QUESTION: My son-in-law is brainwashing my daughter. My daughter who is a VERY intelligent and SUCCESSFUL woman married [him] about 5 years ago. They bought their house last year. He’s still in medical school (that’s not the part that bothers us). The problem is that he seems to think that he can tell us when we can arrive to their house. My husband and I come over to tell them how to manage their finances, and how to raise our granddaughter so she doesn’t grow up spoiled (like my son-in-law). He has now brainwashed our daughter into siding with him. During an argument I told him to LEAVE my daughter’s house. I thought she was going to defend us, but she just sided with him and told US to leave! That little jerk is ruining our family, and I don’t know how to convince them that they’re never going to work.

ANSWER: Wow. After reading your question, I think I just gave myself a concussion by slapping my hand on my forehead in disbelief. Let me get this straight: You and your husband go over to your daughter and son-in-law’s house with the intention of telling them how they should manage THIER finances and how to raise THEIR own daughter. Furthermore, you somehow think that you have the right to insult your son-in-law and order him to leave HIS own house. – – I’m going to address this in the most respectful, yet direct way possible, because I think you need to understand the following: Your daughter is a grown woman with her own life. It is no longer your role to “manage” or impose anything. Your daughter is absolutely right to side with her husband because THEY know what is best for them – not you. If you continue on this path, you run the risk of completely destroying your relationship with your daughter. It’s also very likely that your visitations with your granddaughter will be restricted.

My advice to you is to explore why you feel the need to try to control your daughter and insult your son-in-law. Are you feeling abandoned or replaced? These are feelings that you need to work out on your own (perhaps with the help from a therapist) but for now, keep in mind that while your daughter can offer you her love, she does not owe you her life. – If they ask you for help, you can joyfully offer it, but until then, and ONLY then, I suggest that you stay out of their business and their marriage.

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