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How to politely ignore parenting advice/comments from family

(13 Posts)
nicetomeetyou Thu 30-Jul-09 14:24:12


We are going on holiday with DH's family in a few weeks and I want to try to ensure that at least on my part things go well. PIL's are highly opinionated and love to question/criticise how I do things. It is silly little things sometimes so last time they stayed with us MIL wants 17 mo to go in the garden barefoot - and it was muddy and 1/3 hr before afternoon nap - I don't want the faff of giving her a bath just before bed (I have an 11w old as well) and MIL just went on about DD not being able to go out barefoot. I don't want to spend my holiday explaining to them that we have a routine especially over naps and bed and it works for us and just feeling like I am seen as unreasonable/inflexibl. How do people handle different parenting styles from parents and inlaws and remain calm and assertive? None of it is helped by general silly behaviour by both PIL's - when DH put on a sling to wear DD for the first time in front of them MIL laughed and FIL called him a poofta.

AnyFucker Thu 30-Jul-09 14:34:22

err, firstly why are you going on holiday with these idiots ?

secondly, every time they make an unacceptable comment pick them up on it

like a broken record, like you treat a toddler

"well, actually, this is how we like to do things......."

"well, maybe in your childrearing era that is how it was but....."

if you say it often enough they will get the message

you may get opposite advice to keep shtum, but I don't agree with that, because bullying people like this sense what they perceive as weakness and will continue all the more

Supercherry Thu 30-Jul-09 14:34:23

It is hard not to lose your cool when faced with repeated undermining and contradicting of your parenting.

You will feel better if you can just learn to ignore it. Don't enter the debate, you are the parent, it's your decision.

Perhaps if you can get your DH to deal with it by a simple 'mum knows best' and a smile.

It's not fair for you to have to deal with in laws while your DH is there IMO.

AnyFucker Thu 30-Jul-09 14:35:10

and make sure your dh backs you up, or you will be on a hiding to nothing......

PrincessToadstool Thu 30-Jul-09 14:38:37

Talk to her via your DD.

'Oh DD silly granny wants you to get muddy but we don't do we'

annoying, yes, but eventually she will get the idea.

And when it will suffice a smile, a nod and a 'that's interesting' can go a long way.

Supercherry Thu 30-Jul-09 14:39:02

While my instinct would be to enter the debate as Anyfucker suggests, I don't think this will be conducive to a pleasant holiday.

Quite frankly, you don't have to reason or explain or defend your parenting choices. They are your choices to make, end of.

jambutty Thu 30-Jul-09 14:43:50

Unfortunately my tactic of "oh here we go, parent of the year speaking" just winds people up, apparently.
I think Supercherry's way sounds good.

AnyFucker Thu 30-Jul-09 14:56:23

my bestest advice ?

take your own holiday next year

paranoidmother Thu 30-Jul-09 15:03:24

My mother does this and I'd dearly love to tell her to F**k off but normally end up either ignoring her (better than being rude all the time) or just staring into space or just saying 'Really, how lovely' to everything until she realises I'm ignoring her.
Good luck

PortAndLemon Thu 30-Jul-09 15:04:03

Interesting how they don't like the more relaxed elements of your parenting (sling) or the more strict elements of your parenting (routines).

With my mother I have mastered the art of the non-committal "Mmmm..." but then she doesn't stick her nose in as often or as directly as your ILs. I'd probably just adopt a standard line of "I do see your point, but we do it this way..." and stick to it.

fruitful Thu 30-Jul-09 15:04:42

On some things, you can let them do what they want, provided they understand that they deal with the consequences.

So, when MIL suggests the kids get the playdough out while I'm cooking dinner, I say, "yes, good idea - you, MIL, are in charge - you need to stay here and roll out all the dough for the little one, and you need to put it all away afterwards so it doesn't dry out, and sweep the floor and pick up all the little plastic bits they've dropped everywhere and get all the playdough out from under their fingernails in time for dinner, ok?". Then if she says no, it is her fault that they can't do playdough. When they start whinging, I say "oh dear, Granny doesn't want to help you do that so you can't".

That's prob what I'd have done with the muddy feet - "yes of course you can take her out but you will need to give her a bath afterwards and we don't have many clothes so if she gets those all muddy you will make sure you wash them won't you. And she'll be late for her nap by then so might be harder to get off to sleep but you'll do all that won't you while I feed the baby? Thanks so much".

jujumaman Thu 30-Jul-09 15:25:53

I synpathise - we're staying at my pils' at the moment.

According to mil we're too inflexible over routines - "Oh, but the children are crying, that's probably because they're tired and their routine isn't strict enough, I always had a routine for my dcs.

"Oh, you're potty training dd2 That's good because you left potty training dd1 shockingly late. Aagh, dd2 put on a nappy you might poo on my floor, I think she's too young for potty training.

"You're mean to the dcs and don't buy them enough sweets and ice cream. When I took them out this morning I bought them an ice cream. Now they're not eating their lunches. What's wrong with them? It couldn't possibly be because they're full of ice cream."

Etc, etc. After four years of this I've perfected a vague smile and "mmm". I don't think arguing in any form works so just let it sail over your head and plan your next holiday il free

Supercherry Thu 30-Jul-09 16:48:31

grin at jambutty's tactic. Might start using that for the people I don't particularly mind pissing off.

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