My Best Friends Mom Is Meddling Delaying Her Wedding Indefinitely
My Best Friends Mom Is Meddling Delaying Her Wedding Indefinitely – ‘Next time they come home with an idea, “dress it up”, respond with light curiosity and start a conversation.’ Example: Low Cole/The Guardian
I am worried that my in-laws are trying to turn my children against me. They are mostly civil on the surface, but they have never liked me and I have had passive-aggressive comments over the years, especially from my mother-in-law. My husband and I are often excluded from regular family gatherings when they know we can’t attend.
My Best Friends Mom Is Meddling Delaying Her Wedding Indefinitely
My husband is a loving man who finds himself at odds with his family. It took us a long time to achieve success, but now we are very happy. We come from very humble beginnings and we don’t brag, but the envy from the family is obvious. Every time we go on vacation, we hear comments about how kids don’t like vacations and want to spend time at home. It’s total envy and of course the kids love our holidays. I often invite my in-laws and even invite them to join us on vacation.
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Recently, my children came home from a family gathering and announced that they no longer wanted to go on vacation with us, but wanted to stay home. We asked where it came from and they became very upset and refused to discuss it.
I’m sure my in-laws came up with the idea. I worry about what might happen next. I don’t want to start asking my kids and I’m worried that my in-laws will somehow turn them against us. Can you please advise me on what to do when my father-in-law’s interference is reduced to child molestation?
Years ago, my parents worked nights and left me with a family member who was very competitive with my mother. When it came time for my parents to pick me up, this family member told me to tell my mom I didn’t want to go home with her and to stay where I was. This was clearly done to hurt him. I saw that right away and said no. He bribed me with a hanging doll mobile he had made himself that he knew I wanted. I really wanted to, but I said no. Disappointed, he offered me his cell phone
Some money I said yes. The moment my mom came looking for me, I walked out the door and showed her my gift. I was five years old. I knew I was being manipulated and decided to return it. He never tried me again.
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The point of this story is that your children are your children; Believe in them and in your parenting. They won’t turn on you so easily. You are right not to interrogate them because you don’t want to use them as speakers or messengers. Don’t criticize their grandparents for them (that’s what friends are for) or you’ll put them in an impossible position. Do not use them as a weapon in a fight between adults: it completely destroys children.
The next time they come home with an “implanted” idea, respond with light curiosity and start a conversation. Don’t defend yourself; Discuss For example, “Oh, really? That’s an idea, right? What would you do if you stayed home?” I guess I’ll have an idea immediately after hearing that. I’m also guessing they’ll think about it the next time you’re planning a vacation. Remember: it’s nothing special to them. This is for you; it is not tinged with resentment and anger. The next time your in-laws say, “The kids like to stay home,” say, “Was it like that when you were a kid? Did you go on vacation?” Remember: don’t get defensive; discuss
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Accordingly, continue to organize your family events and invite the in-laws. Personally, I would be too busy to do this: it shows a desire to have children and gives you control over your schedule and the responsibility to say no to your in-laws.
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Remember that your children’s relationship with their grandparents is theirs—not yours. If your in-laws are as manipulative and passive aggressive as you say, your children will see it for themselves. But that’s sad too, isn’t it? Because your children will be frustrated and disappointed. I know it’s hard, but I’ll try to be genuine and protect them by highlighting the good things about their grandparents: how much they love their grandchildren, etc. This will pay off in the long run. By doing this, you are not obeying your mother-in-law, but you are protecting your children. And it’s worth it, right?
Each week, Annalisa Barbieri tackles a family problem sent in by a reader. If you want Annalisa’s advice on a family matter, send your problem to ask.annalisa@ Annalisa regrets not being able to enter private correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.
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