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RoseRed135

MIL v. DIL - Where do the kids figure in?

22 posts in this topic

It's a question that comes up over & over again on these boards - If MIL & DIL (or FIL & SIL, etc.) can't be around each other, is it ok for DS/DH (or DD/DW) to take the kids to visit MIL (FIL) separately? And if not, how do you tell DH (DW), "You can't take our kids to your parents!?" Or do you?

Thoughts?

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The adults need to work it out amongst themselves.  It depends on what the original offense was?  

Even when DD has us on very low contact, she would bring granddaughter to spend a night or two because she knew we wouldn't "air" any laundry around GD.  To me that knowledge makes a big difference.

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Posted (edited)

My children's father could not have stopped me from taking my kids to see my parents,  if that was my decision to do so. They are the children of both parents and one can't dictate to the other.  You don't want to visit, fine, don't.  But you DO NOT get to tell me who my children can and can not see.

Edited by nonna23
Clarify
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DH sees MIL without me, and the kids are present. Since they are bigger (and opinionated) now, I don't worry anymore about a lot of the issues when they were little, because they'll say something or walk away. I've also noticed from recent visits that they actually don't spend a lot of time sitting with her because they're too busy, and that she gets easily overwhelmed by their level of activity. So a lot of visits are talking between adults while the kids play with each other. 

I do have a very hard line about DH driving the kids to MIL's, and he knows why and accepts it even though I know he'd like to drive them there sometimes. Him wanting to drive the kids to MIL's was what led me to seeing MIL after not seeing her for several months. 

I think it's something parents need to work out amongst themselves. And like Sue said, it depends on the what started it all. 

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I think it all depends whether the kids are on or off the table in these situations.  If the IL's or their home are unsafe, or are active alcoholics, or they have campaigned to end their AC's marriage or continue to disrespect or disparage their DIL/SIL as we saw with that poster recently that made it a sport to talk crap about her SIL to her clan family or the IL's actively disrespect/disregard their AC/IL's parenting then I don't think a child should be part of any visits.   I also would question why the AC is even continuing a relationship in some of these situations.

If it is more just a case of general incompatibility then I think there is a stronger argument for the child to continuing to see the GP's, as I personally wouldn't want my issues in a relationship to be the decider for whether my child has a relationship especially an important one such as a GP/GC relationship.

I think the hardest part in all of this is when the DH/DW cannot agree with whether the kids are on the table or not.  An impasse like this can be a marriage ender especially in situations in which the DH or DW shows loyalty first and foremost to mom or dad rather than to his/her spouse or in situations in which the AC grew up in crazy dysfunction and doesn't have a normal meter to see how unhealthy it is to expose a GC to it - or sometimes the opposite - to see how healthy the GP relationship is for the child. 

 

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3 hours ago, nonna23 said:

My children's father could not have stopped me from taking my kids to see my parents,  if that was my decision to do so. They are the children of both parents and one can't dictate to the other.  You don't want to visit, fine, don't.  But you DO NOT get to tell me who my children can and can not see.

Wolf's an equal parent to me. If one of us is uncomfortable w/the kids going somewhere/doing something, either one of us is allowed to pull the plug. But, we're also not arbitrary, and talk things out when we disagree, so even if we don't share the other's concern, we respect it.

As to to the overall question, I think it's highly dependant on the situation. If there's an element of addiction, abuse, or violence, then there's no way a child should be exposed to that, imo. If it's simply a personality conflict, or disagreement and folks need a break from one another, then that's a different situation.

Either way, it's up to the married couple to decide.

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5 hours ago, nonna23 said:

My children's father could not have stopped me from taking my kids to see my parents,  if that was my decision to do so. They are the children of both parents and one can't dictate to the other.  You don't want to visit, fine, don't.  But you DO NOT get to tell me who my children can and can not see.

Although  I somewhat get your viewpoint, there is such an obvious contradiction in it that I don't know how you reconcile.  You say "you DO NOT get to tell me who my children can and can't see".  Aren't you doing just that  vis a vis the father when you take them against his wishes?  You are  indisputably telling him who they can see. . . 

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1 hour ago, Eve-SoCal said:

Although  I somewhat get your viewpoint, there is such an obvious contradiction in it that I don't know how you reconcile.  You say "you DO NOT get to tell me who my children can and can't see".  Aren't you doing just that  vis a vis the father when you take them against his wishes?  You are  indisputably telling him who they can see. . . 

If my children's father wanted to take the kids to see his parents, I wouldn't think I could say no.  Kids of divorce go places the other parent doesn't agree with on a regular basis.   That's just how I see it.

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8 hours ago, BSW said:

I think the hardest part in all of this is when the DH/DW cannot agree with whether the kids are on the table or not.  An impasse like this can be a marriage ender...

Uh-oh. Does that mean this issue is easier to solve if the parents are divorced?

2 hours ago, nonna23 said:

If my children's father wanted to take the kids to see his parents, I wouldn't think I could say no.  Kids of divorce go places the other parent doesn't agree with on a regular basis.   That's just how I see it.

 

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39 minutes ago, RoseRed135 said:

Uh-oh. Does that mean this issue is easier to solve if the parents are divorced?

 

Yes and no...easier when you are the only one to say yes or no when you have possession  (a court term). No on other counts. 

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This is a massive pet peeve of mine. I feel that some women who don't get along with their mil's feel it's ok to keep the grandchildren from their Mil. I feel this is unfair. The only reason I feel it's justified to keep the children away is because of abuse, safety issues or if both parents don't have a relationship with the Mil. 

Just because the two parties don't get along doesn't mean the Mil will be a poor grandmother. 

I think some women are afraid the Mil will talk poorly about them but I feel there are options. First even see if this becomes an issue. If it does put boundaries in place ie tell her to cut it out. If it doesn't cut out then the husband can take the child for supervised visits. Let's face it a kid will rat on anyone. For most kids they spill the beans on so many things so it's highly unlikely it would remain a secret if negative things are being said. 

I wouldn't want to be married to someone so controlling they wouldn't let me take children to see my parents. I think this could lead to long term resentment with all parties, including in the marriage. It's saying you don't trust your husband to handle it.  

I just can't see the problem with dh visiting with the kids and mum having relaxation time. Win/win. 

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5 minutes ago, Layla said:

...snip...

I wouldn't want to be married to someone so controlling they wouldn't let me take children to see my parents. I think this could lead to long term resentment with all parties, including in the marriage. It's saying you don't trust your husband to handle it.  

I just can't see the problem with dh visiting with the kids and mum having relaxation time. Win/win. 

A lot of husbands don't handle it. They turn a blind eye or excuse it off, ie telling the DW, well, she's just like that, she's always been like that...blah, blah, blah. We've seen it many times here on these threads. That is part of the problem.

 

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3 minutes ago, Cupcake55 said:

A lot of husbands don't handle it. They turn a blind eye or excuse it off, ie telling the DW, well, she's just like that, she's always been like that...blah, blah, blah. We've seen it many times here on these threads. That is part of the problem.

 

I know and there are levels of behaviour. If a Mil is that toxic, and your husband doesn't do anything then for me that starts to fall into the emotional abuse category. It would be hard for a kid to be in the middle of that. It's not black and white but several shades of grey. I still think there should be a chance and options before a cut off. It's not a simple problem. Cut off should be last resort. I get what you are saying though. 

 

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Just now, Layla said:

I know and there are levels of behaviour. If a Mil is that toxic, and your husband doesn't do anything then for me that starts to fall into the emotional abuse category. It would be hard for a kid to be in the middle of that. It's not black and white but several shades of grey. I still think there should be a chance and options before a cut off. It's not a simple problem. Cut off should be last resort. I get what you are saying though. 

 

But is it always a matter of MIL being "toxic," etc? Sometimes, she might just think she's defending herself against what she imagines DIL is saying to the kids about her. So if DIL came to resent MIL b/c MIL was always giving unsolicited advice, MIL might say, "I tried to help your mom out, but she's too sensitive and takes everything as a criticism." Or if MIL was guilty of baby-grabbing or breaking parental rules, she might tell the kids, "Your mom is too controlling" or "She wouldn't let me be a grandma." MIL might even really see it this way.

Not excusing MIL for this. Whatever her POV, IMO, she shouldn't voice it to/in front of the children. But she might believe she has a "right" to tell "her side of the story." Especially in her house. And, unfortunately, DH/DS might think so, too. Or he might just not want any more drama. So MIL might badmouth DIL to/in front of the GC, even if her intention is just to protect the kids' image of herself.

Still, I agree that it's "not a simple problem" and that, generally speaking, "there should be a chance" for DH to bring the kids to see MIL, etc. (unless she has already proven herself a physical or emotional danger to the kids).

But some DHs, unfortunately, have already shown that they can't be trusted to shut down MIL's criticisms of DIL to/in front of the kids. So then, IMO, DH has forfeited that chance.

Same on each count if we're talking about SIL, & DW/DD, etc.

 

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

But is it always a matter of MIL being "toxic," etc? Sometimes, she might just think she's defending herself against what she imagines DIL is saying to the kids about her. So if DIL came to resent MIL b/c MIL was always giving unsolicited advice, MIL might say, "I tried to help your mom out, but she's too sensitive and takes everything as a criticism." Or if MIL was guilty of baby-grabbing or breaking parental rules, she might tell the kids, "Your mom is too controlling" or "She wouldn't let me be a grandma." MIL might even really see it this way.

 

I don't think the MIL should be defending herself to a child.  It goes both ways, the difficulties should stay between the MIL and DIL, the kids shouldn't be involved at all, it's unfair on them. The DIL and MIL can argue all they like but the child should be kept out of it.

You may have a MIL and DIL who don't get along and the MIL is always pushing the boundaries such as giving kids sweets, buying too many gifts or clothes and there are arguments between MIL and DIL.  I don't think in this scenario it's good for the DIL to say, we're arguing, I don't feel respected so you don't see me or the kids.  In that situation it's more like a punishment to try to force the MIL to toe the line and behave.  I guess some DIL's may feel that if it's only them the MIL is not seeing then it's a win for the MIL, rather than seeing it as simply an argument between MIL and DIL and that the kids relationship with the MIL is separate. For some reason it becomes an attitude of you don't have a relationship with me so you can't have one with my child.  The father seems to be forgotten.

Then you may have a more PA MIL's who says little comments such as "Oh your mom is too sensitive, oh your mom is too controlling".  I think this is borderline, I think this is where boundaries need to be introduced verging towards supervised visits.  I agree with you that no matter what is happening the child shouldn't be put in the middle and this should be communicated to the MIL.  If she continues I guess I'm not sure where the line is, however from what I have seen, no child likes to hear bad things about their mother and no doubt the kid will grow up not liking the MIL at all.  Also it could teach a kid a valuable life lesson, 'yes Grandma isn't happy with mom at the moment but sometimes people disagree'.  Otherwise what's the other lesson, someone isn't nice so you cut them off straight away.  And there's other factors at this stage, is the MIL a great grandparent in all other areas?  It's probably this area that's the hardest, does a DH support the wife or not?

Then you get the other end where the MIL is openly hostile.  Say you have a MIL that tells a grandchild "Oh your mom is so controlling.  I would have let you have that sweet, she doesn't love you as much as me, she isn't nice".  That for me would be an instant cut off.  The MIL like Maxine that has so much vitriol towards her in-law that she goes against anything he said even safety related stuff such as seat belts.  If the MIL is so hostile that she won't listen because it's the DIL talking and the child's safety is being put at risk, this would be an instant cut off as well.

Edited by Layla

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Wanted to add, does it matter that MIL is in her house, shouldn't the welfare of the child come first.  You can let the child know you love them by being kind, talking and playing with them, loving them.  Kids are smart, they'll work it out.  Just because she's in her own house does not give a MIL the right to criticize the child's mother.

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I agree with both Nonna and Layla. I wouldnt keep my kids from their GP if the IL relationship was not so good. For me the deciding factor would be how my kids felt about their GP or other relative. The second factor would be as Nonna described. Those are DH kids too and he has every right to take them to see his parents, just as I do. Who am I to interfere with that. I know that it would cause alot of problems in my marriage if DH were to try and pull the "you cant take the kids" card. Not because of anything to do with parents but because to me that is saying that I dont have the ability to raise the children that I helped bring into this world.

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I think it is important within a family to know and trust that one member won't be spreading/sharing too much information about each other.  If a MIL or DIL have the reputation "of telling the whole truth" instead of sharing just what is necessary or asked, there is more trust shown by allowing a relationship to be established between the GPs and GKs without our interference.  If we are worried that the kids will be told, "I was just trying to be a good/fun grandma or Your mother is just too sensitive."  then that will be a worry also.

Kids do figure things out for themselves.  Mine did a CO or VVVVLC with their PGM in their teens.  I didn't have to bad mouth her around them at all.  She put it in the open and they saw it for themselves.

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For the most part, I think that CO or VLC between inlaws doesn't happen out of the blue or because of one small event; Either something cataclysmic happens or it's a case of the straw breaking the camel's back.

In our case it was the latter but I have to say that if I get to the stage of someone being so utterly toxic to me that a CO is necessary, there is no way that my children should be trusted around that person. Thankfully, the handsome devil I'm married to feels equally as strongly about protecting the kids - and me -  and wouldn't dream of trusting that person either.

It's not about dictating to a partner or loved one about what they can and can't do with their children, it's about mutual respect. It's also important that you put each other and your family first, which is often the issue that makes these problems arise in the first place. Third parties have no place in someone else's relationship or parental decisions.

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I have a very tense relationship with my MIL....and i believe it goes both ways (the animosity and tension between us).  Its best if our visits are short and sweet.  My husband is free to take the kids to visit her and FIL whenever he wants (they live 2 hours away).  unless it's a holiday, i won't go.  MIL is also not permitted to stay in our home for extended periods of time unless my husband is also home.  I minimize time I'm alone with her because thats when the little snide comments seem to happen.

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30 minutes ago, AndreaMSW said:

I have a very tense relationship with my MIL....and i believe it goes both ways (the animosity and tension between us).  Its best if our visits are short and sweet.  My husband is free to take the kids to visit her and FIL whenever he wants (they live 2 hours away).  unless it's a holiday, i won't go.  MIL is also not permitted to stay in our home for extended periods of time unless my husband is also home.  I minimize time I'm alone with her because thats when the little snide comments seem to happen.

Was it always like that or got worse over time?

 

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35 minutes ago, JustaGrandma said:

Was it always like that or got worse over time?

 

It got worse over time - a little bit rough when DH and i were in the process of buying our first home (she was way too involved).  once our first daughter was born, which was her first grandchild, our relationship became much worse.  we are at least at the point were we can be civil towards each other but it takes a lot of biting my tongue (and probably for her too)

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