How do I handle inlaws who say my DH and I accused them of abuse? (sorry, long story)

Randi - posted on 12/28/2012 ( 7 moms have responded )

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Recently my DH and I were at a family gathering at his parents' house. We layed our 9 week old DS down in a spare bedroom to nap and returned to the gathering in the livingroom just down the hall. A short while later, I heard my DS cry out. When I arrived at the room he was in, I saw my father-in-law (FIL) with his hands on my son's sides (he was swaddled) pressing him into the bed repeatedly. Believing that he would never do anything to hurt my DS, I returned to the livingroom - but something inside of me told me it wasn't right and so I returned to his room. By that time my FIL was coming out with my DS in his arms. He claimed that my DS was wailing and he patted him on the belly to try to comfort him. When that didn't work he said he picked him up. That was not what I observed! And, my DS wasn't crying until my FIL was already in the room (if he wasn't I would have met him in the hallway on the way to the baby)!!

I gathered my DS who by now was crying relentlessly. My DH and I tried to soothe him but could not, so we told everyone we were going home so that our son could nap peacefully in his room. I told my DH what I saw and how it differed from his dad's explanation. We both agreed that he probably wasn't trying to hurt our baby but that we weren't comfortable trying to comfort a baby in that way and we also weren't sure why he didn't tell the truth. The next day he confronted his father who was immediately angry. They talked it out and when my DH left their house, he thought they had come to an understanding. My DH asked me to talk to his parents as well, which I was glad to do. However, when I went there the next day to talk to them, my MIL wouldn't even look at me or say hello. My FIL was immediately angry and said his son had accused him of hurting the baby (which he did not). I said we didn't believe they would ever intend to hurt him but I was not comfortable with that type of soothing. Despite asking him to understand how it looked from someone walking in on the situation, he would not. He even asked me to try soothing my baby that way and said he did that with his kids so it's ok!

I left feeling so let down. My DH was disappointed as well and neither of us feel that his family is supportive of our concerns or how we wish to raise our child. I feel terribly that they think we accused them of any kind of abuse, but I need to be able to address concerns when I have them when it comes to our baby. I want my DS to have a relationship with them, but how can we allow that if they won't respect our wishes or even entertain the conversation?

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Vanessa - posted on 12/28/2012

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ok - got interrupted - I was going to add that maybe use that as an opening to show him how babies need to be soothed correctly. It wasn't intentional abuse so surely if he's shown the right way everyone'll feel better

Randi - posted on 12/28/2012

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Thanks Vanessa but I don't think I want them showing me that move. While I genuinely don't believe the intent was to hurt him, I'm certain it made my DS frightened. My FIL swears he was trying to mimic a rocking motion. I believe he believes what he is saying...I just don't agree and don't want anything like that ever happening again.

Michelle - posted on 12/28/2012

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To me that " soothing move " wasnt quite right! I wouldnt want them to show me again.. Take the advice from your baby.. Your baby was trying to tell you something with the cries.. that something wasnt right..You said that it took you time to get your baby to calm down.. That should tell you that your baby was very uncomfortable and something was hurt him.

Dove - posted on 12/28/2012

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My baby wouldn't ever have the chance to be alone with them and I'm not sure I would ever be around them either. What you describe seeing doesn't sound right at all and the fact that what he said he did and what you witnessed with your own eyes do not add up and if they won't even talk about it... I WOULD be accusing him of abuse.

Vanessa - posted on 12/28/2012

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ok --- wow --- tough one!
Why not say you'd all like to just move on past the understanding --- tell him that you want to learn how to use that soothing move and next time maybe he can show you properly.

Michelle - posted on 12/28/2012

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I am sorry but it sounds to me that your baby wasnt being handled right.. he was being abused.. If the baby was crying like something is wrong.. you should have took your baby away from him , instead you leaving the room.. I wouldnt let that person be around my baby again unsupervised.. If you do and something like that occurs again.. The word can get out and you are going to have trouble too, because people are going to wonder why you didnt intervene. Social services can be called and you dont want them in the picture..
If you want your child raised a certain way , then that is the way it should be.. But, if you feel something was wrong and wasnt handled right.. go with your insticts and your gut feeling.. That is the best thing to do.. I wouldnt leave my child with those type of people again.. For next time, you might not be so lucky.

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