I should start by saying I truly love my in-laws. But ack, they fight. DH says they fought non-stop while he was growing up. They have mellowed a lot, but sometimes they get into it again. Like today at dinner. When they argue, it involves raised voices and name calling and general nastiness (jerk, idiot, shut up). Yeah, very uncomforable. I truly can't imagine acting that way (really!!) but they seem to have no problem with airing dirty laundry right in the middle of the soup course. Stuff that we can't help with at all. DH tries to diffuse it, but it doesn't work. I am NOT ok with this in front of my kid!
They are older (late 70s) and I feel bad because his mom has nobody to talk to about martial issues. They certainly can't afford counselling and I know she's at her wits end at times and hopes we can help. Uh, I can't help! I don't know what to say, but I sure don't want them fighting like that in front of us! Before when DH asked them to cut it out, she looked so despondent like she just didn't know what to do.
Very frustrating. Makes me not want to go there anymore, but we have to (we have to help them in their day to day lives since my FIL had a stroke).
Do they fight like this in public? If they do not then you can point out that they can indeed control their words, tone and volume and that you would appreciate if they did control themselves in front of you and your child.
Unacceptable for them to fight in front of their son growing up and now their grandchild. It is scary for any child to witness that, dare I say, abusive.
Good luck with your inlaws!
First off, tell your husband he needs to stand up and tell them to STOP. IT. NOW, if they begin to fight in front of your children.
The moment they begin to fight in front of your children, get up and take the children out of the house. Tell them you will return when they can act like adults and that you will NOT tolerate that type of behaviour in front of the children. Walk out with your children and tell your husband to deal with them.
Be firm and do this ANYtime they begin to fight in front of your children. If they get mad and say they can yell in their own house if they want, agree that they can. But, you don't have to stay and listen to it, nor do you have to subject their grandchildren to their rudeness and cruelty.
Out of your own kindness and caring, you are helping them everyday (I'been in your shoes with our parents, I know how hard it is, and our parents were/are incredibly loving!). They need to respect you, in turn, and do their fighting when you are not there to witness it.
If they are visiting your house and raise their voices, ask them to leave. Your house, your rules.
My parents have done this in the past, and I've gotten up and left (even before having DD). My dad got a little snarly with me, and I simply told him that I didn't feel the need to be involved with their issues. After simply walking out a couple of times, I haven't had issues since. Kind of amazing.
Best of luck to you with this - also, your DH needs to step up here.