How do I deal with my in-laws?

Loryn - posted on 10/28/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )

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My son is 13 months old and my in-laws have been keeping him over night usually one night a week since he was two months old. They would keep him EVERY night if I would allow it. My son LOVES his grandparents, but I'm concerned that they are trying to take over my child. Lately, he has started crying for his grandmother and wants nothing to do with me. He wakes up in the middle of the night screaming for her! It is an awful feeling to know that your child would rather be soothed by someone else other than his mother! They baby him REALLY bad and give him ANYTHING he wants. (Ex. ice cream, cookie dough, coke, coffee, hot chocolate in his sippy cup!!!) I've asked them not to do these things and they don't seem to listen to what I say. I've tried telling them he cannot come over and they are very rude with me saying "I am jealous of the relationship they have with him" and "I make up every excuse to keep them away" (keep in mind he's never been away for over a week!) When I leave their house with him they tell him bye over and over til he starts crying for them and doesnt want to leave. I seriously believe that they do this on purpose. they will even call after we get 10 min down the road b/c they "forgot to tell me someting", but i know they're just trying to see if he is still crying for them! I am so frustrated and i do not know what to do! I've talked to my husband a/b it and all he says is "just ignore them, they just want to get under your skin". Well it's working and driving me CRAZY! Please suggestions anyone?

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Jenette - posted on 11/03/2010

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If this were my reality, I would...
1. Have a sit down with my husband and explain that this situation isn't working for me or my child. It isn't healthy for anyone! Brainstorm together what you want this relationship with his parents to look like, what is acceptable and what isn't. There needs to be a "talk" with his parents and it needs to come from him. If there are problems with my parents, then I will deal with that problem but since it is your family, you need to speak up first. His parents need to see you as a unified front (just like kids). If they disobey the rules and conditions that are set forth in that meeting, then their consequence will be less time with their son and grandchild. (Sounds harsh, but you need a healthy family before you have a happy in-law family)

2. Follow through with whatever system that you set up.

3. I would allow for some time where your child isn't over there overnight for some while and limit the daytime hours as well. You need to reconnect with your son as does his father. This is a very special age to bond with your children. And although it might be nice to have a full nights rest, you can't get back that bond/respect/love/need that you want your child to have in you. (Personally, my 4 year old has only spent 5 nights away from me her entire life. I would limit overnight stays to once a year, but that is just me. They can babysit, but there is really no need for sleepovers at this point.)

4. You can't take advantage of your in-laws. If you and your husband are looking out for a night on the town and decide to "let" the grandparents have him this time because it's convenient for you, then the whole deal will be off. They won't respect it and you will have another fight on your hands.

I wish you well. This is a very dysfunctional situation. But for your sons sake, I hope you and your husband can figure this out together.

Tiffany - posted on 10/31/2010

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I thankfully dont have in-laws so I dont have this problem. It sounds like you are trying and making an effort but they are just WAY to pushy and couldnt care less. I would personally stop the overnights for a month or so and tell her that when she can have more respect that she can start having him overnight again because the situation is not working at home. It will most likely (like you said) make them not like you, and possibly talk bad about you. But hopefully they will see that they are grown people and need to act like so. Nobody did this to them while they were raising their children, so they should just let you raise yours.
Much easier said than done Im sure...I hope things work out for you in some way!

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Chazda - posted on 10/22/2013

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I find it very disturbing that your inlaws would give so much sugar and caffeine to a child. Very unhealthy and both you and your husband need to say NO to that. Together. As others have mentioned here, be a unified front.

If your inlaws want to ruin your marriage and spoil your child and do everything they can to make sure the child becomes a wired, obese diabetic, they should just keep doing what they're doing.

You have a serious problem here and it is within your power to revoke their having your son over so often. If they have a problem with that - then frankly THAT is when you can ignore them. Not now - right now you need to face this.

I sincerely hope you find the strength to say no to these people. You are the child's mother. What you say goes. Period. If they don't comply, then revoke visitation until they apologize and promise to follow your wishes.

And yes, you are being manipulated and yes - it is intentional. That is obvious. What is disturbing is how the grandparents are seemingly willing to manipulate and mess-up the child just to get at you. That is wrong on so many levels!

I wish you buckets of luck in this. Have a good talk with your husband. Let him know this is not to be taken lightly, certainly not something you should "just ignore." The first seven years of your son's life are the most important, the most influential in determining what kind of man (or wimp) he will become.

Good luck!

Brie - posted on 11/11/2010

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ok.. i kind of understand your situation bc my mil doesn't like me but she acts like it because my husband and i are married with a little boy! but that is the only way i connect with you but to be completely honest you obviously know she doesn't like you from what you have said for whatever reason.. therefore she is undermining you and walking all over you because she knows you will let her... as far as your husband you two need to sit and have a serious chat about what is going on!! don't let him blow you off by saying to just ignore it... you should put your foot down and let them know that it is your way or the highway!!! start taking away their visiting priviledges and tell them that if nothing else they need to take your role as his mother seriously and respect you and if they don't then they don't need to spend that much time with him at all... that is heartbreaking about your mother and it is bull... yeah they are going to talk about you and say bad things but here is a little something for you.... they probably already do!!!! you need to do what is best for you and your son.. and if your husband isn't supportive then you have bigger issues than just your in laws... this is my opinion and honestly what i would do if i was in your situation... your in laws especially you mil is off her rocker!!! i truly hope that things work out for you and also telling them that your mother would like him sometimes also might help!!!

Selena - posted on 11/11/2010

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Dump the in laws! I did. It has been the best thing for my marriage n my self. There has been bickering from Time to time but my babies are more important to me then what my in laws would ever think of me. Good luck with your decision

Sandy - posted on 11/09/2010

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Wow, coffee, coke and hot chocolate...do they not realize what the crap can be doing to his teeth? They need to put themselves in your shoes, how would your MIL feel if you pulled that on her. They have no respect for you as a parent and your husband needs to speak up for you too, you are his wife and family and he needs to let his parents know that it's not okay for them to walk all over you and disrespect you as your son's mother. And if she really loves your son, how cruel is she being by making him cry like that for attention, she's playing head games with him that is so mean. Any grandparent that makes their grand child purposely cry for them, needs some serious help, emotional black mail for love and attention can be child abuse in my opionion only. Good luck and don't be afraid to stick up for yourself and you son's well being.

Anri - posted on 11/09/2010

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My LG is 13 months old, and we just have a NO SLEEP OUT policy, or rather a no stay out policy. my in laws also said that she will sleep by them etc, I just sticked to NO, and not just not now. NEVER. Your husband should tell them, and if he doesnt keep him away for a long while, they will then understand you are serious about this situation and if they don't compromise, well the extreme is needed. we too have limits, which we just stay persistent. my daughters cousin stayed over since 1 month and they presumed the same, well not this mommy.

good luck

Alison - posted on 11/09/2010

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all that caffine will make babies wake in the nite with pain chocolate has it, its your bub not theirs do it ur way and tell them to respect that, don't ask TELL, stand up for urself, i know how u feel goodluck

Lindsay - posted on 11/08/2010

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your HUSBAND has to tell them what is unacceptable, not you! and i think he should also tell them not to visit for a few weeks... i can't believe you let hm stay overnight at 2 months old!!, my son hasn't been away from both parents for more than 4 hours... i just don't trust anybody with him...also feeding COKE to a one-year-old!?!? are they serious???

Lisa - posted on 11/07/2010

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First, you need to have a meeting with them, baby free. Clearly they won't listen to anything you have to say when he's there to demand their attention. First talk with your husband and get him on your side. Then go have the meeting with all of you except baby and let them know how you feel, and that this unhealthy behavior HAS to stop. Let them know that if they don't respect you your son will see them less. I know it's hard to deprive your boy of people who love him - there are children who don't have anyone who love them and a child can't get too much love. But you have to point out to them that it's NOT about them, it's about him. About what's good for him, what is necessary for him to be healthy and happy and stable. Let them know you're not going to run off with him - but if they want unsupervised visits they have to earn your trust by following your orders. It doesn't matter if they agree with the way you raise him or not, you are the mom and they need to follow your rules or you MUST take control of the situation and have limited/supervised visits.

Holly - posted on 11/06/2010

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your mama and he love you more than alone even daddy and he just like them around just deal with it and don't let it bug you my in laws live 2,500 mils away and they get in my life all the time just hold on and if you act like it doesn't bug you and your happy with it that drives them crazy my inlaws hate when i am happy and don't get mad at anything they do just think you don't live with them thats the best you get peace at a time or to

Haley Marley - posted on 11/05/2010

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Been there! At least, u didnt stay with them!!! I hv been staying with my in-laws for 3 yrs and its killing me plus hurting me. Endurance got the best place in me and what I do is, slowing talk to my child, "I am your mum, I gv birth to you. I love you too much and it kill me not being with you" Then I told my child, "Lets go crazy" and we did. We shout. scream, dance. Do what a child loved to do. Then we went to the shop and I asked her to pick just one thing that caught her attention. She quickly grabbed one then paused and asked if she can take one more and I told her, "Alright, just one and that's it" and she gv me a big hug.

Been doing this weekly and she alwys look for it. Over the weekend I begged my hubby to go for a stroll at the park (somewhere farther, of course!) and we really enjoy ourself to the fullest. Now my child is already 14 yrs old and we are very close. My second child is just 13 moths old & 11 days. By the time when my first child was 5 yrs old, we hv moved to our own house and it's really a blessing.



** Yes, we all know that in-law meant was good, but this is our child. Let us do what we can for our own child, She hv done her part by looking her child (my husband) and prove to her that you are capable handling your child. You didnt meant to be rude or show attitude or being unrespect to them. Their time & style is far difference from us.

Hope you did the best. :D

Deborah - posted on 11/05/2010

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I am so thankful I do not have this problem with my MIL. I agree with a lot of the other moms on this forum. It's the PARENTS who decide what their child is allowed to eat, do, say, and pretty much everything else under the sun. The grandparents are there to spoil their grandchildren, but in moderation.
It's high time to set some boundaries with your in laws. I would start out by nixing the overnights completely. You and your husband can discuss how much time you want your child to spend with your in laws each week (I would highly suggest it be supervised by both of you), and what is permitted during visits. Inform the in laws of your decisions, and tell them if they choose not to abide by your decisions, they choose to create an unacceptable environment for your child and as such visits will be cut short. Bottom line is if you and your husband say no, then it's no. End of story.

Sherry - posted on 11/05/2010

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Your in laws are being VERY disrespectful of you. You are the baby's Mother, not them, and they need to start respecting you and your wishes. If they refuse to, then cut the visits back to once a month. I know that sounds like "punishing" them but if they won't listen, you have to get your point across somehow. Also some of the things they're doing, like the EXTREME spoiling of your baby and feeding him raw cookie dough, just aren't good for him. I know it's difficult standing up to in laws but if you don't now, it's only going to get worse later.

Adisa - posted on 11/04/2010

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i too have a mother in law from hell!!! but after reading this im so glad ive refused her any time alone with my daughter. i didnt do this to be mean or anything, but because, when armina was 5 weeks old, we all had to sleep over her place because our car wouldnt start when we wanted to go home and it was a lot easier to just stay there. that night, she didnt let the poor baby sleep! she kept saying 'but shes awake. she wants to play'... NOT THAT A 5 WEEK OLD WOULD KNOW WHAT PLAY IS!!! the next morning, my daughter was really cranky from staying up most of the night so my mother in law gave her chocolate!!! that was enough to know this woman was not normal!

anyway, whenever my mother in law tries to do something i dont approve of, i just symply stop talking to her. when she asks my husband whats going on, i get him to tell her its because she didnt listen to anything i have to say. she knows whats good for my child and all, but she really does do it all to make me angry...

my advice to you is, do whatever you have to, to make it stop. and dont worry about what they say. they will find ways to get under your skin in any way possible so u have to learn to just not care

[deleted account]

Part of me wants to point out that you really shouldn't take this personally. Honestly children go through phases when they prefer one person over another and eventually he'll grow out of it.

However I've been through this and I know how painful it can be. The best thing to do is just start limiting their time.

Can I state how jealous I am. My own mother is too ill, mentally and physically to take care of my kids anymore and my mother in law chose to have my druggie brothers and sister in laws live with her so she has never kept my kids overnight, EVER. but my former in laws were just like yours and when I got the divorce they got custody of my oldest son and kept him from me for 15 years.


on the other side of the coin, being grandma while my son and favorite girls in the world lived here. I did do everything for them when they visited until I got sick. I really tried to balance being in charge as in giving my daughter in law a break and making her or my son do for themselves when I found out they weren't taking care of the baby most days by splitting her time with me, my ex and his wife, my ex mil, the step great grandma, and my cousin's family.

It's all about boundaries though and I've had a hard time setting them and sticking to it.

Debbie - posted on 11/04/2010

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I really like Jenette's advice.

I would add...don't wait for your MIL to give him back. From my own experience...MILs tend to not give the baby back without your asking. I've used things like "okay time to snuggle with Mama" or "Okay, Grandma, time to pass the baby." If your MIL is like mine, she will probably get mad. But the important thing is you didn't loose quality time with your son and you didn't waste time and energy getting upset about being left out. And if your son doesn't want to go with you, that would be a good reason why he needs to spend less time with his grandparents and more time bonding with you.

Amanda - posted on 11/04/2010

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wow. my son has never stayed overnight with my in-laws not even a whole day without me or my husband there...i think you should just plain say no.. tell them you dont trust them and you want to spend time with your son...

Hannah - posted on 11/03/2010

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wow. intense. just say NO!!! it doesnt matter what they may bitch about. remember the old kindy saying. sticks n stones may break my bones but nams will never hurt me. my girl is 13 months old n has only spent one night away from me n that was with her aunty only 700 metres down the road. if they were feeding my girl food like what theyr giving to yours i wouldnt let them have him over at all. just saying. its incouraging bad habits. rememberr YOU are his mum. you are a strong woman, say no & stick to your values. let them no, if theyr going to be treating you like that & disobeyn your ground rules then theyr goin to miss out. a couple weeks without seeing him n they mite wake up abit. if not then its there loss!!

April - posted on 11/03/2010

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ugh... i feel your pain but its with my mom and not my in-laws. My husband and I work from home along with other members from my family including my mom. We all end up spending most days together out of necessity. My mom started calling herself "mommy" instead of "grammy" and that was it. I laid down the law and told her if she didnt abide then she wouldnt see her granddaughter anymore. I told her that I was the mother and what i said went and she would have to deal with it if she wanted to continue her relationship with my daughter. She tried to fight it a little, but she found out quickly that I was serious because I didnt allow her to see my daughter for a while. Now everything is normal and every couple months I let her spend the night but she knows who her mom is and she comes to me now when she needs something and not my mom.
My in-laws are another story. They have never been allowed to watch my daughter... even for 30 minutes alone because they refuse to listen to us and I dont feel comfortable.
Ultimately, you are the parent and you and your husband need to talk through this and set ground rules and refuse to be pushed over. If they call to see if hes crying and he is... dont answer the phone. Set rules and boundries and agree on them with your husband and dont let them change your mind. And dont let overnight outings become routine. It seems like a bad idea.
Good luck.

Erica - posted on 11/03/2010

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Im going to go out on a limb here and be the mean one. You made this bed for yourself, now you have to lay in it. Obviously you are trying to fix the problem, but no wonder these people dont respect your parenting! Leaving you lo with them starting at 2 months? Allowing them to treat you like garbage (telling their son to divorce you) and then still allowing them to take your little man overnight?! Feeding your son pure sugar after you have asked them not too? If it were me, my kids would NOT be spending any unsupervised time with them. They obviously dont respect you as a parent, and I think the lack of initial boundries is partly to blame. YOU are your sons advocate and you need to let them know that YOU are the mama and that means YOU call the shots...

Rochelle - posted on 11/02/2010

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yeah, you really need to step up & put your family unit first! Remember... if they have issues with that, that is THEIR issue. If it was me I would be stopping all overnight visit & only supervised visits until they can respect your boundaries & authority. Maybe you can write them a very polite letter outlining your troubles with how things are and what you would need to regain your trust in them.

Alecia - posted on 11/01/2010

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wow.....um, u need to just tell them "no" and let them be immature about it. u need to get a handle on it now cuz it will only get worse. i would never let anyone act like that to me and my kids. cuz they are MINE!! lol u have everyright to be a bitch if uve tried and they still dnt care. f*ck em, i say.... :p u and ur family need to be happy, and sometimes u need to cut ppl out (or down to size) to make it happen.

Loryn - posted on 10/29/2010

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I know its time to put my foot down! I do stand up for myself and my son. I've told them the only thing that's allowed in his sippy cup is milk, water, or juice. And they've agreed to that. They work during the week, so when friday morning comes around they are on the phone BEGGING to come get him. But it's even interfering with my side of the family. My mom would love to keep him for a night, but she feels like they have already taken so much time from me that she doesn't want to ask. And i refused over nights for the first 2 months. They also have another grand daughter who is 3 weeks older than my son. They keep her twice as much as they keep him, and that's because her parents allow it. They expect me to be the same way. We took my MIL on vacation with us so she could be the babysitter, and we could go out at night. Well we ended up butting heads the entire time because she wouldn't let me be a mother to my child. She jumped in front of me to do EVERYTHING for him. When I would get him ready for bed at night, she would come in and get him wound up saying "Aww, you want you NANA?" over and over 'til he would come to her. One night I was downstairs with him by ourselves watching a movie until bed and she comes down there takes him in her arms and holds him through the ENTIRE movie. I kept thinking she was going to give him back and go on her way and let me put him to bed... Nope. Like I really wanted to sit through an entire Baby Einstein movie while you hold my child! Then the very next night I'm putting him to bed and here she comes again! I put my hand up and said "I've got this!" She still insisted that she needed to come lay in the bed with him too!!!! And when we went out to dinner she tells our waiter that the 2 of them are together like he's hers! She also tells me that they get "depressed" without him! I just don't understand why they think all of these things are okay! Why they think they need to spend more time with him than he spends with his parents!!! It cant be good for my son! I just know that when i put my foot down that they will start talking bad about me and i will be the worst person in the world and im just trying to keep him away from them. What's so wrong with just coming to see him? Sorry... maybe im just ranting because I can't talk to anyone in my family about it because that just makes them put up a grudge against them. But i guess im not the only one with in-laws that drive you insane! haha thanks for the help!

Amber-chris - posted on 10/28/2010

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I think it's time to put your foot down, hon. Explain to them very nicely in person that you need to establish yourself as an authority figure with your son again and until it is under control, that you'd rather be the only one to keep him over night.

I think you're going to have the same problems I have with my 6 year old if you let this continue. Because I lived with my parents for the first three years of his life (and when I didn't, he spent at least 2 nights a week with them), he didn't see me as a serious authority figure for a long time. When I would tell him something, his response would be "Well grand dad says I can!" Or "Nana would let me!" and he'd throw an epic fit. He still does it and sometimes I have a hard time getting him to see that I am mommy and what I say goes.

You have to put your foot down for YOUR sanity and your future with your child. No other reason.

Nichole - posted on 10/28/2010

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Wow...you have my inlaws. Only difference is when they pushed for overnights in the beginning I refused. My son only stays overnight there when necessary which is like never. But they are my "daycare" so they get my son 4 days a week during the days. They spoil him so bad, cuz no kid should ever cry. They don't give him naps if he "don't want one." And they insist on exagerated goodbyes. DRIVES ME NUTS! My MIL even calls my son, "son"....part of me feels like she is trying to steal him. They think I'm a bad mom, told me to divorce my husband, and give him our son. WTF???!!! I don't know what to do. Establishing boundaries would help, but they push them....It's just tough. If you ever want a understanding ear to listen, I'm here for ya, just shoot me a message.

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