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Feeling scared of leaving my kids with my mum - anyone else felt like this?

(20 Posts)
HowlerMonkey Tue 18-Jun-13 19:01:21

As the title suggests, really.

My mother was pretty horrible to us growing up (EA, smacking/hitting, constant criticism plus wild mood swings) but she has had a major personality overhaul in the past 10 years and seems to be a very different person now.

I have 2 DC, aged 1 and 2 (both boys). She adores them and they seem to love her. The problem is, DS1 is at the naughty stage and she is struggling with his behaviour. We don't rely on her for childcare or anything, I am currently a SAHM. She wants to be here and help with them though, and would be very upset if I stopped that.

I have trouble staying calm when I see her dealing with DS1. I told her to be firm with him, so she used her old 'stern' voice and suddenly it was like I was a cowering 3 yr-old again. It just went straight through me. He didn't seem fazed hmm but I found it hard to cope with. I've told her no hitting/smacking

HowlerMonkey Tue 18-Jun-13 19:03:53

Argh, posted too soon!

.....told her no hitting/smacking and she seems to understand it. It's just my reaction that seems to be an issue here really.

Any suggestions? Has anyone else felt like this and still had a working relationship with their DParents? I find her hard to talk too as she is very very sensitive and I couldn't be honest about this as she'd take it the wrong way and make it all about her. I think she's a narc btw.

Thanks for any replies smile

flippinada Tue 18-Jun-13 19:07:14


Your instincts are telling you something; I would listen to them.

If you think your DC would be in danger of suffering the same as you then don't leave them with her. So what if she's upset about it - she didn't bother about that when you were a child, did she?

EllaFitzgerald Tue 18-Jun-13 19:10:44

I think you should listen to your instincts. Even if she's completely changed, will you ever be entirely comfortable leaving your DCs with her?

TerraNotSoFirma Tue 18-Jun-13 19:28:18

I had a similar upbringing OP and I don't leave my children with my parents.
I visit them, they visit us. No unsupervised contact at all.
I know for a fact that they have hit my nephew who has just turned 4, so there is absolutely no way I'd leave my babies with them.

It has yet to become an issue as they have never asked to have DC since they were tiny, I had no qualms leaving them then.
But as they'd rather shout/hit than parent, my DC haven't stayed with since my eldest turned 2.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Tue 18-Jun-13 19:46:07

Being so young, IF anything untoward happened, you would very likely never know.

My mother sounds very similar to yours. Bizzairly during middle-age she did quite a lot of child-minding, which apparently she was extremely good at. HOWEVER, I never let her look after my DS on her own because I just simply didn't trust her not to grab him (she used to do that even when I was around to stop him from doing something) and hit him.

BerthaTheBogCleaner Tue 18-Jun-13 19:51:02

Invite her around when you are free to be with her and the children. You could all go out together, maybe. So that you are parenting, and she is enjoying her gc's company (and they hers).

You don't have to say that you're not leaving her alone with them.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Tue 18-Jun-13 19:51:30

Also as Ella and Flipp say - always trust your instincts.

theoriginalandbestrookie Tue 18-Jun-13 19:58:00

There's no rule that says you have to leave them alone with her, I certainly wouldn't in your circumstances.

You said that she has undergone a personality change? Does she acknowledge the violence and EA from your childhood?

I would have as much or as little contact as you feel comfortable with, you don't owe her anything, but you do owe your children a happy childhood.

Lavenderhoney Tue 18-Jun-13 20:08:24

Agree with bertha. There's no need to leave them. I've never left mine because she was watching them because she does just that- watches them! They could cut themselves with scissors and she wouldn't do anything!

Trust your instincts, and don't let her make you.

defineme Tue 18-Jun-13 20:08:34

Absolutely no rule that says you ever have to leave them with her.
I have a lovely recipricol babysitting circle of friends and have no need to ask my mum.

However, my lovely mum did say having children healed her relationship with her own mother. My Mum's childhood was violent and oppressive, we think my Grandmother probably had severe pnd with all 8 children, a difficult marriage and had had an appalling childhood herself. My Grandmother was amazing with us grandkids-full of cuddles and cake, taking us on outings and so on. My mum said she was able to forgive her because of the effort she made with us.

Do you think you need to look again at your own childhood, talk it over with a counselor and so forth? I'm not sure if it's instincts like other posters say or simply the little girl inside you that didn't get enough love scared of her mum again. However, you may never be sufficiently 'past' it to be at ease with your mum and perhaps you need even less contact than you do now.

HowlerMonkey Tue 18-Jun-13 20:23:09

defineme I have been thinking that about instincts too. So many women end up in abusive relationships, for example, because their gut feeling about this strong protective eventually-abusive man is that he's 'right for them'. That is just an example but I do wonder about the trustworthiness of instincts sometimes.

I don't necessarily want to be told it's all fine so that I can assuage my conscience, but I do wonder if my feelings accurately reflect reality.

I never let my parents have my kids and they're now 4 & 5.

I had to let my Mum once out of desperation and despite being clear on what forms of discipline I would prefer her to use. I still worried. Her arsenal growing up was intimidation, humiliation and smacking. So it's no surprise I'm not happy with her looking after them. She's had her turn, it's mine now and I do not want my children to suffer the same as I did growing up. She sees them and spends time with them but only with me there.

That sounds immensely harsh but that's how it is for me. Trust your instincts imo. She seems to have changed but looking after two children, close together in age is hard and will try most peoples patience and that's without considering her previous form.

HowlerMonkey Tue 18-Jun-13 21:02:27


Has anyone here ever had a chat with their parents about how they discipline their DC? As in 'Mum and Dad, we don't agree with smacking so please don't discipline our DC that way' sort of thing? If so, how did they take it?

buildingmycorestrength Tue 18-Jun-13 21:03:00

Perhaps your mother appeared to have a massive personality overhaul because she was getting her own way a lot (as adults often do) and didn't have to deal with small children disobeying her. In a stressful situation she might use old tactics.

Just a thought, you know her best.

Fairylea Tue 18-Jun-13 21:03:59

You don't have to leave your dc with anyone you don't feel comfortable with, and that includes your mother.

Everything to me screams don't.

HowlerMonkey Tue 18-Jun-13 21:21:26

building sadly, I do. Although even her own sister (my aunt) has commented to me that my mum is so 'deep' that my aunt really knows nothing about her - and that's from someone who grew up with her, in the same house, with a 2yr age difference.

It is my intention to never rely on my mother for full-time childcare, at least not at this age. I will reassess that policy when the kids are old enough to accurately report her behaviour. I intend to teach them that no-one should ever hit them for any reason and that they should tell us immediately if it happens. At least then if she does act out, we'll be able to deal with her right away.

buildingmycorestrength Tue 18-Jun-13 22:15:59

My dad's methods left me hypervigilant with my kids around him. I NEVER let him tell them not to cry, for instance and just swoop in immediately if he is interacting with them and it is anything less than idyllic.

I'd probably let him look after them while I went to the shop for a couple of hours now, though, because they are older and can communicate okay, and they have a sound understanding of 'old people' being a bit weird and liking things their own way. grin.

"Has anyone here ever had a chat with their parents about how they discipline their DC? As in 'Mum and Dad, we don't agree with smacking so please don't discipline our DC that way' sort of thing? If so, how did they take it?"

Badly. They took it as a criticism of the way they brought me up and that there was nothing wrong with their way. Although they grudgingly agreed not to smack them but instead just told me I should have, each time they misbehaved in front of them.

jessjessjess Tue 18-Jun-13 23:03:15

I wouldn't let her, TBH.

My brother has laid down the law with my dad, but has to keep an eye on him to make sure he keeps to it.

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