When you have children, you do, finally become, in a way, blood relatives with your in-laws. There are now people in the world who carry both your blood, and your in-laws’ blood. You’re connected on a whole new level, not just by law, but also by DNA. Naturally, grandparents feel a sense of responsibility for their grandchildren, and they want to be involved in their lives. They see their children in their grandchildren, and they’re launched back in time, to when they were new parents, cautious, tedious, and paranoid, all over again. It can be difficult for grandparents not to overstep their boundaries when it comes to how their kids raise their kids. If it’s your own parents, at least you have the comfort level to tell them to back off. But when it’s your spouse’s parents, you don’t feel quite as okay about saying that. Here’s what it’s like having in-laws trying to parent your kids.
You hide discussion about school from them
When it’s time to tour different preschools and elementary schools, take your kids in for interviews, and read pamphlets, you have to hide the evidence from your in-laws, tucking away pamphlets when they come over. You know that they’ll pounce on the opportunity to intervene with this decision.
You ask your kids not to tell them things
You have to ask your children not to share certain information with their grandparents. You know that, if your kids let some data slip to you in-laws, your in-laws will be on your back about it.
Asking for money comes with stipulations
If you borrow money from your in-laws, they think that entitles them to more say in how you raise your children. It doesn’t, but it’s hard for you to tell them to back off when you have a few grand of their money in your bank account.
So sometimes, you hide that you need money
Sometimes, the idea of them overstepping their bounds is too much so you don’t ask them for money. But that also means you have to hide the fact that you take out a loan elsewhere from them, or else they’ll catch onto the fact that you were trying to keep them out of something.
They feel entitled to certain discussions
You really cannot believe the authoritative tone your in-laws use when barging their way into discussions about how you raise your children. It can be glaringly obvious that it doesn’t even occur to them that they’re crossing a line.
They’re in your partner’s ear
Your in-laws start to realize they can’t give you advice directly, so they get in your partner’s ear, trying to get him on their side about certain decisions. Now you feel like your partner is the enemy, too.
Your partner feels stuck in the middle
Your poor partner feels stuck in the middle. You’re complaining about his parents. His parents are complaining about you. Meanwhile, he loves both of you.
You want your traditions to shine through, too
You can feel like your in-laws are turning your family into a second edition of their family. They’re pushing their traditions and values onto your family, and you feel like your traditions and values don’t have a place.
You find them snooping around
You discover that your in-laws have been asking your children leading questions, trying to get information out of them about decisions you’re making.
They send you articles you don’t want
You wake up daily to articles on parenting—articles that support your in-law’s ideas and claims.
They send you referrals you don’t want
You also receive phone calls from pediatricians, nannies, and school principals, saying your in-laws asked them to call you. You never requested these referrals.
They judge the results of your decisions
If you should go with your way on something and not their way, they look for evidence that your way isn’t working out. They watch the results like a hawk, wanting to prove that you should have gone with their way.
You don’t want them in your house
You stop wanting them to come over because your house is riddled with information they can use against you, regarding the rearing of your children.
You can’t turn to them as babysitters
You can’t rely on them for free babysitting. Well, you can, but you don’t want to, because you know that comes with too much advice and judgment.
If they must babysit, you prep your kids
If you absolutely must drop your children off with your in-laws, you have to prep your kids, giving them a list of information they are not allowed to tell their grandparents.