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Sleepover at Grandparents

(41 Posts)
grrth1314 Thu 31-Jan-13 23:24:53


What do people think about sleepover at Grandparents and ?

I'm not that keen but my in-laws are, and I can appreciate that it is nice for them to have some separate time so generally our 2 kids stop every 2/3 months.

However what concerns me more is that even though we don't lay down any general ground rules when they stop, there has been an odd occasion when we have banned our kids from sweets because they have been in trouble. I then subsequently find out that the in-laws have blatantly ignored this and gone against what we asked.

Also, I have specifically asked for our children to sleep in the room next to theirs but they insist on putting our 8 year old on their floor even though he prefers to sleep in the other room, which I find strange.

I also think they worry way too much and our children come back from their house having had a good time but with lots of worries over small things to the extent he struggles to sleep when he is back home.

Plus their grandma seems to be in a competition to say she cooks pancakes, builds lego, etc. better than we do at home. I understand she wants her grandchildren think they are special but we always go out of our way to let them do things together separately when we go round to visit but she seems to go out of her way to emphasise she does things better.

Lastly, I was always brought up going on day trips together with both my parents and grandparents . I feel I have met them halfway by letting the kids stop over even though I am not keen but that they aren't willing to do things as a big group.

I get concerned that my kids will have memories of doing things separately and won't have the good memories I have.

I don't want this to come across that I don't think it is a good thing, I do and I am pretty easy going about most things but when I see it having an effect on my childs behaviour in a bad way (acting spoilt, nightmares), it rankles.

What do people think?

Jayne266 Sat 02-Feb-13 06:06:06

I think you have good grandparents and they may not do everything your way but it's one night. And grandparents are there to spoil them. Regarding the days out I understand your issues and for me I worry about safety etc so maybe invite them to go with you and you can all go on that special day out.
The sleeping thing just be honest and say.

IsItMeOr Sat 02-Feb-13 07:52:32

grrth, I think you may have put your finger on the main issues in your last post - that they are controlling and inappropriately competitive.

Funny that your DS is already able to spot that this behaviour is "off". Shows you're doing a good job wink.

I suspect that the usual MN advice I see in these circumstances of deep breath and ignore, ignore, ignore is probably the most applicable. It's a shame that you're not able to work with ILs as a team (I wish I could lend you my lovely MIL to talk some sense into yours!), but there is probably a limit to what you can do about it.

DumSpiroSpero Sat 02-Feb-13 10:16:42

I think IsIt has hit the nail on the head with the competitive and controlling thing, and I really sympathise as I have a similar thing except in our case it's Granny Wars between my mum & MIL.

If DD goes to stay with MIL (and FIL but he is a treasure!) she will always arrange to take her out so she has to pick her up at a set time. If I say what time I will pick her up the following day, she will take her out again first thing so that there is no chance of me picking her up early. She constantly tells DD that my mum is competitive whilst buying her expensive presents.

The most recent thing has been that DD sleeps with my mum when she stays there as they don't have a spare room (she and my dad sleep separately). MIL has always been adamant about separate rooms/beds until she discovered this. Last time DD went there she slept with MIL, even though MIL & FIL usually sleep together and have at least 2 spare beds hmm.

It makes me fume, but in the grand scheme things I'd be the one that came off looking like a petulant arse if I kicked up about it. I try as far as possible to arrange for DD to go there when it is just FIL (MIL works nights), as he is much more laid back and DD has lots of fun with him. We see more of my parents anyway and she goes to them overnight 2/3 of the time if we need sitters.

My DD is also 8 and she is getting pretty wise to the situation. Trust your son as it seems that he is similarly bright enough to see through all the nonsense.

On a practical level, I would have a word about the bed situation as I don't think sleeping on the floor is a good idea anyway - perhaps mention that he was tired or complaining of a sore back and for his health you feel he really needs to be in a bed now he's getting older/bigger.

mrsbunnylove Sat 02-Feb-13 10:23:33

why aren't they with you? don't you like them? this 'sleepover' idea is weird. maybe if you had to/wanted to go out, if there was a good reason for it...
however, if you insist on sending your children to someone else, you have to accept that in their home they do things their way. and if that means taking no notice of a bossy mum, that's just how it goes. if you want your children to live by your rules, keep them in your own house.

Hulababy Sat 02-Feb-13 10:34:25

DD has stayed over with her grandparents for a night or two since she was 3y. It's often if we are going out for the night anyway, or in a school holiday.

DD loves it. She has a fantastic relationship with her grandparents on both sides and she gets so much from spending time alone with them, and they do too.

I think it is really unfair and unreasonable of you to make them follow your bans/punishment when they are with them. Staying with grandparents should be a fun treat, not marred by parent;'s punishments.

Re. the "doing things better" -are you sure it really is like that and not just her way of trying to make things sound more fun and a treat, more exciting?

The sleeping thing - I do think you can deal with that. Can the 8 year old not say something? Or say that it is something you insist on - a proper place to sleep in another room.

Trips with both sets of grandparents are possible - we have done it occasionally - but can be overwhelming for the child. They have so many people wanting their attention it can be hard for them to decide who to go to, etc. And it also depends on how well the two sets fo grandparents know one another and how well they get on. If they are almost strangers then that can also be difficult. I wouldn't see that as so important personally and so long as your children have good experiences with both sets i see no issue. I can remember no times in my childhood really when both grandparents were together - yet have lovely childhood memories.

Other than that - well, a grandparents job is to spoil and treat the grandchildren isn't it?! That's what makes the lovely memories for them when they grow up!

IsItMeOr Sat 02-Feb-13 13:14:40

PS grrth, even though I recognise I'm very lucky to have such a lovely MIL, I still feel irritated by her sometimes. I think it's partly the nature of the relationship.

grrth1314 Sat 02-Feb-13 17:20:20

Thanks everyone for the support.

Think it has made me realise to let go a little (especially on treats issue) but also that I am not being unreasonable and do feel a bit overwhelmed as I am surrounded by the inlaws whilst my family live far away.

dumspirospero - can only sympathise as i dont want to come off petulant either especially as my son seems to realise what is going on.

Happy to give up the arguement on the treats but still uncomfortable on the sleeping arrangements - will have to say something.

mrsbunnylove - i would much rather they were with me but think it would be unreasonable of me to expect that so happy for them to sleep over.

hulababy - yes, she does really say that. ive overheard similar things before and only recently she said she has a right to take the kids away on holiday by law even though she sees them every week and they stop over every 2/3 months.

what gets me annoyed about things like that is she never meets halfway. went away for a weeks holiday with my family this year but any time we have suggested something similar she has never accepted.

Dont want to go awa with both grandparents at the same time, more that i want the children to experience doings things with in laws and us at the same time and not always separately with us not there.

like i said, have asked a few times to do something but it has never happened in the 8/9 years since lewis was born.

you are right that i shouldnt get worked up but have had her ringing me at work to complain about access because we didnt come across one week as we were knackered.

just want her to understand everything doesnt have to be done on their terms.

thanks again.

IsItMeOr Sat 02-Feb-13 18:12:47

Oh blimey - are you not in the UK grrth? I thought Grandparents basically have no rights here, but I could be wrong...

DumSpiroSpero Sat 02-Feb-13 18:26:47

I think your MiL is talking cobblers about her 'rights' tbh.

And it's not unreasonable for you to not want her calling the shots.

How does your DH feel about all this - will he get involved if needs be? Mine is as much use as a chocolate teapot when it comes to dealing with MiL so invariably I end up taking to her, things get misconstrued & she reports to DH who is then grumpy with me as he doesn't like getting caught in the middle.

Luckily as she works, there is only so much time for her to be sticking her oar in, so I find it easier to go along with her requests when they arise, but rarely offer or ask for her involvement as if I give her an inch she'll take a mile and then some.

QOD Sat 02-Feb-13 18:47:55

My mum pretty much ignores mine and my sisters DD's, she's never in their lives taken them anywhere or had them over out of her instigation

grrth1314 Sat 02-Feb-13 22:22:00

Hi All,

Yes we live in the UK and I am aware there is no law, although apparently they can request access and will normally be granted it unless there are exceptional reasons.

However, that is off topic and would never want to do that and they are basically nice people with their hearts in the right place just not happy they always try and call the shots.

DH? I presume Dear Husband? Apologies this is my wife's mother in law and she is similar to your DH, Dimspirospero. Doesnt like to say no and hates any sort of confrontation which means in law get their way unless I say something and things usally get misconstrued.

Unfortunately both mine are retired but live 20miles away. I tend to also go along with her requirements but don't ask for their involvement. They are polar opposites to my parents who are quite laid back but I have always tried to treat them the same as my own parents.

I think nobody wins because if they were more constructive we would be more happy for them to be involved more, but when they always want things on their terms and still treat us like we are 15 (telling us how to boil and egg 15 years after left home!) then don't feel like going around as often.

Sounds like we have similar experiences and it is useful to know that I am not crazy. Doesn't mean I would want to change much, only that on the rare occasion when I do stand my ground I won't feel so guilty doing it!

Thanks everyone and if I can similarly offer any advice I would be happy to do so, especially if you want a sensitive bloke's perspective.

IsItMeOr Sat 02-Feb-13 22:51:53

Blimey again! Just having to do a massive brain shift, as I had also been assuming you were a woman. You do indeed sound like a thoughtful soul, and I'm sure will be a valued addition on the site smile

gimmecakeandcandy Sat 02-Feb-13 23:15:01

You sound great. They sound like arses still. Stand up to them, they are so diresosctful!

2rebecca Sun 03-Feb-13 00:03:51

My kids only stay overnight with their grandparents if there's a reason and usually a parent is with them as we are visiting. We both work and I value my weekends with my kids (now divorced so only see them half the weekends anyway).
I wouldn't let them stay with someone regularly if they slept on the floor. That's fine for an occasional night visiting a friend or cousins where space is an issue but I wouldn't want them regularly sleeping on the floor and if there is a bed it seems daft. Why do you feel unable to just say no about this? Sleeping on the floor benefits no-one.
Banning grandparents from giving the kids sweets when they only see them every couple of months and moaning about them making pancakes and building lego is just daft though. I can understand the competitive stuff is irritating but I'd just laugh at her if she started that "I'm sure you're wonderful" in a teasing way which may make her realise how silly she sounds.
Stop the sleeping on the floor, ignore the other stuff. If most of the time the kids are with adults who don't worry they'll soon realise the grandparents are just fussers and stop worrying. You could maybe discuss with your son the fact that some people worry more than others and that he doesn't have to worry just because granny does. Kids have to learn to get along with people with differing personalities and also the "it's them not me" aspect of dealing with different personalities. You could help them here (without being rude and upsetting your husband).

DumSpiroSpero Sun 03-Feb-13 00:15:36

Brain shift here too - sorry!!! grin

It's so tough to find a middle ground. I am fortunate in that our DD only goes away overnight if we are doing something, although it's actually my mum that gets a bit snotty on that front, "Why can't she just come and stay anyway?"

Well, firstly, she doesn't ask to, although she would jump at the opportunity to stay with my olds tbh, but also, because she's at school, DH and I both work, I visit my parents every Sunday and DH and DD have season tickets to the footy which takes up many Saturdays. We get precious little family time as a threesome so why would I want to reduce it even further?

Have had MIL round this evening asking if she can have DD for the day as she wants to take her somewhere I suspect she will be bored senseless. I have managed to swing it to the date that suits me best, which means I can balance it out so my mum's nose isn't put out of joint.

I just keep my reminding myself that it is for DD's benefit and she's lucky to have a full compliment of involved and very different GP's. I never knew my grandfathers and both my nans by the time I turned 7, so it does help to keep some perspective on the situation.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 03-Feb-13 01:03:30

Op your posts give the the answer to this, she's competitive and wants to get e over on you so let her,

Stuff like " I really need your advice youngster is having nightmares when he returns,could ou help out by reassuring him and avoid talking about worrying things"


"The sleeping suituation really bothers relivant child they have said thy would prefer not to come if they have to sleep in with you again"

It will work as she won wAnt to upset the kids or look bad to them.

Oh and its bollocks about the contact order thing she can't even apply without the court giving her permission and if gp's whose gc's have lived with them cos the parents are crackheads struggle to get contact orders after children go back to mum and dad then one who has a limited relationship with the kids has almost zero chance

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