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Am I wrong? Is he? Or are my family?

(12 Posts)
notalot Mon 27-Jul-09 15:55:02

Namechanging as don't want to be outed. I'm so confused and upset I feel like my head is about to explode. DP and I met when my DS1 was 2. We now have DS2 together and have been together 4 years.

DP very early on in our relationship said that my family (particularly my mum & dad) interfere too much with DS1 and I shouldn't let them over rule me. I suppose I did let them interfere because of lack of confidence (I was a young single mum). Recently the bad feeling seems to have got out of control. DP has a few rules for the DC's such as they're not allowed Macdonalds and coca cola etc. My family ignore these rules repeatedly which obviously riles DP.

I have spoken to my family about it and they say DP only limits the DC's because he is controlling and he only stops the DC's having what they give them. DP says that my family ignore him and undermine him because they see DC's as 'theirs'. Just had a big argument with my sister about it as she said that DP controls the dc's and I and it's hard for my family because they could do what they wanted with DS1 before DP came along. Neither my DP or my family talk to each other about it, all the bitching from both sides is directed at me. I'm so stressed about it that I dread any family occasion (because of the fallout) for days beforehand and avoid it as much as I can. I've tried telling all of them that they should discuss it with each other and leave me out of it but to no avail. I feel like getting in the car with the dc's and just driving as far away as possible. What can I do? Shall I just accept it and never arrange anything together?

ilovetochat Mon 27-Jul-09 16:01:43

imo both dcs are yours and dps responsibility as i presume you both parent both of them and take care of both of them. you and your dp should decide the rules about what they eat and drink etc and stick to the rules and tell anyone else who looks after your dc that they are your rules as parents.
i presume your family helped you out with ds1 before you met dp and you let them do what they wanted but now you need to tell them how you feel.

randomtask Mon 27-Jul-09 16:11:53

No you need to tell them to talk about it (I say this as someone who's MIL thinks her DSS is actually MIL's child as she helped bring him up for a couple of years and regularly lose the will to live with it).

Do you agree with the no MacDonalds and coke thing? If so, tell them. If not, tell DP that it's not a problem as long as it's not regularly happening. A one off is fine.

Are your family right that DP only bans things that they do? I can understand why he'd want to TBH, I get fed up with MIL having more of an affect on my family than me and DH (although that has improved greatly with DH and I supporting each other) but it does create more of an issue.

You need to explain to your family that your children are your children. You appreciate all the help they've given you but you'd like to be able to deal with your family unit from within your family unit. Emphasise the you being in charge, not DP. Then explain to DP that you need his support to show your family that you can do it as a family unit. Tell him he is your family and that you know he struggles with your parents but ask him if he can tone it down a bit so that things are easier for you.

hambler Mon 27-Jul-09 16:12:39

Where do YOU stand, eg on McDonalds and coke?
If you don't agree with your dp about this you should stand up to him.

Likewise if you agree with him and not your parents you need to explain YOUR rules to them.

I am guessing the former is true

hambler Mon 27-Jul-09 16:15:51

Also it is very common for grandparents to have more relaxed rules, especially around food , than parents.

I gave up trying to get my kids' grandparents to limit sweets when my kids were tiny. it used to upset me. Now I honestly could not care less and am far more relaxed about these things . I am not suggesting like me you should drop your standards...but it does make life easier !

HecatesTwopenceworth Mon 27-Jul-09 16:16:18

I think your relatives need to back off, respect your parenting choices and accept that you, your partner and the kids are a unit and they are "once removed" iyswim.

however, is your partner controlling you? re the macdonalds for example. Is that a joint decision, you both feel it's a no-no, or is it him deciding?

have you replaced one controlling set with another?

Don't tell them to discuss it with each other! It's up to you to be assertive. If you and your dp are in fact a team, making these choices together then you need to tell them that! Be the one to say no, to say that you raise your children your way and they like it or lump it. Don't make dp the 'bad guy'. If, otoh, he is laying down the law in all things and you are doing what he says, rather than deciding together - do you not think that's a problem?

ShauntheSheep Mon 27-Jul-09 16:18:31

Well I think that you need to sit down and think what YOU want. Are YOU ok with the dc having coke and McDs because you do say in your post that Dp has few rules.....

Countingthegreyhairs Mon 27-Jul-09 16:37:15

Hi Notalot,

some good advice here already

although it is tempting to "avoid it as much as you can" I think you need to take the bull by the horns in this situation and decide once and for all with your dp what you both want for your dc

then as a firm unit together - you make those rules/limits known to your family - and then it is up to them (within reason) to support you in that with a bit of "give" each way ...

I'm afraid it will only fester unless you take the initiative ...

good luck though because I know it is not easier when you have been in a "younger/subservient" position and now all of a sudden you have to take the lead. I'm in a similar situation myself with my big siste and people don't tend to react positively when everyone's usual roles are switched around/turned on their head... I'm getting there though but I won't pretend it was easy xx

Countingthegreyhairs Mon 27-Jul-09 16:42:53

Meant to add

although it sounds awful to put it so starkly - because you obviously are very close to your family - your first "allegiance" is to your dp and you and he need to back one another up and only THEN can you tackle the rest of the family together ...

good point from Hecate though - are your family reacting in this way because they are worried that YOU are being too controlled by your dp and this manifests itself through their relationship with the dc?? Or does your dp have the same worry in reverse in relation to your family??

notalot Mon 27-Jul-09 17:20:36

Thanks for all your replies - it's great to have an outside perspective on this as I haven't spoken to anyone else in RL about it.

My stance on the MacDonalds/coke thing is that I agree with DP fundamentally but I'm a bit more 'once a while won't hurt'. It's hard to gauge how DP would react to someone else giving them these things - DP's family are even more hard line than him about junk food and 'unhealthy' things for the dc's. His family and my family are poles apart in so many aspects - my family are completely OTT about presents and treats and spoiling the DC's whereas DP's family are the opposite. Neither of their approaches is better than the other, just different.

DP and I have argued before that he creates horrible atmospheres when my family are here but I don't know if that is him being controlling or he's just reacting to their behaviour. Part of me wonders if he is controlling but on the other hand I think my family are controlling and domineering too.

randomtask Mon 27-Jul-09 17:34:09

It does sound like they're all fighting for control of you in some ways. sad

Can you explain to DP that it's ok once in a while and he'll accept it? My IL's and my parents are totally opposite like that too (IL's bought DSS about 20 gifts for Christmas that were all 'one play wonders', my parents got him a 'big' toy, a fun toy, an outfit then gave us a cheque for his bank acc) but with IL's it's trying to out do people. Thankfully they seemed to have learnt by this birthday as he 'only' got a few presents although one was massive. It's difficult when your families are so different but DH and I have worked on (and agree whole heartedly on) what our family does and likes. Thus we can laugh at his parents being so over the top and get frustrated with mine for not getting too involved. That said, DH often wants us to pop over to see my parents to balance out his-he finds it much more relaxing.

Just find out what you and DP agree on and work on that. Then everything else will fall into place.

Countingthegreyhairs Mon 27-Jul-09 17:58:30

Crikey - poor you Notalot!! sounds like you are between a rock and a hard place ....

... you are being eminently sensible when you say "Neither of their approaches is better than the other, just different." Time to assert yourself and that view a bit more perhaps ... if they will listen of course!!

It must be v. stressful to be in the middle of it all ....

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