Dealing with Difficult In-Laws (4)
By: Beth McHugh 2006
Remember Elise with the mother-in-law who showed 15+ movies to her young grandchildren and thought it was okay to do so? Let’s have a look at how Elise and her partner, Carl, dealt with the situation.
Just to recap, we had a situation where child minding for Elise and Carl came with an added twist. Carl’s mother, Helen, collected DVDs for the grandchildren, but she took no notice of the censor’s rating for each movie. On one overnight stay, Helen showed a movie that was rated for mature audiences to her four grandchildren, aged 11, nine, eight, and six. It contains adult themes including sex between an adult and a minor, as well as oral sex.
Neither Elise nor Carl imagined that Helen would show such material to her grandchildren. The night after the movie showing, Elise and Carl’s eight-year-old daughter had a nightmare. It was only then that the story of the movie unfolded. Elise and Carl were furious.
Confronting the grandmother gained no satisfaction. She calmly stated that she had done no wrong, that children did not take in what they did not understand, and was totally unconcerned that one of her grandchildren had had a nightmare on her account. She even stated that she chose the movie because Robin Williams was in it and he was funny. Now, Robin Williams is a brilliant comedian. But he is also a very versatile actor, appearing in various movies, some of which may be disturbing to some viewers, such as Awakenings and One Hour Photo, for example.
Clearly, this lady was not going to budge on her position. She disregarded both the requests of her son and daughter-in-law, and the wisdom of the film censors. So what did Elise and Carl do?
As it was noted in Dealing with Difficult In-Laws (1), Elise and Carl were in a better position than the other couples we have already discussed. They were providing a united front against the problem in-law. After much consideration, their solution to the problem was to stop their daughter from attending movie nights at Grandma’s, as Grandma was not deemed to be a responsible adult. Initially this caused problems with their daughter, who did want to miss out on seeing her cousins. Fortunately she was old enough to understand the reasoning behind her parents’ decision and she saw her cousins at other times.
Elise and Carl know that Helen will never get the message, but they
are adamant that their daughter watches age-appropriate movies. The
family as a whole is sad about the situation, but happy that they are
doing what they know is best for their child.