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Do you insist your parents follow your rules when they're looking after your dcs?

(25 Posts)
HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 17:11:59

Or do you bury your head in the sand and just think they can deal with things their own way?

I'll qualify this with a bit of background. My parents are looking after my ds for a bit while we look for a new cm... I'm very grateful for them helping us out. However my mum has very different methods to child rearing to me.

Even though ds is 2, and I'm possibly being a bit pfb, I don't like to leave him to cry if he complains at bedtime. He's normally pretty good, but on the odd days he does protest, I'll give him a big cuddle, put him in bed, and if he starts crying I'll pop back every ten mins for a cuddle and some reassurance.

My mum thinks once you put them in bed, you close the door and don't open it until the morning.

Now I'm at work all evening, so I can't really control what they're doing, and there's probably no point in worrying about it as I can't do anything from here. So what do you do in these circumstances?

KembleTwins Fri 11-Sep-09 17:16:15

My parents have been looking after my twins very occasionally since they were tiny. At first, she was absolutely insistent about following our rules and routines to the letter - she even made me write stuff down for her. Now that they are older (3), we're all a bit more relaxed about it. In general, though, we're pretty much in tune with each other. However, if they're with my parents overnight, or for a whole day, I tend to just let them get on with it, and then when I have them back, I don't bother with a blow-by-blow account of what's happened. I trust my parents to do what they think it best, and everyone is happy.

I do count myself lucky though - I know not everyone is in this position.

So in response to your original question, I know that my mum has enough respect for my idea of child-rearing to stick pretty much to what I do myself with the kids, and I have enough respect for her years of experience to know that she will do the absolute best for the children when she's looking after them.

pasturesnew Fri 11-Sep-09 17:17:42

My parents and MIL are ace and ask us what the rules are and then follow them, so we don't need to insist. FIL doesn't follow the rules but no point us insisting, we know from prior experience with our dog that he would just ignore anything we said and do what he thinks. So FIL doesn't look after DS much. MIL and FIL are separated, unsurprisingly.

HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 17:27:19

thanks pasturesnew and kembletwins, I'm trying to think "oh well, let them get on with it" but I know if you get it right ds can be the easiest child, and doing things their way just because it's their way seems like cutting off their nose to spite their face. It's going to be them listening to him wailing all night after all.

I said to them he should have a nap at about midday - 1pm, getting up no later than about 2.30pm so that he'll go to bed at around 7 wtih no problems. What have they done? Put him down for a nap at 3pm and left him until 4.45! So the poor thing really isn't going to be tired at 7pm, and then they're going to put him in bed and let him yell for hours on end.

I know they think I'm being fussy, but it's really just what's easiest.

On another incident, my mum insisted that I shouldn't try and get ds to eat anything else if he refused to eat what she'd made (she made him and his cousins omelettes, I told her he didn't like eggs). I said he wouldn't sleep well that night as he would be hungry, and she said it was nonsense, children don't wake up hungry. Well lo and behold, poor blighter was up three times in the night starving hungry, he kept asking for toast and bananas. My mum tried to insist it was because it was habit, but I alwys make sure he has a good tea, and he never wakes up when I do.

Why oh why do they insist they know better when you're the one who's been looking after them every day for 2 years?

Sorry, I'm ranting now!

cory Fri 11-Sep-09 17:33:12

Have always spent the summers with my parents+ my married brothers+ their offspring, ever since my dcs were tiny, so have had to become quite flexible in my approach. Things like mealtimes and what gets served and rules for sitting around the table have to be worked around everybody's needs (small cooker with 2 plates to cook for 14 people, so no chance of doing anything separate; they just have to eat what there is). But then my Mum and Dad are reasonable kindly people, so I'd trust them to look after dcs in a similar way to myself.

KembleTwins Fri 11-Sep-09 17:34:02

I sympathise headfairy - sounds very much like they're doing silly things for no good reason at all - especially the nap thing. No wonder you're cross about it!

Bucharest Fri 11-Sep-09 17:41:18

My Mum is f/t babysitter for dd for 8 weeks of the year, when I work, and has her for a 12 hr day.....I insist on things that to me are just common sense (ie, use the cattle prod in the car if it looks like she's going to sleep as none of us want her up at 10pm) but am infinitely more flexible on food related things.....figuring that my Mum is my unpaid babysitter/cook/bottle washer so really gets to sort the food out herself.

So, I think you have to decide what, for you is small stuff, and what is big stuff.

HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 17:42:42

I've just spoken to my mum, she's had a bit of rotten day to be honest, so now I'm feeling a bit guilty. She's trying to deal with her elderly mother who's quite demanding, so I've said to her to do what she likes, but I've said that she doesn't have to put ds to bed at 7pm, let him run around a bit more and get properly tired, that way, when she does put him to bed he's more likely to go to sleep quickly.

Ds is really quite flexible really, I'm not being totally rigid, but it does seem odd to me that anyone can think that 2 hours after a 2 hour nap a child will go to bed with no fuss. Surely it's logical that he won't be tired, so why have the battle? Let him stay up later and get more tired... I hate working late I hate not being in charge of my own child!

HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 17:45:27

Bucharest, I know where you're coming from. I think I proved the food thing with them this week though. We're living with them at the moment too as we're waiting for our house purchase to go through (they are being lovely aren't they? I'm such a cow!) All this week, when I've been there to supervise tea time, and making sure he's eaten a decent amount, he's done a full 12 hours sleep at night with absolutely no problems. I think they now understand that if he's hungry ds really won't sleep.

But I do get the point that they are free childcare, which is why I'm wondering if I'm a total cow for even thinking what I'm thinking.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Fri 11-Sep-09 17:48:32

My MIL followed my way always in the beginning but once they were a bit bigger I let her get on with it. I insist the youngest one still has his nap but everything else is up to her when she has them. It was more crucial when they were small that things were done just so.

HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 17:57:04

At least ds can speak pretty well FBG, as you say, they can be a bit more relaxed because at least ds can tell them in no uncertain terms when he's hacked off and why!

notevenamousie Fri 11-Sep-09 17:59:51

My mum is the only grandparent that really sees dd. She is more strict than I would be, but in some ways also more lenient... I let her get on with it now, as none of it is "wrong", just different. She used to tell dd off, when she was really only a baby, and at that time I did ask her not to, because that was a big thing to me.

I agree it's hard to rely on people to help you out - I can ask and expect things from paid childcarers that I can't from my mum. It depends how long your ds is crying for, I guess, if it's a few minutes, I'd let it be, if I thought my (PFB too) dd was crying for a long time, I'd be asking for that to stop.

alypaly Fri 11-Sep-09 18:05:08

sometimes a different view on how to deal with things can be helpful ,such as the bed time problem. I was an up to bed ,close the door ,go to sleep mum and had no problems with tantrums etc and i think it does help you if
grandparents can find a solution to a problem every now and then. Keep an open mind. Telling what is right and wrong should be the same but help getting them to bed more easily is surely helpful

oneopinionatedmother Fri 11-Sep-09 18:15:04

well, seeing as this isn't a permanent arrangment, i think just let your mum get on with it.

i often have to remind myself that what my MIL does isn't harmful (though it is very annoying when I'm there) and baby will be fine.

and your DC will be fine, and so long as your mother respects your authority whilst you are present she is to a certain extent entitled to do things her way.

HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 18:32:10

alypaly, we don't really have a bedtime problem, ds goes to bed without a whimper 9 times out of ten, but I've always felt that if he's crying, because he's normally so good, it's because he's got real reason to. We've moved house three times in 6 weeks due to cock ups with our house purchase, so ds is a little out of kilter, and I feel a bit powerless not being able to put him to bed, because I do feel that whatever tears he's had recently have been down to the disruption. I'm therefore being a bit more gentle with him, but I don't like the thought of the door being shut on him and him being left to it. If I know him like I think I do, he'll cry for a good hour or so.

I'm sure once or twice won't affect him at all, it's just frustrating me that I can't be with him all the time when we're going through this silly move.

waitingforbedtime Fri 11-Sep-09 18:41:58

Headfairy - genuine question, how do you ensure your kid eats a good meal at dinnertime? I can't!!

HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 19:06:20

waitingforbedtime, I know I'm going to get slated for this, but I tend to only put things in front of him I know he likes, he has very few snacks during the day, certainly nothing after 4pm (tea time is 6pm), I take him out for a good two hours in the park with lots of running around and climbing things, and if he totally refuses something, I will make him an alternative until he's eaten enough. It doesn't always work, but luckily we don't have too many problems because I make him run around so much

dogonpoints Fri 11-Sep-09 19:21:17

I let gps stick to their own ways but then they are sensible, have always asked me about routines, likes and dislikes etc so it has never been an issue (apart from little things like how to dilute squash)

piscesmoon Fri 11-Sep-09 19:47:01

I leave them to it. They are sensible people and they ask about things they aren't sure about. You can't control anyway if you are not there.

waitingforbedtime Fri 11-Sep-09 21:36:37

Headfairy - yup pretty much do all that too apart from the alternative meal. He does get offered yog, bananas, whatever but at suppertime which he has regardless of whether he's had dinner or not. If ds doesnt want to eat, he won't, end of!

Thanks (sorry for hijack!)

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 11-Sep-09 21:44:19

Message withdrawn

Umlellala Fri 11-Sep-09 21:47:31

What Bucharest said, work out what is really important to you and what is not.

My mum has been a star. She gives them way too much sugar and always lets dd choose what to eat for dinner (and makes something else if she doesn't eat it hmm) BUT she has never let her cry and even slept on a duvet with them because she knew thats what he was used to and would settle him. I believe she has 'opinions' about it but has been great in doing what I want however stupid she thinks it is - I guess it's her way of showing me she loves me...

Agree that as they get older, it is easier. But I don't think it's PFB to not want your child to be left to cry - they will probably cry but at least be there to cuddle them sad. Maybe try to talk (self-deprecatingly?) about how you can't relax if you think he is being left to cry...

alypaly Fri 11-Sep-09 22:36:48

HeadFairy hi .... i didnt literally mean ,shut the door,i was speaking metaphorically.smile Its a shame that house moves have affected his pattern and is probably a bit bewildered with the new surroundings. Just some gentle reasuurance is brilliant, but i would not let it take become too much of a problem as babies are very good at manipulating things to suit.

I used to leave my mum to it when she looked after my 2 DS's ,I think i have turned out ok and they have suffered no problems with different methods. I think it does them good because they are oten more responsive to the older generation...i think it must be their tone of vioce.smile

Headfairy ...you are making work for yourself offering altenative foods..but i guess if it makes you happy then thats what u should do.
If you have more children ,you are possibly going to be making 3 different meals at night...you will be knackered

MrsMerryHenry Sat 12-Sep-09 20:26:06

I am so heartened to read this thread. My SIL has accused me of being controlling and untrusting of her because I have given her the same sort of info you're all saying you've given to your ILs - more details about routines, etc when DS was a baby, then, later, stuff like 'if he does xyz naughty thing, we find that doing abc works a treat'. I always speak respectfully towards her but she has taken it really personally, saying she thinks I'm assuming she's too stupid to work it out for herself (these are her actual words). Nobody else I've given DS to has ever complained about me giving the same info - in fact, like pasturesnew said, my friends with kids the same age actually ask me for that info.

SIL would have like to have kids of her own but hasn't been able to and now is post-menopause. I think that's the real cause of the problem; that she wants the chance to learn to be a mother and feels my children are her only opportunity to do so.

HeadFairy Sat 12-Sep-09 22:18:30

Well last night was a total disaster, I came home from work at midnight to find ds still up and crying hysterically. They had been in to see him, but he was apparently missing me and would only be consoled by me. Nothing my mum can do about that I guess. I'm sure being in a different house has made him a bit odd.

But as usual they didn't make sure he had enough to eat at bedtime and he was starving hungry (possibly why he wouldn't settle without me, I dunno), so I came home at midnight and gave him some toast and a banana, and a bottle of milk. It took over an hour to get him to calm down and back to sleep, but I had to sleep in his room, so yet again I got only four hours sleep.

I do sound really bossy when I'm saying I can't understand why they insist on doing things their way, but I really have worked out what works for him, and what gives us the most peace, so why they insist on changing everything is beyond me sometimes. I guess it's the price I have to pay for going out to work, not that I have much choice about that... I'd rather not be working to 11pm when I'm 6 months pg.

Sorry, that was another rant wasn't it? blush

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