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How do you ladies deal with your MIL?

Learning to Stepparent's picture

So, SD5 has been in therapy for about 6 months for developmental delays, speech problems, and sensory processing problems.

MIL still cannot grasp that there are problems and will come up with any and all excuses in the book to try to excuse it. Last week I was blamed for SD's sensory processing problems because I make her be more independent. The example of her sensory issues I used was when SD is taking a shower and decides she wants the water warmer she will reach up and just crank the handle over so then the water is burning her. Rather than turning the water back down or getting out of the water to get help she will just stand there and cry as the water burns her. I did discuss this with the OT at her last session and the OT has advised us that it is appropriate at her level for her to be cleaning herself in the shower so it's not as if I am having her do something unreasonable. Anyway, MIL says she thinks the problem is not that SD has sensory issues the problem is that I am asking her to clean herself which is causing the sensory issues.

Another example, one of the problems SD has has proprioceptive dysfunction which means she can't feel where her body is in space without looking at it and has a lot of trouble coordinating both sides of her body. An example of this is she couldn't pedal a bike without staring at her feet. She does have a big kids bike but it does have training wheels on it. It took her about 2 summers and it wasn't until she was in therapy and nearly 5 1/2 years old that she could coordinate her feet well enough to pedal without starring at her feet. She couldn't do jumping jacks until very recently and just learned to skip last month. MIL says "sometimes she looks at her feet so she doesn't trip." There are many more examples.

At this point should I even try to explain anything to her or give her a book to read on the subject or just whenever she asks how it's going tell her she needs to talk to DH because I won't discuss this with her anymore?


Learning to Stepparent's picture

I was reading my post and one part is confusing. MIL excuses SD's coordination problems by saying she herself is klutzy or uncoordinated or has to look at her own feet when she walks so she doesn't trip. Basically she is saying "well, I have the same problem and there is nothing wrong with me so that means there is nothing wrong with SD either."

Disneyfan's picture

She's a grandmother, sometimes it's hard for them to admit/accept that their grand babies aren't perfect. Also she grew up i. A different time. They didn't have labels for every little thing and they sure as heck didn't "waste" good money going to a therapist to fix the issues.

Learning to Stepparent's picture

True. I do know MIL had hip dysplasia as a child and spent years in casts. Maybe that is coloring her view of it a bit?

She has no problem blaming SD's behavior on things like being allergic to red food dye or being lactose intolerant or anything else of that nature. SD does not have any allergies and is not lactose intolerant. For awhile MIL would say SD got really hyper when she ate foods with red food dye in them. Of course, it is very rare that we give SD food with red food dye in it and her behavior doesn't change in the rare instances when she does get food with food dye but it's as good an excuse as any.

MIL also likes to say that she never has any behavior problems with SD and she never acts that way at her house. I am sorely tempted to counter with "I thought you said she was allergic to red food dye because she would get really hyper whenever she ate it and that was the source of her behavior problems not a lack of parenting or ADHD or developmental delays? If you claim red food dye is the source of the problem that indicates you have seen a problem. You can't have it both ways."

Something tells me that would be lost on her though.

Indigo's picture

My ex-MIL/FIL didn't "get" that BS was a bit non-traditional. I was classified as an 'indulgent parent' who should just MAKE HIM do certain things. Sigh. Generational, perhaps, but SIL is a psychologist, MIL worked as a secretary to a psychologist --- I thought that they might understand more than perhaps FIL. Nope. Also, there was a huge issue with the idea that their son's boy was "damaged/inferior/had troubles." ("But, he is soooo smart and has a great vocabulary.")

He had many of the same issues as your little one. OT/PT/ST ... then later, VPD (visual processing disorder therapy for a year.) APD (auditory PD) involved casting a prosthetic filter for his dominant ear.

He never crawled, didn't learn to ride a bike until he was 10 ... crossing the proprioceptive line was a blank mystery for him. Then a hard year of intensive tutoring and homeschooling to work with his dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia.

The years of disapproval and misunderstanding between my Ex-DH & my Ex-inlaws were difficult. $15K in therapy out of pocket in one year. Nowadays, he is a more typical boy of 14 w/some residual challenges, but otherwise, he's just as annoying as any other 14 year old boy.

Hang in there. PM me if you'd like. Remember you are investing in the future of your child. Good luck

Learning to Stepparent's picture

I'm not sure if it would help or not. She likes to blame developmental problems on professionals setting the standards too high. She feels kids are pushed too hard and it is ridiculous to expect children to do things like, oh I don't know, potty trained and be able to put their own coats on themselves by 4 years old.

She has told me before that she didn't even start potty training her kids until they were 4 which others in the family tell me is a bald faced lie. I think she has just become somewhat codependent with SD and thinks the sun shines out her butt and if anyone has the audacity to suggest there may be an issue she goes into complete denial and excuses mode. There really is no reasoning with her. We have had meltdowns here that last a full hour to include kicking at us and the wall, flailing, slapping herself, etc. We have had to restrain her on a few different occasions. MIL says SD never acts like that there. Um...yeah, that's because she lets SD get away with toddler behavior.

After all the dental work, some of which was caused by the junk everyone was giving her and some of which was caused by allowing her to drink out of a bottle until she was 3 years old, MIL continued to let SD walk around the house with a sippy cup of juice tucked under her arm......3 weeks before her 5th birthday. Again came the excuses that "oh, well I got a regular cup for her to use for dinner." Just cannot grasp the concept that SD does not always get what she wants and genuinely needs help. The mental gymnastics I have seen the woman go through to excuse away inappropriate behavior and obvious developmental and neurological problems would make Marie Lou Retton dizzy.

Nope's picture

I handle my MIL like this:

When she comes to visit, I immediately kick her legs out from under her and roll her up in the foyer carpet so that only her face is sticking out one end. Next, I sauté some garlic and brussels sprouts in a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Oh, I should say I have left her rolled up on the foyer floor, facing the back end of my very flatulent large-breed dog. When the sprouts are browned on the bottom, I pop them into a 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes. They are part of my HFLC diet and I find the crispy texture is a real treat. After I have had my meal, I go to the foyer to let the dog out. Then I lean in close enough that my garlic/sprouts breath bounces off her peach-buff Loreal-caked cheek, and back into my own nostrils. Then, still close-talking, I remind her of all the reasons why I fucking hate her.

That made me hungry. I hope it helps!

hereiam's picture

They are part of my HFLC diet

How is the HFLC diet working for ya?

Sorry, Op, I don't know what I would do, my DH's mother died before I met him. I would probably not deal with her at all; that's what I do with DH's other family members that get on my nerves.

moeilijk's picture

The best way to stop being disappointed is to lower your expectations.

She's wrong, you know it, and she doesn't care. So you stop caring too. Unless you need her to participate in the therapy, don't discuss it with her. If she asks, tell her that SD is doing wonderfully and you would love her recipe for Bullshit Pie.

You just can't communicate with some people. Stop trying.

notasm3's picture

Just refuse to have those discussions with her. You can firmly but still politely tell her that you choose not to discuss "x" when she brings it up. And then you never bring up those topics either.

LauraM's picture

My MIL is so grateful to me for "stepping in when their mother left them" that I doubt I'd ever have and issue with her opinion although in the past she has refused to let my husband and I sleep together in her house. I attribute it to her very old fashioned values. Could this be the case with your MIL? Many people still have the belief that my son's Aspergers syndrome is just a personality flaw and nothing innate about it. You can agree to disagree on this subject