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Help - MIL's inappropriate requests of DD have me scared now.

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 
Edited to change the title and add that DD told me again last night that she sometimes has to wipe Grammy's bottom when they go to the bathroom together, because Grammy sometimes forgets how. I am less and less inclined to think this is a "story" - whatever happened, this idea should not even be in my DD's mind. DH seems not to want to discuss it, and not worried about it. I really feel like I'm alone on this one...I'm considering simply removing the opportunity for problems and not allowing MIL time alone with DD. But I also feel that no one in DH's family will support me in that. Help! Experience? Advice? Anything? I'm a wreck over this.

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I'm at a loss here, but this is too important for me to let it go.

A little background: I simply don't like my MIL. Some of my feelings about her are based on experience, some just come from the fact that we are very different people and I flat out find her annoying. My DH understands how I feel, and shares some of my frustrations with her, but when it comes down to it I know he basically trusts his mom, even if she annoys him. All that to say that I am probably more sensitive to the idea of her doing something that I don't like than is necessary.

My MIL is one of those people who had a lot to say about potty training, and pushed hard for us to train DD early (she's PT now, and has been since she was about 30 months, at her own pace). MIL always wants DD to go to the bathroom with her, and takes DD when she needs to go. I found her obsession with it a little odd, but never really thought much about it because I don't think there's anything inherently troubling about DD seeing an adult use the bathroom - that is one of the ways kids learn to do it.

But - a few days ago, we were talking about using the potty, and DD told me that, when she goes to the bathroom with Grammy, they help each other - Grammy wipes her bottom, and she wipes Grammy's bottom. That made me and I asked her what she meant by that, and DD immediately backtracked and said, "I forgot, I don't help her." I'm certain that the look on my face indicated my alarm, because DD looked pretty surprised, and I fear that my reaction communicated that I thought SHE (DD) had done something wrong. I haven't been able to learn any more about this since, and I don't want to harp on the topic, because I don't want to scare my DD. And she's 3.5, and does sometimes say things that aren't quite right as she's trying to figure out how to explain a situation.

Now...my DD is perfectly capable of using the bathroom independently. She does not need help from an adult - so there is no reason for MIL to wipe her after toilet use. And I see NO way in which it's appropriate for her to be "wiping" my MIL. Part of me finds that so disturbing that I want to panic and think the worst, and part of me thinks it's just my really weird MIL wanting to do this as part of "teaching" DD to use the potty.

Now - I may be overreacting in a big way, but I feel like I need to understand what's happening here. I don't know how to talk to DH or anyone else about this yet. I do not feel comfortable with MIL caring for DD alone until I get this straightened out.

So - I fear that confronting MIL about it isn't the answer. I'll either offend her asking about something that's actually quite innocent, or give her more reason to cover up something sinister. Should I just eavesdrop outside the bathroom door the next time we're visiting family? What should I do?
post #2 of 89
You could just put a stop to "group" bathroom trips. Next time MIL tries to use the buddy system you could just say that you're trying to teach your daughter about privacy.

If you did decide to tell her that you don't think she and dd need to "help" each other so you're going to put an end to the group bathroom trips, I don't think you'd be out of line.

I personally find it's a little odd for a grown woman to insist a child accompany her to the bathroom just for fun. That seems weird to me and would not fly in my family or extended family.

It seems that even if MIL is not outright up to no good, she does have some freaky boundary issues.

And to me "I forgot" sounds like the beginning of "I forgot I'm not supposed to tell you this." Not to worry you further, but that was my gut reaction.
post #3 of 89
My suggestion would be to casually play pretend w/ your DD...say something about "Let's pretend we're at MIL's house, let's have a tea party....let's bake cookies....let's go potty." And see what she does. I think at that age acting it out might be a fun, no-pressure way for her to express what happened. She could show you if she can't tell you. Just an idea. I think that's why "play therapy" is used so much by pediatric psychologists during investigations for this sort of thing.
Your MIL probably was just showing her how to wipe herself properly or something, but who knows? A 3-year-old is so hard to figure out sometimes. If your gut tells you something isn't right, I wouldn't leave her there anymore either!
Good luck mama. I hope it's nothing to worry about.
Hugs!
post #4 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole
You could just put a stop to "group" bathroom trips. Next time MIL tries to use the buddy system you could just say that you're trying to teach your daughter about privacy.

If you did decide to tell her that you don't think she and dd need to "help" each other so you're going to put an end to the group bathroom trips, I don't think you'd be out of line.

I personally find it's a little odd for a grown woman to insist a child accompany her to the bathroom just for fun. That seems weird to me and would not fly in my family or extended family.

It seems that even if MIL is not outright up to no good, she does have some freaky boundary issues.

And to me "I forgot" sounds like the beginning of "I forgot I'm not supposed to tell you this." Not to worry you further, but that was my gut reaction.
ITA!!!! I really hope it is innocent!
post #5 of 89
wow mama, that would freak me out a bit too. I totally agree with the suggestion of having her act it out. Tell her we're playing "grandma's house" today and tell her you need her to teach you how to be grandma. If she replicates the behavior, I think something needs to happen--I'm not sure what, but something. I too would say you would be totally within your rights to tell MIL that group bathroom trips are not permitted but I too would fear it may make things worse if you ever leave her there without you.
It's just weird, I mean it's one thing for a little girl to go potty with her mom--it's something totally different to go with your grandmother--I'm pretty sure I never saw any of my grandparents private parts!
post #6 of 89
That would concern me greatly, too. I would put a stop to those "buddy buddy" bathroom trips immediately. And like mentioned above, try the role-playing experiment. What your MIL did is very inappropriate, even if there was no sexual abuse going on.
post #7 of 89
I would end all unsupervised visits. I would also tell MIL no more bathroom buddy games. The safety of children should always come before the feelings of adults.
post #8 of 89
Beth..first off (HUGS) to you. It makes your heart skip a beat when you are faced with the possibility that your child was abused in some way. I know how you feel. I think it admirable and smart that you are listening to that mama bear sixth sense and are interested in finding out more. The PP's have brought up some good suggestions and I have nothing to add but wanted to say I support you. Good luck and let us know what you do.
post #9 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrspeeper
My suggestion would be to casually play pretend w/ your DD...say something about "Let's pretend we're at MIL's house, let's have a tea party....let's bake cookies....let's go potty." And see what she does. I think at that age acting it out might be a fun, no-pressure way for her to express what happened. She could show you if she can't tell you. Just an idea. I think that's why "play therapy" is used so much by pediatric psychologists during investigations for this sort of thing.
Your MIL probably was just showing her how to wipe herself properly or something, but who knows? A 3-year-old is so hard to figure out sometimes. If your gut tells you something isn't right, I wouldn't leave her there anymore either!
Good luck mama. I hope it's nothing to worry about.
Hugs!

I think this is a great idea to see what goes on. I also think focusing dd on ger privacy so that she can say that she wants privacy just in case your not there, and you can back her by telling MIL that your workin on t his issue. Sounds alittle wierd hon - im real sorry.
post #10 of 89
Thread Starter 
I'm bumping this back up because I'm really worried. DH and I have not been able to communicate well about this (in part because he's out of town, and I think it's hard to talk effectively on the phone, and in part because he either isn't all that worried about it or is too freaked to talk, I can't be sure).

I'm sorry - I'm just so upset, and I need to talk this out, and I can't take it to anyone IRL right now.
post #11 of 89
I'm sorry you're not getting anywhere with this yet Beth, have you managed to talk to dd about it again yet?
post #12 of 89
my dd will not be left alone with my mil for a long time
i don't like her or trust her period
i don't care if it hurts her feelings or dh does not thinkit is polite
i love my dd most
post #13 of 89
This would be completely unnacceptable in my book. No way, no how would I let this continue. I can't even imagine a person thinking this is acceptable to do with their grandchild. Do whatever you need to do to protect your child and don't worry about your MIL's feeling on this issue. It appears she has some body/bathroom issues that need to be addressed.

Good luck. I can just imagine how this conversation would go if it were my MIL.
post #14 of 89
Quote:
DD immediately backtracked and said, "I forgot, I don't help her."

Does it sound to anyone else like it does to me, that the dd was coached to "never tell anyone" this stuff, and forgot that she was never supposed to tell anyone?
post #15 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momtwice
Does it sound to anyone else like it does to me, that the dd was coached to "never tell anyone" this stuff, and forgot that she was never supposed to tell anyone?
That is what i was thinking too. I would deffently end group potty trips. I am sorry you have to worry about this. Better you keep your dd safe them worry about some ones feelings. They are there feeling and they are resonsable for them not you.
post #16 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by beth568
DH seems not to want to discuss it, and not worried about it. I really feel like I'm alone on this one...
This is what caught my eye - sounds like MIL did the same thing to DH when he was young, maybe, and also told DH "never tell anyone." Like a repeat child molester, yk? Definitely do something to keep MIL and DD apart. Sorry you are alone in this, though.
post #17 of 89

Re:

My dd is a little younger than your dd, but she does say some pretty weird stuff sometimes.
I am a SAHM and we don't watch TV and she has never ever been in the care of someone else (which, I don't know if this is a good thing or not, it's just circumstance) and when we play with others, I am always there.
So one day out of the blue, she points at her breasts and says: "I have boo boos, mommy."
Now, where she got this--I have no clue on earth!
If she stayed with a care giver--the first thing I would be thinking is: abuse--this is horrible! But since she has never left my side since birth--I have no clue where it came from. We call them breasts, always have. And my kids nursed/are nursing until 2 or CLW--so again, no clue as to why she said this.
She knows that they "feed babies" and we don't try to make them dirty or anything--so why this became a sudden fascination and she kept wanting to show them to me and calling them this was really unsettling for me for a while. But I just let it go, didn't make a big deal of it and corrected her gently each time she called them this and reminded her what they were for.

So I guess I am mentioning this story as a way to tell you that kids do say weird things. And unlike the other posters, I don't think the play acting part is going to be a real indicator of what she has done/not done with MIL.
My child is pretty creative and can make up the oddest things and then remember them and repeat them to my DH or other family.
Stuff like: "Mommy let me fly!" or "Daddy and I ate ice cream for dinner!",
etc. We don't even eat milk products! LOL! And flying? What on earth...?

However, I think NiteNicole hit it right on the head.
To have your MIL taking your DD to the potty is out of bounds. Seeing mommmy and daddy use the potty is one thing, but for me, beyond that (extended family, etc.) does not sit right. So regardless of what your DH says to defend her, she has boundary issues.

So again, using NiteNichole's advice--you don't need to confront MIL, but simply state that you are working on privacy issues and that DD goes to the potty only with you in public (safety issues) and alone in private. And just try not burn any bridges by accusing her of anything, because that always makes everything worse (and your MIL is still wrong, but you need to deal with her at family gatherings, so less stress is better).

Just as you said: confronting her will either make her angry or cover up anything sinister. So taking charge of you DD in all circumstances is your best bet.

Hang in there, I'm sure that this is pretty painful and stressful and I really feel for you.
post #18 of 89
I agree with the PP's who suggested stressing the privacy issue and not allowing group potty trips.

How is your MIL's physical health? Is there any possibility that your MIL has her own difficulties wiping herself - i.e., limited mobility, that sort of thing? I just thought I'd throw that out there. I still WOULDN'T approve of your DD being the one to help her with this, but I just wanted to suggest it in case home health care is something you need to look into.

You have our support, beth568! Protecting your child is your top job!
post #19 of 89

I have a different take and you can flame away

I am with the pp that the " I forgot I don't help her " smells of being coached to not tell

As an Incest survivor mama GO WITH YOUR GUT ON THIS
if you GUT is SCREAMING problems/trouble/inappropriate etc GO WITH THE GUT

DD needs your love and protection and MIL and DH ( who should ALSO be PROTECTING HIS DD NOT HIS M IN THIS CASE MPJO) can just get over it if you change rules and enforce boundaries


I also agree with the pp who suggested the role playing with dd. I think that would be a really good idea

ok off the now..
post #20 of 89
I don't think I would let MIL be alone with dd anymore.

The fact that she takes your dd with her when MIL goes to the bathroom is totally bizarre. Even if that is all that happened, I wouldn't allow it. I find it very creepy. MIL has too much interest, and I'd have a major problem with that. It isn't healthy or normal.

Then you add the wiping issue ... :

Don't let others convince you to minimize your concerns. You have right to be concerned. I'd even say you have a responsibility to be concerned.
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