Unsupportive grandparents - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 05-21-2002, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I realized about three months after my daughter'sbirth that there was a name for the things I was doing instinctively for my daughter and it was AP. It was very validating to discover this community, as I have recieved incredible resistance from my own family. My parents areconstantly talking about me behind my back, criticizing me for not letting my daughter cry it out, for carrying her too much, for responding too quickly to her cries, to not leave her with them if she is distressed and most of all for cosleeping. Lately they are not even returning my phone calls because things are not the way they would like them to be. In the beginning I allowed their views to make me doubt my own judgement. Well I am over that now and very happy and confident as a new Mom... But it saddens me thatmy daughter doesn't know them. I don't even know how to talk to them any more. Any suggestions?
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#2 of 18 Old 05-21-2002, 08:19 PM
 
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Wow, that is very sad that your parents would let differences in parenting style ruin their relationship with you and their grandchild. I think you should sit down and have a talk with them, tell them how you feel. Tell them that they HAD their chance to raise their babies the way they wanted, and this is your chance. Ask them to respect that, even if they disagree. And mostly, tell them how much you want them in your life and your child's life. I'm thinking maybe the fact that you don't want them looking after her as often as they'd like to is making them feel that YOU don't want them in her life as much. You'd be surprised how easily such misunderstandings can develop.

In the meantime, congratulations on parenting according to your instincts, and not letting them influence you negatively. This is a great community, and I am so grateful I found this place myself!

I really hope you can work things out with your inlaws, but if not, rest assured that you are doing the best things for your baby!!

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#3 of 18 Old 05-21-2002, 08:32 PM
 
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I tend to be much less confrontational--I didn't send the playpen home with my mom; I just don't ever, ever use it. I do make a point of visiting my parents and having them over, at least as often as my siblings would have them babysit. I put on a "don't mess with me" face when we bf, and I have invited my mom into bed to snuggle with ds and me one morning! She came in--and while she tries to scowl about it, I can tell there is joy and overwhelming love in there. Who wouldn't want to cuddle with their precious children?!
She still doesn't "approve" of my choices, but she is in love with "the product" of our efforts so far. I also try to show how really happy I am doing the things we do.
I think it takes adjustment for parents to shift into grandparents--it's a totally different role.
The trick, too, is to keep in touch with peers, to get the positive feedback you need.
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#4 of 18 Old 05-22-2002, 09:53 AM
 
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I am so sorry you are going through this with your family....I go through the same thing too....since my dd has been about 6 months old my mom has been trying to give her cows milk...she just doesn't want to understand...she lives in that world of "well I did it with you and you turned out fine" she also says that about spanking and everything else I refuse to do with my children...anyway I too have questioned myself as a result of them and I am fighting off my sis, mom, and grandmother...stand your ground, they will eventually leave you alone about it...my family just thinks i'm crazy.....well at least I am not addicted to pills, and alchohol, or married to an alcoholic, or verbally abuse my children and berate them in front of others, or scream and fight in front of my kids w/ my dh....like my mom and sis......but you know I am the crazy one because I won't allow my 4 year old to watch Dumbo cuz I think it's racist........stand your ground and follow your instinct...I don't take their advice on anything because they continually make bad descions......good luck to you....Stephanie
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#5 of 18 Old 05-22-2002, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your input... It helps to hear from others of like mind!
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#6 of 18 Old 05-22-2002, 01:06 PM
 
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:

My parents go back and forth from being really supportive and questioning everything I do.

When I first started nursing, my mom would alternate between warning me he was going to get too fat from nursing too much and asking if I had enough milk. Why else would he want to nurse so much? She couldn't figure it out.

She's constantly asking me when I'm going to put him in his crib and giving me advice on how to do it? Yet, she also went and bought us the "snuggle Nest" when I first told her I was thinking of sleeping with Jack. She also went out and bought us light blankets since we couldn't use our comforter. She's building additions to her lakehouse and said she's going to leave one room without a bed and just put a king size mattress in there instead.

I think she supports my decision, but can't figure out why in the world I'd want to sleep with my baby. She's also not too happy about my plan to bf until he's two. But she tries to be subtle about it.

Dina
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#7 of 18 Old 05-22-2002, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's nice to hear I'm not the only one. I know that intellectually, but emotionally you always want your parents support. I struggle with the emotional side of it... Thanks for the support.
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#8 of 18 Old 05-22-2002, 03:01 PM
 
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Dina your mom sounds exaclty like mine. She criticized me for wanting to nurse, then bought me tons of expensive nursing clothes, a boppy, and then sat and watched with such a happy expression on her face the first time she saw ds nurse.
She complained and threw fits when we said we were co-sleeping, then when ds was one she offered to take him for the nite so me and dh could have some time together and promised she would sleep with him. She also go's gaga over the adorable co-sleeping pics I give her.
She always asks what is ok or not ok to feed him(no cow's milk here).
The only person I still have a problem with is my SIL who sent us a novel of why we should vaccinate. I never brought it home, left it at MIL and FIL's house, didn't look at it once.
Family usually comes around. When we follow such different parenting styles then they used I think they feel a little guilty maybe. A little envious that they didn't have the guts to follow their instinct.
When family drops apart, you should make the first move to fix it. Invite them for dinner. Make clear that parenting styles and whatever are not to be discussed. Go out with them. Go visit for absolutely no reason at all. Bring them cute pics to keep. Frame a couple for the heck of it. Good relationships take effort, even if you've know them your entire life.
Megan
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#9 of 18 Old 05-22-2002, 06:32 PM
 
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My mom is supportive, she just doesn't understand why I do some of the things I do. This from the woman who slept with me until I was 6 and my brother until he was about 8 and breastfed both of us. Here she is warning me about not co-cleeping. She does what I tell her to do, but not because she agrees with it. I wish I could get her to not question everything I do. I mean questions are fine, since they lead to understanding but to question the same things over and over and over gets to be too much. Oh well, at least she does what she is told and doesn't undermine my choices for my child
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#10 of 18 Old 05-22-2002, 07:05 PM
 
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Megan,

Our moms do sound alike! My mom is a real shopper kind of person. Anytime we have a problem, she tries to solve it by buying something. I swear I have almost every baby item out there...most of them purchased the first few week of DS's life.

He won't go in the bassinet? Here, try a cradle? He won't go in the cradle? How about a swing? Well, how about this bouncy chair?

She also bought me a sling though and that's nice.

Actually, everything is nice. They're extremely generous. I definitely appreciate that. I guess compared to a lot of parents, my parents are pretty supportive. I've always been the "black sheep" of the family and I think they expect me to do "weird" things.

Dina
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#11 of 18 Old 05-22-2002, 07:37 PM
 
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I'm with you. My parents think my co-sleeping, anti-CIO, anti-spanking views are going to "ruin" my child. Unfortunately, my husband feels the same way :-( I'm still trying to convert him.
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#12 of 18 Old 05-22-2002, 08:58 PM
 
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T T T

realramona -

About "Dumbo," we started to watch it once and DS#1 (3yo at the time) was very upset and scared by it (his mother is in jail, etc.) We've found a lot of Disney movies to be like that, so we don't watch 'em.

Now on topic, it's so hard having unsupporting grandparents. My folks think we're nuts, but they've finally decided that we've made our own bed, we get to lie in it (and the fact that said bed is futons pushed together on the floor & crowded with 2 adults & 3 kids ... well, they roll their eyes at us a lot). We're lucky they've mellowed.

If parents are pulling away because of it, I'd push the relationship without pushing the issues. After all, you only get one set of parents, and nobody on Earth is getting any younger. Maybe you initiate contact, but let them know that if AP lifestyle choices come up, the conversation ends.

I know a few folks who've broken off relationships with immediate family members over all sorts of issues, and when somebody eventually leaves the world, everyone has regrets ...
and those kinds of regrets ... well, it's not worth it. So even if they push away, my advice is to at least minimally keep in contact, as hard as it might be sometimes. And when you can't deal with the conversation, say the soup's burning and hang up. Peacefully and pleasantly.

- Amy
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#13 of 18 Old 05-24-2002, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As hard as it is sometimes, I was just thinking about how I'd feel is one of my parents passed away and we weren't speaking. I would regret it of course and need to make the effort not to grow too far apart. It is so nice to hear from others in similar situations!
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#14 of 18 Old 05-24-2002, 10:33 PM
 
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I'm sorry that you have to make these kinds of decisions, Celeste. It is so hard when your family doesn't support you. When you're a parent, I think it's natural to struggle with some self doubt. I think it's even harder, though when your own family is questioning you. I think it's important to find some people who validate your opinions (like here!). I also think it's important to find family who you can compromise with. I would never let my ds be around my father, because he has repeatedly and recently abused children even in the presence of the children's parents (these were my cousins). I think that is an instance where I can't compromise and have my ds be safe. But I can try to overlook my mother-in-law's frequent requests to give my poor starving son some cow's milk because she had it and is "just fine."
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#15 of 18 Old 05-25-2002, 08:48 AM
 
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Celeste
I do not have any good advice for you as I have been battleing with my husbands mother and his brothers wife for the past year on this issue. It is very sad and very uncomfortable when we go to family functions on that side of the family b/c everyone really does give me the cold shoulder and I am always left playing with the children.
Mil and I have had some reconcillation but it is still not a very good situation.
Well-gtg ds is waking could tyoe you a book on this one...lol..

Free To Be~
Traci
"Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is."
~John Holt 

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#16 of 18 Old 05-25-2002, 04:35 PM
 
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Bravo UmmNuh, I think you handled that great--what a way to win her over!
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#17 of 18 Old 05-27-2002, 12:35 AM
 
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It is very hard when grandparents are unsupportive of the choices you are making. I am not sure which is worse -- unsupportive or uninvolved. Both sets of grandparents live far away. My MIL and FIL are very generous people -- with their money and their gifts, but not their time unless it is on their schedule. They are not openly critical of how we do things in our house, although they do not get it. They have learned not to question extended BF, co-sleeping, and "gentle" discipline -- although my MIL still can't stand to go out with our 4 kids because they are always making a scene -- i.e. acting like kids.
My mother on the other hand started out as a uninvolved grandparent. I worked very hard at bringing her into the relationship with my kids and now I am regretting it. the older the kids get, the worse it becomes. She does not approve of gentle discipline (my sisters and I were spanked, yelled at and ridiculed as discipline measures) and tells my kids so. Grandma "doesn't put up with the things your mother does." Grandma "doesn't negotiate like your mother does." You can't "get away" with the same things your mother lets you. And the worst -- "behave for Grandma or you know what will happen." I am not sure what this threat means, since I don't think Grandma would hit my kids, since we've made it clear that we don't spank, but still the nessage is ugly. Thanksfully, none of my kids have called the bluff yet. Of course, she questions my decisions on extended BF (especially with the twins) and co-sleeping. Thankfully, when she comes to visit she stays in a hotel. But it is getting worse with every visit. My poor sister is crazed because she is having her first baby and my Mom lives 1/2 hour away, not 6 hours like she soes with me! I am not sure how to go about setting limits or addressing her comments. Generally, she shuts down and I get the "I guess I can't do anything right" and "well, I guess I don't know anything about parenting" statements. It is sad, really. I was hoping to connect with her through my kids. But I guess not.
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#18 of 18 Old 05-27-2002, 12:43 PM
 
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Hey, Momof4, I live in Cheltenham!! My inlaws are in Elkins Park. WE can commiserate locally!!
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