Thursday, 27 February 2014

How to stop the relatives from meddling?


We all have some people in our lives who try to influence our decisions. Remember, only the parents are responsible for the way their kids turn out, therefore only they have to be the ones to decide what the best for their kids is.



Talk to your spouse politely and explain how you feel. You two must be on the same page on this one. Be careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings. The most important thing in this whole deal is that everyone saves face. Your goal is to get the best for your child, not to win a fight

Ideally, you two come to a mutual standing point. The person or persons with whom you had a disagreement should be mature enough to accept your opinion and everything goes well from that day on.

In real life, however things tend to get a bit more complicated.  If your spouse tends to be a bit too sensitive or too attached to the person involved, it is best for you to be tactful.

You can try saying something like “My mother is making me crazy when she does /insert the stuff you want /”, and hope the reply will be “Yeah, my sister does some crazy things too. For instance…”
Or start off by indicating that there is nothing personal. Like “I really love when your mother comes to visit. She is an extraordinary woman who worked hard for what she’s got. But I hate it when she ruins our attempts to sleep train our daughter”.
If you notice hostility, withdraw and wait a while before you attempt to start the conversation again. Fighting is the last resort and it is rarely productive and will only make things worse.

Being a granny or an aunty is a great experience. You get to be a part time parent, the good part. They may let your child behave nasty because they won’t be there when the consequences hit the fan. For instance they let your kid eat a ton of ice cream although his throat is really sensitive. He’s happy and they are happy too. But they won’t be the ones staying up all night trying to stop the fever or a runny nose.
That’s why you need to clarify that you aren’t willing to play the “good cop bad cop” game. Once again, your goal is not to hurt them. Ask as calmly as you can to stop doing that, or not to do anything similar again. Acknowledge that you are aware that they love your kids a lot, but then explain that love means responsibility too. This ought to do the trick most of the times.

In case it doesn’t go well you need to put it more bluntly. And if these actions tend to repeat again and again, it’s time to pull out the big guns.

  • Call them in the middle of the night and inform them that your son has a fever. Tell them it’s a consequence of eating the ice cream they gave him and that you just wanted to share with them the feeling of a helpless parent.
  • Invite them over  to try and feed your daughter when she’s running around asking for candies instead of sitting in a high chair and eating veggies, the habit you tried to install and which was successfully ruined. 
  • Or if the sweets gave your boy constipation, put them on the speakerphone and let them hear the screaming of the kid in pain for a while and ask them if they feel like a good granny or aunty now.
This whole situation can make a real mess if every visit becomes a fight or damage to your kid’s health. Then it’s time to try some avoidance technique. This may sound a bit childish, but, hey, you know, you should fight with the weapon your opponent chose.


  • Fake the illness. Yes I’m serious. It’s the best I could think of when dealing with an annoying aunt. After a second cold my boy had after running out on a rainy winter day and getting kisses from a sick aunt, I started to avoid her.  It’s better to fake a high temperature then to actually treat one.
  • Sudden change of plans.  You won two tickets to an entertainment park just the day the good old granny wanted to come and visit. Bad luck.
  • Find something your kid likes to do, something useful but time consuming. Music lessons, playing with a friend who lives on the other end of the town etc. Use your imagination.


At the end of the day, you are destined to confront with the ones who cause you problems. Fortunately, such people are rare, and if you are lucky enough to have them in your family, you probably thought of a way to handle them. 

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