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how do you set boundaries with in-laws?

my in-laws are driving me crazy -- arriving with car loads full of presents (all crap) every time they visit, giving my kids cookies for breakfast (i wish i were kidding) and keeping them up way past their bedtime. i have come to dread their visits and my husband refuses to talk them to about it. any advice?

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Asked by Anonymous at 10:46 PM on Jun. 19, 2009 in General Parenting

Answers (12)
  • Hmm well personally I think it should be your husband that should say something, since they are in fact, HIS parents...but since he won't than this is what I think you should say. Just sit them down and as nice and polite as you can, just let them know that you have certain rules for your kids, like ___ is bed time, no cookies for breakfast, etc. etc., and that you would appreciate it if they were followed. Grandparents are usually the "spoilers" of the kids so it is not uncommon for them to bend or break the rules every once and awhile, my grandma and grandpa did sometimes, but if it is bothering you or causing you grief throughout the day, with tired, crabby kids, or what have you, then yes something needs to be said. If they continue to disregard your feelings and boundaries, than you don't let them babysit the kids or have the kids stay over anymore or as much. Period.

    Answer by Ash9724 at 10:51 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • we moved out of state lol. i just flat out tell my husband they're not allowed to visit. they wanted to come when our dd was born. after all the ruckus they caused when my ds was born(mainly MIL) I flat out said hell no are they coming. it helps that dh thinks his mom is annoying too :)

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:51 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • How often do they visit?
    It is a grandparents job to spoil their grandchild. But if they visit weekly or more then once a month i would deffinantly talk to them.
    Start off with telling them you want to talk about the kids. Start with some good things you like. And then after you've covered some things you appreciate begin the discussion about some limits. Compromise. Let them BE GRANDPARENTS, but make sure you get your point acroos. Maybe cookies AFTER breakfast inseat of for breakfast. ect. GL to you. i have problems with my IL's too.

    Answer by outstandingLove at 10:51 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • ohh.. My MIL thinks she rules MY roost! I won't stand for it. If she is giving my kids things ive told her not to give them, I take it from the kids and explain to them that theyre not allowed to have it any other day and Grandma isnt in charge, but I make sure she sees me take it. Also whatever she is doing with the kids past their bedtime you should interrupt and escort the kids to bed then deal with her later telling her YOUR rules

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:52 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • I've found the most effective method is to use humor. My in-laws used to come visit all the time. I told them that grandchildren would not be forthcoming since we were never alone.

    Some ideas:
    Cookies: I hope you're prepared to pay the dental bill!
    Staying up late: it's too bad they'll be spending less time with you tomorrow since they'll be so tired.
    Toys: Santa's not going to have anything to bring since you've brought everything.

    A generic one-- that explains a lot about hubby!

    Some of it's snarky, but ignoring the kids' well-being is far worse.

    I agree that hubby should be talking to his folks. He may be uncomfortable with confrontation, but remind him it's his job to care for his kids.

    Answer by Busimommi at 11:09 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • Well a car load of presents isn't horrible. Even when it is junk. It may drive you crazy but at least you know they love your children. Smile and say thank you. Later, if there is something not age appropriate - put it away for later. If it is just not safe - throw it away. Be gracious. Feeding cookies at breakfast, that one depends on how often they visit. If it is one every month then not such a big deal. Kids learn that they have different rules when their are guests as opposed to when it is just with mom and dad. Don't say it should be the same rules all the time. Because it isn't. We do things at other people's houses as adults we wouldn't do in our own all the time. But if they are frequent visits then go ahead and tell the kids, "No." You are their mom. It doesn't matter if you look like mean mom at the moment. You are the boss so you set that boundary. You asked how to set a boundary: say no.


    Answer by frogdawg at 8:54 AM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • As far as the styaing up late, same thing. Your the parent so tell the kids it is time for bed. Simple. If the in-laws argue then just say I'm the mom and I am requiring my children go to sleep at such and such a time. It helps if they really do have a bed time that is the same and followed every single night. Helps the husband stand behind you as well. On the other hand, if visits are not that often, and it is not a school night - staying up late is a judgement call. Lastly, you and your husband need to be on the same page. He may see it as, "isn't it great that my parents want to spend time with the kids and look how much they love them." And its true. On the other hand he does need to have a balance between going over board and your sanity. No, he should not be the one to tell his parents. If it is you who has the issue: be an adult. Politely say, as it comes up each time, what you will have the kids do.

    Answer by frogdawg at 8:59 AM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • I have problems with my mil she even calls my son her baby which annoys the crap out of me. She doesn't do the cookie thing but she taught him to put his head up against hers like a forehead kiss and now he thinks he's allowed to headbutt people, and by people I mean me, I just had to tell her what I didn't want her to do anymore, she makes nasty comments about my rules but as long as she follows them I really don't care. Sometimes you just have to be a biotch and its seemed to work for me except with my own mother who I adore but she loves to give my one year old soda and candy which me and my husband are very much against and according to her it didnt hurt her five children so it won't hurt him, I just told her that she wasn't allowed to babysit anymore until she could understand my rules and she stopped pretty quickly. Just sit them down, give them the rules and if they don't listen don't include them in family things.

    Answer by Sammisweets at 9:27 AM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • First time around I moved out of their country and during visits went nuts w/ all those things u say, but let a lot of things slide so they and the kids could have a relationship. Now there are no children and we just stay away from each other. I mean we all feel love and all but I don't want to take their daughter's place in no way and just because I am the son's spouse doesn't mean I have to love them more than my own parents. So we keep a distance that makes us respect each other more.

    Answer by milmiracle at 9:57 AM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • when u figure i out tell me

    Answer by BlendedMommy009 at 10:13 AM on Jun. 20, 2009

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