Problematic parents/in laws - Page 2 — The Bump
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Problematic parents/in laws

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Re: Problematic parents/in laws

  • proudparent2bproudparent2b member
    edited November 2015
    So glad for this discussion! There's such a stigma in our society regarding parents. Where I live, people naturally assume that any functioning person has wonderful parents.

    Somehow I missed the boat on that one - growing up with a mother who was toxic and abusive (likely suffering from mental health issues that she refused to address), as well as a drug/alcohol/pain pill abuser.

    Thankfully, my MIL is a much better role model. Not sure how I'll explain it all to the kid someday, but trying not to worry about it right now.
  • It feels good to know we're not alone through the insanity. Hugs to all!
    proudparent2b
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  • Wow, there are some doozies in here!  Makes me feel a little better.

    My mom: In a nutshell she is a selfish, delusional child who never grew up.  She constantly changes her reality to whatever is convenient for her at the time.  She is a parasite on the family and always puts herself into situations where she "needs" help.  My grandma can't really retire because she has enabled her all of her life and can't step away.  She randomly dropped us kids off with family/friends/strangers for days/weeks/months at a time when she couldn't handle us anymore.  I could go on an on and on, but won't!  On top of her crazy, she is just gross and has NO hygiene.  I was bullied a lot as a kid and didn't realize until I got older that it was because she never made us (her kids) shower/wash hands/brush teeth and our house was a disgusting hoarder nightmare.  Had to learn all that stuff on my own and keep my own space as clean as I could.  She seriously grosses me out every time I see her and brings back bad memories.  I avoid her as much as possible, but now that I am pregnant she is hounding me more.  I don't want her even touching my baby...

    My MIL: Abusive, manipulative spawn of Satan.  She was very abusive to my husband as a kid and later in life actually CHOSE to stay married to her husband (step-in-law) after finding out he had molested her own daughter.  BOTH her children  seem to have just forgotten that part, and the daughter + new hubby even lived with them for a while as adults and then made sure to move close to them when they got their own place.  My DH has some weird mind block with her and like clockwork, every year or two, says we need to visit (I don't go with him) or invites her to come visit us.  Then she visits and it's hell on earth as she plays her mind games, embarrasses us in public, and is completely disrespectful to our space with smoking and messiness.  He gets worked up again, agrees she can't ever come again, and then forgets allll over a year or two later and I'm the bad guy for reminding him she is evil. Last time she came to stay, the SIL + sis's hubby came, too.  We have a new house and they stayed over--SIL was the WORST (I have soooo many stories) and MIL basically just stayed quiet and in the corner the whole time.  So now DH thinks she has changed and is chill and wants her to come visit and STAY WITH US right after the baby is born!!!!  

    We are usually pretty great at communicating and working things out, but his MIL is the one thing that we can't agree on.  I refuse to have anything to do with her and he "puts his foot down" about it because it's his mom (and he has some messed-up sense of loyalty with her that I will never understand).  I can't imagine letting ANY guest stay in our home when we have a newborn, much less the one person on earth who I almost get stress attacks just thinking about... 
    LovingLife!LemmyRN
  • @LovingLife! I feel like we have the same MIL. Is her name Linda by chance?
  • yogahh said:
    So glad this thread is here because shit just hit the fan. Anytime DH and I get into a disagreement he turns it into an issue with my mom. Well I finally let it out that I don't particularly love his mom, she's pretentious and annoying. She wouldn't let me send wedding announcements to his family (gift grabby) but asked me to print pictures to send to her friends.. It's the same thing. When o told her I wanted to send announcements she says "is that what people from Pittsburgh do" like she was putting me down. I'm still bothered by that. She didn't want to send announcements because it was "gift grabby" but wants to throw a shower for me so HER friends can come (told me that a shower would have to be where her friends can travel to by car, with little concern to how my friends without cars would get three.)I just flipped out on DH that it's weird and that I find her grating. Why did I do this?? Even though I don't love her I have tried my best to be a good daughter in law and now I just fucked that all up. Thinking of calling off sick today. The last thing I want to do right now is to go to work. This is bad... And all because he claims I sighed when I needed to move out of the way for him.

    Totally quoting my own post to give some background here. I was really worked up when I posted this and don't even know if it makes sense

    MIL is that type of person that just says whatever she wants, really with no thought of what she is saying. Some of the issues I have had with her

    1) She thought it was appropriate to tell me and DH where her and FIL had sex at the 1st time. Um gross.

    2) She told me if we have twins she will "take one". Yeah, noooo... not taking my child. She has already decided when she will be staying with us, how long, what she is making to eat. Oh, and already is planning Disney trips. I need to stop this or else she will want to be in the delivery room with me.

    3) Told me she doesn't care if baby is a boy or a girl, but would like a baby with curly hair... I mean seriously, whaaa?

    4) When I asked her for addresses to send wedding announcements, she told me she didn't want me to send any to her side, that it is "gift grabby", and then said "Is that what people in Pittsburgh do" like an insult. Best part is..SHE IS FROM PITTSBURGH AS WELL? Then, a few weeks after the wedding, asked me to print out pictures so she could send them out... ummmmmmm, that's what a wedding announcement is.

    5) But then, asked me how much money her friends sent us... tacky much?

    6) Decided that she wants to throw me a shower. Isnt that more gift grabby than wedding announcements? Not only does she want to throw me a shower, she wants me to plan it. Did I mention that she is more concerned about her friends being able to attend than mine? She told me the shower needs to be in her area so her friends can make it. They have cars. My friends don't. So how will my friends be able to get to little town Long Island from NYC? She only wants to throw this party as a way to get attention.

    7) When my mom sent DH her olive branch gift and card 1 weeks ago, MIL said the timing seems "off" (because its before 12 weeks?) and insinuated that she was trying to jinx our pregnancy.

    8) Her own daughter doesn't speak to her! I have never met his sister and doubt I will. Something weird there, but he had the gull this morning to tell me I am "jealous" of his mom because she is "better" than my mom. Atleast I speak with my mom!

    9) PRETENIOUS as the day is long. She likes to talk about their "fabulous and expensive" trips. Everything she does is "fabulous". Every recipe she makes is "fabulous". If I had a nickel for everytime she says "fabulous"....

    So needless to say, when DH tried bringing my mom into a fight this morning that had nothing to do with her, I finally flipped. He has his parents on such pedestals he will never see how BSC she is.  But my mom will always be a witch, as he called her this morning. When she sent him a peace offering, he only can see it as a manipulation. Again, I will never be the winner in this situation.



    cat fail animated GIF

    LovingLife!
  • edited November 2015
    I would love some advice on my situation.

    I should preface by saying my MIL and I get along really well, and she treats me as a daughter. However, she can be a master at guilt-tripping.

    DH grew up in a very small, tight-knit community where his entire family lives (some of my family lives in this community as well). When we got married 3.5 years ago, we moved 3 hours away from his hometown for his new job. He was the first family member from his grandparents down to move away. It was a BIG DEAL. I was so so so happy we moved because, while his family is very loving, they can be very close-minded and never dream of doing anything outside of living in this small town. Also, they do big family gatherings almost every week, and my introverted self just can't.

    Anyway, I think MIL thought we would have definitely moved back there by now, but the truth is we're happy where we are. DH loves his job. I have a well-paying, stable job (that I don't just love.. But it works for now). We're very involved in our church, and have made many friends. Not to mention that we live 10 minutes from a mall! I honestly hope we never move close to his parents for a myriad of reasons, including the fact that they love the idea of family togetherness ALL THE TIME. This only child needs her space! (although if I said the words, DH would move back in a heartbeat).

    My issue is my MIL constantly making comments about us not living there. There's always some family event that we missed or some cute thing our nephew did that we didn't see. But we seriously go down there quite often, usually every 4 weeks or so. In fact, in Sept/Oct, we saw my in-laws 5 weekends in a row! We never miss major holidays or big family birthdays, but it's never enough. My MIL CRIES when we leave after a weekend of visiting. She's always asking us when we're going to move back.

    My SIL, her husband, and 2 kids live a mile from my in-laws, and they go over to their house every single night, and my MIL cooks dinner for them. She is absolutely crazy about her grandkids, and she and my FIL are practically raising them. So you can see what a difference it's going to be between her time spent with my niece and nephew vs. the time she will spend with our child.

    I would never want to keep our child away from the grandparents, but we're also not going to travel down there every weekend or even every other weekend. I know the comments/guilt-tripping is going to get exponentially worse once we have a baby. I can just hear:
    "Well, Granny had all the great-grandkids at her house today except for yours.."
    "Your second cousin once removed really wanted to see the baby at her birthday dinner.."
    My question is, how do I get her to stop with the comments and just accept that we live 3 hours away? DH is not willing to have a conversation with her about it because he says it's "not that bad." In the grand scheme of things, it isn't, but I've heard it for 3 years, and her making us feel guilty about not seeing the baby every day like her other grandkids is honestly going to make me want to avoid them.

    We have a good relationship, and I don't want to jeopardize it. What do I say? I loathe confrontation, and I can be pretty terrible at standing my ground, but I really want to stop this before it starts.

    Thanks for reading this novel :)
    Me: 29 DH: 31
    Married: May 2012
    DS: born May 2016
    Baby Boy # 2 EDD: 1/27/2019


  • yogahh The IL situation sounds like it is creating some potential minefields for you and your H. I'm no therapist (and this might be the opposite of what your'e supposed to do) but have you considered creating a rule with your H that you're simply not going to talk about parents with each other at all ever at least for the time being? Can't mention their names, allude to them in any way, etc. It sounds like when the parents come into the equation (during a fight, discussion, etc.) it triggers big time emotions and really inflames the situation. I don't know...it may be worth having that topic be completely off limits for the time being to allow for things to cool off a bit. 

    In any event, I'm sorry! It is awful that through all of this you are the one that loses :(
    Me: 38; DH: 41
    DS: Born 5-17-16 

    LovingLife!
  • vinerie said:
    yogahh The IL situation sounds like it is creating some potential minefields for you and your H. I'm no therapist (and this might be the opposite of what your'e supposed to do) but have you considered creating a rule with your H that you're simply not going to talk about parents with each other at all ever at least for the time being? Can't mention their names, allude to them in any way, etc. It sounds like when the parents come into the equation (during a fight, discussion, etc.) it triggers big time emotions and really inflames the situation. I don't know...it may be worth having that topic be completely off limits for the time being to allow for things to cool off a bit. 
    In any event, I'm sorry! It is awful that through all of this you are the one that loses :(

    Funny you say that. About 5 minutes ago I told DH I will not speak with him about my mom any more and visa versa. It is not fair for him to call my mom names to me, and that I want him to act that she doesn't exist. I also told him that if the smallest argument between us will always turn into a fight about my mom, I think he would see a therapist because he obviously cannot get past this.

    Now he wants to tell his mom about this? And what, hurt her for no reason?

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  • I'm going to try really hard to keep this concise, but I need to start with a little back story.

    My MIL is BSC. When DH was about 12 she got pregnant by the man she had been having an affair with for 8 years. Her new boyfriend wanted nothing to do with her 2 kids she already had so she forfeited custody of them to their dad, which really was the best thing for them. She took DH's dad for everything he had, even though she's the one that had the affair and got pregnant, and is still to do this day fighting for more from him. She somehow just recently managed to get more of his retirement. She doesn't work and relies on welfare to take care of her kids. She gets over $700 a month in food stamps can't be bothered to be financially responsible for her younger 2 kids. Her "boyfriend" doesn't work either. They both are huge pot heads/pill heads. Every time her kids need new clothes or new shoes or money for school pictures she hits up her boyfriends mom for money. Her boyfriend somehow manages to have money to buy himself several hundred dollars worth of hunting equipment, which he does all the time because he doesn't work and has time.

    So I've always been bothered by all of that, but when I got pregnant it got worse. She started acting like I was stupid for wanting to BF because it would ruin my boobs? Uhh thanks for your advice that I didn't ask for? I was admitted to the high risk unit at the hospital for pre-e at 36 weeks with DD. MIL decides to show up unannounced and not invited to visit us in the hospital and brings her friend. She then proceeds to spend the entire time visiting us to tell my dad the story of how she got pregnant when she was married so her husband's insurance had to pay for her to have another man's baby and that the baby was born with her husband's last name so she had to go through this long process to change it. The whole time she was telling my dad this story she was laughing and basically bragging about everything she did. Needless to say my BP spiked really badly while she was there (190/115) and the nurse had to kick everyone out. They were ready to take me for an emergency c-section right then and there but I had to assure my nurse it would go down, it was just my MIL stressing me out.

    After DD was born and was a little older we started letting her watch her for a couple hours here and there. She promised to abide by all my "rules" that were just common sense. DD can't have sugar, eggs, honey, cow's milk, or peanuts because she was under 1 and because I didn't let her have sugar, which made me a mean mom in her eyes. I later found out that she was dipping DD's paci in Dr. Pepper because "she liked it". I had DH explain to her why that was not okay and she promised not to do it again. I later found out that she had been giving DD fried eggs every single time she watched her and when I told her how that could've been extremely dangerous her and her boyfriend assured me that no kid actually has egg allergies... WHAT?! And the very last straw was when I found out she was giving my 10 MONTH OLD COFFEE!!! She would put a little in a spoon and let her sip it. WTF?!?!? I flipped out on her and DD has never been alone with her since! I think she was giving her all of these things just because I told her not to.

    Luckily she leaves us alone for the most part because we live too far away for her to drive here to see us. (We live 15 minutes away) But she makes sure to call DH once every couple weeks to complain about how she never sees DD. DH's grandma also enables all of his mom's behavior and tries to justify it. She's not nearly as bad as MIL but she's pretty bad too. She tried giving DD water in a bottle when DD was 3 months old and still tried even after I yelled at her and told her how dangerous that could be! These people are freaking nuts. Luckily DH sees how BSC they are and we avoid them for the most part outside of holidays. I could go on all day but I'll just leave it at that!

    LemmyRN
  • yogahh said:
    Funny you say that. About 5 minutes ago I told DH I will not speak with him about my mom any more and visa versa. It is not fair for him to call my mom names to me, and that I want him to act that she doesn't exist. I also told him that if the smallest argument between us will always turn into a fight about my mom, I think he would see a therapist because he obviously cannot get past this.

    Now he wants to tell his mom about this? And what, hurt her for no reason?

    BAD idea. Why throw fuel on this fire?! I'd ask him not to. For you. For you relationship. 
    Me: 38; DH: 41
    DS: Born 5-17-16 

    Jules5611
  • @yogahh to you saying your MIL would want to be in your delivery room if you don't put a stop to her and her madness...well, when shit started hitting the fan with DH, MIL, SIL, FIL, and I, MIL cries to DH and says "my biggest fear is that I won't be involved in my grandchildrens' lives because of your wife. I'm afraid I won't be asked to attend dr appts, ultrasound appts, baby showers, won't be invited into the delivery room, won't be invited to stay the month after the baby is born". I'm like, who's MIL just assumes that this is normal involvement in a pregnancy/delivery period, let alone your son's wife's pregnancy/delivery. I told her it's not a show in the delivery room and the only person I want in that room is my husband. Just flippin' psychos!!
    LovingLife!
  • ncm0328 said:
    @yogahh to you saying your MIL would want to be in your delivery room if you don't put a stop to her and her madness...well, when shit started hitting the fan with DH, MIL, SIL, FIL, and I, MIL cries to DH and says "my biggest fear is that I won't be involved in my grandchildrens' lives because of your wife. I'm afraid I won't be asked to attend dr appts, ultrasound appts, baby showers, won't be invited into the delivery room, won't be invited to stay the month after the baby is born". I'm like, who's MIL just assumes that this is normal involvement in a pregnancy/delivery period, let alone your son's wife's pregnancy/delivery. I told her it's not a show in the delivery room and the only person I want in that room is my husband. Just flippin' psychos!!
    WOW! Seriously, why would I want someone that is not my husband (or even my own mom) in the delivery room watching me poop myself. And really...a month to stay with you! I am so sorry ...

    cat fail animated GIF

    LovingLife!
  • yogahh said:


    ncm0328 said:

    @yogahh to you saying your MIL would want to be in your delivery room if you don't put a stop to her and her madness...well, when shit started hitting the fan with DH, MIL, SIL, FIL, and I, MIL cries to DH and says "my biggest fear is that I won't be involved in my grandchildrens' lives because of your wife. I'm afraid I won't be asked to attend dr appts, ultrasound appts, baby showers, won't be invited into the delivery room, won't be invited to stay the month after the baby is born". I'm like, who's MIL just assumes that this is normal involvement in a pregnancy/delivery period, let alone your son's wife's pregnancy/delivery. I told her it's not a show in the delivery room and the only person I want in that room is my husband. Just flippin' psychos!!

    WOW! Seriously, why would I want someone that is not my husband (or even my own mom) in the delivery room watching me poop myself. And really...a month to stay with you! I am so sorry ...


    Seriously. When she said that on the phone to DH (she refused to talk to me, which was fine, but DH kept her in speaker so I'd believe that she really said what she said all the time) both of our mouths hung wide open. She was in the delivery room with my psycho SIL as well and SIL's husband was pushed to the side so MIL could hold her daughters hands because "she needed a woman who's been through childbirth, why would a woman want her husband who has never and will never experience childbirth to be her support in the delivery room". She flipped when she found out my mom is coming to stay with us for like 10 days after the baby gets here. I told her yeah, MY mom is coming. I don't have to entertain MY mom, MY mom will grocery shop, cook, clean, do whatever I ask of her to help DH and I, and I don't have to cover up or care what I look like in front of MY mom.

    Anyway, so so sorry that you're experiencing problems with your mom, your MIL, and with DH. I always hate to hear when problems with family members cause arguments/stress/hurt feelings between spouses. Shouldn't be that way

    Jules5611LovingLife!jessiedee13
  • mrstmoosemrstmoose member
    edited November 2015
    Wow ladies, you make my parents and in-laws seem like saints. I really can't complain other than my MIL saying Friday night how quickly she could get to the hospital when I go into labor. I told DH after everyone left..."uh guess we aren't telling people when I go into labor." Right now, I really don't want people up there. We'll call you! 

    @vinerie - I would agree with the possibility of of your FIL being on the Autism Spectrum, but I clearly can't diagnose over the internet (I'm a licensed social worker). It's common for people who have Autism to get along with people younger than they are. That being said, if he kicks your dog again, I would be very blunt about the consequences the next time he does that. 

    My grandma's boyfriend kicked my dog (not hard but still), a few years ago at my birthday party. I looked him square in the eyes and told him that if he kicked my dog again, I will kick him with the same intensity. And he's had surgery on both of his knees. He did not respond, just looked at me and then looked away. I had issues with him anyways but that was the icing on the cake. Glad he's not around anymore.

    ETA: @yogahh - I would also agree that marriage counseling and individual therapy may be beneficial for you both at this point. And after awhile, it may also help to bring in the moms (separately, of course).
    vinerieLovingLife!
  • bshurdy said:
    I would love some advice on my situation. I should preface by saying my MIL and I get along really well, and she treats me as a daughter. However, she can be a master at guilt-tripping. DH grew up in a very small, tight-knit community where his entire family lives (some of my family lives in this community as well). When we got married 3.5 years ago, we moved 3 hours away from his hometown for his new job. He was the first family member from his grandparents down to move away. It was a BIG DEAL. I was so so so happy we moved because, while his family is very loving, they can be very close-minded and never dream of doing anything outside of living in this small town. Also, they do big family gatherings almost every week, and my introverted self just can't. Anyway, I think MIL thought we would have definitely moved back there by now, but the truth is we're happy where we are. DH loves his job. I have a well-paying, stable job (that I don't just love.. But it works for now). We're very involved in our church, and have made many friends. Not to mention that we live 10 minutes from a mall! I honestly hope we never move close to his parents for a myriad of reasons, including the fact that they love the idea of family togetherness ALL THE TIME. This only child needs her space! (although if I said the words, DH would move back in a heartbeat). My issue is my MIL constantly making comments about us not living there. There's always some family event that we missed or some cute thing our nephew did that we didn't see. But we seriously go down there quite often, usually every 4 weeks or so. In fact, in Sept/Oct, we saw my in-laws 5 weekends in a row! We never miss major holidays or big family birthdays, but it's never enough. My MIL CRIES when we leave after a weekend of visiting. She's always asking us when we're going to move back. My SIL, her husband, and 2 kids live a mile from my in-laws, and they go over to their house every single night, and my MIL cooks dinner for them. She is absolutely crazy about her grandkids, and she and my FIL are practically raising them. So you can see what a difference it's going to be between her time spent with my niece and nephew vs. the time she will spend with our child. I would never want to keep our child away from the grandparents, but we're also not going to travel down there every weekend or even every other weekend. I know the comments/guilt-tripping is going to get exponentially worse once we have a baby. I can just hear: "Well, Granny had all the great-grandkids at her house today except for yours.." "Your second cousin once removed really wanted to see the baby at her birthday dinner.." My question is, how do I get her to stop with the comments and just accept that we live 3 hours away? DH is not willing to have a conversation with her about it because he says it's "not that bad." In the grand scheme of things, it isn't, but I've heard it for 3 years, and her making us feel guilty about not seeing the baby every day like her other grandkids is honestly going to make me want to avoid them. We have a good relationship, and I don't want to jeopardize it. What do I say? I loathe confrontation, and I can be pretty terrible at standing my ground, but I really want to stop this before it starts. Thanks for reading this novel :)
    Why cant parents realize that children grow up and start to build their own lives? Is she controlling, or do you think she just wants to see you guys more often?

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  • I came here to complain but I feel lucky in comparison.

    MIL is literally a crazy cat lady. She fosters kittens bc she works full time from home and her house always smells like animal. She lets them run around everywhere and it's just gross. I'm an animal person and I'm all for helping them out, but she literally has like 7-8 kittens and then 2 of her own cats on top of 2 dogs. I told DH he needs to tell her that if the baby is going to be going over there she needs to get a handle on that situation. I just feel like it's too germy for a little baby. His sister lives there right now and she's literally never home bc of this too. I think DH is a little concerned to bring it up bc she's pretty sensitive about it, but if no one does it she won't change. She's also VERY independent and acts like she knows everything. DH also found out some very unsavory things about her recently from his dad which I won't say here, but he never knew about any of it as a kid and it made him really upset and honestly I was surprised bc she didn't seem like that sort of person.

    FIL is just a mess. He's older. Didn't have DH until he was almost 50. He's still very healthy for his age but is a very, VERY stubborn man. He didn't talk to DH for over a year over something that wasn't even his fault. Honestly I think the reason they started talking again was bc he forgot why he was mad. He was very detached in raising DH. Not really around very much. That goes for all of his kids too. DH's older sister actually passed away from breast cancer about 10 years ago. His dad
    went to see her just before that happened. The time before that? Literally probably almost 10 years prior. He is very awkward to talk to... We get along fine, but he always likes to talk about guitars, sound equipment, or cars. He used to be in lighting and sound for TV and stuff so that's his deal, but it's all he talks about. He also has a massive eBay problem. I think it's gotten better lately, but he buys all this huge old equipment for audio and video on eBay even though he'll never use it. His house is needless to say - like a maze and also not safe for children.

    Then again DH also thinks my parents had issues, but that's another story.
    image
    vinerie
  • Jules5611 said:
    @LovingLife! I feel like we have the same MIL. Is her name Linda by chance?
    LOL nope, but I am SO sorry you've got one of her too! haha 
    Jules5611
  • So there's this book....and I read it and sent it to my MIL when things were still at the point of possible reconciliation (so beyond that now). But I think everyone should give their problem in laws/parents a copy for Christmas. Haha. It's called "Parenting Your Adult Child" by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. It has a chapter specifically about transitioning to a parent in law and grandparent, and how your relationship with your child changes once they reach adulthood. My MIL and SIL got super pissed and didn't both reading it, but it may be worth a try for others!! In the least, maybe you guys could read it and have some reassurance that we are not all the crazy ones ;)
    Jules5611yogahhLovingLife!
  • dsmith211 said:
    I came here to complain but I feel lucky in comparison. MIL is literally a crazy cat lady. She fosters kittens bc she works full time from home and her house always smells like animal. She lets them run around everywhere and it's just gross. I'm an animal person and I'm all for helping them out, but she literally has like 7-8 kittens and then 2 of her own cats on top of 2 dogs. I told DH he needs to tell her that if the baby is going to be going over there she needs to get a handle on that situation. I just feel like it's too germy for a little baby. His sister lives there right now and she's literally never home bc of this too. I think DH is a little concerned to bring it up bc she's pretty sensitive about it, but if no one does it she won't change. She's also VERY independent and acts like she knows everything. DH also found out some very unsavory things about her recently from his dad which I won't say here, but he never knew about any of it as a kid and it made him really upset and honestly I was surprised bc she didn't seem like that sort of person. FIL is just a mess. He's older. Didn't have DH until he was almost 50. He's still very healthy for his age but is a very, VERY stubborn man. He didn't talk to DH for over a year over something that wasn't even his fault. Honestly I think the reason they started talking again was bc he forgot why he was mad. He was very detached in raising DH. Not really around very much. That goes for all of his kids too. DH's older sister actually passed away from breast cancer about 10 years ago. His dad went to see her just before that happened. The time before that? Literally probably almost 10 years prior. He is very awkward to talk to... We get along fine, but he always likes to talk about guitars, sound equipment, or cars. He used to be in lighting and sound for TV and stuff so that's his deal, but it's all he talks about. He also has a massive eBay problem. I think it's gotten better lately, but he buys all this huge old equipment for audio and video on eBay even though he'll never use it. His house is needless to say - like a maze and also not safe for children. Then again DH also thinks my parents had issues, but that's another story.
    This reminded me of a potential IL issue that never came to be. A guy I dated seriously from NYC had parents who were really into their two cats. They lived in a  2 bedroom NYC apartment and they decided to put the litterbox in the kitchen. Under the fridge. Literally, you would open the fridge over the litterbox. It made me so nauseous to think about poop particles being swooped up into the food area every time you opened the fridge door! And the kitchen smelled like a freaking litterbox! So I finally couldn't stand it anymore and said something to my b/f at the time who relayed the message to his parents. And they got all bent out of shape. I mean, maybe they had a right to be as it was judgey on my part. Eh...the relationship ended shortly after that so I didn't have to worry about it too much. But it was so gross!
    Me: 38; DH: 41
    DS: Born 5-17-16 

  • yogahh said:

    Why cant parents realize that children grow up and start to build their own lives? Is she controlling, or do you think she just wants to see you guys more often?


    IDK why parents can't let their kids grow up. I'm close with parents (they also live 2.5 hours away..), but they have absolutely no problems with the distance between us. In fact, they encouraged us to move away for at least the first year of our marriage so we could be "on our own."

    She wants to see us more often because family is EVERYTHING to them. She barely goes a day without seeing her own parents, but there's definitely a control issue there too. My SIL has always been the type to have her mom do everything for her and make decisions for her, and my MIL happily obliges. My in-laws help out with their grand kids a ton, so I think they feel like they have control over them as well. My husband has always been level-headed and mature, so I know she couldn't have the same influence over us as she does with my SIL. 

    Me: 29 DH: 31
    Married: May 2012
    DS: born May 2016
    Baby Boy # 2 EDD: 1/27/2019


  • ncm0328 said:
    So there's this book....and I read it and sent it to my MIL when things were still at the point of possible reconciliation (so beyond that now). But I think everyone should give their problem in laws/parents a copy for Christmas. Haha. It's called "Parenting Your Adult Child" by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. It has a chapter specifically about transitioning to a parent in law and grandparent, and how your relationship with your child changes once they reach adulthood. My MIL and SIL got super pissed and didn't both reading it, but it may be worth a try for others!! In the least, maybe you guys could read it and have some reassurance that we are not all the crazy ones ;)
    To think .. in 30 years, we will be the BSC MILS..

    cat fail animated GIF

  • Jules5611Jules5611 member
    edited November 2015
    ncm0328 said:
    So there's this book....and I read it and sent it to my MIL when things were still at the point of possible reconciliation (so beyond that now). But I think everyone should give their problem in laws/parents a copy for Christmas. Haha. It's called "Parenting Your Adult Child" by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. It has a chapter specifically about transitioning to a parent in law and grandparent, and how your relationship with your child changes once they reach adulthood. My MIL and SIL got super pissed and didn't both reading it, but it may be worth a try for others!! In the least, maybe you guys could read it and have some reassurance that we are not all the crazy ones ;)

    This sounds like it would be right up my MIL's alley. She has given me parenting books in the past so I find it kind of comical and ironic that there is one for her. I feel like my husband is smart enough and would find it condescending, but she would most likely read it.
    edited- Not only did she give me a parenting book but she highlighted things she though I should work on.
    LovingLife!jfarm19
  • @mrstmoose so this thread has been eye-opening for me in a lot of ways. In my own situation, I wonder if I've been completely blind to perhaps my FIL IS on the autism spectrum. I have totally procrastinated my afternoon away on wikipedia and came up with a couple other nuggets:

    I've always thought my FIL has odd speech patterns. If I say an unusual word, he will sometimes repeat it just to repeat it.  He also really draws out multi-syllabic words, really enunciating each syllable. The wikipedia page on Asperger's (I know it's now called just being on the spectrum) really hits the nail on the head re: some of his speech patterns as these are two common speech traits for high-functioning autistic people. He is so literal when he speaks. Always facts and definitely devoid of nuance. And he'll talk and talk and talk and doesn't seem to pick up on cues about give and take. I've noticed my H doesn't joke around with him and so I've found conversations to be dull and monotonous. 

    He's also really into birds and ancestry. He loves the categorization process, identifying the birds and then telling you about their details. Or drawing the lineage paths through the centuries. I don't know. Is that obsessive interests or just a well-developed hobby?

    Hard to say. But I'm going to try really hard to react to him this weekend with this new knowledge in mind. However, if he kicks my dog again, I don't care what challenges he's facing, I'll let him have it. 

    Me: 38; DH: 41
    DS: Born 5-17-16 

    lalala2004
  • LadySamLadyLadySamLady member
    edited November 2015
    I am blown away by these stories!!

    My ILs are over-bearing, needy, and evangelical but well-meaning. Compared to what everyone else deals with, I cannot complain. I've had to set serious boundaries with my MIL because she is so needy. For a while we

    ETA: To clarify what I mean by evangelical, my ILs are very devout Christians and my H is the only one of their 5 children who is no longer aligned with the faith. I myself am very spiritual but not religious and certainly not Christian, I have expressed to them that I have my own faith and am not looking to be saved but they continue to press the issue. It has gotten a little better over the past year but it has certainly created a divide. I just wish they would respect my beliefs and let me be.

  • @Jules5611 oh brother. You bet I highlighted all of the points she and her daughter REALLY needed to focus on. She said the book is written by a Christian therapist, so she's not reading it and went on this rant about how therapists don't know anything yada yada. I told her maybe before she tells me how terrible therapists are she should have stopped to rethink what I was going to school for and what I have my BA in (psychology going for Marriage and Family Therapy). They clearly just don't like being told that they are indeed BSC.

    @yogahh gah I hope not! I know my mom, the second us kids all turned 17 and came time to boot us out of the nest, she celebrated her butt off! She was stoked that her job was done and she no longer had to worry about making sure my responsibilities were taken care of because I was an adult and if I chose to slack on responsibilities it was on me and no longer on her. She totally nailed the change in relationship from childhood to adulthood and I am so so grateful to her for that. It must not have been easy, but she did it so it is possible to not be a crazy person!
  • ncm0328 said:

    @Jules5611 oh brother. You bet I highlighted all of the points she and her daughter REALLY needed to focus on. She said the book is written by a Christian therapist, so she's not reading it and went on this rant about how therapists don't know anything yada yada. I told her maybe before she tells me how terrible therapists are she should have stopped to rethink what I was going to school for and what I have my BA in (psychology going for Marriage and Family Therapy). They clearly just don't like being told that they are indeed BSC.

    @yogahh gah I hope not! I know my mom, the second us kids all turned 17 and came time to boot us out of the nest, she celebrated her butt off! She was stoked that her job was done and she no longer had to worry about making sure my responsibilities were taken care of because I was an adult and if I chose to slack on responsibilities it was on me and no longer on her. She totally nailed the change in relationship from childhood to adulthood and I am so so grateful to her for that. It must not have been easy, but she did it so it is possible to not be a crazy person!


    I must add, the book is not in any way pushy in the sense of religion, so please don't let that defer anyone.
  • edited November 2015
    @ncm0328 I love Gary Chapman! His books really aren't pushy with Christianity. I mean, I am a Christian and a Baptist pastor's daughter but I cannot stand "advice" books that spend so much time pushing scripture, there is no practical help. He isn't like that. I love the 5 Love Languages. It doesn't matter who you, we all speak certain love languages and it is so helpful to figure out what you speak, your spouse speaks, etc.


    Edit: somehow, I'm stuck in a quote box. :/

    Lilypie Pregnancy tickers
    Married: 1/2008 ~ DD#1: 3/2012
    TTC #2: Started 4/2014       BFP 7/30/15   MC 8/3/15       BFP 9/4/2015   EDD 5/16/2016

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  • Ok so, super long. However here are the two sections from this book I highlighted for MIL and SIL. The first is included in the Parent Trap chapter which covers different parenting styles and their flaws, especially when they carry into adulthood. I highlighted parent trap 3, which was the over management parent trap. Then, I highlighted the entire chapter on becoming an in-law and grandparent. I copied and pasted both of those for you guys here. It's long, but helpful :)




    Parent Trap 3: Overmanagement With this parenting style, the parents are really “into” their children, devoting much energy to help their offspring learn and grow. Since the children’s earliest years, the parents sought to give their children auditory and visual stimuli to develop their intellectual capacities. They gave lots of hugs and kisses and affirming words to meet the children’s emotional needs. They attended all the ball games, piano recitals, and dance performances. The description sounds very positive, doesn’t it? Now, as their children move into adulthood, they intend to continue being good parents. The problem is that they fail to shift gears, and the young adults who are seeking independence feel dominated. Thus, they draw away from their parents, spending less time with them and asking less and less advice. This hurts the parents, who feel that their children are abandoning them. The solution? Parents whose style is intense, hands-on management need to draw back, pray more and probe less, and give their children the freedom to make decisions on their own. The perimeters of freedom must be extended in sequential steps from little to much, as the children move from adolescence to adulthood. Overmanaging a child can mean handling the child with an authoritarian attitude, being a boss to the child; in a sense, playing God. It can mean giving orders as though the child were a navy recruit. This is fine in the military, but no way to “train a child in the way he should go.”2 This approach may seem to work when the child is small, but it is really counterproductive. It does not teach a child to interact with you or others in healthy and meaningful ways. Therefore, you are depriving your child of the privilege of learning the skills of social interaction. She cannot learn to carry on pleasant small talk, an increasingly critical skill in today’s world. She will be hampered in learning to make decisions and to think for herself. A child who is continually told what to do and how to think will be hampered in learning how to manage life. Overmanagement leaves the child no emotional recourse than to become angry. Since there is little room for discussion or the teaching of verbal skills to handle the anger, the child’s anger will emerge as antiauthority attitudes. The child probably will display antiauthority behavior toward parents, teachers, employers, and local authorities. Most Christian parents use the overmanagement approach to parenting, partly because they have been taught that this is what God desires. However, such an approach will backfire on them when the children reach adulthood. Besides developing anger, the child reared by the overmanaging parental style will likely fail to learn to accept responsibility for his own behavior. We need to remember the old axiom “Two people cannot take responsibility for the same thing at the same time.” The child must be given the opportunity to take responsibility for some of his behavior, even at an early age. And the amount needs to increase appropriately, or he will never learn how. All around us we see people who have never learned. They are perpetual victims. Everything is someone else’s fault. A few years ago a woman spilled a cup of McDonald’s coffee on herself, scalding her legs. She showed questionable judgment by placing the hot cup of coffee on her lap as she drove away from the food-pickup window. It spilled. She sued the fast-food chain; she blamed McDonald’s for serving the coffee too hot. Interestingly, the court agreed, ruling that she was the victim and awarding a king’s judgment against McDonald’s. The negatives of this parent trap need not continue. Guy and Teresa had both had meddlesome parents who clearly overmanaged. When the couple married, they struggled to free themselves from the interference. When their own children reached adolescence, they began training them for independence, giving input but letting them wrestle with decisions. Throughout high school, they let their children make more and more of their own decisions. The week before sixteen-year-old Chad got his driver’s license, they sat down with him and let him help them decide the consequences if he were caught speeding or breaking other traffic laws. They were surprised at how mature his ideas were. Letting Chad be a major player in deciding the consequences was teaching him how to make decisions. When his first traffic offense happened six weeks later, Guy and Teresa did not overreact. They all knew what the consequences would be. Letting children make decisions and suffer the consequences or reap the benefits is a good way to teach them how to make wise decisions. Parents who seek to teach their children to make decisions by allowing them the freedom to do so will likely minimize the tendency to meddle in the lives of young adults. They will “be there” for their children, but they will not dominate. One wise boundary many parents have set for themselves is not to give their married children advice unless requested. Sharing this self-imposed boundary with children before they marry is a good way to let them hold you accountable for staying within your boundary.


    Chapter 7 BECOMING AN IN-LAW AND A GRANDPARENT Just after Jake completed his MBA from a prestigious university, he married Jenny. The two had dated for several years, fallen in love, and looked forward to becoming husband and wife. While Jake was studying for his master’s degree, Jenny had lived at home with her parents and worked as an accountant with a local firm. Just before graduation Jake secured a job with a company whose headquarters were in his hometown. His job would start when they returned from their honeymoon. The couple found and furnished an apartment and anticipated that their first year of marriage would be the happiest of their lives. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the most painful. Their conflicts centered around Jenny’s parents. To put it in Jake’s words, “She is married to them. I’m just a boyfriend. If it’s convenient to be with me, fine; but her parents come first.” Jenny insisted that this was not true. “Jake is number one in my life, but I also want a good relationship with my parents. I don’t think I should have to choose between them.” She did acknowledge that there had been times when she and Jake had plans; then her parents would call and she would change their plans to accommodate them. This infuriated Jake. Jake’s parents, Rudy and Betsy, learned of the difficulties during a telephone call from Jake. “Mom, I know we invited you folks out for dinner tonight, but this afternoon, Jenny got a call from her mother asking if we could come over and stay with her brother who is sick. Her parents have a business engagement and don’t want to leave Rodney alone. Jenny told them we would come before discussing it with me. “I’m not very happy about this,” Jake added. “Rodney is certainly old enough to stay by himself for a few hours, but Jenny feels that we’d be letting her parents down if we didn’t go. I hope you guys understand.” “Of course, Jake,” his mother answered. “That’s fine. We can go out another time.” As she tried to be reassuring, she could tell by Jake’s tone of voice that this was a bigger problem than simply taking care of Jenny’s sick brother. Her apprehensions were realized a month later when Jake was sitting at her table. “Mom, I don’t know how to tell you this, but Betsy and I have serious problems. Her parents are so demanding and she doesn’t know how to stand up to them. Whatever they ask, she feels she must do. They are trying to control us and I can’t take it. They are so different from Dad and you. I had no idea that they were so demanding or that they would require so much of Jenny’s time. Her mother treats her as though she were still living at home and we weren’t even married. She acts hurt if Jenny doesn’t go shopping with her every time she calls. She is very manipulating and tries to make Jenny feel it is practically a sin if she doesn’t do everything her mother wants. I thought Jenny was stronger than that, but I guess I was wrong. I’ve talked with her, but she doesn’t hear what I’m saying. She thinks I want her to abandon her folks. That’s not it at all. I just want her to be my wife first and their daughter second.” BETSY’S RESPONSE Now, what would you do if your adult child had a marital problem and shared his heart? How would you get involved—if at all? For Betsy, she wanted first to take Jake in her arms and tell him that everything was going to be all right. She wanted to kiss his knee, like she did when he was eight, and assure him that the pain would go away. But he wasn’t eight anymore and this pain wasn’t a skinned knee. She knew that she couldn’t solve his marital problems, but she did have a perspective she decided to share with him. “Jake, I appreciate your telling me this. I know it is serious and is causing you a lot of pain. I also know that in the first year of marriage, many couples have similar problems. Those who make it deal with their problems in a realistic way. The couples who don’t make it are the ones who sweep their problems under the rug, trying to act as if they don’t exist. In reality, the problems just get larger. “Sharing this with me is a first step. Now I want to encourage you to take a second. I’m not the one to give you marriage counseling, but that’s what you and Jenny need. There is a counselor on our church staff; and I also know two good ones downtown. If money is a problem, Dad and I will be willing to take care of the expense. The important thing is that both of you talk to someone with skills in helping couples work through such difficulties. Don’t let it go on or it will just get worse.” Jake replied, “I don’t know if she will go for counseling. She would be horrified if she knew I was talking to you about this.” “Then perhaps you can tell her that you are going for counseling because you must have some help in dealing with your own struggle,” his mother answered, “and that you would like her to go with you. She may go because she wants the counselor to hear her side of the story. But, if she doesn’t, you go alone. At least you will get the process started and she may join you later. Your problem isn’t going to go away by itself, and you need someone to help you work through it.” Jake agreed, and when he drove home, he felt better than when he came. At least he knew the first step to take. Jenny was reluctant, but she did go with Jake to the counselor, and in the months that followed they both learned a great deal about how to meet each other’s needs and build an authentic marriage. Not only did Jenny have a dysfunctional relationship with her parents, especially her mother, but Jake was obsessed with being a success in his business. During the counseling he realized he was failing to meet Jenny’s emotional need for love. She desired quality time with him, but his job was so demanding that she often spent her evenings alone. She had finally decided that she might as well be with her mother as to stay home by herself. During months of counseling, they came to understand each other better and made some significant changes. Jenny began to respond differently to her parents’ requests, particularly when she and Jake had already made plans. Jake learned how to meet Jenny’s need for love and to make more time for her. They have now been married five years and have a mutually fulfilling relationship. A NEW TITLE, A NEW RELATIONSHIP When your child marries, the relationship you have had is bound to change, as you move to embrace his or her spouse. These extended connections can bring you great happiness, or they can rain on your parade. The outcome is partly determined by your response to them. After your child decides to marry, you acquire a new title: in-law. Not only do you have a son-or daughter-in-law who directly influences your child, but you also become related to people who will indirectly influence your adult child as they continue to influence their own married child. In addition, you may soon have another title: grandparent, and you will share your grandchildren with your son-or daughter-in-law’s parents. And, if your son or daughter chooses to marry someone who already has children, you become instant grandparents. BETSY’S WISE ADVICE Thus your response to these new relationships can bring you happiness or heartache, joy or jealousy. Jake’s mother was extremely wise in her responses to Jake’s complaint about Jenny. In her counsel we can find several positive principles on how we parents can respond to the marital difficulties experienced by many young adults. First, she took the problem seriously. She didn’t brush it off by saying, “Oh, it can’t be that bad. You’re just overreacting. Take her out to dinner and she’ll be all right.” She didn’t say, “Why don’t you just talk to Jenny about this? I’m sure if she realized what you’re feeling, she would change.” Nor did she suggest, “Just give her some time and be patient. I’m sure it will all work out.” The fact is that marital problems don’t “just work out.” Our high divorce statistics are stark reminders that problems unattended get worse. As concerned parents, we should respond to signs of marital problems. Second, she did not take sides. You can become involved without saying one spouse (usually your child) is right and the other is wrong. You don’t have all the facts, and to take sides could alienate the other spouse. Note that Betsy didn’t tell Jake that it was his fault, nor did she blame Jenny for giving in to her mother. Instead, she remained neutral. Seldom can the responsibility for marital conflict be laid at the feet of one partner; generally, both husband and wife have done and said things to compound the problem. Both need insight into the dynamics of their relationship and then need to learn to take corrective steps in creating a different climate in which their conflicts can be resolved. When parents take sides, they only add to the problems. Third, she waited until Jake came to her for advice. As a parent, don’t offer advice until you’re asked. Be willing to give counsel, but wait until such counsel is requested. Betsy might have rushed in with suggestions after she first sensed something was wrong. However, had she offered advice then, Jake might have become defensive and then not turned to her later for help. The best guideline is to wait until your married children ask for help. At that point, they are more likely to follow your suggestions. Fourth, she offered a course of action that was specific and doable. As parents, we can give recommendations, but we should be specific. Depending on the situation, you may recommend professional counseling, seeing a financial planner, or setting up a budget. Betsy recommended counseling; she also removed the possible hurdle of finances by offering to help. While she didn’t force Jake to take action, she told him why she believed it would be wise. Significantly, Betsy talked with her husband about her conversation with Jake. The two determined that their relationship with the young couple would continue just as it had been. No questions, no blame, no changed attitudes toward Jenny or her parents. Wise parents do not seek to solve the problems of their married children. They are there to make loving suggestions if these are asked for, but they do not impose themselves on their children’s lives. They give their children space to build their own lives. They allow them the freedom to say no to invitations or requests that conflict with their plans or wishes. They relate to their children in ways that will foster their growth as individuals and as a couple. As a parent and an in-law, your goal should be to support your child and his or her mate. Welcome your son-or daughter-in-law into the family with open arms. When asked, give advice. You’ll always remain a parent; become a friend. BECOMING A GRANDPARENT When your children marry, you know that you will probably become a grandparent someday. You may even yearn for it, to hold a grandchild in your arms, play games—and then say goodbye to parenting at the end of the day. If the years stretch on too long, some not-yet grandparents have been known to prod, to make clumsy jokes about babies, and otherwise express their eagerness to have the next generation in tow. Maybe you are a grandparent and love it—or maybe you don’t. Some grandparents take the attitude, “I raised my kids, they can raise theirs.” Others think or say, “Don’t call me Grandma—I’m not that old.” In their research for Grandparents/Grandchildren: The Vital Connection, Arthur Kornhaber and Kenneth Woodward found to their dismay that a majority of the children they talked with did not have a close relationship with their grandparents.1 We agree with Kornhaber and Woodward that the bond between grandparent and grandchild is very important. Grandparents need to nurture that bond. If we do not take this responsibility and privilege seriously, both we and our grandchildren are losers. There are more grandparents today than ever before, because people are living longer and generally have better health. In the United States there are almost sixty million grandparents, and their ranks will increase to a projected seventy-six million by 2005. Their lifestyle has changed dramatically from that of grandparents forty years ago. In a past generation, grandparents tended to be “stay at home” kinds of people. Modern grandparents are found on cruise ships and attending Broadway plays. Formerly, grandparents were free baby-sitters whenever and wherever. Today’s grandparents tend to set boundaries to protect their own way of life. Older grandparents were more easygoing and relaxed. Modern grandparents are often uptight and stressed out. Earlier grandparents retired and stayed that way. Modern grandparents tend to choose second and third careers. Grandma and Grandpa used to live in the same town, even on the same street, as their grandchildren. Today’s grandparents may be half a country away. THE ROLES OF GRANDPARENTS Yet, for all the differences in style, some things remain the same. Traditionally we grandparents are the heart of the extended family. We are the family historians, the ones who keep the family tied to its roots and to the past. As we get older, we become more interested in those who preceded us and we can then share this with the younger members of the family. Grandparents offer security and stability to grandchildren, and this is especially important in a time of change. We represent unconditional love, kindness, and understanding. We are non-judgmental counselors. We can ease their sorrows and give encouragement during difficult times. We are there to encourage our children when they need us. We are a refuge when stress and tension become overwhelming. We are in the best position to be our grandchildren’s own cheerleaders, to get excited about each one and lift high their self-esteem. As grandparents, we can stand for spiritual guidance and strength. Many grandparents choose to pray for each grandchild as well as their parents. They offer comfort and good cheer and become role models of a deep spiritual faith for their grandchildren. Israel’s King Solomon wrote, “Children’s children are a crown to the aged.”2 Yes, grandchildren are special gifts. Because our role with them is different than with anyone else, our grandchildren regard us differently than they do anyone else. Because of this, we can employ those bonds to give them strength, courage, and faith as they grow. It is definitely our choice how we use our special powers to influence for good these wonderful grandchildren who have come into our lives. TWO REMINDERS FOR GRANDPARENTS We wish all grandparents would remember these two truths about grandchildren: 1. They are not your children. 2.: They are your grandchildren. The first truth seems obvious, and yet forgetting it can cause untold problems. Because you are not their parents, you should never overstep the right and authority of the parents. This means that you need to consult their parents before you give or loan them money, take them to events, or make extravagant plans. Similarly, talk to the parents before you give the grandchildren major advice. Your failure to respect parental authority can create extreme conflict between you and your adult children. One common point of difference today is in the means of disciplining children. You may have resorted to spanking when your children were young. Many parents today do not want any spanking, and you will need to respect this. The reasons for this are not necessarily permissive; with heightened awareness of child abuse and also because of increased government involvement with families, many young parents are wary about how and when they correct their children. It is important that you know the goals and guidelines your children are employing as they raise their children. Discuss with them discipline if you like, but do not ignore their policies or try to change them. Respect your children’s role as parents. If you and they work together to make the world of the growing children one of delight and security, you will be drawn closer in the bonds of family love. The second truth also is quite obvious: they are your grandchildren, and you have an important, loving role to play. Yet it takes imagination and continuing time and contact to make your role work for you and your grandchildren. You have certain emotional and legal rights to these children, of course, but exercising these rights needs to be done with the greatest care, since you want to build a lifelong relationship with these special children. Just as you think of them in the warmest way, so you want them to regard you with particular affection. Whether you live close by or at some distance, you need to remember that the children are constantly growing and changing. Be sensitive and alert to their needs; consult their parents for a better understanding of their abilities and interests, especially if you are not able to visit them regularly. You may be anticipating something wonderful that you want to do with or give to your grandchild, only to discover that the toy you so carefully selected is not right for his age, or that she is fully absorbed in another pursuit. You may have in mind a trip you want to share with a grandchild, and may need to recognize that what an adult thinks is most challenging may be far beyond a child’s interests. Something all grandparents can share is time. When you give time and attention, you are placing yourself at the child’s disposal, to play, to read, to explore, and most of all to give unconditional love. This does not mean allowing the child to do everything he wishes. It does mean that you are always looking out for his best interests, that you love this child and are open in showing how you feel. You are always excused for giving the most extravagant and exuberant praise. You are among the few people who can make your grandchild glow, often with a level of silliness that you couldn’t get by with anywhere else. Few relationships hold greater potential for mutual pleasure and affirmation than a loving grandparent-grandchild bond. In sharing yourself, you are giving your grandchild your unique outlook on life, your ways, your memories, your skills and interests, and, most of all, your love. As the child grows and develops wider knowledge, this can become more significant, with long-lasting influence on the child and great satisfaction to you. LONG-DISTANCE GRANDPARENTING You may be separated by geographical distance from your grandchildren, but this doesn’t need to mean an emotional distance. With all the facilities of modern communication, it is ever more easy to stay in touch. We think of letters, phone calls, and Email, but there are other ways grandparents can strengthen the bond. Here are five examples of creative communication by grandparents separated by miles but seemingly next door through their regular contact: Eileen, a Midwestern grandma, shares books with her granddaughter in Florida. She buys two copies of the same book and sends one to Sheila. They read the same chapter each week, and on the weekend Grandma calls Sheila on the phone to talk with each other about the story—what they liked or didn’t like. This can lead to interesting discussions about Sheila’s feelings and sometimes about life itself. When they finish that book, Sheila buys the next set of books. We think these two will be reading buddies for life. Harry has recently become computer literate. Each month he composes a short story and sends it via E-mail to his granddaughter in California. Sara downloads it and later responds to her grandfather, along with her comments or questions. Some of Harry’s stories are true accounts from his own life and others are fiction. When young Tiffany moved with her parents across the country, her Grandmother Louise was heartbroken and yet determined that she would continue to be an influence in Tiffany’s life. Every two weeks, she records a bedtime story on cassette and sends the tape and book to her granddaughter. Recently, Louise and her husband purchased a video recorder so that Tiffany can now both hear and see Grandma as she reads the story. Chuck and Sue are grandparents on the move. They had agreed long ago that they were someday going to see as much of the world as time and money would permit. One week after Chuck retired, they bought a recreational vehicle, and a month later they were on the road. Every year for the past five years, they have spent at least six months traveling. Each year they take a two-week vacation abroad. Wanting to stay close to their three grandchildren, they decided to send each one a postcard from every major destination. On Saturdays, they call the children to find out what they have been doing all week. “How much longer till we spend a week with Mamaw and Papaw?” eight-year-old Aaron asked. It was the highlight of his summer to spend a week on his grandparents’ farm in Iowa, something he had been doing since he was five. It was the only time his grandparents saw him each year, and so Mamaw Myrtle would take pictures of their week together and put them in a scrapbook. When Aaron arrived the next summer, they would spend an evening looking at the pictures from the last summer. She always ordered double prints so that she could send pictures to Aaron’s parents. Creative grandparents always find ways to stay in touch and express their love to grandchildren separated by the miles. This may involve saving stamps and sending them to a grandson who has a collection, or purchasing baseball cards or caps for another. Anything that says “We are thinking about you” strengthens the bond. As we mentioned before, it is wise to check with the parents to be sure the gift is appropriate and welcome. One cardinal rule of effective grandparenting, whether from a distance or just crosstown, is to treat all grandchildren in an equitable manner. One child could be especially appealing to a grandparent. That’s understandable. You may especially like the child’s age, appearance, or behavior. However, it is crucial that you show love and attention as equally as you can. Even into adulthood, people never forget when grandparents obviously favored one child in a family over the others, and this can cause conflict among the siblings. Also, the favored one knows that something is out of kilter and does not appreciate the favoritism in the way the grandparents might imagine. If you are having difficulty understanding or appreciating the special qualities of each grandchild, we suggest that you read our book The Five Love Languages of Children. What we have just said about favoritism applies to stepchildren as well. If you treat them as you do your own flesh and blood, you may be happily surprised to find that in time you feel close to them.
    gampsterElizabella85
  • Wow, I so needed this today. My step-mother-in-law is driving me totally crazy and today I engaged in a tactical warfare with her via text message. Fun times.

    So FIL and his new wife have been married about five years. (DH's mother is deceased.) DH's family is very well-to-do and this has always been the source of some social friction between our two families, as I was raised in a more frugal household and our values just don't align very well. It's gotten 500 times worse since FIL remarried, however. FIL is emotionally distant and doesn't really 'get' us, but SMIL is very very worried about making a good impression, keeping up with the Joneses, wearing and doing and having all the Right Things. Not only do we not care about a lot of that, we also live on a very modest budget so we couldn't indulge in that kind of oneupmanship even if we wanted to. 

    Today in particular, she's been messaging me about a proposed bedroom makeover for my daughter's 5th birthday, which is coming up soon. I made the mistake of letting her take a peek in her bedroom earlier this week when she was over, at which point she discovered that that bedroom is about 1/2 5-year-old bedroom and 1/2 storage for our hobby, which mostly involves a wardrobe of very specific costumes. Pretty much the closet and part of one wall is taken up with that storage, which is not ideal, but for the size house we have right now, works best and is the best choice we've got. This doesn't bother my daughter, who still has plenty of room for her dollhouse, an enormous bookshelf and armoir of her own, and all her other stuff. Anyway, today I got a lot of guilting messages about how DD would much rather have her 'own space,' that she will be embarrassed to invite her friends over to play, and why couldn't we just move 'all that clutter' into the garage or somewhere?  ....yes, let me just move several thousand dollars' worth of customized, handmade clothing into our garage. Also, thanks for calling the hobby that we spend 15+ weekends a year, plus hours each week, on, 'clutter.' I understand that she doesn't get our interests and that they don't mesh with hers at all, I just would love a little more respect.  </rant>
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    arj14LemmyRN
  • edited November 2015
    There is a book worth reading by Susan Forward called Toxic In-Laws, Loving Strategies for Protecting Your Marriage. It goes over many different types of in-laws and all the damage they can and do to their sons and daughters and their child's marriage and by default their own grandchildren. It also gives strategies to put a stop to it.

    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/toxic-in-laws-susan-forward/1103373145

    LovingLife!Jenly17dshannah
  • There is a book worth reading by Susan Forward called Toxic In-Laws, Loving Strategies for Protecting Your Marriage. It goes over many different types of in-laws and all the damage they can and do to their sons and daughters and their child's marriage and by default their own grandchildren. It also gives strategies to put a stop to it. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/toxic-in-laws-susan-forward/1103373145
    Just bought it. THANK YOU!! 
  • There is a book worth reading by Susan Forward called Toxic In-Laws, Loving Strategies for Protecting Your Marriage. It goes over many different types of in-laws and all the damage they can and do to their sons and daughters and their child's marriage and by default their own grandchildren. It also gives strategies to put a stop to it.

    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/toxic-in-laws-susan-forward/1103373145

    This is on my Amazon wish list now. Thanks!!

    cat fail animated GIF

  • JoMunsonJoMunson member
    edited November 2015
    This isn't in laws, but one of my brothers who I don't get along with (he picks on me a lot and is very dramatic) asked me if I was "sure it wasn't just a food baby". He SAW my sonogram photo.
    LemmyRNLovingLife!
  • My step sister and step sister in law are definitely now on my list of people to accidentally forget to tell I'm in labor till after baby gets here. I mentioned to them I'm having my baby at a birthing center where I won't have access to an epidural and they essentially laughed in my face and said I need to have my baby in a hospital bc I'm doing myself and my baby a disservice. I apparently will give up and ask to be transferred to the hospital for my epidural early in bc there is no way I can do it, you know bc they couldn't. I didn't expect the backlash, especially from my step sister bc she said she wished she hadn't gotten an epidural for her second bc it happened so fast.

    My step mom heard them bombarding me and stood up for me. Essentially told them to shut up and that everyone is different and that they have no place to judge someone else's choice. So brownie points to her.

    DH was around and heard part of it. He is amazingly supportive about the whole thing and he said he was pretty close to telling them where their opinions should go. He only didn't bc it was actually at my step moms birthday party and he didn't want to ruin the day.

    Let's just say any conversations from them about childbirth are going to go in one ear and right out the other from now on (provided DH or I don't tell them where their comments should go first).
    image
    LemmyRNLovingLife!
  • Wow, there are some pretty crazy stories out there...

    My mom: awesome. A little opinionated at times but she respects my family and beliefs.

    My dad: He is a super religious jerk. He absolutely hates women and anytime I had a goal or dream he would crush it. He would tell me that I needed to work for a man or follow a man because women are the devil. Obviously he missed the part that I had a vagina. He plays victim to everything and people fall for his crap. So he is out of my life and I couldn't be happier with that decision.

    FIL: He used be so nice to my face in front of DH (most of the time) but talks mad shit to the rest of the family now. He tried splitting me and DH up when we were dating. On my wedding day he was freaking out because he didn't want his son to marry me... DH got into a yelling match at him before the ceremony started. Fast forward 4 years later when I was pregnant with DS #3. FIL tried to get my husband and I to split up again! He would literally ask me when we were going to divorce. Then he told DH that he was young enough to leave me and start a family with someone new... all while I was pregnant... with our third kid for crying out loud! DH told him that he never wants to leave me, that he's completely in love with me, and never wants his dad to talk about us divorcing. Oh and all while that was happening he kept telling the family that we were divorcing and my SIL (whom I love) was like ummm no.

    MIL: Mirror, Mirror on the wall who is the biggest drama queen of them all?? Yeah, this lady. I thought my dad played victim...oh no. Not compared to this one. Here is a story for you all. It was Christmas and like usual we spent it with MIL and FIL (who btw went thru an extremely messy divorce and decided to live together :-?? ) my niece and nephew were playing, she was 4 and he was 7 at the time. Well the 4 yr old was playing pretty rough throwing those ball pit balls at my nephew so he started throwing them back (for fun) and one hit MIL and she screamed. He kept telling her sorry and that it was an accident. She then grabbed the 7 yr old boy by the hair and yanked him around pretty hard. Then his uncle was like wtf did you do that for and she was like... all I did was this... and grabbed him by the hair AGAIN and yanked him around AGAIN! Well of course it hurt my nephew and he was crying and he told his parents (who were very calm about the whole situation) and then they found out that his step grandma pulled his hair which of course pissed them off. Well, she started her theatrics and cried saying everyone was attacking her... which led to half the group defending her?? Seriously. That's just the tip of the iceberg with her.

    Then I have a BIL who is a bipolar schizophrenic who purposely decides to skip his meds and spend time with family to torture them...He's the worse. He's super perverted, stalked my sister, tried to break into my house that I rent out, hits my children (hell no!), drove 12 hours to see me after my brother died last year and I told the family to not drive up (he wanted to "comfort me", he thought DH was gone for 2 weeks), he tried showing up to my brother's funeral after he got jumped the night before and his face was so disfigured that I would have probably beat the crap out of him even more if he DID show up. He didn't even know my brother. The list goes on and on and on...And after what he pulled after his last visit (hiding under MY bathroom sink to catch me naked) - I caught him before that happened thank God... we will never talk to him again. Oh and he lives with MIL and FIL so we aren't going there for Christmas this year. I'm not complaining.
    DS #1 2010
    DS #2 2011
    DS #3 2014
    DS #4 2016
    LemmyRNLovingLife!
  • vinerie said:
    I have been thinking about starting a similar thread called..."In-Laws...They're the WORST." 

    Sometimes I think I shouldn't complain as I don't have it that bad. But then I hang out with my FIL and I want to rip my hair out as I can't stand his cluelessness. I should preface this by saying that I don't think he is intentionally mean. He really is just clueless. That being said, I do think it takes effort to be kind and I don't think he puts in any effort what.so.ever. 

    Where do I begin?
    -He shakes my hand when he sees me. 
    -He is so uncomfortable around me that the last time he visited, he just up and left (he lives 7 hours away) without saying goodbye to his son in the morning. My husband was shaving or something and we were waiting for him to finish and were kind of hanging out in the living room. And seriously...my FIL just walked out and didn't even say goodbye. (And let me add...I've tried every which way to accommodate him. I am a good host, have good social skills. I've TRIED. The guy does not respond.)
    -He did not buy us a wedding gift, nor send a card of congratulations. 
    -When we told him we were pg, he started talking about a vacation he took to Hawaii 10 years ago. Never said congratulations. 
    -I don't think he's ever asked me a question once. I don't recall him ever using my name. He will say to my husband "I wonder what she thinks?" or things like that. 
    -His wedding toast. OMG. He praised my husband for developing patience in his relationships because "the other girls he used to go with...well, they would do something that would annoy him and he'd break up with them. But now, he even let her redecorate his house!"  Seriously. That was his toast! I still remember one of my friends looking at me like "WTF did he just say?"
    -He cannot look me in the eye. Never has. Once. 
    -He KICKED MY DOG. Yes, the last time he came to visit, my dog was sniffing him and wagging her tail and he kicked her and said "C'mon dog, knock it off."   Just like with me, he's never bothered to learn her name. And my husband ADORES my dog. Our dog. So on that last point...'nuff said! 

    Oh yeah...he's coming to visit on Friday. Nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You could be describing my FIL.  He is the most awkward man on the planet.  When my wife told him we were pregnant, he just stood there an nodded.  Didn't say a word.  She had to be like, "This is the part where you hug me now!" His girlfriend/fiancé (if they ever actually get married...that's a whole other story) is fortunately much less awkward and more personable.  But UGH.  He is so uncomfortable around me and it makes ME uncomfortable.

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    Pregnancy Ticker

    LemmyRN
  • yogahhyogahh member
    edited November 2015
    Bumping this up.. thought after the holidays we might have some venting to do...

    URG MIL, why are you so BSC???
    In the span of 12 hours she
    1) told me that she is taking the baby on specific weekends and that when we have another we can "swap" the babies. I told her no, I will be taking my child home but will get her a dog if she needs something to do. The lady is already making homemade baby food?!?!
    2) poo-poo'ed every name we told her we like. I finally told her that I am not telling her more, it can be a surprise to her, and that if she doesn't like it she can get over it. She is pushing for us to name baby after her grandmother. NOPE, not happening.
    3) was appalled that I would get white furniture for the nursery. Personally, I don't like the look of wood. All of our furniture is metal/glass or black or white. Her house looks like a forest died in there. So when I said we will be doing white, she literally started flapping around and talking about if its a boy how he will "grow out of it" really fast. UMMM lady, its a crib. All babies will "grow out of it". I am not changing my dream nursery because you don't like white furniture!
    4) tried to strong arm me into a shower again. She wanted to have a shower for HER and HER FRIENDS. She doesn't care that my friends cant get to these remote areas of Long Island she is suggesting. DH finally jumped in saying I don't want one and its about MY friends not hers. She doesn't seem to get it. I mentioned here previously about how she said wedding announcements are "gift grabby" and how she didn't want me to send any to her friends or family. So I told her this weekend I find showers gift grabby and I am not comfortable in having a party where people are expected to bring gifts. To top it off, she wanted ME to plan it???

    As we were leaving their place, she said she's sorry , she just is playing the part of the meddling mother in law. I told her she is doing a pretty good job at it.
    realitytvgifs  television real housewives crazy rhony

    Now, my mom just said she wants to come up for a few days after xmas. DH is not going to be happy about that. Now, I have to deal with this... GRRRR.

    Cant wait to hear everyone else's stories!


    Adding- I just got an email from mil on more names that SHE likes. Really? Can I just name my effing child myself?

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    kbrands7LemmyRNkhochanadel
  • Yes! I meant to start a holiday edition thread. Going to do that now! Thanks for the reminder!
  • Jenly17 said:

    Yes! I meant to start a holiday edition thread. Going to do that now! Thanks for the reminder!

    Ahhhhh yes would think holidays would bring out the crazy!

    cat fail animated GIF

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