"my house my rules"?

(54 Posts)
mangohedgehog Tue 22-Jan-13 19:37:37

What do you do if someone tells off your DCs for something you don't have a problem with?

My problem is DM and Step D. They live abroad. I go out and stay with them with DD/DH more or less every year. I love my mum but it's always difficult. Basically I don't agree with the way she and StepD are with DD1 - she has always been a very shy, sensitive child and as a result they are always very strict with her.

They don't have enough patience with her and they disapprove of our parenting - basically they think DH and I have spoilt her rotten, and it is their duty as GPs to introduce some boundaries into her life. They tell her off for things that I don't have a problem with, and when I tell them this, their response is, 'well it's our house, our rules'.

StepD in particular can be awful with her - saying things like 'look me in the eye! look me in the eye!' and 'don't be so wet!' and as a result she is scared stiff of him. They both seem determined to see the negative in her and ignore the positive - fundamentally, because they're upset that they don't have a better relationship with her - although I think their approach is at fault, they think it's my/DH's/DD1's fault!

Last time I went out there with DD1 she was 5, and it was so bad I ended up shouting at them to leave her alone. Afterwards I promised myself we would never stay there again, so I wouldn't have to subject DD and myself to this 'our house our rules' nonsense.

Anyway, two years have passed since then and in the meantime we've been through various family traumas and my DM has been an absolute rock to me, travelling across Europe at short notice to be with me when I really needed her. So I felt as though we really should visit - also I have had DD2 who is now 6months old and it would be great to introduce her to all DM's friends.

However - I have booked us into a hotel two miles away. And my DM is livid.

She has sent me a number of texts telling me how selfish I am being and how all the locals will slag her off for not having us to stay in the house with them. And we shouldn't be bringing DD1 up without 'external influences'.

It probably hasn't helped that I told her the truth why I was booking the hotel - to avoid any further bad scenes after the 'my house my rules' comments last time! But I didn't feel I could fob her off with an excuse as I knew it would offend her anyway, and I couldn't justify offending her that much with some made-up reason such as there not being enough room at her house or something.

So - AIBU to want to control who tells my DD1 off and when?? I guess I probably am, but what if the alternative is subjecting her to what in my view can even resemble bullying at times?

Goldmandra Wed 23-Jan-13 10:00:08

I would take this a step further and say that to take a child who is as anxious as your DD to stay in a house where you knew people would treat her like that would be an act of abuse.

My DD1 was like your DD when she was smaller and she would have spent every moment in a state of sheer terror that someone was going to start on her. She is 15 now and has a dx of AS (not suggesting for a moment that your DD has AS) and she has learned to tell us when she feels like this.

To shout at a child who is too frightened to approach you to take something is abusive. This isn't an over reaction. It is bullying and needs to be stamped on.

Even if you stay in a hotel she is still going to have to see this bully and I think you need to intervene and stop him doing this to her. You need to say "Please don't tell her off for being frightened". Then you need to turn to you DD and say "It's OK, DD. I will get it for you."

You need to stand up for your DD and you also need to stand up for your right to parent your own child in the way you feel is right.

Your DM and your DSF are showing total disregard for your right to make decisions and for the right of your child to make her own decisions too. They need to know that you deserve some respect as an adult and that you won't stand back and allow them to bully your daughter any more.

You've started the process of standing up to them. Now make it really count and tell them that if they continue to try to toughen your DD up by frightening her you will come home early and not visit again.

Being kind to you by visiting to support you when there is a crisis does not buy anyone the right to treat your child like this.

HeyHoHereWeGo Wed 23-Jan-13 10:11:43

I think you are right. You are protecting your daughter so beautifully.
Personally I would have made up a rubbish reason to stay in the hotel, but thats because I avoid confrontation like the plaque.
Well done.
I would have a conversation with your mother, if it can be done gently but firmly simply saying whats been said here -
"Look My house my rules works with regards to your rules for feet on furniture, etc but it is not an excuse for bullying a child or calling her names and I wont stand for it."
or
"If we stay with you and you both treat dd as you did last time, I promise you we will fall out over it and we will both bitterly regret the visit, whereas if we stay in a hotel and we have a pleasant trip, then we wont fall out, and we will come back to visit as soon as we can.."

Anniegetyourgun Wed 23-Jan-13 10:14:50

"My house my rules" does not mean "I can do what I like to anyone in my house".

DeafLeopard Wed 23-Jan-13 10:22:15

YANBU at all. We don't visit PIL any more as they are exactly the same - when DHs sibs visit PIL they also stay in a hotel as they can then escape the endless bossing around of the GCs and general overbearing behaviour.

Oh and we do have house rules - same as Yfronts actually.

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