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Christmas Advice?

(26 Posts)
Misfit3 Tue 29-Oct-19 17:49:22

My son and my grandson have just left. They have been here for three nights. It was for my seventieth bday. Everything is a mess. Their bathroom is disgusting. I can't understand why my son does not clean up after himself and his son? Thank goodness I have my own bathroom. They leave the basin and toilet dirty.

My grandson has been difficult for a long time. He is nine. I was not looking forward to this visit. I had arranged an adult dinner party, when my son decided to come anyway.

On the last visit my grandson trampolined on the furniture, walked on the upstairs banisters, and generally damaged things. My cardigan was drying on a table in the garden and he piled dirt on it. He is never challenged about these things, and I am not supposed to say anything. But I feel I have a right to defend my property in my home.

It seemed better this time. My grandson was quite friendly. He has now learnt to play chess, and we had a couple of games. He is very good, and explained strategies to me. I was hoping that that meant an end to the constant screaming and shouting rows he has. But no.

They wanted to watch Apollo 13, a movie, and each time I asked my son for explanations of what was happening, the child answered at the same time as his father. I simply cannot hear them both at once. I tried to explain to the child to be quiet so I could hear his father. He is never corrected by my son.

On another occasion we were back to a screaming ab dabs which was not dealt with. It is as though my son is frightened of the situation. He is mostly tied up in "important stuff" on his phone.

They are coming for Christmas. I really dread the event.

How do I deal with a child with challenging behaviour in my home, when I am not supposed to say anything? Or, do I maintain my position that this is how we behave in my home? It is like two kids have come to stay. MY son does have a partner, but she could not manage to get over this time, and will be staying with her own family for Christmas.

M0nica Tue 29-Oct-19 17:59:37

In your house, your rules are to be obeyed. Tell your son what will be acceptable in your house over Christmas and and what will not and accept that it may mean he will choose not to come.

Rules should include your grandson behaving himself and your son not being on the phone all the time (cause and effect?). If all these phone calls are so important, he should be in his office not on your sofa.

If their visits cause as much havoc as you describe, I suspect you will almost be relieved if they do not come.

Have you considered having your grandson to stay on his own?

DoraMarr Tue 29-Oct-19 18:02:11

So, don’t have them. Say you have changed your mind, or been invited by a friend, or have decided to go away. My guiding rule is “there are very few things in life you have to do.” Having people for Christmas is not one of them.

Scribbles Tue 29-Oct-19 18:08:54

Presumably, you brought up your son? If so, he knows what is and is not acceptable to you. Time to remind him and say that, if he and his son can't live by your house rules for a few days, then they won't be welcome.

It's much easier to love some people, even close family, at a distance!

Nansnet Wed 30-Oct-19 05:01:55

Definitely your house, your rules. No way would I have a child jumping on my furniture, or climbing on the bannister. Not only could they cause damage, but they could potentially cause harm to themselves. If you do go ahead with having them to stay for Christmas, and your grandson starts to act up in any way, I would casually ask your son (if he is present) to tell your GS to stop what he's doing before he damages something, or hurts himself, as it's the last thing you want happening, and it's not acceptable in grandma's house. If your son isn't there to see the behaviour, I would say something like, 'please don't do that, grandma doesn't allow that in her house, because you could damage the ...., or hurt yourself.' It's better, if possible, to allow your son to deal with the situation, otherwise he may feel that you are challenging his parenting skills. And, if he doesn't deal with it, you then need to let him know that you're not happy about it, and it's not something that you allowed him to do in the home when he was a child.

Regarding the bathroom issue, when they arrive, I'd casually point out that you have left a supply of bath/shower spray/bleach, and a cleaning cloth, so he can give the bath/loo a quick once over, after they've used the bathroom each morning, just so you don't have all the extra cleaning to do when they leave, which would be much appreciated. Hopefully, he'll get the message.

Above all, for want of a harmonious Christmas, try to keep your cool. Engage with your grandson as much as possible, playing games, etc., and try to make it a special for him. If dad is often so busy on his phone, maybe your GS's behaviour is an attention seeking thing ...?

Coolgran65 Wed 30-Oct-19 05:34:16

Exactly what Nansnet said. Set out your rules before the visit. But don’t call them rules. Just say you can’t cope as you used to.

mumofmadboys Wed 30-Oct-19 05:48:15

I would leave the messy bathroom issue on one side but try and tackle the behaviour.Could you say something like ' A ,stop jumping on the sofa please. I don't allow that in my house.' Try and say it fairly quietly but purposefully. If nothing happens then ask your son to intervene and leave the room. I wish you well. It seems unusual the mum going somewhere different for Xmas. Does his mum find him very challenging too? Do you live alone? Also boys are like dogs and need lots of exercise. Can you go to the park each day and maybe play frisbee or let him use a playground or climbing wall?

FlexibleFriend Wed 30-Oct-19 10:24:17

I think his mum has decided to opt out of these occasions as she herself is sick of it. No way would a 9 year old jump about on my sofa , he'd learn my displeasure mid first jump. Sorry I know his father is your is your son but he's an absolute wimp who is choosing to ignore his sons poor behaviour rather than have an argument. I'd tell the father now what my expectations of Christmas are and give him the opportunity if necessary to make other plans. You'll be doing him a favour.

glammanana Wed 30-Oct-19 10:43:28

I can't believe that his mother is wanting the day away from her son,is he acting up for attention because his mum will be leaving him with his dad ?
Mine would never be allowed by my ACs to jump on furniture or dump dirt on my washing he is 9yrs old and knows right from wrong for goodness sake give your DS a shake and tell him how it should be, tell him to get off his backside and take his son out to run off his energy playing football instead of using his phone all day.

lemongrove Wed 30-Oct-19 11:28:48

misfit3 you don’t say if your nine year old grandson has autism/aspergers, but certainly at that age my own grandson did similar things ( high achieving autism.) It sounds standard behaviour, including the screaming ab dabs.It’s not normal behaviour though for neuro-typical children to do all that, so you may want to think about it?

Davida1968 Wed 30-Oct-19 11:39:39

Some good advice given here, Misfit3. Could you tell your son exactly what you have told us here at GN? (i.e. what you say in your post.) I'd guess that unless you do something about this now, there will be a repeat of this behaviour every time they visit you.....

ladymuck Wed 30-Oct-19 11:50:41

I'm surprised that you have put up with this for so long. You should have laid down house rules as soon as they started paying you visits. What do you mean when you say, 'I'm not supposed to say anything'? Once again, adults are treating children with kid gloves and it does no-one any good, including the child. You're obviously getting yourself all wound up, dreading their visits when you should be looking forward to seeing them. Time to say...'enough is enough'...lay down some rules, insist they behave decently, not like wild animals...or, sorry to say it...but the visits will have to stop.

Namsnanny Thu 31-Oct-19 01:44:30

Without reading too much into this, it seems to me he is an intelligent boy who isn't getting enough attention from his parents, so he is on a mission to get it in any form!

Why is his mother happy to spend Christmas day away from him and your son I wonder?

If it is attention seeking, I don't think you will make much of a dent into his behaviour just over the few days/hours you will spend with them over Christmas.
Frankly it's not your job to try to influence his behaviour, it's his parents.

Maybe a talk before Christmas with your son? But it could very well backfire on you!

Or be prepared to devote all your time to playing chess and other games with him, to help keep him occupied and feeling involved.

It might be easier if you really find it all too distressing, to make your excuses and duck out.

I do feel a bit sorry for him, he sounds bright, bored, and a bit lost.

Hithere Thu 31-Oct-19 01:59:51

The issue is not your gc, but your son.

Does he even bother parenting his own child?
By your description, your son is present in physical form but absent in any other way.

You know you have a choice in what guests can stay at your place. You have a choice in uninviting them for Christmas.

Have you even tried talking to your son about his behaviour? You brought him up, he knows how your household is run. Does he know you expect him to clean after himself (restroom issue you described)?

As for the Apollo xiii incident - I wonder why you wanted the answer from your son only.
Why couldn't your gc answer it?

Willow500 Thu 31-Oct-19 06:31:45

It does sound as though your GS has some issues which could be attributed to Aspergers or ADHD - has anyone mentioned this to his parents? I agree that your son needs to take responsibility for his child's behaviour and tell him what is acceptable or not but it may be that he's reverted to being your child when he's come to stay and is letting Mum do all the work. A quiet word when things are calmer might help but certainly the boy should not be allowed to jump on your furniture or throw dirt around clean washing.

I too wonder how his mother can think of being away from her son on Christmas day - could there be some tension between them which is causing it? Do they normally all stay together for the holidays?

As for the bathroom find a sign to hang up in there saying Bathroom Rules and leave the cleaning stuff on prominent show so they get the message!

Dottynan Thu 31-Oct-19 06:50:48

Misfit refers to "his partner" but not that she is the boy's mum

grapefruitpip Thu 31-Oct-19 07:26:17

I notice twice you use the phrase " not supposed to say anything"....where has this come from please?

Yehbutnobut Thu 31-Oct-19 08:14:52

The time has come to sit down with your son and, in a calm and friendly manner, have a good talk. Not confrontational but in the spirit of understanding what is going on (eg is your GS on the spectrum) and how can we make Christmas fun for everyone.

Eg Have you thought about actually finding something to entertain a young boy?
Find out what is on TV he might like to watch.
What is available to work off his excess energy?
You and your son need to work this out. Young children, especially if there are no other children around to play with, cannot be expected just to sit around and ‘behave’.

PS I thought it very positive that he wanted to explain that film to you

wildswan16 Thu 31-Oct-19 08:52:11

I'm feeling very sorry for this young boy. He is without a mother, his father's partner doesn't want to be with them during the holiday, he goes to stay with his grandmother who doesn't understand him (from his point of view).

Of course it is up to his father to ensure he behaves himself appropriately. So this is where you have to make the change.

He is craving attention and trying to get it any way he can. You need to make sure his father arranges activities and spends "quality" time with him. You know he is bright and able to communicate properly so just encourage him in any way you can.

Daisymae Thu 31-Oct-19 08:56:18

You are perfectly within your rights to insist that there's no damage or misuse of furniture. I would also get your son to take your GS out and burn off some of that energy - swimming, football etc. Get some information on what's available locally. Will do him good to get off of his phone and interact with his son. How about a panto or cinema? How about getting a games compendium? My GC loved playing snakes and ladders etc when they were his age. I bought a good set provided hours of fun. Is your sons partner the mother? If so it's odd that she's not there for Xmas.

Alexa Thu 31-Oct-19 10:10:59

Think of the boy as a six month puppy who needs a lot of exercise or it becomes destructive. It's not the puppy's fault.

You have the right to make your house rules. However it would be better for all concerned if the puppy one is given adequate facilities for play. He doesn't need discipline so much as he needs playtime with liberty to roam and take risks. Why is he not getting what he needs?

The dirty bathroom is easily sorted so don't make an issue of it.

EllanVannin Thu 31-Oct-19 10:50:29

Next time he runs amok, stick your foot out ! That'll larn him.

I don't envy anyone with boisterous children around especially in your home. That should never be allowed and house rules should apply even if it results in a long face. Stand your ground and stop kids from ruling the roost.
No wonder his mother lies low !!

grapefruitpip Thu 31-Oct-19 13:17:46

I remember going to Granny's house. Very very boring and strict instructions not to touch anything at all.

Namsnanny Thu 31-Oct-19 14:57:31

That explains some things.

I lived with my Nan and loved her dearly, and she me.
Although if I was excited I was ushered out of her part of the house as grandad couldn’t take the noise!smile

grandtanteJE65 Thu 31-Oct-19 15:12:08

Your grandson is nine and you have accepted for years that "you are not supposed to say anything", so trying to force through "My house, my rules" isn't going to work, dear lady, is it?

What you should do, is phone your son, or ask him to phone you when he has time to chat. Tell him, that you are finding cleaning difficult these days, so will he please clean the bathroom he and his son uses before leaving and strip their beds and hoover their rooms?

Then point out that your hearing is deteriorating, so you really must ask him and your son to speak clearly to you and one at a time.

You run the risk of him being offended, but there is a good chance that he will realise you are making reasonable requests.

The other thing you can do, is get your grandson on his own during the first day of his visit and explain that you don't hear so well and that you need him to face you when he speaks, not to talk when someone else is talking and to speak clearly.

If he puts something down on top of something else ask him to remove it, too late admittedly, if he has dirtied whatever was lying there, and most definitely inform him that furniture is not to be jumped on!