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To feel like I’m turning DD against her grandparents?

(101 Posts)
CaveWomaan Fri 09-Feb-18 11:00:12

I’ve had problems with my in laws since DC came along. I don’t want to drip feed but there’s so much to this story and I don’t want to bore you all. They don’t have any respect for me as a mother, they always know best and the minute my back is turned, they do everything with DC that we ask them not to. Through all of this, I still take the children to see them and still have them come to stay with us.

Anyway, DD1 is now 4 and is very emotionally intelligent (I think that’s the best way to explain it). It’s always been difficult because if I asked her not to do something, MIL & FIL would then encourage her to do it and laugh about it, which in turn would encourage her more. DH and I have both asked them not to do this but they say they can’t help it angry

I sat DD down and explained to her that her grandparents love her very much but sometimes they laugh when she’s misbehaving and that laughing when people misbehave isn’t a good thing to do. I explained that none of us are perfect and this is just something the her grandparents do which in an ideal world, they shouldn’t really. I told her that I know it’s confusing for her but when they laugh, it doesn’t mean she should keep doing what she’s doing. She needs to listen to what I’m telling her and that I’ll keep her right.

Anyway, today she told me she doesn’t want them to visit now because she doesn’t like that they laugh at her when she’s misbehaving. I now feel awful and like I’ve handled this the wrong way. What should I do now? I’ve tried to reassure her but it doesn’t seem to be working.

Part of me is frustrated that I’m in this position. I’m defending them when I know there’s no way on gods earth they’d ever defend me. I should be able to talk to them like adults and not have to involve DD in it at all. How do I move forward from here?

CaveWomaan Fri 09-Feb-18 11:10:27


SersioulycanitgetWORSE Fri 09-Feb-18 11:13:55

I think it's amazing you allowing them to to see her at all, aren't they alone with her? Poor kid.

This is what happens when people are not respectful and don't want respect basic boundaries.
I think your dh needs to lay son the law today the adults.

CaveWomaan Fri 09-Feb-18 11:27:06

I just feel like by talking to her about this, I’ve in some way manipulated her, which is the last thing I’d want to do.

BubblesBuddy Fri 09-Feb-18 11:41:33

I think you need to restrict visits to a short period of time. You stay with them in the room and you and your DH, jointly, tell them that this is not acceptable. Are they very stupid insensitive people? Why do they take delight in seeing your DD being badly behaved? How odd! It appears they are treating her like a toy that you wind up and set off to give you pleasure. That is manipulating and, frankly, disgusting.

If you are absolutely clear to them that their behaviour is manipulative and not acceptable in your house, then let them decide if they wish to visit on your terms, or not. I would not be facilitating my DD to spend time with such awful people. Gradually withdraw and they might get the message. (They might not of course if they are particuarly insensitive and thick). Make sure your DH is on side though. He may find this difficult but it has to be tackled.

BubblesBuddy Fri 09-Feb-18 11:42:59

Ps. Do not defend them. Your DD should not have to put up with this. She is too young to understnad this manipulation and it is them you must tackle to stop it.

Pidlan Fri 09-Feb-18 11:44:05

What is the bad behaviour? I think that would make a difference to me.

MorningstarMoon Fri 09-Feb-18 12:06:33

Depends what the GPs are doing. If they are slipping her chocolate and gifts or allowing her to watch television then that's what grandparents do.

Equally you should be speaking to the GPs not the child if she is misbehaving and surely even if they are laughing at her while she is misbehaving you should be punishing her.

Snowydaysarehere Fri 09-Feb-18 12:09:58

Nobody should be allowed to spend time with dc when it isn't in the dc best interests.
How is their behaviour adding anything positive to your dd upbringing?

HanaK88 Fri 09-Feb-18 12:10:37

Tell the GPs that DC find it confusing/upsetting that they encourage her to do things parents have told her not to, and as a result you need to stop visits for a while.

NotEnglish Fri 09-Feb-18 12:14:57

My 7yo sometimes laughs at the antics of his 2 yo sibling. Which in turn provokes them to act up even more.
He is strictly told to stop, and if he can't manage, he needs to leave the room. He manages.
I can't see why 2 grown up people should not be able to control their behavoiur.
But: Although beeing loved by many people is a nice thing, when the grandparents OVERALL bring stress and discord to your family live, then there is no benefit to the relationship.
I don't facilitate relationships with my small kids if they don't add positive to ALL our lives. It's just not worth the stress.

HollyBayTree Fri 09-Feb-18 12:15:32

I asked her not to do something, MIL & FIL would then encourage her to do it and laugh about it, which in turn would encourage her more

Any chance of an example?

To me, this reads something like blowing raspberries, or other similar childish behaviour that some might laugh at and some might get exasperated about. All normal GPs laugh with their grandchildren - and you should note use of 'laugh with not laugh at.

I'm presuming its something so ridiculously inconsequential, hardly as if they are telling her to play chicken in a dual carriage way is it?

Laiste Fri 09-Feb-18 12:20:42

Does it really matter exactly what the behavior is which OP is trying to stop? It's not for us to judge. Nor the GPs place in fact.

Laughing and encouraging a child to do something her parents don't condone isn't on. The principal is the same what ever the issue.

It's unlikely to be either of the extremes of playing in the road or blowing a raspberry.

Laiste Fri 09-Feb-18 12:22:06

if I asked her not to do something, MIL & FIL would then encourage her to do it and laugh about it

the GPs aren't just laughing. They're encouraging the DD to do it more.

HollyBayTree Fri 09-Feb-18 12:27:17

But I want to know if the parents are over reacting. How can you possibly make a judgement call if you dont have the facts. There are some pretty rigid parents out there who have very drachonian parenting styles.

We've already seen a 'go NC' style remark from one poster.

barefoofdoctor Fri 09-Feb-18 12:33:58

I'd be most pissed off about the fact GPS are undermining you and mocking your standards of behaviour.

windchimesabotage Fri 09-Feb-18 12:38:35

You have not manipulated her, they have!

WhyteKnyght Fri 09-Feb-18 12:42:07

What kind of behaviour? It does make a difference.

I think if you remain polite but firm about your expectations of her behaviour around them, including in front of DD, then she will learn to understand that her Mummy and Daddy are the authority figures whose rules she has to remember, not her grandparents. Don't be harsh with with her (of course you can be privately sympathetic to the confusing messages she is getting) but be firm and consistent. "No DD, it doesn't matter if Granny did tell you that you could watch Inappropriate TV Programme. You know perfectly well that we don't allow it. Granny didn't know that, but next time you must say to her "no thank you Granny, Mummy says I'm not allowed to watch that show." Speak directly to DD. As she gets older she will soon get the message that if she is hearing conflicting messages then it is Mummy and Daddy's rules that matter. It is a pain to be constantly undermined, though.

(DH has had this with his family. An overbearing cousin tried to interfere when he was telling the DC to stop fighting. He just said quietly "I'm speaking to my children", then carried on addressing them. There was a proper cats-bum mouth from the cousin, but everyone quickly got the message and the DC calmed right down once they could see that DH wasn't going to allow anybody else to undermine his authority.)

OhPuddleducks Fri 09-Feb-18 12:46:59

My in laws do this. It is annoying and while it’s not playing on a dual carriageway, it does undermine you. Things like letting them eat cake for breakfast, stay up late until they are in shitty moods (and then decline to help deal with bedtime or the mornings), wind up their siblings (and then decline to help deal with the fall out) and so on. One of these things might seem small and inconsequential but when it’s all the time it does wind you up so I feel for you.

I tend to do a general telling off without naming names, so if they’ve been egging them on i’ll say “DS, DD has explained that she doesn’t want you to do that and so you should listen and stop, no matter what anyone else is telling you. It isn’t nice to tease anyone or encourage people to tease each other and I will be very disappointed if you do it again” followed by a pointed look at the in laws. Then they wind their necks in (for about five minutes). Luckily they live 300 miles away so I don’t have to put up with it every day.

I try not to talk about them when they aren’t there though - do it all in front of them!

JingsMahBucket Fri 09-Feb-18 12:50:21

@CaveWomaan I think you actually handled it quite well. You maturely spoke to your daughter and explained what the situation was. It seems like she understood perfectly and her feelings have now led her to see that she would like to be in your good graces rather than that of your PILs. You haven't manipulated at her at all. You've put down good boundaries and your DD seems to understand that.

Please do not defend the GPs. There is no need to do that. I would just start reducing contact or deliberately being in the room like a PP suggested above. Hopefully once they see that your DD has stopped misbehaving then they themselves will stop.

(That said, I have a feeling they'll try to find another way to wheedle at you regarding her. They may move onto feeding her bad food when you're not looking or some other manipulative crap method.)

JingsMahBucket Fri 09-Feb-18 12:51:54

I also am another poster who doesn't think the "bad behaviour" matters and that posters should stop asking. Why not just assume the OP's request to her PILs or her parenting is sufficient as is instead of trying to pick it apart?

Believeitornot Fri 09-Feb-18 12:55:18

I think it does matter - because it adds context. But on the face of it, I would restrict access to shorter visits.

ChaosNeverRains Fri 09-Feb-18 12:59:15

It’s not possible to have an informed opinion if you don’t know what kind of behaviour the OP is talking about here. Just because the parents don’t want something to happen doesn’t make them right and everyone else wrong.

And yes, if the parents were overreacting about the behaviour then telling the child to the extent she’s said she no longer wants her grandparents to visit could be manipulative. Bet the OP would be getting different answers if her DH had influenced their dd like that against OP’s mum....

AnnieAnoniMouse Fri 09-Feb-18 13:00:25

Well, tbh, I’d just tell her that it’s not her choice to make. They’re her Daddy’s parents and he can invite them if he wants to. All she has to do, is does she’s told, by you. If they encourage her to ‘stick her tongue out’ or whatever, she can just ignore them or say ‘No Nanny, Mummy said that’s naughty’.

Making her realise you are her parent and make the rules isn’t ‘turning her against them’ it’s teaching her right from wrong, she’ll need to have a handle on this at school. You do what you know is right, not what makes people laugh & gets you into trouble.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 09-Feb-18 13:00:34

I agree with those who say we can’t judge this without knowing the behaviour the GP’s laugh at. It might be you that’s overreacting or it might be them undermining you but we don’t know with understanding what the behaviour is.

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