My daughter-in-law uses bad language when she shouts at my three grandchildlren – all under eight. She uses horrible swear words then warns them not to mention it to their father. As a result, the kids are frightened of her and withdrawn. When my son asks them what’s wrong, they eventually reveal their secret.
This infuriates her more and they get another mouthful of abuse from their mother. My grandchildren are well loved and cared for otherwise. They mean the world to my son though he can be difficult to live with. I’m so worried.
Dana, by e-mail.
You’re right to be worried about your daughter-in-law. Because she’s dissatisfied with her lot and your difficult son, she hands her children pain and anguish. Don’t tolerate this cruel behaviour. The hurt these kids know now will shape their future lives.
Find a time you can have the undivided attention of both of them and speak candidly to them. Offer them your unconditional support in resolving their problems.
But point out that their children’s suffering is unnecessary and horribly unfair. Say bluntly that for them to continue in ways that harm their kids is unacceptable.
To protect everyone’s happiness they need either to live together peacefully or admit that their relationship is utterly rotten and then part. However your son and his sad wife respond to your intervention, continue to give them and your grandchildren infinite love. The sin here would be not to step in. This would give their kids continued pain.