I want to like my daughter-in-law....BUT

United States
March 7, 2007 12:10pm CST
I just moved to be closer to my kids and grandkids. This was a big deal with my partner who kinda liked it where we were but it was so important to me that I gave him no choice. anyway, I digress....since moving closer to the kids we've had a couple of family dinners and I just love it. However, my daughter has told me that she really needs to think about coming over the next time my son and daughter-in-law are there because of the way my daughter-in-law treats her girls. My son has a boy, almost 2, and they watch over him like hawks to the point that my daughter-in-law continually scolds the girls (ages 9 & 6) about playing too rough and too loud. Believe me if there was anything untoward going on I'd put a stop to it but I think they are just kids being kids. This whole togetherness thing was such a dream for me I don't want to see it come to an end with the kids not speaking or anything. Any thoughts? What should I do??
6 people like this
20 responses
@LadyLeene (584)
• United States
7 Mar 07
Your kids are adults. You've raised them, they're on their own, and there's little you can do to impact whether or not they are willing to speak to each other. Your post is a little unclear to me in whether the girls are actually your daughter's or your son's; but either way, a mother has a right to be protective of her child. I think that it would be sad if your daughter and son didn't get to see each other as often because of their disagreements about the proper way in which to raise children, but you cannot manipulate your children into being near each other if they really don't want to be. It well may be that they had issues with each other before you arrived, but you didn't know because you weren't often there to see them. Just continue to invite them to visit you, and maybe suggest that they have somebody else baby-sit the kids so you can all be together. If they do not agree to this, then their issues probably go much deeper than disagreements over te children. At that point, you just have to let them make their own decisions---or else you will all drive each other mad.
4 people like this
• United States
7 Mar 07
I have 2 ideas that may help you. First, plan some structured activities to keep the older girls busy and quiet while they are there. Crafts, movies, board games, or playing outside (anywhere the 2 year old isn't). Second, try alternating between visits with individual families and everyone together. For example, this week invite your daughter's family over, next week your son's family, and the following week everyone all together, then give yourself a break from entertaining for a week. Not only will this reduce the tension between the daughter and DIL, it will give you some more quality time with them all individually. Other than the above suggestions, I think you should stay out of it. If your daughter has concerns about how her girls are being spoken to by their Aunt, then she should address it privately with the Aunt. Next time your daughter mentions something to you, just politely say that you want everyone to be welcome in your home, and you hope she continues to participate in the family gatherings, but that this is an issue that she needs to address herself. It may not hurt to remind her that DIL is a new Mom and not used to being around older children.
@eden32 (3976)
• United States
7 Mar 07
Since it sounds like you & your daughter have no problem speaking freely to each other, I would talk to her. I'd try to remind her what it's like to be a new parent & worry about every little thing, which it sounds like is where your DIL is at right now. Even talk to the girls privately, tell them Auntie So & So is just a little too protective of their cousin because he's new & delicate & special to her, I'd think the older one will understand that. Perhaps you can gently tell the DIL that the girls won't hurt the baby, and she should relax a little. But I wouldn't make much of an issue about it, it doesn't seem like a big enough problem to risk upsetting this special time you have with all of your family.
2 people like this
• United States
7 Mar 07
I think you can address you daughter in law in a nice way and let her know how you feel only if she is the type of person receptive to feed back about the rearing of her children. I am a new mother with a mother in law and i dont mind it if she kids me advise some times. I think that we as new mothers have to learn. I am sure their is a reason that she is the way she is about her daughters being a little playful with the baby. If she is doing a good job with the girls i am sure her decision making about how she disiplines them is ok as well.
2 people like this
@classy56 (2883)
• United States
8 Mar 07
wow,i had to put up with this with my sis-in-law years ago.she was very picky about her kid.an hate she didnt want my kids around her kid.an she was always hollering at my kid.an this hurted our family gatherings.so i know how you feel.what i did was.i just told her what i thought of her an everything she did. an if she didnt like it keep the kid at home. so try an talk to your daughter-in-law or son an tell them how you feel.an be honest with them.tell them how hurt you are about this situation.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Mar 07
I'm posting this to all of you. My goodness! I never expected to hear from so many of you and all with such good advice! thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. You all get A+'s for this. I think what I need to do is remind my son that before he became a dad he used to roughhouse with the girls, throwing them in the air, racing them around the house, etc until they were squealing and laughing so loudly! Hopefully he'll remember that as the good old days and just let the kids be kids.
@mom2boys (334)
• United States
8 Mar 07
I think you should just nicely tell her, to watch her own children and let your daughter watch hers. I have a sis in law who likes to butt in my parenting when i am at her mothers house, so i know first hand what it feels like and I DO NOT LIKE IT one bit! I would never do that to her 2 twins girls who still at 7 tear up her moms house and my kids 5 and 1 1/2 are pretty good over there, so to me, you should nicely tell her to stay out of your daughters parenting at your house! good luck!
• Kuwait
8 Mar 07
oh my goodness, you are in little tricky situation here, you cant just say to your daugther in-law that she should not scold her children but if she did that to much then you act and save your grandchildren from having this trouble.
1 person likes this
@Lindalinda (4112)
• Canada
8 Mar 07
I think your own daughter is the problem here. She does not have the right to put conditions on visits. She has no say how her brother and his wife raise their kids. Your daughter in law is probably scared stiff of your family and wants her older girls to behave in order to please you. Family reunions with kids are very stressful anyway. I have been to a few where no one says anything and the kids race through the house like banshees, play rough and disrupt any normal conversation. My own daughter in law is very wise. At the last family reunion she brought a whole box of crafts, games and books. She set it up on a table and the kids had a wonderful time sorting through all the stuff, they made crafts, played and read. From the littlest one to the oldest one they occupied themselves and the adults could have a decent conversation. Everybody left happy.
@liranlgo (5748)
• Israel
8 Mar 07
well i hink iti is very natural the way the mother acted maybe it is their first child and they are worried for him so much that they are acting this way i think it will pass as time goes by..and you should explain this to your daughter every mothers reacts differently with her first one and there is nothing about that that you can do i suggest you go on normally and the mother and the child will get used to it and things will get better:) and it is a good thing you moved near your family
1 person likes this
@cdparazo (5769)
• Philippines
8 Mar 07
Your daughter-in-law cannot please everybody i guess. But the least that you could do is tell her how you feel and why you feel that way in such a way that you won't end up not speaking to each other. I am a daughter in law too and I get the feeling that my in-laws doesn't really like me but it's just a feeling that I get unless they would finally talk to me how they really feel. However, I still do get uncomfortable in their company because of that feeling that I cant place my finger on. She won't really know she may doing something wrong unless you tell her and who knows, she might come to appreciate you telling her.
@Clairec23 (136)
• Ireland
8 Mar 07
You have to try and see things from both points of view. Your daughter doesn't appreciate someone else interfering with her children and your son and daughter-in-law are protective of their child and don't want him to get hurt or scared by older children. You may not see any harm with the way the older girls play around their cousin but to a first time mother whose child is probably still a baby in her eyes, there is danger everywhere. Maybe until the child is older, you should invite the families over separately, it will still be a family dinner, just with less chance of aggro. If your daughter has a problem with her brother and his wife (because as you said both are watching over their son like hawks) then she should really try and discuss it with them instead of you because it is not your fault how people act towards each other. The baby isn't going to be that small forever so this isn't going to be a long-term thing but maybe you could mediate between both families to keep everything in perspective and prevent any full on arguments. It's better to get it out in the open though. If my brother and his girlfriend were bothering me, I would just say it out straight to them, there is no way we would stop talking over it. I'm sure your dream family won't come to an end but good luck with the situation.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
8 Mar 07
I think you can tell your daughter-in-law about this. Just say it in a nicer way like telling her stories on how you raised your kids and how wonderful human beings they have become. Just understand that your daughter-in-law is just reacting on how her kids are acting so I guess, she'll be open for suggestions especially coming from you who is also a mother.
@mrsbrian (1951)
• United States
8 Mar 07
sorry i guess i dont get the responces you have gotten saying to mind your own affairs cause the kids are grown and married. well it is your house, first off your daughter-in-law has no right to scold her nieces they are children and i know my grandkids love to come to grannys to play. i think i might also have seperate dinners for a bit. maby than when your daughter-in-law asks why they wernt invited i would tell her its because you make things to difficult for all to be together.
1 person likes this
@beaniegdi (1966)
7 Mar 07
poor you getting caught in the middle of this, i think it is natural to be protective of the youngest, especially as he is a boy after 2 girls, believe me i know being the 4th girl in our family followed 13 months later by my brother. she may be a bit worried that the older children will hurt him even in accident. maybe your daughter could spend some time trying to keep the older girls occupied and so help keep them out of trouble. try not to get invloved in an argument as the children will grow out of this but arguments are often not forgotten. in a couple of years this problem will be sorted out naturally as the children will be older.
@onesiobhan (1330)
• Canada
7 Mar 07
Is there something wrong with the boy that they aren't telling you about? It might be easier just to keep the kids sepearated until they get a little older or until your daughter-in-law lightens up a bit.
7 Mar 07
Well I am a daughter-in-law whom my mother-in-law cannot stand. She tried forever to dictate how things go on in our lives and even went so far as to try to break my husband and I up a few times. This isn't the same situation, but I wanted to remind you that although it is your son, they are a married couple who have a right to parent their children however they want. I would just stay out of it completely and let nature take its course. You wouldn't want to be pushed out of your son's life just for trying to help. Good luck
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Mar 07
you should butt out it is her place to raise her own kids the way she sees fit .interfearing relatives have ruined many a marriage!
• United States
8 Mar 07
Oh I have no problem with how she's raising her son, the problem is when she scolds my daughter's two girls! Its causing some hurt feelings with my daughter.
• Kuwait
8 Mar 07
oh my goodness, you are in little tricky situation here, you cant just say to your daugther in-law that she should not scold her children but if she did that to much then you act and save your grandchildren from having this trouble.
• United States
8 Mar 07
I guess your daughter-in-law is just so protective of her son because usually new mothers do that to their first born. Probably the next time you have all dinner together, make the girls do their own activity and not around the vicinity of the little boy. This way, they can't interact with him while he is still little and there will be peace between your daughter and daughter in law. But I bet the little girls are just happy to play with him...babies are so cute and they are irristable. I am just hoping that this phase will just pass and your daughter in law will realize that these babies are cousins after all..sooner or later..they will be playing together and one will cry or get hurt....just part of growing up. We can never protect our child from everything no matter how much we watch over them. They will bump their heads, etc. Plus the little boy probably is just thrilled with playing with his cousins.
• United States
8 Mar 07
You need to sit her down and have a talk and let her know what this is doin got your family. Let her know that is is just children being children...that they play and get loud and that is all just part of being a child. She needs to loosen up. Tell her that if there was anything truly harmful going on, it woul dbe stopped immediately, but what is goin gon right now is just normal childhood play.