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Why does Grandpa pick on his grandchildren?
Q: I am not sure how to deal with my children's grandfather; he has a few chosen grandchildren that the sun rises and sets on, and the rest he is constantly picking on to do this and don't do that. He had a stroke about a year ago, and nothing the kids do pleases him. I’m afraid it’s having an effect on my 3-year-old and my 18-month-old. If he scolds my eldest daughter, she breaks down and cries. When I talk to her about it, she says nothing is wrong or that her “Poppie was mean.” They have contact with him every day because they go to work with me (it's a family business and I need to work but can't afford child care). I feel that I may be harming them in this way; can you help?
A: About all I can suggest is that you keep them away from him as much as possible. You don’t say what the family business is, but I’m guessing it is a small store. Try to set aside a play space for your children that is as far away from where he is likely to be as you can manage.

Your question makes me very sad, as I have worked all my professional life to educate the public in general and politicians in particular about the need for public funding of quality child care for all our families that need it. We still have a long way to go. But perhaps in your situation there is a middle ground. Could you afford to enroll your children in an early childhood program part-time and keep them with you at work the rest of the time? If you are working, you can’t possibly do with and for them the things that children their age need (reading stories, singing, playing games, using toys, doing art projects) and I hate to think of two such young children having to fend for themselves all day while you work. Put on your creativity cap and see what you can work out that would be better for all concerned.