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HELP. My grandchildren's noise and unruly behaviour causes me stress.

(26 Posts)
Lostinthedark Mon 26-Apr-21 07:59:51

Hello everyone, this is my first post. This is very long, but please read to the end.
I was born in England but now live in Israel. I am 73.
My 3rd daughter has 4 children, 8yrs,6 yrs and twins (boy & girl) 4yrs old.
Now, Israeli children are in general spoiled, undisciplined, cheeky, & demanding. The word NO is taboo.
They live ATM in a very small flat, and when we visit I feel very uncomfortable. There is absolute pandemonium all the time, the oldest girl loves to do cartwheels and jump off and on the furniture, her younger sister shouts at everyone and throws tantrums, the youngest girl is totally uncontrollable and her twin brother is manipulated by all his sisters, very often sulking.
All 4 are very intelligent and quick, very active.
Mealtimes are the worst. The 8 yr old still eats with her fingers, the kids go off to play in the middle of the meal, sometimes taking food with them, then coming back. All the kids pile lots of food on their plates and most of it gets thrown away.
Previous to the twins arrival, I said something to one of the first two which caused my daughter to take me aside and ask me to accept and respect the fact that she and her husband are bringing up the children in their way. So since then I say nothing. However, I see my wonderful daughter losing her temper, telling them off, bartering with them and at her wits end.
I was taught how to behave by a temperamental and violent mother, that was in the 1950s,a different time and different culture. I was terrified of her. Not good.
Most of the times that my wife and I go there my son-in-law is not there, always takes the opportunity of our visit to be busy.
I find it very difficult to sit and do anything with any one of them. They want to play house and I really can't do that. Now and again I do manage to sit and read a story with one or two of them. Board games re sometimes Ok with the older 2 girls.
I hope that you have the picture.
My problem is this- Last Friday we went there, and it was all as I have described. This was a long visit, about 5 hours. After a couple of hours I began to feel really physically stressed out by the non-stop noise and running around, I really wanted to get up and get out, I was controlling myself to not shout out, crossed my arms to hug myself. I was so frustrated that I could do nothing. I really felt on the verge of tears.
I do not think that anything will change unless/until the parents realize that there is a problem.
Who needs help most? Me, my daughter, the kds?
I shamefully say that I want to look out for myself, and be in that situation as little as possible, I just can't deal with it.
Any and all suggestions, comments welcome.

yggdrasil Mon 26-Apr-21 08:05:41

Don't go.

tanith Mon 26-Apr-21 08:05:57

I would suggest you either arrange to meet with your daughter and children outside in a park maybe or keep your visits to an hour or two. They sound out of control but you risk estrangement going by your daughters reaction before.

Grandmabatty Mon 26-Apr-21 08:09:07

Five hour visits are too long. As Tanith suggested, meet up outside or limit your visit to an hour. Then smile and wave goodbye.

Jaxjacky Mon 26-Apr-21 08:10:37

Agree with tanith limit the visits and/or meet outside, avoid mealtimes.

Oopsadaisy1 Mon 26-Apr-21 08:23:24

Pop in for a cup of tea and then leave, they will have seen you and caught up on any news and you can heave a huge sigh of relief as you wave goodbye.

JulieNoted Mon 26-Apr-21 08:32:37

How does your wife feel about it all? Is it just you who gets stressed and exhausted being there? If she feels the same then I would definitely advise short visits or meet outside somewhere, as tanith has suggested. If, however, your wife enjoys the long visits, then you may have an issue and will have to have an open and frank talk with her first to so that she fully understands how the visits are affecting you.

eazybee Mon 26-Apr-21 08:36:39

You have summed up the causes of the problem accurately: four young children in a very small flat, and the parents' attitude to discipline, neither of which are likely to change.

Simply go for shorter visits, and explain to your daughter as dispassionately as possible that you cannot cope with the noise and disruption for longer periods, because it really is physically causing you stress.
How does your wife feel about the visits?

sodapop Mon 26-Apr-21 08:40:33

I agree with JulieNoted if your wife enjoys the long visits then talk to her about you feel. Maybe you could leave after an hour or so and pick her up later. It is up to your daughter how she brings up her children of course but I can see how you would find it stressful.

grandmajet Mon 26-Apr-21 08:40:57

The situation sounds awful, especially as your daughter is now losing her temper with the children. It sounds as if they have no structure to their behaviour at all - like you I would find it hard to be there.
I would do as suggested, meet outside in a park or similar, and limit visits indoors to a short time. Explain that, at your age, you find it hard to cope with the ‘liveliness’ of the children for a longer period of time. Hopefully when they have been back at school for a while and in more of a routine things will settle a bit. Does your wife find the situation equally difficult? It sound as if you are trying to engage with the children with books, games, etc but that they have little attention span.
Have you tried taking just one or two of the children out for a walk or to the park, just with you and your wife? It may give your daughter a little break as well as helping you develop a relationship with them.
Good luck.

nadateturbe Mon 26-Apr-21 08:41:42

Oh goodness that sounds very tiring and stressful. My two grandsons were a bit like that when they were younger- very boisterous, but certainly not cheeky or undisciplined. I thought it was just normal. But I could not cope with it for five hours. As others suggest, short visits, meet outside. ..

Daisymae Mon 26-Apr-21 08:42:42

Shorter visits would seem to be a good idea. That or drop your wife off and collect her later with a half-hour to see the children. These visits are just too stressful as they are.

wildswan16 Mon 26-Apr-21 08:46:24

Are you able to change the way you visit. Perhaps asking if you can take each child out on their own (in turn). Go somewhere special for tea, or the playpark etc. Once a week would be quite enough I think.

With so many children in a confined space I am not surprised you are frazzled. It does sound like they are competing for attention. Explain your reasons to your daughter - be honest about your limits now you are "getting old" !

tickingbird Mon 26-Apr-21 08:46:55

I wouldn’t like to visit my sons’ homes with the general noise and play of the grandchildren (not as bad as you describe) for 5 hours!

Personally, I’d limit the time spent with them. You have no control over their behaviour or your daughter’s parenting but you do have control over how much of it you can take!

BlueBelle Mon 26-Apr-21 08:59:50

Take the little lad out for a kick around or just a granddaddy walk if your not up to a kick around he sounds as if he has a lot of females screaming and shouting around him so he’d like that, leave the rest inside to do what they will
You daughter and son in law are doing the best they can in a small space and it’s got to be their way of upbringing
Does your wife manage the visits what does she think about it all ?
How often do you go ?
Five hours is a very long time for a visit, for everyone, can’t you make it shorter
Are there any playing fields, playgrounds, open spaces you could entertain one at a time in while your wife stays in
Are all Israeli children really brought up as spoilt brats ???

Polarbear2 Mon 26-Apr-21 09:07:28

Agree with many of the comments above but would just add to try and inject a touch of humour into it. Take the sting out if it. Something like oh I’m getting too old. I need to lie down - then laugh. I’m sure your DD will understand. She probably wants to escape too!! Good luck 👍

Nell8 Mon 26-Apr-21 09:11:56

Just reading the description of your five hour visit gives me a headache! For the sake of your own sanity I think you should drastically reduce the length of your stays. Hopefully your grandchildren can go somewhere to get physical exercise and let off steam? You could always offer to help the family by running errands to give your daughter more time to manage the children. Good lucksmile

Smileless2012 Mon 26-Apr-21 09:19:18

The advice to shorten the visits and meet in an outside space are excellent and IMO the best solution. Talk to your wife about how these visits are affecting you and hopefully get her on board. You may find she's feeling as stressed about these visits as you are.

If not, perhaps after meeting up outside, if your wife wants to go to their home to extend the time, you could go to your own home or take yourself off somewhere else for an hour or two.

There's nothing wrong or shameful in recognising the effect your GC's unruly behaviour is having on your welfare. It would appear from your post that their bad behaviour is also affecting your D's relationship with her children but in that regard she only has herself to blame.

Good luck.

EllanVannin Mon 26-Apr-21 09:20:18

The parents must be deaf !
No structure. No boundaries. No discipline. I couldn't imagine a worse situation.

Shelflife Mon 26-Apr-21 09:37:19

This is a nightmare for you ! I can well understand how stressful your visits must be. I agree short visits out side with one child , they can take it in turns and may well appreciate undivided attention from their grandparents. However this is managed you have the power to change how you manage the visits. If visits are tailored by you and your wife you will regain some control of the situation. Who knows you may begin to look forward to seeing your grandchildren! Good luck, and change this routine that is causing you so much stress.

V3ra Mon 26-Apr-21 10:32:37

Fresh air and physical exercise is definitely beneficial to children and adults alike. Hopefully there's somewhere you can go with them, either as a group or maybe one at a time?

I'm so sorry you're feeling stuck in this nightmare situation. I can't imagine your daughter is really happy with how her children behave. I presume it's not how she was brought up?
Are her friends' children the same? How do they all behave at school?

loopyloo Mon 26-Apr-21 10:40:43

I used to work on a two hour philosophy. After 2 hours one needs to change the environment for the young ones even if it's just a walk to the park.
Best of luck.

silverlining48 Mon 26-Apr-21 11:27:02

Always find taking them outside is much easier. A walk and change of scenery almost always guarantees better behaviour.

Newatthis Mon 26-Apr-21 11:37:30

Short visits perhaps - why did you stay so long if you know what their behaviour is like. Next time maybe meet up in a cafe/park/shopping centre and plan for a limited time.

BlueBelle Mon 26-Apr-21 12:01:31

Lostinthedark what an appropriate name
I just wanted to add if 4 children are cooped up inside a small apartment they will be behaving differently to how you would find acceptable they will be full if energy and very high maintenance not their fault or probably their mums
Do they not go to school, is it because of covid or holidays or what? as normally all of them should be at some kind of school nursery and primary or is it very different over there?

Have you told your wife five four even three hours is too much for you ?

Does your daughter realise this is too much ?
Some grandads are full on on their hands and knees making tents out of chairs and sheets and some are much quieter prefers g to read or watch a film with one child Neither are right neither wrong
I want you to take that little boy out (he sounds well hen pecked by all his sisters) and you could have a lovely one to one, just walking and talking Do you like nature ? Talk about the cars or houses what you did as a boy his age Your knowledge can be passed on and he will love the one to one attention and it could be a massively important role for you in his life
Do come back and tell us more