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My inlaws keep my kids2 days a week. Every day they see them they take them to thestore and buy them at least 2 toys each! I mean everytime they have them!!!! My son is doing horrible in 4th grade and I feel like they are rewarding him for bad behavior! My husband has talked to them and talked to them and they continue to do this. My husbands dad wasn't there for him when he was a kid so I think this has something to do with it. Help I am desperate”

8 replies so far...

  • That would drive me crazy. Luckily, my mom only buys him clothes. When I was growing up my grandparents bought me any toy (or really anything) that I ever asked for right away and it drove my mom insane. So luckily, she has refrained from this because she remembers how much it used to upset her. My mom fought and fought my grandparents but they would not listen. However, the good news is that if they dont listen to you and keep buying them gifts, the kids wont expect that from you. Or at least I never expected it from my parents. I knew better. I knew that it was only my grandparents that were suckers for the presents and it ended when my grandfather passed.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by oceans mom on 10th November 2010

  • My inlaws told me when we had our first child that they wouldn't tell me how to parent as long as I didn't tell them how to grandparent.

    I said fine, as long as your grandparenting doesn't interfere with my parenting.

    It sounds like their grandparenting is interfering. Talk with them and explain that you feel they're taking advantage of your need for their babysitting services by ignoring your requests to limit the toy purchases. Don't make empty threats that you can't follow through on, but let them know that this is an important issue to you and that if they can't respect you as a parent then something will have to change in the babysitting arrangement.

    Good luck, dealing with family is always hard.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Amy @ Go Ask Your Dad on 26th October 2010

  • Wow, this is a common issue!
    Me too, it was my mother, and she has since admitted to having a shopping dependency. No, I'm serious.
    But anyway, some things I tried in dealing with my mother spoiling my daughter with many (and I mean at times a dozen or more) gifts every time she saw her:
    * Told her, "please bring one and only one thing". (Weaning her off the toys slowly.) Then, "Please save TOY gifts for birthdays and Christmas." (Now she had to stick to clothes, books, etc.
    *Please give her a quarter or something less than a dollar and put it in her piggy bank with her. When she adds this to her allowance you guys can go shopping together for something larger and meaningful that she'll remember she got with you.
    *Rotate toys. Put 1/2 the toys away every month and bring out the other half. Clean-up suddenly got so much easier. And if you kids protest, let them pick which ones go away - it's only a month!
    *I'm an elementary teacher and I love that you see the poor message the toys send in response to poor school performance. Ask (beg?) them to tie the toys to good reports from school. Maybe make a chart to keep there, and if he gets X number of good days at school in a row, they can make a special trip to the store to reward him.
    *If all else fails, write them a letter, and make sure both you and your husband sign it. Be very clear and businesslike about how you feel and what you want, and don't make it a request. These are YOUR kids and ultimately, YOU and your husband decide what goes into their hands, period. This is where I lost it with my mom: she told me she could buy my daughter whatever she wanted. I told her that sounded fine now, but later when I decided that she couldn't have a particular movie or expensive fashion accessory and Grammy bought it anyway, she would not have access to her granddaughter unless it was with me along for the ride, supervising. Yes, it got that bad, and it sounds like it's getting there with your kids too. GOOD LUCK!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Meg D. on 14th October 2010

  • Maybe the toys could be left at your inlaws' house to be played with there. If your 4th grader has a good week at school, taking a toy home could be a reward. Also, just because he is doing poorly in school, that doesn't mean he has to be treated crummy all the time. I am a high school teacher, and I've seen kids really blossom when an attainable goal/reward system is set up-- something that depends on a couple of days or a week of doing something specific right to earn a specific reward. What does NOT work is a deal where a kid has to make a certain grade in a semester long class-- the time period is too long and as soon as they feel like they've blown it, they give up for the rest of the semester. If the message he is getting is "I'm doing horrible in 4th grade and I don't deserve anything" he may feel like he can't ever earn approval and he may quit trying. But a specific goal (like get at least an 80 on this week's spelling test) attached to a specific reward (you can take a toy home from grandma and grandad's) can really help with academic achievement.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Allison on 11th October 2010

  • Mich, I wish I could understand that. I have a sister who loves my kids. She's obese (has been all her life), has various health problems, and knows how particular I am about nutrition. I know she does NOT wish a weight problem on my kids. So, why would she keep serving them the fattiest foods I can think of, in quantities that are not age-appropriate? Every single time she cares for them? And she refuses to serve them vegetables, even though they eat veggies as well as anything else. What's up with that?

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SKL on 11th October 2010

  • My ex does this - only it isn't toys; it is candy! Something I can't take away because it is eaten before she gets back to me.
    He seems to ignore the weight she gains too, despite the fact that he too was heavy and it led to Type II diabetes.
    I can't seem to get through to him. It isn't an issue to me if she's not "perfect weight" but on the other hand why sabotage her so early on!?

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mich on 11th October 2010

  • My mom does that with my son. It seems like everyday they are going to the Dollar General or Kmart. So, it got to a point where he expects it. Since, it is my mom it is easier I guess to talk to her about the situation. But I told or asked her not to take him all the time because now he is expecting it. She actually stopped taking him everyday now, but may still stop once a week. The first time he asked and she didn't stop, he cried, but she ignored the crying and he forgot all about it. Your husband may have done this already, but I would emphasize how your son is doing in school. Maybe, that will ease up the trips a little.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by BusyMomiBee on 11th October 2010

  • You can still put the toys in extended time-out if that would help with discipline / incentive to do well in school. Another option is to keep them at the grandparents' house. Maybe buy a nice box to keep them in and make it clear the box is to stay "there." Still another option is to do a quarterly toy sweep for a children's charity. Put the offending toys in a pile, tell your children they can keep x toys which they can select, and have them personally donate the remaining toys. (Maybe monthly would make more sense if we're talking about 4 new toys per week!) If granny finds out and gets mad, maybe she will stop buying the toys. (This works with candy, too.)

    Another thing you could do is tell the grandparents that since Junior is having trouble in school and not getting a lot of time to read in the evenings, a book might be a better gift than a toy at this point in his life. Maybe Grandpa would appreciate being tasked with finding the perfect boy books for your son and sharing them with him.

    My kids are also showered with gifts and this bugs me as it's not the way I was brought up. However, I note that the number of toys my kids have doesn't really seem to make a difference in how they interact with their world. Their behavior still depends on what I consistently demand of them. The biggest challenge I have is figuring out how to keep their areas organized with all of that stuff.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SKL on 9th October 2010