Friday, 16 March 2012

The Spoil Factor

In talking with my sister-in-law the other day, she commented how she felt a little guilty that the boys played video games with her while they were visiting. In light of my post about media and doing what works for you, she worried that she had crossed the line with some strict parenting rules I held to.

I laughed and then assured her that what I didn't write about that day was the "spoil factor." This is the rule that we have that when the boys are visiting with friends and family, our home rules need not apply. The boys can have dessert if they don't finish dinner, play extra video games, go to bed late, have cereal for breakfast...all those fun things that grandparents and aunts and uncles get to do (for children they then get to send home to parents!) Sure, if I also happen to be at grandma's house I will casually slip in some fruit or vegetables, or run interference on media if I see it affecting one child too much. But usually I just let it go.

I will say that this works for us because none of our relatives are overly indulgent to the point of it being really detrimental. And it likely wouldn't happen more than once a week, or one every two weeks. That I can handle.

(However, I have written before about my strict adherence to nap times and bed times, because that is one variant that throws things off for days, and I'm just not up to dealing with the fallout for two or three days after!)

Anyway, it's nice that the boys know that Ma and Pa will probably take them to Playplace for lunch, and the Grandma always has a tiny box of Smarties in her pocket for them, or that Auntie Jennifer lets them eat cereal in bed while watching cartoons, or Uncle Sean and Aunt Julia have awesome video games. As my own nephews and nieces get a little older, I'm excited to fill in my own role as aunt and see what fun (damage) I can do.


Heather said...

I think every Scottish Grandma has Smarties in her purse!

Jules said...

ROTFLMAO! Dying! Tears, streaming down my face. That was a great post. "Nah, it's cool that they can play video games at your house until the cows come home, but two can play at that game." Oh boy, I'm in trouble lol.

Love it.