How to Let My Mom Know That She's Crossing the Line

Updated on October 08, 2012
S.A. asks from Chicago, IL
36 answers

I have a wonderful, loving mom and we are very close. She is a fabulous grandmother to my 3 kids and is very involved in our lives. The problem I have is that sometimes, she will undermine my authority as their mother. For instance, last week she bought my 7 yr old a goldfish along with the fishbowl food etc...without even asking me. When she walked into my house with it she said "I know you're going to be mad at me, but he really wanted it, and I'm the Nana so there!" I don't want this goldfish in my home, I don't want to clean it's bowl every 4 days, I'm just plain mad about it.

The biggest issue I have right now is about how she ignores my requests to not bake for us. My mother loves to bake, always has. She feels like she is expressing her love when she cooks and bakes for her family. The problem is, my 10 yr daughter has gained a lot of weight in the last year and her pediatrician has told us to limit her intake of sweets and junk food. I no longer buy sweets with the exception of frozen mini fruit bars or fat free Fudgesicles so that the kids have just a little something after dinner and don't feel deprived. When we go to my parents house for Sunday dinner, my mom always has a lavish dessert along with a big plate of cookies for us to take home. If she comes to babysit during the week, she ALWAYS has a plate of something that she's made. Yesterday, she came with a huge bag of apple cider doughnuts. I told my kids they could have one for dessert after dinner, and she said "Oh, come on, Mom. Let them have just one right now". I was fuming, but gave in because it would have been 4 against 1. So, they had one then, and another one after dinner. My daughter whined and begged for a second one after dinner. I didn't let her, but was aggravated that I had to deal with it since we're not even supposed to have these temptations in the house.

I know that most grandmothers like to spoil their grandkids with goodies, but she KNOWS that my daughter should not be having the stuff, and that she wants to binge on treats when she can get her hands on them. I wouldn't mind if it was just once a month, but it's all the time! I've told her my concerns about my daughters weight, her doctor's concerns. I get really worked up because my mom was the same with me when I was my daughter's age. She never restricted my eating, and I became VERY overweight until my senior year of high school when I decided to cut sugar out of my diet and lost 60 lbs. She was always telling me that one cookie wouldn't hurt, or to just have a piece of cake already. It was like she didn't want me to be thin. She always says life is short, you might as well enjoy yourself. Well, life will be even shorter if you're not healthy and I enjoy my life a lot more when I'm not overweight!

So, how do I gently, but firmly tell her that I can't have her giving us sugary sweets anymore. How do I do this without hurting her or making her feel like she's not welcome at my house? I don't want her to feel that way, or to feel that I don't want her around my kids. She is their only grandmother and they love her so much. How do I make her see that this is serious, and not something to brush off or take lightly?

Thanks Mamas!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all of the great feedback! In response to many, yes, my daughter does exercise. She took swimming in the summer, she does Jr. Jazzercise now and will be adding basketball in November when the season starts at school. That will be Nov-Feb. After that, her softball season will be almost time to start. So, she is not inactive like many of you just assumed. I think she's inherited my sluggish metabolism and my sweet tooth. It would be great if I could teach her to say no to the sweets, but it's not that simple. She doesn't want to say no. She heard the doctor tell her that she had to cut them out. She cried all the way from the doctor's office that day. I don't want to completely deprive her which is why I buy the mini frozen fruit bars and Fudgesicles. When my mom sends stuff home with us, or brings it over, I do limit her to one or two, but she drives me insane begging for more. I know how addictive sugar is, so that's why I don't want it in my house...I will talk to my mom about it again. If things don't change, I'll have to start throwing the stuff away like so many have suggested or sending it with my husband to work for his coworkers. Thanks!

Featured Answers



answers from Washington DC on

Try and replace the "love" grandma is showing through food with love shown in a different way, like physical activities. If grandma is in good enough shape they could walk together or she could take them to the park, kite flying, bike rides, etc. Ask grandma to be part of the solution and not the problem.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I like what Michelle S said. Be nice and loving about it. But put an end to it. Have a nice conversation w her.

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answers from Hartford on

I think that you have to be reconciled with and ignore the fact that no matter gently you inform her of your family's needs for her to respect your boundaries, her feelings will be hurt. Your boundaries are necessary for your childrens' sakes and your own. Hurt feelings are bound to happen... they're a fact of life. No one is saying you have to enjoy hurting her feelings or to try hurting them... just that it's going to be impossible to avoid.

"Mom, we're not keeping the goldfish at our house. Yes, Mom, I realize that you bought it 'for the kids' but we're not keeping it at the house. Figure something else out, please. I'm sure you have space in your own kitchen."

"Thank you for the doughnuts, Mom. You brought far too many for us to eat. We'll keep five for dessert, but you're going to have to take the rest home. If you don't, we'll be bringing them to the women's shelter on Happy Street."

"Thanks for thinking of us when you did all that baking, Mom, but if you had called me first I would have told you that there's no possible way we'll be able to take it all home. I'll take a small portion on a paper plate, but the rest is staying here. No, Mom, I know you went to a lot of trouble. We're not taking it home. Perhaps you can bring it in to work tomorrow or share some with a neighbor."

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

My parents were health nuts - we ate low fat, healthy foods at home - no sweets, no sodas etc.

But on Sundays we went to my Italian Grandmother's house for dinner - things that were battered and fried, pastas, sauces, beef, and cakes and desserts, and sweet tea - the orgy of over abundance that is a Grandmother from the old country.

One day a week, a few holidays, did not ruin us or our healthy eating. In fact, at 47, and a parent for 16 years, I feed my son the way I raised- lots of healthy options with an occasional old world food orgy thrown in.

Your mother, like my Grandmother, shows love through food - Eh, maybe not the best way to go about it - and maybe a result of her own hang ups.

So, easy strategies -

When she shows up with a plate of cookies, take them from her, kiss her cheek, and put them up and away. Explain to her and the kids that they are for later. Repeat as necessary. Will your Mom get mad - maybe - but she will get over it. No more " I was fuming, but gave in because it would have been 4 against 1."

When she makes you a plate to take home from house - take half of the sweets off it before you even walk out of her kitchen.

Take her with you to you daughter's next Dr.s appointment. Let her hear it from the Dr. that your daughter's weight has become a concern.

Look up some of your Mom's favorite recipes and give her a guide to healthier substitutes - many people bake with sweeteners as opposed to sugar, etc. Maybe she can begin baking in lower calorie, healthier ways.

As for the goldfish - My Aunt did that to me with a Beta - Eh, I made my son the sole caretaker of the fish. Poor thing died. So sad, no more fish. Evil, but effective - my son learned to better care for the next one my Aunt gave him. LOL

Good Luck

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

You can't "make" her stop.
You likely won't change her.

Here's what I'd do.
Anything from Grandma is the "O. treat for the day." O.. Each.
If she insists on watching them eat the cookie/donut/cake right then, let them.
Then put up/out of sight and when she's gone, pitch out the remainder.
Better in the garbage than in your kids.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Pull out one of your pictures when you were at your heaviest, and show it to her. Ask her if she really wants your daughter to look like this. Tell her that you cannot just sit back and allow this.

I would give her back the fish and tell her that she has to keep it at her house. Tell her that just because she is the Nana, she doesn't get to override your rules and wishes.

I would actually throw all her stuff away as soon as she leaves. If you don't, you will all eat it and all your worries are going to be realized. Don't accept them when you go home from her house.

If she continues this stuff after you show her a picture, then you know just how tough you are going to need to be. Your family's health comes before her feelings.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lincoln on

listen, i go thru the same thing to with my mom. and you know what, i am so very thankful to have her in our lives! my kids only have one nana and that is my mom bc my DH mother has since passed on, but even when she was alive, she never had anything to do with my kids. my mom brings all kinds of junk food when she comes to see us. i let the kids eat one thing nana brings them and when she leaves i either give them to someone who i know would eat them or just trash them. i will not make my mom feel like she cannot spoil her grandbabies. this is her way of showing her love for my babies. i would never tell my child that the goldfish has to go back or take it to nana's house. she bought that for him. its a stinking goldfish for pete sake, its not a dog that poops in the house. show your son or daughter how to properly take care of a fish, they will learn some resp. take the negative and turn it in to a positive. and after that is all said and done, tell your mom "mom next time please ask me first before you buy a pet for the kids"... i dont like it either when my mom brings nothing but sweets and junk food to the house for the kids to eat, but i know that she loves them. when my MIL was alive all my kids got was a pat on head and then ignored the rest of the time. cherish you mom... i know she does things you dont like... no one does. but hey, at least you have your mom here and your kids have one AWESOME nana! good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Wow, I could have written this! We go through this same thing with my mom, my daughter is 12 and it's the same thing. I have learned that getting my mom to 'get it' is a losing battle. My parents are both very unhealthy and have a lot of health problems, and actually DD is very healthy. But I ask my mom "you see what unhealthy eating has done to you, why would you want my DD to deal with the same thing?' Does not get through.

I have learned that I don't want to spend so much time being frustrated and angry at my mom, who is otherwise a wonderful person and I'm lucky to have her. I realize, and you read, how many people no longer have their moms. I dread looking back and feeling guilty for the time I spent griping at her.

Here's the happy place I am at now. I do set limits, I say what we are eating any why. I try to enlighten my mom that I realize she does these things out of love, it's what she knows. But I've tried to make a shift- "instead of the cookies, you know what the kiddo would like? taking a walk with you, or going to the library, etc'. Don't just tell her what she can't do, tell her what she can. It didn't change much for us, but a little, and she gets that my DD just wants her time- doing a puzzle together means as much as getting a pie. It plants a seed, if nothing else.

So I've lightened up a little, and allow one treat every week or two. But for the rest? I tell DD ahead of time that if grandma brings something over we are not eating it that day. Period. It helps that she knows in advance not to get all excited about the cookies, it's a non issue for DD now. And I'll tell my mom that I'm putting it in the fridge or freezer for later. Family forgets about it, and yep, I toss it when she's left. That was hard at first, I felt sneaky. But I feel very strongly about what I feed my family, and I'd feel worse let them eat all this junk than I do throwing it away. And mom doesn't know so ignorance is bliss on her part. Sometimes I'll give it away to a neighbor, too. Or if it's packaged stuff, I donate it.

Enjoy your mom, she sounds sweet. Don't just abandon your principles, make sure you talk to your mom about them. But don't strain your relationship. Make the trash can your new best friend.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think you need to take her aside and say, "Mom, this isn't about how we don't love you or enjoy your sweets. This is a serious health issue we are facing as a family to support DD10. When you undermine me in front of them, you make me the bad guy when all I am doing is trying to help my child without demeaning her or making it harder for her. When you do this, you sabotage HER health and as HER mother, I cannot stand here and allow it. I struggled with my weight my entire childhood and I do not want my daughter to feel the way I did. Please love her enough to listen to me."

You might also go so far as to say that if she continues to undermine you all the time and make visits nothing but a power struggle, then you may have to consider fewer or different visits (like no dinners).

If I did not want a pet (even a fish), I'd say, "I'm sorry, but this was not discussed with us and I do not want the responsibility of a new pet. You can visit the fish at Grandma's house." What's next? A kitten?

My mom loves to buy trinkets that she cannot afford or she'll get stuff for DD from sales that are too big for our home. She can't just keep it at her house because she has less room than we do. I understand she just loves DD, but it was causing much consternation with DH. I took her aside and said, "Mom, I love you and I know you love DD, but we just don't have room for more art easels, ride on toys or other big things. I really need you to stop bringing us large gifts. You don't need to bring anything when you come. We just want your company." And later I told her that DD loves books, and dinosaurs, so Mom has been bringing books (about dinosaurs). We have room for a library, and everyone is happy. Mom's even been up in the attic and gave DD one of MY old books recently. So maybe also ask her to do x instead of baking or giving presents.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I'd consider bringing her a St Bernard and telling her
"Here ya go! The kids REALLY wanted a dog but we can't fit one at our house. Since you are such a GREAT Nana, you'll keep him for the kids at YOUR house.".
I draw the line at gift pets.
It's cruel to the animal to go to a house where it's not wanted and/or there is no one willing to take care of it.
A gold fish seems like a simple thing, but fish die fairly easily.
Is Nana going to deal with the crying when it turns belly up in it's bowl?
Maybe she should keep the fish for the kids at her house and see how SHE likes caring for it.
As far as the treats go, thank her nicely then soon as she leaves take them over to your local fire house and donate them to the fire fighters.
That's what my son's 5th grade teacher did with left over Christmas cookies from the school party.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I love my Mom. She's been gone 5 years and I still love her and I miss her. I know you love your Mom. But...

It seems the problem is that you have to choose which relative you are responsible for. I vote for your daughter. Your Mom knows what your wishes are and if she is hurt by your providing your daughter a healthy home, then that is something she will have to deal with. Your house, your rules. No apologizing or explaining.

If plates of food are forced on you to take home, never let them in the house. If you are know at your local school, hospital, nursing home, senior center, etc. , you might find a receptive audience for those plates of sweets. Just check ahead of time. While it's not healthy for them either, they are adults who can choose to have a treat and balance it with the rest of their diets.

If Nana arrives with a plate, whisk it away into the freezer to donate later. No explanations. If urged to have your daughter eat one now, just say "no".1 time. 2 times. Whatever it takes. And smile, smile, smile.

And when at Nana's, that's a time to let your daughter enjoy a treat, her choice of one.

About the goldfish, eh, not so bad. This too shall pass.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You tell her what you told us. Your the mom and what you say goes. It doesn't matter if it is 4 against 1 as you say. You are the parent. Stand up for yourself and tell your mom that you are overstepping your bounds. Stop it! Tell her from now on she needs to ask you before making a life changing decision about pets---she can now take the fish and the fish bowl to her house. Your kids can come visit the fish. She was completely inappropriate to not ask you and to do it knowing that you would be furious.

Tell her in private though and ask her to respect your wishes regardless of how she feels about it. She had her chance to raise her kids----Now, it is YOUR chance to raise your own. Don't let her steal your thunder.....Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I see you have a lot of answers about how to deal with this, so I was wondering if she doesn't change could you give her to me? When I was growing up I wished, hoped for and almost died for a mother like this. My mother was so skinny and beautiful it was horrible. Any pound I gained and she made fun of me. She is still that way and she is eighty! My best friend had a mom like yours and I spent as much of my life there as I could. My mother never, ever baked anything. I ended up being the cook early in life, while she eventually got divorced stayed skinny and beautiful and got to dating then remarried. She never spent any time with my children other than a few seasonal things and the occasional event/birthday. And my kids do not really know much about her. In my life if I had a mother like yours and it bothered me about the food I would pack some of it in the freezer and give it to neighbors, drop it at work or churches and keep the door open for more. I know I know, the grass is greener on the other side I guess. However I do want to add that I too would not want a goldfish. Not now or ever, so I'm with you there, but like I said if you want loan her to me for awhile. I would love to be spoiled with treats!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

It will take only 1 or 2 times of telling her, "Thank you for the sentiment, but we cannot have (insert item here:goldfish/this many cookies/inappropriate toy/etc) at this house." You can leave it at that or help find a solution (Goldy can stay at Grandma's house and your kids will be happy to visit and watch it at her place, offer to return goldfish and items to store, or list it on classifieds for free). Same thing with the baked goods she packs up for you. "Oh, thanks for the sentiment, Mom, but we cannot possibly eat this many cookies. I can leave them here with you or I can give them to the neighbors" (or "we can take 1 cookie each, but really, that is it, we are doing a nutrition challenge at home"). After a few times of refusing to accept these gifts you do not want, she will either start calling ahead to ask permission or she will stop baking/buying because she knows it will be a waste of time and a hassle.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Oh Sweetie...hugs to you. I know you are upset and you have every right to be. It is in your children't best interest for you to lay the law down NOW.

Of course you must tread carefully because she is your mother and you don't want to come off disrespectful but you must be firm. I really think the best thing you could do is to have a discussion with her privately. Perhaps you go to her house while your husband keeps the kids at home.

Just be honest with her. Tell her how difficult it was for your growing up being an overweight child. Children can be so very cruel and bullying is far more prevalent today then it was back when we were in school. Give her examples of how it made you feel to be overweight. What it did to your body image, confidence, self worth, etc. You are limiting your children's treat intake for good reason. Your doctor has very valid concerns, the last thing either of you want is for your child to develop diabetes from obesity.

Give her specifics: "I don't want Susie to be teased because she can't physically keep up in gym class. It would break Susie's heart and spirit if the other kids start calling her fatso or lazy." "Susie needs to develop healthy eating habits now so that she is in control of what fuels her body. She needs to know what good nutritional choices to make and proper portion control. The hardest lesson to learn is that EVERYTHING is ok in moderation, but Susie needs to learn self control to establish moderation."

Ask her for help. Make it her mission to help you help your child. If your doctor has given you nutritional guidelines to help your daughter, by all means make a copy and take it with you to give Mom. Reiterate that you know how much she loves you and your children and you appreciate all that she does for you and them. But she needs to limit the treats, in fact it would be best if she could check with you privately BEFORE letting the kids see a treat or offering it to them. If you say "no, not today" then she needs to let it drop. She doesn't know what all they've had to eat that day and they may have already had their quota for the day.

You may want to also tell her that when she "overrules" you in front of the kids it is undermining your authority with them. You as their Mother should have the power to veto anything...including treats from Grandma :) Ask her how she would have felt if her Mother or MIL would have done that to her?

Sometimes Grandparents forget what it was like to be the Parent. I'm sure she doesn't mean to do it but she is most definitely stepping on your toes.

Peace and Blessings,
T. B

P.S. Perhaps Grandma can keep the fish at her house, the kids can visit it during sunday dinner. (This would have totally ticked me off too...and the fish would have left with my

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My mom can be similarly undermining at times also and it is so frutstrating. Perhaps you could appeal to your mom by "asking" for her help. Maybe say to her that you feel alone in your effort to eat healthier and say "Mom, do you have any ideas? I'm really concerned about this. I'd love your help." Asking her for suggestions may shift her to view the two of you as a team, rather than Nana vs. Mommy. A compromise (she can serve whatever treates she wants on Sundays, only when you are at HER house) would work. If she isn't receptive, then I agree you simply have to stand your ground. If you are eating healthy within your own home consistently, a treat from Nana that happens once in a while won't make your child overweight. But if she shows up with a huge plate of food and its happening every other day and on the weekends, that is not fair to you. Say thank you, take it and put it out of sight, saying we will save this for Sunday, since its not allowed during the week. Period. Tell her you won't discuss it any further in front of the children. Conversation over. And I don't know if this is reasonable, but perhaps invite her to your daughter's next doctor's appointment under the premise that you could use a hand that day or whatever. Maybe she needs to be face to face with the doctor to have this sink in.
Oh and the goldfish should be driven over to her house - your child can visit it there on weekends and Nana can feed it and clean the bowl on her time. Nobody gets to impose the care of a living thing on someone else without their permission.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Well, its just a matter of being more firm and direct with her, BUT NOT IN front of anyone. In her case, it looks like emotion would work on her. You made need to put on a performance. Like go in and be very upset, with tears and acting so worried. Saying "MOM my daughter HAS to lose weight an I dont know how to do it, I need to cut the fat in her diet and I feel so ALONE in this" ... you need to appeal to her motherly side. Right now she is basking in the grandma role. ALL good grand mothers do this. Depending HOW big your daughter is, you have to remember, that older people dont have the stick thin attitude and health crazy, the newer generation does. They want there offspring plump cause it means they are well loved and fed.
I feel your over thinking, and kinda angry about the wrong thing. ONE fatty Sunday meal is not making your daughter overeweight. Its whats going on at home, her metabolism, and her inactivity. One or two Apple Cider Doughnuts are not going to break her diet, or make her exessively over weight. You cut sugar from your diet, thats wonderful, but being the sugar and sweet nazi, is not. Its going to stress you, your daughter, and your mother WAY the heck out.
Relax. Let your mother feed your soul with great food, and then you run, and exercise the heck out it that day. I will tell you it helps a lot more.
Should your mother respect your wishes? Yes, but she has a point. Life is too short to worry about it. If you can control your cravings then you dont need to eat it, if your daughter can not, you have to be the one that steps in and says OK baby ONE cookie, and then kindly give the plate back to Grandma, or wait till she leaves and do the ole toss a roo...

My best opinion is dont tell her to stop baking, just get creative on how to get around eating it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You don't have to convince your mother of anything. YOU are the parent. It's not healthy for your daughter to have two doughnuts in one day. It's not about weight, it's about health. So when your mother offers a doughnut to your daughter, you tell your daughter - "Okay, you can have one doughnut. If you have one now, you can't have one at dinner. So it's your choice." Then after dinner, when she wants one, just tell her no, she can have fruit or something else.

Your mother is not going to change. Food is her way of showing love. Speaking personally, there are far worse things a mother can do. If I had have a loving mother who tried to feed my kids too much, it would have been better than a crabby grandma that always insulted my kids and me.

You be the adult, and say no. That's all.

And about the fish -- a fish isn't the worst thing in the world. Either deal with it till it dies, which probably won't be too long, (but please don't flush it), or rehome it. Maybe they'll take it back at the pet store. You can tell your kids - either you take care of it, or it's going back to the pet store.

Your mom sounds really great. You wanna hear the stories about how my mother bitched all the way through every Christmas morning because she disapproved of all the stuff that kids get these days? I should have been so lucky to have a mom like yours.

Listen to Samantha's answer.

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answers from San Francisco on

I'm a grandma, and I'd be the same way as your mom. So she brings a treat over 2 - 3 times per week. Really, that is not going to cause your daughter to be obese. It's definitely more than that.

What sort of activities do YOU make your daughter do? Just cutting out these few sweets is not going to resolve her weight issues. She needs to learn how to eat properly and how to say "no" to sweets.

Also, if you make her cut out sweets altogether, you're going to create a closet eater. Anytime you completely deprive yourself of something you really love, all you do is make yourself crave it. So let her have a couple of sweets per week and then join her in an exercise regimen.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

Your mom sounds wonderful! She's just one of those moms who feeds her family with love, and those moms are hard to change. I see a few things here, find healthier recipes for the things she likes to bring and ask her to help you work out the kinks. She can still feed you, but with much healthier choices, and there are some good healthy recipes out there.

Next option is to either find someone else to give the goodies to, or as I have been known to do a time or two, allow them to have one and then they can disappear. Not the best option, but it works.

As for the fish, it's a fish and I guess I would be thankful it wasn't a dog or something, but I know thats just me.

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answers from Dallas on

Your house, your rules. It's not "4 against 1", your vote counts for 10 because it's your house and you are the Mom. Sit down with Mom and tell her no more baked goods at your house. Also tell her that you will not be bringing baked goods home from her house, the kids can have treats there but no take home plates. Lots of good ideas in prior posts to help explain to her "why" if you need to, or just say no and stand firm, your choice.
After that the next time she brings treats take the plate, hand it to your 7 year old, and ask him to please take it over to the neighbor's house so they can enjoy it. Repeat as often as necessary.

About the fish - let your 7 yo be responsible. Either he'll step up to the plate and the fish will live, or he won't and it will die. I got my kids fish for easter when they were 6 & 7. My 7 year old's died within a week, but my 6 year old kept hers alive for a year. Of course the tank was disgusting, but somehow the fish lived. Until dd went to grandmas for a week and I decided to clean the tank for her and killed the fish, oops.

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answers from Las Vegas on

Being a grandparent does not give license to override a parent's rules. I don't care what anyone else says about this. To me, it's completely rude for any other adult---grandparents included---to REPEATEDLY ignore and defy the stated wishes of the parents.

I don't buy into the "but I'm the grandma, so there" type of thinking. Might let it go for an ice-cream cone here and there, but not for something that is going have lasting having to take care of a surprise pet or the lesson a child learns that he/she can override mom's rules by going to grandma.

There have been times I have had to draw the line with my mom and mil and remind them that my husband and I are the parents. I told them that they can spoil the children all they want.....with love and their time. What they don't get to do is undermine what my husband and I have set as our family's rules.

How do you tell her? "I love you mom and love that you're so close with the kids. At the same time, you have to accept that we are the parents and accept the rules we make for our children." You'll have to be prepared to say this on more than one occasion until she sees that you are not bending on this.

"Mom, you really undermined me when you bought the goldfish without asking me. I know you were trying to be the fun grandma and do something nice for Billy. What you did, though, is give him the impression that my rules are meaningless. That can't happen again." Don't debate with her; it's not up for negotiation. Just say what you have to say and move on.

"No mom. No sugary treats before dinner." No more explanation---for her or the kids. No bargaining. No debating. No means no. You may need to have consequences in place and discuss beforehand what those would be with your kids if they continue with the begging and bargaining.

Maybe instead of cutting out all sweet treats altogether, you can make it a once in a while treat (once or twice a month). That way your mom gets to make something special for the kids, but it's not an every day thing. And even then, with proper portion control, a small bite of a sweet treat is probably not going to ruin a diet that is healthy 98% of the time.

It's going to be a process, but if you are willing to stand up and be serious, eventually, she will learn that you mean what you say. It might be tough for a while, but it can be done, and your relationship can be as good as or even better once you've re-established proper boundaries.

Good luck!

J. F.



answers from Chicago on

Hi SCW3,
I have not had a chance to read the other responses yet but I would say to have a serious conversation with your mom and if need be with your father present as well. She needs to know it is not personal and that you appreciate it everything she does and how much you and your kids love her. Maybe you can even take her out somewhere nice and let her know that she does not have to give all the time and that you and your kids can also do things for her as well. She might be hurt at first but hopefully she will understand that it is in the best interest of your family. If not then you might want to limit the amount of time you spend at her home. Wish you the best.



answers from Cumberland on

highlight, copy, paste, print and hand this to her-otherwise she's not getting it . Also, we all need fat-if you want to burn fat-you've got to eat it-dairy products with fat make us feel sated and we are less like to crave sugar and eat in between meals. Non-fat food generally has more sugar to make it palatable -it is better to serve whole fat products that contain less sugar. Developing children need fat for their central nervous system-and to keep their hormones balanced-this reduction of stress aids in weight reduction. Increased activity will be a significant addition to the routine-household chores, no TV, no computer or cell phone, tennis, walking, riding a bike, etc will boost metabolism and promote weight loss. I'm not suggesting that your daughter is inactive-I don't know you-but if you are able to step-up the program-you will soon see results-and this will help exponentially. Best of luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Tell your dauhter that each cookie is once around the track (1/4 mile track). And that she can have as many as she wants to run laps for. A piece of sugary high calorie pie is a mile around the track. How far do you want to run?Tell your daughter we all pay for what we eat, either in increased weight or increased exercise.

Then let your daughter tell her grandma about making lower calorie goodies. Its sad to say, but its true, "If you don't watch your figure, no on else will." Your daughter may not be dating now, but someday she will want to and the nicest "Hunks" want the sexiest girls. 100 pounds overweight is not sexy. 30 lbs overweight is not sexy either compared to 0 pounds overweight.

AND you are right, overweight causes so many health problems.

Good luck to you and yours.



answers from Colorado Springs on

You might try this: "Mom, your goodies are too good, and the doctor is saying absolutely NO. When you want to bring us food, could you come up with something delicious and *healthy*? I know it's different than apple cider doughnuts, but we're all really concerned about Susie's health and I want to go with what the doctor says. We want Susie to enjoy her life for a LONG time." You could even (with your doctor's permission) bring up the dreaded D word - diabetes.

It could be that making treats is one of your mother's ways of showing love. Maybe she could dig into cookbooks for healthier things that will satisfy her giving urges and be better for you family.

You're right in saying that spoiling grandchildren is what we grandmas do best. Does she live near you? Could Mr. (assuming it's a mister - how does one tell?) Goldfish live at her house and your son could help take care of him there? She would do better to get Mr. G. a tank rather than a bowl - better for the fish and actually easier to keep clean. This could be a terrific grandma-grandson project, and they could learn about fish together.



answers from Pittsburgh on

You need to tell her what you told us. Your 10 year old is having weight issues and you and the pediatrician are really concerned about her health. Let her know that her doctor is concerned about her diet setting her up for LIFELONG health issues. And then let her know that you do NOT want your daughter to feel singled out, so you are not going to have treats/junk/baked goods for anyone in the family. I would discuss with her what healthy treats that you would love for her to bring. Maybe your daughter would like to make apple sauce with her grandmother - more fun to do together and healthier than donuts. There are all sorts of fun and healthy foods and cooking/preparing these together might be a great way for DD and your mom to spend time together.

About the fish - it can go live at her house where she can take care of it.



answers from Honolulu on

Aside from this, what I say is and what I have actually TAUGHT my kids is:
I taught them to say NO... to relatives that are pushy or rude etc.
My kids know our rules or what is acceptable or not, when they are with a certain Aunty who does not necessarily listen, to me or my direction.
So, my kids are now 6 and 9, and they SPEAK UP to the relative, in a firm and respectful manner. They will say "no" or "I need to ask Mommy first, can I use your cell phone..." etc. And they do it. And their pushy Aunty KNOWS, now... that my kids can think on their own. And that they WILL... speak up and say things to her, when they have doubts or question her and what she does with them or push on them. ie: food, telling them to do something, etc.
So my kids, are ALSO cognizant, of how to discern too.
And this has.... really helped MY kids, too.
I never blame my kids because their Aunty can be pushy... but, I also firmly tell the Aunt things too, when things are just overboard.

You can't always control other relatives, but it is also important to teach kids, how to speak up. I have taught my kids the pecking order and "Totem Pole" of things. They know. They know *I* am the Mom, and Aunty is not.

Get a note from the Pediatrician... specifying your daughter's health, and POST it up on the wall. SHOW it to your Mom. And TELL HER, that her pushing sweets on your daughter is VERY HARMFUL.
DO not feed your daughter those things just because your Mom made it.
THROW it away.
Your Mom has emotional issues with food, and eating is an emotional dynamic. Not per the body's hunger or fullness cues.
This is a dysfunctional... habit, that is harmful.


answers from Philadelphia on

your daughter is 10 stop trying to control your mom and put limits onm your daughter instead.

Also if it's onceper week and she is active and healthy otherwise it's not going to hurt her. everyone deserves to enjoy life. My boss J. got a recipe book of all awesome bakery treats that are made with sweeteners and healthy. can you get her one of those so she can splurge and you'll feel better?
also you can take her with you to the doctors with your daughter next time



answers from Tampa on

You are being too nice. That is not working so now you have to be blunt. Tell Mom that she may not bring treats to your house anymore. Tell her you love her, the kids love her and you understand she is coming from a good place but you are standing your ground from now on. Tell her if she does not listen to you and she brings them over anyway, that you will immediately take them and throw them in trash. You can add that although you feel bad wasting them after she went through the effort of making them, that if she would have respected your request to begin with and not brought them over, they would not be in the trash. She will not like it at first but eventually if you are consistent she will accept that you are not backing down. Up until now, you were not happy about it but always let her 'win." It will take a few times before she learns you are serious.

I come from a large family that also likes to show their love with food...I get it. I also don't want to be the size of most of them nor do I want my child to suffer health issues because of a poor diet. My recommendation is for handling this in your can't tell anyone what kind of food to have in their own house, so it will still be tough when you visit her home. Good luck.



answers from Dallas on

Oh wow. I wish I had my mom around again to have your problem, sigh.
The goldfish, yeah, I am taking that thing to grandma's house and the kids can visit it every week! She can clean its tank!
I have an Aunt and a cousin who's husbands are truly obese and they just can't figure out why! Maybe it's the amt they cook and the things they cook!
I stifle a laugh when they complain! I am just now taking some responsibility for my own weight issues. We old people change slowly.
Recipes: give her some that are low fat/low sugar. Give her a new cookbook. Tell her it's medically necessary so your daughter doesn't get diabetes. Give her articles on the increase in childhood cases. Old people understand illness. Tell her you so appreciate her cooking skills and you are certain that this is the area she can help in.
If that doesn't work, put the stuff she makes you take home in the freezer. Eventually it will get full and you can point to it and say, this desert is good mom but we have a freezer full of good deserts! Find a nursing home to donate it to. What she really needs is to be put loose on a world starving for the kind of generosity and love she is concentrating on your family! Take off a day and find a place she can serve and go with her to start her out.
Hope you can get some peace and the world can get a treasure!



answers from Seattle on

So, I don't have any relatives that send us treats, but we do receive a lot of professional treats. My kids eat donuts and cookies, weekly, and they are not overweight.

My guess is that your daughter needs way more exercise, just for the sheer benefit of exercising.

Also, it's very normal developmentally for girls to plump up around this age before and during puberty. So I would suggest to you that you are transferring your own weight anxiety onto your daughter. If you are providing normal healthy meals and plenty of opportunity to exercise, then she should not be overweight. I can't imagine that Nana's treats alone are the culprit here.

One nutrition rule when eating cookies and donuts in our home is that it must be consumed with a glass of milk, otherwise, my kids get those sugar highs and lows.

Also, most of our sugary treats go into the trash or I re-gift them to neighbors or the teachers at school. After everyone has enjoyed one cookie, no one wants anymore.



answers from Charleston on

So sorry you're in this position, but you need and must stand your ground with your mom. If she gets mad, so be it. You need to tell her just what you said on here - that she undermines your authority and your decision as the mother of YOUR children. Just because she is a grandmother, doesn't mean she calls all the shots. Is it ok to indulge them every once in awhile? Sure! By all means that is what makes being a grandparent fun! But not at the expense of a child's health or parent wishes.

How about asking your pediatrician for some literature on childhood diabetes, and handing that to your mom? Maybe she'll get the big picture then. (not saying that your child is headed that way, but maybe handing your mom something so scary will wake her up to the dangers of too much sugary food!) If your mom loves to bake so much, maybe you could go out together to find a healthy cookbook for sweets, so that she can still continue baking for you and her grandkids, but the outcomes won't be as high in sugar.

Good luck! You are in a pickle. :(



answers from Appleton on

Food is love. It is the way you Mom shows love. It may be the only way she knows. Tell her that as much as you understand it is her way to showing love that right now she is hurting the kids. They are being set up for life long health issues if they do not learn good habits now.
I suggest that maybe you could help her to learn a new hobby. Knitting or crocheting, or sewing would be a good way to keep her hands busy and not add calories. If she would make the kids new lap blankets, doll clothes, and later baby things for them she can show her love this way. If she makes each oof them a new lap blanket it's like she is able to hug them no matter where they are or how big they get. Every stitich will be made with love and they will know that blanket is grandma's love surrounding them.



answers from Seattle on

I have a close relationship with my mom and it sounds like you do too. I can hear some of the exact things your mom is saying coming out of my mom's mouth! All that to say, my mom lives on another COAST - so her meddling is quite minimal and we'd love to see her more...BUT
You need to talk to your mom and say how you love having her, and letting her spoil the kids etc. but in your house, it is your rules. You are not going to her house and putting your ideas on her life. I'd say that she can spoil them however she wants to - at her house. But in your home, it's your rules. Give her back the goldfish and the cookies - the kids can have them at grandmas!



answers from Houston on

This would make me furious. The only time that it has been that difficult for me to say no to a child is when the child is under two years old, before they have full vocabularies as tools for communicating. My toddler hears no regularly, still with a good healthy dose of yes. I think that your children are old enough for you to set the rules with to them about how their grandmother likes to cook that stuff and bring it to them, but it's bad for them so you say no. I don't think that it could ever be four against one when there are only two adults involved. Yeah, I'm that adult who lets the kids know that they do not have a deciding vote in this particular discussion.

Your mother has issues, and you are allowing her to visit her issues onto you and your children. I don't know the best way for you to communicate that to her. I am very close to my paternal grandmother, and I actually use those words with her. When she tries to force me to do certain things like she would do them--a gift for one kid means a gift for each kid; her need to be included in any and every conversation or activity that goes on around her.... I can never do anything special for her (or anybody else in her presence) because she's always got to peek behind the curtain. She and my uncle were over recently. Their dietary preferences are not very compatible. He and I were in the kitchen, and I offered him a taste of something that I knew that he would appreciate. It wasn't on the menu. he mentioned it to me later, and she heard him and demanded to know why I hadn't offered any to her. I don't fuss at her, but I always let her know "that is YOUR issue, and I am not going to let you visit that onto me. This was a moment that we shared. You and I have moments that are just between us. Every one doesn't always have to be incldued in every thing." I laugh at her when she says, "Well, you shouldn't have let me know about it." I say, "Well, we were trying to comment privately, but you insisted on knowing what was being said and what we were talking about." Then, I move the conversation on to something else.

I think that your mother visited her food issue onto you at an early age, and you haven't learned that it's HER issue. Tell her that. Until you can trust her, have her check her goodies at the door. Spend less time at her house. She has to learn that you mean business, so you have to start off strict to make your point. When she calls to invite you over, ask if there will be sweets. If she says yes, decline the offer. Can you say with a chuckle to her that you don't trust her not to put sweets in your kids' faces? That doesn't have to sound harsh. Of course, you can't keep her from having sweets in her own house, but until she gets it, you can refuse to have your children around it. Instead, she can come to your house; just let her know that her sweets are not welcome. If she brings them, anyway, be firm. "I've already talked with the kids and told them that they may not have any of this sort of treat today, so we'll put this cake up on top of the fridge where it won't be a temptation." Better yet, plant it on the table in the foyer so she can easily take it with her when she leaves. If she tries to insist, say firmly, "I told them no." I give my little one a look and say, "Mommy said no." At that point, what somebody else around me is saying doesn't matter. Your children need to know that no matter who else is standing there, "Mommy. Said. No." Look them in the eye and say it. "Grandma can eat it if she wants to, but I am YOUR mommy, and I say no." Even if she is trying to pry open their jaws to stuff in cookies, you maintain eye contact with your children and let them know that they'd better not eat it. This will be good practice for them to learn who's boss, even in the face of madness. It will also let your mother see that you mean business...that while you can't control her behavior, you can and will enforce YOUR rules with YOUR children. Do it strictly every single time, and maybe then she'll get that you mean it.

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