Racist Mother-in-Law Has Bad Influence on Children Dear WholeFamily Counselor, The problem is my mother-in-law and her relationship with our two children. I don't know what to do about her. My husband & I both recognize there is a problem but are not sure how to solve it. Aside from all of the typical complaints, this is the main issue: His mother spends time with our children and they come home with questions such as "Mom, why does grandma hate you?" Or comments such as "Those dirty Mexicans or blacks or druggies should all be shot", "Grandma says it's your job mom to work all day (which I do outside the home) and keep the house spotless, and be the class mom, etc.
In-Law Conflicts Before and After the Wedding Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I am a 20 years old newlywed and mother. My marriage did not start on the best note. It started out with a pregnancy. His parents were understandably not very happy with the situation. They seemed to come around after our decision to marry, but soon things stared to go downhill.
Overbearing In-Laws Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I have a rather difficult situation involving in-laws; basically, a mother-in-law and father-in-law who are obsessed with my brother-in-law and sister-in-laws' two small children. They are very controlling and overbearing and cause a lot of stress in the family. The situations also directly affect myself and my husband, who is stepfather to my 2 children (not the favored ones)... Signed, lately with a constant headache.
Dear WholeFamily, My husband and I have been married for a little over 8 years. We have three children and are usually happy. We fight most of the time over his mother. She is widowed and lives just down the street. She comes over 4 to 5 times a day which started right after we got married. Five minutes after he got home she would be at the door. Several years ago I found out she made her own key to our house WITHOUT our knowledge from a set that was accidentally left at her house. She has no problem using it and just walking in when she feel like it. One weekend we sent the kids away to my mother's and she used her key and came in and found us making love! She stood there watching for God knows how long before we noticed her.
Dear WholeFamily, My husband and I just got married a week ago. We've been together for almost 4 years. We live with his ex-wife, who is also my cousin, and their 3 children. His mother despises me and I don't know why. She called his ex on our wedding night, and told her that she's the ex-wife and I'm the new wife, and that she should hate me. She's always butting in where she doesn't belong. That's why we eloped -- she wanted to take over my wedding. She's always trying to talk my husband into leaving me. And she's always trying to pry in our lives by asking the ex-wife what's going on. How can I get her to back off??? Help!
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, My husband and I have been married for four years. Our five children and their families live thousands of miles away. We send presents, equal in value and sentiment, to all of our children and grandchildren. My husband's youngest and his wife never send us a card or present for birthdays or Christmas, which I guess shouldn't bother me, but it does. Usually, we have to ask if they've received their gifts. This year there was one acknowledgment, for the doll we sent for our granddaughter -- the fact that she liked it. No mention of the birthday present or other Christmas presents that were in the package.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, My husband and I started out our marriage with family issues that have basically torn us apart. First, we were both under 30 and the responsibility of raising his emotionally troubled teen-age cousin was "dumped" on us. She became the scapegoat for all our communication troubles because she became an off-limits subject. This child was constantly put out of school, her grades were awful and she had no respect for us. It was not until she physically jumped my husband that he realized I was not the bad person. A few months into the marriage, my brother-in-law moved in with his two children. He was never home to care for them, so now I was a single mother of three.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I am having difficulty in becoming a part of my husband's family life, after getting married. Two years ago, my husband and I decided to move to his hometown to make a living. We lived with his parents for about a year to get our feet on the ground and save some money. We now live in our own apartment but I have some very unresolved feelings and issues about his parents and siblings. I feel as if they have not made as much of an effort to integrate me into the family as they have their other daughter-in-law "Mary.
When I go to Luke and Mindy's house, it's always so chaotic. The kids are running around half- naked, even in winter. It's all she can do to get clothes on them. They're usually filthy after an hour or two. And she never changes them. She doesn't even bathe them every day.
Why isn't my mother-in-law more loving to the kids? She's only interested in them when they're sweet. If they say something naughty or have a tantrum, she doesn't want to have anything to do with them. She says that we're too lenient with them and that's why they misbehave. Well maybe we are but it's not so easy when you're pregnant and have two little ones. I don't have the energy to discipline them. She makes me feel guilty, like I'm a terrible mother. She should help or shut up.
It may be painful to accept but it's true nevertheless: You don't marry a person --you marry a system. One of the challenges of marriage is learning how to master an essential part of that system--in- laws. In-laws come in different types: Some are supportive and respect the marital boundaries. Others act like your job is to serve their needs. A couple must act from the awareness that their primary loyalty is to each other and their new family. It takes courage to make that stand. On the other hand, the partners must make great efforts to develop and maintain positive relations with their respective in-laws.
Most newlyweds have similar difficulties regarding the holidays. In a bad marriage, the couple argues about the issue. In a good marriage the couple argue, discuss, and compromise. It's good that you cleared the air about what bothers you about the other's family.
Let's turn to each member of the in-law triangle: Luke says nothing but disappears to his workplace when his mother visits. Luke, you are crucial to improving the in-law tensions. Reassure Mindy that she is your top priority, above children, work, mother, and money. Mindy will hopefully respond with a similar declaration.
Rarely do we have an opportunity to hear both sides of the mother-in-law problem. Here, two candid women lament their relationship. Mindy, the daughter-in-law, and her mother-in-law, who remains unnamed as mother-in-laws often do, describe their fantasy.
Join the Austen-Kutchinskys as they struggle to make their new blended family work.
Listen to others Think it only happens to you? Families in conflict reveal their innermost struggles to communicate.
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