1. Where I come from I have seen adults play ‘got your nose’ with a child. In China I have seen adults play ‘got your willy’ with little boys. To them it’s completely normal but when we should be encouraging children to recognise which parts of their body are private I think this game is now dated and should phase into history. If you see your in laws play this game, there is no need to be alarmed, but perhaps you can express your wishes if you would like it to stop.
2. I once saw an elderly Chinese lady offering her breast to her grandchild. When grandparents become the guardians of their grandchildren with the parents away at work, some may turn to the breast as a way to soothe a crying baby. If you come across this situation, there is probably no need to panic but personally I don’t know anyone who would be comfortable with this so take a deep breath and say how you feel.
3. When my child hurts themself by bumping into a piece of furniture, my mother in law will smack the offending chair leg and encourage my child to scold it. This may teach them to place blame in the wrong places. I didn’t realise the long term impact at first and joined in scolding the naughty chair leg!
4. When I set off for work in the morning my mother-in-law would sometimes say to our child, “mummy’s busy, she no longer wants you”. Her intention was to make small talk to soothe a crying baby who wanted mum.
5. My pet hate is when directly in front of children being told which child is the most attractive. It has happened so many times I have run out of fingers!
6. In China it is quite common for children to live with their grandparents in a different city or even country from their parents. Don’t be surprised if you are asked if your child or even new baby can move in with your in laws.
In different countries and cultures you may meet surprising situations but you don’t necessarily have to worry as it might be more common than you realise. However, that doesn’t mean you must agree and accept it.