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Discussion Starter #1
<p>I'm sorry this is long, but I am so lost at this point I don't know what to do.</p>
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<p>I have complained to my family and on here, back in the day I was on here all the time, about how MIL would ask to watch ONLY DD1 all the time, how she would disappear into her room w/ DD1 and not let DD2 in while we were all there for dinner and a movie, MIL would set food in front of DD2 then spoon feed DD1, MIL complains about how horrible DD2 has been when she watches all three of my girls, MIL would sulk anytime DD1 would get into trouble. This is all my fault. I asked MIL to watch DD1 constantly during the first 8 months of her life, so that I could go work, but I will be the first to admit, I didn't know how to deal with a baby and found excuses to go work. So I know at the root of it all it is my fault, but I need help figuring out what to do now. </p>
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<p>Anyway there's the back story. DD1 turned 4 in August, DD2 will turn 3 in December, they are 17 months apart. We recently had a blow up with DH's parents. They feel we are too rough on DD1 and that they both deserve equal punishment. I have a problem with this to begin with, they are not the same age. I do not feel they should be held at the same standard, not until DD2 is at least 3, she is a very immature 3, unlike DD1 who is a very mature 4.</p>
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<p>Now I agree there may be times I am harder on DD1, due to the inlaws showing blatant favoritism she tends to get an attitude over at their house and I admit I do at times lose my temper, but 95% of the time her punishment is timeout and then a discussion. Apparently the inlaws feel DD2 is not in timeout enough. They have told us DD2 is just as to blame majority of the time as DD1. For example, the situation this weekend (keep in mind DH and I had just come back from a date night, DD1 had stayed at the inlaws, DD2 had stayed at my parents) The moment we got there, DD1 started yelling at DD2 for moving some toys around, I reminded her to speak gently, then later DD2 had been told by MIL to leave the birdbath alone. DD2 stuck her hand in the birdbath, DD1 promptly hit her, DD2 cried (BIL made a point later to say DD2 just <em>acts</em> like she's hurt all the time). I told DD1 to go sit in timeout, she started yelling no at me, I held her hand and led her to the chair, she began hitting me, I spanked her (yes, I know, I'm a *@#& mom), she continued to yell no at me, I removed her into another room, sat her down and told her that behavior was not acceptable and she needed to adjust her attitude. When I went back into the living room, I mentioned to DH that DD1 had started on DD2 the moment we got there. This is when FIL set in on me for not punishing DD2 for sticking her hands in the bird bath, that she deserved equal punishment. At the end of the conversation DH said we should leave, I picked up DD2, DH picked up DD3, in the meantime, MIL quickly got to her feet and ran to go kiss DD1 goodbye and that she loved her. NOT A DAMN WORD TO EITHER OF MY OTHER CHILDREN!!!</p>
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<p>Anyway, so now at the end of this, we now know, both of DH's siblings (and wives) feel the same way as the inlaws, that we are too hard on DD1. My mother did mention to me, maybe there was validation to that if they all feel the same way, but for all I know MIL has been talking to SIL's and telling them what a horrible mother I am so they are looking for it + they only see us at the inlaw's and that is where DD1 gets this huge attitude. So I will admit there is some fault on my part, but I don't feel I am 100% to blame in this situation and I don't know how to fix the problem.</p>
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<p>DH was dead set on not going over there ever again. They have not attempted to contact us since this happened. He is mixed now, I am as well. Part of me says this is not a healthy situation for my children, the other part doesn't want to remove them entirely from their grandparents. What would you do?</p>
 

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<p>I think you should take a break from seeing them.  For one thing, it's not up to an entire extended family how you raise your children, it's up to you and your dh.</p>
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<p>I think your oldest is probably feeding off the obvious favoritism.  Does she react to time outs that way normally?  Does she hit her sister frequently when not around the inlaws?</p>
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<p>I do think kids having a relationship with their grandparents is important, but not when it comes at the expense of the kids.</p>
 

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<p>i have lots and lots of problems with my mom but I will say that when I was pregnant she was not very excited about dd. I let her know that I don't give a hoot about material possessions, but if she didn't come around about dd IMMEDIATELY that she would not see either child at all. I meant it and I guess it  worked because both she and eventually my dad warmed up to dd. I was hearing so much about how I mkaing ds (the prize child) "suffer" by giving him a sibling, basically they let him do whatever he wanted, never reprimanded him, but instead when he HIT me would tell me taht it was my fault because I had put him in a positiong where he NEEDED to hit me. and on and on.</p>
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<p>If I were you I would not go back over there for a while and I would definitely call your IL and let them know that YOU are the parents and YOU decide dicsipline adn they are not to make any comments or observations on how you handle your child in front of the children. Also if they kiss one they have to kiss that others. It sounds arbitrary and petty, but I went through this with my mom and I'm glad we stuck to it or my kids would have had a wedge driven between them from day 1.</p>
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<p>and fwiw I know this is MDC and all but even if you choose to spank ( and i'm sure that's why she was upset because you spanked dd1 but not dd2 right?), but it's your business and not hers. she has no say.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #4
<p>MIL usually watches all three on monday mornings so I can go work, I have told DH before this happened (because I have been seriously contemplating quitting my job over this), I feel DD1 is more difficult for a couple of days, then she settles down and we are fine, just to turn around and go back every saturday for lunch/dinner/movie/football, sundays are usually hard, then the cycle begins again. Thursdays and Fridays are always our best days in this house. But I feel crappy saying that cause I feel like I'm saying it's all MIL's fault. The hitting is becoming more and more prevelant and I'm at my wit's end about it. She's even started biting her in the last couple of weeks. I'm ordering "raising a thinking child" and "siblings without rivalry". I grew up constantly fighting with one of my sisters I don't want that to happen to my children.</p>
 

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<p>your mil is egging it on whether she realizes it or not. maybe she doesn't, because she is still so in tune with that first grandchild. mymom also babysat for ds for the first 6 months of his life while I worked and I know that is why she is more bonded with him than dd.Have you told her exactly that, that she is perpetuating a cycle of sibling rivalry that you desperately want to break? Or even approach it from the angle of "we are having this problem right now with the girls, to help us out can we all get on the same page?" I know there are some legitimate child development resources online that explaint the difference in maturity from  2 to 3 to 4 yrs old and maybe she needs to see that in hard black and white to see that you are not favoring dd2 but just treating her according to your insight on her development.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #6
<p>That is where I am hitting my head on a wall. We have had three issues in the past 1 - I told her to not nuke baby bottles, she did, and that prompted our first hiatus because she got so angry at me for telling her she can't do that. 2 - I asked her to not let the girls watch Tom and Jerry, I felt like it was too violent, she ignored me and let the girls watch it anyway and now turns on Nick Jr when they are over there, I'm sure just to spite me. 3 - in the last month she started putting lipstick on my 4 year old, I told her I didn't like it and she continues to do it anyway. This women could care less what I say or how I feel. If I go to her and tell her these things, my worry is if my husband patches things up then I will be in the dog house with his family till the day they die. At this point I am letting my husband handle it. Do you ladies think this is a good choice or should I go try to talk to her even tho I'm pretty positive I know the outcome.</p>
 

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<p>Can only imagine how tough this is for you but once your MIL started ignoring and disrespecting the choices you've set forth for your children you and DH should have stopped letting the children spend time there alone or at all. You've said the woman could care less about how you feel about your children. There's your answer. Why is she being allowed to watch your children? I feel children don't need relationships with people who are continually disrespectful to the parents.</p>
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<p>If your husband decides to patch up things with his parents does that doesn't mean you still to have leave your children over there? I don't see the point of you talking to her alone. Your DH needs to set some ground rules and stick to them! If his parents can't follow the rules in regards to the children then the children cannot be there until they do.</p>
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<p>When you allow people to have relationships with your children in spite of how they direspect your parenting choices, it sends them a message that it's okay for them to continue to disrespect your choices. The children were still allowed to be there even though she continued to nuke the milk when she was informed not to. The children are still watching violent cartoons (slightly off topic- I find that cartoon to be very violent too! I wasn't allowed to watch when I was a kid) even though you've made it clear they shouldn't be but you still send the kids over there. Boundaries should have been set a long time ago. This needs to happen ASAP. Worry less about how they feel about you and more about the effect the IL's behavior is having on your family.</p>
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<p>It seems like this is a bad situation because you and your DH have allowed them to have their say on how your raise and discipline your children. You've also allowed them to show what seems like blatant favoritism to your oldest DD. The environment seems unhealthy to all of the children especially DD1. It shouldn't take days to shake off the effects of DD1 being with the grandparents.<br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>OceansEve</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279777/inlaw-and-sibling-issues-advice-needed-desperately#post_16050532"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-right:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-bottom:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>That is where I am hitting my head on a wall. We have had three issues in the past 1 - I told her to not nuke baby bottles, she did, and that prompted our first hiatus because she got so angry at me for telling her she can't do that. 2 - I asked her to not let the girls watch Tom and Jerry, I felt like it was too violent, she ignored me and let the girls watch it anyway and now turns on Nick Jr when they are over there, I'm sure just to spite me. 3 - in the last month she started putting lipstick on my 4 year old, I told her I didn't like it and she continues to do it anyway. This women could care less what I say or how I feel. If I go to her and tell her these things, my worry is if my husband patches things up then I will be in the dog house with his family till the day they die. At this point I am letting my husband handle it. Do you ladies think this is a good choice or should I go try to talk to her even tho I'm pretty positive I know the outcome.</p>
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<p>gbailey - yeah, you're right. We've let it continue out of necessity, we needed someone to watch the girls without costing $, but at this point it has cost us more than $. What you're saying makes sense, because it feels like it's gotten worse in recent months, well duh, cause of the tv shows and lipstick in the last few months, I explained to DD1 that those things were not good for her, then I'm sure MIL is right behind me telling her it's fine. She even told DD1 it was their "secret" ("Hey mama I got a secret! whisper whisper, gma put lipstick on me") which burned me and the moment she told me I told DH it was time to leave and he felt I was being extremely rude, but I couldn't stay in that house a moment longer w/o losing it. DH was upset with me that day. I think what finally did it in for him was the fact it was his father that started it this weekend. DH is great at ignoring his mother, but when his dad set in it hit something.</p>
 

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<p>Ugh.  The whole "secret" thing really skeeves me out.  I think that is so unhealthy for your child and you are right to be concerned and angry.  I would sit down with them - you and your DH - without the kids around and lay down the ground rules.  If they can't respect your parenting decisions, then tell them that you will no longer be coming over to their house and they will no longer be watching your children.  I feel so bad for all 3 of your kids to be put in that environment, but especially DD2.  No wonder she seems more difficult, according to your MIL.  Every time she goes over there she is reminded that her gma likes her sister better than her : ( <br>
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<p>You are a better person than I.  If my MIL was doing those things, I would freak out on her!</p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>OceansEve</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279777/inlaw-and-sibling-issues-advice-needed-desperately#post_16050772"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>gbailey - yeah, you're right. We've let it continue out of necessity, we needed someone to watch the girls without costing $, but at this point it has cost us more than $. What you're saying makes sense, because it feels like it's gotten worse in recent months, well duh, cause of the tv shows and lipstick in the last few months, I explained to DD1 that those things were not good for her, then I'm sure MIL is right behind me telling her it's fine. She even told DD1 it was their "secret" ("Hey mama I got a secret! whisper whisper, gma put lipstick on me") which burned me and the moment she told me I told DH it was time to leave and he felt I was being extremely rude, but I couldn't stay in that house a moment longer w/o losing it. DH was upset with me that day. I think what finally did it in for him was the fact it was his father that started it this weekend. DH is great at ignoring his mother, but when his dad set in it hit something.</p>
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<p>Parents have opinions. If they are smart, they keep it to themselves. They should not have intervened in the situation above. DH should make it clear to them that opinions are unwelcome. And that you are a family and everyone needs to be treated equally. The obvious favoring of DD1 is unacceptable. If they can't keep their opinions to themselves and treat the children equally when they are together then you will have to limit contact. I would personally reconsider using them as a babysitter at all.</p>
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<p>Sticking a hand in a forbidden bird bath is not the same thing as a hitting a younger sibling, hitting the mother, and being rude. I don't think the situation was handled well by anyone.</p>
 

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<p>We are having a sit down with MIL on this same topic. (wish me luck this week, I'll probably post about it)</p>
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<p>Basically I have and Dh finally agrees and sees what I see (It only took a year) MIL will do things I deem dangerous or wrong to spite me, not because she is intentionally endangering DS. THIS IS A PROBLEM. Disrespecting and disregarding my role as a mother is not ok. If she does not start listening to us as parents she will not see DS. Dh is finally at the point where he is willing to lay this out clearly. It is more about her not liking me and claiming DS as her own than anything else, but that still does not fly.</p>
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<p>With you MIL is sounds like she sees DD1 as <em>her</em> child rather than yours. Which would be why she gets more attention and gets away with more ect...</p>
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<p>Not healthy not good. I can understand her feeling closer for the reasons you gave, but YOU are the MOM.</p>
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<p>It sounds harsh but I believe unless you were in the bedroom when the child was made you hold no trump cards. You can voice opinions but Mom and Dad always trump/ have final say.</p>
 

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<p>I would not leave this up to DH. As the children's mother and his wife you have as big a say in things as he does. I do not think that the children need to be spending time with her alone again. This honestly sounds kind of how my DSS acts when he goes to his bio mom's for a weekend. He comes back and hits, doesn't listen to us, etc. It seems like she is undermining all of the progress you make throughout the week, and that just cannot be allowed to continue. You are the mom. You have this one shot with each of your kids and you take it seriously. So. Talk it over with DH. If you decide to talk with MIL, I would do it together as a united front. You are partners for life and she needs to see that you stand together and make decisions together. She is already talking about you to BILs it won't be long before she tries other family members and maybe even DH on his own. Don't let her get that far. Be on the defense this is your family and if she wants to be a part of it, she has to deal with you.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #13
<p>Thanks for the replies ladies! (And good luck Dakotablue!)</p>
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<p>They have still not tried to contact us, DH and I discussed last night, if we are going to see them again it will only be for holidays and birthdays. Oh yes, I already made the decision babysitting is over! I am still feeling iffy on confronting them myself tho (if it comes to that, DH has no intention of reaching out to them). I don't want to alienate DH from his family. If I go after MIL, BIL will hate me (he is the mama's boy, whom she showed obvious favoritism to. Foolish me I saw it when we were dating and never thought ahead). I don't want DH to be without his brother because of me. DH only has a couple of friends who he only sees once a year, his brother is his closest friend and if we aren't going to be going to the IL's house then his brother will have to start coming here to see us all. I guess I don't need to worry about it till they call DH, IF they ever bother to call.</p>
 

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<p>I would say maybe take a break. And then for awhile visits maybe need to be on your turf or some neutral like the park. Because there seems to be respect and boundary issues between you and your mil. Then if and when things calm down a little bit maybe your dh can sit with them and explain that you guys understand that she is more bonded with dd1 which is natural as she took care of her so much. But you also have two other girls and in order to help the girls get along you need everyone's cooperation, etc.</p>
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<p>This is rough. I feel this way about my fam and dh's fam. People seem to care alot less about my dd2 then my dd1. It hurts, especially because you worry about when they get to teh age they are gonna notice it too. Sorry you are dealign with this.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>JudiAU</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279777/inlaw-and-sibling-issues-advice-needed-desperately#post_16051078"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br>
Sticking a hand in a forbidden bird bath is not the same thing as a hitting a younger sibling, hitting the mother, and being rude. I don't think the situation was handled well by anyone.</div>
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I agree. I actually do think the younger dd should have gotten into trouble for putting her hand in the bird bath. I also can see how your MIL thought that it was wrong of you not to say anything after she had said the birdbath was off limits. I can see how if they see that often, they've come to the conclusion that you're favoring one child.</p>
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<p>OTOH, there are too many people involved in the way you're dealing with your daughters. This is one of the reasons we don't live near my family. We don't think or parent the way they do, and I knew it would be a problem. In some family structures (mine is this way), the entire extended family is invested in how a child is disciplined because there's a village concept. The problem is that when you don't think like the rest of your village, you're constantly fighting this battle.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #16
<p>vision - you hit the nail on the head. MIL is a neat freak, I am not. She goes off on DD2 for things I am not inclined to see as wrong. The birdbath for example - I could care less if she sticks her hands in the water! MIL was outside while I was dealing w/ DD1 so I assumed she was dealing w/ DD2. I have a problem with disciplining my 2 yo for doing things 2 yos do. I do agree with Judi, not a single one of us handled it well, but it's about time this all came falling down.</p>
 

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<p>I think you sound like you have the right approach to this:  no way would I encourage babysitting and all.</p>
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<p>The whole "secret" thing really sends up red flags to me, let alone favoritism.  My ILs show favoritism to my ds over my dd, and I deliberately do not live near them...and feel the need to mediate their visits with my kids.  When my ILs purchase something for my ds and not my dd (happens a lot...), I will quietly ask if there is an object for my dd and if there isn't, then I announce to the kids that there is only one of whatever it is (set of PlayDoh, truck, coloring book...) and since there's only one, it will be shared by everyone and for everyone to enjoy...</p>
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<p>Anyway, I'm venting about my own ILs now, but I just wanted to throw out my .02 here ---- I'm glad you recognize this for the problem it is and aren't all about "Oh, they're g-parents and they have the right to see the kids and how could you do this to them..." like I see on here every so often -- this is your family, and only you and your dh have a say in discipline, IMO.</p>
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<p>And the secret thing --- my kids love to have "surprises" for me and my dh, but we verbally discourage secret-keeping.  It isn't safe.</p>
 

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<p>I think you should take a break from them. You are the parents and you get to decide how you discipline them, not anyone else. It really isn't any of their business and they aren't there 24/7 to see how the 2 are different.</p>
 

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<p>It's great that you are going to find alternative child care arrangements.  As frustrating as it is, as long as you are relying on them for child care, particularly for free child care, they are going to have the upper hand and consider it their business to intrude.</p>
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<p>I think you need to set very clear boundaries, but it's really up to your husband to deal with his family.  If I were him, I'd sit them down and explain that you don't appreciate their critiquing of your parenting and that it's none of their business.  They got to raise their kids, you get to raise yours.  And I would make it perfectly clear that you will not listen to any comments about the way you raise your children.</p>
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<p>I wouldn't cut them out completely.  But I would have short, supervised visits.  If they start to make unwelcome comments or treat the kids unfairly, I'd speak right up.  If it happened a second time, I'd pack the kids up and leave.  Repeat as necessary.</p>
 
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