So many great posts on this thread. My husbands parents, and my parents, are all deeply religious (different religions) and I am very thankful none of them have tried any of this garbage. I suppose they all know that it is a wasted cause, DH and I would do lockdown in a minute. So I think having a strong, common front, really helps. But the biggest difference is respect. Our parents absolutely do not agree with our religious beliefs, but they RESPECT that we are the parents and we will raise our children the way we think is best. There are minor issues (as I am sure they have minor issues with us); but the core respect is there, and therefore we feel safe visiting and leaving kids on short visits. If respect is missing, there is no way forward. And if guilt and manipulation are involved, not only is there no way forward, but actually being there is harmful, and should be avoided.
Originally Posted by mumkimum Well, just to reaffirm for you, but just because grandparents whine or complain about alone time with your children - doesn't mean you need to provide it.
We do mainly family time with grandparents and have one who complains a little, and 2 others who are just happy to see us all.
As for the other issues - sounds like the religion I was raised in perhaps. I think there will be a lot of pressure on your kids to go along, if they're alone or doing church group type stuff with grandparents (like this "game"). There's likely a lot of pressure on the grandparents to pass on their beliefs too. Be blunt with your family members, arm your kids with their own beliefs. Teach them that people can have different beliefs and its ok.
And don't have unsupervised time with people who don't respect your boundaries for your kids.
Bolding mine. Different beliefs are fine. Racist, bigoted beliefs are not OK.
Originally Posted by philomom
Agree with all that was said here!
I personally had to ban weekend sleepovers with my mom because she would take the kids to her church even if I asked her not to. Then the kids get into the whole "keep a secret" business that is so confusing for the child.
This is a huge red flag. Someone convincing a child to keep a secret from his/her parents. That is a huge, smothering amount of guilt a child must bear.
Originally Posted by Linda on the move
Then you just stop caring about whether or not they are upset. keep reminding yourself that they don't care if you are upset.
When your DH feels guilty or upset, ask him, do his parents feel guilty or upset? It must be awful for him.
Originally Posted by MichelleZB
I think it may help to label their bigotry to them. Don't make it about their religion. Just say, "We'd love to do grammy time. But we don't allow racism in our family. So we can't." Using the actual word "racism" can be a shock to people like that because they often don't get told that they are racist.
You can even throw some of their own terminology back at them: "We want to bring up our children with wholesome, family-friendly values. They need to learn to respect all people. We don't allow the kind of language you use to be used around our children." They probably think of their own values as "family values" so it's a good wake-up call to have it used to mean what it should mean.
ITA. Yes, throw their terminology right back at them. Think of the phrases they use, and then use the same. I would also call a spade a spade. The people they associate with are not used to hearing the spade called a spade.
Originally Posted by Lisa85
Bolding for emphasis. They have told you who they are and what they are willing to do. Believe them.
For starters, this isn't about racism or religion. The core of the issue is that they do not respect you and your dh as the parents to your children. In your own words "they would stop at nothing to convert my kids, their religion requires it of them". Supervised visits isn't going to stop anything. Perhaps at first, when they believe they will eventually get your kids alone. And supervised visits are exhausting, especially with multiple kids. It only takes a second for them to pull your child into another room, or slip them a brochure on their religion when you're not looking.
You cannot undo damage after it's done. Who is to say that supervised visits is going to prevent them from doing anything? If they blurt out a racist comment or other comment that you don't approve of, the damage is done. You can't prevent that. These people will stop at nothing AND THEY HAVE TOLD YOU THAT THEMSELVES!
Your dh being stressed from his mother's manipulative tactics is proof that the manipulation is starting to work. He's starting to feel bad or even guilty about it.
Cut these people out of your lives and be done with them. If you are hesitant to cut them off completely, take an extended break from them for a minimum of 6 months, a year is better. Then see how their behavior is. Does it change? Are they more respectful? Are they willing to listen? I'm betting they're not, and if they do by chance it's likely only because they are doing it to get what they want. When the break is over, they'll be back to their old ways.
Agree. It all goes back to respect. You have respect for people you truly care about. If you care for someone, you respect them the best you can, even if you disagree. Unfortunately your DHs parents do not care about you or your family, or they would make efforts. It must be painful for your husband to hear this. But I would have him read this whole thread. And think about making some distance, for your kids, but also for the long-term health, happiness and peace for your husband. It will hurt in the beginning, but in the long term your Dh can work through some of the complex issues and come to some peaceful terms with it. Which is a lot better than the stress, guilt and manipulation he is feeling now.