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Overstepping grandparents are driving me crazy

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  • #850923 Reply

    My 13 year old son and I just moved in with my parents because my husband will be deployed to the Middle East with the military for a year. We thought this was the best decision considering, however, it’s proving to have been a mistake. My parents are constantly “parenting” my son, with no permission to do so. I don’t mind them asking him to do chores or talking to him about expectations, but recently, I’ve noticed that they are overriding things I’ve said or rules I’ve put in place. For example, tonight, I told my son he could stay up until 1 am (I know this is late) to play video games but at 11:45 my father told him he needed to get off the game and go to sleep. I realize it’s not criminal but how am I supposed to maintain authority if they continue to override everything I say? Am I not justified in being frustrated by this? I am not living with them for charity; I pay rent and contribute to the household. I’m not a helpless, incapable, or absentee mother that needs my parents to raise my child. I just simply thought it would be best to be with family in my husbands absence and because we are military, we aren’t rooted in any particular place, so this seemed like a good option. I am grateful that I have their support but I don’t know how to address this problem without making them think I’m not. I can’t stand this awkward feeling and the anger that comes along too. I feel like I have little credibility with my son and I feel like I’m 34 going in 16. Please give me some advice!

    #850926 Reply

    You need to talk to your parents about expectations and boundaries – as I think you’re breaking theirs. It must be a big upheaval for them having you and your son living with them and they may see him as spoilt (as would I if he’s staying up to play video games past 9pm age 13, sorry). Him playing video games may well be keeping them awake, and they then have to deal with a tired teenager in the morning. I get you’re feeling defensive, but 3 generations in one house will take some time to adjust and you all need to communicate.

    If I moved home now, my parents would still treat me like a teenager, even though it’s 20 years since I left, so it’s not necessarily disapproval of your parenting. Mine don’t trust me to get on the right train and come to the platform with me to wave me off, never mind that I have a 30 hour journey involving at least 3 international flights just to visit them!

    #850933 Reply

    Do your parents realize they’re overriding what you’ve said? Did your father know that you told your son he could stay up until 1 am, or did he just come across your son still up and assume he should be in bed? If you don’t share your rules with them, that could be the source of your problem.

    Otherwise, you might have to consider that it’s their house so both you and your son do have to follow their rules. You can do what you like in your own home but your parents can override you to some extent in their own home, especially about reasonable things like how late they’re willing to tolerate videogame noise.

    #850935 Reply

    You need to talk to your parents, but I think they actually should have a say in a lot of things. You also need to be a good “guest” in their home as well. That means asking your parents what they think sometimes and making decisions together. Maybe the first discussion can be about bedtimes. I mean, if you’re stating up late, you should probably be in your own room or bed and doing whatever you’re doing pretty quietly. No 13 year old needs to stay up that late, especially just to play video games. Screens make it harder to fall asleep. And school is starting, he needs to get on a reasonable sleep schedule.

    Your parental authority isn’t going to disappear because your father or mother butt in sometimes. Is this about maintaining control of your child, or is it about being treated as incapable or still being treated as a child? You need to decide what the issue is and approach it calmly and reasonably. I don’t think it’s that much of an offense for your father to tell your preteen to go to bed near midnight in his own home.

    #850937 Reply
    avatarMiss MJ

    Definitely talk to your parents, but I’d probably make alternate arrangements if I were you. Instead of paying rent to your parents, can you find a place nearby to rent? That way, you have their proximity and help if needed, they can see you guys and be let if your lives, but y’all won’t be all up in each other’s business.

    #850938 Reply

    Agree with everyone else, talk to your parents: Step 1, they need to know what your rules are for your kid, what you do and don’t allow him to do. Step 2, you should discuss what they’re comfortable and not comfortable with in their home. Step 3, come to an agreement on the rules and who enforces them.

    Count me in on the POV that a kid doesn’t need to be staying up til 1am playing video games. Go in your own room at 10 and read a book.

    #850941 Reply

    I’m kind of curious about what your other examples are. I get not wanted to be undermined, but I’d sure mind less if someone was enforcing healthier habits. You usually hear from people that they have stricter rules and their parents undermine them by not enforcing them.

    A 13-year-old doesn’t need to stay up until 1am playing video games. That is going to create bad habits that could impact his performance at school. Additionally, if he’s playing out in the living room, then the people whose home he’s at do have a right to ask him to go to bed.

    Again, I’m curious about the other examples, but I don’t think this is a hill to die on. If it were me, I’d just start telling him to go to bed earlier so we were on the same page.

    #850942 Reply

    Overstepping grandparents? Eh, try understepping mother. And a decidedly ungrateful one at that. Videogames til 1 am? Sorry, but your ONE big example is hilariously weak.

    #850944 Reply

    I’m 56. The thing that I’ve found as I’ve gotten older is that I don’t sleep as soundly. So, if someone was up at 1 am, getting ready for bed it would wake me up. You and your son both need to aware of other people in the home. Even if he was playing video games in his own room he would need to be quiet. He would also need to be quiet in the bathroom and in the hallway. I sleep best during the first half of the night. About 1 is when my sleep is less deep. Your chosen bedtime was likely bad for your parents. It is hard for me to sleep through someone being up in the house during the second half of the night.

    They may have been undermining your authority but you may have been undermining their sleep. Ultimately it is their home so their bedtime rules will apply.

    #850946 Reply

    Also, without additional examples, it sounds like it isn’t so much undermining, but you all haven’t discussed what the expectations are for living there. I think that for any issue your instructions differ on, you should talk together to find out what works for everyone. That way you can all give the same answer and have a united front.

    But when you are living in someone else’s home, it doesn’t always get to be “what mom says.” If you want to be the only adult who gets a say in how they live their lives, then you would need to live with them alone, I’d say.

    But generally, just having a conversation of what you each expect and finding a compromise that works for everyone would be the right action to have taken.

    #850954 Reply

    If you don’t want to be seen as helpless and incapable maybe have a crack at living on your own with your teenage son while your husband is away? I’m sure your parents aren’t exactly thrilled to have a house full again.

    (yes, I’ve committed to being the BGM of this thread)

    #850957 Reply

    But I’m IN this thread! 😜

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