This “Vent” was submitted recently and we loved the subject…
I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my in-laws lately. We have a 6-year-old son. He is our only child. We have tried to have another but it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards right now. My biggest fear as a mother is that my son will grow up with the dreaded “only child” characteristics. He is already fussy, spoiled and very self-centered. But what toddler isn’t?
The in-laws come in here.
I feel like he spends soooooo much time with them that he is spoiled rotten. He is getting anything and everything he wants. He doesn’t understand that sometimes in life you don’t get what you want handed to you. I understand that at 6 years old I may be expecting a bit much from my child but I can not sit back and watch my child turn into a spoiled brat because I can’t control what is done when I am not around.
Myself and my husband have expressed our concerns to his parents but his mother (the grandmother) has taken offense to it and is angry with us. She feels as if we are trying to box her out of our child’s life but that simply isn’t the case. We just want to make sure that our child is just that, ours. I don’t feel as if his attitude and actions represent the morals we are trying to instill in him. Just because he is an only child doesn’t mean that he has to act like one.
I guess that’s the just of what I wanted to vent to you about. I feel like we are in an AWFUL situation where no matter what my husbands parents are going to feel insulted if we ask them to follow our rules or prefer that they don’t see their grandchild as much.
Sincerely, Worried Parent
Dear Worried Parent,
We understand all of your concerns. You as the parent have the right to “lay down the law”. You are in fact the parent. Now obviously the Grandparents are your husband’s parents. But at some point you grow up and leave the house to become an adult. This does not mean that you stop listening to your parents but instead means that you no longer need to consult with them before every decision. That’s the beauty of being an adult. You now run your life.
In this situation I would be looking for your husband to be handling the majority of the issue since it is linked to his parents. Even though in most marriages many parents may “love” the married spouse like a son or daughter of their own, this simply is just a saying. It’s not the truth. The married in spouse is not the actual son or daughter to the in-laws. This makes sticky situations difficult because unlike the unconditional love they feel for their own children, the slightest thing could cause them to have unpleasant feelings toward you. This is where your husband comes in. He needs to be on the front line. He needs to explain to HIS parents that what is going on is unacceptable and is not what you want for your child. If the situation turns ugly it is now just between he and his parents. Obviously it will include you since you are one of the parents but the negative news wont seem as rough coming from their own child. I hope that makes sense.
In closing I do want people to understand that being a Grandparent is a privilege, not a right. The Grandparent has done their job in raising their own child to now grow and have children of their own. The are “retired” in a way from the “work force” of parenting. Sometimes in rare cases there may be a single parent that needs help so the Grandparent will be “semi-retired” and act as another parent to help out. But this still doesn’t mean that child is now their own. The biggest thing here is for EVERYONE in this child’s life to realize that the Parents are in control of that child. In extreme cases like I mentioned above a Grandparent may swoop in to help but that’s not the vast majority. It is very healthy for Grandparents to see their Grandchild once per week. More than that is OK but should be approved by the parents. Less than that is even OK. Maybe the Grandparents live out-of-state which would call for less visits. It’s important to find that happy-medium for your family.
I hope this was helpful for you.
Good Luck & Happy Venting!