hard to handle mother in law, my son's only living grandparent.. .immigrant... doesn't respect my wishes.. . - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 12-10-2013, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi there.  I replied to another thread and then realized it was a year old!

I got preachy, but it helped to vent.

Please let me know if you think i should be more gracefully confrontational with my MIL.

Or, if i should let it rest, as my son is now 8.

She might always be grandiose and condescending with me, esp when her ego is so  fragile.

Thanks for reading:

Hi there!

Just thinking about this myself, as my mother in law again has spanked our now 8 year old son.

He visited with his dad (my husband) over the last weekend.

He was being 'annoying' turning on and off lights. . .or something.  Yes, he can be very irritating.

He is an only child.  So is my hubby.  MIL has been widowed and alone for 2 decades.  From Eastern Europe.   Broken English.  Strong bond between hubby and his mom.   

Hard to handle.  My parents passed many moons ago.

I am insecure.  There, i said it.

But i know that i have mentioned several times over the past 8 years that spanking and other very impulsive acts do not serve as behaviors that i want my son to model.  Esp. when spanking is done right then, without warning, and without any other methods tried.  

It sucks to be considered as a SAHM who has "nothing better to think about" than these issues, but it does matter.

When he told me that she hit him last weekend, i tried to remain calm and ask more.  My powerlessness with her stems from her fragile ego; she is his only grandparent, and she is very very headstrong and implulsive. . gambling (supposidly in the past) and smoking have been some issues. . .

I digress. . .

It is difficult to characterize spanking as always bad, since i have hit my son back when he has hit me from time to time.

Not my finest hour. . .but, without siblings who would ( i believe) had hit him back once or twice, he just sort of did well to learn how it feels.

He was very out of control. . .and sometimes kids around age 4 or 6 can get physical if they are quite physical to begin, as is my son.

Time outs can be him screaming "no". . . .but, another approach, i know. . ..could have been simply to let teh energy dissipate a bit.. . then . . .act.

I hope to be more like this in the future.

I don't let my emotions get the best of me too much, but it happens sometimes, and i yell.

Another person using spanks immediately bugs me since i have asked her not to. . ..she barely spoke to me for so long after that!  and my hubby was mad at me to boot--obvious when he siad the issue was 'stupid'.

Spanking an impulsive kid might 'work' but it doesn't teach him to use his words or understand how he feels.

It ends behavior sometimes.

Some of my friends say that their kids don't respond unless they think a spanking is in order. ..do you want to rule by threats always?

BEHAVIOR OF CHILD AND CARETAKER IS A RELATIONSHIP.  That helps when i remember that.  

Do I want to be close to him and have him share with me?   Do i wish for a convenient relationship where he doesn't bug me ever, and does not tattle.. etc?

I try to remember this as my son grows and gets very sassy.  I calmly disengage very frequently. . .esp when he is hungry and/or tired.  He USUALLY COMES TO TELL ME HE IS SORRY!

AND, . ..I think of how at least he has a conscience.  He will never ever be perfect.  And, eventually, he will make his own way and his own decisions.  I want to stay conncected, but not as a doormat.  So, it is a lesson in balance.

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#2 of 7 Old 12-10-2013, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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So, if anyone out there cares to tell me how to deal, running the risk of further animosity between MIL and myself . . .and my hubby. . . please let me know.

Should i even need to comment to her about how i know that she hit him while i was not there?

Or, should i let it rest and let him know that no one should be hitting him?

This hitting thing has happened several times throughout his childhood so far. . . .Each time with me going to hubby to express dislike.  One time i confronted her and she did not speak to me for a very long time.

We have a very shakey relationship

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#3 of 7 Old 12-10-2013, 09:37 PM
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My IL's are similar in that they think they know better than me.  FIL is pushier than MIL (I honestly think she's afraid of him but another issue) and he watches DD for us while I work part time.  I don't spank...DH did once and I laid into him for that and it has not happened again.  I do occasionally worry about what goes on with DD during the day when I'm away.  I know that my FIL brings in food for DD which I've asked he not do because of food intolerances - he still does it.  So I can only tolerate so many nice requests being ignored before I DO yell at him, and he doesn't like it and will give me dirty looks, but I'm sorry , my kid, my house, my rules.  DH is no saint, and his only brother is in prison for who knows how long - the way I see it they did no good in raising their own kids, I don't want that kind of influence on my child.  I have a year to go before DD can start pre-school and it's a constant battle.  It shouldn't be.  My parents are incredibly respectful of my parenting choices.  My mother has commented that while they are not things she would do, she realizes that it's not her child nor her place to make such decisions.  IMO I wouldn't hesitate to say something - hell, the relationship is already sketchy, what's there to lose?  It's about respecting another person's choices and your MIL is not respecting yours.   I would never tolerate another person hitting my child, family or not.

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#4 of 7 Old 12-11-2013, 04:51 AM - Thread Starter
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wow. sounds as if that situation is also stressful for you!  i want to write more but have to work for a couple hours.  Will get bk later, but wanted to ask if there are degrees of spanking/hitting?  I know that she was irritated... .a smoker too!  and when she is irritated she is impulsive, well, always, really.  And, she took his arm and slapped it ... . he told me that it hurt and he doesn't lie.  He might accentuate things at times, but not lie.  And so, is she untouchable?  My hubby thinks spanking like that, in an immediate sense when he's irritated, is ok.  He would let it slide b4 confronting his mom, or i could see him laughing it off and warning his mom in a cute way. . .not so cute to me though.  How about when one parent says it is ok or let's it slide?     

HELP!    It is soooo frustrating.  When your kid is 8 it might just be time to learn to deal w/o hitting . . .doncha think?  I will write more on yours later. Had to get that out.  I would be concerned if i were you. . .knowing too of their son who is incarcerated, that is very stressful

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#5 of 7 Old 12-11-2013, 05:53 AM
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I think you all need to stop hitting each other. Since you seem to be the most enlightened of the bunch u think you should make that commitment first, regardless if what others do. Having the non violent approach modelled by at least one of the major influences in his life will be very helpful for your child.

Next I think you need to try to work things through with your husband. You two should be working as a team to figure out together how to deal with MIL.

As for Mil hitting your kid, I think you need to be clear that you're not comfortable with it. Tell your husband and tell her. If your husband gets mad tell him you're just sharing how you honestly feel, which is discomfort when she hits your child.

Also, buy Dr. Markham's book peaceful parenting.

You are in for a very rough road as the primary problem appears to be your relationship with your husband. Unless he's willing to look at himself and do some work to better your relationship it'll be very difficult to change the current patterns of behaviour.
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#6 of 7 Old 12-11-2013, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Well said, Viola!


Thanks so much.   You really listened and i thank you.   

My hubby had the day off, and we just now did discuss this.  I told him that over the years, his mother has impulsively hit our son, gently or not, as a response to her discomfort.  Not surprisingly, she has also applauded him for 'not crying' and told him that he has no reason to cry on so many occasions.  

Since my parents died when i was young, i thought (and he said) that i did not know how it was to deal with parents cause i don't have them and that he had a difficult time not (basically) letting her be the grandparent she needed to be.  

Sometimes i wonder how i will be as my son's partner's MIL.  In any case. . . .we spoke and what came out is that he said, "maybe" to the act of hitting as an impulsive one, by his mom, by him.  I on one or 2 occasions did kind of spank his butt as i carried him to his room and he was pinching and kicking.  I was just trying to let him know how it felt, and at the time, i felt that i needed my balance for our stairs.  I know it is never my 1st choice to yell, but i have done it on occasion.  Every day i try to evolve and decrease my gut reactions to thoughtful and mature balanced teaching.  My son is very intelligent and very driven and full of enthusiasm. He constantly needs stimulation, i mean, even if i give him a job, or task,  ..it is good to keep the interest for he has so much curiosity and energy.

I thank you.  I have told my hubby  today that although he hates when i oppose him in front of our son (when he threatens that 'something bad will happen if he continues the behavior, or a spanking will happen)  I also am disrespected when his mother says in front of everyone at dinner that times out or other discipline are silly or not going to work, cause the kid can play with toys.  I am ok with him playing with toys.  The issue is for him to calm his feelings.  The issue is for him to find equilibrium.  Sometimes he needs silence and solitude to find that balance.  So do I.  

Whether or not i bored you with all that, i thank you.  You are very correct.  I had just told my hubby that the dynamic problem is btwn MIL and myself, and He and I and he and his mother.   Our son's behavior is not even the worst of it.  He is overall, a great kid with somewhat cranky mornings and if he is tired, he can get very frustrated and negative. . . .in nay case, it  is a work in progress. . . .as is every relationship.   Right?  We have to work it out.  My hubby is used to calling the shots, as a physician.  I am now mostly a SAHM.  I enforce bedtimes to avoid crankiness.  All that skiing and hard play is tiring.  Sleep is like magic for the mood.  Take care.


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#7 of 7 Old 12-11-2013, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Having the non violent approach modelled by at least one of the major influences in his life will be very helpful for your child.

Quote by Viola P.

She really helped me reinforce this in my mind today.

Thanks, Viola P

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