My in Laws and Family Feel like They Are Entitled to Keep My Child

Updated on November 02, 2015
J.F. asks from Greensboro, NC
11 answers

My DS's father is the favorite in his family and his sister, mother and other family members feel like they will babysit my son when they want to regardless if I am comfortable or not. I have let my mom and his god mom babysit but that's it. They really make me angry with their slick comments. anytime they call if I have the time I take my child to see them. I have no problem with them wanting to be in his life but they were so disrespectful during my pregnancy and after he was born I do not feel comfortable around them. I have told his father this he doesn't care or understand.What do I do?

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answers from Miami on

Were they angry that you "trapped" their favorite by getting pregnant? Is that what this is about? They were ugly to you, trying to make it that it's your fault that you got pregnant?

Are you getting child support from him? Does he see the baby? It sounds like from what you say here that you two don't live together.

When you say that the father doesn't care or understand that you aren't comfortable around them because of their disrespect, do you mean that he doesn't care if his family sees the baby? I'm not sure from what you say...

Have you told them how you feel about them? That they have soured your relationship because of their attitude towards you? Honestly, I think you should tell them. It's NOT just your job to forgive and forget. It's their job to own up to their own behavior, and to treat you respectfully now.

Try to work this out. When they have "slick comments", tell them "What you just said really bothers me. I feel that it's disrespectful. I need to get off the phone now." That will teach them that if they want to see their grandchild, that they can't get away with talking ugly to you.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Are you married to or living with your son's father? Then your problem is with him. You can't have a relationship with someone who doesn't care about your feelings.

If you are not with him, then his family has no say at all. They don't get to tell you when to come over or when to leave your child with them. You don't have to answer every phone call or text message, and you don't have to drop everything and go over there. Say "no" or "Today's not a good day" or just don't respond.

If you don't want your child with them at all because they are neglectful, or because they say negatives things about you to your child or in front of him, then there should be no babysitting and no visits. If you just don't want to see them yourself, but are comfortable having his father take him over there, then do that. Are they so negative that you don't want your child to have a relationship with them? Then say no. If you just don't want to be with them yourself, you can drop the child there ONLY when it's convenient for you and when it gives you some alone time.

However, you might want to redefine your terms. If they are "babysitting", it's not just when they feel like a visit. Babysitting is what the parent arranges for at a time that's good for her - like if you had to work or if you had a doctor's appointment or a lunch date. If it's just for them to spend time with the child, then it's a "visit" and not babysitting - do you see the difference? One is a service to you, the other is a gift to them.

You may be younger than they are and you may be outnumbered, but you don't have to give in if you don't want to. If your son's father wants the child to see his mother, sister, etc., then he can take the boy over there and bring him back. You're not in charge of a delivery service. Just have him get an extra car seat.

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answers from Williamsport on

Are you still with the father?

If not, then you have no obligation to let them watch your child. Sure, it's nice to let them visit your child, and sure you can be cordial to them if they live near-by, but bottom line is, you don't have to let ANYONE babysit your child who you do not want to, including your ex's parents.

If you ARE still married and living together, then he has equal say, and if you need a sitter, you could let them babysit at times if you feel it's safe.

I had HORRIBLE in-laws. They treated me badly throughout my marriage. And now that I'm divorced, PHEW! I don't have to deal with them anymore. I do let the kids see them with their dad, but I'm not present for visits and they're not allowed to watch the kids because of ex's mom's alcoholism. I have full custody. It's my call. They too want to be left with the kids all the time by themselves. Which I think is bizarre. Why aren't
visits enough? My family never pressures me to leave my kids with them.

I don't know how crazy they are, but have you tried the clear and firm approach? "I have all the babysitters I need, thanks." Again and again and again and again.

Footnote. I don't know why people are so shortsighted with mothers of grandkids they wanna see. My MIL KNEW I was her son's wife, KNEW I had three kids with him, and STILL she bullied me, insulted me, trampled over me, did defiant, unsafe things with kids, and THEN she was surprised she didn't still have full say over the visits (like my ex let her have) when we divorced.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My MIL is not my favorite person. However because she is the mother of my husband and my kids' grandma I am supportive of their relationships and I remain respectful and cordial with her. It's just way easier to do this in long run. You don't have to go to their level. I don't let what my MIL does affect me because I leave her to my husband. Again, just easier in the long run. You don't need them to like you but you do want them to respect your wishes so just be firm. If you do not want them to babysit, then don't. Just say thanks but not now. I would leave their involvement up to your husband they can visit the child when he has him. But if you don't want your child left with them you can make that clear. Just say you are not comfortable at this point. Hopefully in time you will feel more comfortable and once there is respect there you might change your mind.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

This sounds like trouble a brewin'. You are building your child's foundation within these first seven years especially and even till ten years old as to how he will perceive life for the rest of his life. I think your actions should speak more than your words. Act pleasant with them but do not let them babysit. You're better to just keep it to your mother and god mother as you have. Simply ignore them whenever possible and tell them you have your mother as his care giver. Suggest meeting at parks or the zoo or have a cook out or lunch or take him there. You will probably need to do it with some regularlarity. Keep a schedule for visiting and stick to it and they'll need to stick to it too. He's your child and although I understand they want to see him, it's important that he spends his time with mama as much as possible. Do not toss him around like a ping pong ball. As it is he has to have time away from you while you work.

This is probably not a popular answer but it is what it is.

Sending the best of thoughts for peace and harmony for all.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

No one is "entitled" to babysit your child.
You and his father need to decide together who will and won't keep your child.
Just because one set of grands keeps him doesn't guarantee the other set equal time. It all depends on the situation.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I think you sound petty. Sorry. They are your child's family too. If you don't want to be around them then let hubby take the kids over whenever he wants to go visit.

If there is no valid reason to not let them watch your child then you are really just being petty. Just because YOU don't want to let them watch your child. This is HIS child too. He is also this child's parent and HE does have equal say in who is in his child's life as you do.

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answers from Boston on

You are allowing your bad feeling toward your inlaws to stand in the way of your child's relationship with his grandparents. I understand that they were horrible to you while you were pregnant however you can't change the past; only look to the future.

If you really don't like these people then leave it to your husband to bring your son for visits. Or meet them at parks or on walking trails so that they can push the stroller and or put the baby on a swing and feel like proud grandparents. You can also schedule time for visits to that you don't feel like you have to drop everything and run over with the baby anytime they call.

They just want to be in your child's life. Unless they are horrible people I think you need to make that happen on a level you are comfortable with.

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answers from Norfolk on

If you don't want anyone to baby sit your kids, you make other arrangements with someone else and say that you've got that covered if anyone asks.

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answers from Washington DC on

well, they can feel like it all they want, but if you don't take your son over there and drop him off, or invite them into your home and then leave your child with them, they're not going to get anywhere with it, are they?
since you let your mom babysit, it IS natural for them to feel as if they should be able to. it doesn't mean they're 'entitled', necessarily, but it really does sound as if you're withholding your baby to pay them back.
but you're the mom. you get to pick.
your post gives zero information about the 'disrespect', nor do you say what exactly you've said to them to make it clear that they you won't be leaving your child with them. if you HAVEN'T made it clear, then that's on you. they can't be expected to somehow intuit that you have selected only two appropriate babysitters and they didn't make the cut. you have to tell them, and then you have to deal with it that they'll be pissed about it.
it's troubling that the father (what is he to you?) is staying out of it. my guess is that you haven't actually had a conversation with any of these people you're so angry with, and are passive-aggressively expecting them to figure it out.
make your boundaries clear, and then deal with whatever fallout comes from it firmly and openly.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If you want your in laws to see their grandchild then invite them over for dinner. Why on earth would you think that the only way for grandparents to be a part of a child's life is by babysitting?
And your husband sounds like a jerk, I hope you're on some serious birth control :-(

1 mom found this helpful
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