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How often should adult kids visit parents?

221 replies

Aumtumnthenwinter · 03/10/2022 09:52

I don't want to do a massive drip feed but I find MIL exhausting as she's either whining that we don't visit enough or trying to squeeze anytime we're not sleeping into visiting/plans.

We live just over an hour away (MIL was in floods of tears pre/post move as we'd never 'see' her again...) This isn't a DP problem as he does stand his/our ground but she's just relentless.

What's the 'normal' amount of contact (she's obsessed about seeing me too, not just DP). By normal, meaning any other mother wouldn't be complaining that they've been forgotten/ruining another evening by hysterically crying that we just don't care about her.

(we also work full time, have hobbies, trying to renovate our first home and i've got friends/family too).

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

218 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
Worriedaboutethics · 03/10/2022 09:53


once a month?

MrsSkylerWhite · 03/10/2022 09:53

Used to see ours about 3 times each year, stayed for a few days each time. Suited us all perfectly.

Wishyfishy · 03/10/2022 09:54

We do visits a few times a year.

They are free to visit us too of course. One side does, so we end up seeing them maybe every 2 months, the other side doesn’t so they see less of the DC as a result.

Clairejay34 · 03/10/2022 09:54

Once every few weeks

Lentil63 · 03/10/2022 09:55

How often do you see your parents OP?

AnneLovesGilbert · 03/10/2022 09:55

Everyone’s circumstances are different. Is there an amount you could see her that would stop her complaining? I suspect not in which case just do what suits the two of you and ignore the wailing. Leave plans to DP.

VatofTea · 03/10/2022 09:55

3 or 4 times a year is plenty.....i think, even though I see my ex-inlaws about 1 per year. They couldn't give a rats ass about anyone other than themselves.

SomeUnspokenThing · 03/10/2022 09:55

I've always lived a minimum of 5 hours away from my parents so visits were a couple of times each year. In your situation I'd say, maybe once every 6-8 weeks?

Pumpkinpatchlookinggood · 03/10/2022 09:55

I have adult (and at home) dc and 2 live away from home. They have tea with us 1 night every week. 1 pops in for coffee on a Sunday.. 1 does a few hours visit either Sat /Sunday. Their choice at the weekends! A appreciate we are a very close family. Phone calls also several times a week.. Possible different as they have siblings still at home. We also holiday all together which is their choice to come! I am nc with my dps and ils but if there was tears I would be staying home anyway!

SomeUnspokenThing · 03/10/2022 09:57

Oh, god! I see that I'm being far too charitable with my timetable for visits..... I take it back. Just go every quarter.

Merryclaire · 03/10/2022 09:57

At that distance I’d say once every 4-6 weeks if it’s just you and DH, but more often if there’s grandkids and they put the effort in to travel.

Chdjdn · 03/10/2022 09:57

Pre children we probably saw adult parents every 6-8 weeks; there’s no reason you have to go every time though is there? Your DH can visit his parents as often as he thinks and you go when you want to and just say you’re busy

LostAtTheCrossRoad · 03/10/2022 09:57

Once a month max? We see ours about every 4 months for a weekend, plus an longer weekend at Christmas. They also come up here once a year for a week to look after the kids whilst we have a city break.

mynameiscalypso · 03/10/2022 09:59

We live slightly further away from PIL. Pre-children, it used to be a few times a year. Now we have DS, it's roughly once a month. They complain that it's not more frequent but they also insist that we do most of the travelling despite having a child and no car (unlike them). We see my parents more frequently because we like them more.

ChaToilLeam · 03/10/2022 10:03

TBH it’s not the frequency, it’s the wailing. Why does she think that would make you more inclined to visit?

My DSis lives near my parents and sees them several times a week. I live in another country and see them once or twice a year, but for a week or so at a time. It really depends on your proximity and commitments. Doesn’t she have anything else going on in her life?

arghtriffid · 03/10/2022 10:04

Why do you need to be involved? Surely your DH can decide when he wants to visit. You don't need to go?

Delilahonabike · 03/10/2022 10:04

My PIL live around an hour away too OP, we go over probably once every 2-3 weeks and everyone seems happy with that. I adore them though and look forward to seeing them and there's never any guilting from them if we can't make it for some reason. Once a month at that distance would be perfectly reasonable though, we only go more often because it's enjoyable for us.

BertieBotts · 03/10/2022 10:04

Surely this is a how long is a piece of string question? I'm inclined to agree with Anne.

We live bloody ages away from everyone and ideally I would try and see people about once or twice a year due to that distance. An hour away - it's too far to do weekly unless you both really enjoy that time together. Once or twice a month? If she's hard work though I would incline to less often rather than more. Family time is precious.

Hbh17 · 03/10/2022 10:05

A couple of times a year is ample.

garlictwist · 03/10/2022 10:05

I live ten mins from my parents. I usually see them a couple of times a month on average for a meal or call in for a cuppa.

A580Hojas · 03/10/2022 10:07

I'm just going on what you say in your OP and I don't know if you have children or not, but I would say once a month for Sunday lunch or something that involves the whole day. Alternating her coming to you and you going to her. I think that sounds ideal and would be over the moon if I got that level of contact in my adult dc lives.

kikisparks · 03/10/2022 10:09

As often as they want to. Just because I chose to give birth to DD doesn’t mean she has any obligation to me in adulthood whatsoever. I very much hope she will want to visit me sometimes as an adult, but if she doesn’t then that’s ok as long as she’s happy and I hope she won’t feel any guilt for putting herself first. I will be sad but that’s for me to manage, my emotions are not her responsibility.

With your MIL it doesn’t seem worthwhile working out what a “normal” amount is, she may never be happy and always want more, more, more.

I’ve been getting some counselling on this very issue. Not saying it’s easy and I have a long, long way to go myself but the technique is to put in place boundaries and stick to them and live by the mantra that you can only control your own emotions, you cannot be responsible for anyone else’s, and you need to fill your own cup first. If you say “I can’t see you it doesn’t suit” don’t back down because she’s hysterically crying. Why does it ruin your evening? Don’t answer the phone, or if you do, say “I’m sorry you are upset, of course we care about you MIL but like we say it doesn’t suit. We have to go now but will contact you later in the week” (or whenever suits you). Then hang up. Easier said than done but if she sees you won’t dance to her tune then she may eventually change her behaviour, and if she doesn’t, you’ll be losing less time and stop having ruined evenings.

Also you don’t need excuses- when you say “we also work full time, have hobbies, trying to renovate our first home and i've got friends/family too” do you say this to MIL? You don’t need an excuse for not seeing someone.

Menwithvenn · 03/10/2022 10:10

This is sad. I'm sat with my just turned one year old asleep on me and hoping that he doesn't one day consider seeing me to be a chore. Not that I'll be guilt tripping him about it if he chooses not to. Its just sad. I hope we (and his partner if he has one) have a good relationship when he's an adult.

AnneLovesGilbert · 03/10/2022 10:11

Menwithvenn · 03/10/2022 10:10

This is sad. I'm sat with my just turned one year old asleep on me and hoping that he doesn't one day consider seeing me to be a chore. Not that I'll be guilt tripping him about it if he chooses not to. Its just sad. I hope we (and his partner if he has one) have a good relationship when he's an adult.

You’ll play a big part in how your relationship with him plays out. Don’t use emotional blackmail or wail or criticise and he’s more likely to want to spend time with you.

MrsTimRiggins · 03/10/2022 10:11

Well, everyone is going to be different but for comparative purposes, I see my in laws every week but they do only live 5 minutes away. I see my own mother about every two weeks, give or take, we live about an hour from her.
what I will say is that she’s being very unfair to shout and cry and stamp her feet because you’re not doing exactly as she wants. What works for one doesn’t work for another so you shouldn’t feel bad!

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