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Help, my parents are like bulls in a china shop

2 replies

arabella2 · 20/06/2003 22:28

I suppose they have always been overbearing, but I had really kind of distanced myself from them. Since ds's birth however I have seen so much of them, and I sometimes find it hard to accept how they are... Just this afternoon Mum was telling me how ds could wear one of his tops at home because there is a stain which won't come out (implication not to go out in) - I would not think twice about ds wearing this top to go out in (the stain is hardly visible); she was trying to clean something which I had already cleaned, they were totally over the top about separating ds and the cat, they act as if they understand more of what ds says than other people (he is 19 months old), and they generally are overwhelming. Ds likes them a lot, especially my dad, but I just find them too much. They are all over him in a way which doesn't leave any space for anybody else. MIL is so much more relaxing, if anybody else is talking to ds she just lets them get on with it but then will also talk to ds herself when he wants to or when the opportunity arises. Don't know if I am making much sense. Mum was taking his top off because it got wet without making enough space for his head because she was being the "doer" - she is caring, it's not that, I just must have issues about their authoritarianism and cannot believe that they are back in my house in kind of that capacity even if it is telling my son what he can and cannot do and not me.
I know I should be glad that ds has grandparents who care for him but I still have not got over the shock of how much family I have to see because of ds. I had thought I was "free" but it transpires that I am not!
Anyway, anyone else have overbearing parents?
The one good thing about getting annoyed like I was this afternoon is that it makes the in laws seem like walks in the path. They have their moments but they are in general more detached though caring.

OP posts:

Holly02 · 21/06/2003 05:47

Arabella since my ds was born, my mother has been telling me what to do/what not to do with him. So far she has let me know that she thinks I am feeding him too much, I don't dress him warmly enough, then at other times she says I have over-dressed him so that he will be too hot, etc etc etc. The list is endless but I can't think of them all off the top of my head. They (my parents) also tend to take over, and always have done, primarily my mother. There is also a woman at my playgroup who says that her mother is exactly the same - apparently her mother overrides anything that she says, in front of her 3 yr-old dd. It's very frustrating.

So it seems that because they are OUR parents, they feel somewhat responsible for our children as well - I think it gives them a sense of 'ownership' over our children - the fact that they are the maternal grandparents. It's very irritating but I try to let a lot of it go now... I would only confront them about something if I felt very strongly about it. In a way I have learnt just to 'ignore' my mother and go ahead and do what I think is best, and she just has to accept it. They are devoted grandparents so I really can't complain too much, but I know where you're coming from.


Kazbaz · 23/06/2003 10:32

Hi arabella2 - I too have overbearing parents - although in relation to my ds it's my mum who takes over. The more annoying examples are suggesting that it would be my fault if my baby was born with deformities if I didn't get rid of my cat when pregnant (she hates cats - but he is fine anyway)to checking with midwives/health visitors that what I was doing was ok for ds as she didn't believe me (such as not using soap products on newborns).
Over the years - ds is now 5 - we have come to blows over certain things when I haven't been doing something the way she would and the implication that I wasn't being a good parent. She has also been very smothering of ds so that other people couldn't get a look-in. Things did come to a head and I basically had to tell her that he was my son to raise not hers and that if she was always going to challenge how I was doing things we wouldn't be able to visit so much. Dreadful blackmail I know but the constant undermining was unbearable.

Anyway it did the trick - she backed off and luckily my dad backed my up - now whenever she starts to interfere he pulls her up on it. Also, since then my two sisters have had kids and suffered the same thing - so I feel vindicated a bit and I think she has genuinely realised that she can be overbearing.

Apart from all this criticism I must say my parents have been really supportive to me as a single parent and ds loves them to bits - although he perfers my dad precisely because he doesn't smother him with attention! And now he's a bit older he can stay with them and I don't neccessarily have to be there - so I do feel a bit more "free" of them.

So aside from sympathising with you - and if you feel restricting their visits would be too extreme -I can only say perhaps you could enlist the help of any siblings - good luck...

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