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Mother-in-law asking my daughter to keep secrets from me - allowing my 8-year old to watch crime...

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I never use discussion boards.... this is the first time, but I am so mad and upset about the 'secret" my MIL asked my 8 year old daughter to keep from me.

 

This is not the first time she asked her to keep a secret. When my daughter was younger - about 3 - my MIL allowed her to ride in the front seat of the car without a car seat to the park while she was baby sitting. She asked my daughter not to tell me, but at that time she told me everything. I was so upset that she compromised her safety, even if it was only down the street. How close the park was did not allow her to go behind my back and ask my daughter to keep a secret!

 

My MIL's excuse has always been - "I raised three kids, I think I know what I'm doing". Well... that was one of the MANY irresponsible things she has done. Bringing her to the pool while she was still not confident swimming, letting her run around the pool and telling me I was over protective when I got upset that she was not a hand length away from her. Laughing at me because I was "neurotic". SHE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO SWIM - SHE IS THREE YEARS OLD - AND YOU CAN BARELY STAND ON YOUR OWN TWO FEET - HOW IN THE WORLD IS THAT BEING "NEUROTIC"! I am cautious and protective - yes. I worry about my little girl falling into a pool BECAUSE SHE CAN'T SWIM! OMG... it makes me crazy.

That was five years ago, and my daughter is a good swimmer now, but at that time she would take her to the pool when I asked her not to - and try to "keep it a secret".

 

I just could never trust her. She was always doing something I asked her not to do.  When my daughter was two or three she asked her to go under the kitchen sink and bring her the AJAX - an opened container of AJAX. I was standing right there! Why didn't she ask me to get it for her - senseless. She would light candles all over her house and keep them in reachable areas. I would go over there and blow them out because my daughter would immediately be interested in them - she was young, a baby. She would tell me I was over-protective. Is it just me?? Really?

 

Anyway..... last night she came home from one of her almost daily trips to Nana's house. We were talking about the night before when she told me that Nana told her that if she says "Jesus Christ" she would go to hell! I told her not to listen to Nana...she has no idea what she's talking about, and that that upsets me that she would put the image of hell in her mind. Why would you tell an eight year old that she would go to hell??! I asked her not to mention to nana that I was upset to avoid any conflict. Well....she told Nana last night that I was mad about it. I spoke to my MIL and told her I was upset, and that she shouldn't put any vision of hell in my daughters mind. I spoke to my daughter and asked her why she mentioned it when I asked her not to and she said, "why, was it a secret?". I told her "No, it was just something I wanted to discuss with her first". So then she said...."Well, me and Nana have secrets, and she told me that if I told you what they were she would never tell me another secret again". That was it.... I had to know.

 

I told her that it was not good to keep secrets from your parents. That one secret becomes ten and then one hundred, and then before you know it there is a huge distance between us. I told her she is my only girl, my only child, and I am here to protect and love her forever, and that there is no reason to keep secrets from someone you love and trust. And that I would never be upset or mad by anything she told me. I told her it is important to be honest and open and never lose communication between us....never keep a secret because it is like telling a lie and it only gets worse. I asked her to tell me what it was and I promised I would not get upset, and that it would feel so much better to get it all out.

 

With all her might she could not tell me...she was afraid Nana would get upset and that she would be in trouble. I promised I would not be mad. She finally spit it out - "Nana lets me watch Investigation Discovery (I.D.) and I am addicted to it!". I had no idea what that was....I allow her to watch the Discovery Channel, she loves animals and learning. I asked her, "What is Investigation Discovery?". She told me, "It is other people killing and murdering other people". MY JAW DROPPED! Are you effin' kidding me? I tried with all my might to control my composure. I asked her if she was okay, and if she was scared or worried, or if she was having nightmares. I tried to explain how terrible the images that she has been watching are and that she is never to watch that ever again. I told her I wasn't upset with her, but very upset with Nana...VERY! I am without words.

 

For years I have had parental controls on my cell phone, computer, and TV. I change the channel when the news is on, and when two people are kissing! I have asked my MIL to do the same for years! My MIL told me in the past that I am sheltering her from the real world! SHE IS 8, not 18!

 

I don't know what to do. Do I keep her away from her grandmother? She lives 3 mins away! How do I explain my disgust to my husband? It's his mother! What upsets me the most is not knowing how it has affected my daughter mentally, psychologically. The visions that must be in her head. My daughter was so upset she told me she thought she was going to get sick. A sick secret to keep with your granddaughter! I can picture it.... them on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, watching people getting murdered and raped and killed - a grandmother and her granddaughter - "Don't tell your mommy or I won't ever tell you another secret again". I am sickened, shocked, disgusted, amazed...

 

I had to get it out. Is it me? Am I over-protective and neurotic? Sheltering my daughter from the real world? I don't think so....

post #2 of 21
I would never let my child stay alone with someone who disrespected my clear instructions. I think she is also obviously showing incredibly poor judgement, but the main issue to me would be that she is not respecting my wishes as the parent. Why is she still allowed to spend time alone with her after do many 'offenses'?

I would definitely end unaccompanied visits, at least until she can respect your instructions/prove herself trustworthy.
post #3 of 21

It's not about being over protective. It's about expecting an 8 year old to lie to her parents and not respecting the parents wishes. That is not okay. If I were you I would stop letting them spend alone time together and tell MIL why.

post #4 of 21

What the heck does your partner say about this?! If your partner is taking your MIL's side over your daughter's safety and emotional well being, that is a really big deal and not okay at all. If that's the situation, I think you two should consider couple's counseling to sort this out. If your partner is equally enraged by this- you need to stop talking to MIL, your partner needs to grow up and start dealing with these issues. She is your partner's mother, your partner is the one who should be handling issues with her.

 

Do you need your MIL to watch your daughter for some reason? I know that often grandparents can offer desperately needed free child care, is that the situation? If it is, I can see the dilemma- you can't afford to cut down how much time your daughter sees her. If that isn't the case, though, cut down on trips to Nana's and start having Nana see your daughter when you can supervise. Frankly, this is what you should have done after the car trip incident.

post #5 of 21
Several things popped out at me...
K 1st, your MIL says your DD will go to hell if she takes the Lord's name in vain, but sees nothing wrong with setting your DD up to dishonor her parents by lying and keeping secrets (if she's worried about 1 of the commandments then she should be worried about them all. This makes no logical sense IMHO)
Second, maybe your DD is unaware that "not telling the truth" is not just lying. NOT TELLING can mean hiding, with holding aka keeping secrets.

I would not allow her to see nana unless supervised by you or your DH. If its child care that's the issue, there's gotta be someone else!
Its also a perfect opportunity to teach your DD lessons on your values, morals, and expectations.
MIL must be confronted! I personally would suggest you and DH go together as a united front.

Sorry you are dealing with this. I know how it feels. My children are not allowed to visit with their nana unsupervised either.
post #6 of 21
Yes, your post comes across as over protective and a teeny bit neurotic. But that's not the point. Stop leaving your child alone with this obviously toxic person.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post

Yes, your post comes across as over protective and a teeny bit neurotic. But that's not the point. Stop leaving your child alone with this obviously toxic person.

I disagree. I dont think she is overprotective, perhaps  being driven neurotic by  her MIL trespassing her boundaries and harming her child.

 

You are the parent,  if your MIL goes against your wishes then she cannot be trusted.

Instructing a child to lie about those things is despicable, and sets you child up for abuse.

 

I agree with the pp's, dont allow unsupervised visits.

 

I might write her a letter, so she understands this in no uncertain terms.

post #8 of 21
I think you are being overprotective but that isn't the issue. The issue is your mil not only having no respect for you as a parent but also openly teaching your child not to and making her do things she is uncomfortable with by threatening their relationship. I don't think that's an emotionally healthy relationship and I would be very open about that with mil.

I wouldn't allow unsupervised visits but at this point it may be hard to do without destroying your dd's trust in you. I think weaning her off the visits by having things to do that prevent the possibility of visits would be best so she doesn't connect coming to you with a worry with you ending an important relationship.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
I wouldn't allow unsupervised visits but at this point it may be hard to do without destroying your dd's trust in you. I think weaning her off the visits by having things to do that prevent the possibility of visits would be best so she doesn't connect coming to you with a worry with you ending an important relationship.

I agree with this. If the OP can gradually decrease the visits and have a good reason for not to, it isn't as obvious.

 

If the daughter is concerned, I would point out that her grandmother is in trouble for asking her to do bad things and being mean to her (asking her to keep secrets from her parents, telling her she'll go to hell). Just like the OP's daughter can lose privileges if she abuses them, her grandmother will lose privileges as well. She's still welcome to see her grandmother often, but only with supervision until her grandmother proves herself trustworthy again. The problem will come if (when) the grandmother refuses to meet the mother's terms, choosing to end the relationship herself. If the grandmother would agree to see her daughter just as often, but only under supervision, then the daughter couldn't connect it with ending a relationship- because the relationship would barely have changed. If the grandmother refuses, then the question becomes whether the daughter will blame Nana or mom. It could go either way.

I still really want to know how the OP's partner feels about all this- if her other parent starts telling her that her mother is overprotective and being ridiculous and she should be able to see Nana like she used to, that will make the situation much worse.

 

It really seems like the relationship with the grandmother has become toxic, though

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by annlea View Post

It's not about being over protective. It's about expecting an 8 year old to lie to her parents and not respecting the parents wishes. That is not okay. If I were you I would stop letting them spend alone time together and tell MIL why.

Exactly! Their time alone has come to an end. Tell your daughter and MIL why. No amount of lying to parents is okay.
post #11 of 21

I'll agree with other posters, yes you do sound overprotective. However, that doesn't give anyone the right to undermine your authority.

post #12 of 21
Being that I've been in a similar situation to the OP, if she's anything like me, the MIL has driven her to become over protective. When you are dealing with someone who throws caution and common sense to the wind, you tend to become over protective to compansate and create a balance, so to speak. In other words, the OP ends up being the one who has to muster up enough protective nature to make up for nanas lack thereof.
I have been in her shoes. I understand all too well that when someone who is supposed to be a responsible adult who provides a safe atmosphere doesn't even come close to doing the bare minimum (and then lies on top of that) they themselves actually become a threat and you become the definition of mama bear.
I think as nana is less in the picture mom will be able to lighten up a bit.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

Wow... Thanks for the responses. 

 

Well.... my husband has ALWAYS been on my side. He is always the one to make the call and explain/argue with his mother about any problems, or concerns, we have with what she has done or is doing. He usually always agrees with me and stands by me.... he sometimes gets defensive, but I can understand that. I mean, I'm bashing his mother. It's hard to control my words sometimes, but I try. All in all he is a great support and gets just as upset as I do. Sometimes he tells me I need to lighten up... and I think he's right - sometimes.

 

In this most recent situation I copied links from online sources and pasted them onto my MIL's Facebook wall with my thoughts added to them: "TV Violence and Children", "Dangers of Children and Secrets", etc... I made it a point to post it on her wall so all her friends and family (that she loves to gossip to about me) will know exactly what the situation is. So that they know the facts about what she is actually doing with my daughter. I'm tired of her telling her stories of how I am so neurotic and over protective...let them make their own judgements now that they see what's really going on. My MIL thinks everything is no big deal.

 

When my husband called her she already knew from my posts that I was pissed off. She told him we were stupid and making a big deal out of nothing, that we needed to get over it. So...it ended in an argument (as always), and we haven't spoken to her in a week. To be honest, I don't care if I ever talk to her again. But I know my daughter loves her, and I cant keep her from seeing her grandmother, she lives right down the street! My MIL often watches my daughter and her younger cousin, they are very close and that is the reason we bring her over to Nana's all the time. We do not depend on her as a caretaker, but she is always there if we need her to watch her. 

 

We don't have issues with her everyday, but have had the same discussion about asking our daughter to keep secrets, turning off the news and violent shows while she's there, letting her ride in the front seat of the car, etc. She knows what our wishes are... she says "I know", but then a few months go by and we find out it went in one ear and out the other. She has no respect for our wishes or concerns. How many times can you try to give her the benefit of the doubt? I try to trust her...but in my heart I know I can't. I've lost more and more trust in her as the years have gone by....now.... I am completely done! She is the one who needs a babysitter!

 

I may be a little over protective, but when it comes to the safety and well being of my little girl - I have every right to be.

 

Do you think it's okay to leave an 8 year old and a 6 year old unsupervised in a pool? My MIL does.... my daughter told me that her younger cousin pushed her in the pool and she scratched her leg on the side while Nana was watching TV. But Nana says....well.... I was only on the other side of the glass door... I could see them. WTF! Funny...if you saw that then why did my daughter have to go into the house and tell you what happened? What if she hit her head on the side of the pool? What... is she gonna finally get it when something devastating happens on her clock? Is she going to wait until she gets into a car accident with my daughter in the front seat and the air bag smashes her face! I think ahead.... I think of the consequences first. I THINK TWICE.... my MIL just doesn't think. and she doesn't seem to think she is ever wrong. It will never sink in.

 

My parents are the total opposite. We call my parents The Brady's and his parents The Bundy's... it's so true.

 

So.... I think I am just going to have my MIL come here to see her. I'm not going to tell my daughter she can't see her grandmother - she hasn't even asked to since this happened. She is going to see her tonight at my sister in laws house for birthday cake... I'm not going to go, I'll let my husband handle it because I don't want to ruin my SIL's bday. I'm actually waiting for an apology... she needs to recognize that she's wrong to let my daughter watch people getting murdered, kidnapped, and raped, and to ask for her to keep it a secret - there is nothing okay about that - I don't care what anybody says - that's just beyond sensible. It's just disturbing and unforgivable.

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3LilChunklins View Post

Several things popped out at me...
K 1st, your MIL says your DD will go to hell if she takes the Lord's name in vain, but sees nothing wrong with setting your DD up to dishonor her parents by lying and keeping secrets (if she's worried about 1 of the commandments then she should be worried about them all. This makes no logical sense IMHO)
Second, maybe your DD is unaware that "not telling the truth" is not just lying. NOT TELLING can mean hiding, with holding aka keeping secrets.

I would not allow her to see nana unless supervised by you or your DH. If its child care that's the issue, there's gotta be someone else!
Its also a perfect opportunity to teach your DD lessons on your values, morals, and expectations.
MIL must be confronted! I personally would suggest you and DH go together as a united front.

Sorry you are dealing with this. I know how it feels. My children are not allowed to visit with their nana unsupervised either.

 

This makes a lot of sense to me. I would actually explain all this to your DD - all the confusing signals and messages. But not just explain, not lecture, but discuss. Leave it very open for your DD to have a dialog with you. Asking her "how do you feel about this" "do you see this as conflicting" - leave it open for both of you. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysapling View Post
 

I agree with this. If the OP can gradually decrease the visits and have a good reason for not to, it isn't as obvious.

 

If the daughter is concerned, I would point out that her grandmother is in trouble for asking her to do bad things and being mean to her (asking her to keep secrets from her parents, telling her she'll go to hell). Just like the OP's daughter can lose privileges if she abuses them, her grandmother will lose privileges as well. She's still welcome to see her grandmother often, but only with supervision until her grandmother proves herself trustworthy again. The problem will come if (when) the grandmother refuses to meet the mother's terms, choosing to end the relationship herself. If the grandmother would agree to see her daughter just as often, but only under supervision, then the daughter couldn't connect it with ending a relationship- because the relationship would barely have changed. If the grandmother refuses, then the question becomes whether the daughter will blame Nana or mom. It could go either way.

 

This also is a great suggestion. YOur daughter is 8, not 3. She is able to understand consequences. And that consequences are not just for kids but also for adults. 

 

I do think you are quite over-protective, and I hope that you do open up a bit. To switch the tv when the news is on or when people are kissing seems extremely over reactive to me for an 8 year old. Surely she will see people kissing just walking outside or going to the store and any other normal experience…. At 8 the discussion should be very open, about kissing, about sex, about the male and female body. Because if you are not talking to her about it, she is getting it somewhere else, either at school or playing with friends…. you can't isolate her to such an extent, and have her be healthy. And wouldn't you rather she get the correct info from you rather than incorrect info elsewhere? My 8yo came home and made a joke about sex. I asked him what it was. He explained that the penis was in the bum. So we had a good discussion about it not being the bum, the impracticality of poop and a baby being in the same place….. Then I got a book about sex the next week and read it to - and with - lots of questions and discussions - my 7yo and now 9yo. They laughed, they said how gross, but they were listening. If I wait until they are 12 and 14 it will be way too late. 

 

I also think posting all that on your MILs facebook timeline is passive-agressive. Talk to your MIL in person, not via FB. It is just as likely to make you come off looking paranoid as it is to make your MIL look like an irresponsible nut. 

post #15 of 21
I think your plan to have MIL visit your DD at your house is a good one.

I would quit the explaining and arguing with her. Both you and your DH. It doesn't matter whether she agrees with you, what matters is that she complies with your parental wishes. If she refuses, she only gets supervised visitation. End of story. No explaining/justifying/arguing/debating -- that only sends the message that there's room for her to argue back and possibly get you to back down. Simply inform her of the rules and enforce the consequences when she doesn't comply.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 

My post was not about explaining, or having an open conversation with my daughter about sex....

 

It was about a grandmother allowing her eight year old granddaughter to watch other people stab, shoot, murder and rape, and then to tell her to keep it a secret. She is an irresponsible nut!

 

This is why I never post on blogs.... because one conversation turns into someone else's misconception.

 

Thank for the "sex talk" advice. Can I borrow your book?

post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post
 

 

This makes a lot of sense to me. I would actually explain all this to your DD - all the confusing signals and messages. But not just explain, not lecture, but discuss. Leave it very open for your DD to have a dialog with you. Asking her "how do you feel about this" "do you see this as conflicting" - leave it open for both of you. 

This also is a great suggestion. YOur daughter is 8, not 3. She is able to understand consequences. And that consequences are not just for kids but also for adults. 

 

I do think you are quite over-protective, and I hope that you do open up a bit. To switch the tv when the news is on or when people are kissing seems extremely over reactive to me for an 8 year old. Surely she will see people kissing just walking outside or going to the store and any other normal experience…. At 8 the discussion should be very open, about kissing, about sex, about the male and female body. Because if you are not talking to her about it, she is getting it somewhere else, either at school or playing with friends…. you can't isolate her to such an extent, and have her be healthy. And wouldn't you rather she get the correct info from you rather than incorrect info elsewhere? My 8yo came home and made a joke about sex. I asked him what it was. He explained that the penis was in the bum. So we had a good discussion about it not being the bum, the impracticality of poop and a baby being in the same place….. Then I got a book about sex the next week and read it to - and with - lots of questions and discussions - my 7yo and now 9yo. They laughed, they said how gross, but they were listening. If I wait until they are 12 and 14 it will be way too late. 

 

I also think posting all that on your MILs facebook timeline is passive-agressive. Talk to your MIL in person, not via FB. It is just as likely to make you come off looking paranoid as it is to make your MIL look like an irresponsible nut. 

My post was not about explaining, or having an open conversation with my daughter about sex....

 

It was about a grandmother allowing her eight year old granddaughter to watch other people stab, shoot, murder and rape, and then to tell her to keep it a secret. She is an irresponsible nut!

 

This is why I never post on blogs.... because one conversation turns into someone else's misconception.

 

Thank for the "sex talk" advice. Can I borrow your book?

post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by myonlybaby View Post
 

My post was not about explaining, or having an open conversation with my daughter about sex....

 

It was about a grandmother allowing her eight year old granddaughter to watch other people stab, shoot, murder and rape, and then to tell her to keep it a secret. She is an irresponsible nut!

 

This is why I never post on blogs.... because one conversation turns into someone else's misconception.

 

Thank for the "sex talk" advice. Can I borrow your book?

 

I totally think its wrong that she would do something she knows you wouldnt allow and then tell her to keep it a secret. You're absolutely entitled to be pissed about that and to limit contact with her. 

 

But i did want to say that if the show is the same or similar to others i've watched its not as horrible as you're stating. She isnt letting your dd "watch other people stab, shoot, murder, rape"...its more of a documentary type show with not-very-graphic reenactments. Is it something *you* want your child watching? Obviously not. But i know when my daughter was about that age (mightve been older like 9 or almost 10) she caught a few of those shows (either I.D. or a similar one) and was fascinated. Mostly by the "investigative" aspect and the forensic stuff, NOT because of anything "graphic" or "disturbing" and she thinks she may want to be an FBI agent (if she doesnt because a famous singer/actress LOL.) Just another perspective. As i said, you're well within your rights to be angry with MIL about it, but i think you'd do better framing it as "MIL doesnt respect my parenting boundaries and encourages my child to keep secrets from me and thats not ok" rather than "grandma shows innocent child rape and murder!" 

post #19 of 21
IDK CSI is pretty graphic. I'm not sure which shows are actually in question, but some are definitely worse than others. NCIS is much more PG. My kids do sometimes watch that with me and DH. It it more about the forensics than the graphic scenes. But there are definitely different levels of these crime scene shows.
Still, I think the major issue is with grandma disrespecting mom and encouraging the DD to keep it from mom.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3LilChunklins View Post

IDK CSI is pretty graphic. I'm not sure which shows are actually in question, but some are definitely worse than others. NCIS is much more PG. My kids do sometimes watch that with me and DH. It it more about the forensics than the graphic scenes. But there are definitely different levels of these crime scene shows.
Still, I think the major issue is with grandma disrespecting mom and encouraging the DD to keep it from mom.

But the channel in question is "Investigation Discovery" channel (I.D.)...they play 48 Hours, Dateline investigations, true crime documentaries ("the killer next door" "i married a serial killer" etc etc...i may be making these specific titles up)...now, i totally totally get a parent NOT thinking these types of shows are appropriate for their 8 yr old. But they are not (IMO) in the same league as CSI or a drama film graphically showing murders, etc. 

 

Still sounds like grandma is whackadoo for other reasons, and the OP is not wrong for being pissed. But imo the issue would be the same if she told the child to lie because she was watching Barney. Its the lie/secret keeping thats the bigger issue. 

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