18 answers

How to Handle Controlling Grandparents

My mother feels it is ok for her to just call to announce when they are picking my son up for an outing. It doesn't matter if the time is convenient or what all is going on. If I say no, she comes to my home and guilts me and eventually gets her way. Anyone have ideas on how to stop this nonsense from happening? I am his mother, I am in charge of when and where he goes, not her.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for the ideas. I did start by telling her my feelings on when she does this, so that is a start. I was glad to see the ignoring as a short term answer because that is what I have seen so far. I don't intend to show my son it is ok for HIM to ignore when I am at his door in 10 years either (of course I would call and se if it is a good time). I also explained that it seems that she does not spend any time with me so she actually asked me to let her know when I can get out without the kids, so that is a new one. So thank you for all the replies and I will continue to try to stand firm, you are right it IS hard. She is a stronger willed person than I and I truly dislike when conflict comes my way....and think it shouldn't come my way from my own mother but then I should look backwards in time and I would know better there.
As to the person who said be happy the grandparents are involved, I guess all I can say is that it has been a lot different than I expected from my family. Going out to dinner once in a while is about all there is to it and my son has not been to or spent the night at their home in over 3 years now. This is only my mom/stepdad. Then there is my dad who never invites any of us over or out. It is really the main reason I moved back here following a surprise divorce. I might end up back in Oregon, it certainly is a nicer place to live! LOL. Thank you again.

Featured Answers

My mother does the very same thing. I truely feel for you, however, I don't have any real advice, but just to hang tough. I know the only solution to my problems is going to be putting distance in between myself, my daughter, and relatives. My mother's behavior is so bad I had the town asking me who my daughter belonged to me or my mother.

YOU are the mommy, lay down the law. You just have to tell them how it is, as politely as you can. If they still don't get it, don't be as polite. I have a very controlling mother as well, who likes to tell me every thing I am doing wrong with my child. Sometimes you just have to step up, tell them you are doing the best you can, and to back off, NOW. She'll be mad for a few days, then get over it. Ultimately, they'll get it.

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Hi L.,
I am a gramma and I would never do that to my kids! I never show up at their homes without being invited or at least calling if I want to stop by to see if it's a good time or not. I respect their privacy the same as they respect mine. I think you will just have to be blunt and tell your mom NO and don't allow her to take him no matter what! You have to follow through and stand your ground! Hopefully that will be the end of her bullying you. Good luck!
B.

Read the book "BOUNDARIES". It will help you establish boundaries not only with your mom, but your children will learn about boundaries too.

It's great she wants to spend time with your children, but being controlling or guilt trips aren't a good way to do it.

Use your called ID, and hopefully she doesn't have her own key to your home, if she does, start doing an outing if she says she's coming over to get them and it's not a time you ALL agreed to.

Maybe initiate a day to do things with her with the grandchildren so she doesn't feel the need to upset your schedule or the children's schedule.

My vote is for you to put your foot down, FIRMLY!

well unfortunately i am goingthrough the same thing with my 2 boys with my parents they think whatever they say goes and that my kids r theirs to raise and im supposed to just roll over and play dead but i dont do it i just fight with them all the time.

Hi L. ~

You are getting a lot of great advice here but I wanted to respond with experience behind mine.

I am a 32 y/o (I mean, "29") mother of 2 - 6mos. & 11. I have a mother that is very controlling as well and feels like she has the right to pick up her granddaughter whenever she feels like it, OR, show up at our doorstep because she "was in the area." Part of her sense of entitlement comes from the fact that I was a young mother to my oldest - 20 y/o - and had to move back in w/her for a few months until I managed to get out on my own again and she feels a special bond for my oldest since she thinks she saved us in some twisted way. It wasn't until I married my husband 2 yrs ago when he pointed out her guilt trips and controlling nature was unacceptable. I got guilt trips for anything from missing my great-uncle's birthday party to not going to attending random pool parties of theirs. The icing on the cake was when I came home from shopping one Saturday afternoon and found my mom and stepdad in my living room visiting with my daughter while my husband napped upstairs w/o any knowledge of their presence. I lost it and kicked them out because I was tired of her always barging into OUR home. (Of course, when she tells the story it is much more colorful and I'm an evil daughter.)

Right now, it is going on 3 months since I've spoken to my mother because of her manipulative and bullying behavior. I finally put my foot down and said no more - you are not to come over here w/o adult approval first (she used to use my daughter as the authority on that) and the guilt trips have got to stop as I AM AN ADULT NOW. Some mothers just don't want to let go and I think you and I both have one of them. Ultimately what I'm trying to say is, sometimes silence is the best way to get your point across after you've drawn your line in the sand. Mothers like those have to "feel the burn" before they get it. I'm happy to say, even though we're still not speaking and it IS tough on my oldest, it DOES seem to be working, slowly but surely. Stand your ground, explain it to your kids if they're old enough to understand and hold your head high because YOU will feel that much more in control of your life - I do.

I hope my experience is at least a little helpful for you. I KNOW it's not easy but we're not their little girls anymore and like we had to grow up, so do they. If you want to chat further, please contact me. Good luck!

E.

I agree. I would stop answering the phone. That's what caller ID is for.

OK L. this is going to make me sound hateful, but hello don't just tell her no when she calls, stand up for yourself and your own life...I don't know what she is using to guilt trip you, and it doesn't matter, sweety just firmly say no mother, and if she shows up anyway pack up the kids and leave yourself. Then establish a routine of the children spending time with her AFTER she learns that you run your own life and your childrens. One response earlier talked about setting the stage for later, it can be even worse, I have a friend whose mother tried to take her child AWAY from her permenatly. Besides everything else that you will accomplish by this you also show your children that their mother is a strong woman who stood up for herself and them.

YOU are the mommy, lay down the law. You just have to tell them how it is, as politely as you can. If they still don't get it, don't be as polite. I have a very controlling mother as well, who likes to tell me every thing I am doing wrong with my child. Sometimes you just have to step up, tell them you are doing the best you can, and to back off, NOW. She'll be mad for a few days, then get over it. Ultimately, they'll get it.

L., have you told your mom how you feel? Being honest with her might ruffle her feathers for awhile, but I think once you let her know that its YOUR DECISION when and if he goes anywhere with anyone, she will respect your feelings. If she does not, then just tell her no and stick to it!

You should feel very blessed that they want your son. Enjoy the breaks when you get them. My childrens grandparents are not really involved. My husband and I often joke about running an add for new grandparents. Maybe I should give you my address. I would welcome them here to get my kids anytime.

I just responded to other mom about this I to have been in this situation, I just had to set boundries with my parents it took a little time but it finally worked. I told them if they couldn't follow my rules as in MY CHILDREN it might cause them to have limited excess to them and STAND FIRM I know it sounds harass but if they are not thinking of you and your authority then you have to take things into your hands.I hope this helps. D.

I'm not sure avoiding her will take care of the problem--just put it off for a while. If you want it to stop, you must put down your foot--insist that she respect your wishes and do NOT give in to her guilt trips. If necessary, limit contact for a time until this is established. This type of tug-of-war (her insisting, you say no, she guilts and then gets her way) sets the stage for horrible things later on. . . just imagine, your kids are teenagers and beginning to rebel a bit. . . Mom will say no so we'll just call Grandma and *she'll* make Mom give in .. .

Don't answer the phone, don't answer the door, don't be home when you know she's on her way.

My mother does the very same thing. I truely feel for you, however, I don't have any real advice, but just to hang tough. I know the only solution to my problems is going to be putting distance in between myself, my daughter, and relatives. My mother's behavior is so bad I had the town asking me who my daughter belonged to me or my mother.

Get caller ID. Don't answer the phone if you don't want to. Make it clear that you need advance notice by telling her a week ahead of time what your plans are for the following weekend. Call her when it's convenient for you (ahead of time) so she can see her grandson, that way you can get a jump on it.
I sympathize. You love your parents, but mine and my husband's used to drive us nuts when we all lived in the same town together. Just be firm in establishing your boundaries, and hopefully she'll take the hint.

Hi, I see you are getting great responses - I will add that it is you who ALLOWS your mother to make you feel guilty. If you decide and choose not to feel guilty because you know you are doing what is right for you and your children - you will feel much stronger!
As you tell mom 'NO' tell her that you want her to respect your time and be more considerate of you. And her respecting you is a good model to the children of how to respect others!
Also pick your battles, if the next time is not a poor choice in timing for an outing don't disallow it out of resentment, but use that as an opportunity to say - "Yes, this is a good time and thank you for being good to my children. But please understand mom, it isn't always the best timing and I need you to be respectful and considerate of me and understand it is not always a convenient time."
The more you stand up for yourself the more respect you will get from mom (and anyone else witnessing your assertiveness) on ALL levels!! And others are right - it lets your children see strong healthy behavior being modeled for them by their mom - their biggest, best role model!
Think positively and don't be afraid to tell your mom you expect her cooperation in teaching your children how to be polite and respectful - because when it comes down to it - you need her help after all 'It takes a Village'!

Go L., Go L. - can you hear us cheering for you??
Good Luck - A. C
ps - hiding doesn't really accomplish your goal, it just prolongs the misery.

L. I know this isn't going to be easy to hear but you are giong to have to grow a back bone and stand up to your mother, I know this is probably going to be more difficult because she is your mother. You need to tell her specifically that this bothers you and give her the reasons, you need to try to do this wihtout getting emotional. Sometimes I find it helpful before I have to have a hard and serious conversation with someone where I am pretty much expecting some disagreement I try to collect me thoughts coherently and write them down and then practice saying it out loud. This helps me keep focused and helps me feel more prepared. If she starts in during your talk just keep repeating your yourself and say like I said ......over and over again. You need to let her know that it is not acceptable to you and then the harder part is you have to stick to it. Like with children you can't say one thing and then keep giving in or they will never beleive you if you can't stick to it. Best of luck!
S.

time to make room for gramma.

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