S/O house rules...when your rules are stricter - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 14 Old 07-31-2008, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Poor title, but another thread got me thinking. My ILs are very relaxed on their house rules for their other grandkids (who stay with them 50% of the time). My DS is only 14 mos, but I know we will have more rules for him as he gets older. Nothing too out-there, it's just the other kids are allowed pretty much anything, which is fine but not what I want for my own child. We see them for overnight visits every month or so (they live 4 hours away). This is whole family visits - he doesn't stay there witout DH and I. Is it OK to have our rules for DS at their house, or is it a case of "when in rome"?

Safety, of course, is non-negotiable (these people let the kids sit on their laps and "drive" a moving car on the road). But for other types of things...

For example, I'm big on meals as family time. I don't make DS eat, but I plan on (and do) insisit that he sits with us for a good chunk of the meal. I give him a choice of foods, some quiet toys, talk with him, and generally treat him as a member of the family who belongs at the table. He's generally expected to sit and eat with us. We're not talking some 3 hour, 12 course meal. Just a standard family dinner. The other kids are running, screaming, playing hide and seek, and occasioanally stopping by the table for a bite. Should I let DS do this if he wants or insist that he sits for a reasonable amount of time, eats his meal, then is excused to go play?
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#2 of 14 Old 07-31-2008, 10:56 AM
 
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I say to do as you wish with your child.

I also don't like the "fly by" eating that some people allow with their kids. To each his/her own, of course, but it is something I don't allow.

If the ILS don't like it, well....they already had the chance to be parents. You have the right to parent your child the way you see fit.
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#3 of 14 Old 07-31-2008, 11:03 AM
 
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We have a similar situation with our extended family. There are some things I try to relax about, but I do enforce our table manners.

For instance, last weekend we were eating as an extended family. Older cousin (about 8) is allowed to be up and down, playing, generally whatever during meals. My two DDs (ages 4 and 2) are expected to stay seated during the meal until they're finished - I see it as a safety issue. My oldest DD started to get up and play, and I quietly told her she needed to stay at the table until the meal was over.

I kind of have some things that I won't budge on (sitting at meals), and other things that I try to relax about (allow more "junk" foods, not worrying as much about routines). So far I have avoided conflict by just speaking quietly to my kids to re-direct - even if the older cousin is allowed to do whatever it is that I just told my kids not to.
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#4 of 14 Old 07-31-2008, 04:32 PM
 
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I have explained it that every family makes their own rules, and that X is against our rules, but must not be against the rules for that person. Very matter of fact, that's the way it is, period. With extended family, it gets a little touchier, but I think it still works. Maybe change the wording to "in our HOUSE, these are the rules, and those rules are the same wherever we are". Or something like that. Good luck!

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#5 of 14 Old 07-31-2008, 05:33 PM
 
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You can try having your own rules there... In my expereince, it is hard... some grandparents just don't listen and undermine you anyway, or do precisely what you told them not to do. We had this problem all the time with DP's Mom and Step-Dad.

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#6 of 14 Old 07-31-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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It really is OK for you to have different rules at Grandma's house than at home. It's also OK if you have different rules for your child than your inlaws have for your neices and/or nephews.

I suggest you play it by ear. Some rules will be the same as at home, others will be the same as the cousins', and others will be somewhere in between. Maybe you'll insist on more sitting at the table than the cousins do, but still allow more playtime while the grownups eat than normally happens at home.

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#7 of 14 Old 07-31-2008, 06:45 PM
 
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For us, it depends on the issue. As far as eating goes, my MIL expects everyone to sit at the table. We do as well, and so do BIL/SIL, so there's no problem there. We do not, however, expect the kids to eat some of everything. My nephews know that rule is different for our kids than for them, and they're fine with it. (They're 4, 7, and 12, so a good range.) On the other hand, they've never had to take naps, but my son is beastly without one. So for that we tell him that "Aunt H and Uncle J don't say that G & L have to nap, but you do." He did squirm and fuss a little the first couple of times, but now he understands.

For the most part, though, I try to relax on the rules because I like everyone to be comfortable. My ILs also take the lead on some things. I won't let my kids push chairs across my hardwood floors, for example, but when DD was doing it last week, MIL said, "oh, it's fine." So I let it go. I think kids are pretty good with understanding those kids of differences if you're clear and matter-of-fact about them.

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#8 of 14 Old 07-31-2008, 06:46 PM
 
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For me it would depend on how often you're doing it. I have the same rules for my kids with my parents because we see them pretty often (we go to the same church). If it were a "just on holidays" type of visiting, I would probably let them go running off with the cousins.

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#9 of 14 Old 07-31-2008, 07:09 PM
 
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I don't think there's alot of harm to make 'exceptions' on an occasional basis. I think what happens day in and day out is important.

My dad gives DD a cookie (vanilla waffer) and juice as son as we get there. She knows that it's a special "baba" thing. She even says as we drive over there "daddy baba, juice"... That doesn't mean that she asks for juice at home. She's 20 months and can understand that there are different rules at different houses.

Personally I draw my line at safety... And REAL safety... Sitting down while eating is safety. Sitting at the table while other people eat isn't...
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#10 of 14 Old 07-31-2008, 08:02 PM
 
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It's up to you, but I don't see anything wrong with loosening up the rules for one night per month. It'd be tough for a kid to sit at the table and eat when all his cousins are running around playing -- I don't think I'd stick to that one (although dinner is family time when we're at home) because I want family dinners to be pleasurable for DS, and me forcing a miserable child to sit at the table when he can see other kids playing wouldn't be pleasurable for either of us.

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#11 of 14 Old 07-31-2008, 08:11 PM
 
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Safety rules stay, everything else is out the window. :

Once a month at inlaws won't turn your kids into barbarians (not to say that your in-laws are barbarians ). I just think it's okay for the kids "to have it easy" at grandma, and grandpa's.

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#12 of 14 Old 08-01-2008, 12:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
Safety rules stay, everything else is out the window. :
That's my approach too. It's not worth the hassle to try to enforce certain rules when no one else is.
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#13 of 14 Old 08-01-2008, 03:36 AM
 
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We've had this issue come up. My approach is to follow the rules I set, and if the grandparent's have issues and don't like it we don't have to come over anymore. I was disgusted when they couldn't understand why I didn't plop my 4 month old baby in the car seat in front of the tv to watch the Simpson's the way their other grandchild (2 weeks older than my son) was while she drank her formula from a propped up bottle.

Mmmyeah. I'm sticking to my rules.

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#14 of 14 Old 08-01-2008, 10:08 AM
 
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We do some compromising, but stay firm on other things. It's a matter of picking your battles. When they were younger, I tried bringing our healthy snacks for them to eat, but MIL would just give them whatever she had around. She feels a need to feed them herself. So, the kids eat some junk and watch a lot of tv when they are at MIL's. But if I find out she gave them soda, heads roll, because that is one of our absolutes... I just think it is way too addicting.

I also don't let them drive the kids anywhere too much, because they just never seem to get the harness tight enough. It's not intentional, they just don't "get it."

You just have to find your own comfort zone. Kids learn there are different rules in different situations, and can usually adapt. Personally, I would probably let the fly-by-eating thing go... but that's just me. It depends on how much it bugs you. We have the opposite problem, in that the ILs micromanage how much food goes into the kids' mouths and how many bites they need to take before they get another sip of their drink, etc. It drives me batty, especially when the "food" they are trying to get them to eat are hotdogs and fries or something. So, I do often need to step in and say "they're fine... they can stop if they're full."

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