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The Rules and Granny

(128 Posts)
maur33 Thu 30-Oct-14 10:58:36

Last week my son gave me THE RULES for his 4 yr old children on a piece of A4 paper with large text. It's not my place to disagree with how they have decided to bring up their children but I found it very hurtful that it was especially printed out for me. At first I thought it was like new targets for my failed performance management in grannyhood, that it was extremely controlling - even passive /aggressive but the bottom line is that really he obviously doesn't expect me to do my best by his children - and that is what hurts.
I love my grandchildren very much but now I'm aware that I'm on trial and I feel uncomfortable looking after them.We usually have a brilliant time together but The Rules have upset me so much that I'm second guessing myself.
Any advice?

RaspberrySnowCone Thu 30-Oct-14 11:01:26

What were the rules? They sound a bit PFB but I don't have kids and if one of the rules is don't give them chocolate because they're all diabetic or over weight they could have a point.

BatTeethKeith Thu 30-Oct-14 11:01:42

Tell him that if he wants to continue to use you for free childcare he will have to accept that you will do your best for the children without the benefit of his written rules.

Presumably he has turned out ok and you aren't letting them poke wire coat hangers into your plug sockets?

RaspberrySnowCone Thu 30-Oct-14 11:02:34

That should've said 'I don't have kids to compare the situation with'

KnockMeDown Thu 30-Oct-14 11:03:36

What are the rules? Are they reasonable requests, and do they cover things you may have done "wrong" in the past?

GoatsDoRoam Thu 30-Oct-14 11:05:13

Have you done anything specific that your son and DIL expressed their disagreement with? And did you poo-poo their wishes? Could this be why they felt it necessary to spell out how they prefer to raise their children?

Ultimately, of course, you can ignore these rules if you wish. And they can give you printouts if they wish, PA as it is, or choose to give you less of a space in their children's lives.

You are all free agents. But finding agreement seems like the wisest course here.

SelfLoathing Thu 30-Oct-14 11:06:11

what kind of rules are they?
It sounds very patronising -especially the large text.
Are you sure that they aren't more for the benefit of the four year old?
(ie. these are the rules you obey when you are at granny's)

If they are definitely for you, I would give them back to him. Tell him that you found it patronising and hurtful; that you managed to raise him perfectly well and if he wants you to be an unpaid babysitter that he should trust you a bit more.

KillmeNow Thu 30-Oct-14 11:06:26

Print this out for your son,


Unless of course you did manage to severely harm your own Dc in which case you dont have a leg to stand on.

ElephantsNeverForgive Thu 30-Oct-14 11:06:41

My DMIL always said there were only two rules

1) Spoil your Grandchildren Rotten.
2) Return to parents when they get too wild.

Sadly she died, very suddenly, and never got the chance.

Honestly, the only way to deal with THE RULES is to treat them as a joke and smile and nod sweetly.

Scrounger Thu 30-Oct-14 11:07:33

It sounds awful. My parents and ILs look after my children, more on an ad hoc basis than regular days but I never write out a list of instructions (other than how to work the TV and DVD). Is there any background to this? If my parents fed them loads of cake, sweets etc I may ask them to reduce it but I wouldn't give them a list of rules. Have you been letting them play with chainsaws?

What are included in the rules and do you look after your GC (how many?) on a regular basis? If so ask him for some objectives, what your bonus will be and can you schedule in your next performance review. Is he normally such an idiot?

Lancelottie Thu 30-Oct-14 11:10:41

Are they having trouble with their child because the rules differ from person to person and house to house? I mean, presumably there is some reason for their printout (unless your son is just a pompous type)?

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Thu 30-Oct-14 11:10:43

I need to know what the rules are!

tiktok Thu 30-Oct-14 11:11:23

maur, everyone's dying to know what the rules actually are!

Normally, any differences in approach would be best sorted out by talking about them, but maybe this has been tried already?

Having said that, things are different at the grandparents' house - stuff like climbing on furniture may be ok/not ok in one house and not the other,and most sensible people would accept that. But stuff like good manners and kindness are going to be the same everywhere.

So it all depends on what the rules say smile

Rollontome Thu 30-Oct-14 11:11:41

Have you repeatedly ignored their requests? My ex inlaws ignored EVERYTHING I asked them not to do, they fed her crap behind my back - including frizzy drinks, up her pictures up on Facebook, allowed her out to play unsupervised (toddler!), swore in front of her, they ignored me again and again, there was always something, naturally I supervise everything now.

You need to ask yourself why they felt the need to print it out on paper rather than saying it to you. You need to respect their parental authority. Unless they're asking you to mind their kids for them you get no say.

fanjobiscuits Thu 30-Oct-14 11:13:46

Depends on the rules. If they are about using carseats for eg and you have ignored this before, YABU.

strawberryshoes Thu 30-Oct-14 11:18:06


We often see threads from parents who say "when DDs go to grandmas we ask that she lets them nap between 1 and 3, because if they miss this they are a nightmare at bedtime, and that they don't have snacks just before pick up because then they don't eat their tea. She always ignores this because she thinks letting them sleep means she misses out of time playing, and wants to treat the grandkids to something sweet when they are here."

Then you get 50 50 responses saying either suck it up, its what grandparents do, be thankful of the childcare, and also your kid, they should follow your rules.

I think it would be worth telling your son that you will always respect how he wants things done, but you found his method of delivery a little insulting or hurtful, and that a conversation would have been nicer. He might be the sort of guy that thinks having a list is a really helpful way to present info, so he might have thought it was really thoughtful to give you the rules this way - rather than patronising at best.

I hope you can get past this though, as little things like this can really build resentment, and hopefully its just a communication misunderstanding and nothing more.

Meerka Thu 30-Oct-14 11:18:44

If they are 4, presumably you have been looking after them before? Have they asked you to do things a certain way but you've chosen to do things a rather different way? Have they ever expressed any unhappiness?

Are your son and DIL generally rather laid back, or rather uptight?

What -are- the rules? it's very difficult to give advice without knowing how reasonable/unreasonable they are.

I'm tempted to say try not to be upset (difficult I know), try to see it with a hmm and a bit of humour, and try to follow them as best you can, just to keep your son and DIL happy. They are their children and you don't have an automatic right to do things that they don't like. But it's impossible to actualy say that without knowing a bit more.

MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Thu 30-Oct-14 11:19:11

I also want to know what "The Rules" are!

It sounds totally unreasonable on the surface, but as others have said, if they are having big problems with behaviour at home, and if the children (twins?) stay with OP fairly regularly, they may have grounds outside the ordinary for wanting to make sure granny and parents are all "singing from the same hymn sheet" - if the children are showing behavioural problems the parents may just be clumsily trying to follow the advice everyone always gives, to "be consistent". "Rules" about sugar consumption may be for the same reason...

My kids stay with their grandparents (my in-laws) over night once every school holiday, and we wouldn't give them written rules but have asked them to put the older kids to bed awake if possible (they are 9 and 7) - the grandparents found it easier to let them fall asleep on the sofa, but this was meaning that they often came home having had very little sleep indeed... not the end of the world, but sometimes a problem as they still don't sleep longer to catch up, so it was knocking them for several days after they got home... Otherwise we don't say anything about the fact grandma lets them live on nothing but cake, and one of them once ate 7 slices at a sitting... I think we might say something if she had them one day a week, every week though!

Maybe the problem is that your son gave you a printed sheet rather than talked it through with you? It could well be his intentions are good, but his communication poor in this case...

MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Thu 30-Oct-14 11:23:45

Oooh Selfloathing might have a point - can the 4 year old read? Some can... In that case maybe the rules are not meant for granny, but for the child!

Catsarebastards Thu 30-Oct-14 11:29:44

Is it possible the children's behaviour hasnt been great so the parents have established some rules and are just asking for consistency when the dcs are with you? I'm guessing the DCs spend a fair amount of time with you if dad has given you a set of rules as this indicates he expects the dcs to be with you regularly so its iy fair to ask that if you are to be caring for the dcs often then you back up the parents rules if there are behviour issues. It can be really hard to turn bad behaviour around if the child is spending a day or two each week somewhere where the rules are very different.

AMumInScotland Thu 30-Oct-14 11:29:53

What's the background? Have you always looked after these children? Has it seemed to be ok till now? Is this a new situation for some reason? Do you have disagreements with your son or DIL about how to treat them when they are with you?

You say you feel that you are 'on trial' - that implies that something has happened to change things. Without more detail, it's hard to say who is being unreasonable here.

I know the first time my mum left dsis with her MIL she left an entire sheet of instructions. It was a bit of PFB-itis when leaving the baby for the first time, and she laughs at herself for it now. But that was the first time, not after 4 years of practice.

caravanista13 Thu 30-Oct-14 11:40:39

I look after my granddaughter and I find it really useful to know exactly how her parents manage her needs and am pleased to be able to support them. Perhaps the title The Rules sounds a little formal but in my context I wouldn't be upset by it.

diddl Thu 30-Oct-14 11:58:37

It doesn't sound as if it was handled well.

I don't think it necessarily means that he/(they?) don't trust you to do your best, just that they want different things.

If you are looking after the children full time then tbh I don't think that some structure is a bad thing, I don't think that it can always be "funtime with Granny" anymore than it it's always funtime with SAHP!

How much impact would "applying the rules" have?

giantpurplepeopleeater Thu 30-Oct-14 11:58:52

There is a part of me that thinks what is in the rules matters quite a lot.

Is it more about the routine for your DG's? Or is it things that they have expressed some wishes about previously? Are they having trouble with DG's behaviour and have therefore set some boundaries they would like for you to follow to help?

I can imagine a myriad of reasons why they might come up with some rules and ask you to follow them - and none of these would neccessarily be about criticising you.

Can I ask why you have taken this so personally? Is there a back story? Wa sthe handing over of the rules particularly unpleasant? Was it a demand not an ask?

From the OP itself, I'm left wondering why you've found it so critical to have been given them. My first instinct was that maybe you're being a bit sensitive and they are being a bit PFB (6 of one and half a dozen of another) but then the above stuck me.... maybe there is more to the story?

maur33 Thu 30-Oct-14 12:02:46

Thanks everyone. No the rules are Ok - bed by 7pm, no sweets or chocolate, saying please and thank you and no presents except for birthday or Christmas. It's the fact that my son sat there and designed and printed the large text rules to give to me and the lecture.
When you have your grandchildren to stay for a few days it's lovely to give them treats, the circus and candyfloss or the seaside and icecream. or hide a Kinder egg etc. I actually don't believe in too many sweet things but I do have toys for them to play with here. My friends are very keen to pass things on as their grandchildren grow out of them and I did buy toys- scooters from the car boot and a cheap swing ball for instance. so perhaps it's that.
I was a primary teacher for 30 years so I'm really sad that my son doesn't think I'd do my best by his children.

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