General Etiquette > Family and Children

Laughing at my child

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Before I start I just want to say I do like my MIL, so this isn't a total MIL bash  ;)

We usually talk to MIL and FIL via skype since they live interstate. DD is your typical almost 3 year old and wanders around chatting to them and easily gets distracted by other things while we do it. They love to chat to her and we encourage her to tell them things and try to keep her attention on the call.

MIL finds everything DD says is hilarious. Everything. Now sometimes DD does say funny things, words come out wrong, she says something cute and thinking that is funny is fine. But MIL cackles and tells FIL and whoever else is around 'DD is hilarious' every single time DD speaks. Yesterday DD said 'if I don't eat all my dinner, I don't get any jelly'. MIL laughed till she almost had tears. Now I don't think there is anything funny about that statement. It's just her repeating the rule in our house. DD was being serious when she said it, and she gave me a werid look when MIL laughed. Then I realised why it bugs me, it's like MIL is laughing AT DD. The way she repeats it to everyone it like DD is some kind of performing seal doing tricks to entertain her.

Now if I told her to stop laughing at my child I know she'd take it wrong so is there something I can say/do to let her know I don't like her laughing at my child?

Your MIL's behavior seems odd. Laughing hilariously at EVERYTHING a granddaughter says isn't normal. Do you see much of MIL in person to get a feel for if she has a problem or just a bizarre personality?

I'd speak to MIL privately and tell her "I have noticed that you repeat and laugh at everything DD says and I need you to stop doing that.  Its making DD self conscious and not want to talk to you."

Then I'd give her one more chance to correct her behaviour.  If she doesn't, then I wouldn't let DD skype with her for a while.

Also, it doesn't matter if she takes you "wrong", it just matters that she stops her odd behaviour.

Instead of "stop laughing at DD", could you redirect her energy to something other than how hilarious DD is?  I know people who have the same book at each house so that grandma can read over Skype.  Or can D show off her drawings/stuffed animals/other treasures? 

I think this is a problem that will likely take care of itself as DD gets older and more able to have a real conversation, but I think you're right to try to address it before DD really clues in to it being awkward to talk to grandma. 

Is MIL laughing from nerves? I have a tough time talking on things like skype- for some reason it makes me very uncomfortable. Maybe she can't really think what to "say" to a small kid on the phone, so she's laughing as a default response. That would be my guess. Maybe ask her if she'd like to read a story over skype. My Dad buys two copies of story books and mails one to my niece- then they read it "together".


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