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Christmas and non-understanding relatives

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 


how do you guys cope with non-understanding relatives? My mom and her husband (they are married for 15 years now) are here to visit, and this guy is just awful with the kids. He is in general a quite loud and sometimes frightening guy, without actually meaning to (he works at constructions and maybe that is the way of communicating there ?!) 


He cannot spend two minutes with the kids without reprimanding them, like stop fidgeting, stop shouting, be quiet, stop using your fingers, do this and don't do that, and his whole attitude shouts out: These are awful kids. 


He actually says things like: We had real candles on our tree and no one would touch them. Your kids are really undisciplined. 


I really don't want to have this people around me anymore, I am tired of telling them that they are diagnosed with ADHD and sensory processing disorder, and that it's not helpful if they get to hear that they are not good enough all.the.time. 

And if I say something he tells me: You don't have to tell me anything! - Sitting in my living room, eating our food and stuff. 


How do you cope with such relatives? How do you protect your kids? Or do you think they don't need protection and I am overprotective and should let it go? (I am extra sensitive at the moment due to the pregnancy and the problems around it)


thank you all!

post #2 of 8

Tell them to go put on his rose tinted glasses because your kids are angels.  Maybe pat him squarely on the center of the face and say "there there" (we saw it on a Mindy project episode and have used it on the kids when they are being whiney).  Ignore him until he leaves.  

post #3 of 8
What does your mom do when he treats her grandchildren that way?

I think after their visit, I'd call mom and say, "I love you mom, but I can't let my kids be treated that way in their own home. Here are the names of some affordable hotels in my area for your next visit."

ETA: the "there, there" thing is hilarious! lol.gif
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Basically nothing. She is loyal to her man. He "wants to help us out" and so we have to be nice to him. 

That's a pattern that I know of her, though. I vividly remember a christmas when I was 19 or something, and my Dad punched my in the face, I locked myself in the bathroom, he left saying something like he won't stay with this "person" under his roof, (we found out later that he just wanted to leave to go to his girlfriend) - and my Mom told me to leave (I had a dorm room at university) and I was not allowed back home as long as there was a chance that my father would come home - she was worried he would get upset. 


She said this time that he did not have kids (he was a single father for god's sake!) - so we have to be understanding. 


I am always wondering if I have a totally dysfunctional family - my PIL being totally mad also - or if I am the weird person. I honestly don't know anymore ... 


For example he gave comments about the amount of clothing in washtubs in my bedroom, and how that is totally "messie" and we are living like "hoarders" - but I honestly don't know if it isn't quite normal, having three small kids, day after christmas, one is bedwetting, husband being sick over christmas - plus not being the most organised person on earth. 


I always feel like a total failure when they are here. Not able to organise my life, not able to care for my kids, a failure as a wife, and than I don't even go working at the moment - "throwing away all my education". 

post #5 of 8

This is what *I think*:  It is hard to back track with relatives once they are invited in the house and they are behaving as they "normally" do.  From the start, I would make clear that you will do not accept disparaging behavior from adults, even if they disagree with your parenting choices. This needs to be made clear at the invitation.  They are free to not come or leave, if they feel too uncomfortable with your choices.  Under no circumstances, would I allow or accept hitting as a suitable way to deal with a family disagreement of any sort.  


I am sad that your father hit you as a cover for his bad behavior.  I hope you do not equate patting to hitting because that was not what I was indicating.  Instead, it is using a silly off gesture to counter what is usually also an off behavior or gesture.  We try to use humor as a way to diffuse what could otherwise become a tense or stressful situation.    

post #6 of 8

What is your mother like on her own? Could you invite just her and say that her husband isn't welcome in your home as long as he can't respect you and mistreats your children? Because, honestly, that's a reasonable limit to set. It sounds like it wouldn't go over, but it also may be easier for you to only have your mom.


My mother and I have a bad relationship- I stopped talking to her for a year and only started again because I knew that if she found out she was having a grandchild from anyone else- it would decimate any chances of us having a civil relationship. We went to visit her for a week over summer with the baby and she tried a lot harder- but we still fell into old habits and it was stressful. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it wasn't great.


I agree that it'd be a good idea to make it clear what behavior you expect from them at the invitation, and bring it up again a few times- but it's very easy to fall into old habits. 

post #7 of 8
Reading your post I had a flashback to a horrid 3 day visit to my sil's house when my kids were 2 and 3.

I don't think you are over sensitive. I think you can be honest with your mother that her husband isn't welcome to stay in your home again because he was so rude to you and your children.

We don't see relatives for holidays, and my parents have to stay in a hotel when they visit us. Boundaries are a good thing.
post #8 of 8

I would never allow him in my home again, and would write him a letter describing, in detail, why and wouldn't hold back anything.

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