How do you deal with well meaning relatives feeding your DC crap all the time?

(31 Posts)
Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 12:31:35

I am generally of the 'nod and smile' persuasion, but it's getting a bit much. Worse this week and last because it's the holidays, I supppose.

I have my mum, who we see most days, who just loves to offer them chocolate biscuits and crisps throughout the day, and will give them pudding after every meal regardless of how much food they've eaten (we don't really do dessert in this house, and especially not after they've turned their noses up at dinner). We've just been on holiday together and they were given money for sweets every day, and DS1 (nearly 11) had an adult dessert in every restaurant. I mind less because it was a holiday, but it is standard Nanny behaviour and they pretty much expect to get treats when they see her, which irks me.

And then SIL, who we see less of, but still at least once a week. It's a bit of a joke that she tries to stuff as much crap into DS2 (almost 2) as possible. We left him with her for fifteen minutes yesterday while we took the older two on a ride, and came back to him eating a back of fucking Wotsits because 'he was clearly hungry'. Every time we see her she brings bags of sweets for the children, and on the rare occasions she has DS2 (she offers to have him while I'm at the hairdessers, for eg) she'll take him to MacDs and then the sweet shop. Recently when we bumped into her in town she took DD off to MacDs, randomly, at 10am on a Tuesday, after taking her to Claire's to look at jewellery (which is all I thought they were doing).

Is there any same way of dealing with this without blowing a gasket? I have tried subtle, it no worky.

Or is it one of those things I need to rise above? I am not in any way precious about their diets, they eat a varied fare, but it gets a bit skewed in favour of unmitigated crap when we are with the family.

AIBU to be stressed out by this?

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 12:40:37

Do I just need to woman up a bit and start saying no, and just offend them all?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 07-Aug-13 12:42:01

Well you just have to tell them. I told my Mum...she took it on the chin. I reminded her that I never had HALF what she was bringing to my DC as in the 70s the choice wasn't there in the shops! I had one bag of sweets on Friday!

I had to re-tell her a few times and she now fetches a punnet of strawberries or something. I don';t say no to ALL sweets and have suggested that she fetch a bag on a friday...but NO chewy things like softmints or fruitella as they're shocking....she brings chocolate like Freddos or something.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 07-Aug-13 12:43:44

Yes..it is about Womaning up! grin I was made to eel a bit evil but Mum gets it now...especially as DD1 has had 2 fillings at age 9! I take them away for "later" after giving them one if a relative offfers them sweets and then say the dentist has advised it. People take it better if you mention a professional!

Just say no. Offend away grin

My mum and stepdad like to feed my son treats when they see him and that's once or twice a week but she also gives him his dinner or tea while there which is home cooked.

I have no issue with that. Tbh I think I give him more junk grin

Tell them to rein it in if that's what you want.

Btw the McD's at 10am was it a breakfast meal or not that she had? That's what is important

chesterberry Wed 07-Aug-13 12:44:39

Unfortunately I think you are going to have to tell them that you don't want your children to be given so much unhealthy food - that a treat is fine (eg: a dessert whilst on holiday) but it needs to be reasonable (10am McDs just seems ridiculous!)

Maybe you could phrase it as in being worried about their teeth or weight or something so that it doesn't sound like you are denying your family buying your children treats or subtly suggest toys from the poundshop or something if they really feel the need to treat your children outside of their usual meal-times?

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 12:44:44

I have told my mum, and she backs of for a bit but it gradually builds back up.

I think both of them, Mum and SIL, equate food with love.

We were brought up really strictly with regards to treats, it's as though she's making up for it now with the grandchildren.

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 12:46:47

SP it was a happy meal, and I was only pissed off because we had planned to go to MacD's for lunch...

Toys from the poundshop is actually another issue that I have with SIL. She is lovely and means well but just showers all three (and me!) with plastic tat as well as as food. Every single time we see her she has armfuls of gifts, it's embarrassing.

CorrineFoxworth Wed 07-Aug-13 12:48:13

Is this the SIL?

My parents used to do it to undermine me. A Mars Bar, Malteasers and a Double Decker handed over to two yo DD at bedtime on a Sunday so that I had to be the bloody bad guy.

Amiee Wed 07-Aug-13 12:48:32

Yes woman up, but It doesn't stop them IME.
Ill never understand why giving food that's bad for kids is so pleasurable for in laws. Everytime my DD is with my MIL she gives her something I've asked her repeatedly not to. It started with salty food at 5 months, and has now progressed to ice lollys cup cakes etc. she lies but gets caught out.
The thing is my DD would be just as happy or more happy with some fruit?! As you can tell it really pee's me off.

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 12:48:46

My Mum is also a horror for treating them. She told DS1 that she's buying him a laptop for when he goes to secondary, this was over the head of me and DH who were saying that we'd see what happened. He is a screen junky with a messy bedroom so a laptop is not ideal, and we were going to make him earn it.

So it's not just food. It's STUFF.

xuntitledx Wed 07-Aug-13 12:49:19

It's a toughie but you might need to toughen up and tell it to them straight.

My MIL used to give crisps and chocolate without asking and often would spoil their dinner as it would normally be before they'd eaten a proper meal. Without offending her, I just asked her to ask hubby or I first so we could say yes or no without disappointing the kids (if we were to say no or take it away after it had been offered).

I know it's part and parcel of being a Grandparent or 'fun' relative but I wouldn't ever offer sweets/junk to a child without asking their parent first - it's just courtesy.

She should have got her a breakfast at that time. grin

Did you tell her your plan?

I'm with you with poundland toys though! My ex sil takes my son out a couple of times a month and comes back with some right shite.

stickingattwo Wed 07-Aug-13 12:59:41

YANBU at all - it's stressful because they are totally disregarding your feelings and opinions about your own children. BLOW a gasket if that's what it takes but I would sit them down separately and expalined to them how you feel and lay down the law on this.

They're feeding your kids absolute crap and teaching them bad habits for the future - they're associating junk food with treats. As parents it's our responsibility to try to keep kids healthy and eating well- even though that's really hard sometimes. You NEED to out your foot down and tell them that this isn't on - you do not want your children having sugar and crisps every day and you do not want them going to sodding McD's. I had to do it with my lot and it took a while for the message to get through but now my DC's get choc/icecream maybe a couple of times a week. And you know what - they don't even care cos they're used to fruit and milk and water. I found the more you give them the more they whinge and whine for more.

The healthiest people I know now as adults are the ones whose parents were strick on junk food when they were kids - it wouldnt occur to them to eat at somewhere like McDonalds.

burberryqueen Wed 07-Aug-13 13:02:58

i think you will have to lay down the law every time one of the feeders is going to be with your DC 'ie no McDonalds ok?
if it turns you into the fussy dragon, enjoy the role....
honestly my sister thought i was a child abuser cos i wouldnt buy chicken nuggets for them as babies.

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 13:09:23

The thing is, I love a dirty Bigmac now and then, and I'm relaxed about icecreams and sweets in general. But it's the fact that they get it offered ALL THE TIME from Nanny and Aunty.

It means I can't treat them, because they've had too much crap already. And what shoudl be a rare treat is something they are totally blase about. As well as the obvious health implications.

The DSes in particular are a bloody nightmare about food, DS1 is underweight and eats no good carbs without a battle. DS2 is going through the usual fussy toddler stuff. They will always, obviously, go for the crap food at the expense of a good meal.

DH and I have just been talking about it and we're going to do a sit down with both of them and explain all of this.

Blending Wed 07-Aug-13 13:13:12

I have the same problem. DD was only 9 months when she started saying shush and putting her finger to her lips... I then realised by following her gaze to the mantelpiece where there was a huge bar of chocolate that my mum had secretly been giving her junk and tried to get her to be quiet about it. DD thought chocolate was called "shush" until she turned 2.

I have put my foot down but completely get undermined!

My DM had a stroke whilst I was pregnant, and has almost recovered so I try not to sweat the small stuff as I am glad she is here to spoil them.

I do insist that they give water or milk not fruit shoots unless its a treat. I was proud of DD when at a party recently, she was offered various drinks and insisted she wanted water as she was thirsty.

The whole family understand my wanting a healthy diet for the dc, and if I am there they will defer to me, asking if its ok but its treated as a game to sneak them stuff without me knowing. At least its a lot less crap, than if I let them just give them whatever they want whenever they want.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 07-Aug-13 13:20:03

reading all that, I want to get cross and ask them why they think it ok to be trying to kill the children with crap. and whether they do not love them enough to say no and protect their future health. as you can see, I feel quite strongly about this... and prrobably not logical.

treats should be treats. my dad gave them trreats, irked a bit. but we did not see him very often and it was balanced out by healthy eating at home.

dingledongle Wed 07-Aug-13 13:25:14

OMG reality I could have written your post.

My mum equates food/sweets with love and does this all the time!

DD has dinner with her GP once per week and the sweets/treats drive me mad. I have found out she 'shares' a fizzy drink with my Dad who collected her from school with sweets at the ready. Dd always tells me this.

Despite talking to them about it they just do not get it. Tey have even offered milkshake before a meal!

Consequently I limit the kids contact with them. It is a shame but it is true. If they will not follow my wishes then the kids don 't visit.

TheWickedBitchOfTheBest Wed 07-Aug-13 13:36:01

This enrages me. Relatives aren't showering your children with sweets and treats because they love them. They're doing it because it just makes their lives much easier when they're with your children.

It's dead easy to get a child to eat a Happy Meal. Much more work is invloved in actually cooking them something decent and getting them to eat it.

They're just fucking lazy and actually quite selfish. They're just thinking of themselves and what makes their life easier. And they like that the child is always pleased to see them even if the child is pleased to see them for all the wrong reasons.

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 13:39:14

No, to be fair, my mum is a brilliant cook and goes to a lot of effort with all her grandchildren. SIL too. It really isn't a laziness thing, it's a weird affection thing. SIL is like it with her own DS as well, with the whole equating 'food and buying things' with showing love.

I might just start taking notes on how much crap they are giving them and show them, they probably haven't really given it much thought.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 07-Aug-13 13:58:53

My Mum seems the same as yours Reality...she thinks its a way of showing love. Is your Mum physically affectionate? Mine isn't...I'd be interested to compare.

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 14:09:11

Mum is, actually. But funnily enough, SIL isn't at all, I've never seen her hug or touch her DS since he was a baby. Interesting theory.

CorrineFoxworth Wed 07-Aug-13 20:42:17

Well that's answered my question. Poor little chap. Lucky he has a lovely aunt smile

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 20:44:29

He gets plenty of affection from BIL, Sil just isn't the huggy type. She does adore him, she just shows it with food and with stuff.

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