A Mother-In-Law Who Treats Her Grandkids ‘Like Wild Animals’ Is Bringing Helicopter Parenting to a Whole New Level

Going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house can be an ordeal for a lot of reasons, especially when it comes to acting appropriately. And we’re not just talking about behavior (even though we know you’re dreading the idea of your kid having a mid-visit meltdown). It’s that they sometimes have to learn a whole new set of household rules.

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You might be lax about them making their bed (you have to pick and choose your battles when they’re late for school), but Grandpa might insist they be able to bounce a quarter off the sheets when they sleep over. You might let them use glass cups, but Grandma might insist they use something that won’t easily break. It’s an adjustment, but it’s ultimately a harmless learning experience. Their house, their rules, yada, yada, yada.

Well, one mother-in-law (MIL) is taking things way too far. Her daughter-in-law joined the Reddit “Am I The A—hole” subreddit to vent about her father’s partner’s unbelievable rules for when her four sons (ages 12 and 7 and 4-year-old twins) come over. The original poster (OP) and this supposed MIL do not get along. OP told Reddit that this woman “sucks the air out of a room when she walks in” and that after OP had a “psychotic episode” two years ago, their relationship became even more “strained.”

“My boys love their Grampy and visiting at the farm,” OP wrote. “I don’t want my poor relationship with my dad and especially his partner to interfere with the boys having a relationship with my dad, especially since his health is declining [since having a stroke three years ago].”

“That being said, the way my children are treated really bothers me.”

  • Problem No. 1

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    So how are they treated? The first example OP gave is about having sweets at the house. Which grandparents are pretty much known for handing out to grandkids.

    “If my dad’s partner gave the boys a cookie, she would follow after them while they were eating it to vacuum up the crumbs (and not in a fun playful way).”

    What?! Follow them around with a vacuum?! That is so uncomfortable even if it is in a “playful” way. Which, speaking of, what does that even mean? This is a level of hovering we’ve never heard of.

  • Problem No. 2

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    OP’s dad and her MIL recently got new furniture and floors, and the kids are not allowed to sit on the furniture or play on the ground.

    “They are not allowed to be anywhere in the house besides the kitchen, which is mostly taken up by large furniture, a wood stove, and plants,” OP said.

    Is this a joke?!

  • Not-So-Subtle Message

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    So what we’re getting from this is that the grandparents don’t want the grandkids or their mom around. She told Redditors she doesn’t feel welcome, and they said they would feel the same way.

    “I feel like my children are looked down on like wild animals,” she said of her sons who are effectively caged in, “or they are expected to behave like little dolls that sit still and are quiet until my father or his partner want to pay attention to them.”

    She said she gets “really bad anxiety” and feels “on edge” at her dad’s house and doesn’t want to subject her kids to that kind of treatment.

  • What About Her House?

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    As we were reading along, we wondered what it would be like if the dad came to his daughter’s house instead. She got to that at the end, and we are less-than-satisfied with the answer.

    “My dad doesn’t/won’t come to my house very often to see them ( even though I’m the one with a full-time job and four kids),” she said. “If he does come he’ll only stay for 5-10 minutes then leave.”

    BUT WHY?! It would be so much easier for his daughter, he wouldn’t have to host and worry about crumbs or the kids sitting on the couch (*eye roll*), and, most importantly, he would see his grandkids.

    Grampy needs to grab his keys and head to his daughter’s house pronto. If he doesn’t he just might lose the privilege of seeing the kids because OP is now asking Reddit if she would be an a—hole for no longer taking them to visit.

  • So Would She Be?

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    Most of Reddit is standing firmly behind this mom of four who they said would absolutely not be the a—hole if she put an end to this.

    “A reasonable rule would be ‘kids cannot have food or drinks on the new couches’ not ‘no kids allowed on the couches,’” one person said. “Couches don’t get ruined just by kids sitting on them. A reasonable rule would be ‘no shoes on the new floors’ not ‘kids are not allowed on the new floors at all’…I would tell your dad that because his wife is so worried about the house getting ruined by your kids, the best alternative would be for him to visit your home or at a neutral location like a park. If he can’t take more than 10 minutes out of his day to do that then that’s on him.”

    “NTA their house isn’t kid friendly which is fine, their prerogative,” another wrote. “It’s also your prerogative to not go somewhere you and your kids aren’t welcome. If they want to see you, they can either come to you or ease up on their rules. They can’t have it both ways.”

    The only catch? Although it is ultimately her decision, OP should talk to her kids first and make sure they are ok with the change to this relationship.

    “Your children are all of speaking age and are old enough to notice,” someone pointed out. “Are they willing to put up with the weird rules? If you want to know if you WBTA, then the first thing to do is speak to your 12-year-old.”

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