MIL getting on my nerves, am I overreacting?

(32 Posts)
megaindecisive Thu 29-Aug-13 22:20:00

MIL is upsetting my daughter and overstepping boundaries.

She has been overbearing the last few times I've seen her.

Recently she has been doing the 'oh, are you not my friend anymore?' in this weird voice when my child insists on holding my hand and not hers when we are walking along. She grabs her hand and my daughter doesn't like it and really resists.

There are other things like moving my daughters hands from items in shops. I tell my daughter she can touch if she's careful. My mil constantly touches things in shops too and I see it as unfair to not allow my daughter the same rights. If I don't mind her handling items then the mil should butt out.

MIL is upsetting my daughter and ruining their relationship. She kept telling her to be quiet yesterday and snapping at her; she then wonders why my daughters not her friend anymore. I can't stand all the friends stuff. I find it creepy coming from an older woman's mouth.

I think I'm overreacting but there is a bit of pretending to be her mum and not her grandma. My daughter does not want to be alone with her as much these days and Grandma feels hurt by this.

It seems minor when writing it out, I am really uneasy with it all. I don't want to upset her but can't quite work out how to deal with this in a non confrontational manner.

megaindecisive Fri 30-Aug-13 19:15:08

Thanks everyone for your opinions. I've spent a while thinking about it and I think it's probably a combination of things.

My daughter has just finished her first year of school, this is about the same stage mil eldest was at when she lost custody of her kids due to ill health.

MIL spends less time with my daughter as she started school last year and she doesn't see much of her kids as they are all working long hours or not living close by.

MIL dotes on my daughter, she is her only grandchild and all her own children feel she has lost all interest in them. All she talks about is my daughter and too much of her money goes on treating her.

I think she has all this love for my daughter and is jealous of the mother-daughter bond. i think this is why she is being so critical. She is hurt when she feels my daughter is rejecting her.

It is better when it's just them together without me as my daughter can focus on grandma. Unfortunately grandma finds this too tiring. I'm going to think around other activities they can do together besides shop.

leeloo1 Fri 30-Aug-13 18:33:33

Its up to your DD who she holds hands with and your MIL should respect this. Maybe try and laugh off the 'you're not my friend' comments in a 'don't be silly' way.

If your MIL removes your DD's hand from a toy you should quietly say 'thanks MIL, but DD is allowed to touch the toys in here'.

If MIL refuses to refrain from taking over/being odd then maybe limit the time your DD spends with her - and if necessary tell her why. If your DD is becoming uncomfortable in her presence then I'd wonder why this is - and your DD probably isn't old enough to tell you.

EldritchCleavage Fri 30-Aug-13 18:10:47

Why did MIL lose custody?
I don't think you are necessarily over-reacting. After all, you see her, hear the tone of voice etc. If you have a strong feeling things have changed and if DD is reluctant to be alone with her then something has changed.

Don't ignore your instincts. MIL need not be alone with her anyway, she can see her with the rest of the family. It does all sound quite over-bearing and a but manipulative.

I would pick your MIL up on it calmly if she overrides your instructions to DD ('It's ok, I've said she can look at it' etc), and never make DD show physical affection or have contact she doesn't want. Otherwise, ignore.

StanleyLambchop Fri 30-Aug-13 15:50:39

I'm not sure touching things in shops is necessarily frowned upon (china shops aside). What about the shops which deliberately put toys & sweets by the till where they know kids will see them and use 'pester power' while you are trapped waiting in the queue (bastards)

I think if you have taken the decision to allow this, based on your knowledge of your daughter and how she behaves, then your MIL should respect that. The holding hands thing is weird- My Dc always prefer my hand over their grandparents, everyone just shrugs and gets on with it, no one takes offence. Is it only natural, surely?

Viking1 Fri 30-Aug-13 14:53:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thebody Fri 30-Aug-13 08:39:31

perhaps grandma is feeling tired/ill/ just getting older.

why this time away? why shop together if its hassle?

jus visit together or let her visit you. she doesn't need time on her own with your dd really.

NeedlesCuties Fri 30-Aug-13 07:17:14

What does your DH say about this?

Do you rely on MIL for childcare, or just see her whenever suits?

I agree with your points and think YANBU as I'd feel the same!

megaindecisive Fri 30-Aug-13 00:51:44

She's very generous with cash but she is in debt and still wants to pay for everything. I can't stop this.

My daughter has been at school this last year so out of necessity she has seen less of her.

The back-story is more of her taking over after my daughter was born and jealousy of other grandparents and what names everyone got called, competing Christmas and birthday presents etc. That died down a few years ago.

brdgrl Fri 30-Aug-13 00:51:27

Oh, I think you are probably right about it being connected to that, OP!

I can see where you are coming from, it does sound weird and a bit 'all about me'...I've seen my mum do something similar when my toddler nephew told her mid-meltdown that he didn't like her - she went in a bit of a pout, really.

To those saying kids shoudl never touch things in shops, I think that's a bit too much. My DD is three. I let her touch things in some shops - depends what it is, doesn't it? In other shops I might say to her not to touch, or in some, to ask before she touches anything (and she does). In the grocery, she helps pick things off the shelf...in the Disney store, she can touch and try things on...in the housewares department at Debenhams, she keeps her hands to herself. Common sense, surely?

Valdeeves Fri 30-Aug-13 00:34:36

Is the back story that you live in her house or she paid for a big chunk of your? If you have taken her money, she will take liberties.
If she lost custody of her children that is an open wound for her, she's probably trying to replace some of that loss by being closer to your DD. it's irritating you because you don't want to share DD - in the sense you don't want her to love you both the same. I think that's understandable - just try not to influence her.

megaindecisive Fri 30-Aug-13 00:20:15

She's made comments about how clingy my daughter is, but I don't see it as being clingy. To me it seems natural my daughter wants to hold my hand.

It is around this age that she lost custody of her eldest child and the two younger ones although she was still very much part of their lives. It's only just twigged that this may be connected.

megaindecisive Fri 30-Aug-13 00:14:18

I'm not sure why my daughter doesn't seem happy alone with her anymore. Grandma wants time alone with her then gets overtired and snaps at her sometimes. The forced hand-holding and not touching maybe. She's not overly strict with my daughter - she generally doesn't react if my daughter touches stuff in shops.

If I'm there she resents my presence as my daughter wants to hold my hand or sit next to me etc.

It's a recent thing where she's not wanted to go out with her, she started by saying she was too tired and then getting stroppy. She's always had a great relationship in the past with her.

MickeyMouseHasGrownUpACow Fri 30-Aug-13 00:13:31

Some grandparents find it hard to adjust to the fact that they are not 'in charge' any more, particularly where the relationship dynamic with their own child hasn't changed over the years to a more equal dynamic, rather always staying as father-son, mother-son/daughter.

Imo they struggle with having to comply with their dd/ds's views on how to parent their own child. they automatically switch into 'being in charge'.

The only way, ime, is to try to not pick up on every last irk (easier said than done) but to be firm that it is up to you, not Mil, whether or not your dd picks up things in shops etc.

The 'I'm not your friend' stuff is weird - my fil does that sort of stuff too. Crap example to set a child imo. I've not plucked up the courage to address that either!

Finola1step Fri 30-Aug-13 00:03:44

Hi OP. The touching in shops thing, not really a biggie in my opinion. I would prefer my dc not but, as long as you are teaching your dd to be respectful of other people's belongings etc. Not your biggest problem.

It sounds like you spend a lot of time with your MIL - too much maybe? The biggest issue here in my opinion is the possibility that MIL would prefer to play "mummy". It sounds like a bit if space is what's needed before you have a major falling out. Refocus the boundaries.

LimitedEditionLady Thu 29-Aug-13 23:59:14

id get annoyed with your MIL,she sounds like she wants to control your DD.Let the child breathe!If my son chooses to walk with grandma ( always does!) I dont care,its not a contest!

LimitedEditionLady Thu 29-Aug-13 23:56:15

I let my son touch things in shops,he isnt dirtying anything or breaking it so whats the harm?if i say dont touch the glass or something dangerous or put something down he does so.Hes two and a half.I work on the basis or trust with him,I can trust him to listen to what I say so he is allowed.If he didnt listen he would learn he cant touch things.I have found that this works with just about everything we do.Too much fussing and not ever letting a child choose imo makes them frustrated.works for us and i always get commebts on how calm well behaved my son is.

celestialbows Thu 29-Aug-13 23:52:43

Sounds a bit strange to me. I don't like adults manipulating children's feelings. I don't think saying "you're not my friend any more" is on really, over wanting to hold your hand rather than hers. And whether or not anyone thinks it's right or wrong to touch items in shops, your mil should be talking to you about this, not your dd, who as far as she knows has been allowed by you to touch things. Why doesn't she want to be alone with your MIL?

^ this ^

BlackDaisies Thu 29-Aug-13 23:47:51

Sounds a bit strange to me. I don't like adults manipulating children's feelings. I don't think saying "you're not my friend any more" is on really, over wanting to hold your hand rather than hers. And whether or not anyone thinks it's right or wrong to touch items in shops, your mil should be talking to you about this, not your dd, who as far as she knows has been allowed by you to touch things. Why doesn't she want to be alone with your MIL?

megaindecisive Thu 29-Aug-13 23:46:59

Disney and Build a bear shops, the entertainer toy shop, children's clothes shop - she knows she can touch in these shops.

She fetches shopping from the shelves when asked in supermarket.

Other shops she knows we don't allow it. She can touch toys in TKmax but not other bits.

If I say she can touch then mil overides my decision.

megaindecisive Thu 29-Aug-13 23:39:37

I don't know if I'm being childish. The voice she uses is sarcastic and almost nasty.

We get on fairly well but this summer has been difficult. I can't see why it has changed.

I do like my mil but we have had issues in the past; these have mostly been dealt with.

Still18atheart Thu 29-Aug-13 23:38:05

In these shops is it a toy shop or clothes shop therefore lots of other children touching stock possibly , nothing really breakable or a fine bone china or lots of glassware type shop where even the most unclumsy people have be aware of breakables

I understand that children should be taught possibly not to touch things in shops but like everything in this world, considerations have to be taken in it's different from shop to shop and exception to the rule have to be made.

MammaTJ Thu 29-Aug-13 23:30:57

Sounds to me like you are both insecure and each fighting to be top in your DDs affections. Both grab a hand and swing her, make it fun, not a competition. Your DD will pick up on this very quickly and play you off against each other if you are not careful.

Blissx Thu 29-Aug-13 23:29:59

My mil constantly touches things in shops too and I see it as unfair to not allow my daughter the same rights

Of course your DD does not have the same rights. She is 5. Your MIL is an adult.

Blissx Thu 29-Aug-13 23:27:02

she then wonders why my daughter's not her friend anymore

Sounds like you are being childish just like you are feeling MIL is. Without knowing the full picture, I think you are BU because your DD is only 5 and your MIL is saying things most people do to young children. Do you even stop to think does you MIL actually think these things or is she just talking to her grandchild in a 'young voice' to try and relate to her?

I think there are bigger things in the world to worry about.

SeaSickSal Thu 29-Aug-13 23:07:13

I think that the 'Oh are you not my friend anymore' thing is quite a normal thing to say if a child doesn't want to hold your hand. To the extent that it's a cliche.

I agree, at 5 your daughter should not be touching things in shops. You may want to feel that her feelings are taken into account but you also need to show consideration for other people around you, and teach her that sometimes her feelings and wants are secondary to showing consideration to other people. For example she can't just touch what she wants if it belongs to somebody else.

It seems so minor that to be using phrases like 'uneasy' and 'creepy' feels really unfair on your MIL.

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