ARRRGGGH ! MIL cut my boys' hair ! - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-24-2004, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am SOOOO angry ! My MIL recently was watching my boys and while she had them she cut their hair ! Both of my boys had shoulder length hair (which my bf and I both love, and so did the boys) and we intended to keep it that way. But she took out the scissors and cut about 5 inches off my 8 y/o's hair and about 4 off the 6 y/o's ! Their hair is still covering their ears but it is MUCH shorter than we (or they) want it to be !!! They said they cried and screamed and told her to stop, but she did anyway ! Their hair looks AWFUL short, but I refuse to cut it anymore to "fix" it. At least its still a little longish. I was livid when I got back and told her so ! What should I do now ? How would you mamas approach this ? I feel she should be "punished" somehow for violating what SHE KNEW was against our wishes. BF thinks we should "ground her" from seeing the boys for awhile, and I tend to agree. But what does everyone else think ?? Help !
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Old 08-24-2004, 10:36 AM
 
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to you, Shann. I would have burst a vein!

Um... I think that this is one of those difficult time that gives you an opportunity to grow as a parent! What would you think of framing the issue as "putting your kids first" and switching to supervised visits only with your MIL until you feel like you're reached a new level of trust (IF that happens?) If you feel like you can, I would urge you to put yourself in your boys' shoes and imagine what it's like for them to see you react to this. "Punishing" grandma doesn't do any good for anyone in the long run, and teaches them that punishing a loved one is an acceptable way to deal with conflict. Your boys deserve to have a relationship with her and be able to form their own opinions--whether she deserves the same or not. And on the other hand, I think it would do them a lot of good to see that you'll stand up for them (by refusing to leave them alone together and pursuing a discussion with her) and not allow her to violate their bodies like she did!

Just my .02. Oh, and I'd eat some very good chocolate too.
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Old 08-24-2004, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the idea ! I will consider that and also would like to hear more opinions. Thanks alot ! And yes, I almost did pop a vein ! Still feel like I might !
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Old 08-24-2004, 11:08 AM
 
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OMG!!!! I would be so livid!!!!

I agree that "punishing" isn't quite modeling the best way of dealing with conflict, but I think it would be very fair to tell her your trust has been violated and you can't allow unsupervised visits anymore. Also, your kids are old enough to say how they feel about it. Do they want to visit her again? I might leave it partially up to them, although I wouldn't frame it to your MIL as "they don't want to see you" if that happens to be the case.
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Old 08-24-2004, 11:12 AM
 
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I'm all for "punishing" in this case. I'd avoid her for a few months and then only visit when I could be there. Maybe I have ramparts for boundaries, but this kind of thing strikes me as way out of line.
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Old 08-24-2004, 11:14 AM
 
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This happened to my ex-husband's brother and his wife. My ex-MIL cut her grandson's hair while she was babysitting. He was about 2.5, I think. His parents were really, REALLY mad. They had wanted to grow a long lock of hair to snip off and put in the family Bible.

Anyway, I don't recall them grounding her from spending time with him, but she certainly knew how they felt and she wasn't asked to babysit for a long time after that.

Of course, the kids parents were also idiots for letting her babysit to begin with, since she was frequently buzzed/drunk. I do believe she'd had a few beers before getting out the scissors.
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Old 08-24-2004, 12:03 PM
 
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I think she needs to apologize to your boys and to you for such blatant disrespect.
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Old 08-24-2004, 12:52 PM
 
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What gets me most from the OP is the boys cried for her to stop, and she just kept on cutting.



A grandma is a grandma, & you don't get to pick&choose them, but would definitely "ground her." And then tell her after she's "out of time out" that she can't see the boys unsupervised anymore at all.


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Old 08-24-2004, 01:01 PM
 
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She violated a trust. Would you send your sons to stay with or allow anyone else who had violated your, and their, trust to watch them? Of course not.

Why should she get a pass just for being their grandmother?

If someone cannot be trusted in small things, they most likely cannot be trusted with important. Hair is ultimately a small thing in that it grows back. Care and respect for the boys as human beings with their own wishes for their own bodies OTOH....

Seems to me she's failed on both levels.

"What will you do once you know?"
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Old 08-24-2004, 01:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elphaba
I think she needs to apologize to your boys and to you for such blatant disrespect.
ITA!!!

I also think that supervised visits are the way to go for a looooong time. That fact that she would just ignore their pleas for her to stop is the really frightening thing to me!

to your boys.
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Old 08-24-2004, 01:56 PM
 
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i agree with the other posters that the most disturbing aspect of the whole incident was that she didn't stop when they wanted her to stop.

that's grounds for no more unsupervised visits, imo- not to punish her, but to keep your kids from being further traumatized by her disrespectful behavior toward them. i'd just tell her that refusing to accept a child's non-consent on something being done to their bodies sets very dangerous precedents, and nobody that violates your kids' boundaries gets to be around them without you there ever again.
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Old 08-24-2004, 02:06 PM
 
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Yep, I think that the original action was out of line (way out of line), but the fact that your sons asked her to stop and she didn't respect them raises more and larger flags for me. I would definitely explain that she is not allowed unsupervised visits until your sons and you are comfortable with it again. And I would also tell her that an apology to your children is expected as the first point on any contact. But, I would not break of contact completely because there is a special relationship there and that deserves to be respected too. What a nasty situation all the way around!
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Old 08-24-2004, 04:22 PM
 
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My MIL did this to my dd when she was 17 mos. She had nice shoulder-length hair with bangs, and MIL cut the bangs to about half and inch long and then cut off a bunch of the hair on one side, while leaving the back and other side untouched. It looked like dd did it herself while she was drunk or something.

Grandparents do not deserve the same rights as parents. (Of course, I believe a child's hair belongs to the child, but if the child is too young to care about looks then it's the parent's decision.) But your boys knew how they wanted to look - how sad. Getting to see the kids should be a privilege for the gp's, not something that is expected.

I would ground them from babysitting until they understand that what they did was wrong, and try to educate them on childs' rights.

But if you decided they should never be alone with them again, I'd understand that too! :
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Old 08-24-2004, 04:41 PM
 
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I'd explain to MIL why what they had done was unacceptable, that they wouldn't be left alone with my child until I knew they were old enough to defend themselves, and it'd be a long time before they saw the kids again. I agree that if they can't be trusted with small things, they certainly can't be trusted with big ones.

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Old 08-24-2004, 04:45 PM
 
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I agree with the majority here, no unsupervised visits until you feel you can trust her again. I wonder if your boys will even want to be left alone with her after she did such an awful thing to them. *hugs*
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Old 08-24-2004, 04:49 PM
 
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Oh, Shann, I am soooo sorry. I've read posts before about your DS's hair and that is just horrible.

I would be most concerned w/my sons willingness to stand there and *let* her cut their hair off! First, I would have a long talk w/them about their bodily integrity and how they, and only they, have the rights to make those type of choices about their bodies (if that is how you feel). I can't believe your kids stood for it!

Then, I would have a looooong talk w/MIL how she has hurt and betrayed your entire family. She needs to make reperations to your sons (that can be between them, but I do think she owes them something to at least partially make up for the loss--- perhaps an item of clothing, hair get, etc... that makes them feel good about their appearance). In addition, she has made a strong statement about not accepting them for who they are, which is disturbing to me and them I assume.

This would also concern me about what other ideas she has, and what she would be willing to do (against your very obvious wishes) if you are not there.

Sorry once again. That is just sooo horrid.

 

 

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Old 08-25-2004, 02:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Almost ALL of you have hit upon the thing that we find most frightening as well...the fact that she kept on when my boys were crying and asking her not to do it ! That REALLY scares me ! She is an intimidating lady to kids---even my bf admits that his mom always was intimidating to children---but guess what ? I'M NOT EASILY INTIMIDATED, and certainly not by her ! But the boys were intimidated and were afraid to do more than cry and ask her to stop. The cool thing is that my bf and I both have a united front on this against his mom, so things are great in that area. But the boys are now scared to go over there ! And NO child should have to be scared of their own grandmother !! She is DEFINITELY going to have to apologize to all of us (esp. the boys) and I also like the idea of her making reperations to them in some form. Beyond that, though, we both feel that there needs to be even more "punishment" ...we just haven't fully decided what yet. We are leaning toward some form of extended "grounding" from her seeing them for awhile followed by supervised visits for a LOOOONG while, but we haven't fully decided yet. The "grounding" from her seeing them won't hurt the boys right now anyway, since they DON'T WANT to see her ...they were very traumatized by the incident, as you may imagine ! Plus, they LOVED their long hair (so did we !). Yes, it will grow back, but it shouldn't have been cut in the first place ! (My youngest son barely even remembers having his hair cut EVER before) ! We have already expressed our red hot anger and she is, so far, unremorseful...saying that she "couldn't STAND their long hair one second more !" CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS LADY ?????? Keep the opinions coming...I am still in the deciding stage.
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Old 08-25-2004, 02:48 AM
 
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Well, you could hold her down and let the boys shave her head...
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Old 08-25-2004, 02:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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LOL @ Greaseball ! GREAT IDEA !
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Old 08-25-2004, 02:59 AM
 
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What gets me most from the OP is the boys cried for her to stop, and she just kept on cutting.
Exactly. Cutting their hair against MY wishes is one thing (although that would also piss me off), but when they are begging her to stop? I would be livid!

What do your boys have to say about it? Are they angry with her?

I definitely wouldn't allow her to be around them unsupervised - not to punish her, but just because you obviously can't trust her! I'm not trying to be overly dramatic, but cutting their hair while they cry for her to stop sounds abusive to me.
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Old 08-25-2004, 05:15 AM
 
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ground her from seeing them until their hair is as long or longer then it was.
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Old 08-25-2004, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Katt, that's a REAL good idea, cause she cut quite a bit off their hair ! It was well down on their shoulders ! That could take it until next spring or maybe early summer before she would see them again, because both boys have rather slow growing hair ! I love that idea, esp. the "longer than it was" part, because we had plans to let it get considerably longer than it was anyway. It could be a year before she sees them again, and I really like that thought ! Thanks !
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Old 08-25-2004, 10:02 PM
 
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What's really interesting is your note that your bf told you his mother was intimidating to children. That's a unique and honest statement for a guy to make about his mother--makes you wonder what she was like to him when he was a child. She needs a major 'check' on her actions around your children. I wouldn't think in terms of punishment because that puts you in a role you may not want. But I agree trust has been broken and you can't trust her right now and that's pretty much what I would say to her. You can't put a date on when that's coming back. I just wouldn't leave them alone with her.
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Old 08-26-2004, 02:20 AM
 
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Well, you could hold her down and let the boys shave her head

****************************



and until she agrees; no visits!! ah otoh, we don't want the boys to end up just like her... I would tell them that this is what I want to do though! Under no circumstances would I allow her unsupervised visits unless she got some serious therapy. Just tell her the truth; that you'll never trust her again since she HURT your boys so brutally. It was a rape, nothing less
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Old 08-26-2004, 04:15 AM
 
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I wouldn't allow her to see the boys until your sons ask for it. Under no circumstances would I make your boys visit unless THEY want to. (I also like the "until the hair grows back idea.)

And I wouldn't allow unsupervised visits until your sons are strong enough (physically and/or emotionally) to fend off her attacks. That might be until they're grown.

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Old 08-26-2004, 05:03 AM
 
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I would leave it up to your boys as to when to see her again. They are the ones who deserve a relationship with her, if they want it. So if they want to go see grandma next week, although that doesn't sound likely, but if they do want to, then they should be allowed. On the other, more likely hand, if they don't want to see her for a year or two, well, that should be up to them as well.

But I do completely agree that when/if they ever choose to see her again, it should be supervised. The fact that she is so sure she is right to the point of not even offering any sort of apology even AFTER the fact also disturbs me a great deal. I would be wondering what else in the past she may have done against your wishes, perhaps in terms of food, discipline, etc.

And whatever you do decide, no matter how livid you are, put your parent hat on & calmly explain to her that she now has to deal with the consequences of her improper behavior & actions, for two reasons. One, because it it the proper, mature way to handle the situation, and two because it will throw her off, she'll be less likely to know how to repond. She is expecting the anger, and is obviously all geared up to respond to it. Or better yet, let the kids tell her what her consequences will be (with you present of course, or listening in if it's on the phone). Ask them what they think would be a fair consequence (I hate to use the word punishment, even if it is kinda appropriate this time) for grandma's actions. Since she showed no regard for their opinions when she forced her opinions on hair length upon them, I think it is perfectly fair to reverse the situation.
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Old 08-26-2004, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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MIL and I had a HUGE battle last night on the phone ! She called and said she felt we needed to "talk" (which I agree with), but she then proceeded to try to make it a monologue instead of a talk. She said she knew I would be mad when she did it, but that she was tired of my kids looking like "dirty little hippy GIRLS" and had decided to take matters into her own hands because "no grandkids of mine are going to look like that !" (She has always made little comments about the way I dress my boys, saying that they always look "dirty" to her ...which they are NOT...because they like to wear holey jeans, old t-shirts, and grubby sneakers without socks. They enjoy playing like all boys do, and yes, they get really dirty and stinky sometimes, but they wash up when they choose to). She has also always hated their long hair. I knew she didn't like the way I dress my boys -- granted it's sloppy !--, but I never DREAMED that she would do something like this ! In the conversation, she was still COMPLETELY unrepentant and at one point said I was lucky she hadn't shaved their heads to make them look like boys !!!! OMG !!
Well, you can imagine where the conversation went from there (I will spare you the details). Other issues came out, including the fact that her son and I have never been married and have had 2 kids "in sin" (GIVE ME A BREAK !!! It's not 1950 anymore, lady !). I did my best to maintain my composure, but all in all I let her know that she would NOT be seeing her grandkids again for a long time (if ever again). I also asked her why she continued to cut when the boys cried and asked her to stop. She said "sometimes kids need to be told what they need by adults !" She said the boys cried, screamed and even swore at her to get her to stop, and she was more determined not to then...because their "tantrum" showed her how badly I was raising them !!!!! I was LIVID ! I seriously thought I would have a stroke !!!! I am DONE with her !!!! (Hearing all that, I can understand why the boys swore at her ! I would have too, in their situation !! (and no, they WON'T get punished for having done that, so don't even suggest it). Comments ? Suggestions ??
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Old 08-26-2004, 10:10 AM
 
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My comments : wow, what a @#*$&! I wouldn't let them see her, unless they choose to sometime in the future. Honestly? (I'm not a very polite person when I get angry, and I am SO ANGRY for your little guys!) I'd tell 'er to sit on her fists and bounce.
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Old 08-26-2004, 12:31 PM
 
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Don't ever make your boys visit her. When (if?) they decide to visit her at some point in the future, supervise the visits until, like I said earlier, they are able to stand up to her intimidation and verbal (and physical) attacks.

Have your BF tell her this - that you aren't letting her see them until the boys ask for it and that even then the visits will be supervised. Emphasize that the boys were very deeply hurt by her actions and that you doubt that they will ask to visit her any time soon. She violated them! She did something to their bodies that they absolutely did not want her to do!

Have your BF do the telling. He is her son and he should be the one to deliver the news. Then simply do not have contact with her. You personally don't have any reason to answer her phone calls or open the door if she comes over. If your BF wants to see her, that's his choice. But you don't need to. If the boys ask to see her, send BF with them (if you feel that BF can stand up to her).

Also you might want to check out www.motherinlawstories.com - they have a good message board. Some of the posters are clearly not AP, but they all have had experience dealing with difficult MIL's.

I would be livid, too. This woman thinks that her preferences outweigh your parental decisions! How dare she. Your boys' "tantrum" showed, not how badly you are raising them, but how horribly she was treating them at the moment. Ugh!

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Old 08-26-2004, 01:24 PM
 
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That woman is toxic and you need to put her out of your life and your children's lives.

I'm so sorry she said those hurtful things to you. She had no right and you didn't deserve any of that.
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