Mom Stirs Outrage Online After Revealing Grandma's "Shocking" Punishments
A mom of four is encouraged to report mother-in-law.
Finding reliable and trustworthy childcare that's affordable is near impossible these days, so when family members offer to help it's usually a big relief. But for one woman it turned out to be a complete nightmare. A mom of four shared on Mumsnet last month that she found out her mother-in-law uses physical punishment that she doesn't believe in, and people are urging her to never allow the grandma to babysit again.
The unidentified woman shared that her kids are aged 2, 4, 5 and 6. "Lucky enough (or so I thought) to have very engaged grandparents on both sides who help with childcare." The mom said the 5-year-old "mentioned this afternoon that his Grandma (my MIL) has put him in a cold shower with his clothes on recently as a punishment." She added, "He also said she hurts him and [the two-year-old] regularly in retaliation for their misbehaving."
"I'm absolutely dumbfounded," the mom stated "I've spoken to the 6-year-old] who has confirmed this (the 6-year-old is very sensible and trustworthy so I take their word for it) and has also said Grandma put them in a cold shower as a punishment "a long time ago."
The mom revealed she had a difficult upbringing and doesn't want the same for her kids. "I was physically abused and subjected to cold showers regularly as a child and I feel sick to think that my [kids] have experienced this. I have tried so hard to raise them in a compassionate way and shield them from harm and hurt."
As people commented on the post, others wanted to know how her husband reacted to the news. The mom wrote, "He seems as shocked as I am. He wants to talk to her but seems as unsure as I am on how to proceed. We are a close family and I had always considered myself lucky to marry into Dh's family because my own family is so awful."
The original poster replied to many commenters and shared she is so "shocked" to learn this about her mother- in-law. "She's always so keen to have them and has never shown anything close to this sort of behavior before," she explained. "They are full on and hard work but she's always appeared to take it in her stride. No other grandchildren. The 5-year-old had mentioned at school that they didn't like going to grandma's earlier in the year and their teacher mentioned it but I didn't think anything of it beyond being a contrary 5 year old. I'm struggling to form cohesive thoughts. It's just such a shock and I'm so upset and angry."
Hundreds of people are weighing in on the situation, with many encouraging her to report her mother-in-law. "You need to report it and never let your poor children anywhere these abusers ever again," one person stated. Another added, "This is horrendous. I'm so sorry for you and your children. Jesus. What kind of person does that to little children? I think I would be reporting her to the police. This is quite serious abuse. I would have to have it out with her and then never see her again." Someone else wrote, "This is child abuse and needs reporting. You don't wade in and deal with it yourselves. Police and social services are trained professionals."
Soula Hareas, a licensed mental health counselor at McNulty Counseling and Wellness, told Newsweek that the mom not knowing this was happening means that the mother-in-law knows she's doing something that the mom would not approve of. "This makes it much easier for the mom to approach the mother-in-law because she's going to be confronting her about a secret she is keeping from her that she knows she shouldn't be keeping," Hareas said. "There are many different opinions on how someone should discipline a child but physical punishment and humiliation have not been something that has ever come with positive behavior results."
"The mother-in-law may try to justify her actions or even blame the children but the couple needs to stay firm," Hareas said. "They may fear losing her as a child care source, but the safety and well-being of their children comes first. Limiting exposure to her until they feel comfortable that she will follow their instructions could also be an option. These types of issues can be avoided by having the discussion BEFORE someone is entrusted with a child."
According to Hareas, "Expectations of the person caring for the child should be outlined. Possible options for disciplining the child should be spelled out clearly as well as rewards for the child for following directions and positive behaviors too. People have a false perception that everyone has the same set of principles and morals when it comes to kids, when in reality that is far from the truth because child rearing is one of the most common issues parents fight about amongst themselves, much less with someone else caring for their child."