6 Ways Your In-Laws Break All Your Rules

6 Ways Your In-Laws Break All Your Rules

In-laws have a way of breaking all the parenting rules, but of course we still love them.

By Maria Mora

When you have kids, your relationship with your in-laws changes enormously. Suddenly, you’re a rock star for producing grandkids. If you were already close, you’ll become much closer. If you weren’t close, you’ll find that suddenly you’re buddies.

Unfortunately, that newfound superstar status comes with some drawbacks. In-laws have an uncanny way of undermining parenting and breaking every rule you tried to stick by when you became a mom. Here, six of the worst ways in-laws can throw you off your parenting game.

1. They give extravagant gifts. Good luck trying to raise kids with modest gift expectations. It doesn’t matter if you specifically ask your in-laws not to give your children extravagant gifts or electronics. Grandparents exist to spoil kids, and spoil they will. Then, you’re left trying to wrangle children who want to play with expensive handheld devices and expect big-ticket birthday gifts.

2. They run your household. In-laws visiting? Prepare to step back. “When my mother-in-law is here, she takes over and it doesn't even feel like my house anymore,” says Alexandra R. from Wisconsin. No matter how much you thought your routines were set in stone, you’ll find them disrupted by your “helpful” in-laws.

3. They give your kids a sugar rush. In-laws love being good cop. That means secret treats like ice cream and candy when you’re not looking. Amy D. from Virginia says her in-laws even allow her kids to have whipped cream straight from the can. There’s no way out of this. Just prepare for your kids to start bouncing off the walls.

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4. They don’t understand your definition of healthy. Trying to feed your kids healthy foods like whole grains and vegetables? You’re not alone. But your kids’ grandparents are from another generation. They’re fine with fast food and soda. “One day after I told them how I was trying to make healthier choices for my kids and teach them proper nutrition, they took them to a fast-food place,” says Michael G. from Michigan. Hopefully your kids’ digestive systems are up for the shock.


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5. They don’t respect bedtimes. Your in-laws don’t get to spend much time with your kids. That means bedtimes are nonexistent when they’re babysitting or hosting the kids overnight. To be fair, kids are really adorable when they’re sleepy and cuddly. But who has to pick up the pieces when the kids are overtired and cranky the next day?

6. They’re way too much fun. No one can keep up with the level of fun in-laws bring to the table. Zoos? Museums? Ice cream parlors? Parents are stuck in the daily grind and usually aren’t the fun-machines in-laws are. Come to think of it, maybe this is why in-laws are so permissive with their grandkids. They’re making up for all the times they had to say, “Not right now.”

How do your in-laws throw a wrench in your parenting?

Maria Mora is communications director at Big Sea Design and Development in St. Petersburg, Florida. She lives with her two sons and their rescue terriers.

Image ©iStock.com/PeopleImages

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