Grandparents Won't Respect Our Rules

tlescakJuly 19, 2002

My wife and I just had a baby 4 months ago we also have a daughter who is 8 from a previous marriage. We have a few rules that we ask that they follow, such as milk with meals, wearing sunscreen, and bedtime at a reasonable hour. My mother says that these rules are interfering with her "fun" relationship with her grandchildren. Mother says that my wife is a control freak that wants to control all aspects of her relationship with her grandchildren. My father says that he will NOT have his relationship with his grandson compromised by our rules. He wants to raise his grandchild on HIS terms.

My wife and I feel that this is a lack of respect for our rules that we have set for our children.

Are we wrong? Should we just turn them loose at Grandmas to run wild and do as they please?

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How often are they going to be visiting them? How many days is it going to take for you to "undo" the damage that they get to do?

Loosen up. Unless they see them far more than you do, you are 'waaayyy ahead in the game. You may win the battle, but in the long run, you will lose the war.

Make sure that the children understand what they can get by with at the grandparents is NOT what they are allowed to do at home.

About the best you can do is not let them visit the grandparents very often if you see that it is really causing a problem. Late bedtimes once a week is a treat, not enough to worry about unless the next day is a school day. And millions of kids don't get sunscreen and never have skin cancer.

But I think I would insist on milk with meals until they get to about 10 years of age. Then anything else would along the lines of a treat because they have reached a magic age.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2002 at 6:36PM
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Grandparents are supposed to spoil their grandchildren! It won't hurt the kids to drink pop with their meals for a few days now and then, nor to stay up later....but I disagree with Aileen ( that's unusual!) about the sunscreen, one bad sunburn can predispose someone to melanoma.
I'd insist on sunscreen and seat belts! The rest consider it grandma's priviledge!
I took my grand daughter out for lunch about a month ago....she's 11. I asked her where she wanted to go, she didn't know, wasn't hungry for a burger...etc. I suggested that we have hot fudge sundaes for lunch! She said "can we do that?" I said when you're with Grandma, we can do anything! So we pigged out of icecream and hot fudge!
Don't sweat the small your sweat for the big things, like sunscreen and seat belts....things that make them safe.
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 19, 2002 at 7:47PM
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I have 14 grandchildren and respect the wishes of their parents when I am with them. I would not even consider allowing the children to do something their parents don't want them to do. Why are these grandparents trying to tear down your family structure? They raised their children the way they saw fit, and you have the same right.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2002 at 8:46PM
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this is going to be most unusual....I am going to disagree with Linda,,,, well, sort of, I am going to qualify my answer about sunscreen.

Down here on the coast, bad sunburns are a fact of life, even two or three times a summer, IF the child goes to the beach or stays out in the yard for hours. They can get bad sunburns. Melanoma happens, but so does getting hit by a car crossing the street. It is just not that frequent and regular checks by a dermatologist are a good idea anyway since there are other skin cancers that can be quite disfiguring.

What seems to be the thing now, is slathering the child everytime he/she leaves the house. Or since that is messy and time consuming, keeping the child indoors too much. We are beginning to see rickets again because children are not getting enough sunshine.

My problem with the heavy use of sunscreen is that I am not convinced that it is a good idea to be constantly covering the young child's skin with a chemical. The stuff has not been around long enough to see if there is a long term problem with heavy usage..And some parents use a lot on even the youngest of babies.

Young children shouldn't be allowed to be out long enough to be sunburned. There is too much danger of dehydration and sun stroke for the young ones. Some sunshine...yes, enough where you need to worry about melanoma?? NO!! and that goes for grown up too.

Therefore, I agree with Linda, if the child is going to be exposed for a long period of time, use a sunscreen. BUT don't worry too much about it if Grandma and Grandpa don't put it on everytime they leave the house.

Pick your battles with the Grandparents carefully. You need to win the important ones. Some of the others need compromise.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2002 at 8:49PM
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To answer Aileen's question: My parents live in the same town as us so the grandchildren are going to be seeing a lot of Grandma and Grandpa. If we lived far away I wouldn't see any harm in disregarding our rules twice a year or however often we visit. But there needs to be consistency in the rules from house to house. What message does it send to out children when our rules don't apply at Grandmas and Grandpas house?
And I understand that when our backs are turned Grandparents will get away with things and that's fine. But for my mother to come right out and tell us to our faces that our rules will not be followed is unacceptable.

Thank you for the responses.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2002 at 8:07AM
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Seems to me you already answered your own question. You do have the right to set rules down and your parents should love YOU enough to follow them. The sunscreen issue....Aileen, you wouldn't have the right to decide if your grandkids need sunblock or not. I appreciate that you have an opinion about the need for sunblock, but those kids suffer, painfully, if they get a sunburn. Have you ever had one? I have....too many times. They're very painful, so for that reason alone I think kids should have sunblock put on. Anyway, you make the rules for your kids. If Grandparents don't want to obey the rules, limit the overnites and explain to the grands why you had to limit the time. When they see there are consequences to their actions, maybe they'll "see the light".

Good luck

    Bookmark   July 22, 2002 at 6:10PM
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First of all, let me say that I agree that grandparents should get to spoil their grandkids. But you have got to be kidding me!!

Your parenting decisions are "interfering with her 'fun' relationship with her grandchildren??" Sounds to me that the only way your mother thinks she can prove herself to be "fun" to her grandkids is by allowing them to break all of the rules. That's not showing that you are fun, that is showing a complete lack of respect (for you and your wife).

"Mother says that my wife is a control freak that wants to control all aspects of her relationship with her grandchildren." Please please please, stick up for your wife here. Stress that these are decisions you have BOTH made. Don't let your wife take the heat solo.

[This point coupled with the prior one seems to indicate that your mother has issues with your wife. Perhaps the kids really aren't the issue here. . . ]

"My father says that he will NOT have his relationship with his grandson compromised by our rules. He wants to raise his grandchild on HIS terms." Funny, I thought your folks had raised his kids already?? YOU are raising your kids, not him. I would tell him that IF he wants to have ANY relationship with the GKs, he WILL abide by your rules.

Now I know I sound like a big meanie, so let me clarify. I do not think it is unreasonable for grandparents to spoil their grandkids. An occasional late night or crappy dinner is clearly not out of line. But the situation you described is far different. This sounds like a classic power struggle, which is entirely different.

If your parents are going to repeatedly and often ignore your rules then I would make it clear that visits will be limited and/or supervised. Further, if their attitudes that they have just as must say as you do about your children, then an attitude adjustment is required. Period.

And, last but not least, stick up for your wife!!!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2002 at 7:51PM
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I just saw your post about the dogs.

Your parents really are something else. . .

    Bookmark   July 22, 2002 at 7:52PM
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Having just responded to your dog posting, I now see this! If it weren't for the fact that I only have sisters in law, I would swear that your parents are my inlaws.

I agree with the previous postings. My mil would frequently breaks the rules, and I can accept that. BUT, there has to be recognition that the rules are being broken (its a special treat) and that the rules are there for the good of the children. So, if they have pop for dinner instead of milk, don't sweat it.

What you shouldn't tolerate (and this is where I have run ins with my mil) is any suggestion that she can override you when it comes to the kids. So when my 7 yr old dd tries to eat with her fingers and I correct her, my mil better not try (as she did before)to interfere with comments like, "oh, its okay, its just family". No its not okay, I am trying to teach her manners and manners must be used all the time. And, please don't try to overrule me in front of my child.

As well, I agree that if the issue has anything to do with things that might compromise their safety in any way (car seats, old cribs, dogs, swimming pools or beaches, etc. ) your rules are the only ones!

If you come up with any good solutions, let me know- I can use all the help I can get with my dmil!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2002 at 2:39PM
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My thoughts and hugs for you dealing with these problems. I do wish now i had been more strick with my folks, so as I now have grandkids I truly try to respect they way they are raising them Both girls are raising them different, and we do have some healthy discussions, but thank heavens, my husband really does have more common sense than I at times. I get too emotional and hurt feelings. Just raise your children the best you can and that is all we as grandparents can ask.
Marie with 4 GD from 6-20.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2002 at 4:15PM
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