May 19, 2019, 02:33:58 pm


"Welcome to -- 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."

In Laws - Help please!

Started by k82639, December 28, 2012, 12:47:24 pm

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


I don't know where to start and end and the fact that I am venting here says it all. My mate is my best friend. He and I have a daughter together whom we love so much. We live near my side, so she sees a lot of my mom, dad, sisters, brothers and cousins. She gets along well with them and it's almost a joint family-like environment where they are very involved in her upbringing. We are an interracial family, so things are complicated. We (yes we!) have chosen to raise our child similar to how I was raised.

It is a chore every time my in laws are here. Their "values," for lack of a better word, are so different from ours. I am so uncomfortable leaving my toddler alone with them, but do so reluctantly when they are here because I don't want to hurt them. She is at a stage where she watches and mimics everything she sees. I can't pinpoint what it is that makes me uncomfortable, but I think it's the lack of warmth. Every time she is with them, she is different. She is not the compassionate, caring child we have raised, who rarely causes a stir. She is mean, impolite and treats people badly. I worry that she is picking up their values. She also picks up their annoying habits and phrases, which my mate can't stand too. How do I limit the exposure without being mean? How can I discourage my child from being annoying without making her feel negatively toward them?

I am also a little grossed out by them. They visit for weeks and leave messes all around the home. I run a tight ship, and they leave things everywhere. It isn't nice when I enter my living room and find four cups with crusty teabags hanging on them and old papers everywhere. They also take it upon themselves to "fix" things, which are not problems for my mate and I. They are packrats and buy all sorts of stuff from thrift stores and leave it everywhere too. Nothing wrong with buying secondhand, provided it's clean, you need it and you can keep it neatly in your home. But, a lot of the stuff they buy is just junking up the home. How can I get them to stop?

My FIL is a royal pain in the backside. He thinks there is only one right way to do anything - his way. It's like having a badly behaved two year old, whom you can't set straight. He says inappropriate, insensitive things. I am busy trying to get my child to eat, while we look at a magazine together. He walks over with a piece of pie and says "No pie for you unless you eat." She gets agitated and my efforts are wasted. I have to tell him to go eat in the other room and leave us be. He also teases and taunts her sometimes. He also told me that all children needed to be spanked so that they know and remember it. So horrible. How do I get it to stop?

I am also sick and tired of the parenting advice. It's like my mate and I can't do anything right and we don't know anything about our own child. We have made a conscious choice to raise out kid a certain way and have a special bond with her. We have never raised a hand to her, let her sleep in our bed and do our best to keep her happy. (No we don't spoil her...but we are responsive to her needs and she reciprocates). Why do we have to yell "no" at the child for everything? She's really an angel most of the time - I might put her in time out twice a week. Childhood is a magical time and it doesn't come back. We are raising a well-adjusted, happy child. Why do I have to be harsh and rigid and have 50 million rules that she will break behind my back? I just want to raise a child who can make good decisions for herself and who can be honest with me.

Please help me! I feel like I am drowning and I'm about to explode.


First of all, if something makes you feel uncomfortable - LISTEN to that feeling! I am a firm believer in the strength of intuition. If they visit for weeks, do they stay with you for weeks? Yikes, too long! Do you invite them to visit, or do they just arrive? You and DH better get on the same page and set some boundaries.


Kids are pretty sensitive to emotional atmosphere, and her acting out might be an expression of discomfort with what she senses when all of you are together.

I personally would not be able to cope with such long visits and people in my home, especially if they are inconsiderate houseguests and criticize my parenting.  Can future visits be arranged so that they are shorter and involve a hotel?  I have an ex-SIL who also "runs a tight ship" as you put it, and her style and mine don't mesh well.  The routines and structure that give her comfort drive me a bit crazy and make me tense, so a hotel gives us both a break from each other and allows us to focus on the enjoyable parts without dealing with the friction that comes from such different personalities trying to live under the same roof for any length of time. 
This too shall pass.  All is well.


I agree with TMB and Elsie:  Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.  You are the parents, you make the decisions in your own house.  Yes, you might not want to "make them feel bad." but you say that your toddler is feeling bad and you and your partner are feeling bad.  You are in control.  Show a loving but united front.  And this will be taken more seriously if your partner talks to them first, alone.  Because we all know how easy it is for the "other" to be blamed.  Maybe your partner could say, "Dad, we are just starting out in our family and we really aren't up to having company for more than _____nights, can you work with us on this?"   Rather than to have both of you bring up a list of things that are wrong (this will usually be blamed on the "other" not the DS or DD but the IL and then it takes years to fix. (Read tons of evidence on this forum).  Then be prepared to do some clean up for those couple of days because that probably is how they are. 

One other thing.  Is your partner the one who cleans up things or you?  You say, "I run a tight ship,"  so that seems to me as if you are the one most bothered by the messes.  This might be a partner issue.  Partner's parents, partner does the cleaning?  That would work for me. 

If you want a long relationship with these GP then compromise will need to be in there someplace.  If you think they are completely a bad influence than limit the interactions. 

In all kindness, I would like if you read over what you have written about rules.  You say that the FIL has all these rules about things, and yet you obviously have a big set of rules about your house and raising your child.  When I pictured the scene with you feeding the darling little one and FIL coming with the pie, I had to smile.  As new parents I think this is so often how it goes with GP.  I had to lighten up with my toddler for the same reasons.  FIL was not going to change and I could choose to have a sense of humor about it or get stressed. Everyone knows the toddler is the boss, no matter!! :)   Congrats to you for being good parents and for the GP and all others to be in your little one's life!
Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Keys Girl

I have a solution to the "fixing things" issue.

My former father in law used to "fix" all kinds of things when they visited, usually ruining them and covering them in duct tape.  My former sister in law had the same problem when he visited so they visited garage sales and bought all kinds of junk for him to "fix" soon as he left they tossed it into the garbage.


"Today I will be as happy as a seagull with a french fry." Author Unknown


Sounds to me like you have a DH husband problem.  Why isn't he setting boundaries with his parents?  If he doesn't let them know what is acceptable and not acceptable in your home together, you will fall into the role of nasty DIL.  I suggest having an honest sitdown with him to discuss his parents' behavior and what is acceptable and not acceptable and what the TWO OF YOU will do if they don't abide by house rules when visiting.

Good luck!


Bless you, dear!  OMG!  yes indeed, set boundaries now. My mom used to do the food thing too.  ..."see what u can have for dessert if u clean your plate/finish your dinner?"  he'd just fuss about wanting the treat so I would just give it to him in lieu of his meal.  No need to encourage overeating just to stuff in dessert.  She stopped the behavior immediately! 

I even have food issues with my dear dog!  ..."aw, it's a holiday!  let the dog have all the left overs and cookies and chicken bones etc......"  I tell them that if she gets fed, I will have to put her away from the company to be sure she does not get stomach issues.  Sheesh!  no one wants a dog to suffer and the mess is disgusting with a 40 lb doggie, leaking from both ends. 

"...Oh, your dog is so polite and gentle.  She doesn't beg or anything!"  Then they slip her food, right from their plate!  Note to self, doggie goes nite nite when we have dinner company.


Makes you wonder how your mate turned out so well with that type of parenting?

I do agree with Luise that people have different styles of parenting and even how they do things in general in a home.  I immediately will carry my empty coffee cup/glass to the kitchen and put it in the dishwasher.  My DH will leave his sitting for hours and it used to drive me bonkers.  I finally figured out that we just do some things differently, but he would always go back and get it and put it in the dishwasher. 

I think Luise's suggestion of having them stay at a hotel would alleviate some of the stress.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Oh dear, this is such a difficult situation for you. It would drive me crazy to have people stay over for more than one night, maybe two.
Why do they stay for weeks? Do they pay for their food or do you and DH provide for them?
Luise is right, your best solution is to ask them to stay nearby. Tell them you value your relationship with them and feel it suffers when they come and stay in your home.

They will protest, but you need to stand your ground. Your child is your priority here. Nothing and nobody must be allowed to spoil your relationship with our DD.

It appears to me they are taking advantage of your kind nature. With people like that, you need to find the courage to state firmly what you want.

Keys Girl's suggestion brilliant, it would definitely help. Remember at all times, your DD must come first.

Wishing you best of luck.
Faith :)