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Need a neutral opinion (or at least a third opinion)


mamashark

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My life is so exciting right now...in the most unexciting way, haha. 

 

So for those who don't remember, a quick recap - we are living in our camper in my inlaws backyard until June. At that point we will be traveling more for DH's job and only back in my inlaws driveway for weekends so we can attend our church. In-laws have various serious health issues and we are in part here to allow the kids to spend more time with them because we don't know how the health issues will work out, especially given some of their unwillingness to change lifestyle habits. (yes, I disagree with how they are handling their health but I try hard to keep my opinions out of it - I cannot change or control anyone but myself).

 

My eldest has ADHD, high anxiety, and severe congestion, and we are treating it, recently, with with gluten free diet trial and sensory diet with great success.

My second has a gluten allergy that results in severe eczema.

My third is a conundrum and we are trialing a diet change/intense OT sensory diet with the hope of decreasing severe behavioral issues that have us seeking behavioral evaluation.

My fourth is easy going and healthy.

 

My in-laws disagree with both the starting points (no ADHD, anxiety is not abnormal, eczema is not a health issue to worry about and the behavior is "normal" for a boy his age) and the treatment plans (we are depriving our children of food and "normal" life). That said they are making a huge point of "respecting" the diet trial. Although enough comments have been made that make me know that we are in for a lovely collision at the end of the trial since we have seen significant improvements in the eldest two (adhd, anxiety and eczema).

 

BUT, the issue today is that my MIL knows our time here is limited and that she wants to have a sleepover with my son before we leave. She's had sleep overs every once in a while since we've gotten here with the older girls and I've not been 100% pleased with that (they don't agree with our bedtimes for them and often keeps them up later than we do and then the girls are cranky and tired the next day) but I've accepted it b/c of the fact that they sleep well in their beds and the sleep overs are rare - maybe 1x a month.

 

My 4 yo son who has the supposedly "normal" behavior according to MIL, sleeps inconsistently and poorly. He'll sleep in his bed 2-3 nights in a row then spend a night going from his bed to the floor to the couch to the chair to my bed and end up tired and cranky the next day. MIL thinks this is not a problem and says her boys slept in her bed a lot too. (um, not exactly the same thing but ok thanks). He still doesn't go to bed without a fight, even with a VERY consistent bedtime routine. Dr. has us giving him melatonin just to reduce the amount of time he throws fits at bedtime. He'll pass out on the floor of his room most of the time. He often wakes up crying overnight too, and will only respond to me - DH can't even help him overnight or he shuts down and will literally sit in his bed refusing to lay down for hours (we tried once. it was bad.)

 

We have told her that he cannot have a sleepover while he is still sleeping so poorly. She's respected that for the most part, asking him how he's sleeping and encouraging him to sleep in his bed, then today she responded with that "it's ok" when he ends up in our bed because "he'll probably sleep just fine" in the bed she has for him and that if not, he won't be the first boy who has slept with her in her bed. She looked directly at me for that last statement and I responded:

"Ok, well, I have a sink full of dishes I need to take care of!" and left. :cursing:  :leaving:

 

I know I see this through angry, irritated-colored glasses. There's a lot of junk under this bridge and I'm so ready to tear the bridge apart one stone at a time but I have to bide my time for one more month. Am I being overly protective of my son in this issue? Should I allow a sleepover? Or am I in the right here? 

 

And how do you live in a situation like this and not allow the stress and tension to get to you? I am terrible about allowing things to roll off my back and the tension and stress is making me a pretty miserable person a lot of the time. Most of the time, actually. I work hard to put on a show for my kids so that I can keep the tension away from them but I'm becoming pretty depressed. I drink Kava tea a couple times a day and it seems to help some but short of turning to copious amounts of wine I'm not sure what else to do! 

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I would allow the sleep-over one time, on a night when it doesn't matter how he behaves the next day.

 

Honestly, I think it's wonderful that she is inviting your 4yo to spend the night over there.  Just from a neutral outsider's perspective.

 

Tensions naturally run high when adults in responsible roles have to remain in close quarters.  I hope you can hold out for another month without burning those bridges.  After you are separate, you may find that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is true for you.  :)  Or not.  :)

 

ETA:  Nobody has ever been 100% pleased with how any sleep-over goes, but it's good for kids to experience how different people roll.

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Ok, first, I think you are *great* at letting things roll off your back and you are also pretty wonderful at preserving a surface-level of getting along. You are simply dealing with hard moments more often (and at a greater level of difficulty) than most people, so you don't feel as successful as you otherwise would feel. Give yourself some credit. What you are saying is like a woman running a rooming house for 25 teenagers claiming not to be very good at housework -- because she finds it hard to keep up, and her home isn't as well kept as the family next door. She needs to acknowledge that she is genuinely just doing a harder job.

 

As for your son, I think you see both sides because this decision probably doesn't matter. On the one hand, I think you are right: a sleepover would probably be genuinely unpleasant for DS and grandma, resulting in some crabbiness for a few days. On the other hand, one unpleasant night is no big deal in the grand scheme of the world. The biggest problem would be for you to resist saying 'I told you so.'

 

No, I suppose the bigger problem would be if luck is with them and a sleepover goes well. There would be crowing. That would be hard to endure.

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Tensions naturally run high when adults in responsible roles have to remain in close quarters. I hope you can hold out for another month without burning those bridges. After you are separate, you may find that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is true for you. :) Or not. :)

 

.

When we didn't live here we got along a lot better. A weekend visit may be just starting to get tense and then it was tune to leave. But living here has proven to be quite a different story.

 

 

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Ok, first, I think you are *great* at letting things roll off your back and you are also pretty wonderful at preserving a surface-level of getting along. You are simply dealing with hard moments more often (and at a greater level of difficulty) than most people, so you don't feel as successful as you otherwise would feel. Give yourself some credit. What you are saying is like a woman running a rooming house for 25 teenagers claiming not to be very good at housework -- because she finds it hard to keep up, and her home isn't as well kept as the family next door. She needs to acknowledge that she is genuinely just doing a harder job.

 

As for your son, I think you see both sides because this decision probably doesn't matter. On the one hand, I think you are right: a sleepover would probably be genuinely unpleasant for DS and grandma, resulting in some crabbiness for a few days. On the other hand, one unpleasant night is no big deal in the grand scheme of the world. The biggest problem would be for you to resist saying 'I told you so.'

 

No, I suppose the bigger problem would be if luck is with them and a sleepover goes well. There would be crowing. That would be hard to endure.

Thank you for your encouragement, tears seem to be my friend lately.

 

 

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It's weird that she's getting so entrenched in this idea that they must sleep inside of her house.

 

I think she's missing her little boy days and is being defensive.

 

And you're on the defensive because she's disrespecting you up one side and down the other about the health of your kids.

 

Y'all need space!!

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My toddlers and preschoolers have ended up in close family or friends beds when they needed to be away from me (new baby etc). I don't have an issue with that if grandma is willing and is a safe place for him to be. It really seems like that is a way she wants to connect with each kid and of course bedtimes will be later and such. I think these things are memorable and meaningful to a kid, much more so than going to bed on time one day would be.

 

But this is assuming the grandparents are safe and loving. Not getting the food thing is totally generational. But if they will stick to the plan even if they don't agree, I personally would allow it.

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Nope. Your kid. If you say he's not ready for a sleepover, then he's not ready for a sleepover. For WHATEVER reason.

 

We get along well with my dad and his wife, and we didn't allow sleepovers at their house until the kids were older. They didn't get upset. We said "not ready yet," and they said okay. Her getting upset is the problem. It sounds like it's a power struggle thing rather than a creepy thing, but it's HER problem and not yours. He's your child and those are your boundaries. Don't give reasons. "Not ready" is sufficient.

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Does your ds want to sleep over?

I'm not sure. Sometimes he seems to want to but other times he doesn't want to go up to even play, like today.

 

Eta, that said I've not given him the option to. I've learned with my older daughter that sometimes having to make a choice when it is obvious that there are differing opinions is unfair on the child and causes more stress than excitement.

 

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Yeah, I don't think it's creepy. I think she's got this idea that she MUST do this, not taking a step back and seeing that it's really such a small thing. Just walk out your back door and play with them.

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This post reminds me of a friend I lost to cancer a few years ago.  She used to have sleepovers with her grandkids to create memories.  It was so important for her to have that special time with them.  No doubt she and their moms disagreed on many things (she was the paternal grandma).  But now, they are so incredibly glad that the kids have those memories.  To this day they still post grandma-grandkid photos on facebook.

 

I think you may regret it if you don't allow a sleep-over, unless the reasons are very severe (e.g. known child abuser, does illegal drugs).

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With my ILs , who were very much like yours, I just kept saying no on the sleepovers. It was hard and there was a lot of pressure but I would just say "no" with a smile and would "pass the bean dip " just as you did.

 

My opinion was that while it was true that my kids wouldn't die (she fed them food they were allergic to but not to the point of anaphylactic shock), it still wasn't healthy especially when they were so little. And if you are actively working in something like sleep habits I think that it is a big deal to mess up the routine that you are trying to establish with the doctor's help.

 

Once my kids were able to advocate for themselves it went better. If I said "no regular ice cream " then that boundary would be pushed. If my kids told grandma that they didn't want ice cream but wanted something else that was ok, she would fall all over herself to get it for them. Same for things like needing a life jacket and supervision for non swimmers.

 

 

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I hate to be the Debbie downer in posts like this... But my mil passed away 10 years ago. She had my kids over for sleep overs a few times a month. She let them stay up late and eat junk food and they were often cranky the next day. These memories are so special to my kids now. I'm so glad I let them go spend time with her, even if it was hard for me. Her health declined rapidly, and she was gone within 6 months. I agree that the gluten free diet should be adhered to, but in the grand scheme of life a sleepover is no big deal, imo. If he wants to go sleep over, let him.

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With my ILs , who were very much like yours, I just kept saying no on the sleepovers. It was hard and there was a lot of pressure but I would just say "no" with a smile and would "pass the bean dip " just as you did.

 

My opinion was that while it was true that my kids wouldn't die (she fed them food they were allergic to but not to the point of anaphylactic shock), it still wasn't healthy especially when they were so little. And if you are actively working in something like sleep habits I think that it is a big deal to mess up the routine that you are trying to establish with the doctor's help.

 

Once my kids were able to advocate for themselves it went better. If I said "no regular ice cream " then that boundary would be pushed. If my kids told grandma that they didn't want ice cream but wanted something else that was ok, she would fall all over herself to get it for them. Same for things like needing a life jacket and supervision for non swimmers.

 

 

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These examples remind me of how mil told me just this morning that she respects how I'm trying to "do candy" and is trying to not offer it as much. (we are desperately trying to reduce sugar intake, desserts are not supposed to be several times a day!) but dd who slept over last night was given Ice cream before bed after I had allowed a treat earlier in the day and then mil commented on how much trouble she had falling asleep.

 

 

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I would suggest a different fun activity for grandma and grandson. Would she like to take him to the zoo or circus or somewhere? I'd say he's not ready for a sleepover to be enjoyable, but he would love special time with her.

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PS - I think it is wrong for any of us to move beyond giving the requested advice to trying to pressure the OP into doing it the way we would do it. She has enough stress and pressure in her life.

 

 

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Thanks for this, although technically is easier to ignore strangers online than family!

 

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I'd allow the sleepover, no problem. She doesn't sound like an abusive or dangerous grandparent, and 1 night won't really hurt anyone and could be good for both of them. I'd especially allow it since you'll be seeing less of them and are worried about their health. Who knows when they'll have another chance? You all are nearby- in the driveway!- so if there's a problem, it won't be too much trouble for one of you to go help.

 

My MIL wants sleepovers with the kids all the time. Luckily, we live far enough away that they are rare, but when it happens, it's irritating. I do get your side completely! I don't approve of what they do, eat, or how they sleep (or don't). I don't enjoy the next day when I deal with the after effects that she's oblivious to. But, really, it's no big deal in the long term and makes her so happy. I can do this for her since it's only once or twice a year. If it were every week, I may feel or do things differently.

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My girls had a wonderful relationship with their great-grandmother. Lived 10 minutes away, saw her frequently. Never had a sleepover. She passed away almost 8 years ago, and they still have wonderful treasured memories of her, despite the lack of sleepovers.

 

They have OK but not close relationships with their grandmothers. Sleepovers would have done nothing to change that, and actually would likely have resultsed in unpleasant memories.

 

OP, do what you and DH believe is best for your children and your immediate household. She gets to see them. Don't make decisions against your better judgement in case their health goes downhill or worse in the near future. They could also live many many more years (hopefully in improved health) and then you'll be pressured to continue allowing this because it happened once.

 

Don't let the camel get his nose in the tent, KWIM?

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I don't think that his poor sleep should be an impediment to an every once in a while sleep at Grandma's house. I don't think there's anything wrong with him sleeping in her bed. Since you're living in her yard, he could easily come home if he wants to be in your bed instead, and you could make it very clear to both of them as a precondition that he must be allowed to come home in the middle of the night if he wants to.

 

Dietary restrictions are frustrating to be around. These things were not common when we were children. Grandparents just want to have milk and cookies and are frustrated that they can't. The fact that all of these things are common now and were uncommon then makes it seem to them like this generation of parents is inventing things, and they like that idea because then it wouldn't hurt the kid any to cheat on the diet, which they want to do, for fun. I know how frustrating it is for us parents when relatives ignore our restrictions, whine about them, or blame us for them. But I get why my mom just wants to give my kids ice cream and I get that she has a sense that all of this is somehow made up. It doesn't solve anything, but trying to get into her head makes it more bearable for me.

 

 

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It has been my experience in life, that grandparents are a necessary evil for parents and a beautiful, fun experience for the children. Let your children have the full effect of their grandparents. They are supposed to spoil, feed crazy food to, and let your kiddos do things they could not do with their own kids. That is what grandparents are for. It is only for one month. My vote is to your kiddos enjoy the grandparents.

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If your DS wants the sleepover, and you have a good amount of confidence that she will follow whatever dietary guidelines you all have established for him, I would allow the sleepover.  I expect my kids to be a little out of sorts after a sleepover whether it's at a friend's house or with family.  It's kind of the gift that keeps on giving, lol, but it just is how it goes :)

 

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I think your inlaws could be right or you could be.

 

Kids need room to run and play. They are living in a camper. Plus, until a child is a little older, these things can just play out. I am completely not in favor of putting children on those diets unless a medical doctor has done tests that show they need that diet. Withholding something like whole grains or milk can cause an allergy/sensitivity in the long run. 

 

Your inlaws should respect what you want for your children. However, since you posted and asked, you must be open to opinions. And my opinion is that these diets only have a placebo effect. And they can do damage in the long run. And they can do damage in the short run from all the "I need special this and that" attitude. 

 

That is my opinion and I do not care who disagrees because I am already well aware that half the parenting world seems to have their children on these restrictions. I think it is "over parenting" but..I guess it is their children, their choices.

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I wonder if the need to control all aspects OP can control is due to the fact that there are very few things she can control right now.  Thankfully that will change soon.  :)

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I find having a great relationship with a grandparent who wants to spend time with the kids far more important than sticking to fixed routines. Grandparents indulging, letting the kids stay up later, not a big deal. Punishing the child for having sleep troubles by not allowing sleepover with grandma? makes no sense to me.

(Why is sleeping in grandma's bed a problem?)

 

Also, in your specific situation, I would embrace any opportunity the kids have to escape the cramped living quarters in the camper and to have the luxury to spend time in an actual house with more space.

 

ETA: you also mention health issues that may not be resolved. So, there won't be many opportunities for grandma to make memories with her grandkids - which may explain why this is so important to her.

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I find having a great relationship with a grandparent who wants to spend time with the kids far more important than sticking to fixed routines. Grandparents indulging, letting the kids stay up later, not a big deal. Punishing the child for having sleep troubles by not allowing sleepover with grandma? makes no sense to me.

 

Also, in your specific situation, I would embrace any opportunity the kids have to escape the cramped living quarters in the camper and to have the luxury to spend time in an actual house with more space.

You assume there's more room in their house... While they do have a larger living room and kitchen, mil has ocd and cannot throw anything away...

 

But I do see your point that it might be like punishment for poor sleep.

 

 

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I would not worry about the sleep for one night at someone else's house. My kids know that we have our sleep routine even when they spend the night at a friend's houseor a grandparent's house and the routine is different. I think it is good for kids to have time with other adults who are a positive influence in their lives and loves them too. It is annoying about the food and them saying that they are fine when there are concerns but that is how my in laws and even dh feels. A lot of people especially in older generations feel like that. I would tell them that he cannot have the foods you are avoiding even if they make comments. I would allow the sleepover personally if there were no other worries.

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I think your inlaws could be right or you could be.

 

Kids need room to run and play. They are living in a camper. Plus, until a child is a little older, these things can just play out. I am completely not in favor of putting children on those diets unless a medical doctor has done tests that show they need that diet. Withholding something like whole grains or milk can cause an allergy/sensitivity in the long run. 

 

Your inlaws should respect what you want for your children. However, since you posted and asked, you must be open to opinions. And my opinion is that these diets only have a placebo effect. And they can do damage in the long run. And they can do damage in the short run from all the "I need special this and that" attitude. 

 

That is my opinion and I do not care who disagrees because I am already well aware that half the parenting world seems to have their children on these restrictions. I think it is "over parenting" but..I guess it is their children, their choices.

 

As far as I know, there is no objective test for the sensitivity to artificial dyes that my child experiences. But as the parent, you better believe I know that my child's behavior is night and day when we remove them from her diet. It helps her feel better. It helps her sleep better. It helps her be more successful in life. That is not over-parenting.That is good parenting. 

 

If you honestly believe removing dyes from my daughter's diet results in a "placebo effect," you might benefit from looking at the studies that have been done. The Center for Science in the Public Interest disagrees with you, as does the UK's Food Standards Agency and the authors of many studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

 

You say you don't care who disagrees, and that is fine, but you should expect to be challenged by parents who have found it necessary to actually do the research on these topics.

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I wonder if the need to control all aspects OP can control is due to the fact that there are very few things she can control right now.  Thankfully that will change soon.  :)

 

I fully admit that I feel very out of control lately. I feel like life spins around me and I am fully exhausted by everything. I find it easy to focus on a small piece of life at a time. I worry that I am going to be chronically unhappy in life and yet at the same time I recognize that I am not in an ideal place in life and need to withhold judgement on my mental state until I am not living here anymore. I fill my day with praise music and sunshine and am honestly just trying to do my best to take care of my family. It's very tiring to be stuck in the yard without a car and without supportive family. They never ask how I'm doing, they never ask if I need anything. I'm more a nanny caring for children in the backyard than I am a part of the family, or that's how it feels sometimes.

 

Oh, boy. As far as I know, there is no objective test for the sensitivity to artificial dyes that my child experiences. But as the parent, you better believe I know that my child's behavior is night and day when we remove them from her diet. It helps her feel better. It helps her sleep better. It helps her be more successful in life. That is not over-parenting.That is good parenting. 

 

If you honestly believe removing dyes from my daughter's diet results in a "placebo effect," you might benefit from looking at the studies that have been done. The Center for Science in the Public Interest disagrees with you, as does the UK's Food Standards Agency and the authors of many studies published in peer-removed medical journals.

 

You say you don't care who disagrees, and that is fine. But when you say that special diets don't actually accomplish anything, that is a falsehood, and you should expect it to be challenged.

 

I agree with this. I have never been tested for anything regarding my severe gluten intolerance but when you see the indisputable changes in my life from taking it out and the indisputable impact of putting it back in, even accidentally at one meal in a tiny amount, there is no question in my mind. Given the probable genetic connections (both backward to my grandfather and forward to the specific issues my kids have), the Dr. is carefully directing our food trial. Even though DH was very skeptical of it at first, he is the one who first commented on changes in older DD and the clearing of eczema during the middle of allergy season seems significant in itself. The biggest problem for my MIL is that she doesn't agree with the starting point of each issue, so without a problem to begin with, there can be no improvement, placebo or not. 

 

We are also working with a specific nutritional plan to ensure plenty of whole grains, calcium, protein, fruits, veggies, etc. are in their diets. MIL hears from my kids that they are eating all kinds of new veggies (like kale, collard greens, brussel sprouts, etc.) and so she offered them beets - the kind in the jar with high fructose corn syrup - because they want to try new veggies. I applauded her effort, but had to laugh privately. That said I DO give her credit for trying, especially when she tends to be inconsistent at best with veggies... I've brought my own salad many times to the meal we share at their home.

 

I suppose that prayers for patience and improved circumstances would be appreciated! DH is out of town for a couple days for work so when he gets home I'll discuss the sleep over thing with him. It won't be an option for a week or more anyway.

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((MamaShark))  You are doing a good job.  You have appropriate help for the health and behavior challenges that your children face.  It is hard to be in the trenches and even harder when armchair quarterbacks (even ones who live on the same property) try to second guess what you are doing. 

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Since you are living on their property, I assume that they see the grandkids all the time. This situation is not as if they live on the opposite coast and wish to get to know their grandchild better! If you, as a mom, are not comfortable about the sleepover, don't do it. There are many ways to make memories and a sleepover need not be the only way to make it happen. I suggest that you drop your child off as you would for the sleepover and that he does all the "sleepover related activities" that grandparents have in mind and then, you bring him back to your house when he is ready to fall asleep. I have a child with serious sleep issues and an MIL who is a serious boundary pusher. So, I have lived through this situation umpteen times and have come to the conclusion that the parent knows what is best for their child.

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I see it as a boundary issue.

You decide what is negotiable or not for your children. If you feel one night out will be fun for the kid and you can deal with any fallout - okay. If you feel strongly this is not going to be good - then the answer is likely no. Don't expect others to a) see those boundaries and b) respect them automatically. You have to maintain them actively.

 

The key is not to feel bad when you set reasonable boundaries (your are not telling your inlaws they cannot see or communicate with the kids, etc.) and then stick to those boundaries.

Perhaps trying to objectively evaluate what is acceptable, if not ideal and what is not acceptable or even harmful (diet, etc.) helps in setting clear boundaries.

Would your MIL be amenable to alternate suggestions, such as "Instead of a sleepover he can spend some special time with grandma going to the park, movies, etc?

Once the kids are older and are more responsible for their own health and diet, it will probably be easier, like Jean experienced.

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You are parked in an RV in her back yard.   If she wants the kids to sleepover, allow it.  Unless she smokes or keeps a vicious animal as a pet,  I don't see a problem.  Send food with the kids so that they stick with their diet.  I cannot believe that this is even an issue.  Seriously...

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Your kids, you decide.

 

On the one hand, a sleepover is not a huge deal--unless you are stretched so thin that a day or two of grumpiness from a tired child would be just.too.much.

 

On the other hand, grandma is pushing a boundary you have established and you have every right as the parent to just hold firm.

 

I don't think any of us here can make the decision for you.

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You are parked in an RV in her back yard. If she wants the kids to sleepover, allow it. Unless she smokes or keeps a vicious animal as a pet, I don't see a problem. Send food with the kids so that they stick with their diet. I cannot believe that this is even an issue. Seriously...

Being parked in grandma's back yard does not mean that mom loses the right to establish boundaries relating to her children.

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This thread is breaking my heart.

I have fond memories of the few times my siblings and I were able to stay with our grandma for a week in the summer. I wish we could have done it more often. It was fabulous, particularly the time our cousins were there too!

My sisters kids have done it with our parents once. I was looking forward to our older 3 being able to in the next couple years. Only now my dad has cancer and the chances are slim it will ever happen. (My mom couldn't deal with 3...much less 4...by herself.)

OP, I hope you can be at peace with whatever decision your make. As others have said, they are your kids, so it is your choice.

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:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

You are in such a difficult place, and not feeling like you have much control over anything yet you have to micromanage so many things (including tricky diet issues).  And in-laws that are not being super supportive and you don't mesh with entirely well.  Living on their property makes this whole thing so much trickier.  I'm sorry you are in this position.   :grouphug:

 

I share the following just because you asked and this experience might help you in some way but I preface this by saying I do understand your concerns and support you in your attempts to figure out the best course of action.  I am not trying to pressure you into one particular course of action.

 

FWIW, my own oldest child (teenager) still does not sleep well at night.  She never did.  She probably never will.  That did not prevent me from allowing her to spend the night at great grandma's house and grandma's house or at friend's houses once in a while as long as there was nothing pressing for us to do the next day.  Not sleeping over didn't improve her sleep habits.  Sleeping over didn't mess up her sleep habits any more than they already were.  What it did do was give her some fun and meaningful experiences/memories that still matter to her as a teenager.   I didn't always agree with the grand parenting choices of grandparents and great grandparents but I tried hard to disassociate my personal feelings from the enriching experiences my kids could have with family.  If it wasn't dangerous I wanted my kids to have that time.  

 

And I'm glad I did.  Great grandmother in-law unexpectedly fell and broke her leg.  Despite therapy she was in a wheelchair the rest of her life.  Great grandfather in-law died unexpectedly as GGMIL was recovering from the injured leg.  My FIL had a severe stroke right as the above was happening.  He was essentially a non-verbal invalid for 10 years before he finally passed away.  MIL was not able to spend nearly as much time with my kids after that since she was caring for him 24/7, along with her mother and trying to get over the unexpected loss of her father.  Then my dad was diagnosed with cancer and dead within months of FIL's funeral.  We went from having 4 healthy grandparents and two healthy great grandparents that were lively and interactive and wanted to be with my kids to having two dead, two invalids and two grieving grandmothers who were exhausted and overwhelmed.  I'm glad the kids had time with their grandparents and great grandparents while they were still able to.  Did they stay up too late?  Yes.  Did they eat the best foods?  No.  But they had fun, they have great memories and they developed a bond and a sense of family.

 

I also accept that sometimes it is a really good thing for a child to do something outside their normal routine, outside their normal realm of experience.  In fact, it can be a wonderful thing to have those experiences.  

 

But your situation is not mine.  You are in a very different and very strained situation and are not feeling great about it.  You need to do what you feel is right for your family right at this moment and that includes what is best for you, mentally and physically.  I'm sorry this is so challenging.  I wish you and your family the very best as you navigate these waters.   :grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

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This sounds like a really hard situation for everyone, but particularly for you.  My heart goes out to you.

 

To me one factor would be knowing what the future might hold for the health issues.

 

Is this someone who might not be around in 6 months, and really wants to have one sleepover with a beloved grandchild.  If that's the case that might sway me towards letting him go.    On the other hand, if she's just impatient, and you think a sleepover at 6 or 8 or 10 is more likely to work, then I'd wait.

 

The other factor would be what she'll do if things go badly.

 

Will she call you to come get him?  This would probably be my first choice.

 

Will she handle it herself, but handle it relatively well?  

 

Is it possible that she'd respond in a way you thought was harmful such as punishing him for not sleeping, or turning on inappropriate TV to distract him while he sleeps?  

 

 

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This sounds like a really hard situation for everyone, but particularly for you. My heart goes out to you.

 

To me one factor would be knowing what the future might hold for the health issues.

 

Is this someone who might not be around in 6 months, and really wants to have one sleepover with a beloved grandchild. If that's the case that might sway me towards letting him go. On the other hand, if she's just impatient, and you think a sleepover at 6 or 8 or 10 is more likely to work, then I'd wait.

 

The other factor would be what she'll do if things go badly.

 

Will she call you to come get him? This would probably be my first choice.

 

Will she handle it herself, but handle it relatively well?

 

Is it possible that she'd respond in a way you thought was harmful such as punishing him for not sleeping, or turning on inappropriate TV to distract him while he sleeps?

The health issues are not immediately life threatening. Without something tragic happening they'll live for decades.

 

Mil tends to respond to my sons fits with a flippant comment and walking away. She disagrees with my handling of the same situation the way I've been taught to by a behaviorist. She thinks I coddle him and thus cause the behavior to worsen.

 

And no, I don't think she would come get me in the middle of the night. She would "handle it" and say it was fine the next day. So there is a big possibility that if he has a bad dream, he would lose literally hours of sleep.

 

 

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I feel like the big disconnect here is that lots of people only have really positive memories of sleepovers and the connections they made during that time. It's lovely if getting to sleep over at a grandparent's house makes that relationship stronger! Definitely worth bending a few rules for that. BUT I think it's worth highlighting that that isn't really the case for every kid. For those kids who are a little more anxious, sensitive, or have health issues, sleepovers can be a very negative experience (ask me how I know!) even if nothing hugely problematic or life threatening happens. Feeling uncomfortable but being unable to tell a pushy grandma no. Being unable to advocate for your needs. Feeling not yourself (because it's late) but being a child and not understanding why. Little comments that aren't a big deal but can upset your whole evening because you are sensitive. Feeling uncomfortable because the lighting is different when you are trying to sleep. Being at the mercy of others and not knowing when/what you will get to eat. The list could be endless, and may very well end up being a negative experience that results in negative memories that damage a relationship.

And for what it's worth OP, it sounds like my grandparents were a lot more emotionally healthy and less boundary pushing than your son's. I still loved them. Sleepovers were not helpful to our relationship.

Sometimes its best to let relationships develop in safer environment, where the child has quick back up from a parent and the ability to take a step back if needed (I know this sounds coddling to many parents of kids who could easily just roll with the flow!). I do also think that sleepovers by their very nature, have extra vulnerabilities that lend themselves to these uncomfortable situations, more so than just taking a child out for a couple of hours during the day.

 

 

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I didn't read the responses but I think it's obviously up to you. However, as the parent of a kid who has never slept well and still comes in the bed with me... if the kid wants to do it, I'd let him. The sleep issues are ongoing. One sleepover isn't going to ruin the routine because the routine already doesn't work. When our kids were that age, we went away for a couple of nights and the kids crawled in bed with the grandparents. No big deal. That said, if he doesn't want to, skip it. It's not a must.

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Being parked in grandma's back yard does not mean that mom loses the right to establish boundaries relating to her children.

I never suggested that the OP loses her right to establish boundaries for her children; however, living on their property should compel her to show an extra measure of grace.  Is it too much to show some respect?

 

My goodness, the OP has gone to the Internet to discuss her MIL.  It is no small thing when an adult child and their spouse move onto their parents property with 4 children and in an RV.  I'm assuming this was an emergency situation,  Imagine how awful it would be if the MIL decided to press her lawful property rights and ask them to move off?  IDK why this is even an issue.  Tell MIL no and then have your DH deal with his own mother.  Move off, don't return, and then you won't be answerable to her.  

 

Honestly, when I think of RVs, I think of overcrowding, pooh stench, water leaks, and possibly mold.  I think I'd want him sleeping in a house with central AC for comforts sake, but that is me. 

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Honestly, when I think of RVs, I think of overcrowding, pooh stench, water leaks, and possibly mold. I think I'd want him sleeping in a house with central AC for comforts sake, but that is me.

Honestly, you have a poorly informed mental image of what living in an RV is like. if you have actually known someone who lives like you have described, then I can understand your grossly negative opinion of those who choose to live differently for whatever reason.

 

I went to the Internet to discuss my inlaws because I wanted some perspective and my husband is out of town. If this qualifies me for living like you have described and thus must cater to my inlaws every whim because we came here to help them through some health issues while we transitioned between jobs then so be it. The job transition was decided based on our desire to live closer to my inlaws, too, btw.

 

And if we were asked to move off, we'd do so and much to my relief. We are not here by necessity, it was agreed upon for reasons that had nothing to do with our ability to support ourselves. But thank you for your concern to that end.

 

 

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The sleep routine isn't working, clearly. So, if he goes to Grandma's and doesn't sleep, that won't be any different from him being home and not sleeping. So he should go to the sleepover.

 

Grandma makes snarky comments when ds is in the middle of an episode and walks away. So he should not go to the sleepover.

 

If he wants to go, this could make a lovely memory for him of staying at Grandmas. So he should go to the sleepover.

 

Of course, at 4 years old the likelihood of him remembering it in a few years and ever again are probably nil at this point, plus he is young and young kids can get really unhappy away from home at night. So he should not to to the sleepover.

 

Grandma loves the grandkids and wants to do the fun things with them that grandmas get to do. This is normal and parents should be gracious about it and let them do so, knowing that one day they'll want to do grandparent things, too. So, he should go to the sleepover.

 

But while he's there, Grandma might give him food that will mess up the food plan and cause health issues with him. So he should not go to the sleepover.

 

I'd say toss a coin!

 

Actually...if G'ma is 100% going to respect the food thing, AND if he wants to go, then I'd let him go just to see how it works out. Next time she wants him to visit, you'll better know what to expect and can make a better informed decision.

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Another thought.  If he goes and doesn't do well, you will have that as your reason to never send him again (for a year or so anyway).  Grandma may bring it up and you can say, "that didn't end well last time, remember?"  In all likelihood Grandma will totally back off on that particular difference.  :)

 

And that for the price of maybe a day or two of 4yo crabbiness.  4yo is a pretty good age to let that happen as an experiment.  The consequences are small in the grand scheme of things.  No job to get fired from, no test to fail, no relationships to destroy, no car to crash.  :)

 

Also, I can tell you from experience that if you do have a sleepover fail, it is better to be next door than to be hours away when they call you to come pick up your kid.  :P

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I have very fond memories of staying with grandparents when I was that young, and I know my grandparents did not do everything my parents would have had them do.  I wish my children had that experience.  They now have only one living grandparent (they had two when they were younger) but neither grandparent asked them for special visits, spoiled them with treats, etc.  I think they have missed out on a very special time and relationship.  I would gladly trade some crankiness, tiredness, and other inconveniences for my children to have had that experience.

 

Also, I have a child who has never slept well--I would have been overjoyed to have a good night's sleep because a grandparent had a sleep over.   

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