Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Grandparent Respect and boundaries

I haven't posted in a long time but just need to vent and see others opinions on this or their own similar situations.  I have recently had respect issues with my husband's dad and his wife as grandparents to our daughter. They are of the mentality that "because they are grandparents they can do whatever they want" with our daughter. And with that they feel they can buy her whatever they want without discussing it with my husband and I. What are your feelings?

I have tried to avoid conflict up until today when I put my foot down and hurt some feelings. There have been things here and there that have really irked me but I have just let go. For Christmas they bought my 18 month old a full size keyboard. I thought it was inappropriate. 1. She doesn't know how to use a keyboard she's just banging on an expensive electronic. 2. I was afraid that she would pull it over on top of herself. 3. We have nowhere to put it in our small home. But whatever.

Today we met at a park to go see my husband march in a parade. They had been talking about getting my daughter, now 21 months a duckling. My husband and I were united in declining bringing any new pets into our home. A pet would be a family decision and my daughter wasn't even old enough to understand the meaning of getting a new pet and the responsibility that comes with it. In addition we have a dog and two cats already. They posted a comment about how much my daughter would love a bunny on my facebook this morning. I had my husband call them because I just had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that they were going to buy her one. He told them she could not have one at our house. If they wanted to get one to keep at their house that would be fine. When my daughter and I got to the park they pull out a baby bunny and tell her it is hers to take home. I was furious. My husband and I had on multiple occasions said no just to the idea. I refused to put it in my car and take it home. They were so upset with me and his step mom yelled at me for never allowing them to buy her anything and that as her granparents they could buy her whatever they wanted and didn't need our permission.

Isn't a pet something they should talk with a child's parent about? And if the parents say no then it's a no. There is no clause that says grandparents can do whatever they want. I think it is so disrespectful and it caused a huge blow up between his parents and I today. My husband feels caught in the middle. He doesn't want to hurt their feelings so he thinks we should just keep the bunny. I am holding my ground because I see this as a pattern of not thinking about the appropriateness of gifts with them. They want to be able to the grandparents that out-do everyone else and buy her the biggest best gifts.  And a parent should have a say in large or not everyday gifts from grandparents as to whether they are welcome gifts or not. A bunny for her is an added responsibility and expense for us.

Has anyone had a similar situation with setting boundaries with parents? I don't want to hurt them either but I will not be bullied into keeping an animal we do not want in our home. We do not have the time to care for another animal.  Am I being unreasonable?  Hubby and I were on the same "side" but after talking to his dad he feels bad for hurting his feelings.  I'm sorry about his feelings but I just think it is so wrong to buy a 1 year old a pet without asking the parents!  She will not be caring for it-we will and we should have a say!

Re: Grandparent Respect and boundaries

  • I have no advice but I completely agree.  Pets are completely inappropriate surprise gifts, IMO.  They are always something that should be discussed and prepared for and people who don't understand this concept are just ignorant.  Surprise pets are just one of the many reasons we have so many animals in shelters.

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  • I think you are 100% in the right and I would be furios if they did this.  First of all, you are the one going to be taking care of it and paying for it.  It's totally disrespectful and unacceptable for them to think this is okay especially when you specifically said no to it first.  They are just defying you to make an issue, it sounds to me.  You are lucky that your hubby is on your side, but you guys probably have to sit down with them and have a heart to heart about this stuff.
  • That is absolutely ridiculous, and I'm sorry you have to deal with that. From what you said I think that you have handled things well so far (like dealing with material goods that you'd rather not have) and they pushed their luck by buying a pet for a 2 year old against your wishes. Keep standing your ground.
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  • In this case, I think you are completely justified in being furious and in refusing the gift.  A family pet is a big decision that should be made by the family involved.  It is a major life change in YOUR home, not the grandparents' home.  You offered them a compromise (she could have a pet that would live at their home) and they chose not to take it.  I think you were totally reasonable, and they overstepped their boundaries.  You are right to deal with this now before she gets older and it becomes a bigger problem.
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  • You both already told them not to get the bunny, and they did it anyway. How is it your problem that their feelings got hurt? I'm glad you stuck to your guns and didn't bring the bunny home... it would only fuel their behavior and they'd keep doing it. Make them keep the bunny at their house or return it to the pet store.

    Non negotiable.

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  • Obviously, they have an issue with realizing what is age appropriate or appropriate AT ALL for a child. 

    As for gifts, there's not much you can do. Let them buy her whatever they want. When they leave your house, feel free to pack it up and put it away. Or, you can use the same tactic you should use for when they talk about wanting to buy her a a pet- tell them "We aren't willing to take on the responsibility of a pet, but she'd love to come see it at your house!" (Same with when they want to buy her a drum set LOL!!)

    You told them NO and they got her a rabbit anyway. The only one who can be mad is you. They acted irresponsibly.  

  • I would be out of my mind and even more out of my mind that my husband was enabling the behavior and allowing them to do what they want.  Your husband should be your advocate and he is enabling them to act that way.

    Not only is it their problem for putting you in that position, but it is your husband's issue too.

    sorry but I am sick of husbands crumbling under the fear of their parents lol  


  • Thanks ladies.  I am frustrated and I feel like they chose today of all days because I was alone with my daughter and they just assumed I would take the bunny home.  They bought a bunny for my sister in law's daughter who is 20 months.  They were excited about it and ended up taking both bunnies home.  Sister in law just got her own place after living at home since her daughter was born.  She has no other pets and wanted the bunny.  I am just so irked about the whole situation. I haven't really gotten a chance to really talk to dh since the parade because he had to go on duty right afterward.  But what a stressful afternoon!!!!  I am looking forward to going to bed!
  • image DC2London:
    In this case, I think you are completely justified in being furious and in refusing the gift.  A family pet is a big decision that should be made by the family involved.  It is a major life change in YOUR home, not the grandparents' home.  You offered them a compromise (she could have a pet that would live at their home) and they chose not to take it.  I think you were totally reasonable, and they overstepped their boundaries.  You are right to deal with this now before she gets older and it becomes a bigger problem.

    This exactly!!  Good for you for standing up for yourself and not giving in!!  A pet is completely different than a material toy!!!  Keep standing your ground and I hope that your DH won't cave to make them feel better!

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  • Pets require permission period. It's not fair to you or the pet. Shame on them for disregarding your feelings.
  • I think I may have a solution. Tell them you want to buy them a llama. Tell them you just KNOW how much they'll love it and that it will be so much fun for them. And that it could even help keep people out of their yard. When they say no, stomp your foot and say, "But your SON wants to buy it for you! Why can't a son buy his own parents something? He has that right!" 

    And then? BUY THEM A F-ING LLAMA. 

  • As far as gifts go I would let them chose what they want to give and just deal with it. A pet is a different story though. I would have done the same thing!
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  • I would also be furious about this.  It is awkward and embarrassing to have to refuse a gift, but you made it clear beforehand that this wasn't something you were interested in.  
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  • kcl22kcl22
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    You're right.  Hold your ground and, more importantly IMO, get your H on your side and get him to speak up. 

     

  • DH and I are on the same page in not bringing it to our home.  This morning when he called them and said no bunny they told him they weren't getting a bunny for Bella so he let it go.  When I text him that they did get her a bunny once we got there he was fuming but he's a police officer and was in a parade and had to go straight to his shift afterward. There will be words tomorrow.  Just hoping that they can get over their "we can do whatever" attitude so we can move past this.  His step mother holds grudges over stupid things and I just pray this doesn't turn into a bigger war than it already is.
  • Oooooh, that's totally nuts! And would definitely annoy me. It's totally reasonable on your part to ask them to take care of any crazy animals they buy for her! 1-year-olds aren't the most responsible of people, ha ha ha...

    The worst my MIL does is buy my kids endless amounts of stuff and ugly clothes. Those are a lot easier to hide/donate/get rid of than animals. Definitely stand your ground on this one (and good luck!). 

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  • I like the llama idea!

    I would be livid.  We do not want any pets in our house, and my MIL is constantly saying we should get dd a dog.  Um, no.  We don't want to have to care for a dog, pay for a dog, etc.  It's a big responsibility, and we don't want it. 

    I can't believe how rude and disrespectful your inlaws were.  Your husband definitely needs to address it.

  • image emiliemadison:

    I think I may have a solution. Tell them you want to buy them a llama. Tell them you just KNOW how much they'll love it and that it will be so much fun for them. And that it could even help keep people out of their yard. When they say no, stomp your foot and say, "But your SON wants to buy it for you! Why can't a son buy his own parents something? He has that right!" 

    And then? BUY THEM A F-ING LLAMA. 

    Gah you are so freakin' genius. Seriously. 

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  • image Corinne13:


    If they wanted to get one to keep at their house that would be fine. When my daughter and I got to the park they pull out a baby bunny and tell her it is hers to take home. I was furious. My husband and I had on multiple occasions said no just to the idea. I refused to put it in my car and take it home. They were so upset with me and his step mom yelled at me for never allowing them to buy her anything and that as her grandparents they could buy her whatever they wanted and didn't need our permission.

    You have every right to be upset.  I would wonder what else they will do when you are not around (ie too many snacks or gifts without permission.)  They need to respect your wishes.

     

    Good for you and your H for standing firm. 

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  • I'd just make the comment that DD will LOVE visiting her new bunny and/or duckling when she visits her grandparents house. It's a crappy position to put a person in, and it makes you look like a douche for denying your child a pet someone already gave her. But that really is their problem. If someone biitched to me that their DIL wouldn't let their grandchild keep a surprise pet they were clear they didn't want, I'd side with the DIL.

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  • I wouldn't say a keyboard is "inappropriate" for an 18 month old. I think it's a good present actually.

    My 1 year old enjoys banging on the piano at my mom's house and has done it for months. Pianos (standard and electronic) are farily sturdy and they don't break easily.

    If you're concerned about her pulling it onto herself, sit it directly on the floor or on a coffee table. When she's done playing, stand it up on end in a closet (keyboards can stand on end) or slide it under a bed or under the couch. They really don't take up much space.

     

    I would call gifts my dad has bought my DS "inappropriate". He's 1 and he already has a 4-wheeler (full sized, not a power wheel), a rifle and a compound bow waiting for him in my dad's barn. He just got night-vision goggles for his 1st birthday. Dad thinks that DS will be using this stuff this coming summer. The kid can't even walk yet... but he's supposed to shoot a weapon? I think not. Hell, just 2 months ago he was asking if DS could hold his own head up yet (um... really?) and now we have the beginnings of a arsenal. WTF.

     

    And for the pets, yeah, they can't just spring that schit on you. They're living beings. Not something that can be stashed in a closet or under a bed. Tell them the kids will be so happy to have the bunny, duck and whatever other pets to play with while they visit... at their house.

  • I would be furious.

    But I would definitely take the bunny and his cage/supplies to grandparents' house and tell DD that "Bunny lives at grandpa's house and you can come visit Bunny whenever you want!" 

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