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MIL and mobile phones

(24 Posts)

We try and keep our kids (3 and 6) off mobiles/tablets as much possible, mainly because they zone out so much when using them but also because of the constant nagging if we do let them use them occasionally. If I get really desperate (like if we’re stuck in traffic or stuck waiting somewhere boring) I let them play games but not for long and not often. Me and DH don’t have Snapchat or anything and try to keep phone use to a minimum around kids. We do use the cameras and show kids the pictures.
MIL does not understand why we do this. Whenever she comes over “to see the kids” she just hands them her phone to play with, which results in squabbling stroppy children while she’s there and a few days after she’d left. She doesn’t really read to them or play with them, which seems a shame.
Both DH and I have asked her to stop, she says we’re silly and Grandma’s are meant to give kids a treat they see them. She says this in front of them so it’s hard to argue.
She’s coming over next week and DH asked her if she can stop giving them her phone and explained the reasons why. She has turned it into a huge deal, says we must give them our phones or else how do they know how to use them, that she wants to have fun with them, plus loads of other overemotional bullshit.
AIBU to ask her to stick to our rules - even if she doesn’t agree with them? Or am I using double standards because of the occasions I do let the kids use my phone? Should I back down?

hotbutteredcrumpetsandtea Wed 08-Nov-17 09:15:52

I think if your kids are badly behaved for days after they play with grannys phone you should be focusing on why, rather than on her. Because that is pretty weird.

Hollyhop17 Wed 08-Nov-17 09:16:26

Um no you shouldn't. Your kids, your rules. She had her go at parenting and now it's for you to decide whats best.

I would have no problems telling PIL or DPs no phones if that was my policy. Good luck!

PinkPanther27 Wed 08-Nov-17 09:20:05

No, I would do the same and maybe suggest you all go for a walk to the park, take them out on their bikes or something similar to encourage her to interact with them in other ways. Good luck 🙂

Laiste Wed 08-Nov-17 09:20:27

AIBU to ask her to stick to our rules - even if she doesn’t agree with them?

No you are not. Your decisions regarding parenting are meant to be respected by others.

It's not as if you're asking for something peculiar either. It's quite normal to like to restrict screen time for young kids to specific situations only.

Handsfull13 Wed 08-Nov-17 09:34:20

YANBU tell her it's not fun for them to spend her visit fighting over her phone. If she wants to spoil them then she should taking an interest in them and maybe buying a toy they would enjoy playing with.
If the only reason they are acting up is because they are fighting over the phone then you shouldn't have a problem fixing it by removing the phone. If they continue acting up then you need to look into it more.

When she makes a comment in front of the kids just politely tell her 'unless you have a phone for each of them then it isn't nice to make them fight over yours, grandmas should play with their grandchildren not make them fight.

Butterymuffin Wed 08-Nov-17 09:38:25

You're the parents. This is simple. Just take the phone and hand it back to her and say 'we're not playing with the phone today' and then get an alternative going, whether that's a board game or a walk down to the park. You don't need her permission to stop the kids playing with the phone. Yes it makes you the bad guys but that's part of parenting, and can be overcome by distracting them right away.

MoreHairyThanScary Wed 08-Nov-17 10:01:36

Your house your rules, prewarn the kids that they will NOT be playing on Granny’s phone regardless of whether or not She hands it over.... if she does take it off them and hand it back. No debate no fuss. ( tell the kids beforehand there will be x treat for good behaviour during the visit including no fuss about tech gadgets). And repeat at every visit. She needs to know you mean business and the dc need to understand you are the one making parenting decisions.

SloeSloeQuickQuickGin Wed 08-Nov-17 10:17:35

Kids love technology, I really dont see the point of depriving them of something fun.

Do you have a TV in your house? I that thing on 24/7 jibbering away in the corner? Peppa Pig is just an electronic babysitter. Vtech toys are technology. You're in your car with electronic technology. It's all a bit precious at times.

xhannahx Wed 08-Nov-17 10:22:13

Your house your rules. If mil doesn't like it it's just tough luck.

Justbookedasummmerholiday Wed 08-Nov-17 10:23:00

Remind her if they break it then no way will you replace.
Unlike a pp who was expected to pay for a broken one after multiple reminders to the owner ..

metalmum15 Wed 08-Nov-17 10:36:26

It sounds to me like she just can't be arsed to spend time with her grandchildren, hence bunging them her phone to keep them quiet. Your house, your rules, so take the phone off her and give her a game or a jigsaw to do with them.

metalmum15 Wed 08-Nov-17 10:40:16

Personally I don't understand why anyone lets young children play about with their phones, then they moan when something gets deleted or that draft resignation email gets sent to the boss....

troodiedoo Wed 08-Nov-17 10:42:29

Take the phone off them, then tell mil she can have it back at the end of the day grin

I'm concerned by this too. My dd is only a baby but my nephew is always being given a phone to play with, and has a tablet for 5 minute car journeys.

Sugarcoma Wed 08-Nov-17 10:44:46

Stick to your guns! IPhones and ipads are warping people’s - not just kids’ - brains. I see how addicted I am to my phone and I don’t let my baby DS so much as look at it because I want to spare him the same fate for as long as possible.

I’ve also heard nonsense being trotted out such as “but they need to learn to use them” - yeah if I learned how to use an iPhone in my 20s and my mother learnt to use an iPad in her 50s the kids will be fine without them for another few years or so.

Agree with PP who suggested encouraging an activity while she’s there or maybe a trip somewhere to try and limit the opportunity for her to do that.

liminality Wed 08-Nov-17 10:53:02

Lots of kids get stroppy with too much screentime some adults too I think your rules are totally reasonable. Yes keep handing it back, if she wants to make a big deal of it you will have too. Ask her to bring classic board games, kids love those.

Do you have a TV in your house? I that thing on 24/7 jibbering away in the corner? Peppa Pig is just an electronic babysitter. Vtech toys are technology. You're in your car with electronic technology. It's all a bit precious at times.
Hasn't been a TV in my house for over 10 years, not starting now. What an awful way to live. Teach kids how to code, sure. Let them fry their brains with screens, nope.

whyohwhydoibother Wed 08-Nov-17 10:53:43

I never understand people who judge other's parenting choices. Is it so hard to believe that people limit their kid's exposure to all forms of 'entertainment' technology? Its not that hard to either completely omit or only selectively allow TV, electronic toy and iPad/mobile screen time, but does require more energy to entertain them with other activities.

There's no actual evidence that either route is better/worse (there is some that says over 2 hours of screen time in boys is associated with poor mental health, but whether that's causation or correlation can't be explicitly determined) but surely we just do the things we think are right?

(Disclaimer: our toddler kids don't get daily screen time as a rule, but when we have a 24 hour flight to do, we let them at it! And yes, for the next 3-4 days will constantly have whinges to watch more dugggeeeeeeee)

mindutopia Wed 08-Nov-17 10:54:24

Your house, your children, your rules. If she doesn't like them, she doesn't have to visit. We had a situation with MIL (much more serious than this, involved actual safeguarding concerns) where she wouldn't respect our concerns and boundaries in terms of her visiting with our dd. She no longer has any contact with her at all and hasn't seen her in a year because she refuses to respect the boundaries we have in place (and said, she would rather have no relationship than have it on our terms - fine, we said!). Perhaps you can plan an activity for them to do together and set them off on it so everyone is more focused on that than on phones and they will help her to see why it's so important.

Jerseysilkvelour Wed 08-Nov-17 11:01:38

Put your foot down. Sounds Iike you have a MIL problem not a technology problem!

Nanny0gg Wed 08-Nov-17 11:10:58

If she gives them the phone and they start squabbling you just remove it and put it on a high shelf and send them off to do something else.

Same as when they're on it too long.

And just say that there's been enough time, it's going away now.

Then get your DH to have a word about respecting your wishes.

And yes, for the next 3-4 days will constantly have whinges to watch more dugggeeeeeeee

Don't blame them. I love Duggee!

XJerseyGirlX Wed 08-Nov-17 11:13:19

If she gives them the phone just say " sorry ive told granny you cant have that" and as pp has said taje it off them and put it on a high shelf. If granny kicks off or starts to say anything just get up and breezily say "more tea" and smile

pleasewelcometherealme Wed 08-Nov-17 11:17:12

Just offering a bit of sympathy here. I have a very similar issue at the moment. I know that if my youngest is asked to do anything else when he has a screen of any sort in front of him he will refuse and if the screen is taken away he will cry/shout etc. The longer he has the screen the worse the problem. I know that this is something we need to deal with and we are working on it with him. Part of this involves making it easier for him to do the right thing by not giving him a screen when I know he will soon be asked to do something else (eat/go to school/get dressed etc).

MIL takes her ipad everywhere and the minute she arrives she hands it to the DC to play on. I have explained the issue but I don't think she believes me. She usually 'just wants to show him something' (a photo/something she thinks he might like for Christmas etc) and then 'forgets' to take it back. I'm currently removing it from him every time and saying something along the lines of 'You know we don't have screens before tea- let's give this back to Granny'. But if I leave them alone I know I will return to find that he's on the ipad. She usually tells me that she's just given it him a second ago as a reward for good behaviour. DH says we need to start confiscating it at the door but sadly he's not usually around at the time and she is a fully grown adult ffs

namechange1225 Wed 08-Nov-17 11:23:09

Oh I sympathise OP. My PIL are exactly the same. We only allow v. limited screen time (DD is only 2) at home. We have told them both on numerous occasions. EVERY time they visit without fail I find them showing her videos on their phone / playing with it. The favourite tactic is to show photos on the phone and then use the excuse is 'well we were just looking at pictures'. They have a different view on technology and think we're depriving her in some way. We say no every time and remove the device but it goes on regardless. At my wits end about what to do to be honest. I don't mind having different rules at the grandparents house, but in our home I would rather our rules were respected. I can also sympathise with the days of tantrums after each visit.

Let me know if you find something that works because I swear I'm speaking to a brick wall here.

troodiedoo Wed 08-Nov-17 11:33:44

Suggest buying a copy of Nicholas Carr's
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains for all these in laws. Maybe in kindle format as they are all clearly addicted themselves!

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