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Hey parents, I need some support..

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 



I have all these feelings that I feel people in my current world do not quite understand. I was hoping to find an understanding soul here. I have made a few threads talking about how difficult it is dealing with my family before, about how they are against the way we parent our child, and I think we've just decided enough is enough.


I wish these are words that I could say to my family (parents and two brothers) but my husband and I truly believe it'll just waste time.


We view our 18 month old daughter as a person. So naturally if she wants to nap, we let her nap. She is still breastfeeding. She is still cosleeping. She is attached to her parents, and prefers us over others at times (but will give the occassional cuddle to others she is comfortable with). She is advanced in talking, but not in English. She is lactose intolerant, or was diagnosed as so by her doctor, but even lactose free milk seems to upset her. So Naturally, we do not give anything with milk-product in it anymore. I am a stay at home mother. We have never once left her alone with someone else.


My family raised their children much differently, and disagree with all of the above. Yesterday, three relatives I have never met before came over, and my brother and mother suddenly decide to tell them about our 'bad' parenting ways. The guests seemed indifferent, but it was all in front of me, and i felt their intention was to humiliate me knowing I would not blow up in front of people I do not know.


They wouldn't respect my daughter's nap, saying it was merely me forcing her to sleep. (They don't believe in naps) They tried to give her cow's milk saying the words, 'you don't need your mommy's boobs.' and when I politely refuse their offers, I always hurt their feelings, because I'm 'so particular.'


I felt so much pressure but I did not want to fight. They always say these things when my husband is not around (cause they know he would defend me, and they know what they say would offend him), and when my mother tries to make me change my parenting she always starts out with, 'don't tell you husband, just decide and he will go along with it. men do not raise children.'


I started to cry, and then my brother and mother, in front of the guests, continued to tell me how it was bad to cry in front of my child, and how I was being stupid. (I agree about crying in front of my child.) My daughter saw me, and walked up to me, trying to make the sides of my mouth smile with her fingers, and told me with a worried look, 'I love you,' in the language we teach her.


I'm just so tired. When my family is around, I feel like she is never in my arms. Or that her schedule gets so messed up and that if she doesn't comply with whatever we want to do, I get looked down upon like it was my fault for not 'setting her straight.' My daughter is a headstrong person, and my husband and I like that.


We have decided to move back to my husband's country within a year. It will be financially unstable at first, but we feel we have no other choice.


Would you make the same decision? I feel so helpless. I feel like I'm a child. I feel bad for my husband who has to see all of this. I am dedicating today to empowering myself with some mantras and good vibes. I need to be strong for our daughter..

post #2 of 28

Your family is being rude.  I am big on family, but respect should be mutual.  Before you move to a different country, you should talk to your mom and brother one on one or write them a note and let them know how you are feeling about the time you spend together.  You could also let them know how much it would mean to you if they could treat you and your decisions with respect.  I think if you do that, and they can't find it within themselves to be respectful, you can make a much clearer and less regretful decision about limiting contact with them.


I'm sorry you are going through this.


post #3 of 28

It is difficult when the people you love try to undermine your parenting.  If you are parenting differently from the way you were raised and the way the current parents-of-young-children generation of your family, it could feel to them that "what you are doing/did wasn't good".  You could have a few retorts on hand--a bit of humor to deflect them.  Some people feel that obedience is a trait to be prized.  But, how to teach the difference between blind obedience which can lead to trouble and proper obedience (such as "stop right now!" when the child is headed toward a street to intersect with a car and instant obedience is necessary).  As for the language thing--do they speak the language you are teaching her or do they think she's just babbling incoherently and are worried about her language development or worry because you are teaching her X, it will make it difficult for her to learn English (I'm presuming you live in a primarily English-speaking environment) later. 

post #4 of 28

I am sorry you aren't getting the support you need from your family; that can be very difficult. Some questions for you:


Are you saying that you are considering a move to another country simply to get away from your family? If so, that seems a little extreme. There are plenty of other ways to deal with family without crossing international borders and compromising oneself financially. The easiest one would to be simply say, "OK, thanks for the input. I'll consider your advice" when they tell you how to raise you daughter. Then just ignore their suggestions on child rearing. If they're seriously toxic, you may require slightly more serious stands, but none that involve packing up your household and leaving. Plus, who's to say what problems and challenges await you in a new country. Finances may be the least of it.


And, really, your family doesn't believe children need naps? Like in general, ever? Seriously?


post #5 of 28

Gosh, that sounds difficult! Sadly, we also have some rather non-respectful relatives, including a sister who tried, totally unsuccessfully, to get child protective services to open a case on us a couple of years ago.


Since that time, we've maintained a rather distant relationship with my 85 year old mother, visiting her about every couple of months or so for a couple of hours at a time -- as a family group, never just dropping our children off, but we no longer associate with the rest of my relatives or go to reunions.


We still live in the same area as before, we don't exactly have anywhere else to go, but if people were dropping in on us and acting like your mom and brother act, we'd sure as heck be showing them the door. It sounds like they shouldn't even be allowed to come over unless your husband is present, since they seem to require his presence to behave nicely.


With people like this, you really have to let go of the "need" to not hurt anyone's feelings. The truth is, some folks do get their feelings hurt when they can't make others conform...and if they sense that you care about hurting their feelings, and I'm sure they can sense it, they'll just use your caring as leverage to keep trying to push past your barriers.


Whether you stay or move away, it's so important to get rooted into some sort of a supportive community...maybe this will be your husband's relatives if you move to his home country and if they are supportive and respectful, or maybe it will be a lot of non-blood relatives that you get to know out in the neighborhood or through church or a parenting group.


I hope you'll keep us posted! Hugs!

post #6 of 28

They sound pretty unreasonable.... however I really think it's a bad idea to move across the world because you think the family there will be more supportive, accepting, loving.... really. We did this before twice and it was just a waste of time. It is possible to raise a family without your or his parents. Sure it can be harder to do it that way but if you are thinking about moving your family for a reason outside the three of you, it is the wrong reason. Family isn't always blood, and just because your mom and bros are in close proximity does not mean they have to be an actively present part of your life. Stop seeing them! If they ask why you don't want to spend time with them say it's because you feel like they are criticizing your parenting and that it's not helping you be a good mother, and you don't think it's healthy for your dd to see your mothering questioned and attacked all the time. If they have something to say about it listen respectfully but don't allow your self to be walked on. Life is too short for certain things and I think you need a break from them.


I agree with the PP that if your dd is in an area that speaks primarily english that she should learn it. At an early age kids can learn 2 languages fluently though so it's not like another language is a problem. It's great that she's growing up that way.

Oh, just thought of this------ are your mom and bros able to communicate with her? Since she is speaking another language? I really can understand being upset if you think your grandchild or neice is not learning a language that you will be able to communicate with her by.  I would ask them if that was a concern of theirs/ having to do with their reasoning of it being ok to openly criticise.

post #7 of 28
That does sound incredibly trying.

I think some space from family might do you good -- but is that the only reason you want to move to another country? I wouldn't move just because of that... especially if you have friends or other support, jobs, etc. here. Obviously if there are other reasons to move, go for it, but not just because they are so rude & critical of your parenting.

Regardless, you could try taking some time away from them. Visit a little less often, don't go out of your way to return their calls, etc. Putting you down -- ESPECIALLY in front of your kid, as if to undermine you -- is not something you have to just sit & take. Have you discussed this with them? Have you let them know that your parenting is non-negotiable, not up for discussion? Have you tried the 'pass the bean dip' trick? Do you otherwise enjoy spending time with them?
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback. I do use, 'thanks for the input,' when I can, but usually when they ask when they already are doing it. And they won't stop unless I physically put my hands in the way, and I don't like doing that. I mentioned before on a past post that when my daughter was 5 months, we started arguing over breastfeeding her, and she threatened to take her away. And when I resisted she hit me for a long time, and the neighbors called the cops due to my screaming, 'STOP!' (i sent them away saying it was nothing, despite all the scratches i had on me, heh). I don't want things to escalate like that ever again.


We are very close with my husband's family who don't speak English. They currently live in Japan, and at first we did not know if we would return to Japan or not, but since we had her in America, we were not worried about her English development for the time being. We mostly speak Japanese to her, but she comprehends English just fine since she has all her playdates with English speakers. She speaks English to English speakers, but her Japanese is just noticeably stronger when she speaks to us.


When we were little we were taken care of by nannies until we were at least 5. So if we did take naps they might not have known??? Not sure...

They believe in naps for newborns, but beyond that they are not so familiar with modern upbringing.


Perhaps i need to get over hurting people's feelings, hehe. That is a very good point.

post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 

One more thing, we live with my brother which was okay at first, but unfortunately he now agrees with my parents in our 'unhealthy' habits. If we moved but stayed in same place, my mom WILL show up at our door and demand to see her grandbaby. with other relatives in tow if she could.


And we try to limit gatherings once every two month, and i get anxiety attacks the day before we see them. I do not enjoy seeing them. We only do to make them happy, really.

post #10 of 28

You know what? I know you are trying to keep the peace, but instead you and your family are being trampled. IMHO, time to become a very loud angry mama bear.


They act like toddlers, so you gift them a firm but polite, "NO- we do not do that in this house."


If they continue, tell them that they must leave. It's not really keeping the peace if you are fuming and angry, is it?

post #11 of 28

you live with your brother? MOVE OUT. 

your mother comes over and hits you b/c you breastfeed? STOP SEEING HER.

this sounds toxic.

are you extremely young??

find a way to stand up to your family and they will respect you (eventually). 

do not cry in front of them. that shows "weakness." 

frankly, i would not put up with this any longer at all.

post #12 of 28

I have to be honest with you: For a moment there I started to wonder if you were a troll (being hit for wanting to breastfeed and doing nothing... ot cutting ties...). I think you coulds use a therapist, as it sounds like your own rights (to opinions and to parent as you wish) have become something yoi only have if others give them to you. You are making their behavior possible by just taking it all.


About languages. Even though you are in the US (I assume), I would really encourage you to consider having one language per parent, not both speaking a foreign language to her. (Unless Japanese is your stronger language, also, and you are not a native English speaker.)  Then, if you are worried about having too much English in the home, you can still speak in Japanese with your parner, which means your child will hear this all the time. I honestly think that the one parent, one language thing (assuming each is a native speaker of the language she or he speaks to the child) is the best way to go to raise a bilingual child.


I also think that moving across the world is not really the solution. Based on what you described, I would start by visiting only when you dh can be there, also. It also sounds like you need to find a different place to live.

post #13 of 28

I think the idea of moving to Japan has merit. I realize that for some people, it might be a crazy thing to move to another continent and become totally dependent on your husband's family and friends, but I took a look at this thread and some others you've posted, and it seems like it might not be a bad move to put a lot of distance between you and your family. Perhaps your husband's family will know how to enjoy your protectiveness and consideration, and won't exploit your emotional connection to them. Having lived in Brazil, they might be better at understanding why you want your daughter to be fully bilingual. You know them, what do you think? You clearly aren't making such a great living in the US, or you wouldn't be living with your brother.


Until you do leave, though, it's important for you to stick up for yourself and not see your folks so frequently.


It's true that many people in the US believe in bottle feeding and spanking, though there is substantial scientific evidence that breastfeeding and gentle discipline are the way to go. Lots of people on here have conflict with their parents about these issues, though, so it's understandable that you might.  I don't think I've ever heard of a mainstream parent who thought an 18-month-old didn't need a nap. Children in daycare at that age take naps. Who thinks toddlers shouldn't nap? 


Either your parents don't have a clue about what's normal parenting, or they are giving you advice in bad faith in order to have more control over you and the baby. Either way, you can't listen to them. Your mom physically assaulted her adult child for nursing her 5-month-old. There's a reason the neighbor called the police, and you would have been well within your rights to allow the police to arrest your mother for doing that. That's not normal. Normal is a big argument. Hitting you while you're holding the baby? NOT NORMAL.


Limit the visits with the parents to very short ones with your husband there. Don't take the baby to their house. Move out of your brother's house as soon as you can. Don't take parenting advice from your relatives. You know how you like it that your daughter is an individual with tastes and opinions, even when they're inconvenient for you? That's because YOU LOVE HER. Now love yourself. 

post #14 of 28
Originally Posted by shotmama View Post

And when I resisted she hit me for a long time, and the neighbors called the cops due to my screaming, 'STOP!' (i sent them away saying it was nothing, despite all the scratches i had on me, heh).

I have to say, this sounds downright abusive. NO ONE should be hitting you. You do NOT have to take that. Given this information, it makes absolute sense to me for you to put lots of physical distance between you & your family. And I wouldn't be waiting a year or whatever... I'd cut off all ties, now. If they cannot respect you and refrain from physically attacking you because they disagree with their choices, they are not healthy people to be around. Either way it sounded like they were toxic, but this just goes beyond that into a whole new realm... You deserve better than that. hug.gif
post #15 of 28

This crossed MY mind as well, because your case sounds so extreme. Your mother HITS you when you breastfeed your infant? OP, that's assault. Call the police. (And if you need any reassurance that nursing a 5 month old is OK, it is. Here in Canada, the pediatrics association recommends you nurse until *at least* 2 years of age). If you are willing to take the financial hit of moving to Japan, why don't you take the financial hit of moving out of your brother's house? Then you can see who you want, when you want. I wonder about your age as well as a PP mentioned. Are you very young? And are you and your family from a different culture other than North American? I know there are other cultures in which hitting is a little more acceptable -- it just sounds so bizarre that your mom would strike you, an adult woman with her own child! 

Whether you leave the country or not, it sounds like you have some serious issues to work though, number one being to learn how to protect your own sense of integrity and physical wellbeing, to create normal boundaries for yourself and stick to your guns. You mention in your OP that you feel like a child. I can see why, if this is how your family treats you and this is what you've internalized as normal. I second the notion to see a therapist and learn how to stick up for yourself. 

Originally Posted by LessTraveledBy View Post

I have to be honest with you: For a moment there I started to wonder if you were a troll (being hit for wanting to breastfeed and doing nothing... ot cutting ties...). I think you coulds use a therapist, as it sounds like your own rights (to opinions and to parent as you wish) have become something yoi only have if others give them to you. You are making their behavior possible by just taking it all.



post #16 of 28

One word, BOUNDARIES!! If this were my family, I would tell them once the rules at my house, if they break the rules they leave immediately. Any form of physical/verbal abuse would end in the police giving them an escort. It's not healthy imho for your daughter to see your family treating you like this and you taking it. You don't need to leave the country because of them! Set boundaries, cut them out of your life, get a restraining order if you need to.

post #17 of 28

We have had other people on this board who had extremely abusive parents. I can't remember the woman's pseudonym, but she posted for ages around 2003-2004 before she finally understood that her parents were too dangerous to her children to be around them any longer. You would be surprised at how many real people were raised in environments that lead them to believe that being hit in adulthood is normal. You know how parents get their children to believe that? They hit them a lot during childhood. 


A lot of people come to MDC because they're looking for a new model that's not like what they grew up with. At least, that used to be true. 

post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 

I'm sorry it seems I had said something confusing. The incident when my mother and I had that fight was while the LO was sleeping in another room. And she was trying to tell me to stop, and she had been for a while and I got frustrated and told her to stop telling me what to do. And then she got nasty with her words, and then yada yada yada. The reason why she got mad was, simply put, i would not obey her.  


In abusive relationships, there are always times when it is 'okay.' In my family's culture (we are asian american), they believe as long as you're not bleeding or almost dying, it's not considered abuse. And since it had been over year since the incident, other family members just pressure us into forgiving them. The times where it is 'okay' are what people on the outside usually see, and when I do tell others they can't fathom that it actually happens. So all of this stuff usually happens when it's just me and my parents, no other witnesses. I'm not sure how much leverage that is for me, to be honest. I grew up in an abusive household, and it wasn't until I started teaching small children myself that I fully realize how wrong the whole thing was (I never once felt like I needed to put my hands on them, so why did it happen to me? I wondered). So I understand the situation I am in, but please, I wanted this thread to originally be about empowering myself about my parenting ways, not about explaining why I am not making this all up. I only elaborated when some questions seemed to require them in the answers.


Cutting them out is an attractive solution, and would be solved if we were to remove ourselves from this country completely. My family here has the money/time to track down where ever we are, so staying in the country didn't seem like it would fix the problem to us. We are in the process of finding a new place to live in the mean time, thank you all for your input.

post #19 of 28
Originally Posted by shotmama View Post

In abusive relationships, there are always times when it is 'okay.' In my family's culture (we are asian american), they believe as long as you're not bleeding or almost dying, it's not considered abuse.

Maybe I'm being culturally insensitive, but I believe that it is never OK to hit someone else or otherwise cause them bodily harm (unless perhaps it's in self-defense!) Please don't tell yourself this is OK -- it's not, there is no excuse for it.

Yes, I would consider at least getting your own place, and not allowing them to visit you. If you do choose to remain in contact with them, I'd do it at their house, so that you can easily leave if things get out of control. YOU DO NOT DESERVE THIS, AND YOU DO NOT HAVE TO JUST SIT BACK & TAKE IT!!

If you are concerned about them tracking you down, you could file a restraining order against them. If someone physically hurts you, that is usually grounds enough for a RO -- at least where I live, you do not need to have any evidence or have filed a police report. A RO is a civil action -- although violating it would be considered a criminal action -- so there's not that same 'guilty til proven innocent' requirement.
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 

BAhhh okay I apologize again, I meant 'okay' as in there is no hitting and there is only 'getting along,' and I put those in quotation marks cause I highly doubt that even in those times it's 100% comfortable.


We absolutely agree about the despite the culture it is never okay, so I don't think you're being culturally insensitive at all. I was only trying to explain the social conditioning in my family's culture that results in having the mindset that it's truly not abuse.


And I'm not super young, I'm just not good with words.

Edited by shotmama - 5/19/11 at 2:34pm
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