It can also help to remind grandparents that there are many non-religious things that will be fun, interesting, and important to share with their grandchildren. Somehow that can tend to end up forgotten when you have a struggle like this within your relationship with them.
I don't have older kids, but growing up I had a grandmother that was a little like your MIL, and I pretty much knew from the beginning that when it came to religion she was just plain crazy. My parents are not at all religious, but they did talk a lot about religion with me, read me lots of books about different religions, and basically just tell me to be open minded and respect other people's beliefs. Until I was 8 or 9 I would go to church when we visited my grandparents, but then I just decided that even to be polite I couldn't go because I just didn't agree with what was being said. I just felt like I was sitting in a room full people being crazy, and I couldn't handle it anymore! In retrospect I was probably influenced more away form religion by going to church with my grandma, but I wasn't scared for life or anything. I do wish my parents had stepped in more and told my Grandma and other super-religious family members to back off, because I always felt uncomfortable and didn't know how to deal when they were reading me those creepy stories, or talking about god all the time or whatever. I didn't want to be rude so I would just sit through it, but I wish someone had told me I could have said "No, I don't believe this, and I don't want to talk about it anymore!", or had said it for me.
Anyway...I ended up being pretty much the most atheist person you will ever meet, but I still plan on teaching my kids about other religions so they can end up believing what is right for them. My step dad is very religious in a non-crazy way, and is going to take them to synagogue, for example. I will be clear on what I believe and that other people believe differently, and that is fine too.
But that being said it sounds like your MIL is going to just keep pushing and being CRAZY about it. I agree with others who said to only do supervised visits. It sounds like she is not going to listen to you, and it also sounds like she needs to be supervised for other reasons, too. You can also explain to your kids about how Grandma does/ says some funny things and just to ignore her, it sounds like at some point you will end up having to talk to them about other issues about her too, anyway. We only do supervised visits with my MIL, but she hasn't noticed yet, lol. I'm not sure how we'll deal with it if she starts to make it an issue.
I don't know how you define "older" kids--mine are 10, 9, and 9. I used to belong to a very strict, fundamentalist branch of Christianity, but walked away in my 20s. Many people in my family believe similar things to the church/group I walked away from--but perhaps they are the "lite" version. Needless to say, for a very long time it was extremely triggering for me to even be around the lite/wannabe stuff.
I've re-evaluated all my relationships (and their relationships with my kids) individually. There are some members of my family who I would shut down even praying in front of me. Meanwhile, my most conservative aunt and uncle I do not mind at all that they go around praying at corners and doing their spiritual warfare stuff around our property. It all depends on our relationship and how much I trust them. My parents have "found religion" after I left the home, and try to push it--but I have none of it from them. I don't allow them to take my kids to church when they visit, would not go to any church they went to, and I donate all religious books/items they send us immediately. I would not do a blanket thing like that with my aunt/uncle, though they don't send those things because they respect boundaries and are not manipulative and controlling.
It sounds like your husband's parents are abusive and controlling, or have been in the past. So it makes total sense that your spidey senses and your hackles are raised. Sounds like you have a plan in place though. I also hope that you never EVER accept any money from them under any circumstances. They do know that your husband wants that (they'll practically be able to smell it) and they will make your life hell if you ever agree to take money from them. It does suck to watch someone grieve and be in denial that they will NEVER EVER have the relationship with their parents that they should (if this was a fair or just world) be able to expect. But I would stand your ground firm on that one.
What I taught my son is in my house we have tolerance for everyone. We may not agree with everyone, we may not believe what everyone else believes but we are tolerant of everyone. So if grandma choose to believe that whales eat people then puke them up next week, fine - grandma can believe that, you ds do not have to believe that, but we respect grandma's choice to believe that.
I don't teach religion, we are not religious, I don't care what orientation you are etc. All I ask of my kiddo is that he is nice to people.
To the OP what might be helpful is to make your kids aware that grandma believes *this*, grandpa believes *that*, auntie thinks *this*, some people who live in this part of the world do *xyz* etc.
Until my kiddo was able to understand those few concepts I didn't leave him with my family either.
Mom to J and never-ending , 0/2014 items decluttered, 0/52 crafts crafts completed
Seeking zen in 2014. Working on journaling and finding peace this year. Spending my free time taking J to swimteam
I grew up with that, and it took years of therapy to get over it.
but everything has pros and cons
She doesn't respect your boundaries and she threatened to call CPS. She threatened to take away your children!! I just can't get passed this. All for what? Some hypothetical inheritance she may or may not give you depending on her mood at the time?
Cut her off and be done with it. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY threatens to take my babies from me while still be granted access to them.