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Grandparenting

Advice from grandparents

(74 Posts)
Abi30 Tue 21-Jan-20 23:18:40

My child is almost 1 and the first grandchild on both sides. Unfortunately, we are alone with a 3hour journey if we were to visit family. All grandparents work, except my MIL who has always stayed at home. Visits are usually at ours as my child doesn’t travel well. There is quite a lot of conflict in expectations from my in laws. They naturally want to be very involved, but in doing so, they’ve become a burden to host. They are controlling in some ways, bringing up sensitive topics to my husband when I’m not around (e.g sleepovers and holidays abroad without us)

Abi30 Tue 21-Jan-20 23:23:49

... comparing their parenting journeys to ours to such a degree that it sucks the joy out of the moment. Drinking alcohol to a degree that I’m not comfortable with and repetitively telling my child they’ll be taking them to the bar when older. I don’t feel it’s age appropriate and I don’t want my child to be brought up alcohol dependent as they appear to be. My husband knows this, and mentioned not drinking until our child has gone to bed which they did agree to but the trend was short lived.

Abi30 Tue 21-Jan-20 23:27:26

.... referring back to the sleepovers. They are hoping for an overnight stay and even a holiday abroad with my child in the future years. The whole topic naturally gives me anxiety. They live 3 hours drive away. I wouldn’t feel comfortable sending my child to their home, so far away, definitely not abroad. They only ever bring it up to my husband, while I’m not around which makes me think it’s a control/manipulative tactic.

Abi30 Tue 21-Jan-20 23:33:38

I’m lucky in that my parents are laid back and let me be the parent. My in laws love to comment, or make suggestions. In other words, at times, they come across as thinking they know better. They disregard me and only talk to my husband when it comes to requests or invites etc... I have constant conversations with him about making sure he sets boundaries otherwise they would happily walk all over us as parents.

Abi30 Tue 21-Jan-20 23:35:25

It’s causing stress and even upset in our relationship. What do other grandparents think? I’m not sure how to improve things to ensure we are a happy COMFORTABLE family.

CanadianGran Tue 21-Jan-20 23:41:47

If your child is only one, there will be years before a holiday abroad will be an issue. Perhaps when they are 8 or 9. I know several people that love taking their grandchildren on holidays with them, and it gives the parents a break on daycare issues during school holidays, as well as quality time spent with grandparents.

As for overnight sleeps, don't discount this totally unless you think the amount of drinking will adversely affect your child. Are they drinking socially because they are visiting, or are they regular heavy drinkers? If your child wakes up at night would they hear them?

Every family is different, and of course they want to spend time with their grandchild. You and your husband together must make the decisions regarding sleepovers, but don't let them pressure you until you feel ready.

Abi30 Wed 22-Jan-20 00:00:21

Thank you Canadiangran, I don’t want to discount sleepovers, but my child will have to be willing as I would never enforce a sleepover that’s a 3 hour drive away if we were ever needed. A holiday abroad is a whole other story that I’m not comfortable with for similar reasons... but the alcohol consumption is my main concern. They can easily consume 1 or 2 bottles of wine and a crate of beer between them in an afternoon/evening. They have a drinking at home and whilst out socially kind of lifestyle. They attempted and failed at detoxing from it once. It’s definitely a concern, not something I want my child to learn from years to come.

Buffybee Wed 22-Jan-20 00:14:22

Abi30, this is your child, yours and your husbands, the in-laws have no rights regarding your child, what-so-ever.
What you say, goes!
Start with these basic ground rules and you won't go far wrong in dealing with these overbearing in-laws.
If they mention anything to you about sleepovers and holidays, just smile and tell them, maybe when he/she is older.
You're obviously not comfortable about them taking your child, so just don't do it.
Your child....Your Rules!!!!!

V3ra Wed 22-Jan-20 00:33:37

Wow. That's a lot of alcohol to be drinking and supposedly be responsible for looking after someone else's child...

Your reservations are completely reasonable. Stick to your principles, calmy but firmly. It sounds like your husband agrees with you but is a bit stuck in the middle. You hold all the cards here. Your child's safety is paramount. Don't compromise.

I refused to let a relative look after my 8 month old once, it had all been arranged then at the last minute they decided they were upset we were going out and started throwing valium down their throat to make us (husband really) stay. So he went out as planned and I stayed in with baby and relative.
Basic safeguarding of a child is far more important than causing offence.

Namsnanny Wed 22-Jan-20 00:53:51

Abi30 … Some of the things you are worried about may or may not happen.
Sleep overs and holidays are a while away, and clearly you are worrying about something that may never happen!
I'm not being dismissive of your fears, just trying to lighten your load.
After all who knows what will happen to them in the coming years, alcohol has a way of affecting ones health.

All you can do is deal with the here and now.

You have every right to expect them not to drink in the company of your child in your home.
All you can do is set no drinking in front of child as a boundary that you and your husband stick solidly to.

Give out clear boundaries on this one topic and both of you stick to it.

They must choose.

welbeck Wed 22-Jan-20 00:57:09

I am going to be blunt.
you are getting too wound up about all this.
you don't have to do anything in regard to in-laws.
you don't have to see them, visit them, collude with them re that their drinking is not unhealthy/ risky behaviour etc.
just do what you want. and don't discuss, don't justify.
take control. you have the control, you and your husband.
your baby, your rules. don't waste time on these people.

quizqueen Wed 22-Jan-20 01:42:52

Don't get any alcohol in when they come to visit you for a start!!

Namsnanny Wed 22-Jan-20 01:44:34

Don't be silly Welbeck ...op is trying to keep the peace and carry on as normal a family life as she can.

In the real world we all have to negotiate difficult people.

Op will have to waste time on these people because she wants the best outcome.

If they, on the other hand don't want to see their own son and dil's point of view, then that's a choice they will have to live with.

absent Wed 22-Jan-20 04:02:38

Grandparents can be a real blessing, but they do not have rights about their grandchildren and nor should they be in control of their adult child. Your child is not yet one and is not ready for sleepovers elsewhere, whether 5 minutes or 3 hours away from home and family, let alone holidays abroad. Nor, of course, are you as primary carer ready for this.

agnurse Wed 22-Jan-20 04:54:50

That is a HUGE amount of alcohol. To the best of my knowledge, current recommendations are that women should consume no more than about 1 drink a day and men no more than 2 or 3, and that shouldn't be every day for men or women. If they're downing two bottles of wine and a case of beer, assuming the beer is maybe a 12-pack, that's 12 units of alcohol apiece in one night - about the weekly consumption for a man and almost double that for a woman.

You might consider checking into Al-Anon. This is a program for people affected by a loved one's drinking. Your husband might also benefit from Adult Children of Alcoholics.

Sparkling Wed 22-Jan-20 05:42:53

I can't see how anyone would want to leave their child with people that consume that much alcohol, you can't leave your child with alcoholics even if they are grandparent. In a kind way, because it is an addiction, they need to be told that, your husband needs to do it with you present, he must obviously feel as you do, there has to be boundaries, they should not be undermining you.
It is you that decides what is best for your child, not them. So no home visits or holidays until they knock the drinking on the head. You do not have to do anything you don't feel happy about, your child's safety comes first.

M0nica Wed 22-Jan-20 07:41:57

If a 'sleepover' involves a three hour journey both ways, it is not a sleepover. As others have said. This is your child, you call the shots. Grandparents have no rights, and I do not think they should have.

Anyway, their drinking habits and untrustworthyness with limits, would put any kind of unsupervise contact completely beyond limits until you are very sure they would not drink at all when looking after your children.

As you live such a longway away, any unsupervised visits are well into the future. I live 200 miles from my DGC. DGD made her first unaccompanied visit to us when she was 7, she is now 12. Our 9 year old DGS has yet to make an unaccompanied visit, until recently, he has refused to sleep away from home , even with a school friend in the next street. unless he had a parent with him. He will now do local sleepovers, but we are quite happy to wait until he feels he will be comfortable going such a distance from home alone, even to a grandparent.

Sparkling Wed 22-Jan-20 07:56:31

Abi I have thought a lot of what I said in response to your post. Originally and for a few of your posts you never mentioned the critical thing in all this, the grandparents were Alcoholics. Why?

Abi30 Wed 22-Jan-20 08:56:56

You all sound very logical and I agree with you all. It’s good to hear stories of how old your GC were when they made unsupervised visits too. I find it all really strange, I had very involved GC growing up, contact on a daily basis and I never once slept in their homes without parents, perhaps only once or twice in emergencies. My in laws only ever bring up the topic to my husband when I’m not around which I think is a bit manipulative, again doesn’t foster any trust from me. The alcohol consumption has always been heavy, pre-baby I used to lightly joke that his parents are alcoholics but he got very defensive. It’s a sensitive area and if it was ever brought up to them I’d imagine it wouldn’t be taken well. Unfortunately, my mother in law always says to my child that she’s going to take her out to her favourite cocktail bar as soon as she’s of drinking age, she might not understand at this age but if she continues to mention it I might have to say something.... I definitely do not want my child to be influenced by alcohol dependency. The issue in general is that they are wanting more and more contact, seeing us for 3 days every month isn’t enough for them. Any more contact and I’d get burnt out from the stress of hosting them, and reading between the lines of their attempts at control play.... also, we don’t buy the alcohol, or my husband will have some in but on a few occasions they will go to the shops to buy their own or bring their own. I am really concerned for how we’re going to navigate around all of this in the future 😔

Abi30 Wed 22-Jan-20 09:03:18

Sparkling - its only become an issue since they recently acted inappropriately towards my child after a lot to drink - making inappropriate comments towards her, kissing her on the lips whilst stinking of alcohol, not sticking to the alcohol after bedtime request, calling us in the middle of the night by accident following an evening of drinking, making middle of the night social media comments on how our child isn’t seen by them often enough.... it’s just recently started to effect us, it’s something that will only become more concerning.

TrendyNannie6 Wed 22-Jan-20 09:52:20

Oh wow they like to tell you what they intend to do don’t they. I’m afraid that wouldn’t be happening with our child, they have got it all worked out, this alcohol thing would concern me, are you sure they weren’t coming out with all this when they were three sheets to the wind, this is your child and your husbands, no one else’s frankly I’ve never heard of anything like it, your child is very young, try not to get too wound up over the things they are saying, grandparents can’t over ride the parents rules, they can only be involved if you allow it. They actually sound a nightmare I’ve just read your latest post making inappropriate comments towards her, after a lot of drinking, posting social media comments stating your child isn’t seen enough by them, doesn’t sound good, but remember you both hold the cards, you do things your way good luck

chattykathy Wed 22-Jan-20 09:59:53

Do they drive home from your house after all this drinking? As for the late night social media comments, their 'friends' will know they are drinkers so probably understand why they don't see GD very often.
Just remember you are in control here. If they ask to come over more often just say you're busy and when they do visit reinforce the no drinking rule.

crazygranny Wed 22-Jan-20 10:03:20

Don't worry Abi30
I had a similar situation with my in laws. Just accept that you will never have a joyful time with these people. They are self involved and insensitive. It doesn't make them bad people - just people you don't want to spend time with - and why should you?
People like your parents in law are very good talkers but not that great when it comes to the hands on hard work of real parenting so I shouldn't worry too much about future times your little one is being invited to share with them. It will very likely never happen. If they are being insistent and you want to feel a little more in control just set an age limit on when you might consider a stay with them - like 5. You are the baby's mother and you decide what's right for them.
Really sorry you're going through this. It's tough when you are a decent person yourself who just wants a happy time and you are unfortunately stuck with relatives like that.

4allweknow Wed 22-Jan-20 10:05:58

Surely they are alcoholics. Not being able to live without it even for a short time is a massive sign. About taking child on holiday to me there would be a massive risk as wouldn't they be in a holiday mood and drink even more. Your concerns are not unfounded. Think I would be dropping very curt remarks eg oh you don't want to take Baby X as he will inhibit your enjoyment even for a sleepover. If they ask what you mean, you have to be honest. May be a wake up call for them.

MarieEliza Wed 22-Jan-20 10:14:01

Be careful, grandchild’s other grandpa thought it acceptable after drinking, to slap my grandchild, aged 4. I stopped him, as far as I could, from being left alone with grandchildren again.