The following is a reader’s letter published in the UK women’s magazine Family Circle in 1977. My thanks go to Alan for sending me a copy – Ed.
I sympathise greatly with your correspondent Claire Peters, who complained that her children were being spoiled by their grandmother.
Nowadays more than ever, when many mums are going out to work, I believe it is very important that children get the same level of care and guidance from grandparents that they would back at home.
I am definitely a non-indulgent nana! From the start, I made it clear to my daughter that when the children came to me, they would be treated in the same way she was. They are expected to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, play nicely and help with the housework.
If they are naughty, they go over my knee for the same wooden spoon I used on their mum when she was a little girl. Pants come down, too, to make sure it stings!
In spite of this (or perhaps because of it), spanking is actually very rarely necessary. The children love visiting nana’s house and it’s normally a joy to have them around.
I don’t think the occasional sore bottom does them any harm; in fact, I think it does them a lot of good, as their parents are both somewhat permissive and there’s no corporal punishment at their school.
I love my grandchildren, but that doesn’t mean nana has to be a walkover!
Welwyn Garden City