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DM and DF looking after DD

(24 Posts)
FourPlasticRings Wed 29-Jul-20 12:20:20

I think I need a sounding board for something. It's quite long, so apologies in advance. I'm off work at the moment and DM and DF have a couple of weeks of holiday coming up where they'd like to take DD (2) on outings on their own. They've never looked after DD alone before, let alone on an outing, and I feel a bit wobbly about the idea, but I'm not sure if I have a valid reason to refuse or if I'm just being overly anxious.

Relevant information:
1. MIL has looked after DD on her own four days a week for a year since she was one year old (stopped since I've stopped being out at work). My sister has also on occasion looked after her solo, but only within the house.
2. DM has been pushing as much as she dares to look after DD on her own/with DF basically since MIL started looking after her. I know she gets upset that MIL is allowed to and she isn't. We do go out of our way to visit them a couple of times a month but DM has complained that's not enough.
3. DM and I have a strained relationship at times and DM has previously openly mocked my parenting choices in front of the extended family. She has gone against my wishes every time she's had the opportunity to do so (for example, she offered DD chocolate when DD was almost one and we said no thank you, we'd rather not introduce it at this stage. Later in the evening, I found she'd taken DD off to the kitchen and given her the chocolate anyway).
4. DF is incredibly racist, homophobic and judgemental towards others, he will make mocking comments when he sees overweight people and use completely inappropriate language/racial slurs. I am concerned that DD may pick up on his attitudes and language.
5. DF is very much of the 'spare the rod, spoil the child' mentality and has expounded at length on the importance of hitting one's children to ensure good behaviour. He frequently says he didn't hit us anywhere near as much after we turned two. This concerns me because I remember quite a lot of smackings and because this suggests he found it appropriate to frequently hit a young toddler/baby. He has mellowed as he has aged and hasn't attempted to smack DD on my watch, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about the potential for this to happen. He sometimes think he looks overly disapproving when DD misbehaves like a typical two year old and I do wonder how he'd cope with that without resorting to violence.

They love DD to bits and overall, my DSis and I had lovely childhoods (although DSis did end up with an eating disorder, which I blame DF for). I don't think DD would be in any danger of losing life or limb with them in charge and I've put off letting them look after her for two years now- am I being unfair and overly anxious? It's very hard to be truly objective.

Thanks in advance.

OP’s posts: |
Aussiebean Wed 29-Jul-20 12:24:57

Firstly, what MIL does is irrelevant to this situation. If mil wasn’t in the picture, you would still have this problem.

Secondly, your child, your rules. If you don’t trust them to follow your rules (discipline, food and racist comments) then supervised visits only.

Perch Wed 29-Jul-20 12:28:56

Nope, they won’t look after my child!!

Have you discussed your reasons with them? I guess it will go down like a lead balloon but then at least they know.

FourPlasticRings Wed 29-Jul-20 12:29:33

Firstly, what MIL does is irrelevant to this situation. If mil wasn’t in the picture, you would still have this problem.

I guess you're right- it just feels relevant because DM keeps bringing up the disparity. If we'd never let either side have DD unsupervised, I suppose I feel like I'd have more of an argument.

OP’s posts: |
workingfortheclampdown Wed 29-Jul-20 12:33:15

If she brings it up, can you tell her that MIL respects your decisions for your child (i.e. chocolate), so it's different?

You don't need to have an argument, it's your child, but it might be easier to use her own actions to explain your decision.

I understand it's not easy in any way, but you will have to stick up for your child. Who is most important, DD or DM?

FourPlasticRings Wed 29-Jul-20 12:33:16

Have you discussed your reasons with them? I guess it will go down like a lead balloon but then at least they know.

I have tried. They just keep saying that both DSis and I have turned out well so they can't have done too badly. They refuse to consider that anything they've done parenting wise may have had a negative impact and attribute all our successes to their own parenting. Makes for a frustrating conversation.

OP’s posts: |
HollowTalk Wed 29-Jul-20 12:35:23

Would you hire a childminder that is racist and frankly bloody horrible and who hits your child?

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 29-Jul-20 12:38:57

No they should not look after your child under any circumstances. Apart from anything else your child needs emotionally healthy role models, neither of them fit the bill here. They will merely use your child to further undermine you as both a person and a parent.

If your own relationships with them are fraught , why would you want to expose your child to them further?. Children need emotionally healthy role models.
Do you really think you had a lovely childhood?. You may well have had material things but emotionally these two sound like a void. And your sister ended up with an eating disorder, a disorder whom you blame your father for.

It may be an idea for you also to post on the current May 2020 version of the well we took you to stately homes thread.

FourPlasticRings Wed 29-Jul-20 12:41:21

If she brings it up, can you tell her that MIL respects your decisions for your child (i.e. chocolate), so it's different?

She thinks MIL is probably lying and doing her own thing anyway without being found out.

Would you hire a childminder that is racist and frankly bloody horrible and who hits your child?

Obviously not. It's really reassuring to have people lay it out for me though. DM sees it as her right to have DD and that I'm not letting her be a grandparent. And then they deny DSis and I's memory of events so vehemently sometimes I start to doubt myself.

OP’s posts: |
Aquamarine1029 Wed 29-Jul-20 12:42:08

There's no way I'd allow these people to babysit my toddler, regardless if they were my parents.

Sakurami Wed 29-Jul-20 12:44:58

Your child's wellbeing trumps your parents' feelings. Going against your wishes (the chocolate thing) is horrible and I don't know why people do that. Caught my MIL giving my breastfed baby milk from those little coffee cartons once and she did many things similarly. My mum checked with me.

And your father's idea of discipline is awful.

So regardless of what they said you would worry about her.

So be honest with them if they ask. Tell them that you don't agree with some of their ideas and since you know that they won't respect your wishes, they can't look after her when you're not there.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 29-Jul-20 12:46:11

And they are not above trying to gaslight you I.e rewrite history or tell you their version of the truth either. Honestly you need to keep yourself as well as your child well away from them. You would not have tolerated this from a friend, let alone a childminder so your parents are really no different

Deal also with any and all fear, obligation and guilt you have re them through therapy, you will need to find someone who has no familial bias about keeping families together despite the presence of mistreatment.

ikus84 Wed 29-Jul-20 12:46:49

What would they say if you said to them "If you ever smack my DD I will never allow you to see her again"?

FourPlasticRings Wed 29-Jul-20 12:53:09

Do you really think you had a lovely childhood?. You may well have had material things but emotionally these two sound like a void.

You may be onto something here. I hear a lot from them about, 'You always had new uniforms for school and we took you on lovely holidays,' and stuff like that. Mum is very affectionate but demands it on her terms. There is definitely a tendency to equate stuff with love. What's the stately homes thread for?

So be honest with them if they ask. Tell them that you don't agree with some of their ideas and since you know that they won't respect your wishes, they can't look after her when you're not there.

I think I'll just have to say that on repeat, thank you. It's very validating to have other people say the chocolate thing is unacceptable. All I got from DM was that it was only a little bit, it never hurt me and that I was being precious. After a while you start to believe it.

OP’s posts: |
Ginsodden Wed 29-Jul-20 12:54:46

He frequently says he didn't hit us anywhere near as much after we turned two.

So he hit you more as a helpless baby??!!! No way would my kids be unsupervised with him. You need to put your big girl pants on for your daughter and protect her op.

FourPlasticRings Wed 29-Jul-20 12:54:47

What would they say if you said to them "If you ever smack my DD I will never allow you to see her again"?

I don't honestly know. I think they'd probably say that they wouldn't because she's not their child.

OP’s posts: |
AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 29-Jul-20 13:33:20

The Stately Homes thread in these Relationships pages is a long running series of threads for adult children who grew up within abusive families. I would urge you to take a look at it and consider posting on there too. It’s not a clique at all and you can write as much or as little as you like. If you read the initial post of that thread, it will explain more about the origin of that title too.

FourPlasticRings Wed 29-Jul-20 13:48:28

Thanks @AttilaTheMeerkat. I'm not sure they've done enough for me to consider them abusive, but I will take a look.

Thanks also to everyone who has posted. It's really very helpful to get outside views and I now feel far more justified in my desire to supervise contact. I feel very validated.

OP’s posts: |
Tappering Wed 29-Jul-20 13:58:41

You have no 'rights' over my child.

My arrangements with MIL have nothing to do with you. This is not a competition.

I don't want you taking DD alone. I'm happy to explain the reasons why, but whenever I have tried to do so in the past you've not been willing to listen. So let me be clear; I will not change my mind, regardless of whatever you say. If you want to see DD it will be with either me or DH there.

Fanthorpe Wed 29-Jul-20 14:08:59

It was only a little bit, it never hurt me and that I was being precious

Summed up by -

‘That didn't happen.
And if it did, it wasn't that bad.
And if it was, that's not a big deal.
And if it is, that's not my fault.
And if it was, I didn't mean it.
And if I did...
You deserved it.’

Listen to your instinct OP. Your parents are acting in their own interests, they’re not addressing your concerns they’re dismissing them.

netflixismysidehustle Wed 29-Jul-20 14:21:55

They wouldn't have unsupervised contact.

2/3 year olds will push buttons or be unreasonable sometimes and there would be no way that someone who believed in smacking would be in charge of my child.

The racism and undermining is a serious problem. A bit of chocolate is not a biggie but she might do something really bad like not use a car seat. You don't want your dd to repeat the racist stuff at nursery/school where they are supposed to record racist incidents.

I'm surprised that you say you had a good childhood. It's not the worst but it can't be good if you were hit quite a bit between ages 0 and 2.

FourPlasticRings Wed 29-Jul-20 19:21:39

*That didn't happen.
And if it did, it wasn't that bad.
And if it was, that's not a big deal.
And if it is, that's not my fault.
And if it was, I didn't mean it.
And if I did...
You deserved it*

That's very apt. Where did that come from?

I'm surprised that you say you had a good childhood. It's not the worst but it can't be good if you were hit quite a bit between ages 0 and 2.

I guess it was just normal to me. I don't remember much before I was about five, though I do remember being smacked quite a lot after that age. There are a few personality traits of mine that might be explained by the smacking, but obviously I can't say for definite.

OP’s posts: |
Fanthorpe Wed 29-Jul-20 20:01:14

It’s called The Narcissists Prayer @FourPlasticRings, but I don’t want to suggest that’s what they are for a minute.

I do think you don’t feel they hear you, and that they minimise your feelings when their own seen very important.

Paperthin Thu 30-Jul-20 00:02:05

No way would they be seeing any child of mine alone, and tbh I would be watching like a hawk when I was with them.

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