Author Topic: Laughing at my child  (Read 9057 times)

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WillyNilly

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #45 on: February 18, 2013, 07:50:37 PM »
...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... DD was being serious when she said it, and she gave me a werid look when MIL laughed...

To me this issue strikes me as you not having a very broad sense of humor and you confusing your child as much as your MIL is.  You don't think there is anything funny about a little kid saying they can't have any jelly?  What do you delight in?  I can't imagine an adult not thinking that was at least cute, if not all out funny.  Its a goofy sentence! And that you don't find anything funny about it and your MIL finding it hilarious is what is confusing your DD.  Perhaps as much as you want your MIL to ease up on the laughter, you too should increase your laughter so its more of a normal reaction for your DD to receive on a daily basis.

Everyone is different - some people are laughers and some people are more serious, and most people are in the middle.  None is more right or more wrong.  But it sounds like you and your MIL are complete opposite ends of the spectrum, and that - the total difference in your reactions -  is more the problem then her actual laughter.

 ???

Not finding jelly funny = no sense of humor.  Okay....

 I didn't' say the OP has no sense of humor, I said perhaps it's not as broad a sense of humor. Everyone is different, and has different levels of humor. It's not a flaw or an insult, it  is what it is.

I think referring to to "jelly" as dessert is a rather silly (as in funny) word choice, and I can't imagine it being used seriously, and not in a goofy way. And to me, a small child saying something absurdly silly with a serious tone would be hilarious to the point of tears. It would not occur to me she was simply repeating a rule and expected serious praise as reaction.

flowersintheattic

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #46 on: February 18, 2013, 07:51:58 PM »
I have a niece who is 18 months old, and she is adorable. I'm very easily amused, and laugh at the drop of a hat. Consequently, I laugh a lot around my niece.  Not to the point of tears, necessarily, but at almost everything she does. She's a pretty goofy kid by nature, so I think she enjoys that reaction. Were that to change, I'd be pretty offended if my sister lectured me about respecting her daughter and removed her from my company if I laughed at something she did that I found amusing, especially if she had never brought it up before.

I think the proper first step in this situation is to let your MIL know that DD feels like she's being made fun of when MIL laughs at her. I also think it's worth it to let your DD know (if you think she'll understand it) that MIL isn't actually laughing at her, that laughing is just how MIL shows her delight. Then remind your MIL if she slips up. If it continues after a length of time, then you can talk to MIL about respecting DD and possibly even cut down on the time she spends with her.
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MsMarjorie

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #47 on: February 18, 2013, 08:04:29 PM »
Jim Carey the actor, said in an interview he gets this reaction from people all the time.  For example, he said he asked someone for a diet coke and watched as everyone fell about laughing "did you hear that?  Jim Carey asked for a diet coke"  he said people were wiping tears from their eyes as they laughed.  He couldn't fathom their reaction and said it was unbelievable annoying. 
I should imagine your daughter feels like that but can't articulate it yet.

I think getting your DH to stand up for her to his mother is a great idea.

CookieChica

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #48 on: February 18, 2013, 08:06:10 PM »
I think this was maybe a poorer example because most of don't think jelly=dessert so it does sound sort of funny to me and others. 

My stepgrandma does the same thing to my young son but she has the excuse of dementia. It is annoying and I think pointing out how confusing your daughter finds it is the best.

MsMarjorie

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #49 on: February 18, 2013, 08:14:16 PM »
Sorry this is getting off topic but I just wanted to clear this up.  I'm not American so when OP's daughter said jelly, I assumed she meant what Americans call jello (I think) which is a very typical dessert.

Bluenomi

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #50 on: February 18, 2013, 08:54:20 PM »
...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... DD was being serious when she said it, and she gave me a werid look when MIL laughed...

To me this issue strikes me as you not having a very broad sense of humor and you confusing your child as much as your MIL is.  You don't think there is anything funny about a little kid saying they can't have any jelly?  What do you delight in?  I can't imagine an adult not thinking that was at least cute, if not all out funny.  Its a goofy sentence! And that you don't find anything funny about it and your MIL finding it hilarious is what is confusing your DD.  Perhaps as much as you want your MIL to ease up on the laughter, you too should increase your laughter so its more of a normal reaction for your DD to receive on a daily basis.

Everyone is different - some people are laughers and some people are more serious, and most people are in the middle.  None is more right or more wrong.  But it sounds like you and your MIL are complete opposite ends of the spectrum, and that - the total difference in your reactions -  is more the problem then her actual laughter.

 ???

Not finding jelly funny = no sense of humor.  Okay....

 I didn't' say the OP has no sense of humor, I said perhaps it's not as broad a sense of humor. Everyone is different, and has different levels of humor. It's not a flaw or an insult, it  is what it is.

I think referring to to "jelly" as dessert is a rather silly (as in funny) word choice, and I can't imagine it being used seriously, and not in a goofy way. And to me, a small child saying something absurdly silly with a serious tone would be hilarious to the point of tears. It would not occur to me she was simply repeating a rule and expected serious praise as reaction.

DD said jelly because that is what she usually gets for dessert. She wouldn't say dessert because that's not a word she really knows. To her eating dinner = getting a bowl of jelly. And when I say jelly I refering to the wobbly stuff, not jam.

I think part of the reason it bugs me so much and seems so disrespectful is because she also repeats what DD said to FIL or whoever else is around while laughing and saying how hysterical DD is. The other people heard it, they aren't laughing so it's like she needs to report the joke to make them realise just how funny it apparently is.

ettiquit

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #51 on: February 18, 2013, 09:48:37 PM »
The most important aspect of this situation is how the OP's daughter feels about constantly being laughed at.  Allowing the MIL to enjoy her grandchild in the way she wants would not be a priority for me.  It may not actually be a big deal deal now, but if Grandma can't hold it together when her granddaughter is a little older, it's going to be a problem. 


LeveeWoman

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #52 on: February 18, 2013, 10:59:43 PM »
The most important aspect of this situation is how the OP's daughter feels about constantly being laughed at.  Allowing the MIL to enjoy her grandchild in the way she wants would not be a priority for me.  It may not actually be a big deal deal now, but if Grandma can't hold it together when her granddaughter is a little older, it's going to be a problem.

Start as you mean to go on.

Auntie Mame

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #53 on: February 19, 2013, 02:08:09 AM »
I fthat's what you believe...
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jeni

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #54 on: February 19, 2013, 04:46:45 AM »
I would find MIL's behaviour a little over the top for sure.

I'm a nanna too and I delight in everything my grandkids do and say and I particularly love to remember the things they say that I find amusing, but I'm very careful not to laugh out loud at them, unless they are deliberately being funny.  Children are sensitive little souls and they certainly know when they are being laughed at.

Maybe as others have suggested, you could let her know that your daughter thinks she is laughing at her.  Better still, get your DH to do it  ;D

Coley

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #55 on: February 19, 2013, 08:03:04 AM »
What strikes me is that this occurs via Skype. The MIL's reaction seems similar to what one might do when watching television. In that sense, she isn't interacting with the child as much as she is watching and reacting to the child's behavior as if it were a performance on video.

A few PPs mentioned that the MIL should show more respect for the child, and I agree with this. I also agree that this is something for the DH to address with the MIL. The child might be doing things unintentionally that the MIL thinks are funny, but an adult should be able to hold the laughter until the child isn't present. The MIL's laughing behavior strikes me as being insensitive even if it she doesn't intend for it to be. She's laughing because she thinks the child is funny -- not because the child wants to be funny. The child is a person first, not a performer.

Giggity

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #56 on: February 19, 2013, 08:19:52 AM »
What does your mother-in-law say when you ask her what's so funny?
Words mean things.

mathchick

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #57 on: February 19, 2013, 11:14:28 AM »
To all of the people who say that this laughter is how MIL expresses her joy, and you should do and say nothing to micromanage how she interacts with your daughter, I offer the following anecdote:

When we used to Skype with MIL on a regular basis, we didn't say anything to her about how she interacted with Mathprime while on Skype, despite the fact that we could tell that something was up, and he often wasn't interested in chatting with her.  Eventually, Mathprime randomly told me one day, "Meemaw frowns."  In fact, for a little while, he referred to her as Meemawfrowns.  We trained him out of that, thankfully, but my husband had to speak to her privately and tell her not to frown at Mathprime when talking to him on Skype.  She did improve, although it certainly wasn't perfect, but by that point, the damage was done.

When we went to a family event this year (more than a year after my husband talked to her about not frowning at him, so he was about the age of the child in the OP when she was frowning at him), Mathprime was excited to see everyone else, but specifically didn't want to see Meemaw, because Meemaw frowns at him.  No amount of telling him that that's just an expression she had, and she wasn't upset at him or frowning because of him would dissuade him in any way, nor did suggesting that perhaps it would be different this time.

If your goal is for your daughter to have a positive view of your MIL and a good relationship with her, I highly recommend that you address this with her.  It can be very nice and positive, and you can frame it as something that you've noticed upsets her in other situations, and you'd hate for her to translate those feelings to her interactions with MIL.  Regardless of what everyone else is saying about you not having said that your daughter is upset, you wouldn't have written the post if you didn't think this bothered her.  At this age they get ideas in their head to which they cling like nothing else, and if one of those ideas is that MIL laughs at her rather than with her, it will be very difficult to change her feelings about MIL later.

*inviteseller

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #58 on: February 19, 2013, 11:49:48 AM »
My DD has a speech impediment and, although speech therapy is helping, she still has trouble with some words.  Even at an early age, if someone would laugh (because it was cute) she would get upset.   Your DD is gonna start wondering why Grandma laughs at everything that comes out of her mouth, because little kids can be just as serious as an adult, no matter how cute it seems, and to laugh at them seems to discount their feelings.  I would also have an issue with your MIL laughing over house rules, because they aren't funny, they are there for a reason and to me, laughing seems like (not that I think she is) discounting your authority and rules.  Maybe you can gently say "Mom, when you laugh at everything she says or does, she doesn't think you are really listening to what she is telling you.  Can you please have a regular conversation and listen to if she is being serious or silly?"  She is just so probably thrilled that her granddaughter exists that she just has joy over everything, without listening (I have one of those too!)  Good Luck

NyaChan

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Re: Laughing at my child
« Reply #59 on: February 19, 2013, 12:04:44 PM »
I can see both sides of this - sometimes when kids say things, even innocuous things, it does make me laugh simply because it is so cute.  However, I remember what it was like to be OP's daughter.

In addition to forcing me to sing songs & give speeches for the amusement of adults who would all laugh uproariously at me, not with me, my family and relatives would all insist and pester me to speak in our native tongue.  Then they'd laugh.  Over time, I simply stopped using it altogether and now can understand but have trouble speaking smoothly in it.  When my mom continued to bug me about it when I was older and could actually express my feelings, I pointed out that when I'd use the language, everyone laughs at me.  Her response that "oh, it's just because it sounds so cute!" did not appease me.  It still hurt my feelings and made me feel really self-concious.