his wife has a baby every year (I think they are up to 4 now all under 6) and she sends them to Lithuania for a couple of months every summer starting in late infancy. I know my DH thinks this is kind of neglectful, as she's always complaining about "how much work" her kids are. I dunno. I seems to young to me.


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#4 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 08:41 AM
 
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no. That's too young for me.   


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#5 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 09:32 AM
 
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I think it depends on the child. I wouldn't send my four-year old on a weeks vacation with her Nana and Papa who she loves dearly and sees multiple times a week, but that is because she has a high level of need for her parents still. In contrast, when I was 2-6 I spent a week with my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother every year and I was always thrilled to go and never wanted to come home. So while 1 is quite young, I can easily imagine a 1-year old who would be perfectly happy and indeed enjoy it a great deal.


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#6 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 01:56 PM
 
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now i have to register :-) ok, tell your friend, that baby until 2 years of age would really grieve for its mother. if the child is very attached to her it could take longer time to let him go alone. the result probably would be that it will fear any moment she would leave for a while like she will never come back... for further information about child´s feeling at this stage see Attachment theory by John Bowlby.

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#7 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 01:57 PM
 
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I can't believe this.. Really I felt very sorry for the littles.

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#8 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 02:17 PM
 
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If Grandma was a more frequent part of their life to begin with it might work better... being with someone relatively unknown for that period of time would be confusing and scary for some children. 

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#9 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 02:41 PM
 
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I couldn't stand it but I can see how some parents/kids could.  My son was very attached to his grandparents from birth, they live nearby and he sees them frequently, and honestly he probably would have been fine at that age for at least a few days with them.  Not sure about any longer than that though. I would be worried though in this case that the grandparents haven't spent much time with the child from what you posted here, and 1 is still too young to understand time, "we'll be back later," etc. so seems like it could be traumatic for them, and if it does go badly what's their plan then?  It's not the same as with my inlaws where I could just drive five minutes away and get him if he had a hard time.  I just couldn't do it.

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#10 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 02:43 PM
 
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I had to have surgery when DD was 15 mo and she had to stay with her grandparents for 3 days.  Being away from her was possibly the most horrible thing I ever had to endure (much worse than the surgery).  When she came home she was actually shy with me at first and it broke my heart.  While the whole experience was traumatizing to me, DD did really well with her grandparents during the day.  She cried and missed me the most at bedtime.  But overall, if the surgery wouldn't have been necessary there is no way I would have been apart from her voluntarily at that age. 


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#11 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 03:04 PM
 
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No.  Operative word being "vacation"...No.  Weaned or not it is my opinion that unless of course there is some emergency that necessitates it, one is developmentally too young to be separated from momma for that long unless absolutely necessary.

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#12 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 03:08 PM
 
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Yes I would and I did. When dd was 15 mo, she traveled with dh to see our extended family overseas. Because of my work, I could only join them two weeks later. She had a great time, was spoiled and loved by two sets of grandparents, aunts and uncles. I pumped while I she was away, and she went back to nursing when we were reunited (she self-weaned many years later).

 

I think if the child is comfortable with the adults she is entrusted to it can be a very positive experience for everyone involved.

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#13 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 03:13 PM
 
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To me this sounds like a bad idea. To a degree something like this will depend on individual kids/parents, but if this is a solution to having time with the grandkids than that would suggest the grandparents are not a regular part of this childs life. a week is a long time for a one year old, even with relatives he or she knows well. To leave a one year old with relative strangers for an entire week sounds disastrous and possibly downright cruel. How about a family vacation where mom and dad and grandparents spend a week together?

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#14 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 04:42 PM
 
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@transylvania_mom  - is your avatar photo from Sighisoara by any chance? 

 

When I was little, I was raised mostly by my grandparents (now I don't remember the exact age when it started), as both my parents were working full-time jobs. I'd sometimes not see my parents for days and would spend weeks on end on summer vacations just with my grandparents. Same with my younger brother. While I'm sure we missed our parents (I can't remember that too much), I think we mostly missed our grandparents when the time came to go back home. We actually had "reversed separation anxiety." I remember that when I turned 7 years old and had to start school, I could no longer spend extended periods of time with my grandparents, so had to move back in with my parents permanently. I cried so much for days that I can't live without grandma, to the point that she had to move in with us for a while. 

 

While I wouldn't recommend it for 1 year olds, for toddlers and kindergarten kids I think it's actually a positive experience. My parents were both so busy making a living. We couldn't afford a nanny, nor did any nannies exist where I grew up. My grandmother was an educated retired woman with a lot of time on her hands, who took me to museums, to parks, to the library, read me books, taught me how to read and write, taught me basic vocabulary in 3 different languages and all that before starting school. 

 

Of course this is different from family to family, but in some parts of the world it is normal to leave your child for extended periods of time with the grandparents. 

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#15 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 05:21 PM
 
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Me personally??? HECK NO.


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#16 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 05:28 PM
 
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As a grandmother I wouldn't want my grandchilren to do this. If I couldn't go vist them or they couldn't come vist me with their mother then I would wait until they were older. I'm in this situation right now and haven't seen my 2 year old grandson in over a year. 


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#17 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 06:02 PM
 
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I actually have heard that child development experts think a child should not be separated for extended periods from their mother's until 3 years old.

I don't have any family that we could leave our kids with anyway so my 6 and 10 year old haven't been without me except for an occasional sleepover at a friends. I wouldn't if I could though until about 5 personally.

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#18 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 06:10 PM
 
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no way...I would not be able to do it.  I would not send my 6 & 10 yr olds away for a wk anywhere with anyone....call me over protective but I think little ones should be with their momma!!!

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#19 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 06:14 PM
 
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No, I wouldn't do it (emergencies are different of course). One is too young for either of my babies to have spent that long away from me (or their dad) and be ok with it, even with people they know well.

I agree that the grandparent relationship is important but if we couldn't travel and they couldn't travel then it would have to wait.

ETA - and indeed that is what we did for the first year and a half of my oldest DD's life. We or my parents travelled to see each other. And then they moved 5 minutes away for which we are extremely grateful and feel very blessed.

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#20 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 06:14 PM
 
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Not to be rude- but it is not your child and you don't know the grandparents and their level of nurturance and the mother has already stopped nursing, why is it anyone else's business.  I nurse my kids 'til two and their grandparents aren't suited for this type of vacation, but I know plenty of kids that are as comfortable with their grandparents as they are with their parents.  In light of all the real problems children face, this seems to be a perfectly healthy choice for many families.  


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#21 of 107 Old 11-12-2013, 06:32 PM
 
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I didn't see this thread as the OP looking for advice on how/whether to talk to the family she mentioned. I interpreted it as raising an interesting point for discussion.

I was left with my grandparents for 6 weeks when I was about 18 months old. They were people I knew well and saw often. I don't know how I responded. They have both died now and I imagine that they would have glossed over any trauma when talking to my parents. I do know that I cried at the airport when my grandparents left after delivering me back to my parents. I was left with the GPs while my parents drove 3000km to set up our new home/business in an isolated wilderness area. We lived in two tents for the first 6 months.

I doubt it is a choice I would make but DH and I do not have the same pioneering spirit my parents do. And they created a wonderful life for us and are now reaping the benefits themselves having self-funded their retirement at 46 & 50 years old.

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#22 of 107 Old 11-13-2013, 05:54 AM
 
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I wouldn't have done that and my daughter wouldn't have been happy if I had.  She saw my parents daily and still would've been very upset to have been left with them instead of me.  My husband traveled from work almost from the beginning and by the time she was a year old, those trips of his were really hard on her.  I can't imagine her "losing" both of us for a week.

 

My in laws live in another country and do not get to see my daughter often.  She doesn't really know them. IMO, if they want to see her, they can come to us or we can visit as a family but even now I'm not handing my daughter off to strangers for a week.  It doesn't matter that I know and trust them, she doesn't.

 

I can see how it might be necessary for one reason or another or if the child has a close relationship to the parents, but dropping them off with people who would be strangers to the child?  No.

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#23 of 107 Old 11-13-2013, 06:32 AM
 
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I'm hearing situations where people had been handed over to their grandparents, I'm guessing the GPs were loving people and took good care of the children:stillheart  Some of these people seem to see this as a positive thing, but most don't tend to remember their emotional state immediately after being left by their parents  in most families, it isn't optimal or common.  I don't see this as "common" anywhere in the world  that I know of for babies and toddlers who are usually still nursing at these ages. Maybe for preteens, in some situations, but I think when we are looking at optimal situations parents raise and take daily care of the children they chose to bring into the world.

 

I think it begs us to think of what are plans are when we plan our families and make the difficult decision to bring our OWN  children into the world! Are our children so much in the way that we need someone else to raise them for weeks, months or years at a time? In most families, I think this wouldn't be planned and I think most families and certainly most mothers would do anything to prevent situations where her children are being raised by someone else to the point where they experience Separation Anxiety when given back to the woman who bore them. It just sounds sad to me.

 

Perhaps some have histories where they see this as common, but I think in Optimal Family Situations most people would chose to avoid leaving their children due to having something better to do with their time than raise the children they brought into the world.

 

One of my close friends had this happen to her, she and her siblings were left with an aunt while her mother "pursued her dreams." The aunt was a violent alcoholic, already raising 6 and then 7 of her own children, my friend was put into the position at 8 and 9 years old to not only take care of the younger children, but to get up at night with both her aunt's and her teen age cousin's babies and formula feed and comfort them leaving her exhausted the next day and having to go through a school day on broken sleep.  She didn't see this situation as loving or caring. She saw her mother's actions as neglect, which I strongly agree it was.

 

My middle daughter's boyfriend has had similar situations. His mother had a job, which she chose that took her on a lot of travel. He says "My siblings and I were just dumped on whatever relatives would take us for months at a time. My mom evidently had better things to do with her time than care for us. My dad had a new family and at that point couldn't care less about us." He, also, sees these situations as neglect.

 

From what I have seen in my life, these situations and emotions are the norm for "relatives raising other people's children," not the exception.

 

Sorry, but I feel really strongly about people who DECIDE to have children pawning those kids off on someone else while they "pursue dreams" or whatever excuse they give. Perhaps in some situations the children see the situations as preferable to living with their own parents but I think that tells us a lot about the family structure they were in before they were given to someone else to be raised. Again, thinking about this makes me sad.

 

My parents were never "parents of the year" but they never gave me away for care for weeks or months at a time. I do remember staying overnight, one night at a time,  at my gramma's house when I was in grade school, but we had lived with her during my preschool age years, so we were quite close. It was NEVER more than one night, until I became a teenager and my cousins and I would stay with her after my grandfather died, her house was broken into and she was afraid to be alone for long weekends during vacations. But, that was our choice, and we were mostly grown.  (it was also a way for my boy cousins and I to be in a situation where we had much different supervision than we had with our parents, so we got pretty wild and our elderly grandmother was none the wiser.) My parents made the decision to live frugally (probably more than they had to) so that not only they could raise me, but so my mom could be home with me. I do admire them for that choice.

 

My father had a nervous breakdown when I was around 3 and it took him a long time to recover, he didn't work for 2 or 3 years,  and it would have been really easy for my parents to give my care over to my grandma or one of my aunts, using the excuse "V. is really sick and we need to get our lives together. Maggie being here is just a hassle so Gramma can have her until we're more stable and have an income." But, they chose NOT to do that to their child and struggle through as a complete family. I'm grateful for that.

 

Other people's mileage may vary.


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#24 of 107 Old 11-13-2013, 10:22 AM
 
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I can't imagine leaving my baby for even a night at that age, barring an emergency, let alone a week...it is especially concerning that the grandparents likely aren't very familiar to the baby, as they live far away.

 

Personally, I wouldn't be able to do this until the teen years...granted, I stayed with my own grandparents for full summers when I was in elementary school and middle school, and tons of weekends during the school year.  They lived in the next town and were like a second set of parents, though.  My parents visited a few times a week while I was at my grandparents' house for summers anyway.

 

We live hours from both of our parents now, so I would absolutely NOT be comfortable doing this with our daughter...I think she would feel abandoned and frightened, and my heart would break from not being with her every day.

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#25 of 107 Old 11-13-2013, 10:24 AM
 
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I have some friends who have done this but I couldn't do it myself. 

 

Growing up, I saw my grandmothers maybe once every 4 years (both grandfathers had died).  I find it really weird that any grandparent would expect this and that any parent would agree to this.  At this point have no intention of ever giving in to the very loud hints that my DH's mom makes about having the kids go visit her for an extended time (several thousand miles away).  Maybe when they are 10 or older. 

 

Even though it can be tedious and I sometimes get frustrated, my kids are amazing little creatures that change every day.  I can't imagine not having my kids near me and getting to see them regularly.  I might feel different if I felt like the grandparent was going to respect how I raise my kids  (nutrition-wise, no TV, playing outside, entertaining themselves, not buying plastic crap, no Disney/Dora/princess crap etc) but I know that is not what would happen.  DH's mom has made it clear she thinks her role is to spoil and do things that we have clearly said we don't agree with.

 

I feel like grandparents had their kids, and did their time as parents, and now I am the parent.  I feel so lucky to be a parent, and I don't want someone else parenting my child - it's as simple as that.  I know my DH had good experiences getting to be with his grandparents, and he relates far more to their way of life (rural, self-sufficient) than to his own parents' (urban, civil servant) so I realize that there may be some relenting on my part, but definitely not for me while a child is just a toddler.

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#26 of 107 Old 11-13-2013, 10:41 AM
 
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My opinion is that it's harder on the parent than the child. Most parents haven't even sent their little one for one overnight stay at that point. And for the ppl I know, the only reason they haven't is because they can't handle it. Not because the child can't handle it. Now sure, a week is vastly different than one night. But I think it's easy for some moms to hide behind the fact that it's a week....but would they admit they wouldn't/couldn't do it for even one night? Idk. And no, I've never sent my kids away for an entire week. So I'm certainly not trying to justify my own actions. I just think a lot of moms make up every excuse in the book because they can't handle things.

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#27 of 107 Old 11-13-2013, 11:00 AM
 
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@rosie2727

I'll freely admit that a lot of it is about me, but I don't think that not sending my kids away harms them, either.  I don't think I have to make up any excuse not to do it.  As a parent, I get to make that decision - kind of like whether I put my kid in preschool, or send them to gymnastics, or whatever.  If my I want to maximize the time in my child's childhood that I get to spend with her, for me and for her, I think that's ok.  There was a prior post about a parent who needed surgery, and I could totally see it under those circumstances.  But if we're available, DH and I will be the parents to our children.  It's not the grandparents' honour to be our children's parents, it's ours.

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#28 of 107 Old 11-13-2013, 11:02 AM
 
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This is one of the most "Not my kid, Not my call" things I can imagine.

 

When my kids were actually one, I would not, personally, have done this.  I was way too wracked up about how much time I was able to spend with my kids.  It wouldn't have felt okay to me. 

 

If the things that had happened to my when my youngest was two had happened when she was one, heck yes, I'd have sent the baby to spend a week with her grands. 

 

I really can't evaluate what's right for someone else's family in this regard. 

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#29 of 107 Old 11-13-2013, 11:20 AM
 
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I agree it's our job to parent. And it's the grandparents' job to grandparent. That is a role that does exist. But I just have so many friends that won't let their children stay one night with grandma bc of their own hang ups. And I believe a grandparent/grandchild relationship is something special that too many moms are not allowing to form simply bc they freak out at the notion of them being away. I loved my grandma dearly and LOVED going to spend the night with her occasionally when growing up. If my mom had kept that from me on purpose I would resent her today for it. And of course this is all based on the presumption the grandparent is a good, loving person. I have friends whose grandparents are complete jerks. No need to send child over to those kind of people! I have one friend who's DH got fed up and tried to take their baby to his parents' house - just for a visit - not even overnight. She literally threatened to call the cops! Cuckoo!! Granted, this is an extreme example, but to varying degrees, this happens ALL the time. I just think it's sad. Makes me wonder how we'll all feel one day if our kids don't allow us to have our grand kids overnight....
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#30 of 107 Old 11-13-2013, 11:25 AM
 
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My youngest didn't have separation anxiety all that much. She was/is just a crazy happy baby. Not that kids with separation anxiety aren't happy - just to say that my youngest just didn't even have that normal phase of development. I left her for 3 nights when she was about a year old. With her dad, yes, but still. I was the nursing parent. She did FINE. Just like totally fine. So, I guess if a nursing, "attached", co-sleeping mother can find herself in a position where 3 nights "just for fun" feels like the right choice, I can imagine another family feeling like 7 nights is the right choice, yk? 

 

I do agree that part of this is a unique decision to make as a family - certainly the trade off of an involved extended family is something I would take into consideration. I raised my first for nearly 6 years with little extended family in our lives (we lived thousands of miles away) and I can tell you that it's a hard way to go and I totally understand making major sacrifices to avoid going it alone. 

 

I am now raising my second with lots of family around (we moved "back home"). I leave her more because I have so many people in our lives that I trust and I can honestly say that it is better for ALL involved but especially my child. I am def. not one who subscribes to the idea that "AP" means not spending time away from your kids even, I guess, at a relatively young age. 


Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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