Grandma is undermining our parenting - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 42 Old 04-10-2012, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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MIL is from another country... but my wife was born and raised in basically my culture. Not a victim of war AFAIK. My wife was the younger of 2 daughters and I think MIL and elder daughter were not very nice to my wife... but I'm guessing that had more to do with a degree of narcissism and not on any external factors. I think a big part of the problem is that my wife's sister had 2 children quite a few years before we had our son... and they did not successfully set boundaries. So my MIL had close to free reign with her other grandchildren. She has been conditioned to think that what she does is appropriate - regardless of what she does. 

 

Prior to our having a son, I had a pretty good relationship with MIL. It was only after I saw what she was doing to him as an infant and toddler that a major issue evolved... and is evolving. I have chosen not to be around when they are together so I don't have to see it... But at this point that is changing as well.

 


 

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Originally Posted by expecting-joy View Post

Is there a cultural issue at play here? By that I mean are you and your wife from different cultures? Is your MIL from another country? What was your wife's childhood like? What is your MIL trying to make up for in her life by buying your son off with toys and sweets and food while poisoning your relationship with your wife and undermining your parenting? Was she a victim of war? Was there abuse or neglect in another generation?

 

I absolutely agree that you and your wife need to have a serious discussion about boundaries. You two are the parents. You need to decide on what grandma may and may not do. If grandma violates that, she loses access to your son. She must know that you are unwavering and unified and that she may be a grandparent, but not a parent to your child. She must respect you and your wife and your parenting decisions or she should not have access to your son. Period.

 

This is very unhealthy for your son and poisonous to your marriage. Please, please put an end to it.



 

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#32 of 42 Old 04-18-2012, 03:15 PM
 
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OP, culture matters greatly. From the culture I come from, cutting out grandparents is unheard of, unacceptable and will definitely end my very healthy very strong marriage. I do not have deal with your issue, but I read all the responses here and shook my head sadly coz if you didnt grow up in a different culture you wont get it. Things like " boundaries". , " parents comes first" , " he is your son" are foreign concepts....very sadly.

Also, in my very humble opinion, even thouh your wife was raised here, things like cultural mindsets can be deep and not be shaken off in one generation.

I really hope you find a solution to this.

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#33 of 42 Old 04-19-2012, 08:54 AM
 
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I want to echo the idea that for some people, many people, even people here in the USA, the idea of ending a relationship with a parent or family member is seen as the moral equivalent of mass murder or about as plausible a solution as sprouting wings and flying to Mars for lunch.

 

OP, I'm sorry you're having to deal with this.  Be confident in doing what is best for your wife and your son.


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#34 of 42 Old 04-19-2012, 11:54 AM
 
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You know...I was just thinking about the "third parent" thing and the medication. DH and I are a team. We have equal authority over our children. Neither one of us would give our child medication without checking with the other. That's not even about a lack of trust. It's about safety. What if you (OP) or your wife had already given your son some anti-nausea medication, and then she gave him an extra dose. This kind of thing can cause overdoses. So, I don't even think this is a "third parent" thing, honestly - it goes beyond that. (Obviously, if dh or I were away overnight or something, the other one would make a command decision on things like medication. I'm just talking in the day to day. DH wouldn't come home from work and give our kid Tylenol without checking, yk?)

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#35 of 42 Old 04-19-2012, 06:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MrsGregory View Post

I want to echo the idea that for some people, many people, even people here in the USA, the idea of ending a relationship with a parent or family member is seen as the moral equivalent of mass murder or about as plausible a solution as sprouting wings and flying to Mars for lunch.

 

 

 

 

I've cut out a couple of family members. One was a child molester. The other is mental ill, won't take medication, and sacred the crap out of my kids.

 

I think it is hard for most of us to cut out a family member. It is a BIG deal.  It tore me apart.

 

But putting our own hang ups above doing what is RIGHT BEST and SAFE for us kids is just poor parenting.

 

To believe that protecting your child from harm is morally wrong means that your child will grow up and know that their safety was lower on your list in life than..... not making waves? tradition? whatever you want to call it.

 

Ultimately, we will each get to explain to our children why we made certain choices that we did. The really big ones. The ones that they will take into adulthood. And this grandmother is crazy enough that I suspect eventually both parents are going to have to speak up for choice.

 

"I let grandma mess with your head because I thought keeping you safe was the equivalent of mass murder"

 


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#36 of 42 Old 04-20-2012, 07:51 AM
 
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Linda on the move, I'm sorry for the decision you needed to make with regards to your own family.  Of course having to end contact with a family member is upsetting for most people.  If you re-read my post, I think you'll see that I am not encouraging the OP to do nothing;  the line from my post not included in your quote is directly to our OP, urging him to take care of his wife and child.  My message was simply to introduce to the conversation that, although I think we (of MDC) agree in general that grandmother should not be allowed unsupervised visits with the OP's child, cutting the grandmother out entirely may not be a solution for the OP, or for his partner.  What may seem like the obvious choice may not be for all people.  No where did I advocate that the OP allow grandmother to continue to "mess with [the child's] head".

 


 


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#37 of 42 Old 04-20-2012, 03:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thermo View Post

Prior to our having a son, I had a pretty good relationship with MIL. It was only after I saw what she was doing to him as an infant and toddler that a major issue evolved... and is evolving. I have chosen not to be around when they are together so I don't have to see it... But at this point that is changing as well.

 

Regarding the bolded, what a strange response to seeing someone interact with your child in a way that you don't like! I hope your "that is changing" comment means that you'll now be supervising their time together, regardless of your discomfort? 


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#38 of 42 Old 04-20-2012, 06:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MrsGregory View Post

 I think we (of MDC) agree in general that grandmother should not be allowed unsupervised visits with the OP's child, cutting the grandmother out entirely may not be a solution for the OP, or for his partner.  What may seem like the obvious choice may not be for all people.  No where did I advocate that the OP allow grandmother to continue to "mess with [the child's] head".

 

You compared cutting a dysfunctional family member out of one's life to mass murder.

 

Of course it's an option. It may not be an option they are willing to take, but it is an option. These are grown ups. They are free. They can do whatever they want. Whatever they do is a CHOICE.

 

They can choose to let  continue grandma wreaking havoc, or they can set boundaries, or they can cut the crazy lady out. It's all just choices.

 

This notion that they have no choice is absurd. Some people don't own their personal power, but its still there. They just aren't using it. It's like having a really nice car, but taking the bus all the time because you fear what will happen if you get in the driver seat.  We all can decide to get in the drivers seat of our life at any moment.


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#39 of 42 Old 04-22-2012, 01:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

Of course it's an option. It may not be an option they are willing to take, but it is an option. These are grown ups. They are free. They can do whatever they want. Whatever they do is a CHOICE.

 

They can choose to let  continue grandma wreaking havoc, or they can set boundaries, or they can cut the crazy lady out. It's all just choices.

 

This notion that they have no choice is absurd. Some people don't own their personal power, but its still there. They just aren't using it. It's like having a really nice car, but taking the bus all the time because you fear what will happen if you get in the driver seat.  We all can decide to get in the drivers seat of our life at any moment.

 

I think that this is a fair statement.  I can understand that PPs who suggested it was "not an option" are trying to sympathize with the OP, especially as regards cultural expectations, etc.  But bottom line - if you would not let a stranger treat your child this way, or put them in danger, then you shouldn't let Grandma!

 

To do less may be more comfortable.  And I agree with Linda - if you do less, you should be prepared to explain why you prioritized the relationship with Grandma over the child's well-being and safety.  It is fine if the OP feels the need to do that - for cultural or other reasons - but it is a choice that they should own.  Another PP mentioned that to make a choice to cut out Grandma would end her marriage - so that is what she could say to her kid, "This would have literally ended our marriage, so that is why I put it above your well-being, because I felt that was worse in the long run, etc." or whatever her reasons were.  But there are always reasons, always choices, always priorities to rank or shift.  That is the messy business of being a parent.

 

And I am genuinely sorry the OP has to deal with this.  I am very sorry Grandma is putting them in this position - but the focus should be on Grandma taking responsibility for this whole mess - for her actions, for causing this entire problem.  The blame shouldn't rest on the shoulders of the OP for being a "bad person" for taking charge and putting limits on her, based on her bad behavior.  I think fear of confrontation, fear of messy relationships/emotional fallout, and fear of being guilt-tripped can easily cause very well-meaning parents to back off from making the courageous decisions that are best for their child.

 

 

 


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#40 of 42 Old 04-22-2012, 01:16 PM
 
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I would also like to add that this is a sliding scale - it is possible to make all Grandma time supervised (which it sounds like is starting to be the case), it is possible to cut back on Grandma time in general, it is possible to talk to Grandma and make reasonable expectations known and set new ground rules (this seems to be necessary, because she is used to having free reign with the other grandbabes).  It is possible to limit visitation based on her behavior at each visit, and clear violations of the rules (probably a successful route, once she realizes you mean business, and there are certain things that will not be tolerated - or she will not see your son for x number of weeks, etc.).  And then there is cutting her out entirely.  These are all options.


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#41 of 42 Old 04-23-2012, 05:26 AM
 
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pickle18 - (As the PP mentioned in your post...) You're absolutely correct, I am making an effort to sympathize with our OP.  If, 15 years ago, someone had walked up to me on the street and told me that cutting out family members who were abusive, violent and unhealthy was an option I would have been horrified, and probably backed away slowly.  I would not have believed it.  I would not have taken any action.  If our OP is coming from a similar cultural place then perhaps recognizing that viewpoint and calling it out will help them hear and consider the advice to cut Grandma out.

 

Linda on the move - I absolutely do not compare cutting out family to members to mass murder.  I state that "... [cutting out family members] is seen as the moral equivalent of mass murder...", which is a fair bit different.  I think I understand why you're so upset by my post.  I'm fully supportive of our OP taking action to protect their child from the Grandma in this scenario, and I say so, in my original post.  I'm not sure where else you and I can go with this conversation.  I'm comfortable with what I posted.  I'm sorry my post was upsetting to you.  I don't think it will be productive to continue our personal back and forth, but you're welcome to reach me by personal message.


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#42 of 42 Old 09-03-2012, 07:16 PM
 
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I have this exact same problem, but worse I live with my mother! She undermines my parenting all the time! It's 7:45 and grandma wants to take my 2 year old son on an evening walk, I say okay just be back by 8:20.  her response, "Don't be so stict if he's back later is that okay?" in other words shes saying they will be back later cuz either you head back to the house on time or not.  My son did not have a nap today and he starts getting really cranky and whiney if I don't get him bathed and in bed by a certain time; of course she's not the one to deal with that so does she care? no! ehhh... I like how you said, "Everything is about satisfying anything he could hope for now." and how nothing eduactional or anything is done. Same here, she gives them popsicle after popsicle, she wont say no to him or do anything that will make him upset with her.  She'll bribe him, distract him, or come get me to punish him, heaven forbid she actually be a parent figure to him which shows more love for the child because it shows they care about their well being, so basically she cares about herself and getting love from all her grandkids cuz she can't get it from her husband.    More motivation to get out of their house ahh..

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