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Mil-my Child Problem

Discussion in 'Relationship With In-Laws' started by soulful, Oct 24, 2022.

  1. soulful

    soulful Platinum IL'ite

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    Hello All, i have a problem!

    my MIL has always wanted to be called Amma by my (now almost 3 year old) daughter. She has by hook or crook tried to suggest herself to be Amma to my child. Like when she says Can amma give you food, she is refwrring herself. When my child is upset she raises her hand and says, come to Amma. So on and so forth.

    I have tried to ignore her saying it doesn’t make her my child’s Amma. Sometimes, When she speaks like that, i I instantly correct her to say she is grandma, i am Amma. i have also spoken to my (then two year old!) child how she was in my tummy and then she came out. ( yea i know it is horrible that i have to say this just so she understands i am her mother)

    ironically, my child used to understand inspite of being just two years old and run to me when mil pulled such tricks. For a while things had calmed down but mil is trying her old tricks once again. This time my kid calls her Amma. Not all the time, but sometimes it just slips. She looks at me as soon as she says it.

    i tried confronting my mil but mil has this weird polite tone that never changes no matter what the situation and she completely turns my words on its head. It just leaves me more frustrated because she is this nice innocent persona ne i am the evil witch. And my daughter asks me why are uou speaking to grandma like that

    Hubby is of no use . He says nothing to her.


    Any suggestions? I amlosing my temper these days too. I try meditation, but that a on and off.

    pleas help! I need some words that will help me come out of this tunnel.

    TIA
    Happy Deepawali to All
     
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  2. winterhue

    winterhue Gold IL'ite

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    First off, let me tell you - you are not crazy or wrong to feel intimidated by this. I was in the EXACT same point as you. My MIL would do all the things your MIL did, sneakily trying to make my daughter call her Amma. I would get so irritated and flustered because my MIL would even answer when my kid called 'amma' out to me.

    My take on it is as that you talked to the wrong person. In my case, I handled it by clearly telling my daughter - I did not mince words, I did not tell her any stories , I was direct with my daughter that she was to call me and only me- amma and that is grandma, and she is daddy's amma. I did NOT add a "because" clause. I did not tell her "you should call me amma because you came from my tummy". This way, my then 3 yr old daughter understood that this was a non-negotiable in the house. No conflict.

    The mistake you did is that you exposed to your MIL a weakness. She now FULLY understands that you are triggered by this and there is a possibility of labelling you as an evil witch if she continues to press this button. So, of course, she is going to keep referring to herself as Amma and wait for you to have a meltdown , so that she can now tell "Look- I am being innocent and she is making a mountain of a mole hill" .
    Next time, when she refers to herself as amma, repeat the statement to your kid saying "grandma is asking if you want food - do you want it?". Again, do not engage, I repeat, DO NOT EVER ENGAGE WITH YOUR MIL DIRECTLY ON THIS TOPIC. The question should not be asked to her. If she says " come dear, come to amma", pat on your kids back and say "go dear, go to grandma, grandma is calling you".

    Additionally, fill your conversations with chances to refer to her as grandma. For instance, if you are going out to the park and want to take your MIL along, tell your kid "Lets take grandma also along?" Keep referring to her as grandma to your kid every moment. "give this to grandma, ask grandma this, tell grandma that, help grandma , play with grandma" etc. etc. Use every opportunity for that.
     
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  3. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    I agree with @winterhue. Your MIL is just stirring the pot knowing how irritated this makes you. Don’t give her the satisfaction. Also don’t put your kid in the middle of this nonsense.
    Refer to her matter-of-factly as paati, dadi, Nani, whatever is your community’s name for grandmother.
    And don’t worry, your child knows who mom is.
     
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  4. soulful

    soulful Platinum IL'ite

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    Thankyou @winterhue ! I will keep this in mind. Her tone is exactly that- why are you making a mountain of a molehill. And then she invokes God! And says I said that? I don’t remember.
     
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  5. soulful

    soulful Platinum IL'ite

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    Thankyou @MalStrom! I know this is just sick manipulating a child like this. I will keep a tab on my temper.
     
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  6. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    Gaslighting. Don’t play the game.
     
  7. soulful

    soulful Platinum IL'ite

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    i had to google gaslighting and boy! That has been a revelation. All the more reason to keep away from her.
     
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  8. SGBV

    SGBV IL Hall of Fame

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    Don't worry dear mummy. No one can take your place in your kid's life. So just chill.

    My kids call my mother "amma". Because she lives with us, and everyone calls her amma. The kids also call me amma. But they know who is their mother and who is their grand mother.
    I never interrupted this or corrected them at that young age. But whenever I spoke to them about my mother, I addressed her as "grandma".

    Eventually, they started calling her grandma. But still, there are days they still call her amma. I do not mind this.

    A few years back, when my brother & SIL were away with their elder child for her treatment, they left their little one with me. This child has learnt from my kids and called me amma. I tried to correct her initially, but then I thought this little child may be missing her amma, and found some solace in calling me amma. So, I let her call me amma.

    After 6 months when her parents returned, she recognized her real amma. Now, she calls me maami (aunt).

    So, this is not something unusual. Even if your MIL does this on purpose, don't bother.

    We sometimes call the road side beggar lady as "amma". It doesn't make her our real amma.
     
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  9. soulful

    soulful Platinum IL'ite

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    @SGBV thankyou for your post. It does give a different perspective and in other circumstances, i would have turned a blind eye to what my lo calls her grandma!
    However, not every situation is innocent like you describe and not everyone thinks the same way..

    My mil is manipulative and if you see the glee (sometimes smirk) on her face when my child calls her Amma, your response would have been different. Plus, she never corrects her. if someone is really innocent, won’t they correct the child when they realize the child’s mother doesn’t like it? What kind of sadistic pleasure is this? A person’s motive matters. Calling a roadside lady Amma doesn’t make our Amma, but we do it with pure intentions.
    Would you call someone Amma if your mother objects? Would you not correct your brother’s child if his mother is uncomfortable with him calling you Amma?

    My child is not even 3 and can’t understand politics and manipulation.

    I appreciate the fact that you gave me another way to think about it, i am just placing my side of the story.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2022
  10. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Soulful, adding a few points to winterhue's post above, and reiterating some from her excellent and pithy post.

    1. A little child calling an adult amma is innocent. An adult repeatedly referring to herself as amma after being told not to is malicious.

    2. Do not verbally engage further with MIL about this. Remind yourself of this a few times weekly.

    3. If husband intervenes or interferes, tell him, if you cannot help in this matter, at least do not hinder.

    4. Daughter is asking you why you talk sternly to MIL. You have to, by hook or crook, reach a state where you are outwardly more composed about this amma business. Otherwise, one day at preschool, all kids are asked to draw a picture of family, she will draw them three in one side and you angry at them standing apart from them. Like you said, she is too young to understand. Don't let her form memories of you talking like that to her calm, quiet, sweet grandma.

    5. Meditation can help but in an indirect way. Try to practice it regularly. It will slowly turn you into a person who flares up less often, and who gets back to normal mood faster after a flare up. Try guided meditation too. It will give techniques like labeling her behavior or your reaction and letting that go by instead of brooding on it. I would pick the mental label of "amma donga" for each time MIL steals the amma title. : )

    6. If something bothers you so strongly, respect that bother and takes steps to fix the issue. Do not doubt your feelings and don't expect or wait for others to acknowledge the slight or wrong.

    7. Quietly reinforce to your daughter that you and only you are amma. Many suggestions in previous posts for this. In addition, try some of these: get a habit tracker for the fridge, track some random habit like water glasses intake per day. Write "Amma" and "Daughter name". Help her draw family picture and write amma, daddy, grandma.. under each figure. Get old pics of your husband and MIL and point to "daddy, daddy's amma" in them. Make a family project of your childhood pictures too. Get those Chinese nesting dolls. Make a game of lining them up and naming them after family members. If you have the energy, make up imaginary stories involving all of you and refer to grandma as grandma. Take turns with DD to add to the story.

    8. Form a neutral and calm response, preferably a non-verbal one, to use if your MIL refers to herself as amma.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2022
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