“I Find That A Bit Strange And Controlling”: Mother Wonders How To Handle Her MIL’s Obsession With Her Children’s Clothes

Sometimes, when I’m browsing through a clothing store, I become a tiny bit jealous of today’s children. Their clothes are so cute! I was a pretty stylish child, if I do say so myself, but kids nowadays really have it made. There are so many adorable options for them. And while it’s unfortunate that I don’t have any friends with children, so I have no one to buy those precious little outfits for, I can completely understand why anyone who does have kids of their own, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or god-children would want to spoil them with some runway-ready pieces.

The only catch is, when you give someone a gift, you can’t really control when and where they’ll be wearing it… Below, you’ll find a story that one frustrated mom recently shared on MumsNet, detailing how her mother-in-law has become obsessed with when her little ones wear the clothes she gifted them. 

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We would love to hear your thoughts on this situation in the comments, pandas, and then if you’re interested in checking out another Bored Panda article featuring drama between a mother and daughter-in-law, look no further than right here!

This mom is wondering if it’s normal for her mother-in-law to have developed an obsession with the clothes her children wear

Image credits: Kevin Gent (not the actual photo)

Image credits: The Nix Company (not the actual photo)

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Image credits: MART PRODUCTION (not the actual photo)

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The mom later provided additional details about the situation, noting that this isn’t the first time she’s had an issue with her mother-in-law

It seems like a cliché for a daughter-in-law and a mother-in-law to have conflicts between one another, but it’s actually quite common. Apparently, both men and women report having more conflicts with their mothers-in-law than their own moms, and a whopping 75% of couples report having problems with an in-law, with the vast majority of these cases being daughter-in-law versus mother-in-law conflicts. In the case of this particular situation on MumsNet, it’s possible that the holidays are exacerbating this grandmother’s stress and desire to control.

Martin Daly, a professor of psychology, neuroscience and behavior at McMaster University, Canada, told the BBC, “Occasions like Christmas are a major point of conflict, because it’s where people are expected to be together.” We cannot know for sure how often this family spends time with the mother’s parents or how they decided to spend Christmas, but it’s possible that this particular grandmother was feeling left out or jealous and decided to take that out on her daughter-in-law by becoming controlling.

When it comes to who qualifies as a controlling in-law, Lisa Gordon, a therapist from the Family Institute at Northwestern University in Illinois, told Newsweek, “I would consider a mother-in-law controlling if she exerts her decisions on the couple or their children in ways that negatively impact the couple or children.” While gifting the kids clothing is certainly a kind thing to do, dictating when and where they must wear it is crossing a line. She’s causing stress for her daughter-in-law, potentially putting a strain on her son’s relationship by sticking him in the middle, and possibly affecting the children by not leaving them any space to express what they want to wear.

Heather Lofton, another therapist at Northwestern’s Family Institute, also shared with Newsweek that some of the tell-tale signs of a controlling in-law are “requesting personal or private information from her adult child’s new spouse”, “imposing her presence at inappropriate times”, and “making demands and/or requests that feel uncomfortable to you”. And when it comes to where this behavior stems from, Gordon says it might be the mother attempting to “soothe her own feelings of insecurity or irrelevance”.

But how is a parent supposed to deal with an in-law who exhibits such controlling behavior? Lofton notes that the married couple must ensure that they support one another and work together as a team. The controlling mother’s child should approach her about the situation first, then the couple can communicate with her as a union. They should clearly express their concerns, set boundaries, and calmly explain that, while they love her very much, it is not the grandmother’s job to parent or dictate every move her grandchildren make. 

In this particular case on MumsNet, many readers shared their recommendations for how the mom could address her mother-in-law. I hope that at this point she has firmly stood her ground, and she no longer has to worry about dressing her children in specific clothes on specific days. Let us know your thoughts on this situation in the comments, pandas, and then if you’re interested in reading another article featuring an overbearing mother-in-law, you can find that right here!  

Readers sympathized with the mom, urging her to stand up to her controlling mother-in-law

The post “I Find That A Bit Strange And Controlling”: Mother Wonders How To Handle Her MIL’s Obsession With Her Children’s Clothes first appeared on Bored Panda.

Source: boredpanda.com

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