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"You're hogging our grandson!"

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
I've been trying to let go of this for 2 days but I can't get it out of my head. Bear with me, this might be long!

In the middle of my DS's 1st birthday party, FIL told me, "You're hogging our grandson! He's a hip baby! We need to get him away from you, he needs to get more acclimated to us. When you're done feeding him you have to put him down." etc. OK first off I don't think my son's party is the best time to bring up your grievances with me but that's beside the point (plus DS was sick so even more clingy). And he may have been joking (not positive) but either way it really struck a chord.

DS is VERY high needs & VERY attached to me. He's had separation anxiety since the day he was born. I used to make a lot of effort to let all the grandparents hold him, but not at his expense -- meaning if he started getting hysterical (used to happen after 10 minutes & now happens after 10 seconds!) then I or DH would take him back. FIL actually has always handed him back the second he started crying (he's been slow to adjust to holding a baby again after all these years).... OK so anyway, we'd let everyone hold him 'til their hearts' content and then we'd pay for it the whole way home & the whole next day -- he'd just be crying & anxious etc. We stopped visiting everyone so often because it was just too stressful. Then we discovered if WE held DS during most of the visit, he had a great time, still got to visit, but didn't end up upset for the next 24 hours! It kind of happened by accident though -- I didn't stop letting the grandparents (both my parents & DH's BTW) hold him... we all just naturally fell into a different pattern. SIL had a baby 6mos ago so the new baby was a bit of a distraction and the novelty of my DS wore off maybe??? They'd often just walk out of the room & leave DS alone with me to play (yeah they're great fun to visit lol ) so I figured they were OK with the arrangement and my stress level went down about 200 notches!

OK so then this past weekend FIL brings that up and I was just thrown for a loop. I don't know really what they expect of me/him. We have discovered DS will sit on someone's lap for a few minutes if we give him a cracker or something (yup, already bribing him with food!) but even that is hit or miss. But the point is, I've made an effort. I don't want him crying for too long though. He's the same way with everyone (only person besides me & DH that he's STARTING to get comfortable with is my sister, who babysits him while I'm home too twice a week & usually sees him every weekend too). MIL & FIL live over an hour away and see him once a month at most (and lately they've been making lots of excuses not to come down even though we invite them). So I don't feel like it's "worth" letting him cry for 10+ minutes to get used to them when they aren't going to see him for another month or more and we'll have to do the whole thing over. If they saw him more frequently, maybe he'd warm up to them... Plus I'm sure once he's 100% walking he's not going to want any part of being held by anyone. But they don't even sit on the floor & play with him or anything!

SOOOOOOO.... what do you think? Those of you with high-needs babies especially -- do you let/encourage family to hold your baby even if baby will become hysterical? Am I really too attached & interfering with their relationship with my son? All the grandparents can't wait, "til he's not nursing anymore & we can babysit him & have him all to ourselves," but I have no intention of leaving him alone with anyone but my sister (FIL especially not because his 'discipline' of DH was borderline abusive) and DS isn't even ready to be alone with my sister yet. I don't know, I just felt really hurt by FIL's comment but at the same time I wonder if he is right???
post #2 of 38
Me personally - I would visit even less often if they insulted my parenting choices like that! I think you're doing great! Your son is attached to the people he needs to be - his parents! It's your right & responsibility to "hog" him.

I'd have a very hard time spending any time with people like that.
post #3 of 38
"Hogging him"?! Um, HELLO, you are his MOTHER. Your FIL is NOT right! You know that deep down, but I understand it is very undermining of your sense of being a good mom, to have people say this kind of stuff.

Honestly, I'd have a hard time not telling my in-laws to go jump in a lake if they said this stuff to me. My daughter is not high-needs but doesn't much like going to her grandmother - who she sees about once a week - especially if I am there. I hope my mom doesn't take this personally but there's not much I can do bout it! They will develop a relationship of their own over time. Fortunately I think my mom recognizes this.

How does your DH feel about talking to his parents? He should probably be the one to say something, if anyone.

If it were me, I would advise my husband to start with some mirror of their feelings - e.g., "We can see that you really love DS and want to spend time with him." This might give them better words to express how they are feeling (sometimes you gotta talk to people like they are toddlers who don't know how to express themselves). And then he can calmly explain that DS is not ready yet to be held for long periods of time with people he doesn't know really well. Someday he will be older and more independent and this will change and his grandparents and he will have fun together. And then he should ask them to respect your parenting decisions. (I've found this helps with my mom- asking her to respect me as a parent, it's like she can suddenly realize that I'm an adult, not just some kid who is doing random things as a parent). If they can't respect you, then they don't get to see their grandson as much. Simple.

Good luck!!!!
post #4 of 38
You're hogging our grandson!
**yes, I am

He's a hip baby!
**yes, he is

We need to get him away from you,
**well, that's your problem

he needs to get more acclimated to us. When you're done feeding him you have to put him down
**because you said so?
post #5 of 38
Thread Starter 
I've asked DH to talk with his parents on various issues but he is TERRIFIED of them. Honestly I don't quite understand it because I have a very different relationship with my own parents based more on mutual respect & much more open & honest. I have tried to work through the feelings with DH & part of it seems like fear from overly-enthusiastic physical discipline (I can't quite get a grip on what happened there, I think I would consider it abuse but I also know it was intended as discipline, I have mixed feelings & sometimes wonder if there is more that DH isn't telling me). OK so long story short, he isn't very comfortable confronting his parents even if I talk him through non-confrontational ways of approaching it. I guess I really want to make 100% sure that I'm not wrong in this situation before I act on it. It's easy for me to get wrapped up in my own emotions etc. & lose perspective. But from what both of you said it sounds like I'm on the right track. On Sunday I just told him, "When DS is sick is not the time to try to acclimate him to anyone." I'm hoping if they truly feel this way then they will bring it up again & I'll have a better response prepared. It doesn't help that my SIL's baby is so easy-going & will go to anyone. (And my SIL is very young, unplanned pregnancy, so although she loves her son to death she also is much more eager for help/babysitting/etc. than DH & I who tried for a while to conceive DS & had been waiting for several years to have & care for a baby ourselves... we don't want or need babysitters yet etc.... If that makes sense?) so I feel they are (consciously or otherwise) comparing DS & DN and assuming DS is so clingy BECAUSE of my parenting not the other way around (my parenting is a response to his needs).

I do want DS to have a good relationship with his grandparents. But we already have stopped driving the whole hour+ ride so frequently & inviting them down to us instead more often. Of course that's when the excuses come out... which frustrates me to no end, once DS is old enough to understand, I am NOT going to continue setting aside 4 weekends in a row for them to visit and let them make excuses every single time! I'm not going to tell DS that his grandparents are coming & then every single time have to take it back!! So as you can tell I'm starting to develop some tension & resentment. I am really shy & have been trying to talk to MIL more through email at least so that at least I'll have some line of communication with them open...
post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by transylvania_mom View Post

he needs to get more acclimated to us. When you're done feeding him you have to put him down
**because you said so?
Haha DS fell asleep nursing!!! That's my boy! (although we ended up playing pass the baby between the grandmas while he was sleeping... grrr... poor kid only ended up with a 1/2 hour nap the whole day! but at least he was sleeping not crying...)
post #7 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by transylvania_mom View Post
We need to get him away from you,
"He will come to you when he is ready. Honey, see Grandpa? Grandpa wants to hold you. Do you want to go to Grandpa?"
post #8 of 38
I only see my parents once every 2-3 months, so DS was always scared of them. I told them from the beginning that it's perfectly normal in babies - it's like handing him to a complete stranger, he simply couldn't remember them in between visits - they always acknowledged this as reasonable.

I think that handing the baby over and letting him cry is the worst thing one can do - he's scared and you're not "saving" him, which harms his trust in you. He never knows when he's going to be handed to the next person, so his anxiety around strangers grows even more, and he clings to you even harder - seems logical to me.

What I always did was hold him on my lap to observe everyone - this way he could become familiar with them without anxiety. They'd often ask him, with arms outstretched, if he would go to them, and he was probably 14 months or so before it happened - that's when it seems to me he started being able to remember them in between visits. By the second day of our visit that month, he allowed my dad to pick him up and go into another room. On our last visit two weeks ago (at 21 months), it only took him about 10 minutes before he took my dad by the hand to go play cars. What really helped, on top of his memory developing, was when he started walking and learning to "play wresle" and roll a ball - anyone who started playing with him became an instant buddy

On a scientific note, have a look at these notes from "The Science of Parenting":

-The RAGE, FEAR, and SEPARATION DISTRESS systems are already set up at birth, designed to keep infants safe (close to their parents). Infants keep getting overwhelmed by these systems because there is so little higher rational brain functioning “on-line” to help them think, reason and calm themselves down.

- The separation distress system in a child’s brain becomes far less sensitive over time, because the child’s rapidly developing higher brain starts to inhibit this system. As your child gets older, separation from you will not trigger the emotional pain that affected him when younger.
post #9 of 38
stick to your guns! separation anxiety will dissipate over time and closeness with you is his NEED right now.
post #10 of 38
Thread Starter 
I can't tell you guys what a relief it is to hear you say that what I'm doing is OK & good for DS. I know in my gut that I'm doing what I feel is best for him but sometimes I need to feel... validated I guess... thanks guys
post #11 of 38
Exactly what prancie said! We went through this same thing with my parents and our very high need ds. I was able to finally just ignore most of it but it always made me furious when my mom would suggest weaning (!) so ds could spend the night with her. HUH?!? Seriously, that is such a rude suggestion. I was left feeling like she had no idea what kind of mother I was trying to be.
Ds weaned at 2 years but is still not ready to spend the night away from home. Dh and I call the shots and the parents finally gave up all the unhelpful suggestions even if they don't get "why". Unless you've had a high need child, you won't fully understand.
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcstar View Post
"He will come to you when he is ready. Honey, see Grandpa? Grandpa wants to hold you. Do you want to go to Grandpa?"
This is what we did also. DD was super high needs, and screamed if family even looked at her, let alone try to touch her. Around age 2 is when she "warmed up".
post #13 of 38
I don't have this problem with the grandparents, but I do have it bad with my sister!

She is rough, loud and, well, mean. I don't get why it's so hard to understand that babies want soft, gentle love, especially from a near stranger. She used up her stranger card by twice grabbing DD and throwing her in the air and saying "let's leave mommy!" and running into another room. Sorry, sister, no more baby love for you!

Now she's always making comments like, "geez why is your baby so scared?" "why won't she let me hold her?" "you need to get her out of the house"

Umm

I sure do hope she wises up before she has kids.
post #14 of 38
My DD was a very high-needs baby who has blossomed into an out-going, friendly 2 1/2 yr old! I did many of the same things you are doing when DD was an infant. If she wanted to go to someone, of course I let her! But if she started fussing I took her back immediately. We (I) also had to lay down the law with my parents... she would spend the night with them when she was ready! I finally told my Mom not to even bring it up again until after DD turned 2 because I felt so hounded. We recently started doing overnights at my parents' house and they have gone great! I think a great deal of our success is due to waiting until DD was ready and felt comfortable with them and at their house.

Stick to guns, OP. It sounds like your instincts are right-on.

I don't know what is the best way for you to address this situation, but it does need to be addressed. Perhaps you and DH can work-out a game plan, where you do most of the talking, but he is present to support you (so ILs know everyone is on the same page).
post #15 of 38
We went through the same thing and you need to honor your child's need for space and comfort. When we would go see the in-laws Dh would go in first and remind them that she was not used to them and so when dd was ready we would let them hold her. Dh or I would keep her until she was ready to go to them. Sometimes it would not happen for that visit but sometimes it would. We also reminded them that if she was playing on the floor to get down to her level so she was not so intimidated by their size, that helped alot. We also suggested they just sit on the floor a few feet away so she could get used to them being there and she would eventually come over to see them. She now only takes 5 - 10 minutes to warm up to them and we only see them every few months.

I know it bothered them a great deal but they are the grownups and can learn to deal with it. Your little one needs you to teach him how to deal with his emotions and making him upset to satisfy others does not do that in my opinion.
post #16 of 38
I think I would take the educational approach. I'd tell them just about everything you mentioned in your first post. And say, "it's great that you want to spend time with him, but of course none of us want him to cry or be scared, right? And we especially don't want him to associate being scared with being with YOU, right? So let's see if we can slowly get him adjusted to spending more time with you. But let's do it at his pace, okay?"

And if they weren't okay with that, I'd say, "Well, I'm very sorry to have to disappoint you, but I have to do what I feel is best for him." And then stick to my guns.
post #17 of 38
First of all, it sounds like you are very sensitive to your baby's needs and are really putting his best interests first, even though it must be exhausting at times to have a high needs baby. My oldest was like this. He now has a wonderful relationship with his grandparents, by the way, and I also was accused of something similar ("you are nursing him so we can't hold him. yeah right, I'm nursing him because he's hungry/sleepy/needs comfort because he's screaming his head off.)

Anyway, I would ignore them and just keep doing what you are doing, which is what feels right for your child. I also have had to explain to my IL's each time one of my kids went through a period of separation anxiety not to take it personally, baby just wants mommy (or daddy) right now, he/she is having a rough time going to anyone else (i.e. not just you) but I'm sure it is a phase that will pass. With my oldest high needs one, they just had to come to the realization that he was not a baby that was going to get passed around or want to sit on their laps and be read books to. Babies are not all the same. And their mommas know what they need.
post #18 of 38
I agree with all of the PP's, and you have gotten some great advice!

I just wanted to add something that has helped us with my DS, who used to have really bad stranger anxiety over my grandparents and my Dad (but not really anyone else.. ). I started showing him pictures of them every couple of days, and we would talk about "Pap Pap" "Granny" and "Papa" and that has helped a LOT. Also, for Christmas my grandparents got us a fridge magnet that holds a picture (only a couple bucks at Walmart!) with a photo of them in it, so DS sees them everyday. It has made a huge difference, and he is not scared of them anymore.
post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by claddaghmom View Post
I don't have this problem with the grandparents, but I do have it bad with my sister!

She is rough, loud and, well, mean. I don't get why it's so hard to understand that babies want soft, gentle love, especially from a near stranger. She used up her stranger card by twice grabbing DD and throwing her in the air and saying "let's leave mommy!" and running into another room. Sorry, sister, no more baby love for you!

Now she's always making comments like, "geez why is your baby so scared?" "why won't she let me hold her?" "you need to get her out of the house"

Umm

I sure do hope she wises up before she has kids.
do we have the same sister?
post #20 of 38

My in-laws visit once a year and they live nearby!

Be thankful your FIL wants to be involved in his grandson's life! Neither my father nor my FIL are involved at all.

Surely you can reach a gracious compromise? I don't agree with making a crying baby have to be held by someone he doesn't want to be held by but it would be awesome to find some way for him to get to know his family.

Sincerely,
Debra, homeschooling mom of 4 ages 13, 12, 10, and 6
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