GreenSmoothieGirl Logo
Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Minutes. Add 10 Years to your life.
Our beautiful template for infinite variety of greens and superfoods in your smoothies—print this and eliminate the need for recipes! Get it now for free!

When Grandma Comes to Spoil the Kids, part 1 of 3

Robyn Openshaw - Jul 28, 2010 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

This is edited for length, from “Momof3.” It was a response to one of my recent blog postings and I re-post it here.

I often get long emails like this from readers, asking what to do about the older generation’s visits to our children, filled with junk-food “spoiling.” Parents feel that their hard work to provide good nutrition is being un-done by Grandma.

Today, read her comments. Tomorrow, read my reply:

“I needed a pep talk! The in-laws will be staying for 8 DAYS.

I wish I was making it up when I say my mom in law (when she came after the last baby birth) feeds my kids chocolate chip cookies FOR BREAKFAST. (I came down from nursing baby and sleepless night and the kids had milk and cookies sitting on the table at 7:00 am. Grandma just smiled and said, “I’m spoiling them.”) Maceys giant ice cream cones FOR DINNER!

I asked if she would buy spinach at the store and lemons for a wonderful whole wheat pasta spinach dish. She came home with a chocolate ice cream kong cone at 4:30 pm and Cheetohs.

What adult thinks that is a good dinner for a 2- and 3-year old? Again, she smiled and said, “Grandma is spoiling them, and I’m not that hungry either.” I was not amused. I confronted her about it and she just said, “Grandma spoiled them.”

She also bribes them w/ Smarties to ‘be good’ at the store, I looked over at my son in church and he had a mouthful of Skittles and was munching on ‘fruit by the foot’. Grandma had a list of fast food places w/ takeout every night for dinner and brought it home, then tried to give my babies pop and “diet juice” with artificial sweeteners to wash it down because “diet juice” is “healthy.”

Plus, I guess, my freezer full homemade smoothie bars did not seem to be a good summer treat because grandma decided they needed a huge gigantic bag of popsicles instead. (I had made smoothie bars before going to the hospital and pointed out there were lots in the freezer along with all my other healthy snacks.)

I will get through this. I can do it. The kids WILL thank me someday. I KNOW I am fighting the good fight! I can do this even if my in laws (not to be rude, they are good good people and loving grandparents but they are morbidly obese) will try to sabotage me where I live. In my own home with my babies. I WILL be strong. I will not cave. I quietly will go about my ways and quietly do my thing with my babies and self and hubby and the world will stay right. I will do right by my family. I will do it as kindly as possible, but I will be kind but firm. Any suggestions?

What happens when I’m outnumbered 3 to 1? (Hubby and parents against me? especially when hubby’s mom is making all hubby’s ‘favorites?’) When it’s not just pop culture trying to sway our children…but loved ones too? The kids see the Twizzlers, soda, Captain Crunch, potato chips, Cheetos, big pink Grandma cookies, pimento olive bologna loaf, white bread, big greasy Costco muffins, hot dogs, M&M’s, milk, fake peanut butter, Cream of Chicken soup casseroles. This is what my in-laws buy and make and eat at our house. Of course that is what my kids want instead too.

It doesn’t work to have meals and menus ready and food bought and planned. They SHOP for ALL their favorites when they don’t find them in my cupboards because they won’t eat what I make. (They say it ‘messes with their digestion’ to eat whole grains, legumes, greens, and so much fruit and veggies.)

Even when I plan it all out, “cookie salad” (nothing salad about it) gets whipped up or something like it and stuck on the table. Unfortunately, if it’s in the house (or in Grandma’s purse) it finds its way into my children. It’s such a sporadic encounter because they live out of state that it’s difficult to just go off about how EVERYTHING they buy and eat for the 8 days is just unacceptable to feed my kids.

But, the BIG no-no’s for me Grandma tries to feed to them on a large scale: processed lunch meat, artificial sweeteners, soda, milk and ooooodles of sugar constantly. I don’t want to feel like the bad guy for 8 days, but they really are over the top with their terrible eating habits while staying at my house and feeding my children. More pep talks please! I’m in serious anxiety mode. Family pressure is intense!”

Posted in: Relationships, Whole Food

15 thoughts on “When Grandma Comes to Spoil the Kids, part 1 of 3”

Leave a Comment
  1. Anonymous says:

    WOW! If she were any sort of respectful guest, she would eat what you eat. I would make my husband talk to her, and he should support your decisions. If they must, send them all out to eat and make food for you and your kids. Talk to your kids explain why you eat the way you do, and Grandma is not a bad person, she just has bad eating habits. I have to say, my kids Grandma (my Mother) eats in much the same way and when she offers to take my kids out for burgers they tell her (at 4 & 5 yrs old) their tummies don’t feel good when they eat fast food (they’ve learned from experience). When she visits she eats out, when we visit her, we bring our own food, but she is respectful of our choice. Many people have a false sense of how to earn love, “spoiling” kids with any objects is really not the way. Tell her how it is, she may not ever want to visit again – hey, problem solved : )

  2. Anonymous says:

    All I can say is it’s time to fight the fight! You aren’t showing any love to your in-laws by being silent about this. Not just in defense of your kids health… but for their own health’s sake too! If you care about them you need to teach them all you know and set those boundaries. I’ve been watching “Losing it with Jillian” with my husband since it was on and I always find myself saying, “HA!” to him when she talks about health and how you are actually SHOWING love by talking to people about how bad the food our society thinks is normal is for them! (He was raised in a family that ate horribly and suffered severe acne during High School and IBS… all of which are gone now that I’ve helped him see the light) It is not an easy road though. But of all the battles to pick in life, this is a VERY IMPORTANT ONE in my opinion. This is the one battle I choose to fight. And what’s great is that my in-laws and relatives all know that about me and our family and they respect it now. They see how my kids rarely get sick and how happy and healthy we all are. Good luck!

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is a hard issue, one I struggle with the most.

    For me I have just decided I can only control what my kids eat in my home, so I try really hard to do that. When they are at others homes, I try to not freak out about the crap they eat. We talk a lot about waht is healthy and what isn’t and try to go from there. I know my daughter will routinely turn down soda at birthday parties, and I figure that is a start.

    In this situation I would maybe kindly sit them down and tell them how important it is that you maintain control in your home. To lessen the blow maybe say I will let you have 1 day where you are able to “spoil” them, but that is it. From then on they will eat healthy food that I approve of. When you are their house I feel it is another matter, but while they are at yours, I think it only fair to put your foot down and tell them how things are run at your home.

    People really hold onto their food habits and aren’t very willing to change. Discuss with your husband before hand how important this is to you. Help him see it is your home. If they were bringing drugs into your home he wouldn’t allow that. You wouldn’t allow that. You would require that they stay somewhere else. In my opinion prepackaged chemical laden food that has been manipulated to be addictive is the exact same. You have every right to protect your kids and home from these substances. If you In-laws can’t live by that then let them know they will need to eat on their own, elsewhere, but are welcome to spend time together doing other activities.

    Wow, after typing that last paragraph I am rethinking my whole don’t worry about what they eat when they are at others homes…

  4. Wow, I will never complain about my inlaws AGAIN!

    I think half your battle would be won if you got hubby on board.

    But the bottom line is, the only one that’s gonna change is you. So outsmart em.

    Prepare to have an all out junk fest one or two nights of the 8 night visit and explain to your children, your HUBBY and your inlaws…we can have these special nights, but I need a compromise on the other days. Your inlaws are NOT indulging those little busy bodies, they are ABUSING them…huge difference! If they’re ok with contributing to their grandchidrens risk of obesity, disease, sluggishness blah blah blah, you’re not and thats where you draw the line!

    If all else fails supply them with phone numbers of local hotels, and have your family visit them at their room hee hee!

    I seriously can’t believe your MIL can look you in the eye and say “grandmas spoiling them?” No she’s not she’s killing them! AND doesn’t she see how they act after a few days of junkfood nonstop? I don’t know about your kids, but I can see a substantial difference in my children from moods, to activities to sleep patterns!

    Good luck…I don’t envy you!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have to say that I am appalled at this woman’s husband’s behavior. He is acting like an immature mama’s boy to put his mother’s wishes above his wife’s. If he truly loves and respects his wife he will work out a compromise, even if he doesn’t completely see eye to eye with her. My husband and I have had tons of disagreements as we’ve worked through his pornography and food addictions, lived with his in-laws for almost three years (he’s also a recovering mama’s boy), had a child with spina bifida, gone through a period of his being inactive in church, worked through my anxiety and depression, worked through the sexual abuse he went through as a kid, and been through several failed business ventures. The thing that has kept us together is respect for each other and a desire to do what’s best for each other. I can’t believe this “man” doesn’t have the guts to say, “Mom, I love you. But as a guest in our house I want you to respect my wife’s wishes concerning our kids’ diet.”

  6. Anonymous says:

    that’s my inlaw/hubby story too. I feel your pain.

    I just got back from 8 days at a family reunion. I had decided there was no hope to have my 4 kids eat any differently than the other 15 kids. So now my 4 kids and husband that ate the reunion food all week are soooooo sick with the worst colds ever, it actually seems to be several different things all at once, its been a week and the end isn’t in sight. Within 24 hours of being home, my son who has been off asthma medicine for 11 months was gasping for air, I was digging in storage for the nebulizer thinking “what have I done!” It was scary. My husband and mother looked at me apologetically and said that they are starting to understand why I do what I do. Live and learn I guess.

    Are the other kids from the reunion sick too? Of course they are.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am a “Grandmommie”….this goes back to keeping one of my first grandchildren…they had her on a schedule …I said bring me the schedule as I would be keeping her (in my home) for several days. I did not want my grandchild to suffer unnecessarily when she returned home because I wanted to do things my way. I feel we raised our children ….this is their time.

    We can spoil a little but not to their detriment. This is their health.

    Grand parents should respect the parent….their rules….they are Your children. After all you are not hurting them but protecting them!

    Take care

  8. Anonymous says:

    Amen Lynn! I, too, am a Grammy. I see what the other grandmother feeds the only grandson (3yrs old). Total Crap! He loves veggies and fruit when he is home or at my house, in fact, after spending the day with his Grandma, he will often eat just fruit or just vegetables for his dinner. I think it’s his body trying to make up for all the junk he’s ingested that day!

    I feel like I have to be very careful about what I give him, just to counteract his time with Grandma. My spoiling, therefore, is not food centered!

  9. Anonymous says:

    This makes me feel a little better, though my own parents and in-laws are pretty bad about this, too.

    I just have to say, be grateful they live out of state! 8 days is a long time to have them there non-stop, but we see my in-laws many more days of the year than that, and it’s bad (nutritionally). My MIL does, however, try to honor my wishes. She just knows nothing about nutrition. She’d be a “diet juice is healthy” kind of lady. But she has learned to spoil my kids with other things. She gives them all sorts of junk – and while I don’t really like junk around my house, at least it never enters their bodies. She gives them:

    sunglasses, goggles, beach balls, crafts, toothbrushes (my favorite), dumb toys that break after 10 min., movies, etc. I prefer all that. She still gives them junk food, but giving her other ideas what to give them, helps her show her love in less damaging ways.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been told that I’m going to be raising kids that will turn in to “fat” adults…because I’m restricting their diet so much now…they will go crazy and eat what ever they want then they get out of the house. It’s frusterating when I’m really not restricting them completely…I’m teaching my 4 kids to read lables and to eat just 1 serving size…to only have 2 sweet treats a day (not 4 in a row like at grandmas)…when they are offered soo many sweets they just stop and look at me like “what will mom think”…I hate this..because I just want them to learn to make a wise choice…and it’s just going to take them getting older and being disciplined within themselves…I feel like all i can do right now is just be a good example and teach them at home and wait to see what the outcome is. So frusterating.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Wow. this is very intense. Who is the mom here? I understand they are really helping you out… but how much entitlement does that give her?

    I feel you need to take your power back… sit them ALL down in a room, and say what is really on your mind… including to the children… get all the objections everyone has out in the open, and see where you land. Can’t get any worse.

    Really…. that is just disgusting to be giving them all that processed food for breakfast and dinner. Unimaginable – and very ignorant! Also…. someone else suggested few days junk, few days off… maybe they will feel the difference for themselves – which of course is the ideal here.

    Good Luck with it!

  12. I am also a grandmother but I’m the one in the family who eats the green smoothies-lol. My one daughter has 2 kids ages 4 and 6 and I hate to see the way they eat! I know when mom works it’s hard to eat healthy and I guess seeing them eat anything is better than having them refuse to eat (my 6 year old grandson was very underweight as a baby and toddler.)

    My other daughter has a 3 year old and a 6 month old and she does a lot better, limiting the sugar and fixing healthier meals.

    When the grandkids come to my house, I have snacks like sunflower seeds and raisins, or fruit or crackers and cheese. They are happy with that and I feel that plying them with cookies is just trying to “buy” their affection.

    As a parent, grandmother and mother-in-law, I just try to keep my mouth shut and not be critical of any decisions that the kids make now that they are adults.

    If the grandparents live out of town, you’re lucky!

  13. grateful to receive all your emails Robyn…this one is great to hear everyone’s experiences out there…(although I’m not a mom yet but hubby and I kept away from junks, sodas, processed foods, most adulterated foods, etc…) Sometimes we have to lead what we believe and remind our families NOT TO EAT…especially High GI foods, full lists of additive foods!

    Your email just reminded me of today’s friend’s visit at home. She told me that she didn’t buy any Easter Eggs for her grand daughter instead bought ticket and watched Shriek on a 3D screen with her! Love to hear it really, at least one granny is making a difference at a time!

  14. If she refuses to go by what you ask IN YOUR OWN HOME, you will have to a) never invite her to help with baby again, or b) prepare all the meals if you invite her.

    I can understand her refusing in her home, but your home is your territory and it would certainly be nice to have hubby on board.

  15. I’m also a Grancy and have the privilege of keeping our 3 and 1 yr old grnadchildren a few times a year as they live 7 hours away. We are the healthier ones, we farm and grow most of our food. We also eat, drink and enjoy raw milk products- full fat. Our smothies are made with kefir ( homemade) and we don’t use sugar at all, some honey, raw maple syrup or a bit of stevia.

    Our grandbabies also get cod liver oil. their mom is a busy student and works as a nanny. She and her hubby know they eat terrible and have a goal of eating as healthy as they feed their kids by the time the kids will know better.;o)

    I figure she covers a lot of mistakes by giving them clean, raw milk to drink.

    Now great grandma is a different story and we have to watch what she wants to offer the kiddos but she listens and will drink her Zero Coke and eat her cheetos after they go to bed ;o)

    Hang tough, your family is your domain, espeically where their health is concerned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content