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How to politely end meddling?

First, a little background:

DH became a widower in 2007, with children who were 4 and 9. Their BM's family has been very involved in the kids' lives, and for some of the past few years have essentially raised them.  Since I started dating my now-husband, I've been getting nonstop feedback on ways in which to "fix" him. Everything from career advice to insisting he gets his dog neutered to ... well, everything.

Lately, my stepkids have been coming home with stories about how their family (grandparents, an aunt, and most notably a great-aunt) will explain to them basically everything wrong with their father.  It's typically the same things they say to me, but  I really don't want the kids to get into the middle of this crap. Is there any polite way to confront these people an explain that they don't have anything to do with how often my husband works (vs staying home and helping with the kids, house, yard), how much or little we choose to spend on toys, the way we're apparently starving the children because we limit their junk food consumption, etc.? I know that they're worried that, now that we're married, they'll be less involved with the kids' lives, so I don't want to push these people away completely. And honestly, I'm enough of a grown-up most days to be able to handle them encouraging me to improve my husband. What I can't stand is them telling our kids that there's something wrong with their dad. I just won't accept that, but I'm at a loss for how to handle it.  Any advice?

by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 4:10 PM
Replies (11-13):
by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 6:18 PM

My biggest worry is what it will do to the children.  When I was a teenager, I had an aunt who I spent time with weekly. She would tell me every Sunday how mean my parents were to me, what they were doing wrong, how she would be a better parent to me, etc. She was my young, cool aunt, and I thought everything she said must be the absolute truth. So then I'd go home Sunday nights to parents that I was conditioned to think were mistreating me. It took me a long time to see what was actually going on, and I just want to make sure we get this stuff stopped now so it doesn't get to the point of them poisoning the kids against their father.  I don't think we're there yet, but it seems to be going that direction.


by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 7:28 PM
I always HATED when my mom's family would badmouth my dad.. that is ridiculous. I refuse to let people around my DD who have anything negative to say about DH and don't understand it is not appropriate to talk about it in front of DD and I will continue to do that even if DH and I ever happened to split up. We don't ever want our daughter to get negative impressions of us because nosy mouthy people who can't keep their mouth shut until the children are no longer in the room. DH is the same way with shutting people down and out if they start to speak negatively of bm in dfront of SS
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by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:16 PM

That's something your DH needs to do. The kids really don't need to be involved in how "bad" their dad is.

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