To keep my children safe when visiting in-laws abroad.

(78 Posts)
desertrosefirefly Mon 02-Sep-13 01:35:26

My in-laws live over seas. They have 4 dogs that live outside which I think can be unsafe taking our 3 children aged 5 years to 14 months, since my in-laws disagree with my rules and even ridicule me. They disagree with me about my children not being left without monitoring the behaviour of the dogs or what my children could do to upset the dogs. My 5 year old had 3 of the dogs go for him when he was just about to turn 2 years old and since being here this time my 5 year old has had his bottom nipped by one of the dogs when they got over excited and one of my 14 month olds has been growled at. If my son acts fearful to the dogs he is told off and told to be brave. I had a huge arguement with my father-in-law only last night because he thinks I am hilarious how I go to watch my children when they are close to the dogs and that I would prefer that my babies were not anywhere near the dogs, since even the loveliest of animals will react if they are hurt or surprised.
My in-laws also have a balcony which after many arguements they have now put a net up since the babies could fit through the gaps, but the twins move furniture on the balcony and one infant in particular loves to climb. My rule is that they are not allowed on the balcony alone. The doors are left wide open to the balcony during the day.
My in-laws also have issues with me wanting to use UV suits and cake my children in sun block here. I am always told by my mother-in law that they will be fine if it is after 3pm (or it is cloudy today) even though it is the Caribbean (and I am also told this when she comes to visit the UK when we have sunny weather) where they live you can imagine the effect that the sun could have.
They also have a very relaxed attitude to my children around water. Since I was a lifeguard when I was younger I try to prevent things rather than having to deal with situations. I am now a primary school teacher and so very annoyed when they question every rule I have when it comes to the safety of my children.
I was told that I deserved a slap last night by my mother-in-law (twice in fact) and that children need to have accidents to learn. When I said that they are my children so my rules go, she told me that they are her children and my father-in-laws too and they do not agree with me so they will bring them up their own way.
I would prefer not to take my children out anymore but now my husband has made it clear that the children will be going out no matter if I agree or not. My husband says he agrees with me on the safety of our children but does not speak up when I am made a joke of or ignored by his parents and if left alone with his mother or father will ignore my rules all together. Any advice please.

MariaLuna Mon 02-Sep-13 01:48:21

she told me that they are her children and my father-in-laws too and they do not agree with me so they will bring them up their own way.

Apart from the dogs and balcony thing this really stood out for me. They sound deranged.

I,m sorry your husband is not standing behind you in this.

But you are visiting, right? Not living there.

Frankly I wouldn't be going back for about the next 10 years.

solarbright Mon 02-Sep-13 01:48:35

Wow. Advice. Well... why are you there?? You knew all this stuff before you left the UK (I assume?), so why are you staying with these people? Your DH wants to see his parents, and that's as should be, but you don't have to put up with the disrespect of your in-laws and the total lack of back-up from your DH. There must be a hotel around there somewhere, OP. Take the kiddies, and DH if he knows what's good for him, and move out. If your MIL has actually said, twice, that you deserve to be slapped, I'm afraid that's the last night I'd ever spend under her roof.

And 'the children will be going out whether you agree or not'?? WTF, OP? That's not right. You two need to have a serious discussion, and you need to have it somewhere other than your PIL's house.

MariaLuna Mon 02-Sep-13 01:51:43

(I was married to a man from abroad who threatened to take my son with him when he went back - we split up - indeed, I didn't visit till he was well into his teens).

desertrosefirefly Mon 02-Sep-13 02:12:58

I did think about the hotel thing. When everyone around you makes you feel like you are over reacting you start to believe it, so that is why I needed some sense from here. I am completely prepared to do whatever it takes so that my children are safe. Again there will be problems that I need to look into, since my husband lived out here and we were moving out too. I do believe that he would move out again and try to take children with him. I think legal advice may be the next step. I cannot wait to be home. Yes I knew that they were quite bad but I thought laying the law may make things change. Stupid, but since they are family, after talking to my own mother we came up with what I needed to do and say.

solarbright Mon 02-Sep-13 02:18:35

You're not stupid and you are not overreacting. If you can't wait to be home, then don't wait. Change tix for you and DC and go home.

And if you have any fear whatsoever that DH or his family will attempt to abduct the children, then call the British consulate/embassy right now and ask for help.

When are you scheduled to leave?

Feckadeck Mon 02-Sep-13 02:49:05

Yanu they sound very controlling and disrespectful of you as a mother. You husband also needs to stand up for you and discuss this seriously with his parents. I am also in the Caribbean and there can be a more laxed attitude to safety here eg it's quite normal to see children jumping about in cars with no seatbelts,etc....makes me mad! About the sun comment when you live here full time you do start to notice that late afternoon sun is less sever. Generally post 4pm. However i still insist on sun protection for the kids and would advise all visitors from uk to use even in cloud as sun still gets through. We have balcony too and the baby is not allowed out unsupervised. We have a net but even so anything could happen..Surely it's common sense to not have them there unsupervised. Dont get Why your inlaws cant see this! Definitely get legal advise re your husband leaving uk with kids but without you (I thought a parent needed a letter for the otherparentto travel with the child alone?).

desertrosefirefly Mon 02-Sep-13 02:49:23

Wednesday. Just had another row with my DH. No support what so ever. Told me I was completely in the wrong. Looked at hotels but I have no means of transport so getting there and to airport since taxis not very reliable or safe here is making me doubt that as an option now. Do not think DH will do anything in terms of taking kids right now. We live at his work and his stuff is there. I will seek advice as soon as I get home. I told him his mother said about slapping me and his answer was we are both adults and that is between us.

desertrosefirefly Mon 02-Sep-13 02:53:40

I meant to say as well I don't think I would be able to leave without DH since babies are on lap and wouldn't manage to carry both on board plane or through customs etc.

Feckadeck Mon 02-Sep-13 02:57:47


Do you know anyone else there that could help you get to a hotel? If not just stay as far away from your inlaws as you can and telldhhe is being a useless b@stard not supporting you in this...especially since he said he agrees with you re the safety issues!

desertrosefirefly Mon 02-Sep-13 02:59:14

I will look into whether DH can take children abroad without letter from me too. Thank you for all your advice. Really upset that I brought children out at all. DH just laid guilt trip on me about I am ruining enjoyment of our kids being with their grandparents, but said that all that does not matter if it is unsafe. Need to get home.

Feckadeck Mon 02-Sep-13 02:59:33

Ah ok re lap....airlines do require minimal adults per lap child. When were you due to fly home?

desertrosefirefly Mon 02-Sep-13 03:01:05

Everyone I know here is linked to the family and I do not have contact information.

desertrosefirefly Mon 02-Sep-13 03:02:16

We are flying on Wednesday so only a few unbearable days to get through.

Feckadeck Mon 02-Sep-13 03:10:53

Jus try to get through it all then. Obviously don't leave your children unsupervised with your inlaws and try to get sometime alone if possible. I'd be tempted not to discuss with H again there as will lead to rows with your inlaws being privy to all tha. When you get home have a serious discussion with him regarding all your concerns and set out what would have to change before you'd be willing to visit his parents like that again and certainly before you'd even think about moving. He agreed safety issues concern him tooso go from there and then make sure he knows how unsupported you felt. Good luck!

GreetingsFrontBottom Mon 02-Sep-13 03:11:25

Stay vigilant, desertrosefirefly. You are absolutely in the right, just keep reminding yourself that. I was in a similar situation with DM a few years ago. I never let the kids out of my sight which led her to believe I had a 'mental problem'.

Fast forward a a few years, and she now agrees that I was probably in the right hmm

If I were you, I would never go back. And leave the kids passports are your mum's house, just in case your DH gets it into his head to take them without you.

Maybe83 Mon 02-Sep-13 03:30:56

Delete this thread and post on your return.,.you are up in a foreign country with 3 small children were taxi s aren't even considered safe with an unsupportive husband I would be concerned if he read it or your thoughts to be honest...get to weds post in relationships when you land!

Footface Mon 02-Sep-13 03:46:39

Be nice for now, get home and then seek advice. Just be careful you are away from home and vulnerable

kickassangel Mon 02-Sep-13 04:39:11

And you can take steps to ensure that your dh cannot take the children out of the country without you. Get legal advice once back home.

Molly333 Mon 02-Sep-13 07:24:18

I can help you with yr decision here. My parents hv awful dogs who they treat better than people . I hv always been v wary of them and rarely take the children round as a result I get a lot of criticism . I'm considered difficult ! Well I was right as recently I relented due to pressure and both the dogs went berserk and went for my daughters face ( she's 14 and I feel sick thinking about it) , it was truly horrendous , we left in utter shock , my thoughts being what if ! It was three inches from her face ! Their pressure on me made me take them there and I ignored my gut instinct , I too was bullied by them like you. If anything happens it's too late , u will regret it forever , listen to your gut and protect yr children x

Retroformica Mon 02-Sep-13 07:56:20

You need to document everything. Their opinions (grand parents and DH) and what they have said to you in a factual manner.

I probably would ensure the kids couldn't be taken out of the country then tell DH either he either supports you fully or leaves the house permanently.

Do nog take the kids back until they are teenagers and less vulnerable. You are doing the right thing to protect your kids.

FadedSapphire Mon 02-Sep-13 08:11:13

Very good luck desertrosefirefly.
Get home safe and if next year being planned you need discussion with dh on everything.
I have inlaws overseas who I find very difficult but yours seem in a different league.

Faithless12 Mon 02-Sep-13 08:14:12

Where in the Caribbean are you? I only ask because this is totally at odds to my experience there. Also, you need your husband on side in future if you intend to come back make sure you both agree on the rules. It sounds like you have a lot of rules which maybe your husband doesn't understand why each rule is in place.

mumofweeboys Mon 02-Sep-13 08:15:02

Paste a smile on until u get home then get the chidlrenspassports and yours and give them to your mum, even I you have to post them to her. Then get Iin touch with womens aid.

mikkii Mon 02-Sep-13 08:24:21

Regarding travelling alone with DC, I am in Spain with DH and DC, but I flew here with DC a few days before DH came, I am also going back today with DC.

Two years ago I flew with DDs, and four years ago we flew out together and home separately. I have never been asked for proof that DH is "allowing me to travel with DC"

lljkk Mon 02-Sep-13 08:31:26

Make sure you spend every penny you have in next 7 yrs so that you can't afford go to visit again.

(ILs sound dreadful)

Faithless12 Mon 02-Sep-13 08:36:49

mikkii- I think it depends a lot on the country you are travelling to. My mum got stopped with me going into Canada I was 16 at the time. However, I haven't been stopped with DS although we were coming back alone not going out if that makes sense.

NomDeClavier Mon 02-Sep-13 08:41:41

Luckily the law is on your side if DH wants to take then without consent and if you usually live in the UK then the law here will apply, which would be easier than negotiating the law where your PILs are, unless the country isn't a Hague Convention signatory.

YANBU, but (caveat) there's probably a huge cultural as well as generational divide. Your children aren't used to the sun, you need to protect their skin. Possibly if you lived there FT you'd be more relaxed about it and maybe your MIL could understand that. I've had similar conversations with my own parents about supervising children. They just don't see it the same way and think I'm paranoid but that stage will be over quicker than the sunblock thing. Maybe if you can get your ILs on side over that at least it would make things more harmonious?

As for the dogs I have no helpful advice. We're not a dog family and I'm naturally wary of them after bring cornered when I was little.

Definitely no unsupervised visits though!

NomDeClavier Mon 02-Sep-13 08:42:43

As for getting stopped I get stopped around half the time I travel solo with DS. Never if with another person (nanny, mother, friend).

Yonihadtoask Mon 02-Sep-13 08:42:54

OP this sounds like an awful trip away for you.

Agree with the other posters, just stick it out until Weds - and don't go back again (or let the DC go) until all are old enough to take care of themselves.

Your MIL sounds bloody nasty - who threatens to slap a DIL? Crazy.

As for travelling alone with DC. I have frequently travelled alone with my DS - we have often been asked what our relationship is - as he is mixed race and I am white. Even now he is 15 - we get asked. Particularly as I am re-married and DH is white too , DSS. So immigration seem to make a bee line to quiz us.

You can possibly have the DC made 'wards of court' or whatever the current term is nowadays so prevent DH taking them without your consent. Removing their passports is probably the best plan too if you believe he will really take them without your consent.

Hope you are okay, and can get home without any more incidents.

Hookedonclassics Mon 02-Sep-13 08:51:09

I second what Faded said - you need to put passports in a 'safe' place when you return. Just hang on until you get home.

As a child, my family went to visit relatives in the Caribbean - my aunty wanted me to stay behind and live with her! Luckily my mum is feisty and put a stop to it. There can be a culture of men giving way to matriarchal grannies and aunts where children are concerned, in my opinion. With their lack of understanding of your safety concerns, and your DH's acquiescence, I would never be go back.

RenterNomad Mon 02-Sep-13 10:19:54

Excellent suggestion from solarbright about the Embassy/Consulate/ High Commission. They can help you with legal advice and protection before you go home; that is: right now.

noobieteacher Mon 02-Sep-13 10:28:55

I agree with pasting a smile on for the rest of your stay but do one further thing - take evidence, photos of the dogs, write down examples of the gps attitude, anything you can write down. When you get back you may need this as evidence in the future.

desertrosefirefly Mon 02-Sep-13 13:15:32

Thanks everyone. Didn't sleep much last night so having your comments when everyone here is making out I am some sort of nutter is keeping me sane.

noobieteacher Mon 02-Sep-13 14:20:00

I wouldn't stay with GPs, even the closest families avoid this. In your case they are a different generation, a different culture. I can understand DH to a certain extent, he is caught between the two while you are under their roof. His upbringing was obviously very different to the way he wants to bring up his own.

The comment about 'give you a slap' is too often used in some cultures and normalised. Bear this in mind - I would see it as a language thing rather than a threat. Would DH use that language to you or the children?

I think if DH has the same attitude about safety as you do, he wouldn't put them at risk when he is with them. So if he did take them out with or without your consent (depending on what the legal situation is) it is unlikely that any court would prevent him. It may be that you could put some kind of injunction on him staying with his parents if he ever did go there alone.

FondantNancy Mon 02-Sep-13 14:38:14

What a brilliant holiday you're having hmm.

I would be running myself ragged with worry between the dogs and the balcony (I have a toddler who could probably scale a bare wall). Your ILs sound completely deranged. Good luck for the next couple of days.

desertrosefirefly Mon 02-Sep-13 15:05:55

My DH says he has the same attitude to safety as me but he is very much like his mother and believes that accidents are all good. His saying is no blood no sympathy. At the beach a few days a go my 14 months old boy caught and bruised his chin while my MI was watching him next to the water. Her and my DH were laughing about it saying it was his first facial scar!

desertrosefirefly Mon 02-Sep-13 15:59:16

I am trying to be in 3 places at once with my children. It is hard enough at home where we have child proofed, but here where they are still leaving the balcony doors wide open and the gate on the other side has the dogs that are able to come right up to little hands. I am absolutely exhausted. My twins have started walking and in opposite directions usually. The front gate is at least usually locked but just now when I was dealing with one twin the other managed to escape through the front gate because it had been left unlocked. I have really had enough!!!

Whereisegg Mon 02-Sep-13 16:44:35

I totally agree with whoever said to take pictures of all the things you (rightly) consider dangerous to your children.

A very serious chat is needed with your husband when you get home, he either agrees with you or he doesn't!

And yy to giving the children's passports to a family member/trusted friend.

solarbright Mon 02-Sep-13 17:29:59

Good luck, OP. Only two days to go! And then you need to see a solicitor back home.

Are your DC dual nationals or only British?

Dackyduddles Mon 02-Sep-13 17:37:41

Photo everything. You are definitely not wrong here. Good luck op. will be watching for you. Pray you all safe.

Best wishes and hugs

SixPackWellies Mon 02-Sep-13 17:38:10

Give passports to another. See a solicitor.

FWIW, I have a different surname from my 3 young Dcs and a different nationality and passport. I have NEVER been asked for DH's letter when I have travelled without him.

Just so you know. It may be who you get on the day, but I have travelled without Dh about 6 times abroad, and no-one batted an eyelid.

britaxmaxwayuser Mon 02-Sep-13 17:54:25

If you flew via the US or Canada, there is no way your husband would be able to travel with the kids without a letter from you. Other countries have different rules though.

I have a dog (and twins) and you definitely need to keep all dogs separate from toddlers, unless you have an absolutely bomb proof dog (which outdoor dogs are unlikely to be). Can you make excuses to get out sightseeing as much as possible? Can you build a den out of chairs and sheets in the middle of the main room as a fun game to keep the DTs focused on staying within the confines of the room and to distract them from the balcony and dogs?

Try and cope as best you can until Wednesday and then make sure you are never in this awful situation again.

desertrosefirefly Tue 03-Sep-13 02:39:18

Only DH is dual national. Hard to keep twins in one place no matter how fun as they have only just started walking so they are really enjoying the freedom of wandering around all the time. IL's have been really nice to me today and even let us as a family be by ourselves over at someone else's swimming pool. Much less stressful. I actually started feeling guilty though as they had guests this evening and they were going on about how good it is for my children to be out here and how much they must enjoy it. I just wish that my IL's would have respect for me as a person and a mother and my DH would grow some, then this would not have had to get so nasty. I know my eldest son is going to hate me but I cannot change other people and the way they behave and if that puts my children's safety at risk then I have to be the big bad one.

MariaLuna Tue 03-Sep-13 16:28:28

Not long to go now.

Please don't believe your eldest will hate you! When he is older he will understand you were concerned for his safety.

Have a look at this website for getting knowledge on all aspects of possible child abduction. There is also a list of lawyers on it.

I would second the poster who suggested posting in Relationships on your return (and maybe delete this one, if your husband might find it...).

Wishing you all the best.

By the way, I have been in the Caribbean quite a few times, including being with a family with very young kids. I have never experienced those types of attitudes that your ILs seem to think are normal.

noobieteacher Tue 03-Sep-13 17:46:30

I know so many people who have a hard time with children being looked after by GPs.

I also know that most GPs think they are brilliant carers and know far better than their children - this is fairly normal behaviour.

Their attitude to you ('give you a slap') is not acceptable. However from their point of view you are under their roof and should play by their rules. Your DH is naturally simply doing what they are telling him like a good little boy. If he has grown up with this kind of language he will side with them out of fear so I think you need to be understanding of his situation.

When we go to ILs we tend to rent somewhere rather than stay with MIL. Most people I know will only stay for a night or two with ILs. I hope that makes you feel a little bit better and can just move on and learn from it.

Talk to DH about it when you get back, have a good hard look at his parenting and consider the eventualities if you separated. If you put this on the Relationships board you will be told unequivocably to leave him. I wonder whether your unhappiness with him is largely because of this bad trip and your exhaustion having 3 young children. Whatever happens, do take legal advice on his ability to take the children abroad.

desertrosefirefly Tue 03-Sep-13 17:49:09

Really confused now. My MI has been going out of her way for me including getting me a roll of velcro to fix something, which I was going to do when I got back. Also noticed this morning that the large table has been moved away from the side of the balcony and everyone is following my rules with no comments about it being over the top. I did over hear a conversation at the swimming pool yesterday, which involved the lady that owns the pool saying "that is out of line" and then she said it again very loudly and sternly when speaking on the phone. I know my MI had a phone conversation with her while we were there. Could it be that her friend has made her see things differently? and if she is on the same page now, does that change what I should be doing? Advice again please.

solarbright Tue 03-Sep-13 17:53:22

If she apologises for her behaviour and promises different in the future, then who knows - maybe you could mend fences. But right now I'd stop worrying about her - just get everyone on the plane tomorrow and make sure you never stay at their home ever ever ever again. If you come out to visit again, stay at a hotel.

Little school-age mind games about moving tables and playing nice are not adult apologies. I'd want to see some consistent changes and an acknowledgement of past wrongs before I stayed with her again.

FondantNancy Tue 03-Sep-13 21:46:33

Sounds like too little, too late to me. I'm sure it wouldn't take a psychic to see that you've had a very bad time of it there and your MIL has clocked it and is putting out a few fires to ensure you remember how 'good' she was while you were there.

noobieteacher Tue 03-Sep-13 23:07:31

This is your husband's parents and your childrens grandparents. They will not be the first gps ever to have different rules for your children than you do. It's great that she's realised and is now trying to make an effort. Many mothers are so over-protective of their sons that they will behave really badly toward their DILs. She sounds like one of them - but she seems to be getting over the fact that you are her DIL and mother to her grandchildren. I would try to leave on a positive note, encourage the contact and support that they may be able to give in the future.

Once again, it really is a bad idea to stay with GPs with children unless you get along fabulously. It very rarely works out.

desertrosefirefly Wed 04-Sep-13 02:56:51

Major fireworks this evening. All day DH kept discussing with his parents about us coming back in February. I did not want the tickets to be booked or anything else organised, as his brother and children are coming similar time so need to know dates etc, so said to DH would he please stop saying to his parents that we were coming back in February, because we needed to have a discussion once we returned home. He told me again that he was bringing the children with or without me. He was then trying to make me feel guilty about his 93 years old grandmother that lives here and that she will never see the great grandchildren again. That is the main reason why I have been coming out here (she cannot travel) so he knows it is a sore point with me. For some reason they still think I have a whale of a time out here because it is the Caribbean and I am an ungrateful piece of crap for all they do for me. I do not care where I am, if I am treated like the nanny (they call it the baby muma out here) and then abused every step of the way, I could be in Utopia and still be having a bad time because they are ruining it. I said that I would compromise if we could stay in a hotel but he told me no way was he paying the extra money for that and he would bring the children without me. I will not let him take our children when there has been no respect about what I have said as a mother (or even any respect as a person). Behind my back safety would go back to being blasa. Plus I do not like my children going too far or for too long while they are so young (eldest has stayed with other people from a young age but I have always known I can get to him if needed and twins are such a handful I am not happy leaving them with anyone that does not have an extra pair of hands or knows the score). So bad timing just before dinner we are having a row and then my FIL comes out on the balcony to get involved too. At least my DH sent him away, but my husband made me feel like crap so much and after nastiness, lies and laughing at me I just couldn't face sitting around the dinner table with them all. Now I have offended the whole family it seems by not coming to dinner. I do feel bad for everyone involved but if there had just been some respect towards me then all of this wouldn't be as bad as it is. I cannot sleep at nights anymore and we have an all night flight back tomorrow. Really angry for getting myself into this position.
Agree that should not stay with ILs, we are very different people and now I have MIL coming to stay with us next month after all this.

desertrosefirefly Wed 04-Sep-13 03:25:28

What I have also forgotten to mention is that my MIL's middle son fell from a balcony when he was young and ended up seriously ill in hospital. Lived and was fine but is one of the many stories she tells of accidents that happened to her children when in her care, so this maybe makes me a little paranoid about her looking after our children.

ChicyMonkey Wed 04-Sep-13 05:59:17

Don't get involved in pointless fights about flights right now. Let him book the tickets and play the game.

Once you get home you can get legal advice and decide what you're going to do. If push comes to shove you phone Heathrow/go to police station in February and say "I do not give my husband permission to take the children out of the country".

Fwiw - I'd be living on my nerves in your situation too, the balcony, the gate. I think a lot of grandparents are "a bit crap" like this - my m&d leave boiling hot mugs of tea on the edge of the coffee table... but the balcony is the deal-breaker for me!

friday16 Wed 04-Sep-13 07:33:39

You're married to this man because...?

Lazyjaney Wed 04-Sep-13 08:15:17

Sorry OP, I think your fears have multplied out of all proportion to the dangers.

I grew up in a country with more space and sun than the UK, and DHs parents sound much like people I knew. Kids grow up in these countries too, often fitter and healthier than in the UK. If your DH grew up there then he probably has a better appreciation of the risks than you, and also thinks you are being pretty unreasonable.

quoteunquote Wed 04-Sep-13 09:42:46

Your husband is not reassuring you and trying to force you into decisions when you are out of your comfort zone, that is not acceptable.

Don't go back, until the children are old enough to understand the dangers, trust your instincts, keep them totally away from the dogs, insist the dogs are no where near the children at any time,

Explain there is no compromise on the dogs ever, suggest they buy muzzles for the dogs. but still keep them totally separate from the children.

these people do not have your children's safety as a high priority,

you offered a compromise with a hotel, and it was dismissed,

I would make sure that your children cannot be taken out of this country without your permission, and never give it.


Your ILs are horrendous, but if you never go back then they're pretty much dealt with. "now I have MIL coming to stay with us next month after all this." - I'd give her one fucking horrible stay. Your house, your rules [hard face].

No, your main problem is your spineless abusive fuckwitted mamma's boy of a husband.

I don't see any way back for him with all he has said and done. Are you in a financial position to kick his sorry arse out? (That would also take care of MIL's trip - without him there it'd be easy to just bar her from your home.) I rarely say LTB, but he honestly sounds beyond redemption. He's not just letting his parents disrespect and abuse you (which would be bad enough), he's doing it too. He's putting you in fear by threatening to take the children back there regardless of your concerns.

When you're getting advice about the children not being allowed out of the country without you, I'd also get advice about divorce sad.

FadedSapphire Wed 04-Sep-13 17:03:15

Oh I feel for you so much op.
I am trapped into cycle of having to visit inlaws abroad yearly in a lovely place but not fun for me as they are SO different and awkward. Costs us bloody fortune too. However, they are not nasty and totally different ball game to what you are suffering. You need more support from dh or I am not sure how even your marriage can continue. [I say this as someone whose marriage is always nearest to divorce when at in laws].
You just need to survive this last night.
When home has your dh's family got anyone reasonable who can support you/ make your case to in laws? My bil a help to me [more so than dh].
You be gentle with yourself.

noobieteacher Wed 04-Sep-13 17:06:03

I don't think it's acceptable to deny your children access to their grandparents on the grounds of their dogs / their attitude. There are ways round this (i.e. don't stay in their house).

FadedSapphire Wed 04-Sep-13 17:07:46

Op has to sort out her dh's attitude though noobieteacher.
Situation intolerable without support and respect from dh.

noobieteacher Wed 04-Sep-13 17:16:54

I'm sure his attitude will change when he is back in the UK.

It is tricky when you're under your parents roof. It's a testing situation and he's obviously a bit scared of them. They are all getting to know each other and it might be that they're warming to her now because he may have had a word with them.

It shows strength of character that they have made an effort to change- in some homes it's extremely rude to disagree with the host and they may have just been outraged (wrongly imo) that OP had a different viewpoint to them.

GPs are important, even if they have dogs and an open balcony door. The trouble is it's very hard for them to change.

mummytime Wed 04-Sep-13 19:36:31

noobieteacher - No actually it isn't that hard for them!

If it was me, I would put netting or otherwise block off the balcony. I would make sure the dogs were shut out. I would show respect to the child's mother (even if I thought she was over protective).

"I don't think it's acceptable to deny your children access to their grandparents on the grounds of their dogs / their attitude."
I disagree. If grandparents insist on providing an unsafe environment, it's not just acceptable but your duty as a parent.

" it might be that they're warming to her now because he may have had a word with them."
You really think he'd have a word with them?

Phineyj Wed 04-Sep-13 21:46:08

I think if you want to have a good relationship with your GC, you are nice to their mother and respect her parenting, whether or not you agree with it.

The MIL has a son who nearly died falling off a balcony. There are cases in the paper every week of DC being harmed by dogs. Holiday environments are more dangerous than home because they're not familiar and not set up for you. I wouldn't say the OP was overreacting.

ljny Wed 04-Sep-13 22:24:47

The MIL has a son who nearly died falling off a balcony.

I have a close family member, from the Caribbean, whose brother died there, from an accident, when they were toddlers. It was preventable - lax oversight and absence of safety measures allowed it to happen.

Much of what the Op says about her in-laws' culture sounds familiar. The matriarchy, the attitudes to risk. Obviously, most children survive - but not all.

If you don't even let your baby sleep on its tummy surrounded by stuffed toys, if you don't allow your toddler to ride without a carseat, or send your reception-child to walk to school alone - whyever do you think the Op should accept worse risks for her children?

Again, most children survive. But not all.

noobieteacher Thu 05-Sep-13 14:33:33

"I don't think it's acceptable to deny your children access to their grandparents on the grounds of their dogs / their attitude."
I disagree. If grandparents insist on providing an unsafe environment, it's not just acceptable but your duty as a parent.

It's your duty as a parent to enable your children to have contact with their extended family and it's also your duty to protect them from risk. OP can do both.

" it might be that they're warming to her now because he may have had a word with them."
You really think he'd have a word with them?

Why not? He is her husband. Have you got a cold?

friday16 Thu 05-Sep-13 14:45:11

"It's your duty as a parent to enable your children to have contact with their extended family"

No, it really isn't. You might regard it as desirable, or indeed beneficial. But it certainly isn't a duty. Why spend time with people you don't like, and who don't like you (as in the OP's case)? Isn't everyone better off spending more time with people that care about them?


I have twins and one 2 years older.
When they were crawling and we went to PILs I had to buy my own playpen for them at PILs or they would have got all over the place. No matter what the intentions (and your PILs seem especially barmy) when there are lots of relatives around 'watching' children its sometimes even easier for them to get out/up/in things because nobody knows who's actually responsible: especially if mum is around. I was never able to let down my 'mummy vigilance eyes in back of head' when mine were little unless I was actually off the premises, as even when GPs were 'watching' them as soon as I walked in the room you could see them letting go of that responsibility, IYKWIM

noobieteacher Thu 05-Sep-13 15:29:01

"Why spend time with people you don't like, and who don't like you (as in the OP's case)? Isn't everyone better off spending more time with people that care about them?"

OP's grandparents care about their GCs because they took them in under their roof and did what they could (in this case rather badly) to look after them. GCs need to know there are other peole around who will always be there for them - it his a healthy family dynamic. Life is a learning process and the dynamic always changes when children appear and when family members die.

I find the 'friends are the new family' attitude quite naiive and short-sighted. Of course there are always exceptions, as Jeremy Kyle would illustrate, but having a different understanding of safety isn't a reason to cut a bond between relatives, surely? What will the GCs say years later when they need someone around that knows their family, culture and history and there is nobody there?

friday16 Thu 05-Sep-13 17:32:12

"OP's grandparents care about their GCs because they took them in under their roof and did what they could (in this case rather badly) to look after them"

And said, repeatedly, that their mother "needed a slap". Seriously: if a husband said that their wife "needed a slap" MN would would be LTB in the first response. Why should the OP spend time with, and expose her children to, "grandparents" who threaten her with violence? She's the wife of their son and the mother of their grandchildren, but they threaten her with violence when she tries to deal with safety issues. In what world is that acceptable?

"GCs need to know there are other peole around who will always be there for them"

People who threaten to assault their mother when she says things they don't like. Perhaps you think children should have to be exposed to violent people who want to assault their mother, but I overall think it's a bad idea. Or is threatened abuse OK so long as you're a bit older and a bit exotic? Culture, don't you know?

"but having a different understanding of safety isn't a reason to cut a bond between relatives, surely"

But threats of violence are. Your claim is that a mother should accept being threatened with violence in order to maintain a relationship with people who are unwilling to do anything to protect her children. I think you're wrong.

"What will the GCs say years later"

They'll say "at least we don't have to see the people who want to hit mummy". I think that's a good thing. You're obviously more relaxed about assault.

friday16 Thu 05-Sep-13 17:35:10


Here's the key quote from the OP:

"I was told that I deserved a slap last night by my mother-in-law (twice in fact) and that children need to have accidents to learn. When I said that they are my children so my rules go, she told me that they are her children and my father-in-laws too and they do not agree with me so they will bring them up their own way."

Tell us why people who threaten to assault a child's mother, and claim that they are the child's parents and therefore can override the mother's parenting, are a positive influence on a child's life?

noobieteacher Fri 06-Sep-13 10:49:10

I don't think any child should be denied access to thei gps because of a few thoughtless words, said in anger and confusion. They are a different culture and a different generation. Nobody was hurt and they are all learning from it.

The phrase give you a slap is sadly normalised in some families over the generations but is not intended a threat of violence and translates as 'I'm going to give her a good telling off'. She didn't exactly threaten to kneecap her.

Show me one person that hasn't had a bit of conflict with their inlaws after staying in their house for a couple of weeks.

Tryharder Fri 06-Sep-13 11:12:44

Look, don't LTB just because people on MN said so!

There is nowhere that indicates that the OP's DH is behaving badly to the extent that the OP should divorce him. I sometimes think that the people advocating divorce on MN have never actually been divorced and have no idea how shit it is.

OP, you only have a few days. Try and relax; I suspect you are getting overly wrought about this. Just keep an eye on your DCs. Are there no older cousins or siblings who could assist.

I have family in West Africa and it must be similar. Children there are just much more street smart than kids here and I remember having to run around after my DCs at a young age. But it's normal there for teenage girls to be given child are duties and my niece used to help me.

In your situation, there must be a cousin or a niece who could help you. Wrt the dogs, teach your children healthy respect but not to be scared. Dogs there are for guarding the compound and will not attack the compound members, only strangers.

noobieteacher Fri 06-Sep-13 11:47:39

OP re your posts on Wednesday, you are doing absolutely the right thing by telling them what your terms and conditions are. Hotel or no visit, and no visits without you until you are satisfied with your dcs safety. Don't let them turn it into anything personal, their behaviour is crap and they will only change if you assert yourself but don't escalate it. If anyone uses the word 'slap' in front of you or your dcs again be quite clear and assertive that it is not acceptable. I'm almost certain they will do what you want but it looks as though you are going to treat them like errant children. When gm comes over it will be a good opportunity to take charge, show her how you do things.

friday16 Fri 06-Sep-13 13:38:11

"If anyone uses the word 'slap' in front of you or your dcs again be quite clear and assertive that it is not acceptable."

The problem is that this is all middle-class wibble, assuming that it's a gentle disagreement over the brand of cous-cous to buy. You tell them that something is not acceptable. What next? In the world of school teachers in the staff room, "not acceptable" is the nuclear weapon, and everyone scurries around making sure that they don't do it again. But outside such genteel surroundings, what should the OP do if the response is "it's fucking acceptable to me, luv, you just need a slap". What's next?

And telling someone to be assertive is close to victim-blaming: what if they find being assertive hard (as appears to be the case in this)? Is it their fault that they get ridden over roughshod?

The OP is not the bad person here, and it is not her responsibility to help the bad people see the error of their ways. If they can't sort themselves out, she should stay away from them.

noobieteacher Fri 06-Sep-13 14:07:41

Oh dear Friday.

So your solution is to make sure OPs children never see their GPs again. No negotiation, no second chances? I think it is highly irresponsible to suggest something so drastic, that could result in a family breakup. The real world we live in is not inhabited by perfect people with perfect behaviour.

desertrosefirefly Sat 14-Sep-13 22:55:22

All of you have cheered me up no end with your chat. I haven't got back on here until now as youngest son has had either a bacterial or viral infection and been quite poorly with it. Husband and I talked when we got back. I told him that there was no point being supportive once we got home, because it would only prove to me that I cannot trust him to be supportive when away and he needed to be supportive whilst there. He did step up slightly when his father decided to throw our son underwater on last day, to teach him a lesson for splashing him when told not to and terrifying our son so much that he cried for 20 minutes. I must point out that I am assertive but that would not be any help with MI since she is well known for having things her way and not listening to others.
Lucky in a way, we had a terrible flight back with the children, which I think was enough to put DH off taking kids back in a hurry. He is going out in February by himself. I have told him I am not going out again unless we stay in a hotel, I have gone out too many times, making myself miserable because every time it is not a holiday for me and I don't enjoy myself. I was trying to put the kids first but now safety is an issue I feel that I would no longer be doing it for the children. He is still saying that we cannot stay in a hotel, but this is my compromise and I am never knowingly putting myself in such a bad position again or the children. I do not want children to lose contact with their grandparents and I can handle situations when they occur here because if they don't listen to me they know I would deal with it. The advantage is only taken when I am stuck. Both IL's travel to the UK regularly, so they will not miss out on seeing their grandchildren but it will be in more controlled circumstances. I am not sure what to do about the great grandmother because I actually do really like her and I think it keeps her going looking forward to seeing everyone, but the ball is in my DH's court with that one, so I am not going to sweat it. DH said he will write an e-mail to his parents before we go next time, outlining what the rules are and what needs to be kept to (his words) I suppose this is the only way he can communicate his wishes to his mother (he wouldn't have talked to her while we were there, I am sure it was her friend, who knows that she can be very controlling) but I am not comfortable with this for many reasons, including their is no guarantee after what has been demonstrated that this would be kept to. I also don't know if DH if challenged by his mother, may suddenly say the list was my idea and he did not agree.

noobieteacher Sun 15-Sep-13 11:50:34

It seems that you are both compromising a little and that's got to be a good thing. This is what being parents is all about.

He may need to read up about narcissistic mothers as well though. He sounds quite trapped.

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