My brother and his wife (23 and 21) had their first child six months ago; my sister-in-law says that since she carried the baby for nine months, why should she allow any one else to hold her or take care of her (except for her mom).
She’s not let my parents have anything to do with the baby (their first grandchild) unless under her supervision and with rules.
My parents are crushed. They just want to enjoy their grandchild and be a part of her life. They’re not bad people and have no bad habits.
Is it just immaturity that brings new moms to neglect their husbands’ family, and think the in-laws are incapable of caring for their grandchildren? I’ve also seen this happen with a few of my young friends.
I, too, am now a new mother and fully enjoy the opportunity to share my baby with family and friends. I let my in-laws have a part of our kids’ lives (even though I don’t agree with everything that’s said and done).
- Distraught Family
Many first-time moms lack self-confidence about infant care, plus they’re dealing with fatigue and hormonal surges that make them very sensitive. Some well-meaning in-laws (also sensitive about their new feelings as grandparents) can come on too strong with their advice, and in these delicate circumstances, even a helpful hint can feel like criticism to the younger parent.
Your sister-in-law does sound immature, in her pushing away your parents so overtly. Yet, the situation can change… so long as your family members (including you) don’t build a wall of resentment no one can get past. After all, it’s the children who everyone should care about, rather than be hung up on pride or prejudice.
I’ve been in an on-off relationship with a man 15 years my senior for 27 years; he’s now 75 years and divorced for 45 years. His relatives live in Europe. He has one daughter, who’s 49 and unmarried, living nearby. Both parents are alcoholics.
I’m widowed with two children and three grandchildren, and come from a large family. I include this man in my family gatherings. My grandchildren give us much joy. However, his ex-in-laws do not accept me. They’ve have offended me, while I never allowed my family to disrespect him.
I feel my trust betrayed, and that I’m not valued nor respected as a partner, when he visits these people behind my back.
Worse, I’m not allowed to talk to anyone who ever caused him strife!
Do I have the right to be offended? I don’t know what course of action to take.
- The Outsider
Having accepted these conditions for years, any changed “action” needs to be definitive. So, assess the value of this relationship for you.
This man had little of his “own” family around, and so tolerated his ex-in-laws rudeness. Yes, he should’ve stood up to them and said you were his family now.
But perhaps the “on-off” part of your relationship came from neither of you speaking up, setting limits on what you wouldn’t accept, and finding compromises.
If the situation has become intolerable, negotiate a new solution – e.g. he never “sneaks around,” can see the former in-laws alone very occasionally, but must insist they’re never critical or negative about you.
If you both still can’t agree, you may have to end this union, or accept what you’ve previously permitted.
My job moved me elsewhere, where my girlfriend and I bought a house.
Recently, my job moved me back. She’s still there, selling the house.
I’ve known for a long while that I no longer have feelings for her. She has no idea I’m about to dump her; I need TWO signature to sell the house, so can’t tell her.
I don’t want to leave her homeless, but can’t make a $250,000 mistake over her feelings.
How to have the least collateral damage?
- The Heel
You’re “damaging” your own integrity by deceiving a former love, but you don’t care. The only way to salvage some decency is to give her a fair share of the house proceeds. Even if she didn’t put in cash, she put in time and care for the home and for you.
She deserves enough to re-settle, and to find an honest guy who values her.
Tip of the day:
When a baby’s arrival triggers a clash of generations, those with maturity and wisdom should back off until the sensitivities settle.