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DIL who has cut access to GC

Started by GingerNut, November 22, 2011, 12:04:46 am

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I am a DIL who has cut my MIL and FIL off.

My son is 2 and a half and is the first GC for MIL and FIL.  I have always had an access anytime policy with my IL's. They have been allowed to see my son from birth anytime they wanted and do anything they wanted with him.  My attitude (which was encouraged by my mother, who lives far away) has always been that they love him at much as I do and so I know he would always be well cared for.

My parenting style and my IL's parenting style is very different. My IL's like to speak very quietly all the time and not encourage excitable play, they like to hand feed and water my son and never say no to anything he does. I never saw any harm in this and supported the way they felt comfortable caring for him while he was in their care.

When he is at home with me I do say No and use time out to discipline bad behaviour and I expect him to eat his meals himself as he is a big boy now. He could only be described as a normal two year old who is happy and healthy and has the usual tantrums when he doesn't get his way. Everyone else in his life are very complimentary about his manners his play and development.

About 2 months ago, DH, son and I went to IL's home for a family BBQ.  My son was tired as he had a restless nights sleep and was grumpy and whingy.  I prefer to let my son cry it out (usually a couple of minutes) when he is like this as I don't like to reinforce bad behaviour, the IL's don't agree with this and kept picking him up and trying to play to distract him etc so that he wouldn't cry.  I don't mind if they do this if it makes them feel better so I let them be.

However, this event spurred my FIL to tell my DH and I that we are not raising our son appropriately. That clearly we are not feeding, watering or resting him enough because no child of any age who is well looked after ever misbehaves. Further that if we do not want to follow their advice on how to raise our son that is our mistake. And the clincher which was that if given the choice between seeing his GC if he is a little grumpy or not seeing him at all he would prefer not to see him at all.

I was and still am outraged over my IL's attitudes. I don't understand it and will never agree with it. I called them 8 hours after the blow up to calm things down and explain that they can not tell us how to raise our child, that it would be appreciated if they supported us in raising our son and not undermining us with our discipline. They again started to carry on about what we should and shouldn't be doing and that they didn't want to see him unless he was happy.  I finished the conversation by telling them that they wouldn't need to worry about it anymore because they would no longer be seeing their GC.

I am dumbfounded and incredibly saddened by their attitude and by the prospect that they don't want to take my son as he is and only want a relationship with him on his good days.

We did receive a letter in the mail from the MIL and FIL stating that they were prepared to forget the past and even though we don't want to do as they say they still want us to be apart of their lives.

I was dumbfounded a second time as clearly the fact that they were out of order has been completely lost on them.

I responded to their letter simply, thanking them for their letter and saying if they wanted to be apart of our lives they need to apologise to the 3 of us.

To be honest I am so angry that a simple apology will only just begin to mend the damage that has been done to my relationship with them but DH and son's relationship with them is much more important.

I suspect they will never apologise and I don't think I can move forward unless they do. I don't need them to change their beliefs no matter how much I disagree with them but I do need them to say sorry for being so disrespectful of us.

This could be the beginning of a very long and sad split between the family. These things always have a starting point and this is ours.  I don't want to be cruel and cut them out for no reason but I definately do not want them interfering in my business for the next 30 years.


Dear Ginger"

Wow!  When my son/dil and three gc visit (5, 3 and 10 months) they always comment on how we spoil our gc or how we dont ever say no...but when comment about it...they are laughing and seem flatterd....I have read that children know somehow that the real discipline is at home, and at their grandparents home, they have their way many times. 

The difference is that your in-laws were disrespectful and critized the way your are raising your child an its a No No....We never tell our son or dil for that matter that they are doing something wrong because it would be "trouble".  So you are right about being resentful of their attitude. 
I think that when they mail you stepping back on what they had said was a form of apology.....

Probably you need to sit down and talk things over with in-laws.  Besides interfering (lol) you really dont have serious issues to deal with.  Think it over because everyone loses if the relationship is cut-off...mainly your ds...and even yourself and hubby.  I dont know your in-law's age but remember when we get older we become more inprudent an stubborn.   Dont let this relationship end.... just talk to them.

Good luck

Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:



Thank you for your solid advice.

You are right, we don't have serious issues to deal with, and we certainly do need to sit down and talk about it.

I don't think I am ready to talk with them yet, though.  They are older and so rigid in their views that I know I will have to be very forgiving, tolerant and flexible if we are all to move on. 

DH says he couldn't be bothered with their crap anymore, they have never listened to him and he is sick of trying. I think if he doesn't care, why should I, but I do.



Yes Ginger...give yourself time to talk to your husband's parents.  Sometimes we are still in shocked of what happened and its not adviceable to it may have serious consequences.  When my hubby gets mad at me for any dumb thing...which is serious to him lol, he tells me to give him time to digest what happened....and when he is ready he comes to me.  I hate this...but it is how it is.... Have to wait for the right time.  You are still very hurt..

Your husband doesnt care now....but he will eventually because he loves them (his parents)....but you have to think about your ds..what he would be is a blessing to have grandparents in the life of our children.  If your inlaws are loving and good with your children....which I believe they are....what could filled in that love that grandparents have for them.  I would die ...if I couldnt see my three precious grandchildren touching my face and asking why I have wrinkles on my face lol.

Of course .... let see what their attitude would be now.... you have to decide on the best interest of you three.  Have to be very clear about them not trying to interfere or judge or question the way you raise Your son.

Keep us posted.

Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:


QuoteAnd the clincher which was that if given the choice between seeing his GC if he is a little grumpy or not seeing him at all he would prefer not to see him at all.

My father said this to me when our children were younger (and our elder son is now in his 40's).  I was hurt and did not understand.  But, today, I kind of "get it" even though I never would "hint" at such a thing to our children.  Let me see if I can explain ....

I read somewhere that in my parents' generation, children were "seen and not heard".  We raised our children "somewhere in the middle" and our grandchildren are being raised "to be front and center".  No one way is correct; but this is what has occurred during the generations in my family.  Today, my father is in his 90's and really prefers not to see or interact with any of his great grandchildren (he never was a "warm" father but I know he loves his children and grandchildren very much - frankly, the great grandchildren are "too much" for him). 

Your IL's were wrong in criticizing you and your husband about your parenting style.  But, I do know my father (and now deceased mother) could not have have endured the extra noise and interruption from a "grumpy, whinny child" in any of their grandparenting years (and they were "young" when they became grandparents) - due to their disposition and also the fact they lived (and continue to live) in a very quiet and silent place.  Your IL's have apologized but I think what has happened here is the grandparents became overwhelmed with the noise and confusion - perhaps they are too "old" for a family barbeque (I so get this as I'm there now) and "lost it".  I know our sons and their families just "don't get" that what they consider regular noise and and fun becomes overwhelming and exhausting confusion to us.  When our children become adults and leave the house, and our home becomes quiet again, well - our tolerance levels change.  And to make matters worse, we don't like admitting it and we hide our exhaustion (we like to pretend we're still young).

Give it time - your IL's love your/their family and I suspect they are trying to "cover" the exhaustion they feel when with your son because they don't want to give up any precious moments with him.  I know, this is what I do.  You probably have heard the saying "love to see them come and love to see them go" - my husband and I use this all of the time because it is true.  And, we don't dare risk "telling the truth" because we might see our grandchildren less and that would be more painful.  Anyway, just another perspective (maybe not even a correct one) but ....

lancaster lady

Hi Ginger ,

If your IL's only want to see your Ds when he is good ,  if he's at that terrible two stage , they won't be seeing him
very often ....!
Perhaps they have forgotten that most kids have a rebellious stage at two , also if he was tired thats  double trouble.
If this is the first of all problems , then I think you can both overcome this .
Let things cool for a while , and they are sure going to miss him , and will be in touch again soon .
You can tell them how hurt you were by their comments .
Hopefully they will see where their mistake was and make a real apology .
good Luck


jtdm, thanks for sharing your story with me. I suspect that there is a bit of this going on. I noticed MIL exhausted a couple of times when I have picked DS up from a visit. Even though they are the ones to ask to have him for a sleep over and they are quick to tell me his behaviour is perfect when they have him (because of the way they feed and water him). 

They do only want him around when he is good, and while this suggestion to me is outrageous (a bit like saying to a depressed person, I don't want to see you until you are fun again) I understand your point of view and guess once I "digest" that I can accept it (and come to think of it I think they would say that to a depressed person).

So if I am invited to their home and he is tired and misbehaving I need to take him home and if they are in my home and he is misbehaving they can leave if they don't like it as it is DS's home as well and he has a right to be himself. (when I say misbehaving, I say No, he cries for 5 minutes, then he is off playing with something else).

As Lancaster Lady has said they won't be seeing him very often at that rate. They like to have us over for BBQ lunch, which is also DS's nap time. But in their words "we should adjust and get DS to have a morning sleep when we have a BBQ to attend".  Well, I guess they have forgotten what kids are like because there is no way I can get DS to have a sleep at 10am at this age.

I am desperate to find the balance of how to do what is best for us 3 without cutting off the IL's.  I have to be honest and say, it is easier to cut people out of your life than face the problems and compromise on your own values in order to come to a resolution.  I guess that is what alot of people on this forum are experiencing.

I hope I can do the right thing.


GingerNut - If it is any consolation, it won't be long until your son is past this stage - they do grow so fast - and this behaviour will no longer be an issue.  Maybe, right now, a barbecue lunch is not feasible.  And, maybe overnights might be a "bit too much" until your son is older.  And yes, if your son requires a nap and you feel you need to take him home, then you do so.  Sort of like being in a church - when your child acts up, you simply get up and leave.  Sometimes, shorter visits are better for everyone. 

But, it does work better if your husband would take the lead in his family situations and deal with his parents.  Been there and totally understand - but if you cut off his family, then what are you saying to/about your husband.  In our case, our DIL cut us out of their lives - our son is now divorced (not the reason for the divorce but ....).  And Lancaster Lady is probably correct - they've forgotten how toddlers act.  Getting married - that's the easy part - now raising children and dealing with IL's - that's the hard part.  I think you'll do fine ...


Welcome GingerNut :)

When you get a moment please read the Forum Agreement and WWU History (first two threads highlighted in pink) in the category Open Me First.  We ask all new members to do so not b/c there is anything wrong with your post :)

I've got to run for the moment, just wanted to welcome you, I do have some thoughts on your situation but will post later.  But for now, welcome :)
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Hi Ginger-

It sounds like you have a notion of the big picture of "family" and you have the benefit of having more emotional distance from your in-laws than your DH.  If that's the case, the only advice I have is to not completely shut the door to the GPs.  Families can be nutty at times with a lot of blah blah blah back and forth but I think that something that helps makes the family is all the blah blah blah.  Does that make sense?  You can just not be around them when you don't want to without having to close the door.

I remember my MIL calling me to give me a long correction about some choices I had made. I just turned it around into a personal lecture for her on respecting the choices of others.  It never occurred to me to tell her that she could never see her son or GK ever again.  It was easy for me to recognize that she didn't 'get' me so I just pushed the point about agreeing to disagree and respecting our differences.   It sounds like you have that in you if you want to go that direction.


Quote from: GingerNut on November 22, 2011, 12:04:46 am
I am a DIL who has cut my MIL and FIL off.
..... for no reason but I definately do not want them interfering in my business for the next 30 years.

Wouldn't that be loverly?  Definitely a loverly thing to do.  Hope it all goes well for you.