June 18, 2019, 11:20:49 am


"Welcome to WiseWomenUnite.com -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."

very unsure what to do for the best

Started by jill1963, May 23, 2012, 05:09:34 am

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.


Hi all,

Not sure how to proceed.  :(  OK here goes.

Background information, GS and YDD lived with us for 3 and a half years, then moved out with YDD & her BF GS's DF.

Now YDD's BF has always thought we were too lenient on my GS so they are trying to discipline him, fair enough i hear you say, i agree but not to the extent they are.

Go over there and neither my GS or myself and ODD who had gone to visit were allowed to speak to each other, GS's crime not doing as he was told immediately. (very hard to ignore a weeping GS)
YDD asked GS to pass her purse which was in the back of the car, he couldn't reach, she said OK don't bother but he undid his seatbelt and got her purse ( she was in a MC Donald's queue so car was moving slowly) he got into trouble for that, my interpretation of that is whilst he was wrong to undo his seatbelt that my YDD was also wrong in asking him to pass the purse in the first place as in reality the poor little guy was trying to please his DM and wouldn't of thought of undoing belt if DM hadn't asked him to pass the purse!!
Having to sit in his DF's car not speaking on the journey home from School (about 20-25mins) and if did being told off and told to shut up.
Whenever he is eating and they think it isn't fast enough, he is shouted at,  whenever he doesn't do something straightaway it is interpreted as him not listening so he is put in his room, he is shouted at if he runs in his house or doesn't sit perfectly still on the settee/sofa.
From what i have seen or been told by my YDD except for school related things (ie Reading or some set homework) they never play games or do anything with him.
These are the few i can remember at the moment, there have been others.
Now i thought my situation with seeing my GS was getting better, my YDD and BF decided he could stay with alternate set of GP's for 1 weekend every month, which has happened for about 3 months, then on last visit YDD stated that my GS would not be staying with either set of us if his behaviour hadn't improved.
Today she has said my GS staying looks in jeopardy as they don't consider he has behaved well enough  :( so far.
I was never under any illusions, i knew it was unlikely to last for long but was hoping it would be longer than this.
My question is i have spoken to a friend and also my ODD, they are concerned because of the way that my YDD and BF have and are being with my GS that it is tantamount to mental cruelty for my GS. They think i should consider going the legal route and getting outside people involved. Whilst they don't think there is any physical cruelty involved they think that because of the severe discipline mentally, (giving GS impossible targets of behaviour for his age which is 4 years & 9 months) that mentally cruelty is involved and could effect him in the future.
What do i do??  I did consider contacting NSPCC ( a UK child organisation) but am scared that if i do that even though i can remain anonymous they may found out who i am  :( dont want to go the more serious route if i can help it, am hoping situation may improve.
I do not want to lose contact with my GS and do see some glimmers of hope with my YDD not so much on the discipline aspect of my GS more on having a bit more contact, but quite frankly i feel a bit like the donkey who has the carrot dangling in front of it to keep him going and doing what the owner wanted if that makes sense?
Jill x


Please don't call the authorities on your GS's parents.  It doesn't sound to me as if the situation is dire enough for them to step in.  I'm pretty sure they don't take kids away from strict parents.  ALso, if they find out it's you, or even suspect you, then you will be cut off and you won't see your GS again for a LONG time.  Thus, in trying to help him, you would be taking away one of his allies.  Please don't do it.

Case by case:

- if he doesn't listen, then he needs consequences.  Almost-five-year-olds CAN listen.  And the weeping is normal, I found that Four was a VERY emotional year for DD, she wept A LOT that year, mostly for nothing.

- he must NEVER, EVER undo his seatbelt while the car is moving.  NEVER.  This is a REALLY important lesson.  It doesn't matter if she asked him for her purse, she told him 'never mind' when she realized he couldn't reach.  It doesn't matter that they were in the drive-through.  Sorry, but this is one of those lessons, like lying, or like chasing a ball into the street, where you HAVE to come down HARD and make a SOLID impression that it is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE to undo your seatbelt while the car is moving.

- the not speaking thing?  It won't hurt him, but they'll come to regret it when he's a teen and they realize that they WANT to hear about his day and he's not talking to them. 

- they are trying to teach him to obey them and they're strict.  Which is weird, because they're not from the 'children should be seen & not heard' generation.  But it's THEIR prerogative to parent as they see fit and you don't get to express an opinion on it.

Now, what you can do is offer to take him out of there as much as possible.  Encourage him to listen to his parents, so that he is allowed to come to your house.  When he's with you, DON'T relax all discipline, because it will be harder on him when he goes back.  You don't have to be hard-nosed either, but you can encourage him.  So, if he's a slow eater, try and get him to focus as a game, so he can maybe remember it when he's at home.

I know you're concerned, but you should really take a step back here because you're treading into dangerous territory.


Although I don't agree with how they are trying to discipline him, I don't see anything suggestioning that the authorities should be called.  It sounds like they are very strict and need to do more talking to him instead of straight into punishment at his age, but if there is no evidence of physical abuse, I don't think you have anything to report either.  Sorry jill.  I know it's very hard to sit and watch it, but it is their call on how they parent.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell



Thanks for your reply, to be frank although it hurts me, and i hate what they do i get what you mean.
I may not however have explained myself fully, whilst i accept there are consequences for my GS's behaviour, i do not like and have never liked being used as a threat against my GS.
Your points about what i said are fair and valid, no he shouldnt have undone his seatbelt I understand that, although i still think it was unfair of his DM to put him in the situation of thinking about it in the first place.
And yes, i think they are overly strict on him, and my DD's were never in the 'should be seen and not heard generation' so they didnt get it from me! They were disciplined but not to extent GS is.

My biggest objection to all of this is we are being used as a direct threat to make him behave, your point Scoop about us taking him out of there as much as possible is slightly mute, if he hasnt behaved to their satisfaction, we forfeit our weekend of having him and also would be refused if we asked to take him somewhere.
How is that fair if their standards are unachievable for a child his age, arent all the other punishments more than enough?
I have when having him for the weekend encouraged him to be good for his parents, explained that if he doesnt he will be unable to visit, we stick to their rules, bed time, holding his hand when out with us, all the stuff they ask us to, we dont make an issue about the food, as his parents do, we try give him things we know he likes and encourage him rather than shout at him to eat it.
I understand that children do sometimes take longer to eat their food, to me the shouting is counter productive as it makes him not want to eat it therefore getting him in more trouble.
My YDD on GS's last visit actually phoned me up and asked me to have words with him to encourage him to be good, she also said when i told her i had already been doing that, that she thought i would be as she knows how much my GS means to me and how much i like to see him.
I feel like not only does he have to suffer the punishment for his behaviour but i do too, they have the punishments in place ie:- being put in his room etc, why do they also have to put on that the threat of not seeing me or his other GP's?
Pooh i am glad you agree with me in reference on how they are trying to discipline him  not being right, and i agree they should try talking rather than straight into punishment stage.
I would say there can be rough handling sometimes, i have seen GS's DF grab him lift him up roughly and carry him for several feet by the one arm on occasion after being naughty and i don't agree with that but have bit my tongue, although he is more likely to do that in front of my other DD as he knows YDD and ODD don't always get on so she is more likely to side with BF than my other DD. But that is occasionaly so dont think that would be classed as physical abuse?
and my YDD has on occasion mentioned smacking him but dont think that is a regular thing.
It is very hard to sit and watch, and also hard not to say something, yes it is their call as parents, sometimes i have thought what have i got to lose..... but then i think whilst theres hope i have to put up with all the things i dont agree with. Then things get better, then worse..........its like an emotional rollercoaster with no end in sight.
And Yes you are both right it would be better not to report anything for the moment and i think i will go by your advice.
I just feel so powerless, don't want to invade their life but would like to know my GS had a fair and pleasant childhood.
Jill x


I agree with Scoop and Pooh and wanted to add that you might consider investing your time and care in to the parents. It sounds like they are taking out their stress on the child.  I can't imagine that they are happy while they are doing all this punishment - I picture them being stressed already and they vent it on him.

It would be a big job, probably, but if you could find a way to help the parents improve  their lives, maybe they could relax around GS more. 

I feel for you - this would be tough to watch.


Yep, and don't get me wrong, I would be sitting on my hands, biting my tonge until it bled and not liking it one bit.  To be honest, I have done that with strangers in a store as well as I watch them scream, grab and yell at their kids.  I want to just walk up to them and go, "How about I start yelling at you in your face and drag you around by the shirt?"  I know I can't and that's it none of my business, but I still hate it.

As far as using you for punishment, I guess I was guilty of that as a parent.  My kids loved going to my Mother's for a weekend.  I have been guilty of getting halfway throught the week and them being little devils and saying, "Ok, if you two don't straighten up and I have to keep getting on to you, I will call MeMaw and tell her you can't go over this weekend."  Or as they were older, telling them they were not going to get to go to so-and-so's party or house if they didn't start following rules.  I never thought of it as punishing my Mother or their friends, but as consequences to their actions.  To be a realist here, the things I grounded them from or took away from them were things they loved (video games, tv, trips, etc.).  So if he enjoys his time with you, maybe that is why she is using it?  Because it's something that he would miss?
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Hi Doe,
I am sure you are right in reference to them taking their stress out on my GS however it is unfair to blame all their troubles on him, i have had my YDD state to me that her relationship with BF (soon to be DH) has been strained because of the way she thinks GS is behaving badly and the fact that GS's DF feels that GS does not listen to him... not fair to put that blame or burden on a 4 year old!
So they need to do some considerable growing up.

As to me investing time and care into the parents, i have, not quite sure in what context you mean but this is what i have sorted out.
Located a nice property in area they wanted to be, and got my DF (dd's GF) to be a guarantor on their rented property (my DF is well off as we are the owners of a company), Always offered to babysit/look after GC, calmed down my YDD and arranged (yet again) for my DF' to help out when they were in financial trouble.
Gone over at 2am in morning when YDD had drunk too much and they called me to come over and sort things out, offered to help out with paying towards their wedding ( i am paying for cake and have offered more help on top of this)
Whilst my DF was sorting out their financial problems he also stated to me that he could see they were struggling and said once YDD comes back to work (both her and BF are employed at my families company) that he would ensure they had a pay rise.
So you see they do get a lot of support from myself and my wonderful DF.

I never think that all this help means they owe me anything or buys me time with my GS or my GD, but i do get upset they keep on changing the goal posts.
And yes Doe this is very tough and heart breaking to watch.
Pooh yes GS does like coming to ours because we do things with him,but i don't think he yet understands the concept of the behaviour, if its the slight misdemeanours i have mentioned like not sitting still on sofa or eating dinner slowly etc, then a slight punishment may be in order, not a major one like not seeing us,  if its running off and undoing his seatbelt when told not to then maybe.
I do not know what in their eyes constitutes behaviour bad enough to use us as a threat which makes it hard for me to comment to my YDD if i think its unreasonable.
Jill x

lancaster lady

My guess is they are both having problems , planning a wedding and financial , and the poor wee guy
is in the middle of it all , an easy target to take out their frustrations .
However me being me and   where a child is involved I  would have to speak out .I know they are the parents ,
but I know my AC and they know me , so they would probably expect me to get involved .
When my DS was living with me , a few weeks before their wedding , he raised his voice and rough handled
his DD which I heard from the garden .
Well now HE knows how it feels to be shouted at .
He sulked for the rest of the day ....shame !

Different strokes for different folks , only you know how your DD would handle your interference .


I think the quickest way to alienate your GS's parents - and thus get yourself completely cutoff - is to criticize their discipline tactics.   They do seem overly harsh, but it doesn't seem that what they have done crosses over into abuse.  When they say if your GS doesn't behave he can't visit you, they are effectively grounding him - something you more often associate with the teen and preteen set.  Of course you don't like it, but they aren't going to like you complaining about it.  If you tell them it's unfair, they'll probably retaliate with "Life isn't fair - didn't you say that a million times when I was growing up?" 

I wish I had a solution for you because I do think your GS is getting a raw deal and your heart is in the right place.  Good luck. 



What worked with you and your DD as you were raising her?  Maybe you could remind her how it was with her and how you handled it then?


Yeh, Herbal you are probably right, i did make my displeasure known once (didnt say anything but YDD could tell by my facial expression i wasnt happy) i ended up in a shouting match and thrown out of the house  :( didnt do me or my GS or my YDD any good ( it was because YDD was continually shouting at him at dinner table after she had invited me for dinner).
Anyway i do know my YDD and she is the sort who would say exactly what you said about life being unfair etc.
Just wish they would see my GS for what he is a lovely little boy who generally isnt that badly behaved (compared to other children i see whilst out he is an angel next to them). I am scared however they will crush his spirit   :( and yes i think he is getting a very raw deal and it is hard at times to stand back and not say anything.)

And LL i would love to speak out but like i said to Herbal, i know my YDD and i know what her reaction would be. And i am not usually wrong in knowing her reaction would not be good

I think i have decided though that whilst as Herbal said it would be unwise of me to question their discipline tactics, that if i see my YDD's boyfriend manhandle my GS by lifting him up by the arm i may say hang on that isnt the best way to  lift him you may damage his arm, whilst not being abuse i do not think that is acceptable in anyones book.
Thank you for the good luck,  :) but really i shouldnt have to be wished it, and always hoping things will get better and stay better.


when my DD's were growing up there was a lot more freedom, i kept them amused as much as i could, when as small as my GS is now i lived in a grove, my next door neighbour also had 3 girls and they would all play together most of the time.
It was always myself that organized things for my children to do and most of the time ended up with half the children in my grove tagging along or being invited round my house so as they had other children to play with. Of course they got disciplined, but was never as harsh as they are with my GS.

Unfortunately nowadays this freedom doesnt happen as much, also my YDD has isolated herself, my GS goes to a school by me (because was living here when the time to pick a school  for GS came up and because School had good ofsted report decided to keep place)  so any schoolfriends who may be invited for playdates would be by me. (they live about 25 minutes away from me)
They prefer their computers, TV or phones than playing games with my GS, which is why i think he gets bored and frustrated  :(.
My YDD is very stubborn and only listens to what she wants to listen to, so whilst i could and have told her it was different when she was little, she doesnt really listen, YDD would also say she has my GD to take care of so doesnt have time to play games or keep GS amused, GS's DF doesnt do the playing thing with my GS he never has which i think is such a shame and may help my GS bond better with him.


I don't know why I can't get this post out of my head, and not the whole thing, but just the part about canx-ing visits for misbehavior.  Maybe if I reply again it'll get out of my mind.  From reading the other posts, it seems Jill1963 has come to a conclusion.

Anyway, I know if I were the DIL in this situation and my MIL or DM or anyone complained about me canx-ing visits as a discipline measure, I would see red.  I am the parent, as long as I don't cross the line into abuse, how I discipline my children is up to me (and of course the other parent, but not any of the GPs or other relatives).  I don't have to explain myself.  I think I would reply along the lines of, "Well, the only foolproof way to guarantee that I don't cancel a visit for disciplinary matters is to not plan any visits in the first place.  I'll have to go that route, since you are so upset by the cancellations."  I know that wouldn't be nice, but I think that is how I would react.  If you are not the one calling the shots, you have to make sure you are not risking more than you can afford to lose when voicing an opinion.  Like asking for a raise at work.  If you time it wrong, you could end up fired instead of getting a raise.

I am not unsympathetic to your pain.  I hope things go more smoothly for you and GS.


thanks for the post, the person i am speaking about is my DD not DIL, that is what i find difficult, maybe i was wrong but i never expected being a GM to be so hard. My DD was never easy as a teenager and young adult but i stuck by her and was there to pick up the pieces as much as possible, despite all the problems we had a good relationship, although she has a pretty forthright and sometimes abrasive personality we worked round it most of the time. Even after she got pregnant and her and GS lived with us for over 3 years.
When she moved out she said nothing was going to change about us seeing my GS I knew it wasnt going to be as often but was fine with that, knew she needed to live her own life, but it did majorly change, and i saw things that i thought were over the top etc with the way my GS was dealt with.
Firstly when it changed i did let some of my opinions be known then after the big blow up i mentioned i started doing it less and less. I dont think i am wrong in expressing my concern about how my GS is treated, but i dont say anything to my DD as my DD would react in exactly the same way you have expressed in the message.
I havent and wouldnt complain to my DD about him not being able to stay,  i just said OK nothing more.
She doesnt need me to say anything about it being unfair etc, she already knows me well enough to know i wouldnt like it, she can see how much i love seeing my GS.

What i did say i would possibly say something about is my future SIL being too rough on my GS, by lifting him up by the one arm and then using that one arm to carry him for some yards as i have seen him do,i think he is running the risk of causing an injury to his shoulder, i wouldnt be a good GM or responsible adult if i didnt at least say this dont you think?
It hurts i am being used as a tool for discipline and it is not pleasant to see him being disciplined as much as he is.
However, i know they are the parents and it is their call, i only offer an opinion or give non commital answers (if i think i could be misinterpreted in my answer and am very careful how i word my response) if my DD says well GS is still doing this i dont know what to do? or as happened last time GS visited she asked me to try and explain the things she wanted him to do to be good to my GS.
It is a minefield and quite honestly I am at high risk of getting blown up which is not something i want to happen!

I use this site to channel my frustrations on mainly my GS's treatment and get others opinions... i do listen to reason.
The conclusion i came to was i was acting/thinking about contacting someone outside as i stated when i was particularly upset about a situation i was placed in that i was very unhappy about. I decided after all the responses that it would not be a good idea and as was stated whilst discipline was a bit severe was not illegal, and also despite my dislike of the situation i truly do love my DD very much and could not do that to her or her family.
Thank you for the reponses and the support i have had, hopefully you do not think i am using you all? i do value others opinions and the fact that this is a group of mainly anonymous people that can see or have similar situations to me that we can support each other on. It is just such a pity that it has to be like this :-(
Jill x


I hear what you're saying, Jill.  I don't like to see loved ones mistreated either (I only got as far as DIL demeaning DS).  I think you're right not to call in authorities.  I keep thinking that the parents are miserable and need some kind of help, but I don't know what since I don't know them.    Too bad your DD doesn't have a place like this where she can vent and get other opinions.