Most parents have a natural tendency to meddle in their child’s lives. We have spent so much time raising them and having them constantly rely on us physically and emotionally. So when the shift to adulthood comes, it may not be as freeing for mothers.
Whether it’s a meddling mother or in-law, it can be hard to declare your freedom without hurting feelings. Most people allow their meddling mothers to continue to do so, simply because of this. So what’s the best way to do it without anyone getting stressed or hurt?
1. Limit contact based on distance. When you live two blocks away from your mom, it may seem strange to avoid contact for months. Normally kids live close to family because they want contact, so it may leave them feeling confused and hurt. If you know this, make your limits much more reasonable. You may want to limit contact to once every two weeks or once a month. If you live further away, this may be an advantage as you won’t be expected to visit quite as often.
2. Don’t engage. Your mother may want to know all of the personal details of your life. Simply don’t engage. Most mothers will understand. Some will feel threatened. Explain that you would like to keep some things to yourself. Avoid talking about others as well. Gossip only leads to gossip and mothers will use talking about others personal lives to get you to talk about yours. I’ve dealt with this by ignoring comments and questions and only talking about things, not people. It’s too easy of a trap to fall into.
3. Keep friends and relatives away. In many cases, if you are withholding information from her or she just feels it necessary, your mother will try to go after your friends and relatives to get information on you. It’s important to have friends that you can trust and that can understand. Simply explain to them that your mother often meddles and might call and ask for such and such information that you would like to keep private.
4. Keep your children safe. Grandchildren can be a very good ammunition for the meddling mother. It can mean a chance to relive parenthood all over again and give free range to their meddling. Often mothers can see intrusive behavior as being helpful and necessary. Though, this can make you, as a parent, feel insignificant. They may also try to challenge your parenting, which can be confusing for your children. It’s important to avoid these situations. Practice positive behavior with your children and don’t leave them alone with grandparents that try to undermine your parenting.
5. Focus on positive relationships. If your mother’s meddling ways can’t be changed by sitting down and talking with her about your concerns, nothing probably will. So, instead, focus on positive relationships that you have with family and friends. If you are feeling stressed or have an issue, find a friend to talk to. Don’t go to your mother for advice, if she will just use it against you.