Gransnet forums


To be shocked and saddened.

(75 Posts)
gmelon Mon 09-Jul-18 18:45:31

I have roamed into unfamiliar territory and ambled over to mumsnet.
I am not sure if I am allowed to quote from mumsnet so I may get deleted.
I had a look over there and the first thread I read was:
AIBU To return "gift" to PIL.

The comments shocked me. Buying a swing for eight month old grandchild is now , in some quarters, a hanging offence. Yes, there may be some irritation at relatives but we've all been there as young parents.

I stopped reading before the end of page one.
This post below from one enthusiastic mumsnetter was too much.

*When they give you another unwanted gift just hands it back and say 'I don't want this"

"Be firm and stop caring if they like you. Put crudely - you have what they want - DS - they do not have anything you want, you are in control of this relationship whether they like it or not so stop."*

Us grandparents don't have anything they want? There are so many angry and IMO deluded people out there.

gmelon Mon 09-Jul-18 18:47:55

When they give you another unwanted gift just hands it back and say 'I don't want this"

"Be firm and stop caring if they like you. Put crudely - you have what they want - DS - they do not have anything you want, you are in control of this relationship whether they like it or not so stop."

OldMeg Mon 09-Jul-18 18:53:22

It’s well known that Mumsnet is largely populated by the ‘my way or no way’ brigade. Losers. My DD and DiL wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole.

kittylester Mon 09-Jul-18 18:55:19


Melanieeastanglia Mon 09-Jul-18 18:56:14

It sounds very aggressive to hand a gift back with the words you found on Mumsnet. I accepted any gifts given to me for my children gratefully as I knew thought and effort had gone into choosing the gift. Very occasionally (it was before the age of gift receipts), if something didn't fit, I might have asked for the receipt to exchange for the bigger size.

Elegran Mon 09-Jul-18 19:06:28

What a bare-faced exhibition of entitlement. If they did that to me they would never get another gift ever. Using access to children as blackmail is a nasty habit, and we all know that once you allow yourself to be blackmailed you never get out of the power of the blackmailer.

If the grandparents have not realised that the gift is unsuitable in some way (children too young? too old? toy too big for the available space? too expensive when the parents want to be the main providers of toys?) then a sensible parent thanks them for the thought and the generosity , explains why it not a good idea at the moment and asks whether they can for exchange it for whatever they think would be better in the circumstances.

But some grandparents are notorious for spending far more on their grandchildren than the parents could possibly afford, and throwing into the shade the more modest birthday and Xmas gifts that the parents have managed to buy. If that is the case, then it may be time for a difficult conversation - but not for a confrontational one, and definitely not a blackmailing one.

Grannyben Mon 09-Jul-18 19:07:13

I actually giggled at your comment "buying a swing for an 8 month old grandchild, in some quarters, is now a hanging offence". Of course, the reality is, it's far from a laughing matter.
We can only hope that the people who make these comments are in the minority. I have certainly never come across anyone so ungrateful and rude

paddyann Mon 09-Jul-18 19:10:40

apparently it was too cheap and plastic when they had said they wanted to buy a wooden set themselves .The advice is awful though

Elegran Mon 09-Jul-18 19:11:12

For some reason this reminds me of being in a supermarket and hearing a mother say to a small child "If you do that again, Mummy won't love you any more". Same blackmailing tactics. No wonder some people grow up to be disfunctional about relationships.

janeainsworth Mon 09-Jul-18 19:13:30

I agree the post sounds aggressive, but on the other hand I rarely buy anything for the DGCs without consulting the parents first, and I prefer to give money.

The last thing I bought without prior approval was a dress from John Lewis for DGD. She didn't like it. I asked if she would rather have a tennis racket. This suggestion was met with great enthusiasm so we took the dress back and got a tennis racket instead.
She's now having tennis lessons and just loving it.

That's fine with me. I'd much rather she was honest and have something she was going to use and enjoy, than have the dress sitting in the cupboard unworn, or worse still, DGD being forced to wear something she didn't like and felt uncomfortable in.

Elegran Mon 09-Jul-18 19:17:54

Paddyann Seems they haven't heard of strategic obsolescence. It is amazing how short a time a plastic swing can last when left out in the garden at the mercy of sun, rain, lawn-mowers, dogs, heavier older children, spilt gin, and all the other hazards that determined parents can inflict on it. By the time the 8-month-old child is old enough to use it properly, it could be ready to be replaced with a bigger, more solid, classier wooden one.

BlueBelle Mon 09-Jul-18 19:21:52

It’s nothing to do with a present being right or wrong it’s about having the respect and curtesy to receive a present with thanks
My son In law once handed me a well thought out birthday present back and said thank you but I wont ever use it I found that a real hurtful thing to do I don’t care if he’d given it to the charity shop the next day but to have taken it and thanked me for the thought would have been nice I hate ingratitude

Luckygirl Mon 09-Jul-18 19:23:22

I have been on and off Mumsnet and there are some really nice and balanced folk on there - and very knowledgeable.

These strident voices are not the whole story.

janeainsworth Mon 09-Jul-18 19:24:16

I've now read the OP on the Mumsnet thread and have to say I don't think she is being unreasonable at all.

Quote: So a couple of weeks ago they said they’d like to buy DS some new toys. Very kind. They asked did we want them to buy him a garden swing, we said no thank you as we are saving to buy him a wooden swing/slide set for his 1st birthday. Fast forward to a couple of days ago, they show up at the house unannounced with a horrible cheap plastic garden swing for DS. I couldn’t even hide how upset I was. It’s lovely that they buy him gifts but I feel completely undermined that they’d buy him a gift we’ve specifically told them we want to get. DH told them they knew we were getting a swing ourselves, this wasn’t quite what we had in mind and why don’t they keep the swing at their house for when DS visits. Well needless to say they flew off the handle, called us ungrateful and told us to fuck off. Haven’t spoken to us since. So my question is... WIBU to return the swing to them anyway? I’m torn between wanting to put my foot down to start establishing boundaries, and returning it because I do think DS would love playing with it. Am I being unfair on DS to return it because of my own principles?

OldMeg Mon 09-Jul-18 19:30:26

That may well be quite reasonable Jane it’s the following remarks that are abrasive and rude.

Fennel Mon 09-Jul-18 19:33:23

Luckygirl - me too.

Farmor15 Mon 09-Jul-18 19:35:22

I keep hearing references to horrible posts on Mumsnet, so have had a look a few times and never found anything other than sensible discussions about sleep problems, potty training etc, which is what I would have expected.

Even most of the AIBU ones (which were not very prominent - found under “other stuff”) were quite harmless.

There are a few such as the one about the gift that have a more aggressive tone, and replies, but reading the OP it seems the PIL are too pushy.

I wouldn’t reject Mumsnet totally because a few rather nasty people - I’ve noticed some good advice there.

muffinthemoo Mon 09-Jul-18 19:42:49

It’s not the first issue the OP of that thread has had with the GPs, and apparently the GPs told the adult children to “f**k off”

There’s some murderously bad advice in the comments, but the opening post of the thread bears reading.

Chewbacca Mon 09-Jul-18 19:56:52

I've just nipped over to MN too and on a thread about the grandmother kissing a baby, this was the advice given

Do you love your grandchild?
Do you enjoy seeing her?
Then you'll do as you're told.

pollyperkins Mon 09-Jul-18 20:06:49

Its the strident tone I don't like, and lack of feeling towards the other person (in this case grandparents.) There's a lot of talk about establishing boundaries and overstepping boundaries. I have never thought like this and thankfully my children and their spouses don't talk like this. It's a very unpleasant trend.

Iam64 Mon 09-Jul-18 20:55:28

I've not caught up with mumsnet recently. Reading the OP re-posted by janeainsworth puts a very different slant on gmelons OP.
Ive generally found mums net interesting, with good support and advice offered to young mums who are worrying about child development, feeding etc.
the comments following the swing OP do include some abrasive, confrontational suggestions. Similar things happen on gransnet don't they? Someone posts a tentative AIBU and a barrage of advice about telling it like it is to friends or family who seem to expect constant support.

Establishing and overstepping boundaries is important. The mother in law in my first marriage was a nightmare. I was too young and 'well brought up" to tell her to back off. Mumsnet might've helped me toughen up a bit where she was concerned.

muffinthemoo Mon 09-Jul-18 20:59:20

....I hope IANBU but the lipstick thing would bug me as well (I read that post).

But the advice is one step short of telling that OP to smack the old dear in the face.

No wonder people are always falling out with their relations left right and centre.

M0nica Mon 09-Jul-18 21:21:33

There are mothers/MiLs from hell and DiL likewise.

My experience is only of the best, lovely MiL, who liked me and a wonderful DiL, who I love and seems very fond of me.

I just feel sorry for the woman who is quoted in the OP, her attitude must make life very difficult for her.

Iam64 Mon 09-Jul-18 21:21:37

Conflict seems to be growing doesn't it. I wonder if the chaos in politics is unsettling everyone even further. The idea of compromise and finding solutions to difficult problems that don't mean walking away and sulking for ever, seems to be vanishingly rare.
Life really is too short for the kind of love of rows that some people seem to need.

gmelon Mon 09-Jul-18 22:03:37

Iam64I've not caught up with mumsnet recently. Reading the OP re-posted by janeainsworth puts a very different slant on gmelons OP.*

It's not so much the OP on mumsnet it is the reaction.

That's why I quoted one of the replies on the mumsnet thread rather than the OP.
Naturally the in-laws in question should not have said f**k off.