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How do you deal with well meaning relatives feeding your DC crap all the time?

(31 Posts)
Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 12:31:35

I am generally of the 'nod and smile' persuasion, but it's getting a bit much. Worse this week and last because it's the holidays, I supppose.

I have my mum, who we see most days, who just loves to offer them chocolate biscuits and crisps throughout the day, and will give them pudding after every meal regardless of how much food they've eaten (we don't really do dessert in this house, and especially not after they've turned their noses up at dinner). We've just been on holiday together and they were given money for sweets every day, and DS1 (nearly 11) had an adult dessert in every restaurant. I mind less because it was a holiday, but it is standard Nanny behaviour and they pretty much expect to get treats when they see her, which irks me.

And then SIL, who we see less of, but still at least once a week. It's a bit of a joke that she tries to stuff as much crap into DS2 (almost 2) as possible. We left him with her for fifteen minutes yesterday while we took the older two on a ride, and came back to him eating a back of fucking Wotsits because 'he was clearly hungry'. Every time we see her she brings bags of sweets for the children, and on the rare occasions she has DS2 (she offers to have him while I'm at the hairdessers, for eg) she'll take him to MacDs and then the sweet shop. Recently when we bumped into her in town she took DD off to MacDs, randomly, at 10am on a Tuesday, after taking her to Claire's to look at jewellery (which is all I thought they were doing).

Is there any same way of dealing with this without blowing a gasket? I have tried subtle, it no worky.

Or is it one of those things I need to rise above? I am not in any way precious about their diets, they eat a varied fare, but it gets a bit skewed in favour of unmitigated crap when we are with the family.

AIBU to be stressed out by this?

HoikyPoiky Wed 07-Aug-13 21:40:46

I can't remember the actual age but I know my DCs were young when I drummed into THEM that they were not allowed more than one treat a day. It seems crazy that people can't get their kids to manage this themselves.

I would remind them from time to time. One of their Grannies always had a stash of boxes of celebrations for them EVERY SINGLE time we visited. So I would remind them to say thankyou but only have a maximum of 10 sweets (or whatever) and that that would count as there treat for the day.

I can see it is more difficult with younger kids or kids with learning difficulties but generally the kids should be capable of dealing with it themselves after a certain age.

formicadinosaur Wed 07-Aug-13 21:36:17

With SIL ' yes do take DS but only if you don't feed him rubbish. Here's some heathy snacks I have bought with me'.

With grandparents say they are not eating any more rubbish except for one weekly treat. Can they give berries, popcorn to pop, home made fruit ice Lollies.

Start to call all rubbish food rubbish. You
Can say it very matter of fact and within no time have the kids calling it rubbish too.

Chottie Wed 07-Aug-13 21:33:22

Please stand firm and don't let your DM or SiL stuff your children with junk food. smile

CrapBag Wed 07-Aug-13 21:30:56


I get pissed off with this. My nan doesn't seem to understand that all offers have food does not have to be junk. Sometimes she thinks and gets in some strawberrys that the kids love but mainly its chocolate that, biscuits this and cake that. She gets snippy with me every time I tell her they can't eat dessert if they didn't eat their tea. She follows the rule but I have to put up with comments and huffing as if what I am saying doesn't really matter.

She is the same with me, she brings me sweets and cake often and I appreciate the thought but I have enough in the cupboards and don't really want more.

I say tell them in no uncertain terms that treats are restricted. What your SIL feeds your 2 year old seems far too much junk.

PatTheHammer Wed 07-Aug-13 21:29:55

I know how you feel and it is tricky as you don't want to be offensive and its clear that they do love the DCs.
When mine were tiny I found out there was a sweetie jar full of crap that they were allowed un-fucking- restricted access to when they stayed at the in-lawsshock
Now, we're not the chocolate police in our house but we eat treats as part of a balanced diet and allowing small children to have whatever they want, mealtimes not taken into any account whatsoever was just not on.
Because they were his parents DH had words with them, we also asked them to not just stock fruit shoots ( which were also just 'help yourself') on the grounds of tooth decay. To be fair they have been really good since, they go overboard with chocs, sweets and shit at Easter and Christmas but those can be divvied out over weeks so not a problem.

Maybe keeping a list is a good idea, maybe they have no idea of the volume of treats and tat that they are giving the DCs?

It's all this, underhand, secret getting the child to eat behind the parent's backs that I don't like. It's just fucking weird!

CorrineFoxworth Wed 07-Aug-13 20:50:49

Oh well, not so poor then, sorry. My nerves jangle if I don't connect with my DC, but different strokes and all that. Glad DN is getting on well smile

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 20:44:29

He gets plenty of affection from BIL, Sil just isn't the huggy type. She does adore him, she just shows it with food and with stuff.

CorrineFoxworth Wed 07-Aug-13 20:42:17

Well that's answered my question. Poor little chap. Lucky he has a lovely aunt smile

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 14:09:11

Mum is, actually. But funnily enough, SIL isn't at all, I've never seen her hug or touch her DS since he was a baby. Interesting theory.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 07-Aug-13 13:58:53

My Mum seems the same as yours Reality...she thinks its a way of showing love. Is your Mum physically affectionate? Mine isn't...I'd be interested to compare.

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 13:39:14

No, to be fair, my mum is a brilliant cook and goes to a lot of effort with all her grandchildren. SIL too. It really isn't a laziness thing, it's a weird affection thing. SIL is like it with her own DS as well, with the whole equating 'food and buying things' with showing love.

I might just start taking notes on how much crap they are giving them and show them, they probably haven't really given it much thought.

TheWickedBitchOfTheBest Wed 07-Aug-13 13:36:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dingledongle Wed 07-Aug-13 13:25:14

OMG reality I could have written your post.

My mum equates food/sweets with love and does this all the time!

DD has dinner with her GP once per week and the sweets/treats drive me mad. I have found out she 'shares' a fizzy drink with my Dad who collected her from school with sweets at the ready. Dd always tells me this.

Despite talking to them about it they just do not get it. Tey have even offered milkshake before a meal!

Consequently I limit the kids contact with them. It is a shame but it is true. If they will not follow my wishes then the kids don 't visit.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 07-Aug-13 13:20:03

reading all that, I want to get cross and ask them why they think it ok to be trying to kill the children with crap. and whether they do not love them enough to say no and protect their future health. as you can see, I feel quite strongly about this... and prrobably not logical.

treats should be treats. my dad gave them trreats, irked a bit. but we did not see him very often and it was balanced out by healthy eating at home.

Blending Wed 07-Aug-13 13:13:12

I have the same problem. DD was only 9 months when she started saying shush and putting her finger to her lips... I then realised by following her gaze to the mantelpiece where there was a huge bar of chocolate that my mum had secretly been giving her junk and tried to get her to be quiet about it. DD thought chocolate was called "shush" until she turned 2.

I have put my foot down but completely get undermined!

My DM had a stroke whilst I was pregnant, and has almost recovered so I try not to sweat the small stuff as I am glad she is here to spoil them.

I do insist that they give water or milk not fruit shoots unless its a treat. I was proud of DD when at a party recently, she was offered various drinks and insisted she wanted water as she was thirsty.

The whole family understand my wanting a healthy diet for the dc, and if I am there they will defer to me, asking if its ok but its treated as a game to sneak them stuff without me knowing. At least its a lot less crap, than if I let them just give them whatever they want whenever they want.

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 13:09:23

The thing is, I love a dirty Bigmac now and then, and I'm relaxed about icecreams and sweets in general. But it's the fact that they get it offered ALL THE TIME from Nanny and Aunty.

It means I can't treat them, because they've had too much crap already. And what shoudl be a rare treat is something they are totally blase about. As well as the obvious health implications.

The DSes in particular are a bloody nightmare about food, DS1 is underweight and eats no good carbs without a battle. DS2 is going through the usual fussy toddler stuff. They will always, obviously, go for the crap food at the expense of a good meal.

DH and I have just been talking about it and we're going to do a sit down with both of them and explain all of this.

burberryqueen Wed 07-Aug-13 13:02:58

i think you will have to lay down the law every time one of the feeders is going to be with your DC 'ie no McDonalds ok?
if it turns you into the fussy dragon, enjoy the role....
honestly my sister thought i was a child abuser cos i wouldnt buy chicken nuggets for them as babies.

stickingattwo Wed 07-Aug-13 12:59:41

YANBU at all - it's stressful because they are totally disregarding your feelings and opinions about your own children. BLOW a gasket if that's what it takes but I would sit them down separately and expalined to them how you feel and lay down the law on this.

They're feeding your kids absolute crap and teaching them bad habits for the future - they're associating junk food with treats. As parents it's our responsibility to try to keep kids healthy and eating well- even though that's really hard sometimes. You NEED to out your foot down and tell them that this isn't on - you do not want your children having sugar and crisps every day and you do not want them going to sodding McD's. I had to do it with my lot and it took a while for the message to get through but now my DC's get choc/icecream maybe a couple of times a week. And you know what - they don't even care cos they're used to fruit and milk and water. I found the more you give them the more they whinge and whine for more.

The healthiest people I know now as adults are the ones whose parents were strick on junk food when they were kids - it wouldnt occur to them to eat at somewhere like McDonalds.

She should have got her a breakfast at that time. grin

Did you tell her your plan?

I'm with you with poundland toys though! My ex sil takes my son out a couple of times a month and comes back with some right shite.

xuntitledx Wed 07-Aug-13 12:49:19

It's a toughie but you might need to toughen up and tell it to them straight.

My MIL used to give crisps and chocolate without asking and often would spoil their dinner as it would normally be before they'd eaten a proper meal. Without offending her, I just asked her to ask hubby or I first so we could say yes or no without disappointing the kids (if we were to say no or take it away after it had been offered).

I know it's part and parcel of being a Grandparent or 'fun' relative but I wouldn't ever offer sweets/junk to a child without asking their parent first - it's just courtesy.

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 12:48:46

My Mum is also a horror for treating them. She told DS1 that she's buying him a laptop for when he goes to secondary, this was over the head of me and DH who were saying that we'd see what happened. He is a screen junky with a messy bedroom so a laptop is not ideal, and we were going to make him earn it.

So it's not just food. It's STUFF.

Amiee Wed 07-Aug-13 12:48:32

Yes woman up, but It doesn't stop them IME.
Ill never understand why giving food that's bad for kids is so pleasurable for in laws. Everytime my DD is with my MIL she gives her something I've asked her repeatedly not to. It started with salty food at 5 months, and has now progressed to ice lollys cup cakes etc. she lies but gets caught out.
The thing is my DD would be just as happy or more happy with some fruit?! As you can tell it really pee's me off.

CorrineFoxworth Wed 07-Aug-13 12:48:13

Is this the SIL?

My parents used to do it to undermine me. A Mars Bar, Malteasers and a Double Decker handed over to two yo DD at bedtime on a Sunday so that I had to be the bloody bad guy.

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 12:46:47

SP it was a happy meal, and I was only pissed off because we had planned to go to MacD's for lunch...

Toys from the poundshop is actually another issue that I have with SIL. She is lovely and means well but just showers all three (and me!) with plastic tat as well as as food. Every single time we see her she has armfuls of gifts, it's embarrassing.

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 12:44:44

I have told my mum, and she backs of for a bit but it gradually builds back up.

I think both of them, Mum and SIL, equate food with love.

We were brought up really strictly with regards to treats, it's as though she's making up for it now with the grandchildren.

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