Can you please tell me how to handle a controlling son in law? He always insists on calling the shots and the decisions he makes aren’t ones I always agree with. How should I handle him? The decisions are about how our grandchildren treat us.
–Grandpa, Seattle, WA
The dilemma of how to handle a controlling son in law is complicated. It’s too bad you cannot talk to him face to face to tell him what you think. You might assume that he is not a listener. You can’t go to your daughter sounding like the class snitch who tattletales on the kids who aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing. You’re disappointed that your grandchildren are picking up on his feelings toward you.
At a gentle family gathering try to bring up the fact that “Little pitchers have big ears.” Chances are if he stops saying negative things about you in front of your grandchildren, they will like you more. Nevertheless, if he is jostling for a position to put his own parents forward as favorites, he should still show more respect.
Should gentleness fail, you may have to ask your daughter for guidance. At any rate, coming out in the open and being honest about how you feel would be a positive move on your part. At least you will know that you tried.
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