Help… my grandchild is out of control

You hear all about children who need discipline and who are out of control, and it’s so easy to say that

You hear all about children who need discipline and who are out of control, and it’s so easy to say that they just need more discipline, but until you’re there – you have no idea.

My little grandson Tim was an angel when he was born. He slept through the night and barely cried. He even learnt how to walk very early on and developed a very impressive vocabulary by the time he was 18 months. But it was when he turned 2 that the problems started to occur.

He stopped being a good boy for his Nanny and Mummy at the shops. He would tantrum over the smallest things, and he would wail and wail all night long, exhausting himself. My daughter took him to a specialist but there was nothing wrong – he was just a very emotional child.

He’s now 5 years old and has gotten a bit better, and now only plays up on occasion. But when he does, he is a nightmare. I hate saying that about my own grandchild but it’s true – I fear going to his house as he stresses my husband and I out.

We’ve tried everything – we’ve tried bribing him, time-out, punishments, stern talking-tos, and he just won’t listen! I’m at my wit’s end. I’ve told my daughter but she’s gotten to the stage where she feels there’s nothing she can do. She doesn’t want to smack little Tim, but I sometimes think that could be what he needs instead of a gentle ‘stop it’ from his mum. But who am I to discipline? I feel like grandparents always have to tread lightly as they’re not the parents, and they don’t decide the upbringing.

He knows right from wrong and I think Tim just wants to express himself but doesn’t know how. He is easy upset by things people do or say, and I worry for his mental health down the track as things like going to the park can cause a major freak out.

I personally think children these days are given more leeway than children were a generation ago. Parents just like to give kids a tablet or something to distract them and this isn’t giving children the attention they need.

I wonder if other grandparents are battling similar issues and wish their grandchild had some more strict rules and routines. I surely can’t be the only one feeling like they want to step in and change things but don’t want to step on any toes.

Maybe I’m just out of touch but I think I’m right about this one: I want my grandchild to be a functioning member of society.

What is your advice?


  1. Oh dear. I am so sorry that I have no advice whatsoever, but, sadly I have a very similar problem and I am at a loss at to what to do. I absolutely feel your despair. I will be watching this thread with hope! Good luck!

  2. Daphne  

    This is the long-term result of no smacking of children.
    They know they can do what they want with no consequences. Then get a huge shock when locked in gaol, by Police, for doing the wrong thing, as juveniles’, teenagers’, or adults’.

    Bad actions need consequences. There’s no caning in Schools anymore, & we know the results of that! Not only locally, but look at assaults by 14 yo’s at Aurukun!

    I’m NOT advocating physical abuse, but something’s got to be done which will let child know of a wrong action, but not to the extent of the below information.

    I was belted with a riding-crop, which is basically, a leather plaited piece of steel, behind my knees, by my Mother, if I ‘disobeyed’ her.
    My injuries’ would be big, thick bleeding welts, & bruises. I could hardly walk. She NEVER attended to those injuries’, & I just sat in a hot bath, to ease the pain. Both my Sister, & I agree that she might’ve been Schizophrenic.
    In this day, & age, that would be assault.

    My lovely Father, who, due to his long work hours’ was not at home when these beltings took place, called the local Police Sergeant to the house, one night to speak to my Mother.
    It was my father who lotioned, & bandaged my wounds.
    She stopped for a while, then tried it on again when I was 20. By this time I was taller, & much stronger than she. When the opportunity arose, I gave her a good, hard whack with my closed fist, to her jaw. She fell backwards with the force, & never assaulted me again.

    • Sue  

      I am horrified by this response. Smacking children is the last thing to do as it is the worst type of bullying. An adult is much bigger than a child. This allows a child to think that violence is just fine.
      I do not think that a child should be allowed to run wild, but there are other ways of showing disapproval of bad behaviour which does not include violence.

      • Daphne  

        Ok, Sue, what part of my comment were you horrified by?
        Was it the way I was treated by my mother?
        Or don’t you like the idea of ‘smacking’ a child for mis-behaviour?
        What’s your solution?
        Criminals’ are punished with gaol. Do you disagree with that?
        Or are you of the brigade of ‘do-gooders’ who’d let kids’ run amok, because they can’t be disciplined by a smack?
        Have you experienced an uncontrollable child? If so, what did you do to solve problem?

        People like you make life for others’, terrible.

  3. Dianne Evans  

    You have too all be on the same page and the punishment has too be right away and the child has too be told in plain speaking that if he does this wrong thing this will happen. You have to be consistent so he knows what his actions will cause.

  4. Loryn Rennie  

    Children need to be disciplined right from the start , This does not necessarily mean smacking – BUT for some kids it is the only thing that will work.
    Also if parents choose to just use their voice – they need to use a much sterner voice then normal .
    It is very difficult for grandparents to stand by & watch the grandkids play up & even more so when it appears that the parents are not disciplining them .
    Just to your daughter that she may need some help in finding what will work for her son. Find out if there are any parent support groups in her area .

  5. I can understand totally. My daughter, her husband and 2 year old live with us and I see it all the time. I am so tempted at times to say something and I have in the past. I have to stop my husband from making a comment. She has this total meltdown and nothing will satisfy except one thing…….the ipad. Ipad, ipad, ipad.. My daughter tries to deal with it, but her husband is not really much help. She asks for advice not that I can give her much, then told keep out of it. I feel if you are going to punish by taking something they like away you have to be consistant. So often she is rewarded with Peppa Pig dvds to keep the peace or again the ipad. The saying ” wait till your father comes home” is useless, the child has committed the offence and then is chastised by dad a few hours later who wasn’t there when the meltdown occurred. I don’t know I can’t really give you any advise except to say I sympathise.

  6. Susanne Afford  

    Yes this is a difficult one, and there does seem to be the feeling in parents these days that they are a little frightened of their children. I think maybe walking away when a child misbehaves, as many times it’s an attention getting action, might be the answer. Sometimes when you give no attention to some behaviours, in both adults and children, it works. No audience, no theatrics. Very difficult to do though, especially when other people are around, and making judgements, as they do, and as I have done in the past. Don’t be embarrassed by your child’s behaviour, unless it’s something you have taught him/her to do. All children can read their parents once they reach a certain age, and they know what reactions they will get. So I guess my advice to you is, and I did rare 5 children, who are all now adults I am very proud of… try to keep calm, don’t give any attention to bad behaviours, unless the child or somebody else is in danger, and praise them for their good behaviour. Communicate with your children, spend time with them, and never ever make them feel that they are worthless, or unloved. We all make mistakes as parents, looking back I sometimes wish I had my time over again as a Mother, however, life is all about lessons, for them and for us. Be loving and kind, patient and forgiving, of yourself and others, it works. Your grandson will grow into a wonderful man one day.

  7. Ruth  

    Sometimes the problem can be an underlying physical discomfort that the child is unable to communicate. I have known more than one child who were uncomfortable with constipation (repeatedly or over a long period of months or years) and became little angels when they got over it and were more comfortable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *