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.

JackNoneReacher Sun 03-Nov-13 20:31:50

If she knows them well and is used to them but is still unhappy because she basically doesn't like them then I wouldn't send her.

...But if its because she is just keeping her options open and knows that there is another option which she'd prefer then I'd send her.

Hope that makes sense

Amy106 Sun 03-Nov-13 20:32:09

What are their plans for the day? Are there at least some parts that would be fun for dd?

MrsDavies Sun 03-Nov-13 20:37:29

I don't have a 4 year old so not speaking through experience, but I do have a 5 year old DSD so I can relate. IMO she should do whatever you want her to. obviously if there is something she doesn't want to do explaining to her why she's doing it and selling her the benefits will help. but ultimately like you said - she's only 4., and allowing her to decide where she goes and who she sees sometimes could lead to future problems when you want her to go somewhere and she doesn't. good luck!

Fukeit Sun 03-Nov-13 20:39:02

It's only a short day out so the only plans I know of are going out for lunch which dd really enjoys, but even the promise of chips hasn't convinced her to go.

The alternative is staying home with me, which is usually her preference.

Sausagewaffle Sun 03-Nov-13 20:40:18

perhaps send her this time, and next time ask her first before arrangements are made?

it could as another poster stated, create future problems.

it's your choice at the end of the day. whatever you decide smile

harticus Sun 03-Nov-13 20:40:46

Sounds like she is just being a bit mumsy/clingy.

I have had this with my DS when he was small - he hated the thought of something and then he'd go and have a brilliant time and couldn't wait to do it again - whilst I had spent an entire day fretting that he was miserable.

Wouldn't the GPs be very upset if she didn't go?

I would send her. I went through phases of not always likings y grandparents but having a close family and knowing them well is something I've really treasured as I've got older. She will reach a balance with them

I would however tell the grandparents she been a bit unhappy about how it's gone in the past.

Fukeit Sun 03-Nov-13 20:42:49

mrsdavis the problem is I'm a bit soft I suppose and wouldn't normally make her do anything she doesn't have to.

sparklysilversequins Sun 03-Nov-13 20:43:12

I would never send my child if they really didn't want to go.

Fukeit Sun 03-Nov-13 20:46:36

Cross posted there, yes agree she often doesn't want to do things and then enjoys them.

I'm just a bit fed up of every week convincing her that she'll have a lovely time and pointing out x,y,z which she loves to do with mil.

Yes mil would be very upset if she didn't go which is why I really want to send her. I just don't want her to look back and think 'why did mummy send me when I hated going' I'm feeling guilty at putting mil's feelings before Dd's.

WooWooOwl Sun 03-Nov-13 20:48:14

If she's been tantrumy about going, I'd make her go otherwise she'll learn that pester power works well and it will translate into other areas of life. I also wouldn't want to send the message that it's ok to let people down at the last minute just because you don't fancy it.

If you decide to let her stay home I'd make up an excuse to her so that she doesn't think she can get out of whatever she wants whenever she wants.

halfwayupthehill Sun 03-Nov-13 20:50:47

Please don't send her. At best you are forcing a situation and at worst you are not listening to her. She may have good reason to feel as she does.

ringaringarosy Sun 03-Nov-13 20:50:59

Sorry bit off topic but i really dont get the whole "having" kids for the day,its mad!I just cant imagine it.

I wouldnt send her if she doesnt want to go,i dont know whay anyone would?

ringaringarosy Sun 03-Nov-13 20:52:01

and i hate to say it but there is a really teeny tiny chance there is a "real" reason she doesnt want to go,you just never know.

ringaringarosy Sun 03-Nov-13 20:53:56

I have kids who sometimes dont want to go somewhere that you would think they would want to,in my experience,even if they enjoy it once they are there,they dont remember it,all they remember is mummy made me go and i didnt want to.

I think it's important to listen to your child, at least trying to have a chat about why she doesn't want to go. It's not about being clingy or giving into her but ascertaining that there is nothing else making her upset or uncomfortable whilst she is not with you. Four year olds can still be intimidated by larger than life personalities or frightened by adults bickering and being sharp with each other.

reddaisy Sun 03-Nov-13 20:56:28

Don't send her. If she is consistent with her feelings then listen to her. I was made to do all sorts of stuff when I was a child - because it suited my DM and I will not subject my DD to that. Although I do make her go to her swimming lesson every week and she usually complains about that but that is non negotiable.

Jojay Sun 03-Nov-13 20:56:29

Has she just started school? Is she missing spending more time with you do you think?

Maybe it's not really a problem with the grandparents , more that she wants to be at home with you, now she dirndls must of her week elsewhere.

Jojay Sun 03-Nov-13 20:57:27

*spends much of her week elsewhere

HearMyRoar Sun 03-Nov-13 20:58:47

If you don't need her to go and she doesn't want to go then forcing her for a day every week seems a bit much. Could you not reduce the number of visits a bit to once every couple of weeks or even once a month?

I think if you are making her go every week when she doesnt want to you risk sending her the other way and ending up with her not wanting to see them at all when she gets older.

babyboomersrock Sun 03-Nov-13 21:00:50

FIL is a bit grumpy and sharp with mil which dd doesn't like

I'm not surprised, and I'm wondering if maybe "grumpy and sharp" means something far more worrying when you are not around, OP? If he is like that in front of adults, he may be even worse when they're alone with your daughter - in which case, you can hardly blame her for not liking it.

Your child's feelings are the important ones in this scenario - not the grandparents'. I'd be trying to find out a bit more about what's bothering her.

ThisIsBULLSHIT Sun 03-Nov-13 21:04:48

I think I would listen to her. I have a 5 yr old dd and wouldn't make her go anywhere if she didn't want to go sad and I certainly wouldn't put a GP's slight miffedness above my child's anxiety.

Also people arguing in front of children can be very upsetting and this could be really worrying her if she hasn't heard much arguing before. (assuming you aren't very confrontational?) my children don't bat an eyelid at arguing wink

freemanbatch Sun 03-Nov-13 21:04:56

you give a reason your DD doesn't want to go in your post fukeit, is that what she has told you or what you think might be the problem?

I ask because that would make a difference to my decision if it was my child.

If your DD has told you she isn't happy and told you why then she should be listened to and allowed to be involved in the decision far more than if she simply kicking and screaming about it.

AgentZigzag Sun 03-Nov-13 21:05:20

No way would I send my 4 YO DD out with someone who she was repeatedly saying she didn't enjoy spending time with.

She's telling you something important, listen to her!

At 4 it's unlikely she's doing it for manipulative reasons, but even if she was, why would you force her?

I would try to shield mine from any come back on her (and it would hurt the GPs feelings), and not say it's because she doesn't want to go. You need to make her feel safe and secure that anything she tells you won't get her into trouble, have any negative consequences or get back to the people she's saying it about.

Your priority/loyalty should lie with your DD, not your MIL and whether she'll be upset.

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

BerstieSpotts Sun 03-Nov-13 23:13:28

Oh yes, I wouldn't cancel at the last minute either. But if it seems to be a general pattern that she doesn't want to go then I would definitely cut it down at the very least. Just say you have plans or sign her up for a class or something.

CrustaceanRelation Sun 03-Nov-13 23:14:25

I would listen to my dd, and support her in paying attention to her feelings. If she has to dread and then get through this day every week it is just going to become a bigger problem. She is clearly communicating her thoughts and feelings - you have to listen.

4 is very small, my dd is nearly 4 and no way would I feel comfortable forcing her to swallow down her feelings and manage without me for the day, just in case an adult was mildly upset if I didn't.

Fukeit Sun 03-Nov-13 23:20:13

Thank you all. I'd better go now.

My plan is to stick with tomorrow as it would be rude to cancel at last minute. (Unless DD is upset then I will cancel with huge apologies.)

Then suggest a change in our usual routine so they come here to play for a few hours instead.

JackNoneReacher Mon 04-Nov-13 10:50:24

I thought that sounded reasonable until I saw the extra info about your FIL...

I see that he doesn't have normal boundaries which would make it hard for me to trust his behaviour with a 4 year old and I'd be quite cautious about sending her.

What perhaps he sees as a 'close family' I see as an interfering busy body. Let us know how you get on today.

Spottybra Mon 04-Nov-13 10:56:57

Don't send her. She's young and wants her mummy. Nothing wrong with that. I hated going out with my grandma on a Saturday. As soon as I was old enough to volunteer to clean the house I used that as an excuse to stay home. Mum would have her morning off in town and come back to a cleaned house (housework wasn't and still isn't her priority. Garden is immaculate though). I loved my grandma, just hated her Saturday routine.

Fukeit Mon 04-Nov-13 11:32:57

jack I know it's not my ideal situation and when dd was a newborn it drove me bonkers and didn't help with my anxiety, but as I say he is often helping us out (dog walking/cutting grass) so he is doing us a huge favour it just involves visiting lots! They see it as an extension of their home as it's their ds's house and they are helping him out. I'm convincing myself as much as you cause it drives me mad and I feel rude if I do things like leave the key in the door so he can't let himself in.


Dd was unexpectedly ethusiastic about going (helped with wearin her party dress and promise of lemonade) then she got upset (no tears) just as they were leaving. Mil pulled out the jelly tots and this seemed to sort the problem out. I mentioned she was nervous and that relatives were a bit loud for her. Inlaws said they would be aware of this. although it will probably involve mil hollering across the table for everyone to stop shouting

babyboomersrock Mon 04-Nov-13 14:27:44

OP, I don't know how you put up with the lack of boundaries. It is not just their son's home; it's yours, and you're entitled to privacy. I would hate to feel someone could just appear in my home at any time.

What if you wanted to have a friend round? Or had a formal visit from someone (say health visitor)? Would he just barge in regardless?

It sounds to me as though they see your dd all the time anyway, so I'm not sure why they need extra time alone with her. Glad she was happier about it today - even if bribery was involved!

mojojomo Mon 04-Nov-13 14:43:52

It's up to you how you live your life. If you wouldn't leave your key in the door in case your FIL thought that making him knock was rude of you, that's your decision. Just seems a shame that you're teaching your daughter to ignore her feelings in favour of theirs too. Because if requiring him to knock before entering seems rude to you, what's the point of this thread really? You were always going to send her weren't you?

Fukeit Mon 04-Nov-13 17:37:01

mojo I get your point and will take it on board. I started this thread as I was considering not taking her and felt like I needed other people to tell me that it was a reasonable thing to do, which it has. It's given me the confidence to take my own feelings into consideration, and those of my children.

Tonight I even plucked up the courage to tell the inlaws that we wouldn't be at theirs this Christmas! Now that's progress.

I'm afraid I come from a long line of people pleasers (I'm looking at you dm and dg) and it's hard to break the habit when you've been brought up to put everyone else before yourself. (I get the irony that I'm now doing this with Dd)

campion Mon 04-Nov-13 18:42:46

It might be an idea to point out to your dh that he's married to you, not his parents, and that you wouldn't mind a bit of support. You're not obliged to do things to please them (esp at the expense of your and your dc's happiness) and doing things ' because that's what we've always done' is hardly a reason.

Hold back on pleasing them and doing things because you feel you ought to. I know - it's hard and I'm still trying to take my own advice. It's so easy to get into that pattern of behaviour and it often takes someone else to point it out.

Well done on the Christmas front and move on from there.

Fukeit Mon 04-Nov-13 19:04:23

Thanks campion Dh is very laid back so he doesn't really understand.

Anyway dd got back and has had a lovely day. She came in full of beans. Singing and dancing around wearing bright pink lipstick.

JackNoneReacher Mon 04-Nov-13 20:33:01

Its not really a 'huge favour' though if the way he does it makes you feel anxious and on edge in your own home.

I would leave the key in the door and consider telling him why - in a really nice way - "It makes me jump when I find you in the house unannounced so I'm going to leave the key in. Please just knock, or text, I'd rather the baby got woken up".

If he doesn't like this, then he's not really doing you a favour he's just having a nosey.

mojojomo Mon 04-Nov-13 21:48:45

If you want to make changes then the relationships board will be supportive and hopefully useful .

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