Would you let your mother-in-law take your child after this?

@cukal6 (146)
United States
May 27, 2008 1:44pm CST
My in-laws were here this weekend and we decided to take them to the racetrack. Cars, not horses. Any way, it was my husband and I, my in-laws, my 2 sons, and my niece. My MIL decided to take my son and niece (who are both 6) down under the bleachers to see the clown. He was making balloon animals for the kids. A few minutes later I happened to look down and see the kids, but no MIL. A few more minutes went by and she still wasn't there. My husband started down the bleachers when all of a sudden MIL shows up. At that point the races started so it was too loud to ask here where she had been. The next day she asked me if she could take my son to Chicago for a long weekend this summer. That's when I brought up the incident at the racetrack. She said she had to go to the bathroom and figured that the kids were okay standing there by themselves. Um, sorry but I don't leave my kids anywhere alone. Especially at a place where 1000 other people are walking around and there's no kind of security. So, I told her that she could not take my son to Chicago this summer. At this point she starts to cry and tells me she doesn't understand the big deal. That's when I really got upset because she didn't even realize what she did was wrong. Well, now she's not speaking to me or my husband and he's really upset. What should I do? I can't let her take my son when I can't trust her. But, I don't want her to be mad at my husband either. She can be mad at me all she wants but her and my husband have always been really close and I hate to see them fight.
9 people like this
13 responses
@jaredlp (418)
• United States
27 May 08
In my mind what she did was boarderline child endangerment. I wouldnt let her take the kids out either. I am cant believe some one leaveing 2 6 year olds unattended like that. How many times have we all heard 'i only turned my head for a second." well she did more then that. I understand the need to use the restroom but she should have waited for a few minutes until kids back up with u then excused herself. I would say its a classic cause of her living in a different era. now a days cant just trust kids like that, to many crazys out there
4 people like this
@cukal6 (146)
• United States
27 May 08
I think you're right. She's almost 60 and things were different when my husband and I were little. I just don't know how she's going to gain my trust again. We've always let the kids go and spend long weekends with her, but I just can't now. She wants to know when she'll be able to have them again and I don't know how to answer that.
3 people like this
@olivemai (4738)
• United States
27 May 08
How about asking her to take a class on childcare! We have a child care council that has several classes, if you can find one for grandparents or caregivers, she can take the class and learn all the new ways of caring for children! Things changed rather quickly in the last few decades! If you trusted her before this happened, maybe you can trust her again if she agrees never to leave the child alone!
3 people like this
@jaredlp (418)
• United States
27 May 08
First off ... I dont think there is a deffinent answer to when yet. personally I would say when I trust the kids to be unsupervised for a couple hours at a time. While the Idea of the Grandparents class sounds good in principle, she doesnt sound like she is very open minded to begin with and would only see this as a slap in her face. I can easily see suggesting them will take a huge amount of tact and even then may not prevent her from being offended.
3 people like this
27 May 08
I agree with you totally, a public place is totally unsafe to leave a child alone for any length of time. Why couldnt she have taken the children with her to the bathroom? or come to find you and let you know she had to go? I wouldnt trust her either hun, Im sorry but the childrens welfare comes first and its obvious she is not as alert as you are to their safety
@cukal6 (146)
• United States
27 May 08
That was my argument. There were 4 adults there, and only 3 children. She could have easily come and gotten one of us. She said they had each other and that was enough. Who thinks like that!?
3 people like this
@spalladino (17922)
• United States
27 May 08
I'm on your side, you have to be alert with young children at all times, bathroom calls or not. I believe your MIL meant no harm but how could you feel comfortable letting her take your child for an extended visit after that? I'm sorry she's upset and your husband is upset but your first priority is to your child and I guess you should tell her that. Acknowledge that you understand that she meant no harm but your child is young and you're just not comfortable having him away from home just yet. As far as her relationship with your husband and his with her, agree to be the bad guy and let your husband work it out with his mother on his own. If they have a good relationship, they will.
@Gemmygirl1 (2870)
• Australia
28 May 08
I understand how you're feeling so i think you have made the right decision. Maybe you should just sit her down (when you can get her to get out of her mood) & explain that you're happy to let her take your son somewhere in a few years when he's a little older & be more responsible himself incase a similar situation was to happen. I too, would be very peeved off if my MIL had left my kid standing there while she went to the toilet - i would have expected her to bring the kids back to their seats before going to use the bathroom. I am not sure why your MIL would be mad at her own son, i think maybe it's because she thinks he's siding with you. If it makes it easier, have your hubby call her & explain the situation & he can then tell her that a summer trip in a few years would be a better idea & see if it comes off better coming from him. Good luck & i'm sure eventually she'll come to understand why you were so annoyed with her leaving the kids alone - it's dangerous with kids, especially for young ones & more so when they're in a crowded area & there are so many people. Kids are hard enough to keep an eye on at the best of times!
@cukal6 (146)
• United States
28 May 08
He did try to talk to her, and she just got up and left the room crying. Then she refused to speak to him. I told him to just let her cool off for a while and if he feels more comfortable, tell her I'm the one who said she can't take my son. I would much rather she be mad at me. However, my husband will not do that. He says he totally agrees with me and she needs to know that. I'll keep you all updated if she ever speaks to us again.
2 people like this
@mssnow (9493)
• United States
28 May 08
That was bad that she left them while she went to the bathroom. Maybe you could let her take them for a few hours with conditions. Tell her that she may have raised her children one way, but these are your children and you expect them to be taken care of the way you feel is right. Tell her that you felt scared for your children when she left them. And that she broke her trust of her with you. Give her a second chance if she will make sure your son is not alone anywhere at anytime when they are out. Later ask your son abut it. Children know.You might wanna talk to him before he goes. And tell him that you dont want him alone anywhere and to tell grandma that. Maybe she will come around if it means seeing your son or not seeing him. Good luck.
3 people like this
@mamuzo (225)
• South Africa
28 May 08
I fully agree with you, you can never be too careful with kids...and they are your kids and your responsibility. If she can be so careless then your definitely cannot trust her with them. This will be a lesson for her to know that you cannot just leave kids roaming around on their own. Hopefully in time she will understand your point of view and if she wants to be angry at his brother for this then let her be, I'm sure they will sort it out some time - they're family!
@lingli_78 (12836)
• Australia
28 May 08
no, i definitely won't... she is acting very irresponsible and your son is only 6... if she needs to go to the bathroom, she should bring your son and niece either to you or your hubby to look after them while she goes to toilet... it is just too dangerous... especially nowadays where there are many kids kidnappers and pedophiles around... so i think you make the right decision... take care and have a nice day...
3 people like this
@naseeha (1383)
• India
27 May 08
you can explain to her about the dangers awaiting unaccompanied children these days and you can try to make her understand that 6year old children should not be left unsuperwised. There are so many crimes occurring these days and we should be doubly careful. I too have this problem but in a different way. You can ask your husband to talk to her rather than you talking. you can give some real life examples to drive home the point. Hope you work it out well.
3 people like this
@jalucia (1433)
• United States
28 May 08
I totally agree with you. My son is the same age and I don't let him go anywhere by himself, not even public restrooms. I know that it's extra frustrating to hear that she doesn't even see where she went wrong. But, even if she did, I still wouldn't trust the situation. I wouldn't send my kids with her without there being another adult there. And, only if that other, trusted adult were taking charge of my kids. Maybe you could find someone else to accompany your kids on a vacation with her, and make that other person the responsibly party for your children. I would tell her your concerns from the point of view that times are different than from when she raised kids. Make it sound like a generational thing. The next time that I decided to not send my kids with her, I would try to spare her feelings. Even if it meant telling a little white lie (ie, we have other plans). Your husband should keep trying to get through to his mother. Maybe extend invitations to her to do things with the kids and the rest of family. Just so she knows that no one is trying to keep her from being around the kids, just trying to keep the kids safe.
@cukal6 (146)
• United States
28 May 08
We did invite her to come and stay with the kids for a few days here over the summer but that wasn't good enough. She just can't believe that we don't trust her any more. I think we just need to let it blow over.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 May 08
well i can understand your feelings and hers too. i mean did she make a mistake or is this just like her. i mean do you think if you just explained and told her how you felt calmly that she would get it. do you think if you talked to her she would listen and then next time think first. do you really think she would ever want anything to happen. is she smart enough to know what is good and bad i mean does she have mental issues. she was in the wrong yes but maybe you should just try to talk to her and tell her you are sorry for getting so upset but this is why and then ask if she understands. i bet things can be fixed. also i bet you would feel better about her taking the kids too. it was an honest mistake. did your husband turn out ok? i mean you said that they are great together so she cant be that bad lol. give her a chance and i bet she sees what she did wrong.
2 people like this
@cukal6 (146)
• United States
28 May 08
No, this is not the first itme something like this has happened. Last summer she took both of my kids to chicago for 4 days (she lives near there) and asked if she could take them to the local amusement park. I said no because they were only 5 and 2 at the time and I didn't feel completely comfortable with her taking 2 kids there. My kids, like most, can wander off at any time and I was afraid she wouldn't be able to keep an eye on both. After all, I wouldn't have gone someplace like that with both of them alone. Any way, we happened to call her cell phone on one of the days and she was at the amusement park! She said she thought it would be okay if she only took one child, that way she could keep an eye on him. No, it's not okay. I had to spend weeks explaining to my 2year old why he didn't get to go. When I say don't take my kids somewhere, I mean don't take my kids somewhere. I guess I've had trust issues with her ever since and now she's just confirmed by doubts about her watching the kids alone with this last incident.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29164)
• United States
28 May 08
Oh well... I would not let her get my kids for no weekend or the weekend after that.. I would not let her take my kids to be alone with her... Not unless I am there to see what is going on.. You have every reason to be concerned about your kids.. Your mil should not leave your kids by themselves.. Your mil will just have to get over this fact, that these are your kids and not hers.. It is your responsibiity to make sure that they are safe and from harm.
2 people like this
@kenzie45230 (3560)
• United States
28 May 08
I'm with you on this one. It must have been scary knowing your son was unsupervised for a while and could have been in danger. Perhaps it would help to gather a few statistics about crime in your area, especially as it applies to children. When she has calmed down, I would have hubby try to talk with her again. I'd have him remind her that times are different now than the were when he was growing up. And that you need to know that your child is under her constant care when he's with her. I'd encourage her to take your son for brief periods, but for no long weekends until he's a bit older. But I'd also talk to him about this, and the importance of having an adult around in crowds - not to frighten him, but to educate him. And I'd encourage him to tell grandma he needs to go with her if she's ever tempted to leave him like that again.
2 people like this
@deskue (35)
• United States
28 May 08
I totally understand where you are coming from. I too have kids and a sort of irresponsible MIL. I'm not sure mine would leave my daughter by herself anywhere, but from other things she does it wouldn't surprise me. My wife and I both work non-stop and the in the Summers my MIL watches my daughter. Which I am very thankful for but when they go camping and even just to the store I worry constantly and find myself praying a lot. I think you need to sit down with your MIL and explain to her the dangers in today's world for little kids. They can dissapear in a second and you may never see them again. Good luck.
1 person likes this