to want them to stop overfeeding DCs

(35 Posts)
badbelinda Tue 06-Aug-13 21:01:42

I know this is going to sound horribly ungrateful and would like your opinion on whether I'm over-reacting. DPILs live 20 mins from us and help out a lot with childcare. Not a regular arrangement, just ad-hoc, eg. when I have a late meeting or during school hols but it does however work out as about once a week, sometimes more. They adore DCs and are always willing and helpful.

The problem is the amount of sweets/cakes they give DCs. Both DCs are not skinny but I have no intention of making a big thing of it and would certainly never mention "diet" to them. DH and I are just trying to make healthy meals at home, do more exercise as a family and make sure there's very little in the way of junk food in the house but plenty of nice fruit for snacks. He had a discreet word with his DPs so they could be on board with this and they seemed to agree but I think it's gone in one ear and out the other.
Examples - if they pick them up from school, they take them to the village shop (3 miles out of their way) to buy sweets (not just a few - usually a Mars Bar sized sweet each) then unsurprisingly DCs won't eat their tea. They had them for the day yesterday and each DC had doughnuts after lunch, popcorn and sweets at the cinema, pizza for tea and another doughnut for pudding. I think they saw the look on my face when the kids told me this with great delight and they (PILs) said they were cutting back from today onwards. However they only had them for the morning today and when I picked them up they'd had Magnum ice creams and cakes for pudding after lunch.
I think they're of a generation who demonstrated their love to their kids by feeding. I really do appreciate their help and the many ways they support us and would hate to hurt their feelings. I wouldn't be so bothered if DCs were slim or if they only looked after them occasionally but they do have them a lot and I don't know whether to say something again or just try and make up for it by being super-healthy on the days they're not looking after them.
What do you think? Am I making too much of this? or should we be laying down the law more firmly?

Sparklymommy Tue 06-Aug-13 21:07:59

I feel your pain! My mil is the exact same! She doesn't see the harm. I used to over compensate when dd was at home by restricting the sweets and treats, but then I felt that dd1 always thought I was being mean. Mil doesn't have them as much now so it isn't such a problem.

badbelinda Tue 06-Aug-13 21:11:23

sorry, that was a bit longer than I intended it to be!

Sirzy Tue 06-Aug-13 21:12:39

A mars bar isn't really a lot for after school once a week.

The other is a bit over the top. I would request only one treat each day? That said if the diet is generally healthy it shouldn't matter too much occasionally. DS has a very good diet but we do the "cinema and pizza" day out which is obviously going to involve pigging out a bit but that doesn't matter as the next day its back to normal.

AnyoneforTurps Tue 06-Aug-13 21:15:30

YANBU - you sound very thoughtful and not at all ungrateful. I don't think laying down the law is going to work though: you will either hack them off to the point where they won't take your DC or they will take pleasure in subverting your rules. You need to have agreed an approach between the 4 adults. Would there be any mileage in you & your DP sitting down with them and discussing your concerns? Maybe you could focus on specific health worries e.g. their teeth?

CoffeeChocolateWine Tue 06-Aug-13 21:23:35

My mum does this too, but she doesn't look after my DC on a frequent basis so I just accept it. My parents were looking after my DS for 4 hours one Saturday afternoon, and during this time my DS had not 1, not 2, but 3 magnum ice creams!! I told my mum that was ridiculous and she'd make him ill but my mum's response was that it was a granmother's right to spoil her grandchildren!

I think if it was a more regular thing that they had my DCs - like once a week - I'd have a more serious word with them. And if I was in your position I definitely would.

PoppyWearer Tue 06-Aug-13 21:23:40

You could try the teeth route, maybe take them to the dentist and ask the dentist to tell your DCs what is wrong with all that stuff. Then hope your DCs speak up the next time they are given that kind of food.

Unfortunately although we have spent a small fortune on dentistry for our DCs and they have a specific "banned" list of food/drinks from the dentist due to weak teeth, it hasn't deterred my PILs one jot from giving them any of it <mutters>.

Good luck OP and tell me your secret once you crack it, please!

badbelinda Tue 06-Aug-13 21:25:10

Thanks for that Turps. I think my main concern is obesity which is something that we're all slightly prone to (PILs included) which maybe makes it a bit sensitive so teeth might be a more tactful approach.

badbelinda Tue 06-Aug-13 21:31:15

Glad I'm not the only one Poppy, I'm completely certain the kids wouldn't speak up - they think it's great! Unfortunately as Sparkly found it makes me the mean one as I don't feel I can give them treats now.

HoikyPoiky Tue 06-Aug-13 21:37:30

That sounds like they are going really over the top with the treats. shock
It's such a silly thing to do especially as there are plenty of kid size treats about.
I would speak to them and tell them that you are happy for them to have a treat or two ( if they are little smile ) a day but that they can't have anymore.
How old are your kids?
I taught mine from young (I can't actually remember when) that they were only allowed a treat a day and its stayed with them until now. They are in their early twenties and still, mostly, keep to it. I told them to enjoy their treat and not feel guilty about it IYSWIM. It made them put a lot of thought into what they chose.

Two donuts, plus sweets, plus popcorn is WAAAAAY too much for anyone.

formicadinosaur Tue 06-Aug-13 21:43:31

I would ask them to choose one day a week on which to give one sweet to each kid. There is no need for endless crap. In the long term it's habit forming and bad for health.

HarrietSchulenberg Tue 06-Aug-13 21:46:09

My mother and ILs do this too. My mum picks up my two youngest from school and every day she brings "a treat" with her, which is always sweets.
ILs feed a supply of mini-donuts, crisps, fizzy pop and other rubbish when dses visit them. I think it's a way of currying favour as they're keen to be seen as the favourite GPs.

ems1910 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:57:26

Can you pack a small bag for them with healthier treats included? I would find that my ILs and Mum wouldn't really reach for healthier alternatives that my son loves just as much. They might not know what else to give as snacks and instantly reach for the bad foods.

badbelinda Tue 06-Aug-13 22:01:16

DCs 8 and 10. Would probably still be given doughnuts etc and come home with healthy snacks in bottom of the bag!

hermioneweasley Tue 06-Aug-13 22:05:09

If it's only once a week I can't see it doing much harm

HoikyPoiky Tue 06-Aug-13 22:50:03

If they are 8 and 10 I would definitely deal with by telling them they are not allowed more than one treat a day. They are old enough to manage this themselves.

YANBU - any chance you could use the 'obesity risk' to have the discussion - in a 'the doctor has stated that DCs are at risk of becoming overweight so we need to cut down on all treats to xx variety/frequency and would value your support to do so...' type way?

Fairy130389 Wed 07-Aug-13 08:14:11

YADNBU!! I could have written this. MIL helps a lot with child are too, probably as much as yours do. My 8 year old is also a bit overweight and we are trying to monitor it. I had a chat wil GPs about healthy eating, watching treats etc, then, when we all stayed recently, we had breakfast, still in pjs, and I caught mil offering ICE CREAm! At 8am! Then I looked like an ogre when I intervened. No words of wisdom, I have just continued to drum in importance of healthy eating. Have a look at nhs choices website, they have a kid friendly one. I also had to show plate division to mil as her portion sizes were ridiculous for a child! Good luck!

Nanny0gg Wed 07-Aug-13 08:25:06

If they are 8 and 10 I would definitely deal with by telling them they are not allowed more than one treat a day. They are old enough to manage this themselves..

Not fair. It puts them in the position of having to argue with their GPs.

Presumably they don't go to the cinema every time, so your example is a bit extreme?

It is too much, and it's worth trying to explain that a treat isn't a treat if it is the 'norm' IYSWIM.
However, one day out of seven? If you're making lifestyle changes over 6 days, it shouldn't have too much of an impact, surely?

Otherwise, if they won't listen, you tell them you'll have to make alternative arrangements...

ZolaBuddleia Wed 07-Aug-13 08:40:50

Yep, same here. Totally agree with that 'showing love by feeding' thing. My ILs do the same, DD comes back from her weekly day at their house with a Burger King or KFC toy without fail.

bababababoom Wed 07-Aug-13 09:49:13

YANBU. My GP's were like this, I spent a lot of time with them, I did become overweight which led to problems with self esteem and bullying, and a distorted relationship with food that extended into adulthood.

I've had to really lay down the law with my parents about food. My children are allowed treats - but a mars bar isn't necessary - could you encourage the grandparents to give other kinds of treats that don't involve food? Maybe even agree a menu in advance - be specific rat
her then generally talking about "cutting down"?

I'm afraid that if they can't be more sensible about food, I would reduce their visits. Which would be sad as they'll get a lot out of having this time with their gp's.

Edendance Wed 07-Aug-13 10:37:55

I'm 27 and my Grandma still does this to me!!

It is a grandparents prerogative to spoil their grandchildren, and they often overfeed with treats. I'd let it go unless its causing a real problem- if it's only once or twice a week and they're eating healthily the other days it shouldn't be an issue, especially if they do plenty of exercising.

I wouldn't worry too much unless it actually is a problem.

RenterNomad Wed 07-Aug-13 10:45:29

"Teeth" is a great approach, but I would also stress "spoiling their supper", as that really is a matter of undermining you. #

Also, this may sound a bit disgusting, but bear with me: have the DC ever been with their GPs for a length of time which would allow changes to bowel movements? I recently took the DC away, and the amount of crap eating-out food we had ended up constipating both of them! And constipation/diarrhoea from eating crap might actually give the GPs pause, as it's clear evidence of treats which aren't "harmless", because the digestive system isn't coping with them.

newryan Wed 07-Aug-13 12:01:41

This really annoys me too. I think if you can, talk to the gps again and be very clear about what the dcs can have. I realise this is easier said than done. When we see my parents I make it clear to the dcs that they still need permission from me before accepting treats from the gps. But this is obviously not possible when I'm not there. My parents do an annoying but clever thing. They tell the dcs that there is ice cream, sweets, chocolate etc in the cupboard which they can have "if Mummy says it's ok." So that I have to be the mean one. Sometimes I say they can't which shocks the gps but they brought it on themselves!

I have chickened out of confrontation most of the time but we don't see the gps as much as the OP and also none of my dcs are overweight. I think if you are concerned about your dcs' weight you have to say something. However, just because dcs are not overweight doesn't mean all this junk is any better for them, it just means they can get away with it, for now.

solarbright Wed 07-Aug-13 12:11:26

I don't know if this will help, but my parents did the same. I managed to cut down on their sugar-fest but it was a long slog. I finally convinced them that the children love them anyway, with or without the sugar, and they don't love them or look forward to seeing them any less for the lack of cake. They're really, truly, not in it for the sweets. Also, I suggested that to spoil them they could buy them a magazine, or a small toy, every so often. My house is now filled with plastic tat bought by the grandparents, but they have honestly cut down on the sweets.

It kinda depends on the GPs' motivation.

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