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My mother... I've had enough

(16 Posts)
Lethal Mon 23-May-05 13:25:24

I don't like to whinge about her, but my mother is making me furious lately when it comes to ds. She disagrees with how I discipline him, tells me that he's eating too much and then proceeds to GIVE him heaps of junk food when he's at her house, and she told me this afternoon that I'm too hard on him. He's been quite defiant lately and he misbehaved at school today so I told him he wasn't going to his grandparents' place tomorrow afternoon. When I rang her to tell her, she was tut-tutting on the phone and saying things like 'the poor child' and 'I don't think that punishment was necessary' etc etc. She ALWAYS takes an opposing view and tells me what I'm doing wrong.

Thanks to her comments, I felt upset & angry when I hung up (wondering if I had done the wrong thing with ds) and then dh and I got into an argument about it. So thank you, Mum, but it's MY child and I don't think you understand how infuriating it is to have someone trying to undermine what you're doing all the time. She even tells other family members when she thinks I'm not doing something right with him, and she tries to prove me wrong.

I know I'm lucky to have a mother who's involved in his life, but this gives me more grief than it's worth sometimes. I'm just so angry about it

bamik Mon 23-May-05 13:34:42

Hi Lethal,

Try and sit down with her and tell her how's she's making you feel. She's raised you and now it's your turn to raise your child. Tell her that you appreciate all the help but she's got to let you do your bit. You child has to know who's the mum and who's the Grandma or eventually your child may give up listening to you at all!

She may or may not listen to what you have to say but at least in the end you've got it off your chest!

Take Care,

Love - Bami x

emmatom Mon 23-May-05 13:36:12

Why do they do this Lethal. I wa where you are now a few years ago, and for ages I put up with it. It got to a point though where I started answering back.

I would brace myself and explain why I did this, that or the other and eventually it came to a point where a big argument happened, but by then I was so past caring as I was so fed up with it.

Since then, there has been a sort of truce. She realises that if she keeps her unwanted advice to herself, then I don't get mad.

So, if you can bring yourself to do it, tell her quite clearly you don't want her advice and be very firm about it. Even if it causes a scene with her initially, it may just help to lay the ground rules for times to come.

Lethal Tue 24-May-05 00:25:22

Bamik that's what I'm worried about, that he may not end up listening to us at all. It's already caused problems, because ds gets spoilt at their house (they hardly ever say 'no' to him & he gets treated like royalty). Then when dh and I try to discipline him, it makes it even harder for us.

He wants to ring his grandparents every day, and he is always asking to go to their house. He knows that things are a lot easier over there and that he's much more likely to get what he wants. I'm really starting to get angry & uptight (with myself as well as my parents) for letting it get to this point. What I'd like to do is break away from them a bit and not let them see him quite as much as they do now. I've tried asking them several times in the past to say 'no' to him sometimes, to discipline him if he misbehaves, and not to give him everything he wants all the time. It just goes in one ear and out the other. My father blatantly ignores what I ask him to do, and my mother just criticises the way I do things.

Emmatam, I've decided I'm going to raise it with her and tell her how I feel. She won't like it and she'll deny a lot of it, but if I don't get it off my chest I'm just going to blow up about it one day.

mytwopenceworth Tue 24-May-05 09:12:21

the problem with parents is you are always a child!!!! mine still see me as about 6yrs old!!! you are just going to have to be firm on this, tell her you will raise your child, your way - you could try the diplomatic route (never my first choice, sadly!!) and say what a good job she did raising you and preparing you to be a parent and, basically, you can take it from here, ta very much!!

expatinscotland Tue 24-May-05 09:20:00

I keep my distance from my mother. 7,000 miles to be exact. She's never done anything but criticise me - and then deny it - for not being a 'success' in life. She's even gone so far as to say the money they spent on my education was a 'waste' and if she'd known how poorly I'd get on in life she'd have done something else with it. Gee, thanks.

Then she wonders why I haven't been to the US since I left or why when my first boyfriend dumped me here I preferred to take my chances on the street with a rucksack on my back here than go back to hers.

I've asked her not to visit, b/c every time she comes it's never enough for her to see us, she has to make it a holiday tour of Scotland.

koalabear Tue 24-May-05 09:26:18

good luck lethal - i'm about to have a very similar conversation with my MIL, and I have rehersed the conversation over and over in my head

basically, we are glad that she is interested, and we want our son to have a relationship with her, however ..... if she wants her thoughts on discipline, feeding, sleeping etc etc to be respected, then she needs to learn to respect our wishes as parents - otherwise, she undermines us which is confusing for our child

how i am going to get this point across, i have no idea - but i wish you luck with your mum

lilybird Tue 24-May-05 11:03:41

i know exactly what you mean, my mum is the same. don't get me wrong i'm really close to her and she does loads for me, but she watches all the supernanny,house of tiny tearaways etc...and tells me what i should be doing or not doing! gets a little annoying after a while!
but when she has dd overnight it's a different ball game, dd has her run ragged!!

expatinscotland Tue 24-May-05 15:08:37

I wish my MIL were my mum.

Lethal Thu 26-May-05 11:41:22

Your mother sounds like a joy to have around, expatinscotland. I wonder if they realise what their comments do to us?!!

Koalabear, good luck with your MIL too. I hope it goes ok if you decide to broach the subject with her. It's so hard to get the message across tactfully, isn't it.

Anyway I tackled my mother the other day about how much junk food they give my son (amazingly enough they try to play it down and deny that they're doing it), but I've become stricter with ds' diet lately and she can see for herself how much better he's eating now. I've asked her to please try and do the same when he's at her house & to limit the snacks they give him. I know they'll still be tempted to give him whatever food he wants, but then my mother will be the first person to tell me if he puts any weight on! It's unbelievable, isn't it...

titchy Thu 26-May-05 12:14:23

Just to reassure I hope - children froma very yooung age are quite capable of knowing that rules in one place may not apply elsewhere and can work out for themselves that even if they are allowed to jump on Grandmas' sofa they are not allowed to jump on the sofas at home (or anyone else's house - unless they have permission).

I also think that Grandparents givng sweets left right and centre is OK, as long as they don't see them everyday of course, and of course as long as they're willing to put up with the consequences - so if lots of sweets make them bounce off the walls then make sure it's the grandparents walls they're bouncing off. If they have allergies or are on a strict no additives etc. diet then the parents view must be upheld and careful explaning of the consequences to grandparents must happen.

But I wouldn't worry about their lac of discipline undermining you - kids are quite capable of realising that when mum or dad is looking after them their rules apply.

I also wouldn't use a visit to gradnparents as either a treat or withold a visit as a punishment - there are better treats and punishments frankly coming from a very small family myself I think it's nice for children just to have extended family around - they are not only for when they behave themselves!

FWIW when I was younf whenever I had an augument with my mum I would go running to my gradnmother who would always take my side. It didn't affect my relationship with my mum, and was quite comforing to know that however horrid I'd been someone would always welcome me with a bar of cholocate and a slice of cheese on toast!

Lethal Thu 26-May-05 13:19:02

"FWIW when I was younf whenever I had an augument with my mum I would go running to my gradnmother who would always take my side. It didn't affect my relationship with my mum"....

Yes titchy but I wonder how it made your mother feel?! She might've been quite angry about it at the time, and understandably so. I certainly wouldn't want my mother siding with my son every time I'd told him off for something! My son continually tries to play me off against my parents when they're around, because they give him what he wants all the time. His behaviour is also worse when he's with them - I've seen it for myself.

Also, the reason I'm making an issue out of the junk food at my mother's house, is because she continually tells me that ds is putting on weight and that I should monitor what he's eating, etc etc. And then she and my father give him more junk food in one day than I would give him in a week!! (well slight exaggeration, but it really makes me angry). If she is concerned about him gaining weight, then she shouldn't be contributing to it.

I love my parents - I'm thankful for their help - but her comments really drive me to distraction & make me second-guess the way I do things with my own son. I just wish she would respect the fact that he's MY child.

titchy Thu 26-May-05 13:37:00

Lethal - I know where you're coming from I really do and I sympathise. I think what I wsa trying to say was that it won't do your ds any harm in the long run - it didn't me anyway.

And my mum HATED the fact that her mum was always on my side. Mind you they hated each other anyway - didn't speak for the last three yeasr of my gran's life But she now misses her....and is glad that her and I had such a good relationship.

My mother is the same - I think most of them are. I've at long last learned to say 'Oh yeah I'm sure you're right' and ignore wahatever she says.

Children are always going to play you off with other adults - whether it be gradnparents, their dad, teachers, in the supermarket whatever. It's boundary testing and is what kids do best IMO. The bottom line for me has alwasy been if I'm there what i say goes and if I'm not then whoever is looking after them goes.

Do you have an issue with them eating junk food one day a week, or is the issue that your mum goes on about ds' weight? If the latter can't you just ignore her? If the former I would come out with some story about the doctor advising against certain sorts of food, or an allergy or something like that.

Is your ds always with you when he is with his gradnparents? can you leave him by himself and just not be in the situation where you are both there?If you are both there then ds must understand (somehow!) that you are the boss. Is he old enough to understand consequences that happen later (when your not around your mum? - e.g. no video tonight?)

Lethal Thu 26-May-05 23:46:31

Titchy, I don't mind him having some junk food, it's the amount of it that bugs me. My parents just seem to provide him with an endless supply of whatever he asks for. They don't say "No" to him when he's had enough. It bothers me that my mother goes on about his diet & putting on weight and then gives him lots of fattening stuff when he's at their house - it's contradictory. Yes I could ignore her (which I have been up until now!) but it really gets on my nerves.

No I'm not always there when he's with my parents. Usually if we're all together, it's because they've come over for a visit or if we all go out somewhere, or if I'm at their place. Otherwise they pick him up from school once a week and take him back to their house for a few hours, and they usually look after him for a while on another day as well. They only live five minutes' drive away, so we tend to see them fairly often. If I'm at their house with ds, they will very often over-ride what I've said - in other words, if he wants something and I say "no" to him, they will give it to him anyway. It happens A LOT, which is why I feel the way I do.

DS understands about consequences, but it's very hard for him to understand that I am the boss when my parents choose not to abide by what I say. Of course if I'm not there, then whoever is looking after him is the boss - he knows that. I'm just tired of the 'power play' that seems to go on with my parents when it comes to ds. Perhaps the answer is to see them less, then they will have less influence over him and it won't be such an issue for me anymore.

koalabear Fri 27-May-05 10:09:45

Is it possible to provide the appropriate snack for him to take with him to his grandparents?

Is it possible to give your mum a list of foods he is not allowed to eat? (blame the doctor, or allergies, or a new diet based on increasing his concentration in school ??)

My MIL gives her grandchildren anything they want on the basis that "it's not going to harm them" - but the problem is, it's all sugar, chemicals, additives, and then she wonders why they go hyperactive and tear up her house

I need to address this with my MIL too - so, at present I've been sending DS with snacks, and being VERY prescriptive with her about what he can not eat (but now she just calls me "controlling" - arggggg)

titchy Fri 27-May-05 10:36:46

Or just say he's getting confused message about what he can and can't do when I'm at your house and say no then you go and say yes, so I've decided that unless you are going to let me have the final say I'm going to drop him off and leave. You could say it's just until he's a bit older and will understand but that you think he's too young to understand two sets of messages...

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