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My house, My rules

This is something that DH and I want to try out next time his sister and her boys visit.  Nothing extreme like punishments or things like that but the simple thing: asking to be excused from the table, picking up toys at the end of the day, only one meal is cooked for dinner.

I don't want to imply that SIL is a bad parent but she definately had a more loosy-goosey organic approach.

Jsut double checking- for those of you with kids, when you visit other people's homes, do you expect your kids to follow the rules of the house or the rule you establish for them (or possibly a combination based on which set is stricter)?

Re: My house, My rules

  • When we visit my parents' house my mom is probably stricter with DD than we are.  We like her to follow their rules, since it is their house.

    But she does not set up the rules ahead of time.  She brings them up as they come up.  Example: after play time "okay now we have to clean up" before dinner "now we have to wash our hands" etc.  She doesn't just list all the rules when we get there.

    I think you should tell SIL before she arrives that you have some rules that you want followed and that you will take care of "implementing" them.

    I do think that giving her the list and expecting her to do it is too much.  Also about the dinners, are you making sure it is something the kids will eat before you make it?  If you aren't then this rule is unreasonable.  If DH wants crab for dinner we have to have to meals because I and DD won't eat it.

     

  • I don't think the rules are out of line at all. 

    Personally, when I have kids over I"ll make whatever they will eat (chicken nuggets, pasta), but as long as you have things the kids should like (bread and pasta, as opposed to broccoli and fish), that should be ok.

    Your SIL doesn't make her kids pick up the toys they were playing with when they leave?  That's pretty rude, IMO! 

  • Those aren't house rules you are setting, those are parenting rules you are setting and you are intruding on your sister's parental authority.

    You can set rules for your house, such as everything picked up off the floor each night--for safety reasons.  Who wants to trip over something in the middle of the night?  But that doesn't mean you can demand the kids pick up the toys--if your sister chooses to do it herself, well that's what you have to live with.

    And you don't necessarily have to be a short order cook.  But if your sister provides and prepares an alternate menu for her own kids--that's her perrogative-- as long as she isn't trashing the kitchen or tying it up all day so you can't prepare your own meal.  But if she wants make make her own kid a PB&J with the supplies she brought--again, not your business no matter how "organic" you think her parenting style is.

  • I have kids and when we go to someone else's house they follow the rules, mine or the house rules (as long as they're not unreasonable). And if someone brings their kids to MY house if they don't appear to have any rules for their munchkins then it's my way or the highway. But lemme just clarify something, I don't think expecting a child to pick up after him/herself is something I should have to point out to the parent of the child that made the mess. Look, I'll be the first to admit, I'm pretty strict with kids and I really don't like other folks' kids around if they're unruly. I don't want them jumping all over my furniture and their parent not say something to them about it, so I just avoid all that drama and don't have many kids over.

    And did I read right, that someone implied I should let someone come over to my house, rummage around in my kitchen and (probably make a nice mess) for the sake of appeasing a child that won't eat certain foods?  If I read that- wow.

  • They're to follow the rules of the other household.

    And *your rules* still apply: don't make a mess, be polite, try not to break anything and in general be a good guest.

  • I think it's fine to make rules about things that affect your home or the people living in it in a direct way.  So yes, it's fine to have some rules--that they clean up after themselves, that they stay out of your bedroom, that they not handle items that are easily broken, that they not track mud across your carpet, that you not be inconvenienced overly much, such as being expected to make two meals (so long as you take their tastes into account in meal planning, as any good host should), and so on.

    But Flem's right when she says you can't complain if the mom chooses to make them a sandwich for dinner or picks up their toys for them.  And things like asking them to excuse themselves from the table are not your place to do.  If their mother is sitting right there and doesn't make them do that, it's her choice as to how to teach them manners.  It may annoy you but doesn't affect you in the way that breaking some etiquette rules would, such as if they just grabbed meat from the serving platter with dirty hands.  You would have a right in that case to protest and ask them to wash their hands and use the serving utensils at your table. 

  • I think it's fine to make rules about things that affect your home or the people living in it in a direct way.  So yes, it's fine to have some rules--that they clean up after themselves, that they stay out of your bedroom, that they not handle items that are easily broken, that they not track mud across your carpet, that you not be inconvenienced overly much, such as being expected to make two meals (so long as you take their tastes into account in meal planning, as any good host should), and so on.

    But Flem's right when she says you can't complain if the mom chooses to make them a sandwich for dinner or picks up their toys for them.  And things like asking them to excuse themselves from the table are not your place to do.  If their mother is sitting right there and doesn't make them do that, it's her choice as to how to teach them manners.  It may annoy you but doesn't affect you in the way that breaking some etiquette rules would, such as if they just grabbed meat from the serving platter with dirty hands.  You would have a right in that case to protest and ask them to wash their hands and use the serving utensils at your table. 

    I agree with this (u said it much more eloquently than I). I don't really care if they're manners are bad as long as it doesn't directly affect me. Like constantly interrupting the adult conversation, etc. And I could care less if mom wants to make her kid whatever, just so long as I'm not expected to cater to the kids' every whim. I'd be a good hostess and make my guests as comfortable as possible. I'd treat my guest the same way I'd want to be treated if I were the guest.  

  • My sister and children just visited for the weekend.

    I love her and her children.  I called 'house rules' on cleaning up after yourself ... which meant 6 year old twins rinsing their dish and putting it in the dishwasher.  It worked well , but the bumps in the road were my niece declaring "I don't have to do this at home" .... and my sister saying - on occassion to both - 'you don't have to do this or that'.  Realize that your sibling might not want to see you succeed with house rules ... and/or not be able to help you follow-through.

    And of course the kids see through it all. 

    Pick your battles.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • When it's things like no shoes on the furniture, that's an enforceable house rule.  When it's things that tread close to how your sister parents, you may encounter greater difficulty.
    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
  • I agree with the posters who say that your rules should be followed as long as they pertain to your house, and not to the parenting of the children. 

    If you want to ask that toys be picked up, I'm all for that.  But you don't get to dictate *who* picks up the toys.  If your SIL chooses to do it rather than make her children clean up after themselves, that's her business.  You're getting what you want/need...the toys are gone.  That's as far as you can go.

    As far as dinner, if I were your SIL and I had picky kids, I'd either bring my own food or tell the kids that they can eat when we get home if they don't like what has been provided.  I wouldn't expect the hostess to prepare a separate meal for them.  But that assumes that the main meal is kid-friendly to begin with...if it's steak or lobster then I do think an alternative should be available.

    Requiring someone else's kids to excuse themselves from the table is pushing the boundaries IMO.  Certainly you should have the right to expect basic manners in your home, but it's also not your job to be teaching that.  I'd probably let this one go.  In the grand scheme of things, as long as they aren't totally rude about leaving the table, this isn't really a rule that, if broken, is going to harm you. 

  • I agree with the idea that "house rules" should involve things that directly involve your home and family and would apply and be asked of any one who visited your home. ?Think: Would I ask this of any other person who visited us, or am I saying this to just SIL's kids because I don't like watching how SIL parents them? If you'd tell any guest pleasantly: "Oh, we only cook one meal for dinner, as a house rule," or "Oh, we ask to be excused from the table as a house rule," then go for it. But if there's any part of you that's saying a "house rule" and hoping that it will send a kind of message to SIL that you don't like her kids' behavior, then it's going to come across that you don't like her kids' behavior/ her parenting. ?
  • image Zae's * future * wife:

    And did I read right, that someone implied I should let someone come over to my house, rummage around in my kitchen and (probably make a nice mess) for the sake of appeasing a child that won't eat certain foods?  If I read that- wow.

    No you actually didn't read that right.  She said that if the parent provides and prepares the meal, without intruding upon the hostess, that is acceptable.  I have to agree.  I have certain guidelines of what I like to feed my kid: a certain number of carb servings, veggie servings, fruit servings, and protein servings.  If lunch is mac'n'cheese, and dinner is spaghetti, that's too much pasta and not enough veggies.  So, I might make a separate meal for my child using ingredients I had brought, and clean up all of my mess. 

    image Flem052204:

    And you don't necessarily have to be a short order cook.  But if your sister provides and prepares an alternate menu for her own kids--that's her perrogative-- as long as she isn't trashing the kitchen or tying it up all day so you can't prepare your own meal.  But if she wants make make her own kid a PB&J with the supplies she brought--again, not your business no matter how "organic" you think her parenting style is.

    ditto this and the rest of Flem's post.

  • There are "house rules" which you may impose in two distinct situation:

    1. Protection of Life and/or Property. They may not disrespect or damage your walls, furniture, landscaping or pets.

    2. You are operating in loco parentis, i.e. SIL has left them in your care.

    And there are "parenting rules and discipline". These are none of your business. If these boys are guests in your home you treat them as you would any guests. Would you ask your mother to excuse herself from the table? Would you expect your husband's boss to rinse his plate and load it into the dishwasher? I think not.

    You "don't want to insinuate that she's a bad parent", so you're screaming it loud and clear in case anyone missed your intent.  Yes you do.

    It's hard to get a feel for the situation. Non-parents can be all over the place in terms of the appropriateness of child development and behavior. Raising your own hypothetical children is so much easier than the flesh and blood kind, kwim?

    If the children are woefully distructive, or openly rude, by all means have your DH approach his sister. But giving them chores in your home is inappropriate unless they have been left in your care for more than a day.

    If the boys are too "energetic" for your lifestyle at home, visit with them in other venues where their childlike behavior is more welcomed. Perhaps you could have them at a playground or Chuck E. Cheese or even visit them at their home. You'll probably be served PB&J, but you're old enough to suck it up and eat what you're served, right?

    Personally, I wouldn't approach this at all. See, I believe in the karma bus. Judge another mom for her performance as a parent I firmly believe you will be delivered of the child who will make these hellcats look like choirboys. There's balance in the universe.

     

  • After your SIL visits next time, she'll end up here complain about her SIL with the stick up her ass.

    You are well within your right to set rules to protect your house or family (e.g., no running, quiet voices when the baby is sleeping). The house rules you have outlined are not these. If your serving fish, your SIL making them a PB&J sandwich isn't a big deal. It doesn't hurt you, your house, or your family.

    Frankly, I think you do want to make a statement about her parenting. And that is not your place. At least be honest about it rather than hiding behind the ruse of "house rules."

    image Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers
  • Trying to teach her children to say "excuse me" when getting up from the table, or trying to make her kids pick up their toys, or trying to make her kids eat what you fix, is not hosting, it's a direct statement that you think her parenting sucks. And POOF! Maybe it does. Nevertheless, it is not your job and you should butt out. 

    And let me guess. You don't have children of your own, and so you feel free to critique how others are handling that job. You have no idea how these children behave at home, outside company; or how they are disciplined when company is not present (which is generally much different than when company is) or what the exigencies of their situation are; you have no idea how hard it is for small children to transfer, perfectly, all their learned behavior in one setting to another, with others watching who don't normally come into their daily lives.  You see a snapshot of their behavior and then feel free to judge what it is your sil SHOULD be doing, IF she were a better parent, and you can't keep that to yourself, you feel like you're entitled to show her where she's falling short. NICE.

    My kids are 13 and 15. I expect a lot of them. That said, when we go to my stepmother's house, she INSISTS on serving meat dishes, although she knows my older son is vegetarian. She INSISTS on making him take the meat on his plate; and INSISTS on telling him, every freaking time we have  a meal with her, what the rules are at her house about eating what's put in front of you and how this house is not a restaurant, etc. So any 'vacation' my son has that involves being at her house, for even ONE meal, involves a showdown. I get the "why do you let him get away with this" line as well. Oh, it's lovely.  Last time, it was spaghetti; she would not permit him to take just the noodles, and use a little butter and parmesan; NOPE. Had to have the meat sauce too.

    We eat with her at restaurants only now; and have for some years; but even then she gives him a raft of shitt about it. And golly, you can imagine how he likes to visit with her, how he looks forward to their gettogethers. He's polite; he loves her; he holds her door, lifts her boxes, rakes her yard, helps her in any way a young man could for his grandmother.  He gets straight As, is in football, multiple school activities, volunteers, and I"M a bad parent because I don't 'make' him eat meat at her table. And hell no he can't have a pb and j, even though she's got it in the cabinet, and even though he'd make it himself.

    Why would you do this to a guest in your home ? Are you really saying that if a good friend of yours came over, or vacationed in your town and stayed with you, that you'd read her all the rules and tell her what she had to do? My guests don't pick up a dish in my home; and if they don't say excuse me at the table OH WELL. Why on earth don't you see these children as what they are~ your guests?

    These are not your children. Don't try to raise them. Enjoy them, laugh at them, let them have a good time in your home, and lighten up for crying out loud.

     

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • Sue_sue- my jaw is on the floor w/ that story. WOW.  Just wow. 

    I agree w/ the others - stuff about your HOME, go for it.  The rest of it, be careful.

    THe meal thing- all depends on the age and what you're cooking.  I do think thats a good lesson for kids to learn, but they have to be the right age for it and you have to keep in mind what you're fixing for them.  If it's spicy chili- most kids aren't going to eat it!  But that's also not a lesson for YOU to be teaching them.  That needs to be from their mom.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • I'm happy with rules. Take your shoes off when you come inside from playing in the creek; hose off mud and come in the basement door; don't bang on the piano if you don't know how to play ; stay in the yard, etc. But tell the PARENT. Don't start bossing the kid.
    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • image susiederkins:

    After your SIL visits next time, she'll end up here complain about her SIL with the stick up her ass.

    You are well within your right to set rules to protect your house or family (e.g., no running, quiet voices when the baby is sleeping). The house rules you have outlined are not these. If your serving fish, your SIL making them a PB&J sandwich isn't a big deal. It doesn't hurt you, your house, or your family.

    Frankly, I think you do want to make a statement about her parenting. And that is not your place. At least be honest about it rather than hiding behind the ruse of "house rules."

    Ditto this, especially the last paragraph.

    You obviously don't have children yet.

  • your house, your rules. period. if the parent doesnt like your rules, then they wont bring their kids back and you wont have to worry about it anyway. my niece comes over all the time. our ideas and my sil's ideas... way off. but she knows what she can do at AJ's house and what she cant. they adapt to their surroundings. of course there is a line you just cant cross. as far as household chores, you wouldnt ask a guest to rinse their dish, and the kids shouldnt be asked to either. however, toys in the living room... yes, you play, then you "clean up clean up everybody clean up" and if mom wants to help, then fine... be prepared to do a little reinforcing yourself though. if they can run and jump at home, they will run and jump at your house... until YOU say "hey, dont do that here" or "no no, lets play with something else" whatever the case may be. let mom see what you expect, and HOPEFULLY she will catch on and try to help out.
  • Wow, I find it really interesting sometimes to have a peek into other people's lives and how they have family relationships.

    My older sisters started having children when I was 15.  In babysitting and any other interactions with the children, it was taught and expected for me to discipline or 'parent' the children especially if my sister had her hands full with another child. 

    I'm grateful for the experiance now, because I'm expecting my first and I feel like I have more of a working knowledge of what to do when a child is having a tantrum, kicking, not eating their vegetables, talking back, jumping on the couch, biting, having spinning heads and projectiling pea soup (lol), etc.

    My middle sister is stricter with her children than I am, and my oldest sister is less strict with her children than I am.  But they encourage me to interact and discipline their kids the way I'm most comfortable with. They have no problem when telling me I've offended them, but so far I've never offended them with how I take care of or discipline the kids.

    I know that different cultures have more of a nuclear family mentality, but maybe it might be benificial to try to look at other types of ways to work these things out.

  • Sue_Sue: As always you are right on target. ::claps:: ?

    You said everything I would have. ?I might add that next time I was visiting a sister/SIL/mom, etc and she tried to enforce rules(manners, doing dishes, etc) on my child I would be staying at a hotel as I would feel more like a guest there then at my family's home.?

  • image Sue_sue:

    My kids are 13 and 15. I expect a lot of them. That said, when we go to my stepmother's house, she INSISTS on serving meat dishes, although she knows my older son is vegetarian. She INSISTS on making him take the meat on his plate; and INSISTS on telling him, every freaking time we have  a meal with her, what the rules are at her house about eating what's put in front of you and how this house is not a restaurant, etc. So any 'vacation' my son has that involves being at her house, for even ONE meal, involves a showdown. I get the "why do you let him get away with this" line as well. Oh, it's lovely.  Last time, it was spaghetti; she would not permit him to take just the noodles, and use a little butter and parmesan; NOPE. Had to have the meat sauce too.

    That's so disrespectful. My aunt odes that to me, still, and I'm 26! I don't eat at her house anymore.

  • image -auntie-:

    See, I believe in the karma bus. Judge another mom for her performance as a parent I firmly believe you will be delivered of the child who will make these hellcats look like choirboys. There's balance in the universe.

    auntie, will you marry me?

    love, the formerly-judgemental non-parent who then had her own little hellcat, who in the end turned out to be a choirboy

  • A combination would be good...I think it's fine to enforce things that are the "norm" for example....Obviously they should be picking up there own toys, you shouldn't have to cook 2 separate meals, but if you know you're having kids over, you should have a kid friendly menu (I do not agree with the pp who said if their mom wants to make something separate thats her deal...it's your kitchen, you shouldn't be put in that position)....I personally would be put off a little if you told my child they had to be asked to be excused from the table, that's a bit of a personal thing, and shouldn't be pushed on someone elses child.
  • Just keep in mind, whatever you make her kids do, she will make yours do the same. 
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