My in-laws love my kids and really enjoy spending time with them. However whenever they watch them, they always end up doing something that I really disagree with or that makes me cringe. I'll give a few examples, whenever they are playing role play games ds (aged 5) always gets to have the best role ie pilot on the plane, doctor etc. while dd (aged 2.5) gets the 'lesser' role, nurse, hostess (a word I have never even used). Then whenever they've been watching them, they always come home singing jingles off TV advertisements, which they all think is really cute (arghhh!). Oh and then there's the food thing! I try to be pretty laid back and I tell myself that the level of my involvement with them will counteract any negative effects but sometimes I don't know. Like the other day, my son got the doctor's things out to play a game and I said dd should be the doctor, she started crying 'no, no I'm the nurse'. It's difficult to talk to my mother in law about things because she gets very defensive, even lying about things if I mention them, even though I'm really careful not to sound as though I'm criticising her. An example is the other week the kids got sickness and diaorea (don't know how to spell), I asked dh what they'd eaten, he told me they'd had some food that had been cooked the previous day and left out overnight. When I said that obviously that's what had made them ill, she said it'd been in the fridge overnight (I know it hadn't because I'd seen it the following morning). The kids' relationship with their grandparents is so important but I'm starting to feel increasingly uneasy about leaving the kids in their care. I just don't know how to get through to them. It might be worth mentioning that dh and I are from different cultures and this seems to be part of the issue. TIA for any advice.
The thing where you dd often is given the lesser roles might be because she's younger and not because she's a girl. I would ask for their reasoning behind that.
I would be a bit concerned about the food poisoning thing and would mention it to my MIL again. The rest, I would let go. Honestly. I agree with the above poster, when I read about your DD getting "lesser" roles, I assumed it was because of age. We don't have family within a 5 hour drive of our house and I would love love love if grandparents were closer and wanted to spend time with them. Please try to let it go and be appreciative of your in-laws. I don't mean that in a snarky way, just trying to give you another viewpoint.
until you dont have family around you dont realise the wealth of having loving family nearby.
i would NOT be happy about MIL trying to cover up that she left the food outside.
hopefully she learnt a lesson this time and does not repeat it again (however i do feel we as a culture do go overboard about food storage).
but all of this - even the food poisoning is not big enough for me to reduce or stop interaction with inlaws. get frustrated and try to figure out a happy medium?!!! sure.
Thanks for your replies. Just to clarify I would never consider cutting contact, all parties get so much joy from the relationships, besides dh would never let that happen. I just sometimes feel that I'm not entirely comfortable with the childcare they receive there and so as a duty to my kids I should do something about it. I suppose the bottom line is the communication difficulties between them with my m-i-l being very defensive and hostile to anything I say regarding the kids. I try to be really careful about the way I say things but when she lies about stuff I don't know how to handle it because no-one else gets that she's lying so for me to persue it would look like me being problematic. But by her saving face she's not taking on board the point I'm making. I feel like her saving face is more important to her than the kids' welfare, kwim?
I suppose the bottom line is the communication difficulties between them with my m-i-l being very defensive and hostile to anything I say regarding the kids. I try to be really careful about the way I say things but when she lies about stuff I don't know how to handle it because no-one else gets that she's lying so for me to persue it would look like me being problematic. But by her saving face she's not taking on board the point I'm making. I feel like her saving face is more important to her than the kids' welfare, kwim?
Since your DH understands both cultures, I would bring this up with him. See if he can come up with some ideas. Maybe he can figure out how your MIL can save face AND she can take your point about the food poisoning seriously. Maybe he has ideas on how she can be less defensive and hostile. If this is a cultural problem then maybe a different approach - different wording, or having DH address it in a different way... If it is not cultural, in other words if she is defensive and hostile regardless, then there is less you can do to change her. She will be defensive anyway. And you can't change other people or their personalities. But in this case you can change yourself or your reaction to it. For example you can not get into discussions with her that will be hostile. Or you can set up rules that she does not need to know about. If you decide that the food problem is going to come up again, then you still let them visit, but only when you or DH is there, so you can check up on the food.
My folks can be very pig headed and judgemental. Before I would get into a confrontation with them, trying to get them to see my point of view, or why XYZ was the better way... One day I literally realized this was a huge waste of time and energy. I wasn't going to change their p.o.v, just as they were not going to change my mind. From that day on, when they said something absurd or off, I just ignored it, or said "hmm, ok" or something totally neutral, then went on about my business exactly as is. In other words, I was polite but I was going to do whatever I was going to do. I never ever said it, but the message was clearly "I am a confident mother and I am going to do whatever I am going to do. You can give your opinion, but I am the parent and I am going to do what I think is best and I am not going to discuss it, and I definetely do not have to explain my views to you." And after a few visits, they got the message. Now, they keep their opinions to themselves. And if they do not like something, they make a concerted effort to word it in a respectful way. I don't know if you can do this, due to the cultural barrier, but maybe there is a way for you to accomplish the same? Good luck.