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Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue. First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating and hurtful this situation must be for you and your husband. On the one hand you are trying to be generous to your stepson and his wife. But on the other hand they are acting so badly. And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. I need you to consider something. Your daughter in law is actually right about ONE THING: many of her peers are actually worse than what you're putting up with!
Yes, I know you find that hard to believe. So, I want you and your husband to go to Starbucks or some other quiet place and read my answer and discuss it. There is a very difficult culture today with married kids and their parents. It wasn't easy in the previous generation and it wasn't easy in the generation before that and there are ancient horror stories about in-law relationships. Well, I can't say it's SO much more difficult today, but I can tell you that it is such a common problem that I get questions about it here every single week and in my private practice it comes up with a few families every single year now. And I'm just one psychologist! Two weeks ago I had in my office a son/daughter in law together with the father/mother in law. There was yelling and threats of leaving. It was not pretty.
Therefore, I want to give you a couple of options. One is quick but painful. The other is slow and the pain is slower:
Quick: LET IT GO. I know this is so tough because they're in the wrong. Let me repeat: I KNOW they are in the wrong. But I am going to tell you something I told parents two months ago in my office: you have a choice here. You can be right or you can be wise. Take your pick. You can't be both. You want to be right? You won't have peace or grandchildren around you. You choose. Sometimes you have to swallow your sense of truth for common sense and wisdom. They're young and have swallowed this strange culture so many of their peers have that they have to be in total control of their baby's life to make things turn out right. And they've also bought into the age-old habit that has been plaguing parents and parents in law forever: that anything you say is controlling and worse. If you don't believe me, consider this: why are there so many books on being mothers in law? Right. It's tough relationships. Here, by the way are two good ones:
The Mother in Law's Manual by XXXXX XXXXXeberman. Here's the Amazon web page: http://www.amazon.com/Mother-Laws-Manual-Maintaining-Relationships/dp/1933979410/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1287629518&sr=8-1-fkmr0 The Twelve Sacred Traditions of Magnificent Mothers in Law by Haywood Smith. Here's it's page: http://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Sacred-Traditions-Magnificent-Mothers/dp/0982175604/ref=pd_sim_b_4
Your husband can gain a thing or two from them as well. Oh, by the way, there's the slow option. Right. That's the one where you stick to your guns and never see them or the grandchildren....
I wish I could make this perfect for the two of you. I can't. I can't for my patients either. But I can tell you the truth and help you see that it just isn't worth it to keep the fight going. Because they aren't going to be wise enough to stop it. YOU have to be the wise ones. So, please discuss this together and consider my advice.
I wish you and your husband the very, very best!
Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX