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  #1  
Old 07/14/10, 07:00 PM
 
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"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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  #2  
Old 07/14/10, 07:07 PM
 
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Location: N.E. Oklahoma
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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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  #3  
Old 07/14/10, 07:25 PM
 
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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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  #4  
Old 07/14/10, 07:27 PM
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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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  #5  
Old 07/14/10, 07:28 PM
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I hope you work it out. Being pushed away from being a grand parent tears the heart out.

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  #6  
Old 07/14/10, 07:41 PM
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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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  #7  
Old 07/14/10, 07:46 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Indiana
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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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  #8  
Old 07/14/10, 08:00 PM
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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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  #9  
Old 07/14/10, 08:06 PM
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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.

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  #10  
Old 07/14/10, 08:29 PM
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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.

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  #11  
Old 07/14/10, 08:34 PM
 
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Location: the flat land of Illinois
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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.

gl!

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  #12  
Old 07/14/10, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
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.
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  #13  
Old 07/14/10, 08:48 PM
 
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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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  #14  
Old 07/14/10, 10:04 PM
 
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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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  #15  
Old 07/14/10, 10:07 PM
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: il
Posts: 396

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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  #16  
Old 07/14/10, 10:13 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Central Ohio
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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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  #17  
Old 07/14/10, 10:22 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: central, mn
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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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  #18  
Old 07/14/10, 11:50 PM
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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 work..work 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 did..my 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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  #19  
Old 07/14/10, 11:53 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Illinois
Posts: 7,967
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.
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  #20  
Old 07/15/10, 12:17 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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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!!

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  #21  
Old 07/15/10, 12:29 AM
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I'll share here, my parents respect the boundrys sit and even go beyond based on their own belifes. though if its labled as "no" by either parent its no with them!

now the ex's parents go over and beyond to violate every line drawn! I will tell you if they where the parents they would not stand for it! and they are also lucky I have no say (dont think there is any more reason then a judge being a !@# wipe cause theres not!) and the other lucky star they can count is I was taught to respect my elders though they are doing their grandchildren my children no justice or good with the flaming behaviour they perpetuate! so for all those grand parents reading this put yourselfs in the parents shoes! and if you taught your children different yet you perpetuate against their will wt* is wrong with you. to those that treat it accordingly big hands up and thank you!

I will add I don't have gran kids yet and really hope not for some time. though if its permitted by mom and dad and not against my beliefs then its fine by me! though those in the thread saying "if you alienate the kids from the grans its you hurting them" no if you can not abide by the parents wishes it is you that is putting the wedge in place! not the parents , you! you and you alone you raised your children how you saw fit, those are their children to do the same. if what you wish to do was something you instilled in your children I see no issue with your children being open and accepting. what many want to do is avoid the whole issue of being the authority and pushing the young ones away better to be a good time charlie. can you say COP OUT! you don't need to be the hard A!!, just state the facts and find something that is within the rules and fun!

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  #22  
Old 07/15/10, 04:49 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Missouri
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Oh geeze, let the grandparents spoil the kids - that's what grandparents do and makes for wonderful memories for the kids! It sounds to me like you want to be "in control" all of the time. You might ask yourself why........

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  #23  
Old 07/15/10, 05:11 AM
 
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I was going to say it depends on how close the grandparents live, but your second post tells us that. Grandparents right across the hall, so it's pretty much full time spoiling by grandparents.

Yeah, boundaries NOW. Where does your husband stand in all this? It's his parents so it's mainly his job to tell them the boundaries and the consequences of violating them. 1,000 miles away from bad grannies works well for me.

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  #24  
Old 07/15/10, 07:44 AM
 
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Teach your kids to say no to the grandparents. My MIL kept giving my son pop against my wishes. She wouldn't give him his "own" but let him drink hers every day. She kept them after school until I came home. He kept getting migraines from the aspartame in it. She didn't believe me. I finally convince HIM and he stopped drinking it because HE believed it was wrong.

There is nothing wrong with a grandparent and a child having a secret. "Don't tell you parents" is not the same as "Lie to your parents if asked."

One of my favorite memories of my Mammaw is the day she picked me up from school. She did not drive so we were walking. We walked to the eye doctor's office and she paid the $2 to have a new ear piece put on my glasses. She said, "Don't tell you mom. When she figures it out and asks you tell her to talk to Mammaw."

Honestly I don't remember when Mom figured it out. But I remember how important I felt that Mammaw did something for ME that was a secret.

Try hard to work it out. Two women in the same house are always gonna have some problems. Be careful what you let become the straw that broke the camel's back.

Btw, I have lived with my MIL twice and right next door to her for the rest of my 27+ years of marriage. It takes work on both parts.

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  #25  
Old 07/15/10, 08:05 AM
 
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Okay, it sounds way more complicated that it did originally.

My other point of view is that my mom bitterly hated my grandparents, who lived on the same block, and forbade them to come on to our little corner piece of property. As the oldest, she filled my ear with her hatred and mean things about them. I was not forbidden to talk to them - but as a child - wouldn't that have been betraying my mother? So I never talked to them again and felt awful doing so. I never got to know my grandparents who lived 2 doors away. So sad.

I hope that you can find a way to find your own peace and your kids have loving grandparents, too. I really do.

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  #26  
Old 07/15/10, 08:15 AM
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I don't blame you a bit for how you feel here. The grandparents being there 24/7 makes a huge difference, and I wish you had mentioned this earlier - I bet a lot of the comments about "what's wrong with the occasional spoiling" would have been a lot different! The constant diet subversion could make your kids FAT. The grandparents are interfering with your entire LIFESTYLE, and it is not theirs to determine. How sad that their lack of respect is driving you out of what should have been a happy life.

I am SURE there are still some grandparents on this very board (I wouldn't know who, and wouldn't assume it was necessarily anyone posting on this thread) who also see their grandkids every day and don't see anything wrong with constant spoiling, despite clear wishes from the parents to temper this. So to whoever needs to hear this, back off grandma!

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  #27  
Old 07/15/10, 08:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngieM2 View Post
I hope you work it out. Being pushed away from being a grand parent tears the heart out.
There is a vast difference between loving a child and spoiling it negatively.

Feeding a child ice cream is fine if the parents don't mind, but giving the kid sugar laden soda when the parents don't want she or he to have is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Secrets between grandparents and children are fine AS LONG AS IT ISN'T DONE TO UNDER MINE THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE CHILDREN AND PARENTS!

My mother tried those games with my children and then wondered why she didn't see them often...
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  #28  
Old 07/15/10, 08:41 AM
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OMG, some dear friends of ours do this with their grandchildren! They think Mom is too strict so they flout her every chance they get and brag about it! They're super-nice people otherwise, and their stories are hilariously funny besides making the listener a bit uneasy thinking of the poor mother's reaction. I think they're being disrespectful to her, but she's a single mother of 5 and, I suspect, relies on them for financial assistance.

And they do love their grandchildren, and are probably a good influence on them generally (stability, etc.) despite their chocolate-smuggling ways. LOL

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  #29  
Old 07/15/10, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canning Girl View Post
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.
Tell 'em stright out. Either follow my rules or we are out of here. Your choice.
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  #30  
Old 07/15/10, 09:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canning Girl View Post
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?

They are. We had the same problem when our kids were little. We moved away to solve it. Another issue that had come up with us was the homeschooling disagreement. I simply cut contact with them for several months, and told them that if 1 negative word were said about us (the parents) or anything that upset the kids, they wouldn't see them again. My MIL was a nasty, hateful woman. She has Alzheimer's now, but she was just an awful snob to everyone. Limiting contact kept my husband calm, me calm and the kids not snippy. Her other son/DIL had to do the same thing with their child too.


I wanted to add that I am a grandparent now. But I don't do that. I try to maintain a "hands off" attitude because she is "Anna's" baby. I love my granddaughter dearly, but I keep a distance because I won't cross that line of interference.
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