Another What Would You Do?

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kirsteng's picture
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Another What Would You Do?

Hi friends!

I haven't been around much in the past few weeks as my inlaws were visiting for 2 weeks and we were travelling, then my sister arrived for a 3 week visit. So I have had very little computer time!

Anyhow, I wanted to post a would-you-send-it thread to check in before I send this. You girls always have great advice! Smile

The background:

Our eldest Kieren (now 8 1/2), as some of you may remember, has always been our challenging child. Since he was a toddler, every day, pushing the limits, testing authority... you know what I mean. That has extended to school, where he has had consistent behaviour problems since starting school at the age of 4. His last report card before Christmas was his worst ever (high grades, but very poor effort and behaviour in all categories, from social relations with classmates, to work habits and following directions).

His grandparents (dh's parents) have always been a pretty big part of his life, and my MIL Lil has always tried to have a special relationship with him. She is a difficult person on occasion, and as some of you may remember, actually told DH Richard that she wished she'd never had him after he forgot to call his dad on Father's Day the month after Grady was born. That relationship (despite counselling) has never been fixed, but we welcome them in our home whenever they want so that they can be a big part of our kids' lives.

SO on their visit, we shared with them Kieren's latest school troubles. They were ob viously not sympathetic, their only comments being things such as 'but don't YOU feel responsible'?? (As if any parent doesn't feel responsible for the troubles of their children... ) Then today, on the computer, I see that Kieren has left his personal email account open to a letter he just received from Lil. She says how much she misses him, wants to skype with him personally, etc etc, offers to arrange horseback riding lessons for him if he gets a good report card next time, then signs off with:

Love Gamma (the one who loves you for who you are) xoxoxox

I was LIVID when I read it. Is it me, or when you read 'the one who' does that not imply that we, his parents, do not love him for 'who he is'?? I feel like she's totally trying to be divisive and be his 'best friend' at the expense of the 'evil parents'. I have felt angrier and angrier as the day has worn on as I think about it... also considering that when she was here visiting, on one memorable occasion I caught her deliberately overriding something I had said 'no' to Mimi for, to whisper that she would let her. My daughter looked from her to me and back again, obviously confused. So I let her do it, then asked my MIL, "did you really just completely disregard what I said"??? And she just kind of mumbled a justification. Ugh.. the more I think about it the more I can't stand the woman. :angry4:

So... would you send this emial that I typed but have not yet sent??

Dear Lil,

Kieren left his email open on our computer this morning, and I was shocked to read how you signed off.

"the one who loves you for who you are"

??????????????

I don't know if you realized, but when you say you are "THE ONE" who loves him the way he is, you are implying that we do not love him the way he is. I completely understand that you want to have a special relationship with Kieren, and that's wonderful. BUt please do not do that at our expense. You may not understand or appreciate the years of energy, effort, dedication and love that we have already invested in Kieren, in trying to make sure that he learns to make the right choices for himself so that he has an easier path in life. But we have ALWAYS loved and adored Kieren for who he is, regardless of his behaviour.

I really don't ever want him to think otherwise, so please be careful in what you say.

Thanks,

Kirsten

Sorry this was so long... and thanks for taking the time to read! xxoo

kjames106's picture
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Wow! I cannot believe she would do that. I would be livid too. I definitely say send that email to her. This is YOUR family and you should stand up for them. I think your email is very neutral and doesn't sound mean or anything, but you get your point across. I would absolutely send it.

gardenbug's picture
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I'd sleep on it. See how you feel tomorrow. (I wish she had re-read her email before sending it too!)
I think I might remove "so please be careful in what you say."
I don't know the woman so I wonder how deliberate her behavior is. Many a granny (me included) will do things that perhaps don't mesh with what the parents think. In my case, I overdo the gifts and knit clothes because I'm far away from them and miss them so. I do think the choice of "The one who.." was unwise to say the least. Be glad she lives far away.... Wink Do you think Kieren actually dwelled on that remark or is oblivious? Frankly, he KNOWS his parents adore for him!!!

boilermaker's picture
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Oh, Kirsten. You have so much going on. ((HUGS))

I'd sleep on it, too. But I'm not one to rock the boat.

I have a MIL who is ridiculous. Trey and I figure that as our kids get older, they will come to understand who she is, how she buys affection and how she can't be trusted. Until then, we'll keep our mouths shut. It is sometimes hard, bc we know she will hurt and disappoint them in the process, but we feel like this way, they come to their own conclusions and we don't poison the relationship. She does it all on her own.

I'd be frustrated with the undermining of your authority-- but I'm sure Kieran knows how much you adore him....

((HUGS))

Let us know what happens....

Oh and the other thing, is that I always make DH deal with his parents. Not me. That is the deal in our house. He deals with his crazy family and I deal with mine. Wink

kirsteng's picture
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Thanks for your input friends!

I did end up sending it that night, slightly edited to remove all the ???, so it didn't look snarky. I agree that the 'be careful with what you say' could have been edited too, in retrospect.

She didn't take it well, as expected. Wrote back saying she was crying as she wrote it, angry with me for thinking she could mean that.. but at the same time saying that she worries about him and wants to make sure he feels loved. So a bit of a mixed message. But I apologized nonetheless for hurting her feelings, explained why I felt like she DID mean that (no supporting us when we discussed problems, undermining me etc) and she didn't comment further on those items. Just said she hoped it didn't affect our relationship into the future. I said it wouldn't, and that maybe it was good that we were able to clear the air.

At the end of the day, I'm glad I mentioned it, but at the same time am not fond of the drama. It's good that she knows how I feel so that we can both be on the same page in the future (hopefully). Wink

Anyhow, thanks for the advice.. and I love the idea of 'you deal with your family, I'll deal with mine'.. might have to consider that one! Wink

And gardenbug... I think you're right, he was oblivious. For now though. Wouldn't want to run that one by him when he's 12 or so, after we've disciplined him for something, iykwim! Wink

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Wow, Kirsten. I'm glad you "cleared the air" and hopefully she'll choose her words wisely in the future. I am trying to deal with some things with my dh in regards to MIL and feel like I'm walking on eggshells. Some of the things I just feel like it would be easier to deal with NOW (and I've been trying for so long it seems) before the boys are older and it becomes harder to keep from them. My SIL once shared with me that her son is already making remarks as to why his grandmother says or does certain things. My MIL undermines me often and it makes me especially upset when she comes into my home and does it. I like Audra's way of you deal with yours; I'll deal with mine but getting dh to stick up for me or his children when it comes to his mom is just not happening. I do love her and focus on letting go of the small stuff but some things I just can't. (ex. racial comments and swearing in front of my children (sorry! not happening!), talking over me when I'm explaining something to Michael or trying to teach him something, acting like it's just dh and my children there - I don't exist, etc, etc, ) I will be the bad guy and I just need to be okay with that. Geez - what's with my rant?!? Sorry to take over!

I hope things improve. I think Grandparents have quite beautiful roles in the lives of their grandchildren but certain things, like the way she closed her email, aren't appropriate. These things can cause so much stress. :bighug:

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I think you did the right thing by confronting the situation now instead of letting it boil. She has to realize that you are the parent. It's one thing to disregard your opinion and let the kids slip things in that you normally wouldn't allow, but to make him feel as if she is the only one that loves him and you guys are just "mean" is beyond inappropriate and ridiculous. Hopefully it calms down a little now!