Sunday, May 20, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Protecting your kids against alcoholic mother-in-law is okay

Q: My mother-in-law is an alcoholic. A couple of years ago, she drove drunk with my sister-in-law's kids, and my sister-in-law cut off all of my mother-in-law's contact with them. Since then, my mother-in-law got two DUIs and lost her license. To her credit, she has made SOME inroads to getting sober.

I am pregnant with our first. Another sibling has been pressuring my husband to let my mother-in-law watch our kid on occasion, unsupervised. Husband is caving, despite knowing of my concerns, saying, "Well, as long as she doesn't drive Kid, and stays sober." I am completely not okay with this. What do I do? For what it's worth, my sister-in-law gets no pressure to re-establish contact.

Mom-to-Be

Carolyn: You put your foot down. You say absolutely not. You say this is your child and his, not his sibling's. You say you will physically stand in the way of his mother's caring for the child unsupervised. The whole Mama/Papa Bear image is overused, and raising kids is normally a lot more routine than such overuse suggests, but there are in fact times you have to get up on your hind legs and roar. This is one of them. Welcome to the den.

Anonymous: In addition, it couldn't hurt to go with your husband to Al-Anon meetings. If he's even considering caving, he needs a cold dose of the reality of his mother's illness. Because no way should his mom be with your child unsupervised.

Carolyn: Even if mom has stopped drinking, her legacy of boundary problems is still plainly in force.

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Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of May 21-27.

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of May 21-27.

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