11 October 2010

grandparents undermining your parenting

Greetings all,
Wow, quite the response to my previous post.  I thought i should put in a small retort to those of you who don't know me better.  I am one of the strictest parents around, my children have firm boundaries & with a husband in the military, they know very clearly what is right & wrong.  Taking those toys from my parents house . . . i should add more to the story.  My mother has Alzheimer's & forgets which things at their home belong to my siblings.  My children were playing with those toys, so my mother encouraged them to take home.  I loathe this practise, my parents know that.  They think i'm mean, in fact they used to call me after visits to tell me exactly how mean & strict i was by not letting my little ones (when they were little & would cry/ tantrum) take a toy home with them.  Forget the fact i spend 50-70% of my time with a husband away, i command good behaviour & as the children out number me!!
To find that they brought the toys AGAIN is my issue & blog post, alarm & concern.  As it turns out, they did try to leave them, my mother said take them, i said no, so SHE pushed them (quietly).  This is more a Mum Vs Grandma issue now.  So i won't be calling the Federal Police (in the capital, we call the Feds) & turn them in.  I'm so annoyed the children are in the middle & my mum will have forgotten now anyway & she gets upset,mood swings, so i have bigger things to explain to my children - above theft, it's dealing with grandparents undermining me combined with the egg shells of Alzheimers.  FYI we have been burgled, i've had products stolen from my market stall & customers use fraud on credit cards/ lie about using a card & getting refunds for products which they clearly ordered themselves & received, they just refused to pay.  I know life sucks, that's 10 years of business, you have little crappy episodes.  My children see how it hurts people.  
Just wondering who else has had to deal with visiting grandparents recently & have them undermine your parenting??  I can appreciate a grandparently gesture & treat but mine spoil them.  Sure my children have just had bedroom makeovers but that is what they wanted for their birthdays & Christmas, they never ask for anything they see advertised or things from the supermarket.  They are incredibly unspoilt, i don't just say no, i explain why i'm saying no & they are intelligent & understanding.
To wrap up this post on a prettier note, just got these fans & lanterns from Beach Vintaage, thanks Simone!!  She also has an on line store & Just Plain Gorgeous shop in Brisbane.  Lovely, can't wait to put these up.
In the mean time, i'm off to Shop Handmade while my husband puts the latest bed together, love Posie


Liz said...

Hmm, speaking as a grandparent :o)and a daughter watching a mother degenerate into the mind puzzle of Alzheimer's, I know exactly where you're at on this one..!!
I'm no goody two shoes when it comes to my grandkids, but I never, ever contradict what their parents have said. I might console, sympathise and quietly whisper endearments, but I never go against what they've been told, honestly, it's just not worth it. I know they love me to bits and that nana's beat mums hands down sometimes, but that's a natural cycle of things..!! As to the Alzheimer's thing, well, we know it's not going to get any better, perhaps you could get the kids to tell you when their grandmother does these things..?? You know, helping their grandmother and you by letting you know what she's given them this time, sort of a game to smile about instead of being the ones afraid of what she's going to get them into..?? Does it make any sense? It must be hard for them too....
Take care,Lizzie

Makeminemidcentury said...

I hear you loud and clear. We still have four grandparents and they're always plying my children with toys, and clothes and junk food. One side of the family is worse than the other. I get extremely stressed because it is more junk, and the children begin to expect that they'll get something. I get extremely cranky. Generally, it's rubbish toys they get too, and I end-up tossing them.

I agree with everything you just said in your post. I don't have a problem with the odd-gift here and there ... I could go on.

Christina Lowry said...

Oh no! That's no good at all!

Did I ever tell you that when we 'found out' Cohen was allergic to egg when he was 6 months old, it was just after I had been discussing with the in laws at the dinner table that we had introduced Cohen to solids, but we were being really careful about what we gave him because of the family history of allergies. I said there would be no dairy, egg or nuts until after he was a year old.

This was met with one of the in laws spooning meringue into Cohen's mouth. We had to go straight to the hospital with him as his face swelled up and went red and lumpy. Grrr! Would have been nice if they had listened to me!!

Stand you ground. You are the mother, you have to deal with the consequences in the aftermath of other people trying to parent your children.


Kylie said...

Oh linky linky PLEASE. I love that fan.

Hugs - to all - I know what you are going through as a family and it is a struggle for you all. Hope that Granny can understand if only for a split second and that the kids are not to torn between the two of you.

Mine get spoilt by my parents and dad drives me nuts when he visits (I dont know how many times I have said to him "if you think you can do a better job, take her home with you!" Ahhh the joys of parents and becoming one:) I know that we are only close (if you call 1200km close) and on the other hand I have inlaws that phone and are more interested in the DOG than there grandchildren! I kid you not.

One pair of Hands said...

Thank goodness for a Mum who insists on well behaved children. Staying within reasonable boundaries really doesn't do them any harm and they understand so much if we give them the opportunity.
So sorry about your Mother. A difficult time for you.

Maxabella said...

Posie, thanks for the clarification as I completely had the story the wrong way around. I respect that you are a strict parent and that this would be so devastating to you. It's a tricky situation.

Myself, I believe that the relationship my children have with their grandparents is their own. I do believe that it's almost a grandparent's role to 'spoil' the children... it's a special and unique relationship between generations and I think it's okay for it to be lenient and lush within reason. So, provided that they are not undermining something that I think is critically important, I allow them the freedom to develop their relationship with my children naturally.

This is easy for me to say as I have complete faith in my parents and in-laws child rearing capabilities. That said, I have had many conversations with my MIL about her inability to establish boundaries around 'sometimes' foods at her house. This is important as the Tsunamis are over there once a week while I'm at work. She is Italian and genetically seems to believe that children should be fattened up to a lifetime of obesity. You can see the problem. I just have to keep reminding her and reminding her and we get there in the end. She is respectful, but dubious, of course.

I don't know how I would approach things if the grandparent had Alzeimers or parenting values that were fundamentally at odds with mine. I feel for you, I really do. You are right to stick up for what you believe in. x

Gillian said...

Your kids are good kids. There's a lot to learn is all.
Give them all a hug and just make it a lesson learned.

Prepare them with a few phrases they can use next time when Grandma is handing out presents.

"I really like your the pearls Nanny" springs to mind. But that would be wrong. Yes, very wrong. ; )

by marie-nicole said...

Oh Posie, the ups and downs of parenting can be so acute. On our recent trip to Mudgee we took my father which was actually more like have three children rather than two at times... aside from the fact that he was barely around when we were really young, he was a very supportive father especially when we were older and did a great job of raising us... but he can't remember a lot of what he did and how strict he was so there were many times on our trip that we had to stop him from interjecting when we were saying 'no' to our eight year old. Dad has this line that he uses a lot these days; 'kids will be kids' which drives me mad so I often respond with; 'yes and we are parents and it's our job to teach and guide them'.

It can be very frustrating trying to instil the values you believe in (some of which may differ from those of your parents) and justify your actions to your own parents. We all learn from our experiences and we make decisions based on them, some of the things that I don't do that my parents did do are because I don't believe that they were had a positive influence on my life, and the same goes for my husband and what he has taken away from his experience growing up.

I think even without even having Alzheimer in the mix you are always going to have differences of opinions between parents and the two sets of grand parents.

Hope you're having a fabulous week.

Heidi said...

I have a family member in the start of this so I understand, I fight over candy all the time!

cheeky textiles said...

Hi Darling
grandparents ahh spoil my boys silly with toys and chocolates. it does me in at times. Glad that man of yours is back . have a great week. Anastasiaxx

Kellie Collis said...

Yes, I agree. Grandparents are spoilers. I can understand the frustration but it is a never ending battle. All the best wishes that you would be able to work this out with your Mom. Enjoy a lovely day, Kellie xx

Sally said...

Don't even get me started!!!

You're doing a great job.

Photography said...

yes we have that and we only have one grandparent and no other family around in this state - makes it very hard!! I hear you and applaud you for being strong xx it's all about being consistent with/for the children - ou are shaping them to be respectable responsible adults.

Kylie said...

I totally understand your frustration. My mum was very strict with me and I'm very strict with my girls, however, my mother takes great pleasure in undermining my authority with them whenever she can. She has to be queen bee and I guess I'm used to that but it's a constant struggle. Stick to reasoning with the ones who understand reason! - that's what I do. My girls know how I feel and respect that. They also indulge their grandmother's habits in a way that has me wondering often who the 'adult' really is! :)) Kx

seabreezequilts said...

Totally get were you are coming from. BIL & MIL gave my son 2 expensive DS games and then BIL tells my husband that they are going to have to sell MIL's car because they have no money. GRR and we have lots of arguments how they let them have whatever rubbish they want to eat I haven't been forgiven for not letting my daughter eat a bowl of strawberries with half a cup of caster sugar on it.