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This can't be right?

(47 Posts)
Silverlining47 Sun 12-Aug-18 20:32:16

My son, dil and 2 children left yesterday after 2 weeks holiday with us in our home in France and I am utterly exhausted. I love all of them dearly and they helped in lots of ways with cooking and clearing up and my dil even said they didn't expect me to feed and entertain them. So that should have been a relaxing holiday for all of us.
However, the children aged 6 and 8, who are bright and happy and lovely individually were very disobedient, constantly demanding and disruptive. The parents veered between total indulgence and angry outbursts some of which the children ignored and at other times got very upset. Meal times were ridiculous with children up and down from the table and running round eating. Taking them out to eat was a nightmare ( french children are very well behaved!)
I am usually very tolerant and probably bought my own children up in a relaxed way but I found this really very tiring and quite upsetting.
I only see them twice a year and this is their annual holiday with granny, guaranteed sunshine and swimming pool, so lots of fun. I don't feel I should correct them unless they are doing something dangerous or very naughty and I know my son who adores them boundlessly just wants me to feel the same way.
My son and his wife also have a loving but fractious relationship so often flare up with each other in front of the children which worries me.
Altogether it is exhausting. Surely this can't be right?

MissAdventure Sun 12-Aug-18 20:34:57

I suppose its right for them.
It would exhaust me too!

kittylester Sun 12-Aug-18 20:40:38

I think MissA probably has it right.

Jalima1108 Sun 12-Aug-18 20:50:10

I must say that we have always bickered (Mr and Mrs Always Right), but still together after all this time, as the song goes.
And our DC seem to love us, so don't worry about the bickering! They think we're a comedy act.

However, jumping up and down from the table does irritate me; we were on holiday with friends and their youngest did this all the time and DD thought it was a good idea too.

sodapop Sun 12-Aug-18 20:55:23

We have just had young grandchildren over too and found it exhausting. I think the heat made everything more tiring as well. Hopefully the children will be calmer on their next visit, it doesn't help when parents are disagreeing either. I usually find the children behave better if I can take them off on my own.
I agree about the restaurant behaviour its rare to see a French child misbehaving there.
It's a case of gritting your teeth for a couple of weeks and trying to set a calm example.

MawBroon Sun 12-Aug-18 20:57:12

Can’t add much except that surely it is not too much to insist (nicely) on Granny’s House, Granny’s House rules?
To be negotiated with their parents if necessary, but I have found before now that they will try to get away with more if they think each won’t enforce normal discipline.
But TBH DD and SIL are much stricter than I ever could be (softy Granny)

Jalima1108 Sun 12-Aug-18 20:57:44

It depends on the level of disagreement.
We both agree on the fundamentals - and sitting at the table to eat a meal was one of them.

Luckygirl Sun 12-Aug-18 21:03:05

It is always hard to have to stand back and let the parents decide on the discipline/rules, especially when you do not agree with them! I know this scenario!

And riotous children are a huge drain on one's strength and patience.

I have found though that those of the GC who were the most riotous seem to have gradually settled down - thank heaven!

Just had a gang of GC here and I have, once again, been biting the tongue.

I am sure that they all had a good time, and you will look back on the holiday with the rosy glow of hindsight - when you are rested.

FlexibleFriend Sun 12-Aug-18 21:19:18

It all sounds pretty normal to me.

cornergran Sun 12-Aug-18 21:23:38

I do understand silverlining, i find it’s often easier when parents aren’t there. Sometimes visits are the triumph ocf hope over experience. I suspect you’ll feel better about it when you aren’t so tired, be able to look back with tolerant amusement. The children will mature, behave more calmly, next time will be different. For now just rest and recover and think of the lovely memories they will have of their time with you.

M0nica Sun 12-Aug-18 21:38:14

It is amazing the difference a few years makes. Just spent a week with DGC, 11 and 8 and the difference from being with them at 6 & 8 was beyond measure. The 11 year old, going on 16, played at being an adult and the 8 year old, had a couple of wobbles (he hadn't been well) but sat through mealtimes and was a delight.

Grammaretto Sun 12-Aug-18 21:47:57

we had a similar holiday with DS, his family and friends with their DC so plenty of adults. The children were really very good but boisterous and continuous. The pool was a boon.

We were their guests and had no car so we had to get on. It worked well because the children ate separately and were in bed early and there was a huge garden. Occasionally I had to bite my tongue when I heard the DGC being brattish.

it was restful for us oldies because the young ones did almost all the cooking.
I just helped with salads and washing up and bought baguettes and croissants. for breakfast.

lemongrove Sun 12-Aug-18 23:02:48

I hear this a lot from friends silverlining so you are not on your own feeling this way.
Children are not often brought up with many rules now, which brings a sort of anarchy in the house.Children do need a few rules and boundaries.Mealtimes should be one of them.Parents rarely enforce the sitting quietly eating at the table rule, and the result is very annoying.
Spoilt behaviour wrecks household peace, and six and eight should be old enough to sit at the table and join in with conversation.Do the adults do this ( encourage the children to join in with conversation) and listen to them, or are the children largely ignored?

Silverlining47 Mon 13-Aug-18 08:08:06

Thanks for reassuring replies! I know what you say is true and I think next year will be different. They are great kids.
In my view there are 3 major contributing factors....
The children were up at 7 am and didn't go to bed until 10.30pm so it was non-stop.
The parents are indulgent and inconsistent. A lot of over the top praise and negotiating of simple rules.
Lots of snacking so mealtime is just a continuation of eating and playing.
It's definitely a lot easier when the parents go away and kind but firm house rules are established!

EthelJ Mon 13-Aug-18 11:05:10

I also find my grandchildren exhausting although I love them to pieces. Also two weeks is a long time when you are not used to having young children around all the time. I think we find it hard because we are not used to having them around all the time and we have forgotten how hard and sometimes difficult young children can be. (Even though they are also delightful)

It is probably hard for the parents and the children too being in an unfamiliar environment. I find it usually takes a few days for us all to get used to each other and for the children to get used to being somewhere else. I think it is quite normal for them to be unsettled, over excited and probably overtired in somewhere new, and seeing their grandparents again probably after looking forward to it for a long time.

Enjoy them when they visit , and then enjoy some piece and quiet when they leave!

mabon1 Mon 13-Aug-18 11:51:33

Your house, your rules end of story.

Nannan2 Mon 13-Aug-18 11:56:00

Maybe on their nxt visit you dont go out to eat with them- if the parents wish to do so let them go as a family and you have a well earned rest?Or offer to babysit(once theyve bathed them& put them to bed)perhaps you can read to them?And then parents can have a nice romantic meal alone?it may help them not bicker so much?also when they arrive yes set some 'ground rules' for your home-especially for meal times- or ask them to feed kids earlier so you adults can eat peacefully together later?

icanhandthemback Mon 13-Aug-18 11:56:37

My daughter and her family have just moved out of our house after 6 months. I have to say it was a real eye opener! The arguments in front of my grandaughter (or any one else for that matter) astonished us. My husband has always had a real soft spot for my SIL, siding with him at every turn against my DD who he doesn't particularly like, but even he was having trouble keeping his mouth shut about his dictatorial manner towards my DGD.
We even got to the point where we sending each other "wtf" messages whilst we watched on. We tried really hard to talk to them about the damage they were doing, the art of co-parenting rather than warring but without much success. Meanwhile, DGD divides and conquers whilst they can't understand whilst even after 6 months of living together, DGD will behave for me. The worst thing for me is I wonder how my parenting has allowed my DD to think this is acceptable and I want to weep for my DGD.

razzmatazz Mon 13-Aug-18 11:58:24

Before I had any GC and when my own children got married my late DH used to say " Never interfere, never give advice " and that continued when we had GC. So I would say bite your tongue always . Of course, if they ask for advice that is different. I would have to bite my tongue very HARD if GC are getting down from the table during a meal. I started to tell my GC that their Daddy/Mummy used to say " Please may I leave the table?" when they had finished and never got down till they had finished . They thought this was funny but they did it as a curiosity and giggled, for which I gave them lots of praise. They have never got down from the table during the meal again but wait till they are finished to ask if they can.

Sheilasue Mon 13-Aug-18 11:59:07

What can you do if you say something you will only upset them. Maybe they will realise that they need to be more firmer with them and deal with it.
Lovely place to holiday though in France.

NemosMum Mon 13-Aug-18 12:03:55

Could you cut it down to one week in future? Two weeks sounds like a long time! My own grandchild is only 3, but I have older step-grandchildren who stayed with us and with whom we went on holiday. I put in enormous effort to bite my tongue (not always successfully). The parents of one lot were very much as you describe. I would watch situations developing, but parents seemed both blind and deaf. The other lot are younger, but very much better behaved and parents calmer. The difference was that they were vigilant and would pre-empt potential difficulties.

luluaugust Mon 13-Aug-18 12:04:48

As you say the once or twice a year dip into the AC's marriages can be exhausting and alarming but you can't really do much about it in such a short space of time. I can only say that in a few years time they won't be getting down from the table, they will eat but they will also be checking their phones and discussing games you have never heard of!

middleagespread Mon 13-Aug-18 12:19:34

Silverlining 47 you have been amazing, biting your tongue, helping so much and providing a whole family with holidays that they will remember ( in a much different way to you) for all their lives. You have gone over and above what is expected and it has drained you. It shouldn't be like this. Maybe next time you should take more time out. Tell your son that you need a break, will eat out on your own sometimes. Give them freedom to enjoy your house but escape yourself, even if its just for a coffee and croissant. Next year they will all be a year older, things change, but so will you be. Tell your son you're loving having them, wouldn't change it but make sure he knows how tired you get. Take a nap mid afternoon, close your bedroom door and read. It's up to M and D to discipline and if you turn away and shrug your shoulders then I'm sure they will see the signs. Best of luck.

Diana54 Mon 13-Aug-18 12:21:45

There's not much you can do when parents are there as well, except grin and bear it. I get round the problem because my GC usually come enmasse, sit at their own table and the older ones organise them. If we go to a restaurant I choose one with a play area, then the adults and kids can enjoy themselves. It's not exactly teaching them how to behave properly but it's a lot better than making them sit irritably at the table

Rhinestone Mon 13-Aug-18 12:26:15

We are taking my GC away for a few days soon. No parents going. We sat down with them and asked them what rules would be good ones to have on vacation. The GC were really smart.
Also when they come over here they act totally different than at their moms house. They help clean up and put things away because I ask them to do so. Even with their parents there when they start to get up from the table while eating you can refocus them back to the table. Sometimes they would get up from my table and I would say we were going to play a game while eating. We would okay “ I spy something .... green, red or whatever. Or we would have conversations that they could participate in like asking what the worse thing that happened at school or the best thing etc. it worked everytine. I figured since the parents won’t take charge I would without criticizing the parents.