‘Parents-in-law have a different upbringing, discuss?’

Do you have an urgent problem and want to hear someone else’s opinion? Subway shares a reader’s dilemma each week. This week: Erwin (37), who likes that his parents-in-law often babysit, but is disappointed that they have a different parenting style.

“Let me first say: I have the sweetest in-laws in the world. They welcomed me with open arms when I started dating Claire thirteen years ago. What is it called: My mother-in-law made me three meals a week, which she froze. Ha, she thought I should eat healthier – as a poor student I lived on pasta bolo, frozen pizza and microwave food back then. My love for good food started because of her. Claire and I moved in together, got married and had two children, Job aged 5 and Isa aged 3. The classic picture, you could say.

Dilemma: ‘Parents-in-law have a different upbringing’

My parents-in-law were over the moon when they became grandparents. They love their grandchildren, do fun things with them and regularly spoil them with gifts. Sometimes a little too much, but Claire is an only child, so Job and Isa are the only grandchildren they have. This means that they naturally want to see them as often as possible. I think that’s fine. In fact, I facilitate it. They also babysit twice a week. It’s an incredible luxury if you ask me. Not only if you look at the cost of childcare – it saves thousands of euros a month. But also the fact that my children can always come to them, also at other times, is very nice. For example, they took extra care during the shutdowns and Claire and I were able to continue working from home undisturbed.

no boxes

And yet it gnaws somewhere. Not so much the fact that my in-laws are babysitting, but the manner in which. Because they spend so much time with Job and Isa, they automatically contribute to their upbringing. And that’s where the shoe hurts sometimes. An example? Claire and I think it’s important not to put our children in a gender “box”. Pink is for girls and blue is for boys? Shit, Job can also just wear a pink sweater if he likes. And if Isa would rather play with cars than dolls, I’m fine with that. But I only hear it when they have spent a day with my in-laws. Then Job suddenly shouts at Isa to stay away from his cars because ‘it’s not for girls’. Recently, he told himself that Grandma wouldn’t let him play soccer with Isa’s Frozen ball because it wasn’t boyish enough. Or Isa comes home with a bright pink new dress. Not that the hair doesn’t look beautiful, but there are also other colors than just pink. Another fact is that they get candy more often at grandparents’ house than at home, something I would also like to limit.


I must add: it’s not like it happens often on a daily basis. But if it happens, I get annoyed by it. Not just me, by the way, Claire has it too. She just doesn’t dare bring it up with her parents. We have also had words about that. Actually, I think she should say something about it, they are her parents. But Claire doesn’t want to make them insecure or overly critical of them. ‘Let them be great-grandparents, we teach our children the education.’ She just doesn’t want me to say anything about it either – she’s afraid her parents might get annoyed and not want to babysit anymore, although I can’t imagine the latter. Should I bite my tongue and keep the sweet peace? They are lovely people, but this concerns my children. Plus, I’m afraid that if I let it simmer for too long, I’ll eventually blurt out an unkind comment. In short: I could use some advice with this dilemma.”

Last week

Last week gifts Subwayreader advice for Lize, who is dissatisfied with her cleaning lady’s work and is unsure whether she should speak up. For example, Rieneke writes: “Just talk about it, maybe also ask how she feels. Who knows, she may be sick or worry about someone around her, and therefore she is not there with her (cleaning) work.” Fenna thinks: “You pay her for work. If she doesn’t do well, discuss and explain what is expected. Still not good, look for someone else.” Eric thinks differently about this: “If you say something about it, there’s a chance she’ll stop after a few weeks.”

Want to read even more advice from our readers? Check out our Facebook post:

What do you think: Say something about it or don’t make a fuss and keep your mouth shut?

Posted by Metro Holland on Thursday, August 25, 2022

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Dilemma: ‘My in-laws raise our children differently than we do, should I hold them accountable?’

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