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?

RenterNomad Wed 07-Aug-13 13:06:43

Also, try not to be The One Who Doesn't Give Sweets, or that will entrench the GPs' "special role" (bleigh), and you'll never get anywhere with them.

Any chance ypu (or the GPs) cpuld address the other side of this, with more exercise/time in the park away from the cookie jar?

Caster8 Wed 07-Aug-13 13:20:54

I think what I would do is this. Actually as I started to write this, I slightly changed my mind.
At 8 and 10 your children are old enough to limit the amount of treats that they accept from the ils.
They wouldnt get it right every time. So it would be unfair to expect them too. But they are old enough, both of them, to realise that 3 magnums in a day is too much.
So actually, I would have a talk with your children. That way, the children say to the ils, that they are not allowed w x y and z, perhaps only y and z.

NatashaBee Wed 07-Aug-13 13:49:19

Do you think they would take more notice if you told them the doctor/dentist had told you they needed to cut back?

peggyundercrackers Wed 07-Aug-13 14:36:46

dont lie to them blaming doc/dentist or whatever - thats pointless.

if its only once or twice a week it shouldnt be an issue and i would leave it alone - if it was every day then yes you need to do something about it.

zeno Wed 07-Aug-13 19:37:41

Two pronged approach worked here. ILs taking small person for an ice cream every single time they went out for a walk with her.

1. We pointed out that they were causing her distress, not making her happy, because they created an expectation (of ice cream every time near a shop) that could not and would not be fulfilled.

2. Teeth weakness means absolutely no chewy sweets ever.

I think the angle has to depend on the feeder. It took us a long time to find a way to get through to them about the ice creams. The last thing they would ever want is to make her unhappy, and I think they really hadn't realised that was the consequence of their behaviour.

badbelinda Thu 08-Aug-13 13:03:40

Thanks for all the good suggestions. DD does suffer from constipation and has been quite unwell with it so that would be a good angle to use. I also might try the suggestion of other treats instead eg. comics. Yesterday they went to an ice-cream farm and understandably had ice-creams, however I did think the jam doughnut for mid-morning snack and 2 iced buns each for pudding were a bit unneccessary!

thegreylady Thu 08-Aug-13 13:33:16

My dgs are 4 and 6 and always tell me 'Mummy says just one treat when we are with you and another after dinner!'They stick to that absolutely to the extent that when I offered a shared cake and lemonade after lunch they were worried that that was two treats even though it was a half portion each!They wanted me to phone my dd to check!I didn't but they told her as soon as she got in and were reassured that it could count as one treat. Dd was embarrassed but we agreed it was probably a good thing as I am always tempted to overdo the goodies.

MrsBonkers Thu 08-Aug-13 13:58:31

My Mum does this with DD. She used to bring chocolate with her every time she came over - its what my Nan used to do with me. I tried telling her that I didn't want DD to have the same issues as me with food (I have a really bad diet and am overweight.) It didn't work.
I find its easier to tell people what you DO want them to do, rather than what you DON'T. e.g. If you want to give DD a treat, can you bring some strawberries, she loves those.... or can you make sure they eat their dinner before you give them treats. How about asking them to help you up the kids activity levels as you're worried about their weight. That way its about asking for help, rather than 'blaming' their actions.
Good luck.

HopeClearwater Thu 08-Aug-13 18:47:32

My ILs do this with my DC. It's almost a competition with them - 'let's see how many treats the kids can eat'. As the ILs are both overweight, and their son (my DC's dad) is too, it really winds me up. I think there is also an element of them needing an excuse to bring out the ice cream / fat puddings for themselves too. My response if I am there is just to say very firmly, 'No. They've had enough', and the remaining sweets are usually brought home for me to put in the cupboard and give out later. I couldn't give a stuff about offending my ILs because of their behaviour in the past around some serious matters. My DCs welfare comes first. The elder one especially tends to throw up if he has too much crap so I've no qualms about protecting him.
They don't see a lot of them (for other reasons) and my kids are extremely active, so I don't worry too much about it. But YANBU. For some ILs there is a bit of a control thing going on.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 08-Aug-13 20:41:05

Yanbu. We go on holiday with my in laws and although I have realised that I have to relax in order to enjoy our holiday, I still feel uncomfortable with what they give them. Dfil is a little mocking when I say that they can't have a packet of crisps/ice cream/chocolate bar/sweets because they've already had one (of each!) that day. If we didn't have that rule, dfil would give them whatever they wanted whenever they wanted and I see dd1 balloon when that happens.
Of course gps should spoil their gc but some take it too far.

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