My husband and I have always had problems with my in-laws. They are very controlling and don't like me at all because I don’t submit to their “authority.” We live twenty minutes away from them and generally would only see them once a month, until about three months ago. My 3 year old was staying at their house for the weekend (first time with them). My husband and I didn’t think anything about it, she has stayed at my parents house many times (even for over a week) without any issues (it’s tough to have issues if you’re being treated like a princess).
Anyway, when she stayed at my in-laws, I asked them to give her a bath on Friday night before she went to bed (she had been a little sick with allergies and it would make her feel better). They did not do this, I’m not sure when she received a bath, but when I gave her a bath the night we returned home she screamed through the entire thing because her private areas were so red and irritated from lack of hygiene. My in-laws also told me that she had been crying over the weekend several times for me and that she had soiled her pants and wet them several times (she has been fully potty trained since her 2nd birthday- this was not normal). My daughter was also very insistent that she not go over there again. She also came back saying things like “nobody wants me,” "do I make you happy," and getting very angry (not usual for her). I could not get her to give me any details. Needless to say, my husband and I decided to inquire about what went on.
My in-laws got very defensive and really got into it with my husband (I don’t know what all was said, I wasn’t “allowed by them” to be involved in conversations). At some point they told my husband that she wouldn’t act like that if we spend more time with her. (We both work, but have done everything we can to ensure all her needs are met – she is securely attached). All of this ended with my in-laws stating that because of the “alleged allegations” they would not see my daughter without supervision (they think we believe she was sexually abused – this is not true, we think they did not take her emotional well being into consideration throughout the weekend). It is also all my fault, according to them, even though I have not said anything because I’m not allowed into conversations.
My husband and I had decided that they would not see her at all until his parents agreed to some type of conflict resolution between the four of us. They have refused to do this, saying that the “counselors” they have spoken to have advised against it.
This past weekend (three months later), my daughter expanded on why she thinks “they’re not nice” to another member of our family. Basically, once the additions of a three year old mind are removed, it really sounds like they shut her into a room for a while (don’t know if this was because she was in trouble or for nap or if a while means five minutes or two hours). Whatever it is, it has upset my daughter to the point that she will not see them and the only way to calm her from being outwardly upset when talking about them is to reassure her that I will not send her over there again unless she asks to go.
At this point we’ve pretty much ruled out seeing them anymore. They know how we're raising her and have continually ignored requests to handle situations differently. My question is if any of you have any suggestions on how to handle this with her. I have explained to her that we do love her very much, etc, and have spent extra time cuddling and meeting her needs. However, when three months later there still seems to be some issue, is it time to take her to an AP friendly child counselor?