No Rules at In-Laws

  • My in-laws absolutely love our kids and they are very involved with our kids’ lives so we are blessed. The problem is when our kids sleep at their home they have no rules and upon arriving home, have to be re-trained to act appropriately. Eating habits and sleep routines are thrown out the window. Should we press my wife’s parents to being stricter, or allow them to be doting grandparents and deal with the fallout? -- Chris, StrongMoms Facilitator

  • They are your children and rules are rules regardless of where they are staying.. Your in-laws should absolutely be following the rules and limitations that you and your wife and set for YOUR children.... as i'm sure your in-laws would have expected the same out of their family members while they were raising your wife.... That being said i think that grandparents deserve a little leeway for example if bedtime is at 9 then i don't see any harm in pushing it back to 9:30 or 10 on special occasions. Behavior however is a very different story. They should be making sure the children have the same rules for behavior and cleanliness as you do at your home. That kind of consistency between families will teach the children how to behave when they are not around you as they get older.

  • Agreed for the most part but always easier said than done! I don't want to make it seem like it becomes bedlam, but little things like bedtime are difficult to manage. As you said Brinny, a little leeway can be just enough for there to be difficulty upon returning home!

  • A little give and take here is probably in order. Your girls also have to learn that just because something is acceptable somewhere doesn't mean that it is acceptable everywhere. They will learn that at grandma's they get to stay up late or get an extra special dessert but that means it is a special treat. Make sure you are approaching the issue and reminding your girls that it is a special treat to stay up late at grandma's. If your in-laws are too bad, you could gently request that desserts be limited or that bedtime be no later than 9:30. Let them know that it is just harder when they come home and your in-laws may be more understanding than you think. 

  • I know this is from a little over a month ago.... but we lived with my parents for my childrens toddlerhood becquse of my medical issues. I try to be pretty picky about what I feed my kids (sugars, etc.) and not letting them stay up too late and my parents would let them go to bed when ever they wanted and drink coke, have ice cream, etc. Obviously I was not too happy with this. In the end, it really is the children whom "suffer" because their little bodies do not know how to handle and process all that extra sugar and then they misbehave because they are doped up on sugar. Or they didnt get enough sleep last night because grandma and grndpa let them stay up late and are cranky and acting up because of that. It took a little while, but we finally all reached an agreement about limiting the spoiling of the children. It took many conversations and they do still get spoiled by their grandparents, but it is on a more limited basis. It is, afterall, a grandparents job to spoil the grandbabies!!

  • What did you decide to do about the inlaws? 

  • We took the advice of the posts and have had discussions with our older two that what happens at grandma and grandpa's house does not mean the rules change in our house. This has worked, and we also communicated to my in-laws, who are very kind and wonderful people. The fact that they are so kind makes it more difficult, because I don't want to ever seem too controlling or sensitive. So far so good!

  • Yet another great solution and outcome Answerdad.  Great job!

    -Jess

  • Glad to hear it! I think that involving your older girls in the solution was a good move. It is never too early to start teaching them that other houses have different rules, but that does not mean that it is acceptable in YOUR house. Especially when they start going over to friends' houses...it begins!