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mil and soldier toys issue-how to resolve clearly but politely

(44 Posts)
violeteyes Sun 12-Jul-09 19:40:50

to summerise back issues/context

mil can be very touchy, very much expects her opinion to be accepted as the correct one eg where i should place my cooker etc-not just with me, with everyone
however, she is a fabulous grandma, loving, energetic,interested and also has been a different woman to me since i had the children, not actually showing this side of her character particularly and actually being supportive and encouraging, very much to my surprise i must add

i have tried to respond warmly to this change in our relationship, and have explicitly stated how i value her as a grandparent but also as a mother in law in this regard. she is not one to dwell on positives however....

current situation is that i have let a few things slide that are my preferences as regards dc-ds 2.11 and dd 12months as i do trust her with them, but now an issue has arisen where i feel very strongly and intend to get my rules followed-i/we are the parents and this our right and our duty

the situation is that inlaws, who are extremely local, have ds on tues 10-5 (he still sleeps 2 hours plus at lunch time so not as long as it may seem) and have started having dd 3-4.30 ish on weds. they don't work, and this situation has evolved over the years. i do value the break, especially the chance to have one-to-one time with the other, but the primary reason is for in-laws benefit, so they can build own relationship with children, children grow to know grandparents etc. what i mean is that i would be the one least likely to suffer without this arrangement if you see what i mean, inlaws and children be ones missing out

mil has daft amount of toys at her house for both dc, some passed on from sil who child mminds. last week she produced, when i was there a large box of soldier toys from sil, lots of small bits, lots of guns, tanks, camo jeeps, boats, soldier dolls etc. gave directly to ds, as sil not allowed because of ofsted. my ds is car/vehicle mad so very interested. asking what things were. mil said she would go through it later, remove broken/too tiny/too obvious guns

i said yes, we don't want them to have guns. she said they used to do that too, but no point, bil found using sticks as guns etc. i said yes, but i feel very differently about that sort of play than about guns as toys, let it drop, went home

i was angry at being put on the spot like that, but decided not to make a big deal of it at all. spoke to dh, he much less bothered but agreed not toys we want for ds. decided we say we didn't want him having anything from that box as not 'age apropriate' - box handed on from 10 yr old boy anyway. we thought this pretty tactful.

dh spoke to mil today when she came over for coffee for dd birthday. i wasn't in room. in his words 'didn't go down very well' not trusting her as a grandmother, she has been through the box already etc being silly etc

so. i intend to stick my ground. partly because i do feel strongly enough about this particular point and partly because i want her to respect both me and dh as i being silly?

violeteyes Sun 12-Jul-09 19:43:00

sorry, really should have have previewed!

edam Sun 12-Jul-09 19:44:47

I think it would be better to talk to her honestly about what is really bothering you - which isn't actually this box of toys.

wrinklytum Sun 12-Jul-09 19:50:01

I have a similar issue with my MIL.I have never bought ds a gun/soldiers as I do not feel it is right,I guess from own upbringing as my mums side of family is French and my grandparents/g grandparents were in occupied France during war and saw the full horrors,so Mum was always paranoid about us not having such things for "Play",and it has trickled down.DS is 5 and has neve rhad a toy gun from me althoguh MIL lets him play with a toy gun and soldiers at her house,though I have said I will not buy him one at home.I am maybe a bit nutty.Having said this he builds guns out of Lego,(though you can always build lots of things with lego) A gun is always a gun.

We have reached a compromise that he plays with guns etc at her house but I don't let him have one at home.

Sorry for rambly post!I know I sound insane LOL.

allaboutme Sun 12-Jul-09 19:55:55

she has gone through the box already and taken out the guns.
your DS is very interested in the tanks and cars.
Why would you still be cross at her and now asking her to take all the toys away?

hatwoman Sun 12-Jul-09 20:05:48

your dh said it "didn;t go down well" - but that could mean quite a few different things. if she was upset and felt you didn't trust her but agreed to get rid of the toys then all you need to do is thank her, tell her you think she's a great gm, and put it behind you. but if she's refusing to get rid of them then, assuming you won't compromise on this, you'll have to have another - very difficult - conversation - telling her as much.

hatwoman Sun 12-Jul-09 20:10:45

but personally - if she's got rid of the guns - I'd be prepared to compromise. I would work on ensuring that my ds knew what war etc involved - would talk to him about its impact and how horrendous it is (in an age appropriate way) etc

MissSunny Sun 12-Jul-09 20:13:06

Message withdrawn

MissSunny Sun 12-Jul-09 20:14:46

Message withdrawn

wrinklytum Sun 12-Jul-09 20:16:11

yes Hatwoman has a good point.Dunno how old your dc is but at 5 was able to tell ds about guns hurting people and so on,reasons I did not believe he should have one.

It is a minefield,the MIL issue.Compromise often best solution,from experience.(Own parents live away and MIL often port of call in childcare crisis)

screamingabdab Sun 12-Jul-09 20:17:24

Yes, I have to say, that from the information you give, MIL has complied with your wishes in taking out the guns.

I am a bit struck by the fact that you saying you were "put on the spot" by her. It sounds like you were having a debate about the issue of guns as toys and she was to some extent agreeing with you (that she hadn't thought it was ideal with her son, but had found he made sticks into guns). In other words, she was just expressing her opinion, based on her experience of parenting. Is she not allowed to do that ?

I personally think you should focus on the positive things about her that you mention in the OP, and not get hung up on this.

I have to be honest an add that my own view is, that whilst I would never buy my sons (age 6 and 8) guns (I live in an area where there is an above-average amount of gun-crime), I would not stop them playing with them at anyone else's house. It is a phase many children go through and come out the other side. I truly think that this is not an issue to fall out with your MIL about.

cornsilk Sun 12-Jul-09 20:19:13

Difficult one. Are you going to let your ds play with transfomers, power rangers, action man, robin hood etc -as they all have weapons and it won't be long before he's interested.

ilikeshoes Sun 12-Jul-09 20:33:41

I dont like fighting or gun games for obvious reasons and have never bought my child any, however they will probably end up making them out of pegs or pretend with there fingers,mine do, i think there is too much hype around this, my grandads generation were bought up with action men and watched cow boys and indian films, its how you bring your children up that counts, i'm not saying let them watch or play violent computer games there i draw the line, but its just what children do its just playing,x

sameagain Sun 12-Jul-09 20:44:57

Your MIL is right though. And so is cornsilk, all their favorite toys once they get past their 3rd birthday are guns in one shape or form and everything else (lego, bats, sticks) can be turned into them.

They will play soldiers (or Storm Troopers or Dr Who or Robin Hood or Pirates or Knights) and make weapons from whatever they can find. Mine saw no fighting/violence on TV and had nothing even resembling a gun before they went to school. Within a week of starting nursery DS2 was walking round the house with a cricket bat on his head shouting "exterminate" even though he had no idea what it meant.

I'm afraid I've now taken an if you can't beat them...... view.

Feenie Sun 12-Jul-09 20:48:16

My friend's sons (now grown up) were also banned from playing with guns, but would nibble them out of Nice biscuits and toast!

screamingabdab Sun 12-Jul-09 20:48:55

Agree with sameagain DS2 is very interested in weaponry, despite no encouragement from us, and only watching Cbeebies for years.

(DS1, on the other hand has never been into Power Rangers, swords, guns etc)

screamingabdab Sun 12-Jul-09 20:53:58

Actually, I feel more strongly about the actual violence that toy swords can inflict, rather than the symbolic problem with toy guns.

I have friends who would not let their son's play with guns, but will happily let their DC batter others over the head with a wooden sword.

GypsyMoth Sun 12-Jul-09 21:02:40

So you'll be banning water pistols also then!?

Think you're going to have a job keeping him wrapped up in cotton wool, you can't keep things from kids........and your mil is very close by, you need to realise she will always see the bigger picture.

screamingabdab Sun 12-Jul-09 21:03:03

sons not son's, FGS grin

pranma Sun 12-Jul-09 21:04:33

My daughter's mother-in-law has given dgs[2.4 at the time] a big box of son-in laws old toys,mainly cars and trains,but right at the bottom were 2 very realistic toy guns.They were discovered while I was babysitting and one of dd's friends called with her little boy.I was mortified and hid the guns on top of dd's wardrobe blush I then told dd later and she was grateful but doesnt want to mention it to her m-i-l.She wants me to get rid of the guns.Any suggestions for how I should do that?

screamingabdab Sun 12-Jul-09 21:07:14

pranma Take to the local police station, if they look that realistic (might give them a bit of a laugh if they don't though) grin

2rebecca Sun 12-Jul-09 23:50:02

If she's acting as childminder then it's up to her which toys she has. We had no local relatives when kids small but used local childminders who were excellent. No way would I have told them which toys my kids could/ couldn't play with. I don't see why a relative childminding should be treated with less respect and autonomy. Look after the kids yourself if you're that fussy about their toys.

violeteyes Mon 13-Jul-09 18:57:44

thank you for your replies everyone. lots to think about!

maybe i am being a bit precious. will say thank you for taking out guns and tiny soldiers, and say specificaly that we do trust her and are just being fussy parents. you're right, it is not a big enough deal to cause huge offense over.

so now, how to stop being so controlling....

it is so hard not being able to wrap them in cotton wool sometimes!

lilacclaire Mon 13-Jul-09 19:29:53

Just wait till they're making guns out of their fingers and shouting bang bang your dead at you.
Its really just children playing, take a deep breath and shout bang bang back grin

SparkleyBaubles Mon 13-Jul-09 22:06:25

My son (4) today pointed his willy at me and shouted "bang"!!! They really do make guns out of everything! LOL

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