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Am I being too sensitive? Grandparents and school...


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My MIL called this morning to ask if our 2nd grader could come spend the night one night next week.  She wants to work on handwriting with her, because she noticed last week that DD writes some of her letters backwards.  She also said that my FIL likes to work on math with her, but he makes it too hard so she wants me to send math with her too.  We happen to be on school break next week, but my MIL didn't know that when she called.  She originally wanted me to send all of her schoolwork with her, so that she could do it with her.  I told my MIL that we have school under control.  I told her that the kids don't need to do school next week, since they are caught up and we are on break.  But MIL kept talking and talking and talking, and I finally agreed to send some handwriting paper so DD can work on her name.  (She gets her a's backwards only in her name, and she also writes 9s and 6s backwards)  But she kept pushing and told me to just send one math worksheet too.  I was fed up just said ok, ok, ok to end the conversation.  I am just really upset about it.  My husband is understanding, but he thinks I am taking it too personally.  He did say that he would call MIL and tell her that DD can spend the night, but only to spend time with them and not to do schoolwork.

 

I just had a thought that I have some math games, maybe I it would be a good idea to send one of those instead.

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If MIL views this as her remediating your poor teaching, that's not good.

 

If she is just trying to be a little helpful, then you could say, hey, that's so nice of you to offer but as it happens we have a scheduled break from school next week, so you can just visit and have a blast! 

 

I think that sending some games are a great idea, but I wouldn't limit it to just educational ones.  I'd send them as, here's a great way to have fun with your grandchildren.

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I wouldn't send schoolwork and if my inlaws had a problem with that, I wouldn't send my child. Appropriate boundaries here. If my MIL said, "Hey, I noticed she was writing some letters backwards. I'm sure you're working with her on that, but would you like if I helped her with it too?" then I wouldn't be offended. But the pushiness would be a big problem for me.

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My kids have grandparents who are really involved and teach her stuff, but I would be really put out and/or upset if my MIL acted like that. 

 

My mom was an elem. teacher for 30 years and she notices all kinds of things and has many ideas, but she always runs them by me in a non-pushy, totally helpful way. That's the big difference.

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It's totally normal to still write letters backwards in 2nd grade still. And we held off on formal math until 2nd grade. I would find it intrusive. I would not send work and if they were continuing to push I would not send her!

 

I have family members who try to "quiz" my kids, often developmentally inappropriately.

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I don't think you're being too sensitive. I hope they just want to help and are a little too enthusiastic with their approach, but only you and your dh would know that.

 

Is your mil a handwriting specialist, or a former teacher? She just might not know how to help. (Not that you need help.) I wouldn't stress about it unless my child was upset about it.

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I won't send school work for grandparents/aunts/uncle playdate/sleepover. It is meant to be fun time not school time.

Luckily no relatives of both sides wants to tutor our strong willed kids.

 

My parents had ask if we needed money for diagnostic testing because DS9 reversed letters much longer than DS10. Once we said that we will wait it out since it is still within normal range, they butt out.

My parents did pay for gym because DS10 refused to walk as a toddler and wasn't behind enough to qualify for therapy.

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My MIL called this morning to ask if our 2nd grader could come spend the night one night next week.  She wants to work on handwriting with her, because she noticed last week that DD writes some of her letters backwards.  She also said that my FIL likes to work on math with her, but he makes it too hard so she wants me to send math with her too.  We happen to be on school break next week, but my MIL didn't know that when she called.  She originally wanted me to send all of her schoolwork with her, so that she could do it with her.  I told my MIL that we have school under control.  I told her that the kids don't need to do school next week, since they are caught up and we are on break.  But MIL kept talking and talking and talking, and I finally agreed to send some handwriting paper so DD can work on her name.  (She gets her a's backwards only in her name, and she also writes 9s and 6s backwards)  But she kept pushing and told me to just send one math worksheet too.  I was fed up just said ok, ok, ok to end the conversation.  I am just really upset about it.  My husband is understanding, but he thinks I am taking it too personally.  He did say that he would call MIL and tell her that DD can spend the night, but only to spend time with them and not to do schoolwork.

 

I just had a thought that I have some math games, maybe I it would be a good idea to send one of those instead.

I would give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she just wants to help out or be involved in her grandchild's life (unless you know otherwise).

 

I'd find something for her to do, and tell the kids that this is "school with grandma".  So long as it doesn't hurt, what's the harm.  Grandma wants to feel needed. 

 

I think you are overreacting, based on some other emotion.  Does she put you down or make you feel incompetent?  What is at the root of this.  It's easy to see it as a helpful request when not involved. 

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Tell her grandparent time is for fun, not school.

 

My mom taught elem for years and I would love to have her help. (She passed away) But she would never, ever be pushy like that. Your mil is risking ruining a good relationship with your dd if she makes their interactions about fixing her mistakes rather than just having a good time. Is there something else she could teach her? Crochet? Sewing?

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young elementary kids frequently write letters/numbers backwards. developmentally that's pretty normal - as your dh said, don't take it personally

 

It sounds like your mil just wants to be part of her grandchild's life, and wants to help.  the games sound like a great idea.  I would imagine it may even be she's trying to come up with a way to be a meaningful part of her grandchildren's life.  have her teach them something she is good at - baking? gardening? woodcraft?

 

she could be telling you to put them in public school, but she isn't.

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No, you are not being too sensitive. I would be very blunt: "We're homeschooling our daughter. You aren't." Unless, of course, you want their help with homeschooling at some point along the way. I would not send work, and if I caught wind that they were working with her after I'd specifically told them not to, she wouldn't be around them anymore without me or her father present.

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You are not being too sensitive.

 

"Send their homework so we can teach them better than you can, and try to make up for your deficiencies as an educator."

 

No.

 

Yes.

 

The answer to your OP, OP, and to your MIL is just "no."

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I think that it is hard to tell whether this is well-intended because we don't have details on your relationship with mil.

 

But, I would throw out there that mil may just need something to DO with your child. Some people aren't really good playing (or baking or whatnot) and she may just want a structured and productive activity to do with her grandchild. Something meaningful that will help. Just a thought:-)

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Ordinarily, I would accept things on face value and let Grandma time be what Grandma decides to do (unless it was something I wouldn't allow.)  The fact that she wouldn't let it go and badgered you into agreeing tells me that this is an important boundary situation.  I wouldn't send any work, but ask if there are other fun things she could teach ... baking together, playing games, learning to crochet.  Like others, if she goes behind your back, then her privilege of spending time with her grandchild unaccompanied would be revoked. 

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Probably well intended.  But you already know that they do not understand the developmental stages of children that age because MIL is wanting to remediate something that is still within developmental norms for a 2nd grader and FIL is pushing math at a non-developmentally appropriate level.  They've already pushed past what I would consider the unspoken boundaries of a grandparent's role in education.  I would set up spoken boundaries.  And I would enforce them.  If I cannot be sure that people will respect the boundaries I put up for my children then they will not see them without me being physically present at all times.  

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Not knowing you mil I don't know if it is well intentioned or not. If it were my mom and she said that I would know it was because she really wanted an overnight with the kids and didn't want me to worry about if they were getting behind. She loves helping with homeschooling and has offered on many occasions to take them for the day and work with them so I can get a break. It has nothing to do with wanting to quiz them or make sure they are keeping up. She can even get pushy about it when I say "no, they can come over and do no work" because she thinks I'm trying not to burden her not that they really don't have work to do.

 

But not all people are like my mom. From another person that conversation couple easily be because they don't think you are doing a good job or that your children are behind.

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No, you are not being too sensitive. I would be very blunt: "We're homeschooling our daughter. You aren't." Unless, of course, you want their help with homeschooling at some point along the way. I would not send work, and if I caught wind that they were working with her after I'd specifically told them not to, she wouldn't be around them anymore without me or her father present.

That sounds pretty mean.  Her post must have touched a nerve.  I didn't read it that way at all. 

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Thank you all so much for taking time to respond.  I really appreciate it!

 

You are not being too sensitive.

 

"Send their homework so we can teach them better than you can, and try to make up for your deficiencies as an educator."

 

No.

 

This is exactly how I took it also.  I was very offended that MIL would call basically wanting to teach my DD for a day.  All because she is noticing areas that DD is "struggling" with.

 

young elementary kids frequently write letters/numbers backwards. developmentally that's pretty normal - as your dh said, don't take it personally

 

It sounds like your mil just wants to be part of her grandchild's life, and wants to help.  the games sound like a great idea.  I would imagine it may even be she's trying to come up with a way to be a meaningful part of her grandchildren's life.  have her teach them something she is good at - baking? gardening? woodcraft?

 

she could be telling you to put them in public school, but she isn't.

 

I probably should have stated that she does not fully support our choice to homeschool.  I know she does want to be in their lives, and I really do think that is great.

 

I think that it is hard to tell whether this is well-intended because we don't have details on your relationship with mil.

But, I would throw out there that mil may just need something to DO with your child. Some people aren't really good playing (or baking or whatnot) and she may just want a structured and productive activity to do with her grandchild. Something meaningful that will help. Just a thought:-)

 

I think the second part may very well be true.  She does make a point to see our children frequently, once or twice a week.  They sleep over there at least twice a month.  I am glad she wants to spend time with them, but maybe she doesn't know what to DO with them.

 

Overall, yes, there are boundary issues.  I don't have a very good relationship with her, and neither does DH.  She has not always been kind to me, but she has been nicer in the past few years.  She has very controlling personality.  She is not supportive of many of our choices, and the world hears about it when things don't go her way.    She tries to parent our children when they are with her (even when DH and I are around).  We don't always give in to her, but DH does like to "keep the peace."  I get very anxious anytime she calls or when I know I have to see her, so it is sometimes hard for me to determine if I am being reasonable or not.  I agree with others that this is a boundary issue, so I will try to kindly but firmly let her know.

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Whether MIL thinks she's being nice and helpful or is being a jerk up in your face, if you don't want her involved, that is enough reason to tell her no.  I could see how it could be interpreted either way. 

 

What I've encouraged grandparents to do is take kids to museums, historical sites, nature hikes, etc.  Do more hands on experiential stuff.   I'd just say "oh - we've got that covered at home thanks.  But I know Bobbie and Suzie would love a visit to the science museum if you're interested in doing something educational.". 

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My MIL has a very active role in our lives, including homeschooling. She is so very supportive and especially good with boundaries on getting me to choose the activities for her to teach. She teaches half of our history lessons as well as some of our lit studies. She also plays games with the kids and listens to ds read. FIL plays lots of math games, my Mum cooks with the kids and comes on many of our field trips, and my Dad does engineering with ds. I mention this so people can see that a grandparent being involved in homeschooling can be a very positive experience.

 

It is possible your MIL is trying to be supportive of homeschooling. I would give her the benefit of the doubt. When you are your child's teacher, any comment about their abilities can seem like a personal attack on your teaching even when it is not intended that way. Sometimes family just wants to be involved. Helping with handwriting is an excellent grandparent task. For math, I would send math games or suggest granddad teach cribbage or card games. And maybe do a puzzle together. Can either of them do music or art? Is grandma crafty? My grandparents taught me to sew, knit, crochet, bake, play piano, and play cards.

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I wouldn't send a maths worksheet. I'd send an obnoxious mathsy board game that I thought was good for the child involved, but I really hated playing. :D

 

I found a video on my computer the other day where my grandmother was doing school with dd. Difference is, of course, that I asked and Nan did what I asked rather than going rogue.

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See.... so much depends on the existing relationship.

 

If my grandma did that, it would be because she enjoys doing a structured activity with the kids, is passionate about education in her own way, and would actually enjoy doing school with them for a day. 

 

If my MIL did that.... well, who am I kidding, she wouldn't, but if she did I would take it as being pushy and overstepping boundaries and criticizing my teaching.

 

So, context makes a big difference here. The request is not automatically good or bad. 

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Based on your last post, my kids wouldn't be going there at all without me. I'd feel very disrespected. I'd be very angry with dh if he told me I was being too sensitive.

 

I actually did recently let my oldest child stay with my mil for a few days to learn some sewing. I did send other school work and mil made sure it got done, but she wasn't taking over teaching anything, just overseeing. That's support. And until this year she's been iffy about Homeschooling, though she has always treated me like a daughter. Her son, my dh, would cause ww3 to protect our family so our boundaries are firm, they rarely overstep. She did give me her observations and suggestions afterwards, which I politely smiled during ;)

 

Good luck!

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Thank you for this thread. I can see myself in your shoes in a couple of years and I would rather not be there (no offense). This is giving me something to think about and that is a good thing. My in-laws have said that they want to move closer to us when they retire in a couple years. They think that they could help with the education of the boys (they have said). However they have also told me that I am wasting my time with programs that are working for my son (the younger one is only 2). 

 

No words of advice for you but you have put a thought in my head. ;)

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Overall, yes, there are boundary issues.  I don't have a very good relationship with her, and neither does DH.  She has not always been kind to me, but she has been nicer in the past few years.  She has very controlling personality.  She is not supportive of many of our choices, and the world hears about it when things don't go her way.      I agree with others that this is a boundary issue, so I will try to kindly but firmly let her know.

 

 

this is a boundary issue.  be polite - but firm.  you do NOT need to 'be rude' to be firm.  giving the benefit of the doubt that she means well, but doesn't know how to interact.  even if you know she's being nasty - to respond to her as though her intentions were kindly meant will make your life more pleasant.  you can still be firm and cheerful in boundaries.

 

keep in mind - most overly controlling people are unhappy and feel out of control of where they want their life to go - so they try to control others. (go figure). remembering that can help with patience and not being rude, while still also being firm.

 

send developmentally appropriate "educational" games they can play (stress how much they'll learn from it, but you simply don't have time to play it as much as you'd like with them. - iow: make her think she's really doing something.)

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I wouldn't send a maths worksheet. I'd send an obnoxious mathsy board game that I thought was good for the child involved, but I really hated playing. :D

 

I found a video on my computer the other day where my grandmother was doing school with dd. Difference is, of course, that I asked and Nan did what I asked rather than going rogue.

Love the game idea. Brilliant.
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My MIL called this morning to ask if our 2nd grader could come spend the night one night next week.  She wants to work on handwriting with her, because she noticed last week that DD writes some of her letters backwards.  She also said that my FIL likes to work on math with her, but he makes it too hard so she wants me to send math with her too.  We happen to be on school break next week, but my MIL didn't know that when she called.  She originally wanted me to send all of her schoolwork with her, so that she could do it with her.  I told my MIL that we have school under control.  I told her that the kids don't need to do school next week, since they are caught up and we are on break.  But MIL kept talking and talking and talking, and I finally agreed to send some handwriting paper so DD can work on her name.  (She gets her a's backwards only in her name, and she also writes 9s and 6s backwards)  But she kept pushing and told me to just send one math worksheet too.  I was fed up just said ok, ok, ok to end the conversation.  I am just really upset about it.  My husband is understanding, but he thinks I am taking it too personally.  He did say that he would call MIL and tell her that DD can spend the night, but only to spend time with them and not to do schoolwork.

 

I just had a thought that I have some math games, maybe I it would be a good idea to send one of those instead.

 

I don't think you're taking it *personally.* I think you're seeing big warning signs, and you're right to do so.

 

Of course grandparents should care about how their grandchildren are doing, and offer to help if possible, but your mil is pushing way too hard, which could indicate that she doesn't trust you, and that's something you want to stop right this minute.

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Don't send paperwork, but assume that if you approve the overnight, she will do schoolwork anyway.  If you have any concern that Controling MIL will be upset with your DD if she doesn't comply with the school plans that she seems to be making, then nix the trip for a little while.  Your poor child doesn't need to be the victim here.

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The second post makes it obvious that it wasn't well-intentioned... at least not toward you. She probably is trying to do what she thinks is best by your dd, but obviously she doesn't trust you as a parent.

 

I'd be super clear with her and just drive it home over and over. Don't be mean, but don't give in.

"We're homeschooling her, not you."

"We're her parents, not you."

"Please be grandma, don't try to be mom."

And make it clear that the contact she wants is dependent on her playing nice too. You can't be the one to keep the peace all the time. If she pushes say it's not okay. "I understand that you don't always agree with our decisions as parents, but we need you to trust us. And if you can't do that, then we can't spend time together as a family. I would hate that. We love your role as grandparents in our kids' lives. But we want it clear to the kids that we're the parents and you're the fun grandparents."

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I wouldn't send any schoolwork. "Sorry, MIL, as I got to thinking about it, I realized that it just wouldn't be fair to send schoolwork when I'd promised them this week off."

 

 

In light of your second, more detailed post, this is good advice. It does indeed sound like mil has some boundary issues. I hope everything works out for you:-)

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I don't think you are being overly sensitive. While my grandkids aren't school aged yet, I would NOT do that, because, IMO, that is overstepping bounds. However, if my dil asked me to help, I would gladly do so. I try to facilitate my grandkids' learning through fun stuff: singing songs, going to the zoo/aquarium, enjoying nature and talking about the things we see, reading books. This is perfectly acceptable grandparent behavior. Taking over their schoolwork is not. I try very hard to respect my dil's boundaries, because I think it makes for a better relationship with her. She is married to my son, she is the mother of my grandkids (the sweetest kids in the world!) and I want my relationship with her to be positive. I think that if she and I are getting along well, that is one less thing for her and my son to have friction over. I don't want to add friction to my son's life. Why do more mil's not see this? : /

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My MIL called this morning to ask if our 2nd grader could come spend the night one night next week.  She wants to work on handwriting with her, because she noticed last week that DD writes some of her letters backwards.  She also said that my FIL likes to work on math with her, but he makes it too hard so she wants me to send math with her too.  We happen to be on school break next week, but my MIL didn't know that when she called.  She originally wanted me to send all of her schoolwork with her, so that she could do it with her.  I told my MIL that we have school under control.  I told her that the kids don't need to do school next week, since they are caught up and we are on break.  But MIL kept talking and talking and talking, and I finally agreed to send some handwriting paper so DD can work on her name.  (She gets her a's backwards only in her name, and she also writes 9s and 6s backwards)  But she kept pushing and told me to just send one math worksheet too.  I was fed up just said ok, ok, ok to end the conversation.  I am just really upset about it.  My husband is understanding, but he thinks I am taking it too personally.  He did say that he would call MIL and tell her that DD can spend the night, but only to spend time with them and not to do schoolwork.

 

I just had a thought that I have some math games, maybe I it would be a good idea to send one of those instead.

 

Your husband is wrong and he needs to back you up every. single. time.   You set a clear boundary when you told her no the first time and you should stick to no like your life depends on it because your in-laws are people who don't respect boundaries.  Do not send any school work with your kids when they go to your in-laws' house. 

 

If you find out your in-laws insisted providing their own materials and tutoring anyway, after you told them no, explain you won't send the kids over there again without you and your husband being there.  Rigidly enforce any other boundaries they're pushing you on. People who push boundaries don't take hints.  They need clear, direct, matter of fact, specific boundaries that are rigidly enforced with no exceptions.  I have a relative like this.  If you give an inch this person will take a mile and you're worse off than you would've been just enforcing the boundary in the first place.   

 

Your children are watching and learning about boundaries from you example.  They're learning to deal with in-laws and people who push against parental wishes with children.  What kind of example do you want to show them?

 

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Best case scenario she's been researching homeschooling and found some resource she thinks sounds brilliant and would like to secretly try to use it to 'fix' an issue with your daughter's handwriting.

 

Or they just want to be involved in this important aspect of your life.

 

Realistically though, I'd probably consider it criticism too. If your relationship is good enough, you might be able to figure out their motivation, otherwise I'd go with ok ok but not send anything...

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Are the in laws horrible people? If they are loving grandparents, then LET THEM HELP. You may get tired down the road and WISH you'd let them get involved when the kids are still young and easy to teach. They may just want in on some of those warm fuzzy homeschooling memories.

 

Now that I've thought about it a little more, I say send the work you don't want to do to the grandparents. Addition facts, states and capitals, even handwriting exercises. What's your least favorite teacher task? Are there any subjects that you dislike or cause tension between you and your child? Multiplication flash cards? Art projects? I'd say create some allies and outsource something. Handwriting and math practice seems perfect.

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I agree with the ones who've written that we can't tell if it's too pushy or not.  Perhaps she thought you were saying, "no" because you didn't want to put her out and she kept at it so you'd understand that it was no trouble.  So, while you thought she was pushy just to be pushy, she might have thought she was reassuring you that it wasn't a bother.

 

It depends on so many factors. 

 

If you honestly believe that she's subtly criticizing what you're doing then call back (or dh will it sounds like) and say, "We promised the kids no school work next week, so no school work."  And then let her know that you'd rather be the only teacher for the kids at this stage.

 

If you think she was just trying to be helpful, then you can still say no schoolwork next week, but set up a different time during a school week for her to teach the kids.  Sometimes kids enjoy a different teacher.  You can always sit in the room and watch the session if you want to go that route, to be sure things are ok.

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That sounds pretty mean. Her post must have touched a nerve. I didn't read it that way at all.

I do have parents and in-laws who are very bad at respecting boundaries. I have to over respond in order for them to realize I'm serious and respect our boundaries at all. I've learned to skip the unclear, polite stuff and make my boundaries clear. I don't threaten consequences until they've violated our boundaries, and after I tell them what the consequences will be, they get one more chance. But, yes, this is a clear violation of boundaries and I would respond accordingly.

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I do have parents and in-laws who are very bad at respecting boundaries. I have to over respond in order for them to realize I'm serious and respect our boundaries at all. I've learned to skip the unclear, polite stuff and make my boundaries clear. I don't threaten consequences until they've violated our boundaries, and after I tell them what the consequences will be, they get one more chance. But, yes, this is a clear violation of boundaries and I would respond accordingly.

I have those in-laws too. My husband is the one who is serious with them, and he is the one that doesn't let them be alone with the children. They will refuse to follow ANY of our rules, even in our house, with our children, saying things l like "I'm a grandma, I do what I want." 

 

My biggest concern reading the OP is probably colored by that... the FIL is teaching things that are "too hard" and the MIL seems to not know what is developmentally appropriate. OP's daughter might be getting messages that she is "behind" or and maybe even that her mom is teaching her "wrong." That would infuriate me.

 

My younger daughter when 2 was potty training and liked her Elmo potty to be right in the room where she was playing. My FIL mocked her, saying "Oh, you're going to pull down your pants and poop right THERE, right in FRONT OF EVERYONE?" -- mocking voice and all, then proceeded to criticize my husband in front of the kids for letting her have her potty there. She went from using the potty and liking it to going on the floor for 3 weeks, hiding behind chairs while sobbing. Never underestimate the "subtle" messages that grandparents can send when they don't respect boundaries.

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My younger daughter when 2 was potty training and liked her Elmo potty to be right in the room where she was playing. My FIL mocked her, saying "Oh, you're going to pull down your pants and poop right THERE, right in FRONT OF EVERYONE?" -- mocking voice and all, then proceeded to criticize my husband in front of the kids for letting her have her potty there. She went from using the potty and liking it to going on the floor for 3 weeks, hiding behind chairs while sobbing. Never underestimate the "subtle" messages that grandparents can send when they don't respect boundaries.

 

I would have hit the ceiling! I doubt he'd be around my kid anymore at all after that, at least for a while--even when I'm there, I can't always prevent them from saying things, only try to do damage control after. Your poor daughter! Poor YOU, having to deal with that kind of regression and (if you're at all like me) getting furious at your FIL all over again every time she got upset about it or didn't use the potty!

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I wouldn't send her to their house with work either.  I have a mother in law that pushes boundaries too and giving in encourages it.  At this point, I would be reluctant to allow a sleepover at this time.  Your in laws will probably go against your wishes and try to teach on their own.

 

 

Suzanne

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My younger daughter when 2 was potty training and liked her Elmo potty to be right in the room where she was playing. My FIL mocked her, saying "Oh, you're going to pull down your pants and poop right THERE, right in FRONT OF EVERYONE?" -- mocking voice and all, then proceeded to criticize my husband in front of the kids for letting her have her potty there. She went from using the potty and liking it to going on the floor for 3 weeks, hiding behind chairs while sobbing. Never underestimate the "subtle" messages that grandparents can send when they don't respect boundaries.

 

Oh my goodness, that would have me livid and I doubt I could be civil to the man after that. That was verbally abusive. :cursing:

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the FIL is teaching things that are "too hard"

 

which may stem simply from NOT knowing what is developmentally appropriate. not terribly uncommon for people who haven't spent alot of time working with/teaching this age. if he really wants to be helpful - he'll also be teachable.

 

 

and the MIL seems to not know what is developmentally appropriate.

 

maybe and maybe not.  it's more likey a difference in how the generations were taught.

 

 

 these aren't your in-laws. they may well be completely different.  I have a MIL who required being bashed with a railroad tie (figuritively) just to get her attention.  Most people aren't that dense.

 

and what you described from your FIL was abusive.  after something like that, he'd never see my kids again.  but also usually there are many previous flags that things aren't 'safe'.

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So sorry. My inclination based on your first and then other post further down would be to terminate overnight visits altogether. That sounds harsh but it appears to me there is an agenda here on the part of the grandparents.

 

I agree with other posters to suggest educational trips, nature walks, hands on science activities, etc. I think you and your dh need to have a conversation and set firm boundaries, but I am concerned about the boundaries being respected given the description of your in-laws you provided.

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