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I don't want to disapprove but it is hard

(19 Posts)
alwaystrying Wed 28-Aug-13 15:42:36

My younger son and his wife have 2 lovely boys of 4 and 2. Now my 2 own sons were fussy eaters when young but I always kept trying with veg but this young couple seem to have given up. The boys eat pasta and rice with ham and cheese mixed in but no veg at all. They don't get pudding and certainly won't eat fruit but instead ask for treats (sweets) and are then allowed a small yog and a squeezy fruit thing. The sweets are what I worry about, no food value, bad for their teeth and a completely accepted part of their meal routine twice a day when they are at home. I overheard a young mother say in a shop the other day 'you have had your sweet allowance for this week so can't have any more' but this concept doesn't seem to register at all with these lovely-otherwise parents. The boys spend 4 out of 7 days at home so this is substantial number of sweets each week. They also watch far too many cartoon DVDs, even the 2 year old, and I don't like it. Again there doesn't seem to be any awareness with these two parents that they should limit the amount of box watching each day. My son accused me of moralising because I said I would rather, instead of watching a DVD as the 4 year old asked, that we go outside, read a book or play a game. I love playing with them both but the older grandson is becoming resistant to my suggestions for fun things to do. I cope by saying nothing but I know my son knows I don't admire the way they allow these things to happen

Elegran Wed 28-Aug-13 15:51:17

Difficult, alwaystrying, if you push too hard you run the risk of looking like the wet-blanket granny who won't let us do what we regard as fun things.

Can you have something more interesting lined up and ready to move straight into which has a link with what they have just been watchin? Making something which has been mentioned, going somewhere triggered by the TV programme, cooking something relevant?

It may need some preliminary research into the Radio Times and a bit of manipulation of the remote control to make sure that they watch the thing you are geared to, and a touch of "Oh! how interesting, I have just been reading how to . . ." to guide them from the box to the kitchen, or whatever. Be a bit devious.

Movedalot Wed 28-Aug-13 16:55:48

always I think you are on dodgy ground here and may have already over stepped the mark if your son is aware of how you feel. There are so many people on Gn who have been denied contact with their grandchildren, usually because their DiL doesn't want that contact. Please be very careful and remember they are not your children.

I think many people now get up in the morning and put the television on and leave it on which I would never do but I don't think I would comment on it for fear of interfering.

henetha Wed 28-Aug-13 18:00:03

I know it's difficult, and I completely agree with you, but I honestly think we have to keep our lips zipped if we possibly can. Saying what we think can only lead to trouble.

Mishap Wed 28-Aug-13 18:42:17

Button the lips! - it truly is the only way.

Nothing to stop you doing things your way when GC are with you - but if you voice your opinions too loudly they never will be with you!!

I imagine that my parents had their own concerns when they were watching us bring ours up - it's just a generational thing.

nanaej Wed 28-Aug-13 19:03:46

Very hard. All I can think I would do is offer to take them to a park when you visit to play on swings etc, or go to feed the ducks. Also take an inexpensive outdoor activity when you go..giant bubbles, pressure rockets etc and offer to play with them in the garden. Kids can get into habits so easily. My DGS1 aged 5 would play computer games, watch TV or play Lego all day if left to choose for himself but he really enjoys all sorts of other things..just needs a nudge!
Same with food, he always says he wants tomato pasta if asked but he scoffs down fish pie, shepherds pie, roast dinner etc etc when it' s plonked in front of him! Also in the holidays DDs often make popcorn for snacks and then they can flavour/sugar control..DGC like this and its cheap and a bit less damaging to teeth than sticky sweet snacks!

I would not outright challenge your son/DiL if iI were you but try to demonstrate that there are other options!

Nonu Wed 28-Aug-13 19:35:42

Alwaytrying , this is definitely " egg shell " country --Be careful , very , very careful !!

flowerfriend Wed 28-Aug-13 19:43:50

I have one DGD who eats healthily and unfussily and the other two, twins, are the fussiest things on earth. They are now 12 and my only hope is that they will grow out of it.

I serve plenty of fruit, salad and veg when they are here. If they don't have it they still have to sit still while we enjoy ours. I do try to make their meals as healthy as possible but I do feel that I have to keep my opinions on how things have got to this stage and who is at fault and even the mildest criticism have to be left unsaid.

I am feeling tense even typing about it.

cjel Wed 28-Aug-13 20:23:58

Maybe your grandson is resistant to you ideas because he too has picked up you disapproval of him?

Stansgran Wed 28-Aug-13 20:27:54

One set of DGCs has just left. My delight in the fact that they wolfed down everything I gave them was taken as a criticism . They eat like horses or they have hollow legs was taken that their parents don't give them enought to eat. It was meant as a compliment on the healthy appetite so you can see Always that everything that has been said about eggshells take their advice.

alwaystrying Wed 28-Aug-13 20:30:47

Thank you all, I feel better for having aired my concerns and take note of what you are all saying, which is right I know. I always try to remember how I felt at the same stage in my life and will keep on being as tolerant as I can. The food thing with the sweet treats every meal actually bothers me more but I don't think there is anything to do. The boys will survive no doubt

Elegran Wed 28-Aug-13 21:59:24

If it is any consolation, I read once that the best time to eat sweet treats was immediately after meals, as the stomach was already full(ish) by then so that they don't eat as much of the sweet stuff as they might do halfway between meals. If you keep telling yourself that, maybe you won't feel so annoyed about it.

nanaej Wed 28-Aug-13 22:27:56

Elegran think also that eating sweets soon after a meal is a better time because of natural acids in mouth that reduce the amount of sugar on teeth..come on dentists..tell us if it is true!

jeanie99 Wed 28-Aug-13 23:24:47

It's good to get this off your chest but unfortunately you really cannot say anything unless you are happy to alienate yourself and risk not seeing your grandchildren.

Unless your grandchildren are at risk you cannot do anything, the children are not your children.

Kiora Fri 20-Sep-13 11:37:59

I have 8 grandchildren ( because my own children have great social skills) I'm amazed that I still have a tongue because i'v heeded the old advice of 'bite your tongue' so much. I only pass comment if I'm asked and even then with extreme caution. My own mother-in-law is very critical and opinionated and i'v watched over the last 38 years how she has and continues to alienate her own children. So see all, hear all and say NOTHING

Ariadne Fri 20-Sep-13 12:59:13

As grandparents, we have every right to have an opinion, but no right to express it! Not my own words, but often quoted but Himself.

annodomini Fri 20-Sep-13 13:26:56

I'm sure there were many things I did wrong with my own children but they have grown up to be sensible, responsible fathers and husbands - and wonderful sons. Any advice from mother or MiL fell on deaf ears.

Agus Fri 20-Sep-13 22:02:56

With my own GD's aged 8 and 4,as with my DD's I always asked them to taste something first then if they really didn't like the taste, I respected their choices. I never lost sleep over either of them not eating exactly what I wanted them to eat as long as they ate and had plenty of fluids and in time their taste changed for different foods. I have no problem with giving treats in moderation as making something to be seen as 'forbidden fruit' can lead to a real problem.

My GD's enjoy fruit, often as part of their treat but we also enjoy experimenting with various smoothies which I supervise them making. Might be worth a try involving them with the process to ensure some fruit intake.

I know what it is like to disapprove as a Granny who only wants to pass on advice but I am very wary of undermining my own child who will learn as I did with her.

You are finding this part hard but think how much harder it would be if you lost contact with your DG's. Sorry to be so blunt.

mygrannycanfly Mon 23-Sep-13 10:52:19

I really really sympathise but surely your son is aware of his parental shortcomings - I mean you raised him better after all. Maybe there are some financial pressures or perhaps the parents are just plain exhausted - these are the usual reasons why the small extra cost and effort of veg and "proper pudding" becomes too great.

I have a similar issue with my GD. I blame the sin-in-law! When my GC has had too much sugar and E numbers she cannot sit still and concentrate, nor settle to eat a proper meal.

Are you able to offer any practical support? I try and have my GC to tea on a regular basis. Could you do some simple cooking with them when you visit? - maybe add toppings to a pizza (they can always pull off what they don't like, but it will give them the opportunity to try).

You could take a few sweet english apples with you (in season atm), peel and core them and cut into chunks and offer them round and eat some yourself. Apple is a good fruit for fruit and veg haters as it is not to wet/squishy/strong tasting so there's not much to take exception to.

My GC is a real square eyes but she is thrilled with the Peppa Pig comics which are very educational and offer lots of interactive adult and child learning and playing. We watch DVDs with her and we singalong with the songs, join in with the repeated phrases, invent silly dance/mime/action routines, before you know it the TV is just a background noise. (We do the same thing when we read stories and we keep the books under the TV - cunning eh? When she wants a second DVD we suggest a story instead and she usually agrees).

Find episodes of Bagpuss on You tube - it's ace for this age group. Build listening and communicating skills by asking "what do you think happens next" or ask them to tell you the story in their own words afterwards. Encourage the GC's to refer to the stories "that's like when Peppa Pig's brother went to her play school"

I alway comment favourably when the GC is better behaved and say what a nice time GC has had and DD has made the connection with sugar and diet generally and is really working hard not to "give in" and take the easy option. Just the sin-in law to convince now;)