Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Knitterly on August 23, 2013, 09:29:50 AM

Title: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Knitterly on August 23, 2013, 09:29:50 AM
To give a bit of background, I thoroughly dislike my brother in law, Bill.  That may be colouring my response to what might actually be a perfectly fine response on his part.  I don't want to be pushy, but I'm annoyed with him.

Mr K and I are planning a little birthday party for Little Knit (I cannot believe she is almost 2).  We're putting together little treat bags for each of the kids. Because there's a really small and reasonable number of kids, we're doing little personalized gift bags for each kid.  Each bag will contain a small book, toy, and food treat.  Each bag will be appropriate to the preferences of the kids.

Now, Bill and his wife (Happy) are pretty strict with their kids sugar and treat intake.  Keeping this in mind, I sent Bill and Happy an email asking what I could put in the kids bags.  I explained that we're doing individual treat bags with a toy, book, and a piece of candy or food treat that each kid would like.  "I was wondering if you could give me some ideas for what kinds of food treats each of your kids would be able to eat."

I would have thought the line "would be able to eat" would have been fairly self-explanatory that I'm not looking to give the kids random candy, but want to put something in there that they can eat.  Something that is in keeping with their healthy lifestyle.  Something that's not necessarily candy or sugar.

I got back a response that the kids don't get food treats.  That's it.  The kids don't get treats.

First of all, that's patently untrue!  They had birthday cake and homemade popsicles when we went over for Younger Nephew's birthday a few short weeks ago.  Birthday cake with icing.  And sugar.  A sugary treat if you will.

I am thinking of replying, but don't want to be confrontational or pushy.

What I am thinking of saying is:
"Hi Bill and Happy,
Mr K and I completely respect that you prefer to really keep the kids away from sugary treats and candy.  I was actually hoping for some direction on something they can enjoy.  We're trying to keep the goodie bags small and personalized, so is there even some special piece of fruit or non-sugary treat that each of them would enjoy?
Of course, if you really prefer no treat at all, we will respect that.
Thanks
Knitterly"

Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: TurtleDove on August 23, 2013, 09:36:56 AM
I think he already answered your question: the kids don't get food treats.  Just put something else in their bags that is not food, like stickers or a yo-yo. I wouldn't push the issue - he already answered.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: MrTango on August 23, 2013, 09:39:24 AM
With that response from Bill, I'd pick up the phone and call Happy.

I don't like dealing with having to clarify things by email when a phone call is usually easier.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: mspallaton on August 23, 2013, 09:53:19 AM
If he said "food treats" then I think he understood what he was answering.  If that wasn't a direct quote and he just said "treats" or candy or something similar to that then I might reach out to clarify either by phone or e-mail.  It may be harsh, but you said they were pretty strict.  It's possible they changed the house rules after an incident you didn't hear about or something (kids got sugar high and wrecked up the house maybe?).  Or they could be in the middle of a punishment, but not one so severe they take social time away.  It just seems like, if they are strict, that there could be a lot of reasons that they definitely meant no food treats even if the kids got them in the past.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Perfect Circle on August 23, 2013, 10:25:55 AM
I agree - I think he was pretty clear on the no food treats front, so just put something else in their bags. If the bags are personalised that should not present you with a big problem.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: NyaChan on August 23, 2013, 10:30:57 AM
Is it possible that they are trying to avoid teaching their kids to see food as a reward?  I think you can respond and ask what substitute he would prefer for his kids' bags.  As in, "Bill,  I am putting X in the other kids' bags.  What would be an acceptable substitute for your kids? I can put in an extra toy or stickers if you would prefer."
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Knitterly on August 23, 2013, 10:57:47 AM
If he said "food treats" then I think he understood what he was answering.  If that wasn't a direct quote and he just said "treats" or candy or something similar to that then I might reach out to clarify either by phone or e-mail.  It may be harsh, but you said they were pretty strict.  It's possible they changed the house rules after an incident you didn't hear about or something (kids got sugar high and wrecked up the house maybe?).  Or they could be in the middle of a punishment, but not one so severe they take social time away.  It just seems like, if they are strict, that there could be a lot of reasons that they definitely meant no food treats even if the kids got them in the past.

Maybe.

Maybe I'll just leave it and do stickers without saying anything at all.

If it's a punishment, it's a heck of a long one, as the birthday party is a month away.

They do eat sugar.  They go out trick or treating every year and they ate birthday cake not 3 weeks ago.  I completely understand the limited sugar thing, though.  I understand that Bill and Happy try to keep snacks healthy.  That's the whole reason I asked for direction on what would be appropriate.  You know, something like organic chocolate or a carob bar.  Honey sticks instead of pixie sticks.  Fruit leather instead of candy bars.

There are so many healthy alternatives to candy that it's really really irritating me that he has just flat out said "no food treats" in a birthday goodie bag.  It's irritating me because I flat out know 100% for certain that they do so(!!) get food treats.  I also know that Bill and Happy prefer to really limit the candy, etc.  I'm annoyed because I want them to get the same kind of treat that all the other kids are getting, but within the boundaries that I know Bill and Happy set for them.

I know it annoys them when they get candy bags from other birthday parties.  So here I thought "Hey, I'll be all respectful and nice and stuff and ask for an alternative for the food treat."  It feels like it was just kind of spat back in my face.  Because they do so get food treats.  I have watched them eat food treats.

General consensus:  Would it be pushy to send a follow up email asking about some specific type of organic treat (like honey sticks or organic sesame snaps)?
I guess the fact that I'm wondering sort of tells me that the answer is probably yes. 
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Goosey on August 23, 2013, 11:00:12 AM
Is it possible that they are trying to avoid teaching their kids to see food as a reward?   I think you can respond and ask what substitute he would prefer for his kids' bags.  As in, "Bill,  I am putting X in the other kids' bags.  What would be an acceptable substitute for your kids? I can put in an extra toy or stickers if you would prefer."

This - I know a lot of people who are trying to avoid food as positive reinforcement with their kids. He wasn't the clearest, but I think that's what he's telling you - he doesn't want food in their bag.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: SCMagnolia on August 23, 2013, 11:10:12 AM
I think I would be a little more concerned with each child at the party getting different things in their treat bags.  Surely some kid is going to see what some other kids has, decide they want that and not understand why they didn't get it, and then it's all-out-war.

Best thing to do in a case like this is to give all the kids the same stuff.  The only exception would be something more age-appropriate for smaller children if you are including toys or candy with small parts or pieces.  If the parents don't want them to have something, then it's up to the parents.  You are going to drive yourself crazy trying to cater to everyone else's whims for your own kid's birthday!

Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: wolfie on August 23, 2013, 11:21:38 AM
If he said "food treats" then I think he understood what he was answering.  If that wasn't a direct quote and he just said "treats" or candy or something similar to that then I might reach out to clarify either by phone or e-mail.  It may be harsh, but you said they were pretty strict.  It's possible they changed the house rules after an incident you didn't hear about or something (kids got sugar high and wrecked up the house maybe?).  Or they could be in the middle of a punishment, but not one so severe they take social time away.  It just seems like, if they are strict, that there could be a lot of reasons that they definitely meant no food treats even if the kids got them in the past.

Maybe.

Maybe I'll just leave it and do stickers without saying anything at all.

If it's a punishment, it's a heck of a long one, as the birthday party is a month away.

They do eat sugar.  They go out trick or treating every year and they ate birthday cake not 3 weeks ago.  I completely understand the limited sugar thing, though.  I understand that Bill and Happy try to keep snacks healthy.  That's the whole reason I asked for direction on what would be appropriate.  You know, something like organic chocolate or a carob bar.  Honey sticks instead of pixie sticks.  Fruit leather instead of candy bars.

There are so many healthy alternatives to candy that it's really really irritating me that he has just flat out said "no food treats" in a birthday goodie bag.  It's irritating me because I flat out know 100% for certain that they do so(!!) get food treats.  I also know that Bill and Happy prefer to really limit the candy, etc.  I'm annoyed because I want them to get the same kind of treat that all the other kids are getting, but within the boundaries that I know Bill and Happy set for them.

I know it annoys them when they get candy bags from other birthday parties.  So here I thought "Hey, I'll be all respectful and nice and stuff and ask for an alternative for the food treat."  It feels like it was just kind of spat back in my face.  Because they do so get food treats.  I have watched them eat food treats.

General consensus:  Would it be pushy to send a follow up email asking about some specific type of organic treat (like honey sticks or organic sesame snaps)?
I guess the fact that I'm wondering sort of tells me that the answer is probably yes.

There is a difference between "we give our kids food treats" and "other people give our kids food treats". Just because they do A doesn't mean they have to allow B. And it seems like that is pretty much what they decided.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Olympia on August 23, 2013, 11:39:55 AM
I think I would be a little more concerned with each child at the party getting different things in their treat bags.  Surely some kid is going to see what some other kids has, decide they want that and not understand why they didn't get it, and then it's all-out-war.

In my experience, treat bags are usually handed to each child as they leave. There just isn't an opportunity for comparison.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Oh Joy on August 23, 2013, 11:45:05 AM
I appreciate that you're trying to create a wonderful party, but please step back from this issue.  It doesn't matter what other choices they make or how they phrased the decline; what matters is that they declined.

Best wishes.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: SlitherHiss on August 23, 2013, 11:46:14 AM
BIL has already given a very definite answer. You really need to respect his wishes. Period.

Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: ladyknight1 on August 23, 2013, 11:55:52 AM
I think I would be a little more concerned with each child at the party getting different things in their treat bags.  Surely some kid is going to see what some other kids has, decide they want that and not understand why they didn't get it, and then it's all-out-war.

In my experience, treat bags are usually handed to each child as they leave. There just isn't an opportunity for comparison.

I concur with Olympia.

I would ask Happy if the kids can have organic fruit leather. I think that BIL gave a off the cuff remark without thinking. Especially since you know that the kids eat sugar on at least an occasional basis.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Perfect Circle on August 23, 2013, 12:02:24 PM
I would leave it alone now. The OP asked a question, got an answer she didn't particularly like, but that doesn't mean she should go and ask someone else for a different one.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: audrey1962 on August 23, 2013, 12:03:56 PM
I agree with the others: he has already answered.

I'm wondering if you are using the word treat instead of snack? I obviously do not know your brother, but I was raised in a household that sounds similar, and in addition to limits on sugar, snacking was not allowed. So while we could eat treats such as birthday cake or ice cream after a meal, we could not snack on it. The same with soda. We could drink it at a party, but only with our meal. We couldn't take it into the living room or just pop open a can in the middle of the day.

As for Halloween, that was a once a year treat. We were allowed candy then because it was only once a year.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Oh Joy on August 23, 2013, 12:11:57 PM
I would leave it alone now. The OP asked a question, got an answer she didn't particularly like, but that doesn't mean she should go and ask someone else for a different one.

Dad said 'no,' so I'll go ask Mom!   ;D
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: MamaMootz on August 23, 2013, 01:48:31 PM
If it were me, Knitterly, I think I would leave food treats out of everyone's bags altogether - then there is no issue. I can also see how personalized bags for each kid can backfire - I know from experience that unless they all get the same thing, there will be one kid that wants what the other kid has.

And I do agree that he has answered your question - for his kids, no food treats. To ask further is just pushing. I know when DD was younger I tried to limit what she got from others but allowed her to have the occasional sugary treat at home - it's just that food treats are out there SO MUCH - in school, at parties - you have to limit them somehow.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Miss Tickle on August 23, 2013, 09:28:05 PM
To give a bit of background, I thoroughly dislike my brother in law, Bill.  That may be colouring my response to what might actually be a perfectly fine response on his part.  I don't want to be pushy, but I'm annoyed with him.

I think you might be right.
------
I am thinking of replying, but don't want to be confrontational or pushy.

Then please, don't.


If your BIL was trying to wriggle around or push you about a rule you have for Little Knit, I'm sure you'd be livid. Give him the same respect.

You can give them an extra toy or something "temporary" to compensate. I'm sure the kids are aware they aren't supposed to have food treats (you are), so it would be cruel to tempt them. I agree that it might be a good idea to make gift bags that everyone will like, because kids are unpredictable, and you never know which day they'll chose to decide "I don't like this anymore, I like THAT."

Now, are you serving birthday cake? With sugary icing? THAT would be interesting to see... I'd be hard pressed not to whisper to BIL, "So, no food treats?" after the kids started eating.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Danika on August 23, 2013, 09:54:38 PM
Another vote for not poking the bear. You asked, he replied. Respect his reply no matter how much you think his reply is illogical, stupid, inconsistent, whatever.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: snowdragon on August 23, 2013, 10:18:58 PM
Give the child(ren) in question what you would give the others, minus the food stuffs.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Gondwanaland on August 23, 2013, 11:05:08 PM

My DD encountered just such a problem as this when having a party for DGD.  One parent vetoed any food in treat party bags.

The reasoning from this parent was that the party food/cake was sufficient, that if she allowed her child to eat party food plus treat bags at every party her child was invited to, that it was to go against her food preferences for her child.

I think you should respect the parents wishes on this one.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: kudeebee on August 23, 2013, 11:11:41 PM
I have to agree with other posters--you asked, he answered.  You didn't get the answer you were looking for.  You need to drop it and pick something else to put in the bag--stickers, yoyo, etc. 

I wouldn't make such a big deal out of it.  Sounds like they control when the kids get treats and that the treats are for special occasions.  That is their choice, even if you don't agree with how/why they do it.  Also, the fact that you don't like bil doesn't help; however you should not go around him and ask his wife.

I would encourage you to make sure the bags are tied shut and given to the children as they are leaving so there is no chance that the bags are opened in front of others.  If the kids are young, it often causes hurt feelings if the bags are not all the same.  I actually think your treat bags are overly generous.  A book or a toy would be enough on its own.

Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Deetee on August 24, 2013, 01:03:31 AM
I agree with most other posters. He made his preference clear. Give the kids a sticker.

I also disagree with your thinking that because they get cake, they get treats. There is a difference between sugary stuff as part of an event or meal and treats/snacks between meals.

I always have this dithery moment with the snacks in goody bags because my daughter has just been at a party and doesn't need more sugar, but I'm not comfortable throwing her things away and she gets so much that it just stockpiles.  Now I just let her eat some and toss the rest. She still has treats from Halloween.

And I don't consider myself strict. We just don't get candy every day. There is just so much. ( and honey sticks and fruit gummies and fruit leather are still all treats)

Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Knitterly on August 24, 2013, 06:50:18 AM
I have to agree with other posters--you asked, he answered.  You didn't get the answer you were looking for.  You need to drop it and pick something else to put in the bag--stickers, yoyo, etc. 

I wouldn't make such a big deal out of it.  Sounds like they control when the kids get treats and that the treats are for special occasions.  That is their choice, even if you don't agree with how/why they do it.  Also, the fact that you don't like bil doesn't help; however you should not go around him and ask his wife.

I would encourage you to make sure the bags are tied shut and given to the children as they are leaving so there is no chance that the bags are opened in front of others.  If the kids are young, it often causes hurt feelings if the bags are not all the same.  I actually think your treat bags are overly generous.  A book or a toy would be enough on its own.

A few people have suggested that I not do this.  I just want to make it clear that going around Bill was never a plan.  I emailed both Bill and Happy.  Bill copied Happy on his response.

If I were to respond, it would have been to both of them.

I will not be responding.

Deetee - I understand the no/limited candy policy.  That's the whole reason why I asked.  I was looking for non-candy options.  There are loads.  Rice crackers, fruit, etc.  I wanted to ask because I didn't know what the kids would have liked.

But, I want to make it clear, I have decided to drop it.

It's still really bugging me, though. It was just so abrupt.  :(
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: MrsO on August 24, 2013, 11:28:19 AM
Honestly, as a kid I wouldn't have been thrilled to get rice crackers or an apple in a party bag. I think rather than giving them a healthy option (especially if all the other kids have lollipops and fun-size Mars bars, or whatever), give them something like stickers or temporary tattoos.

I didn't even ask any parents if they had preferences before the last kids party I threw. They all got Haribo, lollipops and whoopee cushions. Oops.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: Knitterly on August 24, 2013, 12:28:40 PM
Honestly, as a kid I wouldn't have been thrilled to get rice crackers or an apple in a party bag. I think rather than giving them a healthy option (especially if all the other kids have lollipops and fun-size Mars bars, or whatever), give them something like stickers or temporary tattoos.

I didn't even ask any parents if they had preferences before the last kids party I threw. They all got Haribo, lollipops and whoopee cushions. Oops.

Yeah, the only person I asked was my brother in law, and mainly because in addition to knowing they follow a particularly rigorous diet, one of his kids has lots of food allergies (a big reason for following said diet).

I think, in hindsight, I was annoyed because I hadn't asked "can your kids have treats" I asked "what kind of treats can they have".  So my request for direction got what felt to me like a smackdown.

I am starting to really like the idea of stickers in addition to the book and toy.  I think they'll like that.
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: darkprincess on August 24, 2013, 12:35:46 PM
I would go with the stickers.
i have stopped asking questions if there is a possibility that I will not like the answer when it comes to things like this. I ask parents if they have any allergies or other things I should know about and then leave it at that. For gift bags the parents can intercept and remove what they want to.

Several parents from daycare were talking about parties, gift bags, and presents. From the 15 minute conversation I discovered that each house has a different thing they don't like. Barbie dolls, wizards, harry potter, corn syrup but not sugar, sugar, apple juice but other juice is ok, cake, ice cream, temp tattoos, make up, Bratz dolls, Monster high dolls, religious toys and music, music that is not religious, any toy that resembles a gun, shirts without sleeves, two piece bathing suits, co-Ed parties. Disney movies, anything that is not a Disney movie.

Now I let them know the party theme, ask about medical conditions, and hand out gift bags when they leave. The parent can decide not to let the child come, and they can take away the gift bag,
Title: Re: Is this pushy? Say it or leave it?
Post by: secretrebel on August 24, 2013, 03:04:34 PM
Yeah, the only person I asked was my brother in law, and mainly because in addition to knowing they follow a particularly rigorous diet, one of his kids has lots of food allergies (a big reason for following said diet).

I think, in hindsight, I was annoyed because I hadn't asked "can your kids have treats" I asked "what kind of treats can they have".  So my request for direction got what felt to me like a smackdown.

He was abrupt and it may have been a smack down and judgemental with it. But they may genuinely have a "no food as treats" rule. Cake or popsicals given by the parents sound more like 'dessert' to me - something given as part of a meal. With one allergic child and strict house rules I can well believe he was telling the truth when he said they're not allowed any sort of food as a treat.