Toddlers: 24 Months+

In-law affection

I understand that grandparents want to shower their grandkids with affection...but it makes me really uncomfortable the level of affection that my MIL gives to my son. She always makes sure to kiss him on the lips, even turning his head when he's playing with something to make sure she gets him on the lips rather than just on the cheek. She is also always rubbing and squeezing his legs , underneath his pants, exclaiming "Oh how I love these little legs!!!"

It drives me CRAZY!! I do not come from an affectionate family and my husband's family is incredibly overly affectionate. I have told my husband how uncomfortable it makes me and he just brushes it off saying "oh she's like that with everyone, even her animals" Which is true, but it just makes my blood boil when I see this stuff. She is very sensitive and defensive and I feel like it would cause more of a problem if I brought it up to her. Does anyone else have inlaws who make you uncomfortable?? How do you deal with it without being the b*tchy daugher in law?

Just had to vent...thanks

Re: In-law affection

  • Is your DS really uncomfortable with grandma's attention?  I would try and get your DS to tell Grandma no or how to push her hands away if he doesn't want to be touch.  Then you could pipe up and say DS doesn't want love right now grandma maybe later if she doesn't understand him. 

    My DD is very sensitive about being crowded and pulls a total fit if she gets too many people too close.  Both at home and at DC we are working on her using her words instead of screaming/crying.  So something like "no away" or "no thank you" and for her to move herself someplace else.  She is on the petite side and tends to get run over by the kids who are her same age and even the slightly younger ones. 

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  • Your post bothered me enough that I stopped mobile bumping to go to my computer to see what your ticker said about your DS's age, but I see you do not have one.  I assume he is over 2 since you're on this board.  Your MIL behavior is inappropriate.  I assume she is not kissing your DH on the lips and grabbing his thighs so I would not believe this the standard family level of affection.

    How does your DS react? Is he uncomfortable? If he is then you need to step in immediately every single time she does it.  Kids need to know that their bodies are private and that they have the right to tell people not to touch them.  And he especially needs to know that his parents will protect him and listen to him if something does not feel right to him.  If your DS could care less then you could approach it in a less confrontational manner but I agree with you that you need to stop it.

    You could try telling her that you are teaching DS that his body is private and that it is confusing to have his own grandmother violating that and suggest more appropriate levels of contact.  She would not be sensitive and defensive if she wasn't aware she was stepping over the line.  I am sorry that your DH is not on board with you.  There are books that cover these issues.

    Also, leaving the leg grabbing aside, even if it is your IL's standard of affection to kiss on the lips (because maybe it's a cultural thing, you don't say if that's a reason), if your DS does not like it he shouldn't have to put up with it for grandma.  Even if she means well she should listen to you.

    Whew. Sorry, that one got me riled up.  Now, I have to go save my own kids from the  TV. :)

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  • I agree with PP.  Your post bothered me. I also don't come from an affectionate family and am peeved everytime my MIL touches me beyond her usual coming/going hug.

    I feel like it's unacceptable behavior regardless of who you are in that child's life.  I'd be mortified if anyone touched my DS this way - family or not.  It's not appropriate.

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  • Personally I would only say something if your son was bothered by it or seems bothered.  His body is his own and nobody should touch him if he doesn't want to be touched, no matter the intentions (well unless it's a safety issue, obviously grab him if he runs in the street or something).

    Both my side and DH's side are all really affectionate and what you have described wouldn't bother me unless my children were bothered by it.  My MIL still kisses her son on the lips, and even his Aunt always tries to kiss me on the lips!  Just the other day I saw my MIL smack DH's bottom.  As for the thigh squeezing, again, I pinch my children's thighs, pretend to bite them, that baby fat is so sweet!  So I think it's just a matter of what you are used to.    

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  • Assuming that your LO is still not a newborn, the thigh pinching would bother me if it was under the pants and higher on the thigh. Something around the knee would not bother me. The kissing would not, but DH and I both come from families like this. The big question though is DS bother by it? If so then it needs to stop. My DD likes to kiss people on the mouth (since she is used to it with family) we have been working with her not to kiss people other than family on the mouth. 
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  • Personally, I cannot stand lip kissing for myself. From anyone. Except DH. This includes DS- I suck it up and tolerate it but I can't stand it. That said, there are people who are lip kissers. I don't think it's a sexual thing-- I think it's just a learned behavior thing. I am a thigh grabber. I squeeze my two year old's thighs all the time. My family was a hugging, touching (not ever sexually) family. So I'm a toucher. It sounds like your MIL is also a toucher and you come from a non-touchy feely background so it's weird to you.

    Now, if LO is bothered by it, teach him to say stop and then back him up, obviously

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  • I agree with you, OP, this would make me crazy also.  As someone stated, it would definately be a good idea to approach MIL in a way that you need her to "be a team member" to teach DS that our bodies are private.  I use this method all the time with my MIL, and she's eager to take part in teaching DS anything at all.

     I consider my own family to be extremely affectionate, almost smothering, with constant hugs and kisses from grands, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., but not one kisses on the lips.  My ILs do, however, and it's something I'm just not comfortable with.  I've put DH on notice that it's not acceptable for them to do so to DS.  So far, so good....

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  • To me that's normal from grandparents. In my family (we're Italian) you always kiss on the lips. My DH is uncomfortable with it lol and we crack up at the Saturday night live sketch every time. I kiss my Dad on the lips, always have. DH is not affectionate with his family but his mom is and I don't mind at all. 

    Now if my kids were uncomfortable and I could sense that then I would put an end to it. As it is, I don't make them kiss people goodbye when it's time to leave. I say give a hug or a high five to them and they do what they are comfortable with.

    Edit: my son is 5 and no one touches his body like that. I  didn't realize your sons age but I think that would bother me. The kissing not so much because I grew up with it but I squishing his legs under his pants is a little much. 

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  • image WestCoastMommy:

    To me that's normal from grandparents. In my family (we're Italian) you always kiss on the lips. My DH is uncomfortable with it lol and we crack up at the Saturday night live sketch every time. I kiss my Dad on the lips, always have. DH is not affectionate with his family but his mom is and I don't mind at all. 

    Now if my kids were uncomfortable and I could sense that then I would put an end to it. As it is, I don't make them kiss people goodbye when it's time to leave. I say give a hug or a high five to them and they do what they are comfortable with.

    Edit: my son is 5 and no one touches his body like that. I  didn't realize your sons age but I think that would bother me. The kissing not so much because I grew up with it but I squishing his legs under his pants is a little much. 

    My family is Italian too, so we do lip kisses. It's just how we show our affection. Like above PP said, if it makes your LO uncomfortable, then say something, but other than that I wouldn't. 

    And the leg squishing...I honestly dealt with that my whole childhood from my grandpa. It doesn't bother me a bit. I mean,  if he were doing it when I was 10 or something, then it would probably make me uncomfortable. But at 5? I do that to my niece, or I will tickle her there because it's the only place she is ticklish.

    Of course she probably doesn't do these things to DH now, but I imagine she probably did when he was younger. 

    I mean, it's all you, in the end you are the parent. I just come from a different sub-culture, where this is acceptable, and to look at it as anything even slightly sexual or uncomfortable would be insulting. It's all about your level of comfort, and how you were raised in terms of what is "personal space". We have friends from Israel, and they practically sit in my lap, with their hands constantly on my thigh or around my shoulders the entire time we are around each other. But that is how their culture is, and their whole family. Their personal space is different. 

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  • EDWHIPEDWHIP
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    Ugh!

    I get grossed out by that stuff too and come from a similar background.  My MIL is extremely affectionate with her husband and DH.  It grosses me out.  She likes to sit in between DH and FIL and rub their legs at the same time.  Ewwwwww!  The good news is I have a daughter and she doesn't even touch her.  I have a feeling if I have a son she will be all touchy feely.  I will put my foot down when she does.

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