Parenting Journey

Grandma is a recovering alcoholic and wants to baby-sit

Q: My mother-in-law is a recovering alcoholic. She’s been sober a year. She is dying to baby-sit our newborn son, but I am a little nervous about leaving her alone with him. What if she falls off the wagon? How should I handle this?

A: Your concerns highlight the fact that recovery from addiction involves the entire family and not just one individual. Honesty and connectedness need to be a key part of your family’s relationship with your mother-in-law.

Do I have to baby-sit my younger brothers and sisters every weekend?

I am 17 and the oldest of five children. My parents treat me as their built-in baby-sitter every weekend. I never get a chance to make social plans because they are always busy with their friends and leaving me with my little brothers and sisters. Is it ever OK for me to say “no”?

Often, older children in large families have many responsibilities with regard to their siblings, but it seems your family system needs to find a balance so that every member has an opportunity for outside social engagements.

Does my 4-year-old have to give up her security blanket?

Q: My husband thinks our daughter is too old for her security “blankie” and wants to throw it out. Is 4 really too old? And how should we handle this?

A: Although there were several blue blankets in our home, there was only one “blue blankie” as far as our daughter, Erin, was concerned. The comfort and warmth it provided went beyond the physical into a realm of psychological comfort.

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