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To think that my word should be final

(53 Posts)
phantomhairpuller Mon 23-Sep-13 10:33:57

For example- if I (or DH) tell DS1 he cannot have any sweets until after a certain time, that is what should happen?!

At some point or other, all the grandparents have been guilty of something similar but have stopped once we've pulled them up on it. Except MIL.
I'm actually now starting to think that she is doing it deliberately to undermine our authority as parents.

Her and FIL stayed with us this weekend.
Saturday morning DS1 does his usual thing of asking for sweets before he's even had breakfast! I told him he could have some after he'd been to rugby (at 12pm) MIL heard me say this- she even repeated it to him.

Fast forward an hour. I come down from having a shower, she's giggling like a bloody schoolgirl and tells me she's given him a packet of sweets which he's already eaten confused

Bugger me, I get in from putting the washing on the line another hour or so later to find DS hiding under the kitchen table with ANOTHER packet of sweets. Which she confessed to giving him.

This isn't the first time she's done it either.

A few weeks back, we stayed with them. DS1 was messing around with his breakfast so I told him that if he didn't eat it, he wouldn't have any treats during the day (we're trying to lay a few ground rules with food at the moment as he's getting to be a right PITA at mealtimes wink)

I returned to the room a few minutes later to find his breakfast plate empty and him eating a chocolate biscuit.
MIL then makes a comment along the lines of 'granny likes marmite on toast too'- and starts giggling. FIL looked at me, rolled his eyes and said 'I told her not to'.

AIBU to be getting pissed off with this now? In my eyes, all she is doing is undermining me. Deliberate or not, I don't know.

MN jury- what do you think? Maybe I'm just being over sensitive?!

Bowlersarm Mon 23-Sep-13 10:35:45

If she doesn't stay with you often I would turn a blind eye.

DancingLady Mon 23-Sep-13 10:38:18

YANBU this would fuck me right off.

MIL is deliberately undermining you, making you out to be the 'bad guy' and ignoring your requests. I'd have a quiet word with her and let her know it's not on, and that if it continues she won't be welcome in your house.

If she wants to feed him sweets before breakfast at her's, fine. But your roof, your rules.

hamncheese Mon 23-Sep-13 10:40:46

That's so annoying. Especially the giggling. I'd not have sweets and biscuits about when she comes then she can't do it. Or have one packet in the cupboard and then if she gives them to him you can explain later when he asks that he can't because granny took them all already ha. Seriously though, don't have them in and its more of a nonissue

Maggietess Mon 23-Sep-13 10:44:11

Personally I think it's no big deal. That's what grannies and grandads are supposed to do, spoil their grandkids. If she lives with you then fine but when she's only visiting the occasional weekend let it go. I doubt she's doing it to undermine you, more to be in with her grandson. Probably hard for granny to connect with a growing, rugby playing boy, this is her being nice would be my guess. Just let him know he's lucky as granny gave it as a special treat but on a normal weekend it wouldn't have been an option

phantomhairpuller Mon 23-Sep-13 10:44:11

Hamncheese- she brings her own- seriously! confused

I've tried talking to her, as has DH. It seems to be falling on deaf ears.

Nice to know I'm not being over sensitive tho.

unforgettablememories Mon 23-Sep-13 10:46:38

Thats what grandmas are for!

Dahlen Mon 23-Sep-13 10:49:01

How often is this happening?

IF she's at your house every week or more often, you have to make a stand. If she visits less than that, I'd honestly turn a blind eye.

phantomhairpuller Mon 23-Sep-13 10:50:43

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate that she wants to be seen as 'fun, kind granny who hardly ever says no(!)' and as a previous poster has said, if she wants to spoil him at her house- fine. But doing it under our roof, when we have specifically said no is to me, a tad disrespectful.

hamncheese Mon 23-Sep-13 10:54:01

I don't think its fair to say that's what grandmas are for. Fair enough if she was occasionally treating him but she's doing it over and over for no reason it seems. OP is his mum, she decides at the end of the day and its not as if she's saying he's never to get sweets ever.

I'd probably make a point of it and say to her you really aren't happy with his sugar intake when she comes, you know she likes to treat him but she will need to limit it to x. Or give her some healthier treats, his fave fruit or some not too bad biscuits, raisins etc or try and get her to buy something you don't mind him snacking on so she can still give him them?

Agree she's aware of what she's doing whether or not she sees it as a bad thing!

CrazyOldCatLady Mon 23-Sep-13 10:56:41

Grandparents are allowed to spoil their grandchildren but what's actually happening here is that she's teaching him that it's funny to defy his parents.

I wouldn't be turning a blind eye.

superlambanana Mon 23-Sep-13 10:59:01

What Crazy said. YANBU.

NatashaBee Mon 23-Sep-13 11:04:01

YANBU. But if just asking her outright doesn't work, maybe you could tilt your head sympathetically, ask if she's forgotten lots of things lately and suggest she sees her doctor to get her memory checked out.

thegreylady Mon 23-Sep-13 11:10:01

I like to treat the dgc but if the parents say no then no it is. When dgs was 3 he asked if he could have two biscuits when we were both dead and having a cup of tea on my cloud(don't ask). He realised that he wasn't going to get two in this life as mum had said only one treat. Your mil is being deliberately stupid and risks her whole relationship with dgc by antagonising you.

EldritchCleavage Mon 23-Sep-13 11:17:18

To be honest, I would just tell her off. It is undermining, and unhealthy. She can find other ways of being fun Grandma.

My grandmother did this in defiance of my mother, admittedly as part of a bigger, unhealthy dynamic. But it trapped us in a rather adult game that made us all quite uncomfortable-wanting sweets, guilty about being disloyal to our mother.

Squash it before it extends to other things.

lizzzyyliveson Mon 23-Sep-13 11:25:19

I think you should tell your child that he is not allowed to eat sweets given by other adults and that includes granny. Tell her that if he does eat the sweets you will punish him. Next time she does this you can send him to his room and granny will not be the lovely, kind person she thinks she is, she will be the person that got him punished.

He should learn to refuse foods, actually, so that he is 'stranger-proofed'. Until he can resist he is not safe to go to the park on his own.

BlissfullyIgnorant Mon 23-Sep-13 11:35:00

As a Mother, what I say goes...
DS needs meds not to be mixed with booze (due to impact on liver) not ever, even in cooking. Once, we went to PILs for Sunday lunch so we issued the strict ground rules on food, etc and MIL produced big fat thick sticky chocolate cake which I didn't want. Both DCs had a fat slice and DS offered me a taste. May as well have handed over a pint of rum. We had to remove the cake, much to everyone's disappointment; MIL insisted it didn't matter as "All the alcohol comes out in cooking" (it bloody doesn't, especially when it's mixed with the cream topping/filling or used to soak the cherries). I took no pleasure the following weekend when I told her that thanks to her 'little bit of cake' DS had an inflamed liver AND had to have more blood tests, and he freaks with needles. Another occasion she failed to tell DSiL that DS could not be exposed to certain viral infections so could she let us know if anything was going round at her nursery. She also failed to tell me about DNephew being 'under the weather'. Consequently, DS came down very ill for a week, 41.8 deg temp, viral rash, it was awful. She deliberately blocked the flow of information just to make sure she had us all there the same day for Christmas.
Mark my words - the sneaky sweets are the top of the slippery slope. Put a stop to it right now.

Rachel778 Mon 23-Sep-13 11:38:14


I would NEVER go over the head of a parent . . beit a friend, a family member or even when I am a Grandmother myself . . It is the Mothers (usually) who have day to day care and to override their wishes is a No No in my opinion .

I remember my Mum telling me that her own Mother had to speak to her Mum who would sneak in sweeties etc when my Mum and her siblings were younger .. It is your child, your rules and should be heeded.

magimedi Mon 23-Sep-13 11:40:49

I do think that Grandparents are for spoiling children - but not with sweets. Especially if the parents have said no.

GhostsInSnow Mon 23-Sep-13 11:42:18

YANBU at all. My MIL used to try it as well, I'd say no because she'd going to have her lunch etc in a minute. Next thing I'd hear her tell DD I was a 'wicked Mother' and she'd have the sweets anyway.

Eventually I took about as much of it as I could, picked up DD and walked out telling her that when she could treat me with some respect I'd be willing to come back. It worked.

Davsmum Mon 23-Sep-13 11:48:56

You should have a serious word with her and tell her she is totally out of order, especially laughing about encouraging her grandson to defy what you have told him!
She sounds like she is trying to be his friend and she may feel sorry for him if he cannot have what he wants - but that is no excuse.

Your DS is probably old enough to know that he shoul dnot accept what his Gran is giving him after you have said no - so I would have a word with him too,

Golferman Mon 23-Sep-13 12:24:28

I agree with Maggietess, my job as grandad is to spoil them regardless of what their parents think. If I am looking after them it is my rules, end of.

Yes Golferman, but the OP's MIL wasn't looking after the children. OP was.

The sweets are more or less a red herring IMO, it's about deliberately undermining OP's authority. I'd be inclined to make it clear that she won't be staying again any time soon if she doesn't back you up!

hamncheese Mon 23-Sep-13 13:07:34

To be honest the idea that when your child isn't under your direct care the person looking after them can do what the hell they like is ridiculous.

No one would allow a childminder or school to do things that a parent had expressly forbidden so I don't see why a grandparent thinks they have any rights to. They aren't the grandparents child and if the grandparent can't manage a simple rule like no sweets at certain times then they shouldn't have them.

If my DS grandparents did whatever they liked irrespective there is no way DS would be with them without my supervision. Its outrageous to think you can do what you like with someone else's children, especially in the full knowledge their parents would not be happy.

Pachacuti Mon 23-Sep-13 13:10:55

She is deliberately undermining you, but what you do about it would depend on how often you see them. If it's once every 2-3 months or less then while it's annoying and I would need to vent about it it's probably not worth taking it up with her; if it's every week then I think it needs to be tackled.

edam Mon 23-Sep-13 13:14:01

"No one would allow a childminder or school to do things that a parent had expressly forbidden" - hardly the same, is it? Grandparents aren't paid employees.

OP, I can see it's very irritating - she really is going beyond fond Granny into being a real pain in the bum. Suggest you have a serious chat.

EldritchCleavage Mon 23-Sep-13 13:55:51

I'm always surprised at how many people advise keeping quite and fuming in secret on these kinds of threads.

I think it is much better for your relationship with your MIL for you to be open and honest about how you feel about this. I mentioned 'telling off' but actually it needn't be some massive confrontation.

If she continues regardless, then you can have the massive confrontation.

phantomhairpuller Mon 23-Sep-13 13:58:26

It's nice to know I'm not being over-sensitive on this one smile

I think davsmum hit the nail on the head- she is trying to be his friend above all else. I do sometimes wonder whether she see's it as a 'competition' between her and all other GPs to be the 'favourite'

We see her and FIL quite regularly so it's definitely something I will have to address with her. Again. wink

Davsmum Mon 23-Sep-13 14:06:55

Your MiL can still 'spoil' your DS and give him treats etc - but she has to understand that they have to be approved by you.
I don't understand GPs who don't check with the parents before handing things out to their grandchildren, never mind giving them stuff that has been already been 'banned'!

EldritchCleavage Mon 23-Sep-13 14:10:43

With my grandmother, she ignored my mother, but my father only had to say 'Oh!' (not an English 'Oh!', the West African, percussive, very expressive 'Oh!' that means 'I am about to take you to task, big-time') when the sweetie bag was being opened and it was snapped shut again very smartly!

In other words, would your DH have more luck with her?

NicknameIncomplete Mon 23-Sep-13 14:17:10

When my dd is with my mum (only granny she has) i am quite relaxed about what my dd eats or does up to a point.

For example my mum allows my dd to eat what she likes at hers which is not that bad but when i get home after work & she refuses to eat her tea then i will have a problem with it.

Your situatiok is different as she is even doing this in ur own home when she has been told no. I like the idea of punishing ur child for eating the sweets (sounds horrible but it might just work). Hopefully it would only be for a short time.

hamncheese Mon 23-Sep-13 14:43:28

So just because grandparents aren't paid to look after your children they can do what they like? That makes sense.

valiumredhead Mon 23-Sep-13 14:46:44

I agree with lizzy's post. Tell your DC to keep the sweets until later.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 23-Sep-13 14:51:30

At their house I wouldn't try and have food battles, just let him eat what he wants.

Apply your rules at home.

It sounds like she is largely doing it to get a rise out of you, so if you just back right off then she won't find it so amusing and it will stop happening.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 23-Sep-13 15:10:10

Just pull her up in front of everyone and ask her why she does not have the imagination or intellect to come up with fun things and treats that do not involve deceit undermining and food.

valiumredhead Mon 23-Sep-13 15:17:27

I think some posters should remind themselves that they will be mils one day.

JohFlow Mon 23-Sep-13 15:22:58

Your reasons for restricting sweetie/biscuit access (for example) are fair and in line with what many parents would appreciate. You are teaching them that eating full meals comes before treats. You are also showing them that if their behaviour is good that they may be rewarded later. The key is that you have set the rules and compliance can reap a reward for the children. When you MIL offers the rewards first then that undermines the lessons that you are trying to implement. You have been specific with her about your rules. I would therefore find her giggling and flouting very annoying/unsupportive. Perhaps she does not remember how difficult it can be to get standard behaviours instilled?

When my MIL comes round with treats for the kids - she always asks the best time to give it to them - straightaway, before/after tea, on good behaviour etc.

I think there is a difference between 'spoiling' children (as a mark of fondness and campassion) and presenting treats and a time to undermine the house rules.

Because I like to deal with things as they come up; I would have to discuss the consquences of this inconsistent approach with her; and also if that they presents you with problems after she has gone.

Beastofburden Mon 23-Sep-13 15:35:46

She is trying to buy his affection with a mix of sweeties and naughtiness. Its quite common as DGC age and the grandparents no longer have an uncritical baby to cuddle, but arent part of their school or hobby life as they grow. She needs another outlet for this.

I would try to find an activity that they can have as their special time and introduce that. Then I would also ask her to respect your ground rules on sweeties as he is developing bad habits.

Even if she doesnt get the implied threat to withdraw her "special time", she will hopefully be secure enough to stop using bribery to get his affection.

christinarossetti Mon 23-Sep-13 15:43:38

How old is ds by the way?

If she's mainly trying to be friends with him then can you direct her to another way in?

I still remember my aunt sending us a particular comic every week. We could have got it in the shop near us but somehow it was more special to send through the post.

EldritchCleavage Mon 23-Sep-13 16:21:55

I agree with the last few posts. Something else MIL and your DS could have as their thing (my mother used to send her grandsons the Beano, and later football magazines, which they loved) as a specified alternative to sweets sounds like a great idea.

phantomhairpuller Mon 23-Sep-13 16:39:25

Thanks for all the suggestions.

DS is 2.5- I'm not sure he'd understand the concept of being 'punished' for something that was ultimately granny's doing. Tho he certainly understands how to wrap her around his little finger so maybe I'm underestimating him wink

I'll have a chat with DH tonight and see if he'll talk to her about it. Again!

Buswanker Mon 23-Sep-13 17:17:40

I think YANBU both my parents and my in laws do this.
I have to say no to the sweets and I look like a controlling mum or I am the one trying to feed sugar crazed children tea when they are not hungry anymore.
Lose lose situation I guess.
<watches thread with interest>

NicknameIncomplete Mon 23-Sep-13 17:50:25

If you teach your ds that he isnt allowed sweets before tea or if he hasnt eaten all of his meals for example would be better than saying you will be punished for the sweets granny gives you. Because when he is older he may help himself to sweets if u have any in the house.

My dd has to ask for snacks and has always been taught this.

cg13 Mon 23-Sep-13 18:09:22

Your child, your rules, regardless of the location/circumstances. YANBU at all. I would sit down with her, with DH, and explain you're trying to set boundaries and rules, and you both feel she's undoing that good work, which in the long run won't do him any favours. Also, sweets before breakfast is just plain wrong for a 2.5 yo, and you want to teach him healthy eating habits. Other posters are right that you can treat a child to all sorts of things, without it being food-related, and without going back on rules that have already been set. I'm annoyed on your behalf OP.

YANBU, I had this battle with my MIL a long time ago. She would give sweets when I had expressly said "no", she would encourage the children to put their tea in the bin and tell me that they had eaten it all hmm and if I allowed them to do something she would critisise that, such as allowing them to walk along a wall, she would lift them down and tell them that I didn't care of they fell, but Nana would look after them angry. I know that it was a power game. I still don't get why - other than that she is barking mad! grin

christinarossetti Mon 23-Sep-13 22:06:50

2.5 is very young to be given a packet of sweets in any circumstance - I thought you were going to say that he's 7 or something!

Yes, nip this in the bud now. If she must do something 'special', then ask her to play a silly game or buy him a comic.

5Foot5 Mon 23-Sep-13 22:15:19

Your 2.5yo plays rugby!? Golly I didn't know they started that young.

SaucyJack Mon 23-Sep-13 22:23:37

The deliberate undermining would annoy me far more than a few extra sweets. YANBU.

Davsmum Tue 24-Sep-13 12:04:55

5Foot5 - That's what I thought - I didn't realise he was just 2.5!

phantomhairpuller Tue 24-Sep-13 12:41:26

The rugby part is kind of irrelevant to the story. It's 'rugby tykes', they can start at 2yrs. DS started last week smile

Echocave Tue 24-Sep-13 15:45:54

I agree that YANBU especially as ds is so young. My dd's little face homes in on cake etc if her GPs are round for tea. We generally don't give her any but when my Dad ignored a specific request not to give her cake and gave her some chocolate cake (she's not yet 2) DH told him off quite firmly (he didnt bother to hide his irritation). My Dad, bless him, now doesn't give her cake, instead we get her one of her snacks (usually lower in sugar!) .

Any GP ignoring this needs to be firmly told its not what you want.

Callaird Tue 24-Sep-13 16:43:58

I'm a nanny and I have encouraged parents to tell grandparents that the additives in sweets make the child come out in horrific eczema a few days later. And that chocolate has a laxative effect on them!

I have stock photos of ex-charges who had eczema when it was at it's worse which we show grandparents. We also tell tales of nightmare explosions in the middle of the night that left the child distraught and exhausted! We don't encourage the children to lie. Although most of my charges have been around a year old when grandparents want to start giving them little treats.

I also tell them that the children won't remember being spoilt with sweet treats, they will however remember the atmosphere during visits and that mummy and daddy were cross with granny and that made them sad. They will remember treats of outings to the zoo, park, swimming, kisses and cuddles and spending time with them.

I/my bosses don't ban treats and when we know granny is coming we restrict our giving of treats for the week before and afterwards so that granny can spoil away, but with the proviso that it is chocolate and it is after lunch so that mummy and daddy have a disturbed night. We also tell them that a nice cream is a great treat when they are out but no brightly coloured ice lollies!

But I am a bossy nanny!

Callaird Tue 24-Sep-13 16:45:56

mummy and daddy don't have a disturbed night

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