Strained relationship between ds and mil. - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 11-05-2007, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
Wabi Sabi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,985
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm really having a hard time deciding where to put this thread...

Anyhow, Ds is being downright mean to MIL and she's taking it very personally, is quite upset about it.

He ignores her and refuses to talk to her. When she comes upstairs (she lives with us due to health reasons and her room is down in the finished/walkout basement) he screams at her to go away, go back downstairs, to leave him alone. Basically, he wants nothing to do with her.

Dh and I have a pretty good idea why he's behaving this way- she annoys the crap out of him. Whenever they interact she teases him nonstop. She pokes and pushes at him and won't stop. It makes me cringe whenever we're in the car- I hear him fussing from the backseat and when I look in my rearview mirror I see her literally poking at him. He'll ask her to stop it and she just laughs annoyingly and keeps poking.

They also have a communication problem- she can't understand a word that he says even though he speaks VERY clearly for a child of his age. He repeats himself over and over and she just doesn't get it. I think he also finds this really frustrating.

Last night MIL, in tears, asked my dh why ds is so mean to her. Dh just said, "Oh, who knows Mom? He's just three." I asked why dh just didn't tell her the truth- that she needs to stop pestering and annoying him- but he says that will just hurt her feelings even more and that because of her strokes she can't really help herself, she doesn't know any other way to interact with him. (Dh, says that she can't help it because she is now, for lack of a better term, "brain-damaged." She really doesn't seem to "get" a lot of basic things anymore, has a hard time processing thoughts, and her personality has changed since her last big stroke. She's fine physically, but mentally she's not the same person.)

Obviously, it's not okay for ds to keep being so mean. Dh and I are really working on addressing the issue with him and trying to get him to understand why he needs to be kind to his Mamaw. However, I think that the respect needs to go both ways and that she needs to be aware of how annoying it must be when she constantly pokes, prods, teases, and pesters him.

WDYT? Would you say something to her or just stay quiet and try to work more on getting ds to be tolerant of her? Thing is, one thing I've learned after the past two years of her living with us is that dh is NOT going to say anything- it will be up to me to speak up and things are a bit tense between us too, so I'm not sure how well-received anything coming from me would be.
Wabi Sabi is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 11-05-2007, 01:04 PM
 
BunnySlippers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Fluffierville
Posts: 2,392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I would just constantly let you MIL know the appropriate way to intereact with your ds. If she is poking him, you need to tell her to stop. IF she is harassing him, you need to tell her to stop.

Decluttering 500/2010
BunnySlippers is offline  
Old 11-05-2007, 01:07 PM
 
VisionaryMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,736
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would work on her side as well. I felt as a child I was always expected to be accomodating to adults, regardless of their quirks, and I don't feel that way for my children. Her living with you makes it more complicated, but I have no problem with my MIL (who also annoys my son but for other reasons), and I will take DS' side forcefully when needed. MIL does bizarre things.

The last time we were there, DS said he didn't want to eat anything else, though we knew he did. He just has a hard time calming down when he's playing with his cousins. As soon as DH put him down from the table, MIL grabbed his food and ate it, and then DS wanted back up immediately. He completely melted that she'd taken his food, and she started to fuss at him. I stepped in and wasn't really nice about the whole thing.

This strays from your post, but my point is that I will not teach DS that he just has to tolerate rude behavior from adults because her behavior, just as your MIL's, is rude. I believe we should treat children with the same respect (while honoring that they're not fully capable of all decision-making) that we treat adults. Surely your MIL can understand that. Does she also poke adults? Then she should "get" that she can't do it to children either.

Yes, your son should be respectful and telling an adult to go to her room is completely unacceptable, but if she doesn't treat him well, it's going to be hard to convince a 3-year-old that HE should be the nice one.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
VisionaryMom is offline  
Old 11-05-2007, 03:03 PM
 
queenjane's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 3,199
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I think its important info that your MIL has had strokes...she IS brain-damaged (and i'm speaking from experience, my mother is a stroke survivor as well, and sometimes responds inappropriately to things, such as laughing if something sad or scary is on tv)....so....how would you deal with this situation, if it were another child who was treating your son this way? Or what if it was an older sib of your dh, who was developmentally disabled? Would you limit your choices to "Do nothing, and hope dh says something" or "help ds be nicer"?

What you need to do, the next time your MIL behaves inappropriately, stop her behavior. Put a hand on her shoulder, or lightly touch her hand or whatever it takes, and say (while directly looking at her)"MIL....ds does NOT like it when you poke him, please stop." Also, i would encourage you to set up some playtime situations with MIL and ds, where they can interact appropriately (a simple board game, a game of catch, a walk around the block....whatever), and where you can be there to sort of watch the interaction and intervene if necessary.

Also, if your ds is three, i think he is old enough to understand brain damage. My son had just turned three when my mom had her major stroke, which left her in a wheelchair and unable to use her right side, as well as affecting her speech so that she can barely talk because she can't produce the right word for what she is thinking (aphasia)...it was quite a change. I told him that Grandma had hurt her head, and it damaged her brain, and the part of her brain that controlled certain things (walking, for example)was damaged. That she might act a little bit differently, and have problems walking and talking but the grandma that loved him and took care of him was still there. I think its important that your ds knows that grandma isnt *meaning* to be "mean" or irritating, that the part of her brain that would stop her from doing those things has been *damaged*, and she needs help working on responding differently. Perhaps you can get everyone on the same side, of helping Grandma know when she is being irritating. Tell him, when Grandma is bothering him, to immediately come get you, so you can help him handle it.

I dont think its ok that your ds is "mean" or "rude" to MIL, but i understand his frustrations. I think part of what you need to do is help him express himself in a way that is not disrespectful, even if that means being there to say to MIL "Ds is upset that you are poking him, that is why he is yelling at you. Please stop. Would you like to play this game with him instead?" If you can't be there to intervene, perhaps you need to limit their alone time together, if possible (meaning, grandma doesnt sit in back with ds, for example, but sits up front w/ you.)

I also don't think that its inappropriate to discuss with MIL the affect her strokes have had on her behavior, and how she may not realize how irritating she can be to ds---in fact, i think its imperative in this situation. I think its pretty sad that dh won't just SAY that to his mother, instead of "gosh i dont know"...how can she possibly work on changing her behavior if she isnt aware of exactly what she needs to change? Are there other issues with Dh and his MIL, that would make him not want to be upfront and honest w/ his mom?

I've worked with people who have TBI (traumatic brain injury)as well as stroke (and mental illness, and mental retardation, autism, etc)....you need to be clear and consistent with your MIL, to protect your ds from her behavior, and honestly to stop behavior from your ds that is causing MIL hurt feelings as well.


Katherine

Katherine, single homeschooling mom to Boy Genius (17) geek.gif  Thing One (6) and Thing Two (6) fencing.gif and one outgoing Girl (12) bikenew.gif and hoping for more through foster care and adoption homebirth.jpgadoptionheart-1.gif 
queenjane is online now  
Old 11-05-2007, 03:07 PM
 
queenjane's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 3,199
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Then she should "get" that she can't do it to children either
Sometimes brain damage impede's a person's ability to "get" things that are very obvious to us.


Katherine

Katherine, single homeschooling mom to Boy Genius (17) geek.gif  Thing One (6) and Thing Two (6) fencing.gif and one outgoing Girl (12) bikenew.gif and hoping for more through foster care and adoption homebirth.jpgadoptionheart-1.gif 
queenjane is online now  
Old 11-05-2007, 03:22 PM
 
laohaire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't have much to add, except just the idea that you may want to be the facilitator between both of them, to help them communicate in more appropriate ways. That would go for BOTH of them.

I'm thinking maybe you can show MIL how DS likes to be touched and played with - as a PP said, start by getting her attention and explaining nicely that DS doesn't like being touched this way. But it sounds like MIL doesn't know HOW ELSE to touch him, so maybe showing her would help. "DS loves playing 'this' game" or "DS likes to sing - let's all sing" or something like that.

And similarly when DS tells MIL to go away, he doesn't know how ELSE to express his needs. So maybe say, "Saying that hurts mawmaw's feelings. She's only trying to play with you. It would be better to say [I'm not sure exactly what - that he wants some alone time? That he would rather not play this game?]"

Anyway, I think you get the idea - that you're showing BOTH of them how to interact with each other, what to say and do, that would be appropriate for both of them. Sounds easier than it is, I'm sure.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

laohaire is offline  
Old 11-05-2007, 04:39 PM
 
VisionaryMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,736
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post
Sometimes brain damage impede's a person's ability to "get" things that are very obvious to us.


Katherine
My point is that she's apparently only doing this to this child. If she's not poking and teasing everyone, then she knows on some level that it's not appropriate. I say this because DH's grandmother had brain issues for years before her death, but she treated everyone that way - adult or child. She really didn't understand at all that she was saying or doing inappropriate things. If Grandma's not poking everyone else, then I don't understand why she couldn't be stopped from poking this child. Is there something about him that says to her "hey, treat me like this!" Now, maybe she's not around other kids, I don't know; perhaps she would treat all kids this way.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
VisionaryMom is offline  
Old 11-05-2007, 05:57 PM
 
queenjane's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 3,199
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
My point is that she's apparently only doing this to this child. If she's not poking and teasing everyone, then she knows on some level that it's not appropriate. I say this because DH's grandmother had brain issues for years before her death, but she treated everyone that way - adult or child. She really didn't understand at all that she was saying or doing inappropriate things. If Grandma's not poking everyone else, then I don't understand why she couldn't be stopped from poking this child. Is there something about him that says to her "hey, treat me like this!" Now, maybe she's not around other kids, I don't know; perhaps she would treat all kids this way.
I think its possible her brain damage is causing her to be less inhibited with ds, or to not know how to interact with him. Was this child born before her stroke? Did she have a lot of contact with him, if so, before the strokes? Did she have alot of contact with other kids pre-stroke? She *may* not really know how to interact with this little person, and her ability to process or pick up on his cues about stopping might be hindered by the damage to her brain.

Or she could just be an irritating woman. :

I did not say anywhere in my post that she "couldnt be stopped from poking this child", only that some consideration should be given to the fact that this is someone with damage to her brain, that is likely impacting her behavior to *some* extent. Just because your grandmother who had brain issues behaved a certain way, or my mother who has stroke-related brain damage behaves a certain way, doesnt mean that the MIL in question will behave that way. We just don't know. I do know that the brain is a fascinating thing, and when its damaged, that damage can manifest itself in all sorts of ways.

I took care of a man who had TBI as a result of a motorcycle accident as a teen....he could be a real jerk to his caregivers, while being nice as ever to strangers or people he wanted to impress. Did that mean that his brain injury didnt contribute to his anger issues(just because he could to some extent control who he got angry with)? No, it was pretty directly related. Did that mean, though, that we let him treat us (his caregivers)however he pleased, because he had a TBI? No, of course not. But did we understand not to take the behavior personally, and continually work with him to modify his behavior? Yes.

I guess i just have alot of sympathy for the MIL, because my own mother has residual affects from a stroke (including needing almost total care now)....but as i said in my post, that doesnt mean she should continue to upset the child. I do think there are ways that everyone can get their needs met, and no one end up with hurt feelings.


Katherine

Katherine, single homeschooling mom to Boy Genius (17) geek.gif  Thing One (6) and Thing Two (6) fencing.gif and one outgoing Girl (12) bikenew.gif and hoping for more through foster care and adoption homebirth.jpgadoptionheart-1.gif 
queenjane is online now  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off