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Old 01-13-2012, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Yellow Brick Road
35,459 posts, read 43,169,045 times
Reputation: 19772

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
Then you need to develop an issue with her moving in with you, for she is going to be a problem, and everyone is going to be unhappy.
Totally agree.

Here's the thing. You cannot teach someone how to change his/her personality. Grandma's style of interacting w/ the children is who she is.

My mother was über critical. Her siblings were über critical. My sister and I have discussed this w/ our cousins. We all agree - it hasn't mattered what any of us attempted as far as asking them to be less strident w/ our kids. They are who they are.

If the kids are put off now and find MIL intimidating, familiarity isn't gonna make it better. Long term, it can affect a child's self esteem, confidence and lead to avoidance and passive aggressive behavior.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:04 AM
 
Location: East Coast
2,369 posts, read 2,273,040 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
Totally agree.

Here's the thing. You cannot teach someone how to change his/her personality. Grandma's style of interacting w/ the children is who she is.

My mother was über critical. Her siblings were über critical. My sister and I have discussed this w/ our cousins. We all agree - it hasn't mattered what any of us attempted as far as asking them to be less strident w/ our kids. They are who they are.

If the kids are put off now and find MIL intimidating, familiarity isn't gonna make it better. Long term, it can affect a child's self esteem, confidence and lead to avoidance and passive aggressive behavior.
Terrific post...I totally agree, as the daughter of uber critical parents myself. It's taken me a LONG time to get past the hits to my self-esteem, and I'm nowhere near the finish line yet!
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:09 AM
 
3,130 posts, read 1,992,844 times
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Thank you all so much for your responses. You have given me a lot to think about. I love my MIL but I was focusing on the things I like and thinking perhaps we could impact the things I didn't like when it came to her moving in. But that very well might not be the case, as you have all pointed out. It looks like my husband and I have a lot of talking to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
If the kids are put off now and find MIL intimidating, familiarity isn't gonna make it better. Long term, it can affect a child's self esteem, confidence and lead to avoidance and passive aggressive behavior.
This statement really got to me since these are issues that my husband struggled with when he was a young adult before we met, especially avoidance and passive aggressiveness. He eventually matured but he said it wasn't easy. He never made the direct connection to his mom but I can see it.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
13,200 posts, read 10,464,385 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
Totally agree.

Here's the thing. You cannot teach someone how to change his/her personality. Grandma's style of interacting w/ the children is who she is.

My mother was über critical. Her siblings were über critical. My sister and I have discussed this w/ our cousins. We all agree - it hasn't mattered what any of us attempted as far as asking them to be less strident w/ our kids. They are who they are.

If the kids are put off now and find MIL intimidating, familiarity isn't gonna make it better. Long term, it can affect a child's self esteem, confidence and lead to avoidance and passive aggressive behavior.
This is exactly right. I have two concerns with this situation.

1) Why does she get to decide she can move into YOUR home? Would she allow you to decide to move into her home? No. That is not her decision to make.
2) She will hear your carefully worded conversation, then she will continue her behavior because it's who she is. No matter how carefully you choose your words, she will hear it as criticism and only hold it against you.

My own mother works this way. And take my word for it, constant criticism breeds passive-aggressiveness because you will cope by learning to do or say almost anything (or nothing!) to avoid the criticism.

You and your husband need to unite and let your MIL know that her moving in is not an option.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Sunny Florida
6,566 posts, read 6,674,163 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
Then you need to develop an issue with her moving in with you, for she is going to be a problem, and everyone is going to be unhappy.
I agree. Letting her move in with you is not a good idea. Your children are already getting their feelings hurt when grandma visits. Can you imagine how many confrontations, misunderstandings, harsh words, etc. will occur when she lives with you? Your children will suffer on a daily basis if you allow this to happen. Please reread your post and open your eyes to the red flags contained therein.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Western Washington
7,990 posts, read 5,347,972 times
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Ewwwwwwww, really? Please do a few mental enactments of some worst case scenarios, involving your MIL living with you. That sounds like a disaster in the making. Why not hurt her feelings a little bit now and either voice your opinion or find her another place nearby.....rather than letting it get to the point to where you're all hating each other later?

I do care for my MIL, but I could have her living under my roof for about 2 days.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:12 PM
 
3,130 posts, read 1,992,844 times
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Thank you all very much for the additional responses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmsn4Life View Post
This is exactly right. I have two concerns with this situation.

1) Why does she get to decide she can move into YOUR home? Would she allow you to decide to move into her home? No. That is not her decision to make.
It wasn't like that. Sorry for the confusion. My hubby asked me about her moving in with us years ago when my oldest was still an infant. At the time I told him I would be fine with it if we either 1. brought a house with a MIL suite or a basement apartment or 2. got her an apartment nearby. The offer was extended and she accepted, but she wanted to wait for various reasons having to do with her pension. Now she's ready to fully retire so she let us know recently that she finally wants to make the move. We are planning on buying a house this year so the timing works out. We had been looking at houses that fit option 1 now that we knew she wanted to come.

Now of course, after listening to all of you, I'm thinking option 2 might be better but even then, she'd be spending so much additional time around the children that we really have to talk about what that means for all of us. I'm not sure what that will happen from here but I refuse to put the kids in a potentially damaging situation. This is going to be a tough one. Wish me luck!
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:27 PM
 
Location: Western Washington
7,990 posts, read 5,347,972 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinawina View Post
Thank you all very much for the additional responses.



It wasn't like that. Sorry for the confusion. My hubby asked me about her moving in with us years ago when my oldest was still an infant. At the time I told him I would be fine with it if we either 1. brought a house with a MIL suite or a basement apartment or 2. got her an apartment nearby. The offer was extended and she accepted, but she wanted to wait for various reasons having to do with her pension. Now she's ready to fully retire so she let us know recently that she finally wants to make the move. We are planning on buying a house this year so the timing works out. We had been looking at houses that fit option 1 now that we knew she wanted to come.

Now of course, after listening to all of you, I'm thinking option 2 might be better but even then, she'd be spending so much additional time around the children that we really have to talk about what that means for all of us. I'm not sure what that will happen from here but I refuse to put the kids in a potentially damaging situation. This is going to be a tough one. Wish me luck!
It really is going to be tough Tina, but I do wish you the best of luck. It would be AWFUL for your kids to dread having to see your MIL. She really needs to learn to speak to your kids more lovingly and respectfully. I mean, it's great to have someone reinforcing your discipline and backing you up....even helping to keep them in line, but she really does need to "remember her position"....that of grandma instead of mama. Children learn to communicate in the "tone" that their are spoken/communicated to. Many of those children end up getting chewed out for using a tone of disrespect or shouting, when that is how they've been talked to!

Many are the families I've seen, whose children YELL at them or talk to them in disrespectful tones. Sadly, I've watched those same parents talk to their kids in that identical tone.....their whole lives!
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:16 AM
 
9,717 posts, read 6,818,805 times
Reputation: 9780
Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
Totally agree.

Here's the thing. You cannot teach someone how to change his/her personality. Grandma's style of interacting w/ the children is who she is.

My mother was über critical. Her siblings were über critical. My sister and I have discussed this w/ our cousins. We all agree - it hasn't mattered what any of us attempted as far as asking them to be less strident w/ our kids. They are who they are.

If the kids are put off now and find MIL intimidating, familiarity isn't gonna make it better. Long term, it can affect a child's self esteem, confidence and lead to avoidance and passive aggressive behavior.
anifani821 is right....she is who she is....though change is possible...I can only wish you well Tinawina....and hope that you find some sollutuion that proves workable and enjoyable for all of you.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:20 PM
 
Location: then: U.S.A., now: Europe
6,206 posts, read 5,439,035 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinawina View Post
I think I may have a question that only other grandparents can answer.

My mother-in-law is wonderful. She lives far away but she visits whenever she can (and we go to her as well). When she comes, she always helps out despite my insistence that she just sit and enjoy her grandkids. In spite of the fact that she's somewhat stricter than me, we are always respectful with each other.

Recently she has decided she wants to come live with us in the coming year. I have no issue with that, as it would be great to have her around. But the thing is, as much as the kids love their grandmother they are also a bit put off by her. She's very sweet but like I said she's pretty strict, plus she has a negative way of talking to them. I think it's generational? She was definitely raised with the "children should be seen and not heard, and they should take after themselves as much as possible". She's also very very neat, and wants the kids to keep everything clean at all times.

I don't really have a problem with the kids being self sufficient. That's how we raise them. I'm not as neat as her though. We don't live in a pig stuy or anything, but when MIL is around she sends them upstairs to clean their room at least twice a day, and if they play with anything she's all over them to put it away as soon as it looks like they might be done with it. That's fine, but it drives the kids a little nuts since I make them clean their room only on the weekends and I make them pick up their toys at the end of the day. I don't mind them cleaning up more often, but I do want them to just get a chance to play and be kids too.

But the bigger problem is the way she talks to them. I'll give an example: When she came to visit for Christmas, my 8 year old daugher wanted to sleep downstairs with Grandma. We said yes and sent her upstairs to get a pillow and blanket. When she came back downstairs, MIL started right in on her. "Why in the world would you get that blanket! It's not warm enough. You should know better! What's wrong with you? Get back upstairs and get something bigger than that!" My daughter was crushed. I had to point out that she's only 8, she didn't "know better", she just got her favorite blanket and came back. MIL said "well, now she knows" and that was that.

I will talk to her because it has to be done before she moves in. My husband has a habit of getting very critical with the kids too, but I've gotten him to clamp it down somewhat and besides, the kids have learned to ignore him. But he and his mom cannot have conversations like that, so I have to be the one that does it. (Oddly enough, she wont hear it from him.)

I don't know how to approach this in a way that will not hurt her, as she is very sensitive. Again, I don't mind that she's stricter and neater, but I do not want the children criticized all the time for their every move. By the end of this latest visit my kindergarten son was being stinky with her because he was tired of it and wanted her to go home. My daughter told me she loves her grandma but she "makes me sad because she's always yelling at me that I should know things I don't know". I tried to get her to tell grandma that herself but she was scared. My daughter is a perfectionist who is hard on herself as it is, the last thing she needs is outside reinforcement. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to start this conversation?
This has all the earmarks of a disaster in the making. Your MIL is clearly a martinet, your husband - not surprisingly, is a bit like her, and he can't talk this out with her.....you are supposed to do it. And on it goes.

You have put it all right out there. How can you not see it?
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