Really struggling with mother in law and father in law and need some advice

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by nandz, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. nandz

    nandz Guest

    difficult child has special needs. As far as we know, he is ADHD/ODD and possible Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), but we haven't had him tested for that yet. He is taking medications which have helped him tremendously with his behaviors, but there are still some things that people don't understand, esp. my IL's. They always blame it on us that we do not expose him to enough things and that we do not parent him the right way and that's why he has issues. I am so tired of it and about ready to explode on them. They have NO idea what having a difficult child is like. I know they can sympathize, but they don't empathize with us and the struggles that we have as parents with our difficult child. They do not realize that our difficult child takes different parenting than the other easy child's in the family. When we do parenting that works best with our difficult child, they say we are "giving in" or not being harsh enough. Their answer to everything is to "spank him" I will NOT do it. It does NOT work. It escalates things to the point that is beyond control and it solves no problems. I just don't know what to do or say to make them understand that difficult child has special needs and he needs different parenting skills. If they can't get it, I will not be taking him over to their house anymore. I will not subject my difficult child to them as they do nothing but punish him because they feel he can control what he does more than he does.
  2. iloveturtles

    iloveturtles Guest

    I can completely understand what you are talking about. My issue is with my Dad. He is very old school. Unfortunately, I don't have any advice for you, but I wanted you to know you are not alone.

    My therapist suggests that I reduce the amount of contact, but I can't because they are my sole support and back up since I am a single mom.

    I will pray for thick skin for you.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would tell them, in a kind way, that you agree to disagree with them, and no longer want to talk about it with them. Then I wouldn't anymore. I'd change the subject or remind them that it's best that you don't' discuss it. Hopefully, they'll get the message or else you may have to get firmer and gently say, "I will have to hang up if you keep discussing this" or "I will have to leave if you keep talking about this." Then you need to do it. This was a big success for me and some people who just had to make comments.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think most of us have had to deal with someone like that in our lives. Whether they like it or not, it IS okay to draw a boundary and enforce it. Tell them that while their support would be appreciated it is not necessary and you do not need their permission to parent your child the way you choose to. If they want to argue (I am always amazed at the ways relatives think they can control us, even though we are adults.) tell them one time that the matter is not open for discussion. Period. If they continue, change the subject or leave. If they still try to punish your difficult child don't take him there.

    This is one of those less pleasant things about being in a family. It would be very helpful if your husband was on your side, but if he isn't you can still work to minimize your difficult child's exposure to them. I am quite sure that difficult child probably will not miss them. in my opinion being a grandparent is about enjoying your grandkids with-o the responsibilities of discipline, etc... Maybe someday they will change and be more of the cheerleader/bend the rules a little bit type of grandparents.

    Spanking your difficult child or allowing him to be at the mercy of someone who will spank him would be a HUGE mistake. Often difficult children do not see adults as authority figures. For some reason they see them as equals who are bigger. Spanking teaches difficult children that if you are bigger and someone won't do what you want, you hit them until they do. Most parents here who have tried spanking (usually at the advice of some well-intentioned but wrong relative or friend or even therapist) have found that it causes HUGE problems. It can take a LONG time to unlearn the "might makes right" lesson a spanking or three can teach.
  5. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    My preggo hormones have shut down my "filter" so when I get junk like you are from people I have zero patience. I have just got to the point where I am sick to death of other people dumping their issues on me. Doesn't matter if it is a family member or clerk at a store. If I am doing my best to be polite and someone has the "good breeding" to be rude/presumptuous/snarky/judgmental I have the good grace to explain simple manners to them. I just got tired of cruising through life avoiding confrontation when other people chose to act in ways that left me feeling bad even though they were the ones who were wrong. I snapped and my "filter" stopped working. IF someone gets ignorant with me I don't bite my tongue anymore. There is no reason why I should feel bad for someone elses lack of consideration. This all leads me to one simple unalienable truth.

    Unless you neglect or put your child in imminent danger YOUR child equals YOUR rules. No need to feel bad, no need to justify yourself. Period, end of story!!!!

    How about you spank the grands for breaking your rules next time? Respect is a two way street.:mad: Undermining your authority shows their poor parenting skills.
  6. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    If they are constantly punishing him then by all means do not take him there. Tell them outright, "That does not work! Let ME do any disciplining and if YOU can not learn how to work with my child on OUR terms then he does not need to be at your home without me along." I have finally told the first part to my neighbor who difficult child does not listen to and will rebel against if she tries telling him anything. She is not doing anything that I would not disagree with other kids but her methods of discussing does not fly with my child. At one time years ago when I was having an issue, she said, "Well, experts say ........." That tells me that she is "going by the book" in her disciplining and has not realized that the "the book" does not work for every kid.

    You have learned that your difficult child needs creative out-of-the-box disciplining. Grandparents are probably the hardest to deal with since they are such a huge part of your child's life. My mother in law use to tell my diva when she was a baby/toddler, "What your mom doesn't know won't hurt her." Angers me to no end - it is really a huge part of diva's disprespect toward me! I need to know EVERYTHING in my toddler's, young child's life to be the best parent I can be and to guide him/her through life. Our children would be much more respectful if EVERYONE in their lives would uphold OUR (their parents) wishes. Tell them that, "Yes, there are different view points in bringing up a child but only one can be followed or the child will be confused and lose respect for authority. That one way to be followed is the parent's choice to make, not the grandparents. If the grandparents don't like something, they need to close their eyes, ears, and mouth. If they can not conform to the rules the parents have set up, they need to limit their visits."

    Your difficult child is not going to want to go to his grandparents if he knows he just faces punishment for every little thing he does. I would tell them that also. Grandparents are to be a place where the child feels happy and loved, not shamed by being punished.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I didn't get far enough to read that they spank him! I frankly would not let them see him at all unless I was also there. And I wouldn't let them touch him and would leave if they started telling him he can control himself. He isn't their child. They raised their kids their way and you are entitled to raise your kid your way...and it's up to you if they can be a part of his life. I get tough on people who treat me like I have no clue and like my child is "bad."
  8. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Nandtz, this is where you get to start being a warrior mom. First I will tell you that you are the mother. They had their turn to parent and it is your right now to raise your child the way you see fit. Having difficult child makes it different. You aren't even sure how to do what with difficult child let alone defend it to someone who is judgemental.
    Now, from a mom who has been there done that, stop discussing it with your in laws. It's not their business. Give them superficial updates if they ask. They will think it's your fault up until they see for themselves that he struggles. If spanking would have worked I would have beat my son but it does squat with AS. It's actually cruel and unusual punishment in my humble opinion. You have my permission to put your fingers in your ears and sing LALALALALA when they start talking about spanking. : )

    Sooooo, pull up your big girl panties and take that step that means you will advocate for your child and put distance between the parents(you) and anyone else who is not supportive and understanding. Don't share everything. Find a series of responses for when in laws ask about difficult child.
    It took me until m i l suggested I had Muncheusan's. that I realized I was working too hard to have in laws like/approve of my parenting. I changed my point of view that day and haven't looked back. I don't give a rat's patootie what they think and I don't share the heartbreak, pain, sadness, frustration or anger. Time has moved on and I have a good relationship with in laws but I will never forget that pain that day.

    You don't owe anyone an explanation but your God, your husband, your child and yourself.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Fran is right - stop talking to your inlaws about the details. Also, do not leave your child alone with them. YOU are the parent, your rules hold. If your child transgresses in teir home, then by all means make it clear that grandma's rules were broken. But grandma's punishment has to be approved by you.

    Don't actually do this. But certainly suggest it. Especially for spectrum kids, they see everyone as equal. Kids and adults- equal. So an adult spanking a child means a child is permitted to spank an adult.

    Also make it loud and clear - "Do not undermine my authority in front of my children. Would you have stood for that when you were parents?"

    I've been there with this, with friends and family both. The answer is to not give them ammunition and if they persist, tell them straight out - "We want the children to know their grandparents, but our family consistency in discipline must come first. If you cannot follow our rules, we cannot bring the children over to see you as often as we all would like. Your choice."

    Also, where do the clashes happen? On your turf? Their turf? Or neutral ground? Wherever it is, avoid that location until the inlaws get the message.

    Also tell yourself - difficult child-ness must have come from somewhere. Inlaws provide genetic material also. So maybe they can't cope with the change in upbringing methods, and are being obstinate about trying to force you to adopt their outmoded and discredited methods.

  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry, Nandz.
    I agree with-the others here, although it's often easier said than done.
    I think the easiest thing to do is to limit contact.
    They are not consistently babysitting are they? Because they'll feel like they are being used if you tell them how to discipline. Doesn't matter if you're the mom. They just won't get it.
    I am assuming that these are casual get-togethers, dinners, etc. where they horn in.
    I agree, spanking in this case (and with-Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids) makes things worse. It took us a long time to figure out what worked for our difficult child and it is still a struggle. Still, spanking accelerates things. My difficult child hits back. He hit back when he was 2 or 3. Actually, he hit me long b4 I ever spanked him. It just wasn't my thing.
    I digress. Your Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) must understand that he has a neurological condition that hinders his emotional development, and perhaps an Learning Disability (LD) as well, and he cannot be treated as a normal child.
    However, you can still discipline him in other ways, and you must be consistent. Consistency is very important.
    If they spank him, for example, and then a teacher tries to discipline him, her words won't do a thing. He'll think that the strongest person wins.
    It is so hard to explain to people who haven't lived through it.
    Best of luck.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm wondering if the legal approach might work better on them. Something like, "Spanking was the way it was done in your day. And yes, it worked for you. But times have changed. Regardless of whether the changes are good or bad, we have to move with them or get into trouble. There ARE other discipline methods in use these days and we need to keep using these to be consistent. We have to use the same methods the schools do, because if we do things too differently, we undermine one another. ANd did you know? In more and more countries, it is actually against the law to spank your child. So we're making the change now, so we don't have to suddenly change later on if those laws come here."

    After all, discipline is about the law. And if the law itself says, "no spanking" (or the law has a chance of saying it at some stage) then they may respect that more.

    As for where it is illegal - I know it is in New Zealand, that law came in just before we went there for a holiday and so we had to take note. There is also often talk about bringing that law in here, in Australia. So if they challenge you, you have an answer ready.

  12. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Aw, nandz, I'm sorry. I had the same situation with my il's with difficult child when she was fact, even some of my own family members thought her behavior was a direct result of bad parenting or somehow related to my divorce from her father.

    Anyway, when you get to your personal breaking point you will know. Be prepared with a no nonsense response and then say what you have to say and refuse to discuss it further. I finally got to the point where I said, "You had your turn, this is mine. I know difficult child better than anyone else on this planet inside and out - if you can't follow my lead and support me, then you will not get to see difficult child. Period." This didn't completely cut down on the BS I got from exh's extended family, however, it did cut down a lot, enough that it was bearable for me. And, in fact, difficult child threw a couple of nice rage attacks when she was visiting exh's family for Thanksgiving, Easter, etc., and I had to walk exh through them to get difficult child to settle down without completely going off the wall. That finally shut them up!!! By about 11 years old, (about a year and a haf post diagnosis), they stopped questioning difficult child's need for medications and a different parenting method.

    YOU know your difficult child best. YOU are the mom, the parent. YOU decide how to parent your children and if each one has his/her own parenting needs, so be it. My mom once said, "Maybe she just needs a swift smack in the behind". I turned to her and said, "Think about that. Did it ever work in your lifetime parenting all five of us (her kids)?" and she said, "No." Case closed, lol.

    Hugs, grow a thicker skin because your IL's will not be the only ones to question you over the years.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    If you can sound confident and consistent to your in-laws, they are more likely to shut up and back off. It is when (in your determination to remain polite, perhaps) that you come across as uncertain or deferential, tat they will rush forward to assure you with their own advice. Learn the body language and voice inflection to sound assured. You need it with your kids, you need it with your in-laws. So project your voice (no need to shout, just don't sound breathy) and AVOID RISING INFLECTIONS in your voice. That means don't sound like you're always asking a question/ Instead, let your pitch drop at the end of every sentence.

    Or maybe that's an Aussie thing... but it drives me mad, and makes people sound very unsure. Women are worst. I leant on my girls especially, to stop the rising inflection.

    Typical teen female conversation.
    "Hey, ya know Rhondda? Her & I went to the shops today? And we saw a lovely white dress in the shop? And Rhondda wanted to get it? She likes that colour, ya know? So she went to the bank? But there wasn't enough money in her account? So they gave her forms for a credit card?..."

    It always sounds like they're asking permission to have any opinion at all, and the older generation especially, respond to it with determined assurance that they know better and can help you find your way back to the Right Way to Do Things...