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why does it feel like grandparents/ inlaws are a compulsary component in kids lives?

(55 Posts)
KarisTiasMum Fri 19-Sep-08 09:12:54

are they? is it essential for children to have regular input from grandparents whilst growing up? I did, and i have turned out ok... but it turns out my parents are becoming a total nuisance. My partner does not get on with them at all.. not now, they have had some pretty bad arguments regarding their involvment with DD and the affect they have on her behaviour. Unforgiveable things have been said on both parts so i cannot expect any miracles with them making up..ever.
My parents are not bad people at all, and on some things i think my dh has got them wrong. but on somethings he is definetly right.. and is just standing up for me and what i believe in.
When dd was first born, i suffered quite badly with depression and my mum took over the baby..and i wrongly (although not consciously) allowed that. as i got better, she didnt step back and i was pushed aside a bit and really lost my role as 'mum'. dd is three now, and things have really changed and we have a great bond.. but that only survives if i keep her away from my mother. as soon as they have contact again, dd's behaviour changes, our relationship changes and i feel undermined. My mum really spoils her and reinforces that initial bond they once had.. so for a few days follwoing the visit, i loose my daughter. She wets herself, wakes up in the night v. unsettled etc.

So am i wrong to have cut off access completely from my parents? when they see her, it causes real problems with dh as he just doesnt see why it is compulsary for grandparents to have access even when they have such a negative effect. He rightly argues that if it was a neighbour or a friend having this effect on my baby that i would cease contact immediately. and i agree... its just not so easy when its my mum and dad.

advice and opinions would be really appreciated.. i just cant help feeling guilty, although i am not sure i should!?

MarlaSinger Fri 19-Sep-08 09:15:13

Can you elaborate - what do you mean by negative effect?

Are you saying you only let your parents see your DD because they're her grandparents? Does she not enjoy time with them?

What about your partner's parents?

Katisha Fri 19-Sep-08 09:15:57

What does your mother say when you try to tackle her about this? What is her viewpoint?

MarlaSinger Fri 19-Sep-08 09:16:05

Sorry my DS distracted me (!) halfway, missed a bit - have you spoken to your mum about the spoiling thing?

pagwatch Fri 19-Sep-08 09:17:59

it is very difficulat but I don't buy the whole premis that you have to keep in-laws GPs involved.
We worked for years to try and keep MIL and FIL involved buttheir presence became so damaging and they were upsetting my DCs so much that we cut contact.

It is hard. It is an incredibly difficult emotional choice but eventually we just acted upon what was genuinely in the best interests of our children.

I think you have to be really certain that you are not acting out of anger or spite and you have to consider whether you can fabilitate GPs seeing kids seperately and if that would help before you cut them off. It is pretty drastic.
IN-laws have not seen two DCs for 6 years and not seen DD at all. Pretty sad really

pagwatch Fri 19-Sep-08 09:18:57

sorry - typeing and spelling v dodgy this morning blush

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 19-Sep-08 09:20:02

This sounds quite odd to me. My son's have a very close relationship with my mother (she sees them most days) and with me too. They behave differently with us (generally better for her tbh). I think that's quite normal.

I just think that children can have lots of people in their life who love them and who have different ways of doing things (my Mum does things differently to me) and it is good for them. It sounds as if you are undermined by your Mum. Children behaving differently with a grandparent shouldn't make you feel you've lost your role as a Mum, that sounds as if it could be your issue rather than your Mum's or your child's.

It's hard to tell obviously from your OP as you haven't really specified what they've done. Waking up in the night can be excitement and wetting can increase with certain drinks etc, so it may be something simple and unimportant like your Mum giving more juice than you do or something.

When grandparents are involved, unless they're dangerous nutters you have to let them do it their way. Most grandparents love their grandchildren and aren't going to damage them.

Dropdeadfred Fri 19-Sep-08 09:20:22

so your mum was around to help out when you had depression...and she did such a good job that you now want her to have nothing to do with your dd?

I think you need to sit down (alone) with your mum and thank her for her previous help but be honest about how it now makes you feel...and set boundaries

TheProvincialLady Fri 19-Sep-08 09:20:44

Hm. I think a lot depends on your relationship with your parents. They aren't just your DD grandparents. Do you want to keep in touch with them? It sounds like they have been very helpful to you at certain times in your life, do you really want to sever contact altogether? Of course it is not like stopping seeing a friend or neighbour and I am a bit concerned about your DH that he could say that...is he putting unnecessary pressure on you do you think? Does he pressure you to drop contact with other people too? (Sorry if I am way off the mark here).

Instead could you set some boundaries, ie agree to see your parents for a short afternoon every couple of months. It would be a shame if your DD had no grandparents, though of course it is not essential that she sees them - only it is a shame not to be part of her own family unless their behaviour is really toxic. Do you think it is?

Sorry, lots of questions there! Sounds like a difficult situation but not beyond repair.

KarisTiasMum Fri 19-Sep-08 09:23:21

my partners dad has passed away and his mum is great.. i have point out at this stage that my partner is not my daughters biological father but he is as good as.

my dd loves going to see my parents, but when she comes home i think she is so over stimulated and spoilt that she continues to expect attention at the same level.. she becomes very unsettled, wakes in the night calling nanny, wets/soils herself (has been dry since 18months and otherwise never wets)and is very demanding, and emotional.

i have watched this very closely and it is like clockwork when she has visited them.
i dont want to make my parents out to be bad people, and i am sure they just want to be normal grandparents who get to spoil their only grand daughter rotten.. but sadly that is just not possible with the start we all had. I really believe, and it breaks my heart, that dd has a strong maternal bond with my mum as i was not emotionally attatched with her when she was first born and my mum was there.

but the only time this come to light now is after a visit. otherwise, dd and i have a normal relationship.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 19-Sep-08 09:24:55

"When dd was first born, i suffered quite badly with depression and my mum took over the baby..and i wrongly (although not consciously) allowed that. as i got better, she didnt step back and i was pushed aside a bit and really lost my role as 'mum'. dd is three now, and things have really changed and we have a great bond.. but that only survives if i keep her away from my mother. as soon as they have contact again, dd's behaviour changes, our relationship changes and i feel undermined."

it's this paragraph that makes me concerned really. Have you had counselling. It's not wrong for your mother to take over the care of the baby when you were depressed. It's was probably better for you and the baby at the time. OK she may be having problems letting go and you may have needed to re-set ground rules, but that was probably over concern for you if you'd been having a hard time. I wonder whether you see the relationship as changing because of your difficulties when she was born.

TBH I'd seek counselling before doing anything as severe as cutting them out. It sounds as if you've been through a lot.

TheProvincialLady Fri 19-Sep-08 09:25:52

How long do these visits go on for, and are you there at the same time?

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 19-Sep-08 09:27:22

" I really believe, and it breaks my heart, that dd has a strong maternal bond with my mum as i was not emotionally attatched with her when she was first born and my mum was there."

*If * that is true then taking that away from your daughter will be incredibly painful for her.

Having several strong maternal bonds isn't a bad thing. DS1 has a very very strong bond with my mother. It became particularly strong after we lived with them for a while, and years later still is. It's not a bad thing though. I'm pleased he has it. (He's 9 now, and he still adores her).

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KarisTiasMum Fri 19-Sep-08 09:36:08

lots of questions to answer!
I am so gratful to my parents for being there when i needed them, and i know that i needed a lot of help with dd at that time. They know all this and we have talked about it but my depression didnt last that long and my mums behaviour did. I truely believe that if my mum was doing this to help me then she should have known when to step back and let me start to develop a relationship with dd.
getting my mother to understand this has taken now 2 1/2 years so far and she still does not see where i am coming from.
i think from an outsider looking in, my mum helped me and i am being ungrateful... but i cant ignore they way my dd now behaves and the odd behaivour that follows these visits... and i cannot be afriad to do something about it because i feel like i owe my parents..

but on the otherhand i dont want to push them out, because they are my paretns and i love them very much, of course.

pagwatch Fri 19-Sep-08 09:36:54

oh gosh yes. If your DD has a strong bond then you sghould support that if you possibly can.

Szyslak Fri 19-Sep-08 09:39:02

I think them having such a strong bond is a positive thing, and if it undermnes you, you need to think about why that is and deal with your issue.

If though they are 'spoiling' her by allowing behaviours that you feel are inapproriate and do not want, then you need to discuss with your parents what you feel is acceptable and what isn't.

TBH cutting them out, sounds like it would be a very big mistake for your DD, and you and them in the long run.

They are not the neigbours, or friends, they are her GP's , they have a bond, and that is different.

Cutting family out of your children's lives should only be done as a very last desparate resort when you know that is the best thing for your child despite your best efforts. imo.

Katisha Fri 19-Sep-08 09:39:14

If it's just that DD gets hyper after a visit then there probably isn't too much to worry about - she will grow out of it. Many grandparents overdo the spoiling thing.

As someone said earlier, more than one close bond is good for a child as well - it doesn't have to be competition for the child's affections.

It depends whether you think your mother is deliberately trying to pull one over on you...

jellybeans Fri 19-Sep-08 09:40:34

I don't think GP should have compulsary access. My MIL is a PITA and has been rude to me from day 1. She is very domineering and bullying. She wanted it all her own way at first when DD was born (ie call round daily without ringing or being invited, take DD (as a small baby) abroad without us, snatching DD off me while still being rude or ignoring me). It put pressure on the marriage as DH was terrified of her and would argue with me before daring to confront her.

After conselling and years of experience, the only thing that worked was DH being firm and keeping MIL at arms length. She still gets to see GC and it is civil but it is not the daily taking over contact she wanted. I would let her see GC but maybe cut it back and if she is pleasant/civil and less domineering, then increase the time.

You can't really cut them out as it could lead to more issues and your kids may wonder why you didn't let them see Granny. My mum didn't like my aunt and restricted us seeing her and I always though well it is still my aunt and I can see her if I want. Just seeing them birthdays, Xmas, Easter etc is a comprimise until/if things improve. May be worth a good old chat as well, we had a few heated 'chats' to get things out in the open.

KarisTiasMum Fri 19-Sep-08 09:40:46

visits have drastically reduced recently and also reluctantly...they have seen her for a day last week and that was the first time in ages.

i dont disagree that she can have lots of stong bonds with lots of different people, and i encourage that of course.. but it her behaviour that worries me, i dont want to see her unsettled and acting strangely.. which just puts me off taking her to see them.

expatinscotland Fri 19-Sep-08 09:46:09

wow, you sound like you're very easily influenced by your partner, who is very controlling.

my daughter is like that. i worry about her choice of a partner, not so much that she'll do what you do, which must be very painful for your parents if they're not like Rosemary West, but for her sake, too.

i think there'd need to be a very good reason to cut my own parents out of my life.

i don't deny those reasons exist, and there are indeed some toxic parents out there, but truly, imagine how you'd feel when your child grows up and gets a controlling partner like yours adn does the same to you.

pagwatch Fri 19-Sep-08 09:46:35

How bad does it get Karis
My DD loves her granma and my mum comes to visit. During the whole of the stay she just focusses totally on DD and plays with her endlessly and treats her like the sun rises and sets around her.
When my mum goes home my DD then wants exactly the same attention and behaves quite badly for a couple of days.
But it isn't anything bad. Just the reaction to my mums 'spoiling' for want of a better word.

It is a pain when she leaves and i am left with Violet Elizabeth demanding things. Added to that she is sad when my mum goes so is more likely to misbehave.
But her relationship with my mum is important. And I like that someone has the time to spoil her a bit. I never had a grandma so i think it doesn't do any long term harm but adds to how loved she feels.

Could it not be this type of reaction rather than anything more sinister

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KarisTiasMum Fri 19-Sep-08 09:50:48

i have talked to my mum and dad about this so many times and really tried to make sure i explain at every stage what is upsetting me.

but if i am honest, the rows between them and dp has kind of overshaddowed the real issue here. so its down to me to make decisions and sort this out, because everyone else is on their high horses and making each others lives difficult.

I do not believe for a second that my mother has done anything intentionally, or tried to get one over on me etc.. she is just not like that.. but i do believe that she should have respected my role and my decisions as a mother.

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