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To ask DSS and DSD to not use their devices at certain times?

(65 Posts)
PopMusic Mon 04-Mar-13 22:47:09

Ok, I am really not sure if I abu or not.

DP and I made a rule not to use any devices from the time DS (4) comes home from school to the time he goes to bed. It's working really well for us. We spend more time chatting, playing, I get help with the cooking and generally we are more there, iykwim, instead of half hearing/listening and repeating questions etc.

DP has 2 grown up children who visit occasionally. We love having them here and DS really enjoys playing with them. But it feels like that their noses are constantly in their phones, laptops, etc. A typical weekend is turning up late Friday night, them staying up late chatting online to friends or texting friends or playing games and then getting up late. Then straight into their devices. DS wants them to play, which tbf they do but only for about five minutes. We don't get much conversation from them either. Both DP and I find it really frustrating because we love them to bits, they are wonderful, funny people but sometimes it feels like a waste of a weekend when they hardly seem to "here" mentally.

Would it be aibu of me (and DP, of course) to ban devices for a couple of hours for their stay? How do other people cope with their children who come to visit but are always on their devices (they are in their early 20s)?

RubyrooUK Wed 06-Mar-13 09:35:09

Pop, I wouldn't bother asking them to put their devices away. I would simply say in hushed tones:

"Oh are you on Facebook? Watch out for [4 year old] - he is obsessed by phones and if he sees yours in your hand, he'll probably whip it off you and you'll never get the settings back to normal..."

And tell loud stories about how you have to hide your phones from DS because if he sees them, he wants to play and accidentally downloads really expensive apps.

Or a variation on that.

Disclaimer: I do not have children in their 20s. This is the technique I use to stop my mother and stepfather in their 60s tapping away on their phones in front of my DS. grin

allnewtaketwo Wed 06-Mar-13 08:33:09

Who's upset? I do similar things to you at my parents' house by the sounds of it. But that's got nothing to do with the OP, whose adult DSCs don't do those things but just have their noses permanently stuck in devices rather than engaging with the family. That was the nature of her post.

exoticfruits Wed 06-Mar-13 08:27:51

I am thoroughly bored with the whole thing! My survey is of far more than one and DCs in their 20s don't just turn up for a weekend at their home ( parent's house - if you want to be picky, which no doubt you do) without a few plans of their own. They generally don't turn up together unless they want to meet up with the sibling. I don't know any with 4yr old brothers but no doubt they would take the 4yr old out on their own- many have cars.
It is hardly a problem- just ask them not to use them at certain times- it is just a bit strange that it has never been tackled before. My first reaction would be 'why didn't you say so x years ago?'
I still relax when I go to my mother's house- I can chat, take her out, read a book use my iPad- all quite happily if I am staying.
I really don't know why you are getting so upset- if you don't do that at your parents then fine- we are all different.

allnewtaketwo Wed 06-Mar-13 07:36:43

Who says they're still having access visits as if they were children??? If the visits are occasional then it doesn't sound like an "access" pattern to me.
Sometimes my brother and I go to my parents to stay at the same time. Nothing to do with access visits for heavens sake. Doesn't have to be "artificial" at all.

exoticfruits Wed 06-Mar-13 07:12:04

The whole thing is artificial, they are still having access visits as if they were children and don't seem to have moved on and I would think that the whole topic was fine if they were 10 years younger. It seems odd that they are both independent adults, presumably working, who both turn up together to go for walks to a cafe etc. anything is very restricted with a 4 yr old - you can't go on long, fast walks etc.
it would seem to me that these visits follow the same pattern that they always have and that playing on computers have been fine and nothing has been said in the past, or they wouldn't be doing it.
Maybe neither side has thought about it, they just come, muck in with what is going on, amuse themselves if nothing is happening and go home.
There are probably things OP could do with DSD on her own and leave DSS and DS with DH to do something. Or the step children could swoop down and take DS off by themselves to the swimming pool or similar. They could get a babysitter and go out in the evening. There are lots of combinations. There might be something happening locally that you ask them if they want to come especially for that. I would have thought that work commitments or social lives might have meant that one comes at a different time from the other or they bring a girlfriend, boyfriend instead.
The age gap is such that they are more like a godparent role than a sibling, someone who comes along, takes a special interest and does fun things. I have a friend who married a widower with 3 children and brought them up, she then had children when they had all left home, apart from the youngest. The older ones are part of the family, and most definitely siblings, but they have never just turned up together to be entertained- they come singly- see the family but go out to see old friends etc. They come together if it is Christmas, a birthday or similar.
The times that these visits are going to continue in the pattern that they have at the moment are limited so it would seem a bit late to suddenly impose a rule that has never been there before. If it is terribly important just ask them.

allnewtaketwo Wed 06-Mar-13 06:02:58

At home, id agree with you. But at home it would be interspersed with conversation. But these adults visit occasionally. On such occasional visits they should definitely make some effort to lift their nose out of a phone and have a conversation with an actual live person in their family.

exoticfruits Tue 05-Mar-13 21:44:21

Generally a 20 year old is doing their own thing at home. They come home and they go out-see friends etc. If you have to wait until 20+ to ask your DC not to do something -you have left it a bit late!
If you had a family with a full time 20+ year old and a 4 year old you wouldn't be having family life the way you would with a 6 yr old and 4 year old, or even 14yr and 4 year old.
If it is important to you just ask them if they would mind putting them away at certain times-I expect that they will merely be a little surprised that you have gone at least 5 years without asking them!

allnewtaketwo Tue 05-Mar-13 21:05:39

Pretty sad situation if a 20 year old has to be actively entertained or they have nothing to say or contribute to family life rather than have their head in a phone.

exoticfruits Tue 05-Mar-13 20:15:56

My understanding was that she wants them to follow the rule that she and DH have for not using devices from when he gets home from school until his
bedtime. The inference being that they didn't used to do this. They have not insisted on this earlier with the step children, because they are adults and doing it. It is always difficult stop things that have been allowed in the past. Always better to start as you mean to get on.
Some people in their 20s love playing with small children, some are happy to do it for a while and some are not interested. I can't see that stopping them from using phones is going to make them any more sociable. Much better to instigate something sociable where they can't use the phones.

allnewtaketwo Tue 05-Mar-13 19:51:38

Exotic your making far too much of the 4yo, OP didn't actually say she expects them to be entertaining/babysitting/permanently engaging with the 4yo

exoticfruits Tue 05-Mar-13 18:55:30

You are taking it very literally! I merely meant they were adults and won't necessarily be devoting all their time to DS, even if he wanted then to as a 14yr old. We have cousins staying this weekend - they are adults, we have things planned- if they wish to chill out a bit when we are doing nothing, with book, phone, newspaper, crossword etc I shall let them get on with it.
OP's step DCs are not in a usual situation, generally they would be in the old family home and would go out and meet friends etc. They wouldn't be visitors expected to entertain a 4yr old -and be treated in a similar way. It would be difficult if they were around 10 yrs, but it is fairly simple to say to a 4yr old 'when you grow up you can buy yourself a phone and choose when to use it - now you are only 4yrs and you can't'. Even simpler to say 'DSD and DSS didn't do it when they were 4yrs'.

crashdoll Tue 05-Mar-13 18:42:21

Pop forgive me if I'm assuming but from your last post, it sounds as if you want them to pay some attention to your son. Perhaps they're not really interesting in interacting with him or perhaps they don't know how or maybe they just want to chill with their family without the pressure of entertaining a 4 yr old.

allnewtaketwo Tue 05-Mar-13 18:33:12

Exotic if they are 30yo and spending 24/7 glued to their phones while visiting family then they really would have a manners problem

TheSeniorWrangler Tue 05-Mar-13 18:13:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Tue 05-Mar-13 17:47:38

I think that my sample size is a little larger than one!
They are adults- what are you going to do when DS is 14 and they are in their 30s- still tell them how to behave?
They can't suddenly have started doing it- they must have been the same on previous visits and it hasn't been tackled.
I would use humour- I do what Grinkly does.
If they are interacting, going out etc I can't see why they can't have a bit of down time on the Internet.
It is unrealistic to expect them to play with DS all the time- short bursts is more likely- unless they take him out or are left babysitting.

PopMusic Tue 05-Mar-13 17:16:07

We don't spend the whole weekend cooped up in the house - ugh, can you imagine? We go for walks, go to a cafe or for a meal out. But it's not all hectic, there is plenty of down time too. smartiepants has got it spot on. DS gets so excited when he knows they are coming and they look forward to spending time with him and us. I don't mind them using their phones etc , just not when we are having conversations and a play - it's completely unrealistic to ask them to not use it at all.

Grinkly Tue 05-Mar-13 16:33:39

Maybe you can jokingly ask what's the latest on their facebook. They prob have some v funny photos/ stories of friends, perhaps you could start by showing something from your emails/fb first (maybe a funny youtube thing).

If you don't know their friends it's difficult to get involved but you never know you might get to know them via what they tell you and you can, in future ask how friend's ski trip/ new job/ latest romance is going. Twentysomething's can have pretty exciting lives.

foreverondiet Tue 05-Mar-13 16:32:41

I think you can ask them to text in another room as its hard to stop your 4 yo playing on the phone if the adults are playing. If they say no not much you can do...

valiumredhead Tue 05-Mar-13 16:17:54

I agree crash

crashdoll Tue 05-Mar-13 15:20:55

I'd want my adult children to feel comfortable in my home; kick off their shoes and curl up on the sofa. You can't compare going to your dad's home to visiting a friend's home.

It's fair enough to say no devices at meal times but you are being unreasonable.

Smartiepants79 Tue 05-Mar-13 15:11:35

All of this comes down to respect.
If you are happy for your adult visitors to use their phones etc. whenever they wish in your home then that's fine.
The problem here is that the OP isn't.
She feels it is impacting on the family relationship.
This isn't some random 4 year old either but a sibling and I believe they could have a very important impact on who he becomes.
I have seen this exact relationship in fact and the younger sibling worshiped the older, followed them and copied much of what they did/ said etc.
Saying they will have no bearing on what he does is like saying his parents have no impact on what he does!
ALL adults, especially family are role-models.

valiumredhead Tue 05-Mar-13 14:59:29

Do you think they have their noses in their phones so they don't have to play with your child? Perhaps they don't want to?

allnewtaketwo Tue 05-Mar-13 14:52:45

Ok exotic, you are clearly the expert based on your sample size of one <<applauds exotics superior knowledge>>

exoticfruits Tue 05-Mar-13 14:14:26

If they have got to be young adults living on their own and you haven't addressed politeness and when to use a phone it is all a bit late. Mine wouldn't use it at mealtimes or if having a conversation but if they want to have their heads in at at other times they are free to do so.

exoticfruits Tue 05-Mar-13 14:06:20

Have many 20somethings have you got allnewtaketwo?
One of mine came last week with his girlfriend. They went off to sort out the car at the garage. We had a very nice lunch. DS played in his phone afterwards because his girlfriend and I had coffee and talked about things that he had no interest in. They walked off down to town. In the evening we all went out for a meal and had good conversation.
I generally ask them if they have plans or suggest something- if we are just sitting around of course they can go on phones etc. Why not?
Considering the thread on here recently where people can't abide playing snakes and ladders with their own DCs I can't see why you expect visitors to.
If you want to get DSS more engaged, give him a football and ask him to take DS down to the park on his own.

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