Rboggey Asked September 2011

How do I get my 73-year-old mother to understand that it's my house and my rules?

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My mother moved in with me and my two children, 5 & 7, about two years ago and it has turned into hell. She acts as if my 5 yr old son is actually hers. He as become very beligerent to me and my 7 yr old daughter. He does not behave at the dinner table. He throws food, kicks people from under the table, gets up, etc. If I try to discipline him, my mother gets upset and tries to feed him like a baby. If I put him on time-out, he will first tell me no and that he only obeys Grandma. If I do manage to get him to sit down, she will run to him as soon as I turn my back. My boyfriend (their father) moved out shortly after she moved in because of the drama involved and the fact that she went off on him for also trying to discipline my son. If I try to help them with their homework, she gets upset like I am moving in on her turf. If I am in their room reading a book to them at bedtime, she will try to lure them out to her room. She talks and treats me like I am stupid and can't do anything. My mother and I have never gotten along and she left my father when I was 14. I moved her into my house from my sister's as they were taking all of her money and charging up her credit cards. My other sister out of town truly believes that I abuse her and both of my children. As she takes the kids to school and picks them up, I value her help as I cannot afford after-school care. However, this isn't worth it anymore. What do I do??

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EXPERT Carol Bradley Bursack Sep 2011
You may want to try to get her in for an evaluation, as this behavior could have to do with dementia. I'm assuming you asked her to move in for a reason, which would likely be her decline. However, whatever the reason, as Jeannegibbs says, this is not working. It's undermining your ability to be a mother, which is your first obligation. It's already estranged you and the kids from the kids' father. This is not good. Please get family counseling for everyone, and find another living situation for your mother - the sooner the better.
Carol
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M1953 Sep 2011
I would move her out so fast! Maybe an apartment, wouldn't be very expensive! Those children need to be away from the drama, it is going to take a long time to undo the harm with your children that your mother has caused! Before I would put up with that, I would move her back to sis's house, maybe they weren't taking her money, maybe she made that up, to be able to move in with you! You & sis need a heart to heart, if that is possible! Your responsibility is with your children, first & at the same time ou have to also take good care of yourself or there won't be any of you left, to be yourself! Hope that makes sense! My husband & I raised two RAD children, for those of you who don't understand what that means, it is Reactive Attachment Disorder, it is too complicated to explain, you can google it & you will see what I mean! They were in counseling their entire lives from the time they arrived in our home at ages 1 & 2! What the therapists, psychologis & psychiatrists always said was that "you have to take care of you, you have to do things for fun for yourself, otherwise you will lose who you are!" At the time I thought I could handle it & didn't take good care of myself, I thought that would be selfish! Boy was I wrong, I developed chonic asthma, my husband developed anxiety attacks! There is so much truth to that statement, my husband & I lost ourselves, that's how I know! The two girls are now grown, 24 & 25 years old, one in & out of jail & one made it! You have to separate yourself from your mother, whether it be by putting her in an apartment, moving her back to sis, moving her to assisted living, nursing home, etc.

Sending hugs! Marilyn
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jeannegibbs Sep 2011
This isn't worth it anymore. Get her out of your home. Get family counselling. Your children are headed to long-term problems if you do not take charge of the situation.

You've put up with this for two years? The children's father moved out because of this? It is time to start undoing the damage already done.
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bap0424 Sep 2011
OMG! Save yourself and your children from this as soon as possible. My mom has lived with us for over 12 years, she's not as bad as your's sounds, however, I know the toll it's taking on my marriage. I'm thankful I did not have young children in the house for most of that time. Figure out something (anything) else for your afterschool care issues, try to get the children's father back with you all, and get your family back to what it was meant to be.
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dinak Sep 2011
Since she has been living in your home for some time now, I am un-sure as to what the laws are in your area as it pertains to tenants (paid or unpaid). Believe it or not, some places will not allow u to just force someone out, even if it is your own home! I would start the process now, if I were you, and find out how much official, written notice you must issue to her. Then find an inexpensive apartment where she can rent, if she is still able to take care of herself for the most part. If she needs anything else, let your other family members take over her care or have her move into their homes, if they think it is so easy and enjoyable. As hard as it is to move your mom out, you must find the strength because you cannot allow your children to live in that kind of environment. It's not about you or your mother as much as it the mental health of your kids and your relationship with them.
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kimkathleen Sep 2011
You need counseling as you sound like your a victum here in your own home and all your relationships revolve around this victum mentality. I am glad your mother is at least valuable to you for something, but your right to change her living situation (maybe you can handle her fiancial stuff) and she can go back to the other sisters and visit you on occasion. Try to salvage a loving relationship here but do get counseling!
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SherriSab Sep 2011
When I started to see this behavior, I had a Geriatric Assessment completed and it indicated that my mother in law had the beginning of Alzheimers. She would fight over the TV with my children. They were a little older than your children at the time. The thing to remember is that your mother isn't aware and doesn't understand what is going on. This causes behavior that is completely different than what you are accustomed. The children don't understand these changes either and that may be the reason your son is acting out.
When Dementia or Alzheimers enters the picture, it is as if you have another child to take care.
Remember that if this is Dementia,there is no clear cut stages so you don't know when she could wander or be a danger to herself or others.
Talk to you children about Grandma and what you think is happening, get the assessment done. Don't be guilty if you have to place her in an assisted living facility. It is nice because they make relationships there and don't depend on you24/7. My mother in law had to see me all the time and I didn't have a minute to myself. Maybe you could find someone(family or church) to sit with you mom for a night and you and the kids could go off and even stay with someone so you had some time with them and could think things through. If you are in PA, I would be happy to help you. Just know that you are not alone....God Bless Sherri
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hart Oct 2011
Sometimes when we take our mothers into our homes, we think that we are doing the best for the family. I did this and finally had to move her to another house when my 9 year old son started talking about killing himself. I realized that as much as I loved my mother, her life was not the priority. She had already lived a wonderful 80 plus years. My priority was this child and his brother. Your job is to love your mother and care for her in her advanced age but not to sacrifice yourself or your children while doing this. Please look at other options and believe in yourself to make a choice that works for you and your children. You are the mom. You are in charge. Don't hand your power off to anyone else.
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Siusaidh Oct 2011
It sounds like the damage to your famliy is already significant. Do you believe the childrens' dad will come back if your mother is gone? Do you want him to? Is he a positive influence in your lives? At 73 your mom is mighty young, and you could have many YEARS of this destructive dynamic ahead of you if she stays.

If there's one thing caring for my MIL has demonstrated for me it is that the patterns of interaction don't improve greatly with age. If anything, the elders seem to become more deeply entrenched in what they think and want and in the belief that they are absolutely right. Does anybody else remember the line from "Space Cowboys," "Old age just brings out more of the Frank in you, Frank!"? My point is that there may be NOTHING you can do to get your mom to acknowledge the fact that it is your home, they are your children, and how you discipline them is your perogative. If she will not listen and respond to a reasonable, straightforward, rational and firm request from you, then you must make a difficult decision. The mother bear in me says that you must care for your children's well being first.

You are in a tough spot, but I say stick to your guns! From my chair it appears that whatever she may be contributing financially doesn't seem worth the price you and your children are paying.
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