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  • Grandparents & Inlaws

    Okay, so my in-laws and I have a strained relationship, it got much worse once our daughter was born, and seems to continue to go downhill. It is becoming more cold and contentious. Our daughter is now 19mo. and really picking up on the negative vibes and I am really trying to change my outlook to make this better for her. Just an example of where we are at now, they are over this morning visiting they live about 45min. away and I decided to just go up to our bedroom instead of creating more negative vibes. How have you worked through your in-law grandparent situations what has worked. They don't approve of our parenting style and are very uncomfortable with extended nursing, much less nursing in general. And of course they blame all of this for the fact that our daughter really doesn't want to go to them. I think it's probably all the negativity that exists when they are around, which is why for now I'm just deleting myself from the equation.

  • #2
    i'm not exactly sure of the situation, but can you say things like, "thank you for your concern and for respecting our decisions. we're doing what we believe is best for our children. they're lucky to have grandparents that love them so much." or can you ask them what bothers them specifically? how often do you have to see them?

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    • #3
      The problem is they don't respect our decisions, they take every opportunity to tell us that we are doing everything wrong and that we should do things their way. Or that we are evil and mean because we don't take our daughter to their house and just drop her off. They say they don't ever get to see her, they see her at least once a month. It is so difficult. We just found out we are pregnant with number 2 and they have made if very clear that only children are the best, and that we better only have one. We obviously disagree with this assessment, but are not looking forward to telling them. And that makes me sad and angry because I want them to be loving grandparents.

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      • #4
        how does your dh react when these things are said? it may be that you will need to have an open, direct conversation with them. tell them the truth, that the way they treat you is putting a strain on your relationship and that if it continues, you worry they will severely damage their relationship with their grandchildren.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mommypower View Post
          Or that we are evil and mean because we don't take our daughter to their house and just drop her off. They say they don't ever get to see her, they see her at least once a month.
          I can sort of sympathize with you on this point. My mother cannot understand why we haven't taken our 4 month old over to her house to be babysat. I have tried explaining that we don't need the baby sitting right now but when we do, we will let her know. A few reasons:

          1) We like taking him places we go and he likes going (including out to restaurants for a nice dinner... we can keep him happy and if we can't we go outside or leave... which has never happened by the way)
          2) I don't make enough milk to pump extra, I only make what he eats
          3) I am not entirely sure they will follow my wishes (not giving him other food, letting him CIO)... sad but several conversations have led me to believe this

          I just don't see the need to drop him off for no reason. We get alone time when he sleeps and are very happy to spend time as a family when he is awake. When I said that my mother said "sometimes you don't have to have a reason..." I just had to tell her straight up to quit asking. It's not like they don't see him often. They see him once a week if not more. My mother wants "alone time" with him which I don't understand. What can't she do with him while we are there? I don't think for a second that anything bad would happen to him (she is a WONDERFUL mother and we love her to bits) but since the baby is around it has caused some tension.

          Frustrating... Hang in there.

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          • #6
            Congratulations on your new baby! Of course you want the grandparents to be as thrilled and welcoming to your children as possible. You sound sad and frustrated by their negative responses.

            How does your husband respond? We have some of the same issues w/ my in-laws and I've found the best response is none at all from me. I let DH be the bad guy. Thankfully, we are on the same page as far as parenting style & he completely acknowledges that they are HIS parents so he needs to talk to them. Have you discussed your concerns with your husband? How does he respond to their comments? Does he address any of these concerns with his parents?

            Like you, I sometimes find that me simply not being there is the best solution. My in-laws live 20 minutes away; they see our kids at least twice a week, usually just w/ DH. My husband usually visits them when I am at work or otherwise busy, so I have an "excuse" for not going along. Added bonus is that DH has to handle any conflicts!

            We've also found that sometimes we need to take a break from spending too much time with them. My MIL can be incredibly negative towards DS, who has some behavioral challenges & isn't as much "fun" for her to spend time with. Our older DD likes going out to eat, going shopping, and is willing to behave the way Grandma considers appropriate for the reward of getting to do those things. DS simply doesn't care. For a while, MIL was saying some incredibly negative and (IMO, of course) inappropriate things to and about DS. He was definitely hearing what she said; even worse, DD was hearing it and repeating it back to her brother. So we simply didn't let our kids be around them without one of us present until she stopped.

            It will get easier as your children get older. MIL doesn't even comment about our current toddler's frequent nursing. She didn't ask to feed her at 2 months or expect us to leave her alone with them right away. She isn't pushing for overnight visits. With the older kids, she was doing all these things. So she's learned!

            It's especially hard when the negativity is for something you KNOW is developmentally appropriate. Of course your 19 month old doesn't want to go to them. That's normal. But when there's already a strained relationship, it's not so easy to suggest that they sit on the floor and read her favorite book aloud until she warms up (or whatever would help your child), because they don't want to listen to YOUR suggestions. I've spent years hearing, "They behaved just fine until YOU got back". Of course they did - they feel safe now that Mom and Dad are there and can let out whatever pent up frustrations they kept inside while MIL was watching them. But of course I can't say that, I have to bite my tongue and ignore it.

            I spend a fair amount of time doing my childbirth breathing (hey, there's a use for that longterm ) and repeating to myself, "Good relationship with the grandparents is more important than ____." Most of the time, it is. I have had to let go of some things - my kids will eat too much junk food while there, they will watch too much inappropriate TV and movies, and they will learn words I don't really want to hear out of their mouthes. But they LOVE their grandparents. They have a good relationship with them that has evolved as they've gotten older. And the values and beliefs that we've instilled at home stay with them, even with frequent grandparent interactions.

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            • #7
              Thanks for all the responses. My husband is wonderful in all of it. We have been dealing with some sort of them being disapproving for the past 6 years, ever since we got married. My husband has tried everything from talking to them, and trying to help them understand where we are coming from, they literally ignore him and act like he's not talking. He has tried yelling at them, ignoring them, asking nicely, you name it he's tried it. At this point he's just as upset because for the past year he has basically stopped having a relationship with them because it is so hard. And that's not what he wants, he would like to have a relationship with them, but not when they are being nasty and negative.

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              • #8
                I found I couldnt "talk " to my mother in law so I sent her an email...I litterally told her she needs to back off, if we want her advice we will ask for it and that we need to get along for the sake of the baby. I was VERY upfront...to the point where maybe it could be considered rude and she was pretty pissed for a bit, but she got over it like she always does and now things are a lot better. She still annoys the hell out of me but she atleast keeps her mouth shut if she doesnt like something and she is respectful of our wishes...

                and just to add...I dont let her babysit for more than a short trip to the store, and I likely never will...not for an extended period anyways

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                • #9
                  'contented in laws' is a great advice forum that really helped me with my mother in law
                  good luck xxxx'

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