100 lb. Club - I didn't think I was over the top (food and inlaws)




Eliana
09-27-2010, 12:08 PM
We've laid down the law with the grandparents. Some of you may remember way back in June our boys went on a week long vacation during which our ten year old gained 8 pounds. :( Here we are in September and he has not lost them. I was so mad at them! I KNEW he was not going to lose that weight because I can't nag. It's such a delicate subject with children. I have no control. You'd think I would...but I don't. I can't control what he sneaks short of putting a lock on the cupboard. All I can do is provide only healthy choices and encourage him from the sideline. So mad at them!!

Anyway, the kids were at the grandparents Saturday into Sunday and we ordered them not to feed our kids crap. That was the order....no crap. They took the kids to the PANCAKE HOUSE!! DH said, fine...but no pancakes. :rofl: The kids were furious, of course.

DH and his dad got into quite an argument over this. They take great offense to our desire not to feed our children crap. It's a battle of the wills.

Here's what I don't understand and can not wrap my brain around. These people have serious health issues. Grandmother is getting her fourth heart cath today!! Both have heart issues, both have high BP, both have type II diabetes. Should they want better for their children and grandchildren? Do they think those diseases just happened to them? I would think they'd cheer us on from the sidelines and encourage us! It amazes us that they beat us down!

And we're not all that radical!! We use turkey meat instead of hamburger, a typical meal is protein, veggie, small complex carb and snacks are fruit and/or yogurt. We use whole wheat bread. We're on a mission now to cut out HFCS and we use raw sugar. I've switched to soy milk but the children still drink regular milk. WE EAT ICE CREAM ONCE A WEEK!!

What we don't do: pancakes, goldfish, sugar cereal, potato chips, fruit snacks, canned fruit, canned veggies, chicken nuggets, french fries, hamburgers, brownies, cookies, donuts, ho-ho's, twinkies.

The don't-do list pretty much describes my kids entire diet when they are with the grandparents. :dizzy: And then they wonder why they have behavior problems!

I just don't get why they don't want better for us. Why don't they applaud this? If they can't applaud it, shouldn't they at least support us or turn a blind eye? I mean how can they possibly think their way is BETTER?

ETA: Before my healthy lifestyle switch, I ADMIRED people who ate the way I eat now. I was jealous that I seemingly couldn't do it myself or I thought I wouldn't like the food. I had such admiration for people who took such active control of their health. Was I the nutty one?


matt_H
09-27-2010, 12:52 PM
For my parents growing up food was affection. Neither of my parents are affectionate people. But they show love by shoving little debbie snack cakes down your throat (perhaps not literally).

Maybe the in laws are like that. They associate food with love.

I'm just now thinking about my high school lunch (my mom would pack it the night before). It would always include 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a package of cheese crackers, one or two little debbie snack cakes (my favorite was the swiss rolls or the oatmeal cookies), and to be "healthy" usually a banana or apple. This would then be washed down with a regular soda/pop.

time2lose
09-27-2010, 12:57 PM
Eliana,

I am so sorry that your family is having to go through this. Good for you for protecting your kids. Too many people would just give in.

I am trying to look at this from the grandparents point of view. I am a grandma so maybe I can do it. :) Personalities obviously plays a part in this. I do my best to follow DD's instructions with the grandkids.

What we don't do: pancakes, goldfish, sugar cereal, potato chips, fruit snacks, canned fruit, canned veggies, chicken nuggets, french fries, hamburgers, brownies, cookies, donuts, ho-ho's, twinkies.

The don't-do list pretty much describes my kids entire diet when they are with the grandparents. And then they wonder why they have behavior problems!

Could it be that they don't know what to feed the kids? Your list also pretty much describes my diet for many years. If someone had left some children at my house in those days and given me that list of "don't feed", I would have said, "What should I feed them?" It is sad I know but it would have scared me to death. The grandparents may be feeling lost on what to do.

If I were the grandmother here is what I would want:

*a list of suggested foods and/or bring some food for them. I would want some easy and fast foods (fast as in quick to prepare, not McDonalds) included in that list.
*Let me take them out for their once a week ice cream. I want my time with them to be special.
* A list of restaurants and suggested menu items so that I can take the kids out

Most of all, I would want to make you the fall guy. I tell my 2 and 4 year old grandsons, "Your Mom and Dad make the rules for you. You have to follow them and I have to follow them." For example, we kept the GSs for a weekend while they were weaning the pacifier away from the youngest. He could only have it at bedtime. When he asked for it at other times, my reply was always, "I am sorry, Honey. The rule is that you can only have it at bedtime." That would be the end of discussion because you know, you just can't break rules. :)

Addition - attitude really matters with this. The grandparents need to, at least, appear to be supportive. Rolling your eyes and saying, "We have to mind your parents' rules." is not very helpful. :)

I hope that you are able to work this out with the grandparents. The child grandparent bond is special and I think children need it, but you have to protect your children!


Eliana
09-27-2010, 12:57 PM
I'm just now thinking about my high school lunch (my mom would pack it the night before). It would always include 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a package of cheese crackers, one or two little debbie snack cakes (my favorite was the swiss rolls or the oatmeal cookies), and to be "healthy" usually a banana or apple. This would then be washed down with a regular soda/pop.

Yes, this is them. In contrast, I packed today a hot dog on WW for one, turkey sandwich on WW for the other. Both got grapes and a cheese stick.

They're not starving! And does my lunch say "I love you" any less?

Perhaps the grandparents think it does. My goal is to feed my children healthy meals with snacks in moderation with food that they will actually eat. (The hot dog for instance. :rolleyes: That's not exactly health food, but it's a treat that will make him smile today.)

Eliana
09-27-2010, 01:00 PM
Cheryl, bless you!! You may just be right! If I take away all that they're used to, they have nothing left and maybe they truly are at a loss for what they can feed the children! I hadn't ever looked at it that way!! Perhaps if I just emailed an extensive list of acceptable foods they'd be ok with it.

time2lose
09-27-2010, 01:04 PM
Perhaps if I just emailed an extensive list of acceptable foods they'd be ok with it.

It would help me but it would be tricky. You will have to be very careful with your wording. Make the email sound helpful, not judgmental. Some people get offended so easily.

time2lose
09-27-2010, 01:06 PM
Another thought, a list of good foods might help them change their eating habits. It sounds like they need to change a lifetime of eating habits. Not an easy thing to do.

When I first started, I saw a dietitian who gave me a list of food. I felt stupid but it really helped me get started.

SeaWave
09-27-2010, 01:26 PM
My in-laws are of a generation that had to work hard for what they got, and ate basic meat and potatoes meals. For them to spoil their grandkids means giving them things they never had themselves as children. That could mean desserts, really salty spaghetti sauce, whatever. I trust my in-laws with my son's life when I let him stay there, to keep him safe and warm and loved. I would never presume to then tell them that what they're feeding him "isn't good enough". He may eat differently than he eats here (and he eats differently whenever he eats elsewhere). It's no different to me than anyone else who suspends their diet for a special occasion, or when vacationing.

As far a your ten-year-old gaining 8 lbs and not losing them, I'm a little confused. He's still growing, and I would expect him to be gaining weight. Are you saying that the 8 lbs has brought him into the overweight category? Did he already have a weight problem? Is he active enough?

Eliana
09-27-2010, 01:36 PM
My in-laws are of a generation that had to work hard for what they got, and ate basic meat and potatoes meals. For them to spoil their grandkids means giving them things they never had themselves as children. That could mean desserts, really salty spaghetti sauce, whatever. I trust my in-laws with my son's life when I let him stay there, to keep him safe and warm and loved. I would never presume to then tell them that what they're feeding him "isn't good enough". He may eat differently than he eats here (and he eats differently whenever he eats elsewhere). It's no different to me than anyone else who suspends their diet for a special occasion, or when vacationing.

As far a your ten-year-old gaining 8 lbs and not losing them, I'm a little confused. He's still growing, and I would expect him to be gaining weight. Are you saying that the 8 lbs has brought him into the overweight category? Did he already have a weight problem? Is he active enough?
Our son IS overweight, bordering on obese if he isn't actually there. Eight pounds in one week is not normal. His goal he chose for himself was to maintain as he grew and he managed to do that for one full year within two pounds, plus or minus. He was quite proud of himself. All his hard work was ruined with one week.

Our children don't visit the grandparents once a year. They're there often...too often. I hate it. I have very little voice when it comes to my inlaws but darn it, I will not stand by and watch them make a mockery of our diet.

You all know what it's like as adults to cleanse your system of sugar. It's hard work!! Then once it's done, it takes just one brownie to set you up on a the cravings track again.

kateleestar
09-27-2010, 01:48 PM
Oh, crap. Another reason I haven't had kids yet... My inlaws will spoil them with not only toys, but food too! Sigh.

rockinrobin
09-27-2010, 01:49 PM
. It's no different to me than anyone else who suspends their diet for a special occasion, or when vacationing.



There are lots of folks don't suspend their diet for special occasions or when vacationing. And if they do so, it would be of their own choosing, not someone forcing them to.

Shmead
09-27-2010, 02:33 PM
Can you use the doctor as support? I love the "list of healthy foods" idea, but can you make it be like "These are the foods the doctor says he can't have (and, obviously, don't give them to his brother) and these are the foods the doctor recommends he eat more of"? Maybe they will believe the doctor even if they think you are overreacting.

moonkissed
09-27-2010, 03:52 PM
First I do not yet have kids. But every time we visit my inlaws they just give in to my niece & nephew all the time. The kids are eating pure junk whenever they want it. Nonstop snacking it seems!

It drives me crazy lol like omg if we had kids I would have to be the bag guy and lay down the rules!

Honestly I think if I were in that situation I would just have a sit down discussion with them. Definitely give them a list of meals & snacks not just food I think. Like be very specific. I love the idea of you just bringing over your own food too. And be honest- this is for my kids health. Being overweight will lead to a ton of health & emotional problems growing up. We are not going to extremes here but we are trying to only provide healthy options for the kids and teach them portion control. Bringing this up I can not see how they could possibly argue over the kids health.

Then I would be tough and be like if you can not abide by our rules then you can only visit the kids at our house.

lindalee9
09-27-2010, 04:03 PM
I feel for you immensely!!!

My in-laws eat very unhealthy foods and I try to be laid back when they have the baby (10 months) but I flipped out when they told me that he had eaten donut holes and French fries for lunch at 8 months old. I never imagined that their unhealthy habits would not let them see that this is not good for my child!!

After talking with them and going over what foods are not ok, they are doing a little better, but it's almost like teaching a nutrition course. They honestly don't know what's healthy and that sounds like your in-laws too.

My FIL was surprised that he (my baby) and I eat our oatmeal plain and then like a revelation came to him, he said "Maybe if the baby grows up learning to eat healthy without adding salt or sugar to everything then he will eat healthier as an adult too!"

I was like BINGO!!!! So they are learning, just slowly!

Coondocks
09-27-2010, 04:41 PM
just throwing it out there, but why not talk to your son about it?
Obviously he's a smart kid if he maintained for a full year by eating right and exercising. Can you remind him of how proud he was of himself for accomplishing something so fantastic and let him know that it's ok to ask his grandparents or tell them even, that he would like to keep up what he had been doing and have healthier foods?

I know that's a big thing to ask of a child and clearly you'd have to tell them he is at the age where he understand health and nutrition (or is begning to) and as a family they need to help him along by making those choices easier for him now so later on in life it is still easy for him to make the healthy choice.

My little guy is only 19 months so I'm not at the point where I need to have that conversation, but I'm also lucky enough that my family has always known me to be blunt about things. They raised me to be independant and confident, so when it comes to Mom saying Jack doesnt need more junk, sugar etc, they listen.

Hope things all change for the better. Keep up what you're doing, its inspirational :)

lovemyboy
09-27-2010, 08:35 PM
If they agree with you then it would be like agreeing that they have a problem themselves if they are eating that way. That would also mean that they would have to do something about it. You making decisions about your kids isn't an insult towards them I realize but people personalize every dang thing. They are your kids, you decide.

I think you are setting a good example. Your children see your choices and if you talk about and show them how to order healthy in a restaurant, they will do it. Do you think it might be a peer pressure kind of thing like I better eat this or grandma and grandpa will be upset or ask tons of questions as to why they won't eat it, etc.? It might be easier for them to deal with your reaction than the grandparents' reaction? Does the spoiling have to be food?

SeaWave
09-27-2010, 09:05 PM
I apologize if my previous post sounded a bit harsh; I hadn't realized that the visits were that frequent, nor that your son had a weight problem.

lindalee is right it's almost like teaching a nutrition course and do put it in the context of his continued and future health. It's no different from a child with allergies to nuts or shellfish or with celiac's. Perhaps give them recipies of a few of his favorite healthy dishes to give them an idea of what it looks like in real life. Get him involved as well, so that he owns it while he's there without your supervision. That may be even tougher than gaining the in-laws' collaboration, but it will be something he carries with him for the rest of his life.

Eliana
09-27-2010, 09:08 PM
It's no different from a child with allergies to nuts or shellfish or with celiac's. Perhaps give them recipies of a few of his favorite healthy dishes to give them an idea of what it looks like in real life. Get him involved as well, so that he owns it while he's there without your supervision. That may be even tougher than gaining the in-laws' collaboration, but it will be something he carries with him for the rest of his life.

Yes, spot on, thank you. ;) He's not a typical child. He has never played in his entire life. He is completely inactive despite our absolute best efforts as parents. Our only other choice is to lower his calories and teach him to make good choices on his own.

Thighs Be Gone
09-27-2010, 09:16 PM
I liken overfeeding kids to abuse. To me, it is absolutely the same. If it came down to it, the grandparents would go before my kids health would.

SeaWave
09-28-2010, 05:07 AM
He's not a typical child. He has never played in his entire life. He is completely inactive despite our absolute best efforts as parents.

If you haven't already, you may want to get him checked for a metabolic issue. I know low thyroid can cause metabolism to slow, fatigue, listlessness, weight gain... It's scary when our children have a problem that we can't easily fix despite our best efforts. Hang in there, something will work!

Hyacinth
09-28-2010, 11:58 AM
My first thought is, how frequently is this happening? If it's just once a month, or even once a week, I'd just let it go. If they see them more frequently than that, I'd cut their visitation back to once a week or less. (For your own sake!)

I'd recommend clearly stating your expectations, along with whatever advice or information they need to meet your expectations. If they consistently disregard your advice and don't honor your wishes, then limit the amount of time they spend with the grandkids. Maybe they shouldn't take the kids for a full week in the summer? They can just visit for a long weekend, or just go over for 'day camp' and come home at night.

I don't think it's unfair to train the grandparents so they know that the more they honor your wishes in this arena, the more frequently they get to see the grandkids. If they never do honor your wishes, then they just need "supervised visitation." - lol

Kismet89
09-28-2010, 01:08 PM
My boys are only two and half years and ten months old but when they visit either set of grandparents, I like to take along the foods I would usually feed them at home. That way a) it's easier on the grandparents meal-wise and b) I know they are eating well! They're not going there to eat, right? But to spend time with their grandparents, which I believe is very important. Likely, no matter how many lists you make, if they want to slip the kids a treat, they will. My parents have been known to get the boys the occasional snowcone (sugary flavoring on ice) and the inlaws are buffet believers. They live out of town though, so our visits spread over the year and DH and I are there. In a case such as yours, I would reduce unsupervised (by you/husband) visits with the grandparents. Not by blatantly saying it, but more like "WE came for a visit!". I would also involve my sons in making food choices (when they are older). As it is I'm teaching my toddler to enjoy a "colorful" plate and he enjoys variety and plenty. Assuming yours is older, he can start having some responsibility for what he decides to eat. Let him help pack the food going to the grandparents. Make it fun and interesting, giving him full reign to pick from pre-approved choices. Maybe that would help when you can't be there?

Good luck.

Eliana
09-28-2010, 01:26 PM
Kismet, you just reminded me...

This should illustrate the issue pretty well.

When the children were tiny, I made homemade baby food. I always took the homemade food to the grandparents when they babysit or when the family got together. She was horrified that I would feed them real food. She insisted they have baby food from a jar and went out and purchased stacks of it. I wouldn't allow them to eat it. They grew out of it, she ended up with loads of leftover baby food...and blamed me. :rolleyes:

Not that there's anything wrong with jarred baby food...but she's under the impression that my homemade food was subpar to the jarred stuff.

It's just so backwards!

That's how it feels now. My baked chicken is subpar to the chicken nuggets. It's like we're supposed to go through the manufactured progression from formula (horrified I breastfed too) to jarred baby food to chicken nuggets and then eventually we'd get around to "real" food.

Kismet89
09-28-2010, 01:31 PM
Hey! I'm a baby-food maker too...well, was I guess. My LO is pretty much eating what we eat. But I LOVED it, and so easy. Sorry about the aside, you just don't see as many people doing that anymore. I also breastfeed and we cloth diaper...but that's another forum.

Again, good luck!

Arctic Mama
09-29-2010, 12:53 AM
Cheryl's idea was great! I am fortunate that the main grandmas in our family are health nuts, the kids get some treats, but nothing over the top, and the less frequently visited grandma doesn't feed fattening junk, just more convenience/prepackaged food.

I do personally feed frozen chicken nuggets, canned peaches, and even *gasp* hot dogs to our kids on occasion, especially here at the end of pregnancy when standing in the kitchen does me in - but my girls don't have a problem (yet, thankfully) with food sneaking or over-eating. A kid who struggles with these issues needs different guidelines and options than a kid who does not, just like us adults... I really appreciate the balance you are having to strike to try and help your sons. It really could be that the grandparents just don't know what is okay or are trying to spoil and love on your sons in the only way they know how. While I personally don't care if my kids get some junk on occasion, they can tolerate it. If your sons really can't, try to frame it to them as you would, say, a food allergy. If they understand that there are serious consequences to his health, immediately, upon consuming low quality food, that might help reinforce your good foods list a bit for them.

Big hugs. I hope you find a non-confrontational solution :hug:

Arctic Mama
09-29-2010, 01:01 AM
Kismet, you just reminded me...

This should illustrate the issue pretty well.

When the children were tiny, I made homemade baby food. I always took the homemade food to the grandparents when they babysit or when the family got together. She was horrified that I would feed them real food. She insisted they have baby food from a jar and went out and purchased stacks of it. I wouldn't allow them to eat it. They grew out of it, she ended up with loads of leftover baby food...and blamed me. :rolleyes:

Not that there's anything wrong with jarred baby food...but she's under the impression that my homemade food was subpar to the jarred stuff.

It's just so backwards!

That's how it feels now. My baked chicken is subpar to the chicken nuggets. It's like we're supposed to go through the manufactured progression from formula (horrified I breastfed too) to jarred baby food to chicken nuggets and then eventually we'd get around to "real" food.

Oh... Wow. That's a LOT of misinformation. Were they raised very poor/in an area that didn't have a lot of fresh options, or with families that didn't teach nutrition? That sort of ignorance about nutrition is often regional and cultural, especially in the 70+ year generation. My grandparents definitely eat more junk than my mom, but since they were raised rurally, they were at least familiar with fresh fruits and veggies, and home canned ones. Convenience food was often more expensive for them.

That is certainly a challenge to contend with, I do NOT think you are being unreasonable at all.