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Dr-A-Greene
Dr-A-Greene, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 309
Experience:  Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
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My husband and daughter-in-law are always butting heads. The

Customer Question

My husband and daughter-in-law are always butting heads. The last incident made me so nervous. She brought her new baby over for us to watch because she said that she didn't want to expose the baby to all those germs where she was going. As soon as she returned the baby started to cry and when she went to pick up the baby my husband said wash your hands. She grabbed for the baby again and my husband didn't give the baby to her so she washed her hands and then took the baby. The next day our son called and told his dad that his wife was upset about being asked to wash her hands before she could pick up her own baby. Our son recommened that we all meet at their house to discuss the matter and it was a shouting match mostly on my husbands part. He felt that he was protecting the baby from
germs and the daughter-in-law said that she felt that he was treating her like a child and he acted like it was his baby. She mentioned that she pushed the baby out, not him. Our
son tried to bring resolution by telling his dad that he didn't need to be as involved. His wife has called us and asked for many, many favors before this point. Now she says she doesn't want to come to our house because she feels like she has to walk on eggshells around my husband and he says that he feels the same way. In the meantime our son is in the middle and is hurt and doesn't know what to do. It seems that both parties feel that
they are right and is not planning to pull back for the sake of our son who is in the middle and the sake of the family.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr-A-Greene replied 4 years ago.

Dr-A-Greene :

You mentioned that you have done her many favors in the past - can you explain more?

Customer:

We have baby sat for her oldest daughter, who is not our son's, many times.

Customer:

I have gone to court with her three times, I have gone to the

Customer:

doctor with her while she was pregnant several times.

Dr-A-Greene :

Okay, so there is a precident there about you babysitting - that's not new. Have she and your husband butted heads on the older daughter?

Customer:

My husband has taken her to the hospital.

Customer:

Yes. We visited them soon after the baby got home from the

Customer:

hospital and my husband asked the older daughter for a kiss

Customer:

but she kissed the baby instead. Someone told the

Customer:

older daughter to give him a kiss and he refused to kiss her.

Customer:

The daughter in law had a fit and had our son call his

Customer:

dad the following day and came over to discuss it.

Customer:

After a week of not communicating, the daughter in law

Customer:

called and they discussed it and he apologized and they made up.

Dr-A-Greene :

Were there problems between them before the birth of the second child? Both incidents you described were within that period.

Customer:

I told my husband that I would have handled it differently

Customer:

because she is only four.

Customer:

Yes. My husband told her that she should go back to school

Customer:

and get a degree like our son. She had a fit and said that

Customer:

she thought that my husband didn't think she was good enoughh.

Customer:

All other times seemed to have been OK.

Dr-A-Greene :

Alright. The pattern seems to be that they get in an argument, she tells your son, he contacts dad and they eventually make up. Does this sound about right?

Customer:

Yes, but they didn't make up this last time.

Dr-A-Greene :

Okay. Well, unfortunately, I don't think you are going to be able to change the behavior of your husband or your daughter-in-law (who both could have done things differently). But what's important in this situation is that you continue to have a relationship with your grandson. Have you tried getting together with your son (alone) and explaining that you would like a relationship with the grandson under whatever conditions he and his wife find it favorable?

Customer:

Not yet.

Customer:

This last incident just happened yesterday.

Dr-A-Greene :

It might be worthwhile to do this rather than trying to fix the rift between husband and daughter-in-law. If they butt heads, that may always be the case. Your son getting in the middle all the time will just cause resentment and he will be forced to choose (a battle that his wife will win, I imagine). No one wants to keep putting him in that position. So, the best thing to do would be to take the contentious relationship out of the equation and focus on the relationship with your son and grandson.

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