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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?

IsItMeOr Thu 31-Jan-13 23:32:58

I would probably have posted this in chat rather AIBU...

I think that grandparents and grandchildren have a special relationship, which is entirely different to parents. It's good if they can spend time together regularly.

Grandparents are supposed to spoil their grandchildren. If it's only every couple of months, I think you're being unfair to expect them to follow through on your sweet ban on their special day/night.

The other things sound like minor details to me, so I'm not sure why you can't iron out the sleeping arrangements for example.

You can't make them go on day trips if they don't want to. If they annoy you so much, I can't imagine they'll be as happy as you remember from your own childhood ;)

WorraLiberty Thu 31-Jan-13 23:37:43

I think you're over thinking and worrying far too much tbh.

Apart from them giving the kids sweets when you've said no due to a punishment...I'd say it's all pretty trivial.

It's understandable in a way, as it can be an odd feeling to learn to 'let go' a bit...but I think that's exactly what you have to learn to do for all your sakes.

Perhaps choose a different punishment too when you know they're going to their GPs, because it can kind of feel a bit like a punishment for them too I suppose...if they can't give the kids the treats they've bought them.

Kids have a very separate relationship with their GPs, compared to the relationship they have with Mum and Dad but sometimes I think parents forget this.

cindersinsuburbia Thu 31-Jan-13 23:38:18

I think you need to ask yourself if it was your own parents would there be such a big issue about it.

It's about your children's relationship with their grandparents, not yours and your PILs. As along as they are safe happy and healthy when they go - other things are just personal preference.

If you feel there is an issue with sleeping arrangements then let your OH address them they're his parents and it will come better from him.

My children stay with PILS every other weekend and they love it. For that reason I wouldn't dream of stopping it

WorraLiberty Thu 31-Jan-13 23:38:34

I think that grandparents and grandchildren have a special relationship, which is entirely different to parents. It's good if they can spend time together regularly

Snap! shock

Your post wasn't there before I typed mine grin

janji Thu 31-Jan-13 23:45:29

Sadly my 2 dc have no real relationship or spend time with either set of grandparents (both sets are too busy doing their own thing)! I would love them to have the special relationship that I experienced with my own grand parents as a child. You sound like, although at times you are frustrated with their action, your children's GPs think the world of your children. It is a different relationship to yours ( no better )!

steppemum Thu 31-Jan-13 23:49:08

My kids love sleeping over at GP, and obviously (according to kids) Granny does everything better (cakes, fun etc)

I wouldn't follow a punishment on to her house, so if no sweets for one day, do it when they get back.

It is their relationship, let them do it their way, different to your way.

Sometimes my mum lets them do stuff I don't, sometimes she is stricter (had my kids fooled for 6 years that her tv didn't receive any children's channels)

But they love, they are happy and they are safe.

gimmecakeandcandy Thu 31-Jan-13 23:49:41

They sound like pains in the ass if you ask me. The fact they don't want to do things with you too Is ODD. And if they won't follow your rules - such as letting your child sleep in own room - WHY on the FLOOR - then say no.

And what's with their competitiveness? They sound horrid.

BackforGood Fri 01-Feb-13 00:05:08

What IsIt, Worra, Cinders, Janji, and step all say.
How lovely to have Grandparents willing to let them come for a sleepover every now and then. Oh, and it's the law that Grandparents spoil Grandchildren with sweets and treats - save your 'punishment' for when they are with you, don't deprive them of the special realtionships.
Perfectly reasonable to not want to traipse around in a big group on a day out - wouldn't appeal to me at all. I mean, fine if others want to, but it's hardly depriving your dc just because your memories of time with your Grandparents are different from the memories your children are creating now.

So, being as you asked, yes, I think YABU to be concerned about what you've described although the sleeping on their bedroom floor does sound a bit odd at face value, it quite possibly could be that they know everyone will get more sleep if the dcs are in sep rooms, or some other logical explanation.

treas Fri 01-Feb-13 00:12:50

You are so lucky that they are staying over with their grandparents no nashing of teeth for you when the primary has a 3 night residential trip in year 4.

firesidechat Fri 01-Feb-13 08:18:36

See to me they don't sound horrid, they sound rather lovely, but that may be because I remember my grandparents very fondly.

I used to stay with both sets of grandparents, sometimes for a week at a time and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling whenever I think about them. We visited my mum's parents every Sunday for tea as a family. Also aren't they supposed to spoil their grandchildren. It's a cosmic rule or something.

My children didn't have this kind of relationship for various reasons, mainly down to ill health on the grandparents side. I actually think they missed out hugely.

ajandjjmum Fri 01-Feb-13 08:32:13

DC used to stay with my parents pretty regularly, and were spoilt on a very regular basis. DF died when they were 9/10, and they tell stories to us now about different things they did - I am so glad they have those precious memories (even if one of them from DS involves him making DF a shandy, with a small one for himself!!!)

DH and I remember picking them up from my parents if they went there after school, and as we drove down the drive, seeing a mad rush from where they were watching tv, to the table when they had apparently been struggling over homework for hours!!! grin

Jinsei Fri 01-Feb-13 08:43:26

I agree with the many posters who say that you should do all you can to encourage a strong relationship between your kids and their grandparents, and that includes letting them do things separately and in their own way. Grandparents aren't just an extension of parents - they're different, and they have a different role to play in our kids' lives.

It really isn't a competition, you know, and they won't love you any less if they love their grandparents a little more. Just relax!! You're still their mum no matter what, and nothing will ever change that.

littlewhitebag Fri 01-Feb-13 10:07:52

Grandparents are ALWAYS more fun than parents. My kids loved going to theirs when they were younger (they are now 15 and 20) and they still enjoy raiding her sweetie drawer as do i. Grandparents have more time to lavish on lego building, painting etc. My eldest and my niece(21) often talk fondly of their days out with gran and grandad and their little matching rucksacks that they carried their picnics in. You are lucky they have such fab grandparents.

Also - you shouldn't carry over any punishments when they are away. It is not fair to your parents.

atthewelles Fri 01-Feb-13 10:09:59

I have lovely memories of staying with my grandmother and being spoilt rotten. My mother (and my father when he was alive) absolutely love having the grandchildren to stay and indulging them in a way they couldn't do with their own children.
I actually find your post quite sad. Instead of being happy that your PILs love your children so much and want to give them a lovely time when they come to stay, you seem to be over analysing, looking for negatives and grudge these sleepovers.

TomArchersSausage Fri 01-Feb-13 10:18:01

They sound lovely GPs to me. Just relax, let dc go and stop worrying about who'll remember what they did with whom and who made the best lego or pancakesconfused.

atthewelles Fri 01-Feb-13 10:18:36

PS I remember my nephew, when he was about six, coming to stay with my parents. He had been naughty during the week and as a punishment my SIL, forgetting he would be staying with his grandparents, had said he couldn't watch Dr Who that Saturday. On the way over in the car he innocently asked his mother if he should tell granny and grandad about the Dr Who ban. My SIL was laughing when she told me this and remarked 'God, he really does need to cop on a bit, doesn't he'. There was no way she would have deprived my father of the pleasure of sitting down with his grandson to watch their favourite programme together.

hopenglory Fri 01-Feb-13 10:21:18

Part of the fun stuff with grandparents is having the time and space to play with Lego and eat pancakes and just be, rather than organised days out.

retvet Fri 01-Feb-13 10:41:50

Firstly , you are the mum and your partner should respect your feelings,. They are there for a reason. Just because people are family doesn't give people the right to discount and blank you. If the child came back with nightmares from staying elsewhere what would you do. You can't change them but you can change yourself. I wish I had stood my ground more when my kids were young but like you I wanted them to have a good relationship with grandparents. A healthy happy mum is important for you and your family Grandparents are supposed to teach appropriate behaviour and if they are undermining and competitive it sounds ODD, VERY. They don't have your children's' best interests at heart do they?
I think in your situation I would make an excuse, having talked to my child if they are old enough and then make sure they had some access where you could help re establish boundaries. I have been reading non violent communication, and the non living violent communication. They are your children. Trust your instincts. However be mindful in case your child is playing you against her but I would say how you feel assertively and ask if that is her intention and there is a saying the best way to defeat an enemy is to make them your friend. You can't order them to come out with you but a reasonable request to invite them say on a picnic for a day or half day should help you get a better idea of what she is playing at but she sounds childish and spoilt and I personally would say no to them going around if the kids come back anxious. It would worry me.

PleasePudding Fri 01-Feb-13 10:44:45

I don't think YABU. We have the same thing, my in-laws have minimal intrest in us but adore spending time with our children and want it to be just them and us.

They really over-spoil them - they're unable to say no to anything the children want so there have been times when the sheer volume of apple juice given to the children at age 2 has given them the shits without a nappy change so the rash is awful. Often they are taken out without car seats despite us being so firm on the massive importance of car seats and it seems not to matter what we say about this or the sheer volume of sweets (really I don't mind them indulging them but no 2 year old will benefit from being able to eat £4 worth of pick and mix in one sitting after a mcdonalds)

BUT I try to remember that just because they do it differently to me (I cant ever imagine not wanting to see my children but wanting to see my grandchildren) but that they love my babies and that's good and I should try and let go and not get hung up on the sweets and stuff.

I just find it so so hard especially as when we are over there whatever I say to my children is challenged or ignored.

Sorry OP this hasn't helped at all really apart from to say I totally understand, I want to let my in-laws have what they want but I don't entirely trust them to act in my children's best interest and safety instead of just enjoying the feeling of giving them whatever they want and I can't help but be annoyed that nothing I say about car seats or sweet limits is judged worthy of notice (and I know those two things are of massively different importance).

I just try and make excuses to stop too many sleepovers happening as I genuinely worry but will have to deal with it soon. DC 4 and 3 by
the way and the spoiling/ignoring our choices have pretty much always been going on.

unclefluffy Fri 01-Feb-13 11:04:42

It sounds not entirely dissimilar to my in-laws. DH and I have not let the kids sleep over yet. I would consider it now for the eldest (aged 4) if she really wanted to do it, but she doesn't seem keen - even with an older cousin offered as a companion.

They too would set up odd sleeping arrangements and would prefer to see the girls alone. They love the idea of grandchildren, but find the actuality puzzling. FIL just wants to cuddle them all the time - and then finds that they actively avoid getting within arms reach. MIL wants them around but struggles to play with them. Having said that, she does brilliantly when DH and I bugger off and leave them to it - maybe this is what she's trying to recreate. They seem quite selfish in their approach (as yours do) - although they are extremely kind and generous with food/gifts etc. They want everything to be on their terms - our children are their entertainment, if you like.

How does your DH feel? Is the eight year old your youngest? If you don't really want to top the sleepovers, would he be absolutely explicit with them about the fact that the kids are to sleep in the same room as each other? Something like: "Mum, X sometimes has nightmares after sleepovers and we want to try to help him/her. This time, make sure you let the kids share a room. I know you keep X in with you to comform him/her, but it doesn't help. Let's do this instead."

atthewelles Fri 01-Feb-13 11:13:38

PleasePudding I think what you're describing is some irresponsible behaviour from your ILs ie no car seats; giving a child enough sweet stuff to make them sick. I can understand being concerned about that, but I don't think its the same as spoiling a child while still being sensible about the important things. My mum would buy the kids loads of comics and books, give them sweets, allow them to choose some of their favourite dinners and let them watch telly when they get up in the morning because she knows its just an occasional treat and not something they get every day. But she would not let them travel in the car without the correct seats or eat nothing but sweets all day or anything like that.

retvet You sound like a barrel of laughs.

grrth1314 Fri 01-Feb-13 23:31:32

Thanks everyone for your advice and happy to take it on board.

I think you are right and maybe I was overanalysing with regards to the treats.

On the other side of the coin my inlaws are very bossy and want things their own way all the time. Happy for them to have separate time and never give instructions on how to look after them but think it is also important for the way I want to bring up my children that we also spend time together as a big family as well, yet they are never willing to meet halfway but expect all of their demands to be met.

For example, when the kids stopped 2 weeks ago we originally agreed to drop them off at 3pm and pick them up around lunchtime the next day. Then we had to change plans due to my grans funeral which meant the kids were being dropped off at 6pm and picked up at 6pm the next day. They complained about this, saying they wanted a full day even though they would be at their house for longer than originally planned.

To get around this I have invited them on holiday with us and to come with us when we go to the cinema or bowling with us but never accept our invitation yet they love having big groups at their house.

My son has told me tonight that he felt uncomfortable when he was at their house 2 weeks ago as his Grandma asked if her pancakes were better than mine. I just said that he should say that they are both equal but this competitiveness does get on my nerves.

I spend loads of time playing games with my kids so am more than comfortable with the kids spending time with them, it is more that they try and make themselves look special by putting us down.

So, as I said, happy for them to spend time separately away from us it is more that the grandmother seems to want to achieve this by undermining us and to always do it on their terms.

Jinsei Sat 02-Feb-13 00:18:47

Kids see through this kind of stuff pretty quickly OP. Your MIL sounds awful, but it needn't make any difference to your relationship with your kids. I'd just ignore her competitiveness probably. Life is too short! grin

PorridgeBrain Sat 02-Feb-13 00:53:49

I get what you are saying OP, I have had similar situations with my MIL. I don't think its meant to be malicious, it's a desire to be seen as a great, fun GP and they love having the responsibility of being in sole charge and doing their own thing.

I get their needs, but also agree family time all together with them is important too - i.e your relationship with them is important too - it's a balance and I would continue to push for that. We used to find when IL's came to stay for the weekend, they wanted to take the kids out on their own every day over the weekend. I pushed back on it, allowing them to do it one day but not both and used to justify it by saying that we wanted to spend time with IL's and children too (as we work, although not full time, the weekend is where we spend our quality time with the kids). I was aware she was a bit put out to begin with but stood my ground and now she seems ok with it.

I would say that if you are not spending times together in between the sleepovers, I would say no to some of the sleepovers in favour of those other times ensuring you all spend time together.

The sleeping arrangements on the sleepover, I would let go

Re the sweets, if I had banned them for behavioural reasons I would expect them to follow through on to show the kids some consistency as long as you try and avoid doing it just before they are due a sleepover ( unless their behaviour is so bad it's really necessary) and it only happens as a one off. If I was a GP and I wasn't allowed to treat them every time I saw them, I would be quite miffed.


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