One mother is asking Reddit if she is the a****** for standing up against her in-laws when it comes to her daughter’s body autonomy.
“So today was Father’s Day where we live and we went to visit my in-laws for the day. Originally my husband was going to let us take him to breakfast (little one almost-two-year-old daughter and me) but last minute he decided he wanted to go visit his dad all day.”
“Little one usually naps from 12-2.30 sometimes a bit longer and my plan was to go either before or after nap since we only live about 20 or so minutes away without traffic. Husbands insist I do nap at his parents. I was hesitant because I have been super exhausted the last few days and I didn’t really think a nap would happen. But I agreed.”
And the mom couldn’t have been more right…
“Sure enough LO (little one) did not nap. We were there from 9:30 AM-3:30 PM. Without one single nap. Around 3 I told my husband that we were exhausted and we were going to head out (we drove separately). He was cool with it. The visit was great for the most part. What was really tough was my in laws and their lack of ability to respect my daughters autonomy. They know not to force hugs and kisses. I do have to remind them when they try to ask and LO says no. I’ve gotten in the habit of suggesting a high five if my daughter feels comfortable.”
“A few times my daughter did not want to sit on FIL’s lap. He would place her there and she would say no and want to slide off. MIL would then try to place her back and LO was clearly uncomfortable. I finally said: MIL please don’t force my daughter to do things that she does not want to do. She can say no to sitting on grandpa’s lap.”
But the in-laws (and her husband) were not too pleased with this request.
“Eyes rolled and husband later told me that I was an a****** for teaching our daughter to be disrespectful towards her grandparents.”
The OP added the following edit: “To add, I respect my daughters autonomy with all family. Mine included. The difference with my family is that once they see my daughter is uncomfortable or she says no, my parents will say they respect whatever it is and remind her that they love her even when she says no. So it’s a non-issue with my parents.”
One person commented: “Yes, explain to your husband that teaching your daughter your way prevents sexual abuse. Teaching your husband her way increases the likelihood of sexual abuse, and of you not finding out about it, since it’s disrespectful for children to say no to authority figure adults (who usually abuse them, not strangers) even if they aren’t okay with what is being done to their bodies. And also that their parents won’t help them or care if someone is doing something to their bodies they don’t like.”
While another said: “It’s not taught as much as it should be and I’m so happy to hear OP teaching her daughter it! A lot of times children are taken advantage of because they don’t understand that they can say no to adults, even if it’s ‘disrespectful to them and even if the encounter with the adult makes them feel gross/uncomfortable/unsafe. Children who are sexually abused a majority of the time are targeted by family members or close family friends or someone the child knows: 93% know their abuser (more on this fact page too). I’m not saying that OPs ILs and husband are abusing her daughter but I wanted to point this out to highlight the fact that teaching a child boundaries/autonomy, even with family, can help prevent a dangerous/harmful situation or help them get out of it faster. It also can teach her daughter to be vocal when someone disrespects her boundaries so if something bad does happen to her when OP isn’t around she can seek out help. Also for the whole ‘Disrespect’ thing from her husband: OP is not teaching her daughter disrespect but rather to help enforce her own boundaries and weed out those who don’t respect HER.“
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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