Originally Posted by Llyra
I think there's a strong passive-aggressive element to this. They disagree with how the parent is grooming the child, dressing the child, or whatever. But to actually approach the parent, and state their position-- "DS looks ridiculous with his hair like that. I think you should let me cut it."-- would open themselves up to being openly disagreed with. I know my MIL would DIE before she'd engage in that kind of open, honest disagreement. It's a lot easier for her to go ahead and do it, and then back me into a position where I can't get upset at her without looking like it's ME that's being unreasonable. I go through this with my MIL about clothes, all the time. DD1 comes home with all kinds of stuff MIL knows I would never buy, and says things like, "Oh, I know you'd never allow it, but she just WANTED it so much that I HAD to buy it." Then I find out she never even took DD to a store-- she'd already bought the stuff, and had it at home, and pushed it on DD, and now she tries and makes it seem like it was DD's idea.
I feel for the OP.
You're totally right, and I hadn't thought of it that way. When it comes to dressing my kid, I'm very glad that she -- or any of my relatives -- doesn't say, "He liked this," but instead she says, "I thought he'd like this."
In fact, we have specific outfits that we wear to grandma's house when we go visiting. Usually it's clothes that she got for him, because I know it would make her happy to see him wear the things she picked out. This goes for both grandmas and would go for friends too. Maybe this will change as my son is older and can pick out his own clothing... I dunno.
But clothes are much easier to change than hair is to grow out!
Thanks for everyone that's been supportive. Now I'm a bit worried about FIL's response to my OP, which he received by e-mail earlier this evening. I hate confrontation but having a conversation with him directly would have been much, much better than having my OP e-mailed to him by DH.