To make 4yo go out with grandparents

(63 Posts)
Fukeit Sun 03-Nov-13 20:28:00

Dd is 4 and is increasingly unhappy about spending the day with her grandparents. They are nice people and love her very much. FIL is a bit grumpy and sharp with mil which dd doesn't like.

They have always had her one day a week (at their insistence not through my need)

Tomorrow they want to take her to visit some relatives. Dd is insisting she doesn't want to go. Do I let her decide? Or Is this madness, she's 4 and should do as she's told? I honestly don't know which is the reasonable thing to do.

Dh has admitted he never liked these relatives as a child. There is no question of them hurting her. They are just a bit loud and not very child friendly.

Fukeit Sun 03-Nov-13 21:07:31

Thanks for the responses it's good to know this isn't an obvious YABU.

There really isn't any question that there is potential for hurting her in anyway. She doesn't leave mil's side and I'd trust that woman with my life.

I think someone hit the nail on the head. They are an intimidating bunch. They all seem to be going deaf so shout and dd hates loud noises. Dd is a very sensitive child and doesn't take well to things out of her comfort zone.

She hasn't started school yet, but enjoys nursery very much. Her younger sibling is home with me so potentially she doesn't want to miss out on home stuff.

The having a child for the day isn't my idea and not what happened when I was little but it is very much what happens in dh's family and I went along with it.

LentilAsAnything Sun 03-Nov-13 21:08:13

I would listen to my child and respect his feelings. I would hate to be forced to see people I don't want to, or do something I don't want to do. My child is entitled to feel the same, and not have his parent force him. The lesson I would want my child to learn from this is that I will respect his opinion and listen to him.

mojojomo Sun 03-Nov-13 21:09:15

If she consistently says she doesn't want to go, then you risk giving her the message that her feelings don't count and there's no point in telling you. I think it's important that children know they can talk to their parents and will be listened to. From what you've written I'm sure you're having a chat and asking why, rather than shouting her down, and you know whether she comes home after these visits excited about having a great time or despondent and wanting time with you to recover.

She's four so she'll find it difficult to explain her feelings, but do you want her to get the message that she should do things because others want her to irrespective of her own feelings? I'd be open to changing these visits or accompanying her.

Spotsonmytoes Sun 03-Nov-13 21:14:03

No way would i send such a young child away if she didn't want to. sad

At four years of age your dd is learning to choose things for herself. To foster confidence and independence in her it would be better to let her choose but do talk about it with her; Perhaps you can agree on a compromise together. I.e. just go for lunch with GPS but not visit the relatives.

Oh, and I completely disagree with MrsDavies.

Fukeit Sun 03-Nov-13 21:18:19

Crossed posts again

Dd hasn't said a specific reason why she doesn't like going. It's me that thinks it might be fil's grumpiness. Whenever I've asked her she never says an actual reason just lots of huffy 'I just don't want to'

I appriciate it is wise to keep your eyes open to potential abuse, but there is no sinister reasons for her not wanting to go. They are all in their 70s and Dh trusts them completely.

But it's made me realise I need to change this weekly thing. I did cut her hours down a while ago so it's a short day and she has been happier about going for the past few months. But the last few weeks she's been sad again when I've left her.

mojojomo Sun 03-Nov-13 21:51:37

Just to be clear, I didn't think "abuse!" when reading your posts. Could you go too or invite them to your house?

AgentZigzag Sun 03-Nov-13 21:53:30

I don't think abuse either, but it's setting up the environment early on that gives clear boundaries and expectations (to your DD) that she can tell you anything and you'll always back her up/believe her/understand.

Xmasbaby11 Sun 03-Nov-13 21:59:31

Once a week is very often to spend a day with grandparents, considering she doesn't enjoy it.

I think you should nip it in the bud and come up with another arrangement, eg doing something as a whole family or having a shorter visit.

Rainbowshine Sun 03-Nov-13 22:10:36

I can see why an energetic 4 year old might not find it fun to spend the day with GPs who, with no disrespect meant, are in their 70's. Do you know what games and activities she gets to do there and are they what she would like? I am guessing she doesn't get to run around as much, and it sounds as if they are talking loudly which she doesn't like. Perhaps you could get MIL to see her at yours without the cross FIL? Or as others suggest make the visits once a month so it's not so bad. Could you mention the loudness to MIL without it causing offence?

Fukeit Sun 03-Nov-13 22:10:57

Yep I'm going to have a chat with them and make it a bit more informal, maybe we can call in for an hour or they can come to our house for a play.

I'm not very good at disappointing people.

How can I phrase it other than ''DD doesn't enjoy her visits'' which is too harsh.

I can sense MIL's disappointment already.

friday16 Sun 03-Nov-13 22:13:49

They have always had her one day a week (at their insistence

Why did you agree to this? One day a week is ludicrous. What do they do all day?

SteamWisher Sun 03-Nov-13 22:15:36

Don't blame your dd. just say you would want to spend time with dd. or don't explain - just say you want to cut them down as doing other stuff.

I bet your dd feels left out - she gets shipped off while you stay at home with a younger sibling. My ds was like this so I avoided doing that with dd.

Rainbowshine Sun 03-Nov-13 22:18:24

Could you say something along the lines of trying to adjust DD's routine ready for when she goes to school and you think she's going to be more tired so need to tone down some of the "extra" stuff she does so she can rest/nap at home if needed? Or that you'd like more time with her before she goes off to school, to reassure her and spend time as a family?

Rainbowshine Sun 03-Nov-13 22:19:22

X post with Steam

Fukeit Sun 03-Nov-13 22:23:27

It's so funny to hear other peoples opinions on this.

DH's family think this is totally normal. They think I'm odd that DD doesn't have sleep overs/ sees them every day. They are a very close family and have had a lot of input in their nephew and nieces childhoods. They would willingly take on a very sudo-parental role you'd all die if I started telling you about FIL and is numerous visits to our house

Nanny0gg Sun 03-Nov-13 22:37:26

As it's supposedly some form of 'treat' for DD as she is being taken out, I don't think it should be forced if she doesn't want to go.

Get your ILs to see your children at your house or go with them to their house for a little while.

This really shouldn't be a 'punishment' and that's what it looks like to your DD.

steppemum Sun 03-Nov-13 22:42:58

my dd goes through phases when she really only wants to stay at home. On the surface she is incredibly sociable, and loves everybody, but she is actually less confident than she appears and sometimes really needs time with me to just be with me.

I don't find the day thing odd, my dcs love spending time with their Gps and they would happily go over for the day. My mum will potter with them, play a game, make a cake, do some gardening, read stories, just hanging out. My dcs get to do all sorts of bits and pieces that they wouldn't do at home.
But those days are looked forward to because it isn't every week. I think going less often might actually rekindle her enthusiasm.

AgentZigzag Sun 03-Nov-13 22:43:33

You have to tell us now about your FILs visits now, MN rules say so grin

steppemum Sun 03-Nov-13 22:45:24

and my dds slept at Grannys for 2 nights last week, (it was because I was working and dh is away and half term) they saw it as a sleepover and were really excited. But it is months since they last did it.

BerstieSpotts Sun 03-Nov-13 22:49:57

If it were me and there was no reason for her going other than that it was supposed to be fun for her, then I wouldn't make her go.

If there's another reason, like you doing something at that time which you need childcare for, then I would look at other options but ultimately consider trying to make this arrangement work.

But if it's purely for her and she's not enjoying it then it's totally defeating the point - surely?

With my children, I always tried to give them the choice when I could. So things like doctors for innoculations, dentist, school, non-negotiable, and what I say goes, but going somewhere or doing something they didn't want to, then I wouldn't force them if there was an alternative.
So a day out, if I was just at home and there was no reason they had to be "minded" that day, would be up to them.
My DD has recently not wanted to go to MiLs when DH takes her brothers every saturday. When "gentle prodding" didn't work, and even saying "but you won't get the sweeties and pound Nanna gives the boys" didn't make her want to go, we accepted her choice.
I don't want to teach my children that they must go somewhere they don't want to go because "authority figure" says so - I want them to be able to refuse and have that accepted - just my opinion, and probably not totally relevant in a 4 year old, but as they get older, I think it takes on more significance, and especially for DD (I think anyway - I can't help feeling differently about DD than I do about her brothers, feminists nuke me now grin )

Fukeit Sun 03-Nov-13 22:58:08

steppemum that sounds very much like my dd and my mum. DD would potter with her for hours, but it is every couple of weeks with different short visits inbetween, a more informal arrangement, but harder to organise with the inlaws in my experience as they have a very ridgid weekly routine.

Agentzigzag har well he obviously has a set of keys to our house. He comes up between 1 and 3 times a week (on top of the day they have dd) for various reasons. Some are helping us out so I can't complain, but I do find he likes to be occupied so things that could wait he'll just let himself in and drop things off or pick things up. He finds it strange if I do things differently to them so he'll always quiz me on whatever I'm doing. They are big on energy saving too so he has pointed out when our emersion light has been on. Told dd to turn the hose off when she was playing with it that sort of thing. He has made me jump so many times as he lets himself in and just wanders round really quietly (to be fair he's trying not to wake anyone up) When we go on holiday he comes up and unplugs everything.

Nanny0gg Sun 03-Nov-13 23:02:25

He comes in when you're asleep??

Fukeit Sun 03-Nov-13 23:08:40

nannyOgg sorry no, it's toddlers or babies nap times. He never knows if and when they're sleeping so he doesn't knock or make any noise so he doesn't wake them up.

intitgrand Sun 03-Nov-13 23:10:54

i think as the arrangements for tomorrow haze been made it would be very rude to cancel at the last minute on the whim oe a four year old .just doo t make any more arrangements going forward

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