or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Grandparents and secrets
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Grandparents and secrets

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Does anyone else have a problem with people wanting to have secrets with your young children? My newest issue is MIL telling  my LO that this or that is a secret (usually feeding or giving her something I've said no to) or asking to take LO out and saying she wants to take LO here and there and some secret things. We have a long history of the IL's complaining that I'm overprotective and not fair, etc. I'm sure this is another one that will be labeled under me overreacting but I'm just not okay with this. 

So what do you all think? Maybe when my kids are preteens and can REALLY understand the difference between a silly secret and something bad I will be okay with it but right now it just freaks me and my LO out. And then the issue of not wanting to tell me where you are taking my child. My IL's really act like I'm crazy that I want to be informed on what goes on with MY child. They feel like everyone else they know gets to do whatever they want with their grandkids and have them for sleepovers and take them wherever they want. I know I have some alternative views being AP and all but do most people really let their parents and IL's have free reign over their kids like this? 

post #2 of 27
Child molesters tell kids to keep things secret. (I am not in any way implying your inlaws are creepy!!) Many secrets are not about good things & little kids can't tell the difference between what kinds of secrets are good to keep & which kind need to be told to an adult. For that reason, I tell DS that we don't keep secrets. If anyone tells him a secret it is always, always OK to tell me (even if it's a birthday secret). It's an unfair burden to put on kids to keep secrets, and it sounds like in your case it's about doing things you might not approve of. That would not be even remotely OK with me.
post #3 of 27

um...my toxic grandmother did unbelievable damage to all of her grandchildren, and "secrets" were one of her tools. I think this is bad news. I, personally, have huge triggers about this, and if I ever find that any of my children's grandparents have asked my chidlren to keep a secret (other than maybe "this is what I bought your mommy for Christmas) from me or their dad, they get one warning. If it happens again, I'll terminate contact. No excuses.

 

That doesn't mean you have to take it that far. I have triggers about this. But, I do think that "secrets" are a serious issue.

post #4 of 27

I agree with Crunchy and Storm.  Secrets are not ok.

post #5 of 27

I agree... secrets are not OK.

 

But, I think they just want to have a "special" thing with the grandkids.  

 

Sometimes, I will give my daycare kids a special snack that belongs to my husband or daughter, then I say "Shh..don't tell J we ate her fishy crackers"...then the second she comes home, they tell her, and she acts like she's shocked every time.  My husband too.  But, it's a game really... and the kids think it's funny.  They know it's not really a secret.  I'm wondering if that is what Grandma thinks she's doing?

post #6 of 27

how does your dh feel about this?

 

secrets are a cultural thing, i think.

 

and it all really depends on the relationship. in your case since your relationship is not ok, secrets would not be ok.

 

but i have allowed secrets. i've even encouraged it. but its because my relationship has been built on trust. i dont believe that kids can be confused by secrets. with molesting issues - its not so much they are confused by secrets. its more the threat that makes them keep it a secret. 

 

dd has had secrets since she was what 18 months old. with our neighbor over a disagreement neighbor and i had. i reviewed my stance and decided it wasnt a hill to die on. neighbor really cared about dd. i trusted her. we didnt differ on anything else. 

 

but it was also a winky, open secret. i could clearly see what was going on, but dd loved this special hiding. it was sweet.

 

however i dont have to know everything that dd did with whom she hung out. she's been hanging out (wont say baby sitting because single friends borrowed dd to get their baby fix) since dd was about 18 months old. i dont know the details of all that they do. but i dont need to. that's just my personality. i know they are intelligent people who wont put my dd in harms way. but they'd probably allow dd to do something small that i probably wouldnt allow but i'd be ok with. 

 

dd is 10. she has no warped idea of secrets. neither does she keeps secrets from me. its actually quite sweet that she tells me everything which she didnt even need to. she does delay some info when she is not sure how i'd react. she wouldnt want me to think bad of her friends. 

 

so am i against secrets. no. but in your case, if you are not comfortable, then yes.

post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovemygirl View Post

 I know I have some alternative views being AP and all but do most people really let their parents and IL's have free reign over their kids like this? 

 

I think it depends on the degree of trust the parents feel toward their own parents or in-laws.

 

I hope to be the kind of grandma that my daughters and their partners can feel comfortable letting "have free reign" and spend lots of time with their children. For this reason, I absolutely do not believe in encouraging my (future) grandchildren to keep "secrets" from their parents. And I also wouldn't do things with them or give things to them that my daughters and partners disapproved of.

 

To me, the most important thing is having fun and spending time together, and there are so many different ways of doing this that I absolutely do not see one particular food or activity as "a hill to die on." So many times, I hear the expression "Is this a hill to die on?" being directed at parents who are unhappy with grandparents for disregarding their feelings about acceptable activities, toys, or foods. But to me, as a future grandma, I see this phrase from the opposite perspective, because it is so important to me to nurture good relationships with my children and their spouses and children.

 

Why, in this rich world that is so chock full of wonderful foods and activities for grandparents and grandchildren to enjoy together, would I make any one specific thing that my child didn't want her child exposed to, my "hill to die on?" Why would I be so stupid as to jeopardize our relationship when there are so many other fun things that we could be enjoying together?

 

But then, I'm a pretty open-minded woman who is learning to cultivate a variety of interests due to my desire to meet my kids where they are at, rather than always expecting them to meet me where I am at. So I'm prepared to do that with my grandkids, too.

 

In my opinion, any grandma who is so careless about relationships, and so unwilling to really listen to and respect her children's or children in law's wishes, that she is willing to make little "secret" activities "a hill to die on," is unworthy of having "free reign." She doesn't even care about building a relationship based on trust, so how could she reasonably expect to be trusted?


Edited by mammal_mama - 11/8/12 at 7:47am
post #8 of 27
Really not okay. Enlist your dh to help explain why.
post #9 of 27

Mammal Mamma, great post.  Ilovemygirl, maybe you're 'over protective', but that's not relevant. It's not the flip side of grandmother telling your dd to keep secrets from you.

 

"I can tell you think I'm kinda over-protective with dd, haha.. yeah, that's just my style, you know?  You want to be able to take her fun places, it's really easy -check with me first. I'm her mom. And don't give her popsicles and that other stuff, please. I'm much more happy to share her with you when you don't do stuff like that. Haha!" 

 

Awkward, I know. I'm not very funny. It's just that a lot of these confrontations can be finessed with friendly humor, even when you're irritated with them. 

 

(Popsicles are my particular pet peeve. My heretofore exclusively breast-fed dd's first food was a popsicle, from fil, when they were babysitting. irked.gif  )

post #10 of 27

BTW, how old is your dd?

post #11 of 27

I would NOT be ok with that beyond planning a nice surprise for someone or something. 

post #12 of 27

I'm with the above. My parents used to delight in using secrets to try to "split" my affections/use me as a pawn/pit other relatives and teachers and whatnot against one another.

 

Not every child, regardless of age, can understand the difference between a benign secret or a harmful one, and it's coming across as a manipulative tactic given the way the OP explains it - especially since it seems the GP's have ignored momma's wishes in the past about a litany of things related to food and activities.
 

For me, this is past the point of warnings (you refer to a 'long history' - so little respect for you, your spouse, and your household?) Lay it out flat, enlist the help of the hubbster to explain: You haven't heard us, you haven't respected us, you now have no access/no unsupervised access to your grandkids until such a time as WE feel it is appropriate to give you a trial run. No room for them to wiggle, negotiate, or bargain. And if they try, tell them that's exactly the sort of justification that is causing the problem in the first place. There isn't any room for, "Well, okay, BUT..." when it comes to what is best for your child! YOU decide what is best for your child!

(My husband chimed in to say, after reading over my shoulder, "Tell the in-laws to get a dog. They can take it wherever they want and feed it crap all day." LOL!)

post #13 of 27
If the idea of your child having secrets with someone triggers an alert, honor that feeling. It doesn't matter if they really deserve the suspicion. It's better to err on the side of caution.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

If the idea of your child having secrets with someone triggers an alert, honor that feeling. It doesn't matter if they really deserve the suspicion. It's better to err on the side of caution.

I agree, don't ignore that feeling. I just finished reading the book Protecting the Gift  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0440509009/ref=wms_ohs_product

and the one thing I took away from it was to honor my instinct, it's there to protect my child. If it's a nagging feeling, don't hesitate to act on it. Don't explain it away, or try to rationalize it. Those are not things an an animal does in the wild, it acts. Only humans with their education, try to rationalize instinct, and to their detriment.

Even if it's all done (the secret game) innocently, some day someone else may ask your child to keep it a 'secret', it may be a relative, neighbor or friend with an ulterior motive (FWIW, it is usually one of those people).

Coincidentally,  I am also labeled 'controlling'.Well it  beats careless or defeatist and takes a lot more energy but well worth it to try to protect my child physically and emotionally.

post #15 of 27

I didn't read all the posts, but some of the people I've discussed this with have the mindset that surprises are okay, while secrets don't fly.

A surprise is not telling grandma what you bought for her birthday, whereas secrets can be hurtful or make someone upset.

post #16 of 27

If grandparents are not 100% trustworthy (safe, non-molesters), my kid couldn't go out with them at all. Period. No secrets, no change-of-plans, no nothing. Never out of my sight.

 

If grandparents are safe, trusted folks, then they get 100% freedom. Even if they would make some decisions differently than I do, I trust that they would not harm my child. I am all for fun, secretive, sneaky, get-away-with-it games with Grandma. I think privacy with a trusted adult is a bridge to independence.

 

As a grandmother, I respect my son's and his wife's wishes. If they were vegetarian, I wouldn't "sneak" the kids a hot dog. I might however, buy an ice cream cone before dinner. Don't tell! But they don't micro manage my time with them - they trust me to keep the kids safe. After all, I some how managed to raise my own kids relatively successfully.

post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamarhu View Post

If grandparents are not 100% trustworthy (safe, non-molesters), my kid couldn't go out with them at all. Period. No secrets, no change-of-plans, no nothing. Never out of my sight.

 

If grandparents are safe, trusted folks, then they get 100% freedom.

 

This is where different people's definitions come into play. Anybody who would encourage my child to keep secrets is, by defintion, someone I can't trust with my child. I don't see it as a bridge to independence at all.

post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamarhu View Post

If grandparents are safe, trusted folks, then they get 100% freedom. Even if they would make some decisions differently than I do, I trust that they would not harm my child. I am all for fun, secretive, sneaky, get-away-with-it games with Grandma. I think privacy with a trusted adult is a bridge to independence.
Privacy, yes. Child asking grandma to keep a secret, yes (within reason, using good judgement). Grandma asking child to keep secret? No, that's an unfair burden to the child, and would cause me to seriously question the safety of the grandparent involved.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamarhu View Post

As a grandmother, I respect my son's and his wife's wishes. If they were vegetarian, I wouldn't "sneak" the kids a hot dog. I might however, buy an ice cream cone before dinner. Don't tell! But they don't micro manage my time with them - they trust me to keep the kids safe. After all, I some how managed to raise my own kids relatively successfully.
See, a reasonable parent will not mind if the kid has ice cream before dinner on a special occasion, and won't micromanage your time. But what is the secrecy around it for?? To me it undermines the parents. It shows poor communication & questionable judgement. It teaches the child that if she's doing something mom won't approve of, she better not tell. What happens when something serious comes up, and this is the attitude the child has internalized? What happens when she's 16 & pregnant? Don't tell! Mom won't be OK with it, Mom can't handle even small breaches of the ice cream rules so she DEFINITELY won't be OK with this... Children need to learn that there are different rules with different adults and their parents can be OK with that. They need to see that they can break certain rules and the parents will still love them, & be glad they told. They need to enjoy their ice cream cone, not be in fear that mom or dad will find out & somehow "punish" them, or with guilt for going against Mom's wishes (because if it wasn't that bad, Grandma wouldn't say, "Don't tell!") Why not just say, "Hey, let's have a special treat, we'll have ice cream before dinner!" and leave out the "Don't tell!" part??? Why not enforce for the kid that she can tell any of the trusted adults in her life ANYTHING she wants or needs to, and they will always be there for her?
post #19 of 27
How old is this child? I agree that surprises are OK, but kids should never be expected to keep secrets from their parents. In fact, I've told mine that if someone tells them to keep somethng a secret, that means it's something they should especially tell me, because it's more important that I know what it is.

I wouldn't be OK with it, and I'm more relaxed and more free-range than most here, I think. I'm OK with grandparents having a bit of freedom for treats here and there that I wouldn't normally allow, because I think the grandparent/grandchild is more important than having purity of diet. Assuming there is nothing toxic in the relationshp. But I wouldn't want the chid to feel like the treats should be keep as secrets from me. Even if you think about the fact that hte child could develp an allergy. "What have you had to eat today?" could be an important question to which you might need an honest answer.
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post


Privacy, yes. Child asking grandma to keep a secret, yes (within reason, using good judgement). Grandma asking child to keep secret? No, that's an unfair burden to the child, and would cause me to seriously question the safety of the grandparent involved.
See, a reasonable parent will not mind if the kid has ice cream before dinner on a special occasion, and won't micromanage your time. But what is the secrecy around it for?? To me it undermines the parents. It shows poor communication & questionable judgement. It teaches the child that if she's doing something mom won't approve of, she better not tell. What happens when something serious comes up, and this is the attitude the child has internalized? What happens when she's 16 & pregnant? Don't tell! Mom won't be OK with it, Mom can't handle even small breaches of the ice cream rules so she DEFINITELY won't be OK with this... Children need to learn that there are different rules with different adults and their parents can be OK with that. They need to see that they can break certain rules and the parents will still love them, & be glad they told. They need to enjoy their ice cream cone, not be in fear that mom or dad will find out & somehow "punish" them, or with guilt for going against Mom's wishes (because if it wasn't that bad, Grandma wouldn't say, "Don't tell!") Why not just say, "Hey, let's have a special treat, we'll have ice cream before dinner!" and leave out the "Don't tell!" part??? Why not enforce for the kid that she can tell any of the trusted adults in her life ANYTHING she wants or needs to, and they will always be there for her?

i totally agree with you!

 

very well said.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Grandparents and secrets