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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?!

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.

Justforlaughs Mon 23-Sep-13 18:24:35

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

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