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To be a bit concerned by this re my inlaws.

(50 Posts)
HeffalumpTheFlump Wed 17-Jul-13 09:35:00

Went out with dh's db last night who is absolutely lovely. He's 21 but still lives at home, and is quite easily led by his parents as they can be complete bullies and he is quite sensitive.

Iv posted about the ils before as I have concerns regarding their behaviour in the past and also once my baby is born in the near future.

Dbil is beyond excited about the baby but said a few things that worry me a little bit. He said that he can't wait to hold the baby, but followed it with "when dad lets me", talking about fil. He also said he would love to look after her when she is old enough to be away from me, but again said "if mum and dad let me" (definitely talking about pils not us).

I stopped him there and made it clear that any decisions about who will be looking after mine and dh's child will be made by us. We would have no problem with dbil looking after our baby as he is a lovely responsible bloke, who is going to absolutely adore his neice. He started to say "but mum and dad said..." but then went all quiet.

There have been arguments between us and pil in the past which dbil hates so I think he probably decided it was best not to say anything. From the gist of the conversation, my best guess is that they have said that they will be having our baby, but dbil will not be having her. Dbil was genuinely surprised when I said we would be happy for him to look after her once she is old enough and he has got to know her and her needs. He clearly thought there was no chance, and our relationship with him is really good, so it hasnt come from us.

Aibu to be a quite worried and pissed off that it would seem pils are dictating to dbil what he will and won't be allowed to do with our child without speaking to us? In all honesty I would trust dbil with our baby 100x more than my pils!!! He is sweet, loving and kind and his only fault is being bullied by them. I made it clear to him that he is always welcome to see her at our home, and will be one of the first in line for baby sitting duties when I'm ready to be away from her.

Ashoething Wed 17-Jul-13 09:37:13

Is he special needs? Otherwise I cant seem why a 21 year old man would give a fuck what his parents say?

HeffalumpTheFlump Wed 17-Jul-13 09:39:52

He's not special needs, but has been bullied and put down by pils his whole life. He is completely conditioned to do as they say. It's really sad tbh. My DH has serious confidence issues from living with pils, he's just lucky enough that we have lived together for years now and he's been away from them. Dbil is really trying to get his degree and can't afford to move so is stuck there.

Bowlersarm Wed 17-Jul-13 09:40:27

Maybe their being precious because it's their first grandchild? And they are still treating your BIL as child a himself.

You are right though, you get to encourage your BIL to have a relationship with his niece. It's not up to his parents.

WinkyWinkola Wed 17-Jul-13 09:40:27

Well, I guess it's your and dh's baby so you get to decide what is what.

Wrt your bil, can he move out at all?

He sounds terribly under confident. Your trust in him and your baby will boost him no end. He doesn't have to look after him/her at his parents house at all.

In fact, when it comes to arranging stuff for your child and bil, I just wouldn't involve your pil at all. I mean, I wouldn't give them the chance to yay or nay it. It doesn't matter what they say or think is going to happen. YOU and your dh decide.

Whether they are bullies or not, I don't know, but as long as you make sure you are happy with the care you child gets without being pushed is important.

Your bil is a grown up and I'm not sure how much responsibility you can take for him.

pictish Wed 17-Jul-13 09:40:45

Think it's time for your bil to zip up his man suit, no?

I understand it will be force of habit to defer to his confidence crushing parents, but he has got to find it within himself to stand on his own two feet, and assert himself.

You can always make it crystal clear to your pil that your bil WILL be looking after your baby, as you trust him implicitly - BUT there your powers end...and this problem is between bil and his parents.

Jestrin Wed 17-Jul-13 09:40:53

He really needs to move out. Can you support him in making that decision? His confidence will grow once he is out of their grasp.

HoldingHigh Wed 17-Jul-13 09:41:32

I was going to ask if he had any sort of special needs otherwise I'd say your DH needs to tell him he's 21 and an adult, can make his own choices and own path in life.

Why would he listen if his parents say yes or no to holding your baby? Is he the youngest child? Seems like they still treat him like a baby. They seem quite over-bearing with him.

diddl Wed 17-Jul-13 09:43:16

While he's living with them I'd be worrying about letting him babysit in case they turned up as well.

MaxPepsi Wed 17-Jul-13 09:43:48

I'd fight fire with fire.

They sound like knobs trying to belittle and put down your BIL. If they've always been like this it will be hard for him to break the cycle. (It's taken nearly 40 years for DH to realise his parents do this to him and it's thanks to me and my family that he now knows this is not normal)

Ignore MIL and FIL and make sure BIL gets first look in for everything. He gets told first, gets to visit you at home first, gets first cuddle first. It will do wonders for his self esteem and show your PIL they are not in charge.

HeffalumpTheFlump Wed 17-Jul-13 09:54:51

I really feel its not as easy as manning up in this situation. When you are conditioned since childhood to never challenge people, standing up for yourself is a seriously hard skill to learn.

You are exactly right when you say they still treat himas a child. It's all about control, and they repeatedly try and do the same thing to my DH, but he has grown so much more confident since being away from them that he doesn't take any shit from them anymore.

We have desperately tried to exchange our home for a bigger place so we could have dbil live with us instead but we have had no luck.

I would personally much rather have dealings with bil without pils involved at all! My instinct is to feel that they are already trying to control things regarding our child and I'm not happy about it.

OnIlkelyMoorBahtat Wed 17-Jul-13 09:55:07

Good advice there MaxPepsi - although it's easy to say he should "man up": in practice, hes had 21-yrs of being bullied, and he will need to be shown behaviour that will help him raise his self esteem, so it will be of great help to him to see that other people - i.e. his bro & you OP - think he's a capable adult & treat him accordingly.

He sounds lovely btw - he's going to be a fab uncle to your child!

SugarandSpice126 Wed 17-Jul-13 09:56:18

If he has been bullied by his parents all his life, it's hardly surprising he's talking about it in this way. If you've been put down your whole life, it would be normal to lack in any sort of confidence. So I'm not sure why people are asking if he has special needs. 21 is old enough to be independent in many ways, but he's still very young, and by the sounds of it, hasn't had much life experience outside of his parents house. Has he ever had any kind of counselling/therapy?

He sounds like a lovely young man though, and I hope it works out eventually.

HeffalumpTheFlump Wed 17-Jul-13 10:04:12

"I'd say your DH needs to tell him he's 21 and an adult, can make his own choices and own path in life."

Dbil looks at dh and desperately wants what he has. DH and i are constantly telling him that he can do anything he wants, and saying how proud we are of him etc, but at the end of the day until he gets away from them nothing will change.

I hope the poster that said our trust in him with our child will really boost him is right.

HeffalumpTheFlump Wed 17-Jul-13 10:11:20

No therapy, he's still at the stage where he believes it's normal. They angle everything as though they are looking out for him. Putting him down re girls, so he doesn't get rejected... Telling him his appearance is stupid so people don't make fun of him etc.

It took 2 years of me and dh's relationship before DH would believe that I fucking adored him for just who he is. He was a bit of a liar when we got together because he didn't think who he was was good enough.

Dbil said last night that what me and DH have is incredible. He's seen us stick together and love each other through some really hard times, and he got quite emotional about how happy he is about the baby because he knows we are going to love her unconditionally. When you haven't had that, its something that brings out a v strong emotional reaction.

HoldingHigh Wed 17-Jul-13 10:15:20

Heffa, it's great he has a support network like yourself and your DH. I realise I have said your DH needs to tell him he's 21 and an adult but it's your DBIL who is the only one who can make the change. You both can let him know he's able to do it but it's he who needs to put it in to action.

I feel for him though. I hope he's able to break free soon.

HeffalumpTheFlump Wed 17-Jul-13 10:23:21

What do you think I should do? Should I speak to pils and make it clear that dbil will be playing a very big role in our baby's life or do I leave it and let how we act show them? I spoke to DH about it last night as it was worrying me, and his response was that if they try anything controlling with regards decisions about our baby then they just won't see her. I'm just cross that they are using our baby as another reason to put dbil down and feel like how dare they make decisions about her without even asking us!!

WilsonFrickett Wed 17-Jul-13 10:46:19

I don't think you need to have a confrontation with PILs (no doubt there will be many of them in the future if they are like that) but make it clear by your actions that DBIL is trusted with the baby. Invite him to your home often, let him take her for walks, etc etc.

I know money is tight with a newborn but if you were thinking of getting him a 21st present, CBT would be a great help to him.

PomBearWithAnOFRS Wed 17-Jul-13 11:54:24

If you "have it out" with PiLs they might turn it all back onto BiL "now look what you did, you upset Heffa and she won't let us see the baby" type stuff, and upset BiL even more. By acting what you feel, and every comment/conversation as you go along being in support of BiL, there will be nothing they can use as "ammo" to get at him iyswim.
sort of - MiL: oh don't let him hold the baby, he will drop her ha ha
You: Don't be silly MiL ha ha, we know BiL would never do such a thing, he loves his neice.
Do it every single time she tries to put BiL down and hopefully he will start to believe you and realise that the way his parents treat him isn't the way everyone normal else will treat him.

SugarandSpice126 Wed 17-Jul-13 12:38:39

Agree with other posters, I wouldn't speak to pils about it, just make it very clear through your actions that you trust bil with your child. It is likely that pils will never change and never understand. All you can do is ensure that bil feels he can come to you for support, and knows that you believe in him as a person.

DeWe Wed 17-Jul-13 12:43:00

The problem can see if that if he's living with pil:
1. He has your dc to stay-that's at pil's house, so they take over
2. He comes to baby sit-he has to tell pil what time he'll be back, so they come over too
3. You arrange for him to take dc out-pil come with him...

You get the drift.

Does bil drive? Can you arrange a secret text message (maybe "can you get/bring us XYZ") that will be your secret sign for him to come over without telling pil.

If I wanted to really wind pil up I'd try and make sure bil saw baby at the hospital and the first time pil see baby, bil is already there with baby in arms.

ThePeppermintHippo Wed 17-Jul-13 12:48:51

I would use the tactic that PombearwithanOFRS said above, just reinforce in your actions that you trust BIL and make it like "of course we trust him with the baby, why on earth wouldn't we?" Making it clear you see him as a responsible and caring adult, making PILs attitude of babying him seem silly without actually having a confrontation about it

HeffalumpTheFlump Wed 17-Jul-13 15:06:53

I shall leave it then, and just show them we trust him when the time comes.

I'd love it if bil met her before them, i will have to have a think on how to arrange that. If she comes in the daytime during the week we might be able to wangle it! Pils both work and have v inflexible bosses whereas bil might be able to get away from his uni course/ job.

Thanks for all the advice.

wickedwithofthenorth Wed 17-Jul-13 19:27:37

Dbil dropped off the radar after the birth of our dd last year, dh and he have always been close and he'd been spending loads of time with us since we'd moved out of our tiny flat. Then dd was born and we didn't see or hear from him for 3 weeks.
Now he was one of the few people who chose to be involved in my pregnancy and had been listed as one of the emergency contacts in my maternity notes. For months he'd been excited about the baby and being an uncle. So it was a real shock to us when he suddenly wasn't around.
When we finally turns up on the doorstep soaking wet in the middle of a rain storm his really worried and tells dh his sorry just to turn up and he won't stay but can he borrow some dry clothes. Desperate to show off dd, dh drags him in and makes him sit down for a cup of tea. Then it all comes out.
Mil had told him he was no longer welcome at our house, that we didn't want him around dd, that we needed time alone as a family, that I didn't trust him with dd, that we were too busy for him now.
He was set straight right away and had dd in his arms by the end of the visit. 8 months on mil will still tell him vile things but he now understands that unless dh or I say something to him everything is fine and he is always welcome in our home.
He has developed a wonderful relationship with dd, she loves her uncle to bits and lights up whenever she sees him.
I'm sure your bil will make a wonderful uncle too, my bil has since told us the best thing we told him is that his mum had to learn how to be a grandparent rather than a parent because dd has perfectly able parents who are responsible for her, so he listens to what we say regarding dd and nods, smiles and ignores his mother. Just make it clear to him that all information regarding the baby will come from you or dh and let him do whatever you are comfortable with.

TidyDancer Wed 17-Jul-13 19:33:26

I think you have a perfect chance here to make a stand. This is something your ILs absolutely can't control, and you can show BIL that. It sounds like you, DH and BIL are all good people, and your ILs need to be put in their place.

Personally, I would make a point of saying in front of both BIL and ILs that you are so looking forward to when your DD can spend lots of time with her uncle and how nice it will be for her to have him around. That way ILs will be given a clear message that they are not in charge as well as BIL hearing affirmatively that he will be playing as big a part in your DD's life as he wants, and that it's not up to pils.

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