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dd good relationship with MIL based on so much exposure to things I don't like

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Wahhh, this is such an unoriginal problem, I know.  DD is 5, homeschooled, and we live with no TV (though she does get some very limited screen time, like old episodes of Mister Rogers at bedtime on my computer).  She spends about 15-20 hours a week over at my in-laws' house, including a sleepover once a week, all of which time she loves.

 

MIL and I have talked about what I don't want DD to have/get/be exposed to, but the more I try to iterate my feelings, the more I feel like it seems like I want my daughter to be raised in a burlap sack in front of a stack of neutral-colored soy-based crayons and paper made from sustainable unicorn poop.  No this, please no that, please not this.  

 

I am aware that my daughter's good relationship with my MIL is probably more important than DD being sheltered from a lot of the things I don't like, but I want it both ways!  

 

DD watches TV when she goes to MIL's house (usually PBS, nick jr, and the disney channel), sees commercials for stuff, wants the stuff.

 

They go shopping for new clothes that have slogans and designs that I feel unhappy about (pink "Cute Girl" or "Future Heartbreaker" kind of stuff).

 

MIL wanted to take DD to see Frozen but I said no to that and felt horrible about saying no.

 

Now is asking about abcmouse.com, which is a site that doesn't actually look that bad, but opens this whole thing of dd's internet use, when will she get to use the internet, for how long, supervision issues, on what device issues, etc. etc.  

 

So.  It now seems like I'm a complete luddite and overbearing.  I recognize that none of the things MIL does with DD are all that bad, but I just get tired of feeling like I'm the one always saying no to stuff.  DH is not so much help on all this.  He tends to want to please his mom to keep her happy.  

 

Your similar stories would be appreciated, and/or if you feel like giving me the high-class problems smackdown, I guess I can handle that. 

post #2 of 18
When I say no to things others want to do with dd it helps for me to think through why I am saying no. Often it is a knee jerk reaction to something I don't like not a decision based on the possibility of actual harm. I use decision method I read about in a parenting book.that first has you prove why something is harmful then prove why it isn't.

I also think it may help if you and your husband are closer to an agreement on these issues. He may just want to make his mom happy by saying nothing but he may also just pretend to agree with you because he truly doesn't care and isn't motivated to rock the boat either way.
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erlaine View Post
 

 

 

I am aware that my daughter's good relationship with my MIL is probably more important than DD being sheltered from a lot of the things I don't like, but I want it both ways!  

 

 

 

 

I agree that the relationship is more important. However, you have family values, and it's important to live those values. It is valuable to know what you are saying "no" to-- is it the commercialism, the branded images, the plastic crap?  Is it the desire to grow up without media influence? 

 

Your best hope for getting MIL onboard is having conversations with her, talking about your parenting values. It's reasonable to request limited screen time and careful choices when at grandma's house. My own mother lets my kids watch more TV than I would usually, but they also do other things, and stay quite busy, And I know my mom needs a break when she's got my kids. 

 

Some things that have helped me are talking about advertising to my kids-- they are PBS only at my home, but are allowed some access to Nick programming at grandparents house. We talk about the point of commercials, and how they are designed to make you want stuff. Somehow, this helps, at least at my house. They don't ask for what they see.   As for ABC mouse: my daughter asked to check that out, and we found out that it's not really free-- it's only a short, free trial. So when I told her it cost money to use the site, she was willing to let it go. Now, she does have access to some things on the web-- there's good stuff out there. Limited screen time still provides opportunties to check out Hooda Math, Starfall, and Poisson Rouge-- all really good sites. 

 

As for the clothes, you can make those "at home only" clothes-- to go out, she can pick something without a slogan on it.  

 

Or, maybe have a catalog from a clothing store you do like sent to your MIL's house. 

 

Good luck. It's odd, really. I remember feeling strongly about many of my choices. I've stayed true to many, conceeded on others. 

post #4 of 18
Fwiw I saw Frozen this week and it was great how it played on past Disney stereotypes. The Princess doesn't marry her Prince. True loves kiss doesn't break the curse etc. I know it is still heavily commercialized but it was just fabulous compared to past Disney princess movies.
post #5 of 18

I agree with Springshowers about Frozen. I think it's the first Disney princess movie we've ever taken our kids to (and they're 10 and 12!), but it came out the weekend of dd2's birthday and she really enjoyed it. 

 

Of the topics you mention, I would draw the firmest line at the clothing. We don't do inappropriate clothes and there are a LOT of those out there, but I think you can steer your MIL to many conventional stores that have better clothes, and explain that you want her to stay looking like a little girl while she is a little girl and not a teenager. My kids actually hate the Justice store — sensory overload! 

 

The other thing I would be careful about is the Disney channel. I can't find it now, but I was reading recently a piece on the negative stereotyping, etc. We don't have cable now, but when we did we never did Disney. We did Nick Jr and PBS and videos. 

post #6 of 18
Ah MILs... gotta love em!
I know exactly how you feel. You want your kids to have a decent relationship with their grandmother, but (at least in my case) grandma wants to do the grand kids how she did her kids. The list is at least a mile long of the things she wants to do just because that's how she did it and it worked for her. I'm sorry, I don't have any real advice to give you. I ended up severely limiting the time that my kids spend with their nana (especially alone with her) she was just undermining me and DH to no end. At least your MIL sounds like she's attempting to respect you.
post #7 of 18

I agree about choosing your battles and really deciding what is a serious problem and what is an aggravation but liveable. This seems like the sort of thing that should really be your husband's job- because it's his mother- but it sounds like that's not an option.

 

For internet: if you aren't already, get familiar with filters. On firefox, there's a blacklist/whitelist add-on I really like. You can either ban specific sites, or only allow certain sites. If a site is blocked, links to it won't even show up as links (if I'm remembering right- haven't used it for awhile). It's fairly easy to turn on and off so it won't effect your browsing and you can be sure that your daughter won't stumble on something bad. Find out what filter options are on each device, and what works best for your family. As she gets older and only allowing acceptable sites gets infeasible (if you want her to do research for a project, for example, it'll be very difficult to white list EVERY SINGLE RESOURCE)- you can still find filters that blocks really inappropriate sites. The filter should ease up as she gets older and more responsible, similar to how you'll probably let her read more advanced/mature books the older she gets. 

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by beanma View Post
The other thing I would be careful about is the Disney channel. I can't find it now, but I was reading recently a piece on the negative stereotyping, etc. We don't have cable now, but when we did we never did Disney. We did Nick Jr and PBS and videos. 

Disney Channel has gotten AWFUL. I could rant, but I won't. One big problem, IMHO, is that it will advertise PG-13 movies (ex. The Avengers) even though the channel is aimed at kids too young for the movie. This article talks about the channel. This point is a big deal: "Because those people on the shows are disrespectful to their parents. It makes Elizabeth, and sometimes Bella, think it’s OK to be disrespectful to us. They teach kids to be more concerned with consumerism.” It specifically points out that shows aimed at young kids (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Dora the Explorer) tend to be better.

 

If she argues that her kids watched Disney Channel- point out that it was MUCH better when her kids were growing up, taught better values, etc and it's just gone downhill- and maybe suggest that she show your daughter some of her kids' favorite shows when they were her age (well, this is my personal opinion- if your opinion is it's always been crap, this won't work- I don't think it was perfect, but it wasn't this bad). If she's anything like my mom, she may even still have tapes!

 

I'd be careful with the other channels as well- a lot of the Cartoon Network shows really seem like they're aimed at teens+, and often that's who a lot of the audience is, but they're aired when kids are watching and advertised during shows definitely aimed at children. They just make jokes and contain content I'd, personally, consider PG-13 on a channel I expect to be PG.

 

I agree about Nick Jr and PBS being good. I think they're both a lot better about not putting commercials during the show, too.

 

I would also suggest showing them on Netflix to cut down on the commercials, since your daughter asking for things is a problem. If your MIL doesn't have a Netflix/Hulu account- and even if you don't- it may be worth getting one just to give her a way to show them. You can point out that it gives her more control because she can choose specific shows your daughter likes (give her a list of suggestions your daughter does like that you're also okay with- make sure they're on netflix/hulu!), even if they aren't on at the time, and it also gives your daughter the chance to choose the exact episode she wants.

post #8 of 18

When dd was 5, she saw her first set of commercials. She'd seen recordings of some shows before, but never from "real" TV. This was at Grandma's. Within a couple of days, she'd gotten so excited about a puppet blanket toy and a light-up pillow pet from the repeato-ads on Nick or pbs or whatnot that Grandma ordered them right away (yeah, even straight from the TV ad). 

 

Let's just say we don't roll that way.

 

But--it opened up a door for discussion and learning about advertising, the tricks to get people to buy more stuff (might I add other-Grandma got her hooked on American Girl and the catalog that they peruse over Skype together?). Right now, we're working a bit on the feelings that she gets when looking at AG, about how her ideas change, about whether looking at all the stuff she doesn't have and looking at all those happy girls makes her feel good or bad, what it's like to see something in the book that she has already, etc. 

 

She knows my feelings about why Target sucks for color coding the toy aisles for gender--we've studied it together and she's heard me do lectures and review slides and such about the gender typing that was not present 40 years ago that is rampant today. She learned that plastic junky toys are a waste of money, but this was because she used her allowance to buy some cheap plastic shit that broke. Bummer! But a $5 lesson is much better than a $5000 lesson in terms of junky stuff, IMO. Through experience, she's learned a lot...but she would not have had those experiences if I'd had my way, really. In my perfect world she'd know nothing about it, but in terms of a value system, so far mine is winning.....in ways that turned out far more beneficial than if I'd fully controlled all the situations.

 

BTW--she's eaten McDonald's hamburgers and such along the way too. But here's the catch---after studying a bit of safe food practices, watching some classic videos about the mistreatment of animals, etc., and living among animals at some sanctuaries, well....you couldn't pay her to eat one now. And what's better? I've never said "no, you can't have that burger", but I've said "grandma is calling that food steak. That means cow" or "lamb is baby sheep" (she said "like the ones they put in those crates so they can't move???? No way!"). I can't control her environment all the time, but I can open up the right doors of information so her choices are informed ones. My only rule is that we must be mindful of our choices and do things that reflect integrity. I was tickled when she suggested leaving Santa some kale. "all those cookies will give him a terrible headache!", said the wise one.

 

It probably won't affect your kiddo too much to play an online super-consumerist-over-the-top commercialized game, but if she can get to that place where she's played it until boredom----like 3 hours of the same stupid jumping boinging thing until she says "this is stupid!"....now she's learned something valuable. Without the actual experience, it just sits out there like a delicious treat.

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by lanamommyphd07 View Post

She knows my feelings about why Target sucks for color coding the toy aisles for gender--we've studied it together and she's heard me do lectures and review slides and such about the gender typing that was not present 40 years ago that is rampant today. She learned that plastic junky toys are a waste of money, but this was because she used her allowance to buy some cheap plastic shit that broke. Bummer! But a $5 lesson is much better than a $5000 lesson in terms of junky stuff, IMO. Through experience, she's learned a lot...but she would not have had those experiences if I'd had my way, really. In my perfect world she'd know nothing about it, but in terms of a value system, so far mine is winning.....in ways that turned out far more beneficial than if I'd fully controlled all the situations.

I think it's better for a young child to learn these lessons than to completely shield them from it, because kids are going to be exposed to it someday. But I also think that the parents should be the ones to control how the children are exposed and to decide whether or not they're ready, especially at that young. There are kids who will get into it and it can become a problem- some kids never reach the point of boredom with computer games. Like the way that a lot of parents will give kids a taste of alcohol, because most kids will find the taste gross (changing it from a forbidden fruit to "that gross thing grown ups like")- I know a few kids who tasted it and thought it was super yummy and wanted more, causing an even bigger problem than before.

Parents can still undo the damage when other people expose them, obviously, but if your kid is one of the ones who can play a computer game for hours without boredom or who doesn't mind when the plastic junk breaks and just wants to replace it, then it's harder to undo the damage than with the ones who get bored after 5 minutes.

 

"but I've said "grandma is calling that food steak. That means cow" or "lamb is baby sheep""

Not 100% related- but I remember learning German and that they called meat "[animal] flesh". Rindfleish basically means "cow flesh" (beef), and I'm pretty sure that was true with pork and possibly chicken as well. I'm not fluent in German (had to look that up to double check) and dont' know everywhere that this applies- but I thought that was a very good way of doing it. It just seems more honest rather than trying to cover up "baby cow" by calling it "veal". We really don't do that with fruits or vegetables- call it a fancy name to pretend its something else- it seems telling that we have to with meat.

I still eat meat (although we try to get the best we can- we keep finding butchers that have better quality AND lower prices than chain supermarkets, I also try to find the best eggs- I think we're going to have chickens if we ever get a place where we can), but I'm aware of what it is and where it came from.

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysapling View Post
 

 Like the way that a lot of parents will give kids a taste of alcohol, because most kids will find the taste gross (changing it from a forbidden fruit to "that gross thing grown ups like")- I know a few kids who tasted it and thought it was super yummy and wanted more, causing an even bigger problem than before.

When dd had her 6th birthday celebration at Grandma's house, I was very, very very holycow grateful that dd and I had talked about substances. Here's why--

 

Grandma "dd, you want a bit of champagne in a crystal glass?"

dd: confused look--looks at me quizzically.

Me: "that's booze"

dd: even more confused look that I swear bordered on "are you flipping crazy, Grandma?", shakes her head.

Grandma: "Are you sure? just a little bit--have some with me for your birthday?" dd still shook her head.

(here's where I butted in....clearly dd had made the right choice initially, but my mother can be, uh, shall we say MANIPULATIVE)

Me: "No means no, Grandma...it's too early for peer pressure"

Grandma: laughs it off saying it tickled her to a be a young person's peer.

 

(I'll be honest. When my mother offered the shit to my kid I was horrified. I almost took her down. Seriously. I wanted to. What the heck gave her the right to offer my kid a mind altering substance? What? What? But I took a breath. I waited a second to see how dd would manage her Grandma. I was impressed! It's pushing a year since that episode, and I still want to wring her neck, and she lost a whole lot of trust with me regarding her precious granddaughter... but my trust in my daughter grew immensely) 

 

On the way home, dd started to cry--sob, actually. "why does Grandma want my brains to be mush? Why does she want me to have the barfies?" My response had something to do with Grandma having a lapse of judgement, and maybe, even though it was her 6th birthday, Grandma thought of her like a college student. The truth is that Grandma's narcissism had itself a big moment just then.

 

We'd had a discussion just a few months before (when I absent-mindedly read the Whitney Houston headline out loud and she was like "what!?") about what alcohol, hard drugs, etc might do, especially to brains that are growing, and it's not so good.  But it was that prior discussion and her reaction to it that made for a more patient moment with my mother that day...I trusted that dd would stand firm. Whew--thank goodness she actually did! 

 

Since then, before any visit with Grandma (I most always arrange to not be in the same room with my mother for too long, so DD does a weekend here and there--we live on the other side of the continent), we practice saying no. Big nos, little nos, shopping with Grandma nos (so that we don't end up with a bagful of clothes that Grandma manipulated dd into 'liking' that I subsequently have to return or put on ebay because dd won't touch them), booze nos, and then crazy ones too, like "what if Gma says dd, wouldn't you like to have very very short purple hair today? It would be so cute! I would love it!". I've even coached her how to yell at Grandma, growl at Grandma, etc. Folks who have been around them both describe Gma as a doting, over-attentive, "perfect" grandma. It's only when I'm around that a very crazy dynamic involving a lot of jealousy, competition and whatnot bring about her bad moments. What a shame!

 

(note: edited to remove ill-explained example that was unnecessary for description and potentially insensitive)


Edited by lanamommyphd07 - 12/31/13 at 8:02pm
post #11 of 18
Quote:
On the way home, dd started to cry--sob, actually. "why does Grandma want my brains to be mush? Why does she want me to have the barfies?" My response had something to do with Grandma having a lapse of judgement, and maybe, even though it was her 6th birthday, Grandma thought of her like a college student. The truth is that Grandma's narcissism had itself a big moment just then.

 

We'd had a discussion just a few months before (when I absent-mindedly read the Whitney Houston headline out loud and she was like "what!?") about what alcohol, hard drugs, etc might do, especially to brains that are growing, and it's not so good. I compared what it would be like to her friend down the road, a 30 year old woman with Down's. "You will have some trouble thinking, like friend does". Because her friend doesn't get knock-knock jokes (but plays with dolls forever!), this hit home for her. Knock knock jokes are really important, you know. But it was that prior discussion and her reaction to it that made for a more patient moment with my mother that day...I trusted that dd would stand firm. Whew--thank goodness she actually did! 

 

 

I totally get you being upset about what grandma did. I wouldnt be too keen on it either. But i think i'd take a bit more balanced view with my kid. Did you share with her that in many places and cultures it would be perfectly fine for even a young child to have a sip of wine with dinner or a taste of champagne during a celebration. And not because the adult wants the child's "brains to be mush" or for them to "have the barfies"....does she know that plenty of people can drink alcohol and its fun and pleasant and not with negative consequences? I'm not quite sure what to make of your comparison of drinking/doing drugs to having trouble thinking....like a person with DS?! I mean yeah i guess if a child is exposed to alcohol in utero that would apply but otherwise not really.  

post #12 of 18

No advice, I have issues like these with my own parents...but I will say that its a slippery slope.  Just one time leads to why not every time, etc...  If I could go back, I'd be way more hardcore about where I stand because once you allow it... its like opening the door.  We see my parents every weekend 2-3 times, so its not like its an occasional thing either...  sigh. :)  Good luck!!

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post

I totally get you being upset about what grandma did. I wouldnt be too keen on it either. But i think i'd take a bit more balanced view with my kid. Did you share with her that in many places and cultures it would be perfectly fine for even a young child to have a sip of wine with dinner or a taste of champagne during a celebration. And not because the adult wants the child's "brains to be mush" or for them to "have the barfies"....does she know that plenty of people can drink alcohol and its fun and pleasant and not with negative consequences? I'm not quite sure what to make of your comparison of drinking/doing drugs to having trouble thinking....like a person with DS?! I mean yeah i guess if a child is exposed to alcohol in utero that would apply but otherwise not really.  
All of this...
post #14 of 18
Limit their time together. Try to get your MIL on board with your thinking but don't hold your breath. She's trying to fast track your kid into some teenage antics here and that seems quite WRONG to me. Let childhood alone. Let them have some innocence and naivete about the world.
post #15 of 18

I apologize to Erlaine for potentially derailing the thread. Sometimes things are lost in translation. I removed the portion of my post that contained a potentially offensive comparison between alcohol-induced slowing of thinking and a person with DS. This was clearly not relevant to your initial question. 

post #16 of 18

Grandparents often want to be the "fun" ones and in that, they need to find a balance, too.  Grandma can still be the fun one and balance her fun with some of your boundaries. I just think you need to determine a little more clearly what your boundaries are and why.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post
 

I totally get you being upset about what grandma did. I wouldnt be too keen on it either. But i think i'd take a bit more balanced view with my kid. Did you share with her that in many places and cultures it would be perfectly fine for even a young child to have a sip of wine with dinner or a taste of champagne during a celebration. And not because the adult wants the child's "brains to be mush" or for them to "have the barfies"....does she know that plenty of people can drink alcohol and its fun and pleasant and not with negative consequences? I'm not quite sure what to make of your comparison of drinking/doing drugs to having trouble thinking....like a person with DS?! I mean yeah i guess if a child is exposed to alcohol in utero that would apply but otherwise not really.  

 

Wow, you responded so much nicer to that, uh, post than I would have.

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Now is asking about abcmouse.com, which is a site that doesn't actually look that bad, but opens this whole thing of dd's internet use, when will she get to use the internet, for how long, supervision issues, on what device issues, etc. etc.  

 

My nearly 5 year old uses ABCmouse, and its a pretty good site.  The one downside we see is that you accumulate coins with which to buy things for your house (curtains, a pet, etc), and we find that to be a driving factor for what's she's doing.

 

I wonder if it would help for you to play more of a role in coming up with ideas for your MIL (and even putting together "grandmas activity boxes" that are only for time with your MIL....on your own/with MIL so its still a surprise for your daughter?).  I know that both my mom and my MIL have a fairly limited toolbox so-to-speak, and going outside of that would probably be a big stretch for them (and TV and shopping would probably be the go-to activities).  Things like cooking/baking activities, gardening-type things, art projects that are more involved than soy crayons...if you help come up with a plan more in-line with what your parenting values are, you're less likely to have to say no to something.

post #18 of 18

erlaine this is a really complicated subject. 

 

looking back me as a mom when my dd was little - i find i was so full of myself (not saying that about you). i was so strict with what my child could have and couldnt, what she should or shouldnt because we are all trained to believe that our children with behave in a certain way. that it is the outside that moulds our children. not really us so much.

 

i have a 11 year old. the biggest lesson i have learnt is that - it does not matter what my dd is exposed to. what matters is what "I" stand for. what are my morals. what are my values. do i have the guts to live my life the way i want to.

 

due to circumstances and emergencies as a single mom - i had to rely on others to watch dd or put her in front of the tv. i was forced into exposing her to things i didnt want her exposed to. 

 

but i discovered it all turned out right. yes she went thru stages when she got into the very horrible things i didnt want her to get into. but they were just that - a stage - a stage to explore and figure out. 

 

i feel before 10 you cant really tell the effects on your child. between 10 and 12 is when you see it all coming together. 

 

some of us will have to accept that we have the kind of child with personality that does not gel with us. i was such an anomaly for my mom.

 

so its really important to really break down each situation and see it for yourself. and sit and try to figure out the situation. is it really as bad as you think it is. 

 

having people around me meant i had to change my ideals of raising my child. and it didnt turn out as bad as i thought it might. i notice what matters is still waht "I" think. and i've learnt to accept when our ways differ. 

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