How do you tell grandparents to back off?

Stormy - posted on 04/16/2010 ( 20 moms have responded )

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My Mother is overbearing about what to do with my kids. She even calls them "her boys" and wants everything done her way no matter where we are at! She even refuses to use the name we picked out for our unborn baby because she doesn't like it. My mom is really sensitive and takes everything the wrong way and acts like a conversation is a personal attack. How do i nicely say "back off, my kids not yours"

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Alyn - posted on 11/19/2012

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I am the sometimes "meddling" grandma. My strong encouragement to you is to please not make her feel unwanted or useless. If there are things that you absolutely cannot live with (like the name issue, shame on her) if she is sensitive, sit down for a very quick, not drawn out, conversation like: "mom we appreciate you being in our u lives and we know u mean well, but there are some things that we have to decide on as PARENTS, no one told YOU what to name ME! " of course in your words at your level w/her. In my situation I have been ignored, phones are not answered, or they are "running late" when they do answer the phone. I cannot tell you how painful that is. Being older does not mean better--and it doesn't mean worse. Maybe we pick too much or exaggerate--but we arenot mind readers, you have to say something. The sensitive issue is her problem, not yours. Don't let anyone influence what you think is right because you "don't want to hurt their feelings". I find that I tend to make up for lost time, in a way--when you are the mom, it is overwhelmingly challenging, busy, crazy. You are the ONE, you have to make the money, pay bills, cook, clean, drive, clean, drive again, now cook again....but when you are the grandma you have little to do usually. One day you will see. Don't wait til she's gone, tell her now that you love her, don't wait til she's gone to bring her a flower---give her one today. See, we don't live forever and all the bickering and discourse that goes on feels so wasteful at the end. Please don't ever say "my kids, not yours" no, she isn't the mother, but she IS the mother of the mother--same flesh and blood, they are hers, too, just in a different capacity. Let her presence enhance your kids' lives. I do not think you meant it to sound the way it does, but think about what you would feel. (Of course, now, If she is a negative influence, and dangerous to your children/family, then cut all ties permanently.) I don't think that's the case here, I think you just need communication. Remind her that she raised you to be responsible and make your own decisions. If she wants to be included it has to be on your terms, that is only fair--no one told her how to raise you, right?Feels like you just blink and it isn't til you look in the mirror that you know decades are passed. Way strange feeling. She is a lucky grandma to have you concerned over how to handle her. Enjoy each other--go catch a movie or lunch w/her once in a while---a little love goes a very long way. Godd luck, you sound like an awesome young lady!! Your mom must be very proud!

Bonnie - posted on 10/30/2012

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I have two boys, they are 11 & 13. We have been having issues with my mom since the first one was born and we have come to a point where we have decided she will not be seeing her grandchildren. You have to ask yourself is she sensitive or is she manipulating you? My mother has tried it all, crying, yelling, attacking our parenting skills, questioning our skills, try to get between us, offering advise we don't ask for and don't want from her etc. The best thing you can do is Tough Love and make it clear now, or your going to get to the same point as I am at now. I call it "Growing A Back-Bone" I don't know about you but I use to back-down, and give-in a good amount of the time unless my husband stepped in and said not this time. I haven't been doing that in the last two years, she has gotten worse and barely speaks to me (because now 'I' am being 'Difficult') and that is how we are at the point we are at now. Sadly she won't quit & she is a bad influence on my eldest.

Adrianna - posted on 04/17/2010

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I had an issue with my in laws telling me what they did with their kids even though dr was telling me other wise like mil fed her kids baby food at a mth old and my son's dr said no way so on and she said her kids were potty trained by 6mths i was a bad mom because my son is going to be 3 in july and isnt potty trained. i simply had to tell her to BACK OFF, or that if she didnt stop telling my 2 yr old that his mommy was a bad mommy she wouldnt see him, my husband had tried to get through to his mom and get her to stop well she thinks she knows all so i took matters into my own hands and my son didnt go stay at his grandparents for 6mths with out me
till she decided to stop

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Stormy - posted on 04/26/2010

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ok so i used the you cant take the kids for the weekend because we need family time excuse she started a fight about how she is their family and im hurting her and being self centered again. i have joint custody of my 2 sons so they spend half the month with their dad. my husband works long days so the weekend is the only time he can bond with the kids. but im the one being selfish i dont get how that works.

Anna - posted on 04/22/2010

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Sometimes you just have to lay down the law. If she gets her feelings her, let her know that you appreciate the love that she provides, but leave the parenting up to you. Its her job to spoil, not parent. You have to set the tone for her relationship with your kids. If she can't abide by your rules, maybe spend a little time away and maybe she will see that you are serious. If you feel that a conversation may go wrong, write her a letter and mail it to her. She can sort her feelings out by herself, and talk to you later if she wants. Good luck!!

Ashlea - posted on 04/22/2010

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My mother has never been that way but, I don't give her the choice to be. Also I moved with my husband and we are now living in Germany and nobody is around our daughter. But, when she is older they will be and I won't stand for any of that nonsense of your parents telling you how to raise your child!

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my mom is like that too. she moved into the same building as me so she could see him every day. she calls and sees him everyday and asks for updated on how his poos, pees, meals, and naps went. she calls him "her darling" in this really annoying voice. i find it really irritating and am actually moving to the other end of the city because if i continue to live in the same building i will gro crazy and no longer be married, since the stress i feel from my mother (not only in regards to my son, but also having to chauffeur her and my dad around and constantly go to the store and get them things). i tried tlking to her about it but it didn't really get me anywhere. my mom is bipolar and so is very sensitive, and like your mother treats everything as a personal attack. i would say try talking to her, because maybe that might work with her. or else just stop taking her calls every time. limit your son's time around her.

Stormy - posted on 04/22/2010

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one day at walmart i reminded my mother she couldn't take the boys that weekend because we were having family time,(she was the one that rushed over in the store and sid grandma will come get you later to stay the night) when we were talking she had a 3 year old melt down right in the store she was yelling and crying and jumping around about how i take the kids away from her and all i ever do is think about my self. in the end i caved moved our plans to the following weekend and she took the kids. thats what happens when i try to say no. everyone with in 5 miles hears her.

Louise - posted on 04/19/2010

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Having seen the trouble my brother in law had with naming their kids (they have 3 names each) and we had decided not to call them after anyone else and to give them their own names. We had both boys in evening so first thing next morning we went downstairs and registered names so when they came in birth cert was laid out on table and 1 name each. Sorted.
But I have said don't to my mil and she did right in front of me. She's not talking to us in over a year now and tbh I'm better off.
My own mother now has had a few issues also. The potty training being one of them.

Adrianna: My son was 3 and a half when he was trained. And I only forced the issue then as the birth of no 2 was imminent. My mother had a problem with this as we were all trained at 2 but lifted out to the toilet in our sleep every night. I still can't sleep a full night now! I left nappies at night on my son till he wa ready and it was relatively painless. He was ready at 4 and 3 months. He has had 1 accident since Jan and that was a night he fell asleep on couch and I lifted him up to bed so he hadn't gone toilet.

I just reminded my mother that things have changed in 24 years and the way things are done is different and I had consulted with my doctor and he's happy! She has backed off a small bit. Now if I could get her to stop checking them every half hour if they stay over we'd Be fine. I live my mom to bits but I don't know of any other mother who woke her kids at night to make sure they were asleep!

Katie - posted on 04/17/2010

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I am so sorry you are having to go through this. I am only 3 months pregnant with our first little one and my mother is already being very aggressive with the grandparent parenting, so I can't imagine what you are going through. My mother as well is very sensitive to any kind of 'talk'. From my experience I have learned that while at the time she may get very defensive and over reactive about the whole thing that later she does come back to the situation with at least an altered attitude and on rare occasion an apology. I would sit down and talk to her, away from the kids (or even on the phone if that makes you more comfortable) and just tell her that while you appreciate her concern for her grandchildren that it actually not only hurting you but them as well. Let her know that you want her to be part of their lives you just don't want her playing your part as their mom. Granted, she will probably get upset and may even pull a guilt trip; but stay strong in your conviction. She's a grandmother, she's not going to let anything get in they way of her time with her grandchildren. She'll get over it and hopefully thing will improve for you! Good luck! (As a side note, my husband and I decided to bypass all the issues of names and such by just keeping it to ourselves until the baby was born. People can say what they wish then; but they can't change it!)

Amber - posted on 04/17/2010

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i understand what you are going through.. i'm currently going through it with my moher in law.. sit her down and tellher how you feel... hope it orks for you because it didn't for me..

Anneke - posted on 04/17/2010

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whatever way this will end its going to be bad. I had the same with my mum, when I was pregnant arguiing about names, not likeing names we picked, even arguiing about what school we would send him to and he wasnt even born! then when he was born I wanted a bit of space and asked everyone to leave it a few hours so I could recoup and that was apparently me being rude and and had no right to ask everyone to stay away a few hours. Then came the birth cert, complained that my other halfs name was there and that my son got his second name! wtf? she wanted her surname there! i will never understand why but it gets mentioned more than once and she got caught saying it my my other half and made up some crap about getting more money off the dole which would be fraud and totally made up. Then came the christening that I said wouldnt happen as I am not religious of a hypocrite, OH MY GOD! the rows! again she wasnt happy, this one was a serious row again I had to tell them to back off this was my child and I was sick of battling with them. Co sleeping is a problem for them but not me, rowsabout why I wasnt filling him with sweets at 3 months old and that it was unaviodable and that I would have to do it sometime! Advice on how I should lock him to cry in a room on his own wnen I wanted "me " time and it would do no harm. Constant comments about how it never done is harm, how they did without this and that! nit picking about toys lying around my house, being nasty to my pets and forveer nagging me to get rid of them/

Everytime i bvuy sometihng they are on my back! things i need yet they think i should be with nothing or make do with second hand crap last row was about a sofa thats 16 years old and fabric and everyone knows fabric pets and kids dont go! so i apparently am ungratful for wanting a second hand leather one and slagging off my son for being messy.

I had enough after that. I never seen them for a while after I got nasty texts from my mum. She then did what she always does which was waltze bak into my house and my son hates her! I cant even leave her alone with him or he can never visit her for th way she and my sister go on . My sister is voilent with special needs and is jealous of my mum even talked about my son and she would slap her. Also he iosnt allowed down there as she said he would be eating junk food and thats what he would get off her. I had to stop them taking himto get shoes for the fear he would scream the place down with them and they would ignore him.



Conclusion when mum waltzed back after me saying 2 weeks before never to come near me as I had enogh upset of her and my son had enough. She comes in and I give her an altimatum. Be nice or get out! she choose to get out and hasnt stepped back in at all. She wont even come out of the car when my dad comes here. She choose that way because she cant step back and be nice. If your mum cant see she is interfering having to say it wont make much a difference really. My other halfs mum would never act the way my mum does and sees our son is being raised well and wouldnt open her mouth. Why cant my mum do this??? she never will and has made the choice not to. It will ruin your relationship. Your a grown up and this is your kid you shouldnt be made to feel stupid, belittled or anything! I know how you feel and its infurating. I nipped it in the bud and over a year it came to a head , no point on beating arojnd the bush, set the boundries now and hope to much damage to your relationship wont be done.

Ashlea - posted on 04/17/2010

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I am different than most people. But, I did have this problem with some family members. I told them to get bent and if they didn't like what I was doing with my child and didn't trust me as her mother than they were not welcome in my home.

Sarah - posted on 04/16/2010

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i understand and i am still trying to figure it all out. Telling my mom anything doesn't work, and when i am frim with her she gets mad and tells me she is never coming over again. It is hard to deal with. She says i am selfish with my husband, and makes me feel awful. we now live in a different state from my parents, and i love it. My husband plans on moving back home soon and i am dreading it.

Destiny - posted on 04/16/2010

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hi im destiny and i had the same issue with my whole family with both of my boys ! you have to look at them and tell them to backoff that your boys are your kids and that you are going to do right by them and that you dont need her puttin her two cents in on how to raise your babys ! when my family wouldnt not back off i told them that i would just stop talking to all of them and stop letting my boys see them , if they didnt give me some space to do what i need to do ! and if your mom get hurts over what you said to her then let it be cuz if you feel bad about what you did then she will never learn to lewt you do it yourself ! i hope i could help a little .

Kandice - posted on 04/16/2010

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Have you tried just being honest? Your mother loves you and your children. A lot of grandparents use terms like "my boys" or "my babies" when referring to their grandchildren. Do you think their is an underlying reason for your feelings? Just explain to her that you LOVE and APPRECIATE her role as a grandparent in your children's lives. Use "I" statements, not "you" statements that can seem to attack. Maybe give her a compliment by saying "I am so thankful to have had a mother like you to show me how to be a great mom to my boys" or "my boys are lucky to have you in their lives." Make sure she knows that you care & want her in their lives. Let her know that you want her to be a big part of their lives, but that YOU will raise them and she should respect that. Some grandmas have a hard time seperating themselves from the "mom" role, especially if daughter & she are very close.

Robyn - posted on 04/16/2010

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OMG good luck! your a better person then I am for holding your tongue. I'm an outspoken person, and would not put up with that. I would tell her to back off, tough love in my eyes, either she does or does not see her grandchildren. I would see if her mother/mother-in-law did that to her...I would remind her who is the childs parents are and that she should trust enough in you.....because "she" raised you to take good care of your kids. If she thinks that you cannot for some reason take care of your kids....than she didn't do a good job raising you, because thats what a mother should do if she has a little girl, get them prepared to be a mother themselves.

lol...see thats why your a better person then me! I wouldn't hold back.

Stand ground girl! These are your babies and you should raise them to your liking!

Good luck!!!!!

Ashley - posted on 04/16/2010

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I didn't know I had a sister.. that is so my mom she hated the names we pick for our girls .. she always says what I'm doing with them is stupid like if i change the type of bottles the oldest was on when she was a baby or the fact that Im not giving my youngest table food yet.. thats just stupid... she had no teeth how could she eat the food? anyways i could go on forever but I know just how you feel because my mom is very sensitive thinks everything we say is a personal attack as well once I just had to say to her thank you mom but these are my girls and I have to do it my way because well how am I going to learn what works and not? she still does act up some times but I have just got to the point that I pick my battles with her if I dont think its worth the fight with her i just nod and says thanks mom and then not do what she says lol

Jessie - posted on 04/16/2010

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I am now in a similar situation w/ my mother she even went so far as to use my own fear and the fact that my then fiance was deployed to force me to sign over guardianship to her then lied to me about when i would get him back and went behind my back to switch it from partial to full guardianship, and it is just with my oldest, we are now going to court to get him back, but i really don't think there is a "nice" way to let them know they are overstepping, if u try to sugar coat it they will ignore it and to just out and out say it no matter what tone u use they will be offended. So I guess just tell her how it is, and hope she can be mature enough to handle it

Lorraine - posted on 04/16/2010

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i think you need to sit down n exlpain to ur mum that she has had her chance to bring up you now its your turn and that we all make mistakes but thats how we learn,, you also say ur mum is sensitive but is se being like this to you, dont think so so you need to be firm but in a nice way to! hope you get this sorted!!

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