HOW DO I HANDLE MY MOTHER-IN-LAW’S INAPPROPRIATE GIFTS TO MY CHILDREN?

DEAR DALI MAMA:

We have two kids, one in kindergarten and the other in third grade. My husband’s mother is always giving the kids inappropriate gifts—whether it’s toy guns or DVDs with bad language or tons of violence or objectification of women. I have asked her not to give my kids those kinds of gifts but she gets offended, gives me the silent treatment, and then gives the kids those kinds of presents anyway. How do I stop this?

—Fed Up (United States)

Dear FED UP:

It sounds like there is a power struggle going on between you and your mother and you might want to remove yourself from the equation to save yourself the hassle. Have your husband talk to his mother about this and have him explain why the two of you do not want your kids to play with certain kinds of things.

If you both have already asked her to stop giving the kids those kinds of gifts and have explained why and she still insists on giving the kinds of presents she wants to give and not the kind of presents you and your husband want the kids to have, you might want to try one of two options: 1) give her a wish list of toys the kids want that you approve of, or 2) start a new tradition of gifts that the kids themselves will gift to children in need. Then at least if your mother-in-law insists on giving gifts that are not age appropriate, perhaps that rated PG or R movie can instead be gifted to an older teenager, for example. Or you could all start a tradition as a family of giving gifts to those in need from the entire family (including your mother-in-law) on birthdays and holidays rather than having your two children receive gifts.

Enjoy the opportunity to start a wonderful new family tradition.

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