My DH has older parents (late 60s early 70s) and the whole family plain sucks at communication. It's actually gotten worse over the years and while my husband occasionally makes attempts to try he feels awkward approaching things as well. They don't discuss things of importance much and so lines aren't drawn, expectations are not there. In a way they are virtually strangers.
While my family has been horrible in the past we've pretty much all have come a long way despite being a broken family. His is not a broken family in the traditional sense.
We see them once a year (they live in SC and we in NJ), and we talk maybe every 3 weeks. I talk to my mom usually daily despite her living in FL. She knows my wishes, what I've researched, my expectations of her or anyone who is with my kids. The kids can be themselves around her and despite her having raised us differently she accepts our lifestyle choices (extended BF, cosleep/bedshare, delayed/limited vax, no pressure on thumb sucking, uncirc, ECing, gender neutral, animal loving - mostly vegan, limited sugar, veggie dyes, etc..) She tries to educate herself, tries to see our side. Cares enough to really know us.
His parents arrived in Saturday and already my thumb sucking DD has gone from only when she is super bored, super stressed or incredibly tired to non stop. Within 5 minutes of being in our house my MIL pulled the thumb out of my DDs mouth and said how old are you? 4! That's too old to be sucking your thumb. Of course my husband and I both said, we don't make it an issue she can do what she needs as far as her own thumb is concerned and yet the sense of disapproval and occasional mention of it from his older "dog doesn't learn new tricks" parents my daughter has been sucking non stop.
There is a lot of "well good girls" and "if you want to be a good boy", lot's of ooh princess, well big kids sleep in their own bed type of talk. Not to mention bringing yogurt from their hotel over because they conveniently forgot from last year that we don't do dairy. The last time they visited we went through explanations and when I mentioned to my MIL this morning she said "well you just keep changing the rules on me" to which I replied that we haven't done it for years.
So the thing is that they've asked to watch the kids during the day. DH and I have work all week. My youngest 2 (DS) has just gotten used to his caregiver and we are still working on that. My eldest is as well but to a lesser extent trying to get used to her.
Point is that I don't want them watching the kids until either my husband, myself or us both talk openly and extensively with them. Which given everyone's inability (yes myself included - because I follow suite) to communicate and trying to be sensitive of talking around the kids is not an easy feat.
Also, I will assume some of the responsibility of them not really liking much all these years. I'm pretty bossy and it's my way or no way type which I am really trying to get better at :). There have been a few relationship things that they saw before our kids came along that they makes them less enthusiastic about me. That I said, did or that DH did at my request to better our relationship. Not to mention that DH and I eloped. No one was going to pay for the wedding and we certainly could not so we made it special for ourselves. Lastly, when my son was about due my MIL came in to "help out". She stayed 2 weeks and the day after she left I went into labor. My body wasn't going to relax when she was around and I should have known that well ahead of time but did not.
So, here we are. Thanks for reading!