Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

Sleepover at Grandparents

(41 Posts)
grrth1314 Thu 31-Jan-13 23:24:53

Hi,

What do people think about sleepover at Grandparents and ?

I'm not that keen but my in-laws are, and I can appreciate that it is nice for them to have some separate time so generally our 2 kids stop every 2/3 months.

However what concerns me more is that even though we don't lay down any general ground rules when they stop, there has been an odd occasion when we have banned our kids from sweets because they have been in trouble. I then subsequently find out that the in-laws have blatantly ignored this and gone against what we asked.

Also, I have specifically asked for our children to sleep in the room next to theirs but they insist on putting our 8 year old on their floor even though he prefers to sleep in the other room, which I find strange.

I also think they worry way too much and our children come back from their house having had a good time but with lots of worries over small things to the extent he struggles to sleep when he is back home.

Plus their grandma seems to be in a competition to say she cooks pancakes, builds lego, etc. better than we do at home. I understand she wants her grandchildren think they are special but we always go out of our way to let them do things together separately when we go round to visit but she seems to go out of her way to emphasise she does things better.

Lastly, I was always brought up going on day trips together with both my parents and grandparents . I feel I have met them halfway by letting the kids stop over even though I am not keen but that they aren't willing to do things as a big group.

I get concerned that my kids will have memories of doing things separately and won't have the good memories I have.

I don't want this to come across that I don't think it is a good thing, I do and I am pretty easy going about most things but when I see it having an effect on my childs behaviour in a bad way (acting spoilt, nightmares), it rankles.

What do people think?

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 03-Feb-13 01:03:30

Op your posts give the the answer to this, she's competitive and wants to get e over on you so let her,

Stuff like " I really need your advice youngster is having nightmares when he returns,could ou help out by reassuring him and avoid talking about worrying things"

And

"The sleeping suituation really bothers relivant child they have said thy would prefer not to come if they have to sleep in with you again"

It will work as she won wAnt to upset the kids or look bad to them.

Oh and its bollocks about the contact order thing she can't even apply without the court giving her permission and if gp's whose gc's have lived with them cos the parents are crackheads struggle to get contact orders after children go back to mum and dad then one who has a limited relationship with the kids has almost zero chance

DumSpiroSpero Sun 03-Feb-13 00:15:36

Brain shift here too - sorry!!! grin

It's so tough to find a middle ground. I am fortunate in that our DD only goes away overnight if we are doing something, although it's actually my mum that gets a bit snotty on that front, "Why can't she just come and stay anyway?"

Well, firstly, she doesn't ask to, although she would jump at the opportunity to stay with my olds tbh, but also, because she's at school, DH and I both work, I visit my parents every Sunday and DH and DD have season tickets to the footy which takes up many Saturdays. We get precious little family time as a threesome so why would I want to reduce it even further?

Have had MIL round this evening asking if she can have DD for the day as she wants to take her somewhere I suspect she will be bored senseless. I have managed to swing it to the date that suits me best, which means I can balance it out so my mum's nose isn't put out of joint.

I just keep my reminding myself that it is for DD's benefit and she's lucky to have a full compliment of involved and very different GP's. I never knew my grandfathers and both my nans by the time I turned 7, so it does help to keep some perspective on the situation.

2rebecca Germany Sun 03-Feb-13 00:03:51

My kids only stay overnight with their grandparents if there's a reason and usually a parent is with them as we are visiting. We both work and I value my weekends with my kids (now divorced so only see them half the weekends anyway).
I wouldn't let them stay with someone regularly if they slept on the floor. That's fine for an occasional night visiting a friend or cousins where space is an issue but I wouldn't want them regularly sleeping on the floor and if there is a bed it seems daft. Why do you feel unable to just say no about this? Sleeping on the floor benefits no-one.
Banning grandparents from giving the kids sweets when they only see them every couple of months and moaning about them making pancakes and building lego is just daft though. I can understand the competitive stuff is irritating but I'd just laugh at her if she started that "I'm sure you're wonderful" in a teasing way which may make her realise how silly she sounds.
Stop the sleeping on the floor, ignore the other stuff. If most of the time the kids are with adults who don't worry they'll soon realise the grandparents are just fussers and stop worrying. You could maybe discuss with your son the fact that some people worry more than others and that he doesn't have to worry just because granny does. Kids have to learn to get along with people with differing personalities and also the "it's them not me" aspect of dealing with different personalities. You could help them here (without being rude and upsetting your husband).

gimmecakeandcandy Sat 02-Feb-13 23:15:01

You sound great. They sound like arses still. Stand up to them, they are so diresosctful!

IsItMeOr Sat 02-Feb-13 22:51:53

Blimey again! Just having to do a massive brain shift, as I had also been assuming you were a woman. You do indeed sound like a thoughtful soul, and I'm sure will be a valued addition on the site smile

grrth1314 Sat 02-Feb-13 22:22:00

Hi All,

Yes we live in the UK and I am aware there is no law, although apparently they can request access and will normally be granted it unless there are exceptional reasons.

However, that is off topic and would never want to do that and they are basically nice people with their hearts in the right place just not happy they always try and call the shots.

DH? I presume Dear Husband? Apologies this is my wife's mother in law and she is similar to your DH, Dimspirospero. Doesnt like to say no and hates any sort of confrontation which means in law get their way unless I say something and things usally get misconstrued.

Unfortunately both mine are retired but live 20miles away. I tend to also go along with her requirements but don't ask for their involvement. They are polar opposites to my parents who are quite laid back but I have always tried to treat them the same as my own parents.

I think nobody wins because if they were more constructive we would be more happy for them to be involved more, but when they always want things on their terms and still treat us like we are 15 (telling us how to boil and egg 15 years after left home!) then don't feel like going around as often.

Sounds like we have similar experiences and it is useful to know that I am not crazy. Doesn't mean I would want to change much, only that on the rare occasion when I do stand my ground I won't feel so guilty doing it!

Thanks everyone and if I can similarly offer any advice I would be happy to do so, especially if you want a sensitive bloke's perspective.

QOD Sat 02-Feb-13 18:47:55

My mum pretty much ignores mine and my sisters DD's, she's never in their lives taken them anywhere or had them over out of her instigation

DumSpiroSpero Sat 02-Feb-13 18:26:47

I think your MiL is talking cobblers about her 'rights' tbh.

And it's not unreasonable for you to not want her calling the shots.

How does your DH feel about all this - will he get involved if needs be? Mine is as much use as a chocolate teapot when it comes to dealing with MiL so invariably I end up taking to her, things get misconstrued & she reports to DH who is then grumpy with me as he doesn't like getting caught in the middle.

Luckily as she works, there is only so much time for her to be sticking her oar in, so I find it easier to go along with her requests when they arise, but rarely offer or ask for her involvement as if I give her an inch she'll take a mile and then some.

IsItMeOr Sat 02-Feb-13 18:12:47

Oh blimey - are you not in the UK grrth? I thought Grandparents basically have no rights here, but I could be wrong...

grrth1314 Sat 02-Feb-13 17:20:20

Thanks everyone for the support.

Think it has made me realise to let go a little (especially on treats issue) but also that I am not being unreasonable and do feel a bit overwhelmed as I am surrounded by the inlaws whilst my family live far away.

dumspirospero - can only sympathise as i dont want to come off petulant either especially as my son seems to realise what is going on.

Happy to give up the arguement on the treats but still uncomfortable on the sleeping arrangements - will have to say something.

mrsbunnylove - i would much rather they were with me but think it would be unreasonable of me to expect that so happy for them to sleep over.

hulababy - yes, she does really say that. ive overheard similar things before and only recently she said she has a right to take the kids away on holiday by law even though she sees them every week and they stop over every 2/3 months.

what gets me annoyed about things like that is she never meets halfway. went away for a weeks holiday with my family this year but any time we have suggested something similar she has never accepted.

Dont want to go awa with both grandparents at the same time, more that i want the children to experience doings things with in laws and us at the same time and not always separately with us not there.

like i said, have asked a few times to do something but it has never happened in the 8/9 years since lewis was born.

you are right that i shouldnt get worked up but have had her ringing me at work to complain about access because we didnt come across one week as we were knackered.

just want her to understand everything doesnt have to be done on their terms.

thanks again.

IsItMeOr Sat 02-Feb-13 13:14:40

PS grrth, even though I recognise I'm very lucky to have such a lovely MIL, I still feel irritated by her sometimes. I think it's partly the nature of the relationship.

Hulababy Sat 02-Feb-13 10:34:25

DD has stayed over with her grandparents for a night or two since she was 3y. It's often if we are going out for the night anyway, or in a school holiday.

DD loves it. She has a fantastic relationship with her grandparents on both sides and she gets so much from spending time alone with them, and they do too.

I think it is really unfair and unreasonable of you to make them follow your bans/punishment when they are with them. Staying with grandparents should be a fun treat, not marred by parent;'s punishments.

Re. the "doing things better" -are you sure it really is like that and not just her way of trying to make things sound more fun and a treat, more exciting?

The sleeping thing - I do think you can deal with that. Can the 8 year old not say something? Or say that it is something you insist on - a proper place to sleep in another room.

Trips with both sets of grandparents are possible - we have done it occasionally - but can be overwhelming for the child. They have so many people wanting their attention it can be hard for them to decide who to go to, etc. And it also depends on how well the two sets fo grandparents know one another and how well they get on. If they are almost strangers then that can also be difficult. I wouldn't see that as so important personally and so long as your children have good experiences with both sets i see no issue. I can remember no times in my childhood really when both grandparents were together - yet have lovely childhood memories.

Other than that - well, a grandparents job is to spoil and treat the grandchildren isn't it?! That's what makes the lovely memories for them when they grow up!

mrsbunnylove Sat 02-Feb-13 10:23:33

why aren't they with you? don't you like them? this 'sleepover' idea is weird. maybe if you had to/wanted to go out, if there was a good reason for it...
however, if you insist on sending your children to someone else, you have to accept that in their home they do things their way. and if that means taking no notice of a bossy mum, that's just how it goes. if you want your children to live by your rules, keep them in your own house.

DumSpiroSpero Sat 02-Feb-13 10:16:42

I think IsIt has hit the nail on the head with the competitive and controlling thing, and I really sympathise as I have a similar thing except in our case it's Granny Wars between my mum & MIL.

If DD goes to stay with MIL (and FIL but he is a treasure!) she will always arrange to take her out so she has to pick her up at a set time. If I say what time I will pick her up the following day, she will take her out again first thing so that there is no chance of me picking her up early. She constantly tells DD that my mum is competitive whilst buying her expensive presents.

The most recent thing has been that DD sleeps with my mum when she stays there as they don't have a spare room (she and my dad sleep separately). MIL has always been adamant about separate rooms/beds until she discovered this. Last time DD went there she slept with MIL, even though MIL & FIL usually sleep together and have at least 2 spare beds hmm.

It makes me fume, but in the grand scheme things I'd be the one that came off looking like a petulant arse if I kicked up about it. I try as far as possible to arrange for DD to go there when it is just FIL (MIL works nights), as he is much more laid back and DD has lots of fun with him. We see more of my parents anyway and she goes to them overnight 2/3 of the time if we need sitters.

My DD is also 8 and she is getting pretty wise to the situation. Trust your son as it seems that he is similarly bright enough to see through all the nonsense.

On a practical level, I would have a word about the bed situation as I don't think sleeping on the floor is a good idea anyway - perhaps mention that he was tired or complaining of a sore back and for his health you feel he really needs to be in a bed now he's getting older/bigger.

IsItMeOr Sat 02-Feb-13 07:52:32

grrth, I think you may have put your finger on the main issues in your last post - that they are controlling and inappropriately competitive.

Funny that your DS is already able to spot that this behaviour is "off". Shows you're doing a good job wink.

I suspect that the usual MN advice I see in these circumstances of deep breath and ignore, ignore, ignore is probably the most applicable. It's a shame that you're not able to work with ILs as a team (I wish I could lend you my lovely MIL to talk some sense into yours!), but there is probably a limit to what you can do about it.

Jayne266 Sat 02-Feb-13 06:06:06

I think you have good grandparents and they may not do everything your way but it's one night. And grandparents are there to spoil them. Regarding the days out I understand your issues and for me I worry about safety etc so maybe invite them to go with you and you can all go on that special day out.
The sleeping thing just be honest and say.

I get what you are saying OP, I have had similar situations with my MIL. I don't think its meant to be malicious, it's a desire to be seen as a great, fun GP and they love having the responsibility of being in sole charge and doing their own thing.

I get their needs, but also agree family time all together with them is important too - i.e your relationship with them is important too - it's a balance and I would continue to push for that. We used to find when IL's came to stay for the weekend, they wanted to take the kids out on their own every day over the weekend. I pushed back on it, allowing them to do it one day but not both and used to justify it by saying that we wanted to spend time with IL's and children too (as we work, although not full time, the weekend is where we spend our quality time with the kids). I was aware she was a bit put out to begin with but stood my ground and now she seems ok with it.

I would say that if you are not spending times together in between the sleepovers, I would say no to some of the sleepovers in favour of those other times ensuring you all spend time together.

The sleeping arrangements on the sleepover, I would let go

Re the sweets, if I had banned them for behavioural reasons I would expect them to follow through on to show the kids some consistency as long as you try and avoid doing it just before they are due a sleepover ( unless their behaviour is so bad it's really necessary) and it only happens as a one off. If I was a GP and I wasn't allowed to treat them every time I saw them, I would be quite miffed.

HTH

Jinsei Sat 02-Feb-13 00:18:47

Kids see through this kind of stuff pretty quickly OP. Your MIL sounds awful, but it needn't make any difference to your relationship with your kids. I'd just ignore her competitiveness probably. Life is too short! grin

grrth1314 Fri 01-Feb-13 23:31:32

Thanks everyone for your advice and happy to take it on board.

I think you are right and maybe I was overanalysing with regards to the treats.

On the other side of the coin my inlaws are very bossy and want things their own way all the time. Happy for them to have separate time and never give instructions on how to look after them but think it is also important for the way I want to bring up my children that we also spend time together as a big family as well, yet they are never willing to meet halfway but expect all of their demands to be met.

For example, when the kids stopped 2 weeks ago we originally agreed to drop them off at 3pm and pick them up around lunchtime the next day. Then we had to change plans due to my grans funeral which meant the kids were being dropped off at 6pm and picked up at 6pm the next day. They complained about this, saying they wanted a full day even though they would be at their house for longer than originally planned.

To get around this I have invited them on holiday with us and to come with us when we go to the cinema or bowling with us but never accept our invitation yet they love having big groups at their house.

My son has told me tonight that he felt uncomfortable when he was at their house 2 weeks ago as his Grandma asked if her pancakes were better than mine. I just said that he should say that they are both equal but this competitiveness does get on my nerves.

I spend loads of time playing games with my kids so am more than comfortable with the kids spending time with them, it is more that they try and make themselves look special by putting us down.

So, as I said, happy for them to spend time separately away from us it is more that the grandmother seems to want to achieve this by undermining us and to always do it on their terms.

atthewelles Fri 01-Feb-13 11:13:38

PleasePudding I think what you're describing is some irresponsible behaviour from your ILs ie no car seats; giving a child enough sweet stuff to make them sick. I can understand being concerned about that, but I don't think its the same as spoiling a child while still being sensible about the important things. My mum would buy the kids loads of comics and books, give them sweets, allow them to choose some of their favourite dinners and let them watch telly when they get up in the morning because she knows its just an occasional treat and not something they get every day. But she would not let them travel in the car without the correct seats or eat nothing but sweets all day or anything like that.

retvet You sound like a barrel of laughs.

unclefluffy Fri 01-Feb-13 11:04:42

It sounds not entirely dissimilar to my in-laws. DH and I have not let the kids sleep over yet. I would consider it now for the eldest (aged 4) if she really wanted to do it, but she doesn't seem keen - even with an older cousin offered as a companion.

They too would set up odd sleeping arrangements and would prefer to see the girls alone. They love the idea of grandchildren, but find the actuality puzzling. FIL just wants to cuddle them all the time - and then finds that they actively avoid getting within arms reach. MIL wants them around but struggles to play with them. Having said that, she does brilliantly when DH and I bugger off and leave them to it - maybe this is what she's trying to recreate. They seem quite selfish in their approach (as yours do) - although they are extremely kind and generous with food/gifts etc. They want everything to be on their terms - our children are their entertainment, if you like.

How does your DH feel? Is the eight year old your youngest? If you don't really want to top the sleepovers, would he be absolutely explicit with them about the fact that the kids are to sleep in the same room as each other? Something like: "Mum, X sometimes has nightmares after sleepovers and we want to try to help him/her. This time, make sure you let the kids share a room. I know you keep X in with you to comform him/her, but it doesn't help. Let's do this instead."

PleasePudding Fri 01-Feb-13 10:44:45

I don't think YABU. We have the same thing, my in-laws have minimal intrest in us but adore spending time with our children and want it to be just them and us.

They really over-spoil them - they're unable to say no to anything the children want so there have been times when the sheer volume of apple juice given to the children at age 2 has given them the shits without a nappy change so the rash is awful. Often they are taken out without car seats despite us being so firm on the massive importance of car seats and it seems not to matter what we say about this or the sheer volume of sweets (really I don't mind them indulging them but no 2 year old will benefit from being able to eat £4 worth of pick and mix in one sitting after a mcdonalds)

BUT I try to remember that just because they do it differently to me (I cant ever imagine not wanting to see my children but wanting to see my grandchildren) but that they love my babies and that's good and I should try and let go and not get hung up on the sweets and stuff.

I just find it so so hard especially as when we are over there whatever I say to my children is challenged or ignored.

Sorry OP this hasn't helped at all really apart from to say I totally understand, I want to let my in-laws have what they want but I don't entirely trust them to act in my children's best interest and safety instead of just enjoying the feeling of giving them whatever they want and I can't help but be annoyed that nothing I say about car seats or sweet limits is judged worthy of notice (and I know those two things are of massively different importance).

I just try and make excuses to stop too many sleepovers happening as I genuinely worry but will have to deal with it soon. DC 4 and 3 by
the way and the spoiling/ignoring our choices have pretty much always been going on.

retvet Fri 01-Feb-13 10:41:50

Firstly , you are the mum and your partner should respect your feelings,. They are there for a reason. Just because people are family doesn't give people the right to discount and blank you. If the child came back with nightmares from staying elsewhere what would you do. You can't change them but you can change yourself. I wish I had stood my ground more when my kids were young but like you I wanted them to have a good relationship with grandparents. A healthy happy mum is important for you and your family Grandparents are supposed to teach appropriate behaviour and if they are undermining and competitive it sounds ODD, VERY. They don't have your children's' best interests at heart do they?
I think in your situation I would make an excuse, having talked to my child if they are old enough and then make sure they had some access where you could help re establish boundaries. I have been reading non violent communication, and the non living violent communication. They are your children. Trust your instincts. However be mindful in case your child is playing you against her but I would say how you feel assertively and ask if that is her intention and there is a saying the best way to defeat an enemy is to make them your friend. You can't order them to come out with you but a reasonable request to invite them say on a picnic for a day or half day should help you get a better idea of what she is playing at but she sounds childish and spoilt and I personally would say no to them going around if the kids come back anxious. It would worry me.

hopenglory Fri 01-Feb-13 10:21:18

Part of the fun stuff with grandparents is having the time and space to play with Lego and eat pancakes and just be, rather than organised days out.

atthewelles Fri 01-Feb-13 10:18:36

PS I remember my nephew, when he was about six, coming to stay with my parents. He had been naughty during the week and as a punishment my SIL, forgetting he would be staying with his grandparents, had said he couldn't watch Dr Who that Saturday. On the way over in the car he innocently asked his mother if he should tell granny and grandad about the Dr Who ban. My SIL was laughing when she told me this and remarked 'God, he really does need to cop on a bit, doesn't he'. There was no way she would have deprived my father of the pleasure of sitting down with his grandson to watch their favourite programme together.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now