Need Advise with 2 Completely Different In-law Issues

Updated on January 25, 2008
M.G. asks from Oswego, IL
15 answers

I have some concerns with my in-laws. Both very nice people... however...

FIL continues to get my kids especially my son all hyper by playing REALLY rough with him. We play rough with our kids but this teasing and really really rough to the point where my son will either get physically hurt or get so wound up that he will burst into tears. Which my FIL will tell him to shut up ask him and us what is wrong with him. I have repeatedly told FIL and my son to not play rough, my son will tell my FIL that he cannot play rough which my FIL will respond well I can and start up this rough play. He is nice guy just refuses to listen to my repeatedly requests to stop. My DH will not address with him just tells me that is the way he is, he did it to him and my BIL. I'm trying to get through to FIL that my son does not like it and he needs to stop.

MIL, is a wonderful person however she continually is buying things for my kids to the point where if they want something and we say no, tell will just ask her and she will get it and more. They are starting to expect to get everything they want. Also MIL doesn't have the money she is continually refinancing her house because of her debit. I tell her to be more responsible with her money and she just says she will die poor and in debt. She is also always complaining that she is so poor and that my FIL is cutting her off this year (they are divorced) and she doesn't know how she will stay afloat, also has this bag lady fear thing. But she continues to spend and buy and buy things. I tell her that they my DS & DD do not need anything but she continues. They look more forward to Gramees gifts then Santa. Once again my DH doesn't want to address, says he's asked her to not give so much but she doesn't listen. I personallg have never heard him say anything to her. When I ask about it more and more he tells me that I don't like her, which is NOT true, I do. I just do not know how to get her to stop for her and for my kids...

Any advise would be great!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

I just love ALL the advise you all have given. I will let you know what happens with FIL after Holiday as we be seeing him again. MIL a bunch of advise but I still don't know what approach to take. I really am not the type of person to sit by and let things happen especially when I see it is harmful to her and in the long run not good for my kids. I truly love this woman, I didn't have a nuturing mother and she has been like the mother I never had. I need to help her somehow. I'll let you all know how it goes. THANK YOU ALL!!!!

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I agree with Anne Marie. I think your MIL has a problem. Is she remarried? Do you see her often? It's possible that she's bored and lonely. Did she do the same thing with your DH? That just may be the way she shows affection. I would suggest that you give her some alone time with her grandkids. Or make a date to make cookies or some kind of crafts with her. If she sees that the kids like that just as much as getting presents, she may be able to slow down on the gift giving.

The situation with your FIL is a really tough one. He probably has the mind set that boys need to be rought and tumble. I'm guessing that he doesn't realize how hard he's playing. The rough talk is most likely to cover his embarrasment at making your son cry. If you feel that the play is getting to rough, remove your son. You can do it gracefully so as not to hurt your FIL's feeling. When things are getting out of hand say "OK, who wants a drink/snack/etc." It will give your son an easy out too. He probably doesn't want to disappoint his grandpa by not being 'tough.' If that doesn't work, tell your FIL that until he can learn to play nice, he can't play with your son. It's really harsh, I know, but sometimes that's the only thing that will work.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.M.

answers from Chicago on

I suggest a very firm talk with FIL, telling him that your son doesn't like the rough and tumble and that while he may have played like that with your DH, that you do not want it with your son. If he persists then you won't allow him to play with your son.

It sounds like your MIL needs counseling. She may have a form of depression. The shopping is a way to get a kind of high, though it is short lived. Many people suffer from this. It is hard however to suggest that perhaps she needs counseling. Your kids are still young to talk to them about it. My grandma did the same thing but we were a little older and so when my M. explained this situation, we stopped asking her for stuff or only very little stuff. do you think your 4 year old might understand this enough to ask him not to ask granny for so much?

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.S.

answers from Chicago on

I think Mamasource needs to set up a catagory JUST for inlaws around the Holidays!

Anyway, I don't think much can be done with situation #2 and your MIL. You can't physically stop your MIL from spending her money. And, although your concern for her is admirable, when it comes down to it, her spending habits aren't your business. I know you only have her best interest in mind and if she was YOUR M., I'd feel you had more of a reason to interfere. You know what I mean?

What I would suggest is telling your MIL that your kids have way too much as it is and that you are to the point of donating their toys to the needy children in the area. If she continues, dontate what she buys. This can also teach your kids about sharing with those less fortuante then them. Not sure, but it's just an idea.

I'm waaaaaay more bothered by situation #1. WAY more bothered. How DARE this man (FIL or not) do this to your son! And to tell him to "shut up"?!? If someone said that to either of my boys, they'd have an earful from me on the spot. For this situation I absolutley would put my foot down with your husband and tell him if he doesn't address it and put it to a stop, your FIL will not be welcome in your home. I'm confused as to why your husband doesn't see an issue with it. Even if he had it donoe to him as a child...so what? That doesn't make it right. My husband cannot deal with his dad either for some reason. My husband is a [email protected]____.com and will stand up for himself...except when it comes to his Dad. I don't get it.

If, after you express this to your husband, he doesn't do anything and your FIL continues to do it...I'd walk right up to them while "playing" and say, "Alright, that's enough settle down." If FIL continues, I'd pick up your son and remove him from the situation and say, "I said that's enough."

I don't know...both hard situations, but IMHO the FIL situation needs to be stopped, no matter what the cost.

Good luck and keep us posted on what you do.

T.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.B.

answers from Indianapolis on

If your DH won't say something, I would say something direct and respectfully.
I have a really tough time with my in-law's being very different than me in the up-bringing. My FIL says to my 15 month old DAUGHTER everytime we see him, I'm gona punch you, I'm gona give you a black eye, you're a brat no matter what your M. says....
I finally told him, if you continue you WILL BE PERMANENTLY CENSORED. He looked at me like I was crazy and asked why and I explaing briefly that you don't talk to children that way, she doesn't know the difference and will be disliked if she begins to talk that way, DUHHHHH Same with your son, explain or LIE hehehe and say everytime he does it, he goes back to school or around other kids and pays rough and gets in trouble and it is NOT RIGHT.
I can't wait for my husband to decide what is right to say, I am the mother and they are MY KIDS. Either abide by my rules.
He always defied me and now, he looks the other way. My hubby told him to mind his own business and leave me alone and to respect me.
He already raised his kids his way, and I sense he doesn't like me much, I don't care, my kids are my focus and he can get over it, I am not rude nor disrespectful, just don't get into an argument and tell him, find a different way to play, I am teaching my children not to use phisical aggression at any level. I really am not allowing my kids to hit each other ever. My sister's kids NEVER ever have hit each other, she's very cosnsitent and there is no leniency when it comes to physical aggression. A hug is ok, no sparring, no rough play.
Amy

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.M.

answers from Chicago on

Hello!
I think your concerns are valid. First off a husband or wife should always back their spouse up. Your Hubby should not accuse you of not liking his M., maybe for the mere reason that he does not want to deal with the issue. It seems like you ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HER AND DO NOT LIKE HER ACTIONS. He really needs to firm with his own Mother and tell her No More, the children have all they need. Maybe she needs to seek help from a financial advisor. I do not know her but is she maybe buying all these things to then make you all feel guilty when she is broke and maybe has no where to go but to LIVE WITH YOUR FAMILY- who knows- that could be too much from a show like Desperate Housewives! As for the Father in Law- you are right to stop the play fighting, but now stop it all together not even a little bit of play fighting because he is an ADULT who can not respect boundries. You are the M., those are your children.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.W.

answers from Chicago on

VERY troubling about your FIL. This man definitely has serious issues. Your first priority is to protect your child at all costs. This inappropriate behavior is causing much more than just physical pain. A "nice guy" would never behave in this manor. There is a dark side here. I would try to limit visits to times or places where the FIL cannot "act out" on his destructive behavior. Frankly, I think he needs help.
As far as the MIL, not only is she being irresponsible financially, but she is disrespectful of you. I agree with the other post, that her over spending is primarily her problem, not yours. However, there IS an issue with over indulging your children. They will start to expect this and feel entitled. It will only get worse as they get older. You really do need to nip this NOW. I like the idea that was mentioned with regard to telling the Grandmother that spending time making cookies, going to the park, a movie and lunch etc. would be better for HER and as well as the children. In real life one does not get everything they want, nor should they. The GM is setting them up for disappointment down the road. I also agree that her actions (as she sees it)could be a way of "buying" love, which of course, in the end, you can't do. I would try to be as honest as you can with the children, although telling them that masses of gifts are bad for them could be a hard sell. Lastly, again, as another post mentioned, you could tell the GM when gifts are appropriate and to what extent. If she disregards that request, I would tell her that you are going to take the excess to a charity.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.C.

answers from Chicago on

Not sure about what to do about the FIL but with your MIL could you simply return the gifts and save up the money and give it to her for Christmas (or whatever holiday)? Just a thought...you know her best and how she may feel. Hang in there!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.K.

answers from Chicago on

For some reason, my previous response didn't go through so I'll try again. As far as your MIL, I think that the problem will resolve itself. When your FIL cuts her off, she will have no choice but to stop spoiling your kids.
About for FIL, he sounds like a bully and his behavior is abusive. Now would be a great opportunity to teach your kids how to respond to bullies. Thousand Waves Karate, located on Belmont in Chicago teaches self defense to kids. In the meantime, have them practice yelling at the top of their lungs "NO" "Don't touch me"! STOP, Get AWAY! I said I don't want to play with you!!! Then they should run to safety and tell you. In the event that they have no other choice and need to escape, they could also kick the person in the knee cap (the groin is too high for little kids.) http://www.thousandwaves.org/SDYouth.htm
The karate school has classes in karate and self defense for ages 4-adult.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.H.

answers from Chicago on

I have almost the exact same situation as your MIL with my mother. We have tried everything and every time we say anything we get told that her finances are none of our business and we can't tell her how to spend her money.

So we quietly take the gifts and many have gone to charity before my child even sees it. What we do now, that he is old enough and knows about his toys etc. For Christmas and His birthday we have him choose one toy that he doesn't get to open and we give that to a children's charity. My M. was really upset when she first heard ("if I wanted to give to charity I would!"). But she has backed down, we told her if we can't tell her what to do with her money she can't tell us what to do with the gifts. Besides its a really good lesson for kids to learn to be charitable and take care of others.

When it comes to family and money there is never a good way to have the conversation without someone getting defensive or upset, if she truly is broke she will eventually stop on her own.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.

answers from Chicago on

I agree with Toni - I'd remove your son from the room when FIL starts up. It would be best if your husband was the one to intervene, but your son needs to know that some adult is in charge and will stop things from getting out of hand. Roughhousing is one thing - we have a friend who gets the kids all riled up (and then wonders why they're all hyper?? sigh.) but they don't get to the point of injury or crying. It's possible to be the wrestling, cool guy without hurting anyone.

Not sure what to do about MIL - could you ask her to tone it down for your sake? I told my M. a few years ago that it makes me feel like I should spend more when she spends more, and that I don't want to overspend, so could we agree to keep the spending down a bit. It helped a little.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

I know this sounds hard, but sometimes you have to cut off visits and such for a time. If your son really does NOT want to play with your FIL like he does, you need to stand by your son and let him know someone is on his side. Of course, this will take some serious discussion with your husband, but you need to be together on this.

As far as your mother in law, one thing you might point out that is if she dies poor and in debt, it will be her children and grandchildren who will pay those debts! So basically everything she gives your children will have to be gotten rid of because of her debts. But, again, it sounds like you and husband need to get on the same page. The real difficulty is that it sounds like hubby won't put his foot down with his parents. Being the daughter in law automatically puts you in a defensive position. Eventually, your son be old enough to tell Grandpa how he feels about it. In the same way, eventually the kids will see that Grandma is just trying to "buy" their affection.

I hope this gives a little insight. Hang in there....you are a great M.!! Don't let your in laws discourage you!
K.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.L.

answers from Indianapolis on

The FIL issue sounds fairly common. A lot of guys rough around, too hard; some men just come from backgrounds that make them think this is standard, the boys they rough house with need to "toughen up". My ex boyfriend was like that. It was something we frequently argued about and did ultimately put strain on our relationship. He thought it was perfectly normal, but my son would tell me "He's too rough". I knew that my ex didn't mean to be that way, it was just the way he was, but anytime I addressed it he would feel like I was picking on him and just didn't want my son to play because God forbid he get roughed up a little. Just like the other M. said, I refereed quite a bit. They would horse around, but when they got to crazy I put a stop to it and quickly, usually just by raising my voice "ENOUGH guys, knock it off". If FIL wants to argue with you afterwards, look him in the eye and tell him he doesn't have to agree with you, its not up to him, but he WILL respect you (and if he can't do that, you can leave). I have a natural edge to my personality, and most anyone who knows me knows if I say something like that I've had it and not to cross me.

The MIL thing, I worry about the same thing with my M.. She is very elusive about her finances though, all I know is that she spends money and a lot of it, and I know she can't have that much to begin with. She has always had bad spending habits and when married to my dad almost drove him into bankruptcy, she herself has filed before about 10 years ago. However, I have always been taught that other peoples finances are absolutely none of my business, and it is not in my rightful place to say anything. Think of how you would feel if your kids were constantly telling you that you mishandle your finances; even out of concern, it can cause resentment. Its just not their place. And think of this too; a lot of women/people shop like that, literal "shopaholics" because they are lacking something in their lives and feel the need to fill a void. Maybe you should look less at her spending habits and more at where she spends her time. Is she lonely? Is she maybe trying to buy your kids love (even though they of course already love grandma plenty)? Maybe if you spent some extra time with her every week, instead of going to the mall maybe go to the movies with her, maybe just a walk through the park, some free activities, or even a pottery or a sewing class together, might really help her.

To be concerned is human, to want to help is human, but to involve yourself by directly putting her ability to control spending "on blast" is imposing. If you don't want the kids to have the gifts, see to it you get to the gifts first and either give them back to grandma or tell her they are going to charity. If she starts to sneak behind your back, you might want to go as far as taking the gifts away from the children after they have gotten them. Be honest with them "Mommy told grandma no presents this time, I'm sorry but you can't keep them". Could serve as a dose of reality for grandma and the kids. Grandma can't sneak and the kids know mommy means business and what you say absolutely is gospel in your house. Hard core but I bet you if you did that once or twice, grandma might just quit.

Good luck

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.E.

answers from Chicago on

Dear Cheryl,
I feel your pain, but remember you cannot control what other people do no matter who they are. You can only control what you do. Tell your FIL and MIL that if they continue to disregard your wishes to stop what they are doing to YOUR children then you will be forced to refuse to attend any family functions where and when the unwanted behavior is occuring. These are your children and it is your responsibility to raise them as you please and if they do not agree then you will have to cut ties with them until they RESPECT THE WAY YOU WANT TO RAISE YOUR CHILDREN! If your husband refuses then he has no respect for you either to raise your children the way you both want to raise them. If he agrees with you then the tough love aproach will work. the grandparents job is to love and spoil their grandchildren and not disrespect the parents wishes. I gaurantee that if they love and want to see their grandchildren they will respect your wishes and do as you ask when you take a stand and let them know you are serious about what you want for your children.

good luck

A.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

W.P.

answers from Chicago on

I've had similar problems in my family as the FIL issue. Many guys find this to be normal behavior, but what bothers me is they don't know where to draw the line. I think there is an only paritally conscious desire to toughen up the boy child. My husband did it when he was a new stepdad to my son, off and on. It would always end in tears. Every time I would intervene-ok that's enough. It was annoying because I felt like the police, and hubby would always claim he didn't "get it". To me it's obvious when it is starting to go too far and then is when you need to step in. I used to get mad and yell at him, but that didn't help because my son did want to play "rough" but he would get scared or overwhelmed at some point. So then my son would be angry at me because new hubby wouldn't play anymore. Thus the policing. I would just sit there and watch until it started to feel too rough and I would intervene-kinda like a referee-and either make them stop and do something else or just tell them to tone it down. Eventually the new hub caught on but it took FOREVER.
I agree, the fact that your husband isn't stepping in on any of this is a big problem-they are his parents. But I don't see why you can't tell Grandma that you are trying to teach values to your children and not-in the language of olden times-spoil them rotten! and that what she is doing is undermining those teachings and values. THerefore all gift giving has to go through the parents who will approve or disapprove of all gifts. If you disapprove she will have to return them or give them to charity herself! You can tell her that this is a last resort due to the fact that she won't honor your wishes. IF she tries to give gifts on the sly she will not be seeing the kids until she learns to control herself. Saying you are trying to control her spending is BS- (even though it clearly needs controlling, I wouldn't even go there)you are merely seeing to it that your children are given appropriate gifts. Shheesh this is one of those only in America things. Why would anyone think it's a good idea to lavish kids with endless gifts and anything they want? That is totally not what they need.
Good luck.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

I'd take the hard line with both. Tell FIL that if he doesn't stop making your son cry (which is what eventually happens) that you won't be visiting any more. If you husband won't help, get a teacher involved to tell him it's not safe or mentally ok.
Whenever your MIL tries to give them a gift, give it back. Tell her to save it for x-mas or birthday or take it back. I'd also tell you that you don't want to hear about her money problems until she sees a financial counselor and stops buying unneeded things for your kids. You can provide things for them, the rest should be special occasions only.
Good Luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions