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Scalded son, mother punishing grandparent, is this reasonable?

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MNHQ have commented on this thread.

vr6lee Thu 09-Jan-14 09:50:19

My mother had an accident with my son, to cut a long story short the kettle ended up being pulled from the worktop by my son while in her arms, this ended up scalding the bottom of his leg and top of his foot ending in a skin graft.
My mother is devastated and has really struggled with whats happened. But my girlfriend is not helping at all. She has said she doesn't want her near my son again and will never look after him again. I have talked her round and my mun has been able to see my son a few times. There is tension between my girlfriend and my mother now so I have offered to take my son up to my mothers so she can see him as she really does love him to bits. But my girlfriend has poo poo'ed this and says the only way she is seeing him is at our house when she is present.
I think this is undermining me as a father as I have said I would be present at all times just to ease her mind, but I can now only come to one conclusion and that she is doing this to punish my mother by making it as difficult as possible for her to see her grandson.

My question to other mothers is do you think this is fair behavior or is she being very harsh.

Thanks in advance for any opinions.


CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 09-Jan-14 09:52:28

I think it's entirely fair behaviour. I know it was an accident but the injury was very severe and your mother was very careless to even go near a boiling kettle with a baby in her arms. Your girlfriend won't be able to trust her for a long time and accusing her of punishing your mother is not very supportive.

Foxsticks Thu 09-Jan-14 09:52:59

How was their relationship before this? Based on what you've said I think your girlfriend is being unreasonable although I understand why she would feel so protective after this.

BruthasTortoise Thu 09-Jan-14 09:54:11

Accidents happen. Hope you're wee boy is recovering and I feel sorry for your Mum who must be devastated.

BruthasTortoise Thu 09-Jan-14 09:54:30


MoominsYonisAreScary Thu 09-Jan-14 09:55:15

If you have said you will stay with them at all times then yes I think she is being unreasonable. Its not like you are suggesting leaving them alone together

Jinglebells99 Thu 09-Jan-14 09:56:11

Oh gosh, that's really difficult. I would find it hard to trust anyone to look after my child if that had happened in someone else's care. I know accidents happen, but if would want to be present to be sure my child was safe.

gamerchick Thu 09-Jan-14 09:56:47

I think she's had a hell of a fright and is only thinking of that fright atm. It's normal to blame when your child is injured.

Personally I would do things on her terms for the minute.

When my eldest was a toddler her grab liked to have her but wouldn't safety proof the house.. saying kids need to learn not to touch. Something which is fine if you keep an eye on them. Once I got her back one day with burn marks and holes all the way up the back of her dress from the fire I did flip my toodle a bit. But I calmed down eventually.

I doubt she's doing it to punish.. rather than letting the instinct to protect her young overwhelm her.

Have some patience.

BookroomRed Thu 09-Jan-14 09:56:53

How long ago did this happen? I can understand why you are upset, but it think you need to allow for the fact that your girlfriend was enormously shocked by the accident, with such serious consequences, and obviously it will take her time to begin to trust your mother again.

The unfortunate fact is that your mother was careless enough to stand close to a hot kettle with a your baby in her arms. Of course it happens -and I bet you or your partner would be unable to forgive yourselves if you had been at fault - but learning to trust that a family member won't repeat the carelessness that led to the accident will take time.

Acinonyx Thu 09-Jan-14 09:56:58

Understandable but severe. If you are present then it does seem a little like a vote of no confidence in your parenting skills. It really depends on whether your gf sees your mother as generally careless. A good freind of mine's youngest dc had a worse burn when she pulled a soup pan off the stove with her own mother in the kitchen with her. It happens. My own dd burnt her finger on a hot iron that dh had left out. I was pretty pissed off with him and felt I would never have been so careless (all mothers think this) but I didn't punish him (other than to go on about it to all and sundry for 48 hours).

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Thu 09-Jan-14 09:57:29

That's a horrible thing to happen for all of you. sad

I can see it from both points of view. Your mother must feel horrifically guilty and of course she wants to see her grandson, but it must have given you and your GF a huge fright and I can understand her being extra protective at the moment. I don't think she is necessarily punishing your mum.

I think you and your DM need to give it some time.

gamerchick Thu 09-Jan-14 09:57:55


HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 09-Jan-14 09:57:56

If my MIL had let that happen I'd have struggled to let her see him again ever, let alone without me there.

It isn't rational, but it is natural. Your girlfriend probably feels guilt about the injury - you might think that's bonkers but if she's anything like me she will feel that she has ultimate responsibility for him so she caused the accident by letting him go to his grandma's in the first place. I imagine it was pretty harrowing in hospital when he had his graft(s) and he is likely to be scarred for life?

It's not about punishing your mother - although I don't see why her feelings are more important than your girlfriend's - but about your girlfriend's very real need to feel she is protecting her child. She doesn't feel your mother's house is a safe environment and she's had ample proof of her belief, hasn't she?

MsVestibule Thu 09-Jan-14 09:57:57

Do you live with your girlfriend and do you have equal parental responsibility? If so, it is perfectly reasonable for you to take your son to see your mum. I can see why she doesn't want her to have sole care of him (at least not yet), but there is no reason for the grandparent/grandchild to break down because of this.

And yes, it is undermining you. What she's actually saying is "I'm the only one who can ensure DS comes to no harm, you can't".

BruthasTortoise Thu 09-Jan-14 09:58:37

Would she do the same with her own Mum?

fuzzywuzzy Thu 09-Jan-14 09:59:38

So your son ended up with such severe burns to his leg that he ended up needing a skin graft?

She's letting your mother see your child after that!

I would be reminded of her carelessness as long as those scars remain, I think you're nuts thinking it's your GF with the problem.

It's completely understandable that she doesn't feel its safe for your DS to be sent to your mothers without her.

Incidentally, were you at your mothers when the accident happened?

SaucyJack Thu 09-Jan-14 10:00:38

Be honest. What was your mother's attitude like before the accident happened?

If she was one of those superior, know-it-all types who was generally dismissive of your GF's worries then I can well understand your girlfriend's reaction tbh.

lola88 Thu 09-Jan-14 10:00:51

I think she is punishing her. I would be angry that she was careless but I would accept it was an accident and that it will more than likely make her much more safety conscious. If she really doesn't trust your mum fair enough but I don't see the reason that she must be present unless she also doesn't trust you.

BunnyLebowski Thu 09-Jan-14 10:01:34

I am completely on your girlfriend's side.

I wouldn't leave my child again with someone who had allowed this to happen.

There is no reason ever for a child to be near a boiling kettle.

I hope your son is ok.

pictish Thu 09-Jan-14 10:01:35

I think she is being very harsh yes.
Accidents can and do happen. I pulled a coffee percolator down on myself when I was two or so. If we applied your partner's stance on that, I would have had to be romoved from my mother's care entirely, which is, of course, ridiculous. It was an accident.

I can understand that your gf was bloody angry over the incident, and feels the need to protect your child, but banning your mother from seeing your son like that smacks of a nasty pissing competition fuelled by self importance.

If my mil had an accident like you describe, I'd be devastated for both my child and my mil. I know for a fact I would not hold it against her like your gf is doing. I know my mil loves her grandchildren wholeheartedly and would never knowingly put them at risk...just like your mum.

ParenthoodJourney Thu 09-Jan-14 10:01:52

I can understand the initial shock, disappointment and anger. However if your mother is otherwise good with your son your girlfriend needs to put this down as an unfortunate accident and forgive.

There is no reason why your mother shouldn't be able to see her grandson when other people are around. This is being too harsh and must feel awful for your mum. Accidents happen and an accident could just as easily happen whilst your girlfriend is caring for her own son, how would she feel if something happened when he was in her care and you told her she now cannot see him and cannot be trusted.

I'm sure the shock and guilt will have been enough now that your mother will be extra careful in the future. These things Happen, if it was a one off accident it should be forgiven and not punished.

HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 09-Jan-14 10:01:55

She isn't stopping the grandmother from seeing the child - she's objecting to that contact happening in the unsafe house or without her there.

Would you let someone who had recently caused a car crash drive your prize sportscar, or would you insist on driving them around?

IamGluezilla Thu 09-Jan-14 10:02:36

I was accidentally scalded in a similar way by my own mother. I've forgiven her, and am uber careful about scalds.

But if my MIL did it then it would be a different story....of course.

I think part of the problem may be that you are supporting your mother over your gf- which is ultimately relationship ending.
So I would do it differently, acknowledge gf concerns upset etc., but state that you want things ultimately to be normal again and that you (both) are going to work back to get the trust with your mum.
Hand on heart, is your Mum normally careful, does she do things differently to your gf? Is this incident one that was waiting to happen?

HeadfirstThroughTheTimeVortex Thu 09-Jan-14 10:02:37

I can understand why your GF is being very overprotective, even if it was an accident. I also feel sorry for your mum who must feel awful.

However your gf isn't stopping your mum from seeing your child, so for now I think her seeing your child in your own home with both of you present is reasonable. Give it time and I'm sure trust will build up again and the accident with be a distant memory.

I'm not saying your mum can't be trusted or that you can't be trusted to watch your child, just that your gf needs to build up trust again.

ouryve Thu 09-Jan-14 10:04:31

This was a pretty nasty accident and the consequences could have been far worse than just your child's leg and foot. If your son's clothes had merely been ruined by some paint or messy food or something, then that would have been over-reacting. Carrying a small child near a boiling kettle is a pretty bad mistake to make.

You, your mother, and your girlfriend need to sit down together and hash this out. You need to support your partner in her concerns and come up with an agreement with your mother as to what she needs to do to make her house and her behaviour around your DS safer and regain your partner's trust with him. It won't happen overnight.

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