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Old 07/14/10, 08:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 415
"You're not letting us be grandparents!"

That's what I heard from my mother-in-law for the umpteenth time last Sunday in a rant the gist of which was that my husband and I are too hard on our kids. Apparently, her idea of being a grandparent involves being able to give them as much sugar as they want, as much TV as they want, and as many presents as they want. My husband and I want our children to love their grandparents for who they are, not what they give or let them do. Is that unreasonable? I've also been thinking about the "you're not letting us be grandparents" line, and I've come to the conclusion that we don't HAVE to let them be grandparents. We don't HAVE to let them spend time with our kids at all. We have heretofore CHOSEN to let them spend time with our kids, but their blatant disrespect for the boundaries we have set is teaching our children to be dishonest and deceitful--"Don't tell mom and dad! It'll be our secret. Have some more candy."

Are we out of line or are they? Do grandparents have to be given full and unlimited access to grandchildren, and do parents have to allow grandparents to overindulge grandchildren?
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Old 07/14/10, 08:07 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: N.E. Oklahoma
Posts: 3,676
No on both counts, but my grands were very generous people and honestly my parents didn't mind it and we didn't mind it with our parents. WE knew what was expected of US as kids and didn't ask for things, but if offered we could take it. Parents are the law makers, hard on your kids, so on and so forth, grands finally after raising their kids get to be the gigglers and the nice ones. I loved that my parents got to be the same kind of grands to their grandkids and they are/were well loved on all sides. My dad was the big pushover, which was fun to watch.

I'd rather grandparents be this way than the don't bother me kid, ungenerous, grumpy, gripey old grands that some people are and had when they were kids.
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Old 07/14/10, 08:25 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 15,516
You are certainly not out of line at all.

Your MIL is.

BTW, I'm a grandma and a MIL and I wouldn't dream of behaving like that! It's just plain lack of respect for you and your DH!
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Old 07/14/10, 08:27 PM
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Location: Wisconsin
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My brothers and I aren't giving my parents any grandkids. They should be glad they have any at all lol.

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Old 07/14/10, 08:28 PM
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Big Front Porch advocate
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 44,742
I hope you work it out. Being pushed away from being a grand parent tears the heart out.
"Live your life, and forget your age." Norman Vincent Peale

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Old 07/14/10, 08:41 PM
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de oppresso liber
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 16,518
Had a similar problem. My mom and dad told my siblings "Our house, our rules." and that's the way they treated the grandkids. When we had kids I told them "Our kids, our rules. Either that or the kids won't be coming over much." They got the msg and we never had a problem.
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Old 07/14/10, 08:46 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Indiana
Posts: 616
We gave a little, they gave a little.

My In-laws kept, a jar of oatmeal cream pies on their counter, just so the kids could help themselves when we visited. Great-grandparents kept a jar of oatmeal cookies, another of spiced gumdrops and a special 1/2 gal. of whole milk in the refrigerator for the kids.

My kids are a bit older now and love these memories. All are slim, fit and healthy. A bit of spoiling from grandparents didn't ruin them.

As for the gifts, we had to put our foot down, we just didn't have the room. We made a list of acceptable gifts they could give. Finally won that battle when I explained to MIL that the expensive toy that our youngest had really really wanted, so Sister-in-law got it for him, was played with once, discovered it was really really boring (it had looked like so much fun on the commercial) after that one time it was shoved away into the back of a closet, where it remained a year later.

teaching our children to be dishonest and deceitful--"Don't tell mom and dad! It'll be our secret. Have some more candy."

would not be tolerated. Also parental rules must be followed. For us basic behavioral rules were pretty much the same there as at home.
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Old 07/14/10, 09:00 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Kansas
Posts: 14,178
I think you both need to compromise. Even as a child we understood that rules were different at the grandparents. We got more sweets and different things were expected from us. There are, after all, different expectations in every different location.

We knew not to sleep in the beds at Penny's, but we could sleep in the beds at home. Mom did not greet us with cookies: one Grandfather did.
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Old 07/14/10, 09:06 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Northeast Michigan zone 4b
Posts: 4,458
Grandparents do get to "spoil" the kids a bit. Mine did, and the memories with them are cherished. The baking together, the goodies, the toy now and then, staying up late... it's all part of what grandparents "do". I turned out fine. I knew the rules at Grandparents house, and I knew the rules at home. I think that treatment from grandparents balances out the strictness of good parents.
I'm so busy, I don't know if I've found a rope or lost my horse.
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Old 07/14/10, 09:29 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Pawnee Nation, OK
Posts: 2,489
I do special things with them and yes, I do spoil them a little bit. I do not, however, do anything that goes against any serious rules their mother has or anything that goes against my own rules of raising children.

When I buy them presents it is something educational.

But yes, when my grandsons are at my house and they want icecream for breakfast from time to time, I ask them what flavor they want.
Critical thinking -- the other national deficit
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Old 07/14/10, 09:34 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: the flat land of Illinois
Posts: 4,662
can you not try talking with them? If ever there was a beautiful win-win situation waiting to happen it is yours - loving grandparents and loving parents and kids who get love from all sides.

You are lucky to have this be your big problem! In fact, blessed!

Celebrate the joy and the love and talk it through. Do not be threatened. Be grateful, have a sense of humor, talk, bend, negotiate. Ask them for advice.

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Old 07/14/10, 09:39 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Northeast Michigan zone 4b
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Originally Posted by Dutchie View Post

But yes, when my grandsons are at my house and they want icecream for breakfast from time to time, I ask them what flavor they want.
I'm so busy, I don't know if I've found a rope or lost my horse.
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Old 07/14/10, 09:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,866
We had to compromise.When My Mom was still alive she loved to give my son soda pop. So he would bounce of the walls when we got him home. Bless her heart we settled for caffiene free pepsi and sprite.
As for gifts and clothes we just let her do what she wanted.We did talk about Christmas gifts so we didn't end up getting him the same things.
Mom also taught him his first not nice word at the ripe old age of 3, she only had two that she ever said.
He adored her and though she has been gone for along time, he still does.
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Old 07/14/10, 11:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 415
The problem with talking with them is that we've talked until we're blue. They refuse to compromise, refuse to bend at all, and think that we are the unreasonable ones. They pour unconditional love on our kids, which is great, but they do it in such a way that shows complete disrespect for us. I have compromised for years, but on Sunday my MIL said things that cannot be easily forgotten, culminating with the accusation that our children are terrified of us. That is the point at which I told her to get out of my house.

Oh, did I mention that all of this is further complicated by the fact that 3 years ago we built a house with the in-laws where they have their own in-law apartment? The two sides of the house are joined by a hallway/laundry room which the children know they are not to traverse without permission. Now, because of all this, we are going to try to sell our dream house, the house we designed and built ourselves, the house I thought I would die in. It is all incredibly sad, but it is obvious to me that my MIL would be perfectly happy if I died and she got to take control of my family. She has already run two DIL's out of the state, and she's about to have a 3 for 3 record.
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Old 07/14/10, 11:07 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 664
I dont know how to put this but please dont ruin some good memories for your kids.

I remember my Grandmothers house had a white hobnail cookie jar, the 2 kinds of cookies it always had in it, and sometimes when I stayed over I would get to choose what I wanted for lunch. Beefaroni from a can (We never had that at home it seems), or Chipped Beef on Toast. I loved being soooo special LOL. She also always had a dish of those pillow mints that melt away in your mouth.

Fast forward to my own kids, and while I would cringe at cookies before a meal that their Grandmother always encouraged, along with lots of assorted treats, and even little gifts of toys for no real reason, I wouldnt rob them of those memories for anything. Their other Grandmother could care less, so it all evened out.
I can actually laugh at myself now for being so worried about Sugar that I believed would surely rot their teeth away right then and there, and "overindulging" them.
Maybe talk to her about limits you can live with.
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Old 07/14/10, 11:13 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 317
There is a definite difference between being a doting, spoiling grandparent and being a manipulative, undermining one. If you find the solution, let me know. In the meanwhile, google "Covert Aggressive". It might be eye-opening. At the very least, you'll learn the ways in which people manipulate COVERTLY. In ways they can't be called-out upon, but which leaves the other party feeling bulldozed and blinking, "What just happened?" I'm sorry. Those who don't experience what you're describing only make you feel unheard and even more alone. They are the ones who have only experienced the doting-grandparent type, not the undermining discretely aggressive sort.
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Old 07/14/10, 11:22 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: central, mn
Posts: 2,906
my sons girlfriend took the kids away from me three times cuz she was mad at me (i stopped giving them money) it broke my heart to hear my grandson (ones just a baby) wanting to say goodbye or hi to me and not being allowed to or being told to shut the f@#$ up and go sit down cuz he was trying to talk to me and she was mad at me. i chose to walk away instead of hearing them get hurt or me getting hurt by the sadistic bit**. but now my heart is breaking and i am sure my gsons is too--i am not talking to my son over this. please try and talk it out--set the bounderies for them, i would be upset about the "dont tell" thing also.
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Old 07/15/10, 12:50 AM
Posts: n/a
I have 8 & 1/2 grandchildren ( one is due in August.)..When my own children were little, I was a good mother..not a perfect one, but a good one..I loved all of them and made certain that they knew that..not only in words and hugs but also by teaching them right from wrong, loving discipline, etc. etc..I watched what they ate..I made certain that they had enough sleep..They had routine medical and dental check-ups, played sports..I monitored their progress in school..blah blah blah..18 + YEARS of that I loved..but nonetheless WORK.

So now I'm "Grammy"..hmmm..I trust that their parents are good parents..and are busy working as good parents ..doing all of the things that I role NOW is that of chief hugger, listener, cookie maker..and silly person..I have no need or desire to be their parent..been there, done all that..I'm Grammy..I know that my heart would break into little pieces if my grown children took my role away from me..
Just my two cents..
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Old 07/15/10, 12:53 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Illinois
Posts: 8,298
I think you're both wrong. Sounds to me like you're both stubborn and neither can see the other's viewpoint.

Eating too much sugar, staying up late, and getting gifts won't hurt your kids. Kids like going to their grandparents' houses because they get to do cool things they can't do at home. Grandparents enjoy spoiling their grandchildren because it's fun, makes them feel special, and they couldn't do these things with their own children.

It will hurt your children if you alienate your kids from their grandparents.

If the grandparents are undermining your authority, encouraging lying, or doing something bad that's one thing. Spoiling them is what grandparents get to do. It's the job and the joy of being a grandparent.

I have special memories of being spoiled: running around the farm rather unsupervised, being given money to go up to the store to get pop, getting Jiffy Pop popcorn to cook over the fire (OK, I wasn't a little kid when I did those things. I remember having brownies, banana pudding, homemade ice cream, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Tic Tacs, and all sorts of similar exotic foods. I remember Grandma giving me a kleenex and a coin from her change purse as we went to church. She gave me exactly two Tic Tacs. Those were unbelievably wonderful treats that I never could have imagined getting at home. There were five of us kids so we couldn't do those neat things.

Grandparents help kids to be kids and discover those new and exotic things in life.... even when those things are not really exotic.
Moms don't look at things like normal people.
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Old 07/15/10, 01:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,393
Honestly I wouldnt worry too much about the gifts the sugar.... you are bringing up your children to not be deceitful, keep it up.
I had one grandma who always gave us money when we visited. Almost literally, she didnt know how to give anything else. She couldnt!!
She was a bitter conniving old thing & spoke about my mother (her own daughter) disparingly every chance she got.
Me & my brother picked up on at a young age.
And your kids will sort out this stuff too, probaby a whole lot quicker & easier than you'd expect.

We've been grandparents for nine yrs now. Some of the anal thinking of our grown children just blows us away. Though I dont say anything, I dont appreciate being told how to treat them.
Staying up too late at grandmas & eating stuff you dont normally let them have is half the fun!
And she knows that!!
Bob and Nancy Dickey
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Last edited by Goat Servant; 07/15/10 at 01:24 AM.
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