A mother-in-law who is angry at her children works harder than anyone. Reddit’s MIL took her pettiness a bit. Too far on Christmas by involving her 6-year-old granddaughter — and we are “fuming” right alongside her son-in-law who wrote about the whole thing.
In the “Parenting” subreddit, a dad wrote, “So my mother in law gave our 6yr daughter a smart phone with a sim and internet access. She did not discuss this with any one and gave it to her when we weren’t around on X mas day.”
What a rude thing! I would be mad, too, if my 6-year-old got a smart phone — especially when done in such a weird, secretive way.
The dad added some context, explaining that they allow their daughter to play on an iPad that’s monitored. “Our daughter already has an iPad of her own to play Roblox/Minecraft and to watch cartoons on Netflix,” he continued. “This is tracked by an app called Lighthouse so we can monitor etc.”
She was asked why she thought it was a good idea for her granddaughter to get a cell phone. The MIL gave the most insensitive response. “When asked, she said she gave her the phone because my wife doesn’t answer hers…” he continued. Wow, what a woman! You just know she’s been plotting this gift for a while, all so she could deliver that zinger of a statement … on Christmas. So she’s trying to stir the pot and cause drama — and involve an innocent 6-year-old little girl who probably keeps her mom way too busy to always be able to answer the phone right away — on a day that should be all about family. It’s no wonder that this dad is mad.
“I am pissed off,” he continued. “There are so many dangers on the internet and associated with smart phone use. This is not to mention the impact on brain development. Am I wrong?”
Redditors didn’t dial down their snark when it comes to this overstepping mother-in-law.
“Our of order. Plus hello MIL manipulation. Should be taken off her ASAP no 6yr old needs a phone,” another person wrote.
Others suggested ways to explain the situation their daughter to others.
“Nope, you’re not wrong. Just explain to your child, when MIL is not present, why it is not OK for her to have a phone and that this decision is up to the parents and not up to grandma,” one person wrote. “Also let her know when she will be able to have the phone, but if possible I would even return the phone to the store. Grandchildren should not be deprived of their phone. I think this is just power play for grams. And that is totally inappropriate.”
“Love this. It’s a power play. What a joke,” the dad responded to this comment.
“I might include a parenting bit about secrets there, too. Anything that someone gives to you in secret, and tries to keep from mom and dad, is not a good gift to keep,” another person said. “Focusing on the fact that it was a secret, not the fact that it was a phone, might be helpful. Like, it’s not (only) that I specifically don’t want you to have a phone. Grandma knew that it was wrong and gave it to you secretly. When someone makes a mistake we attempt to rectify it. We will correct the problem by returning your phone. Next time, if you think someone is making a mistake by giving you a secret gift, you should bring it to one of your parents before you open it to play.”
Another problem? His wife appears to be having trouble standing up for her mom. “Partner thinks she will be able to limit her cellphone use to 30 mins a day …” the dad wrote in a comment. “Why does a 6-year-old with an iPad require another screen for 30 mins a day. Utter madness IMO.”
“I hear you! If your partner isn’t on board it obviously makes this situation so much more frustrating!” someone commented. “I really hope you guys can reach an agreement. This issue will definitely lead to other problems if it’s not tackled / solved.”
“Take out the SIM card and power off the phone. Put both away somewhere,” someone suggested. “She may have given it but you decide what’s done with it.”
Another person thinks that the father should allow his daughter to keep the phone for peace of mind. “Your mother-in-law got your daughter a phone so that she could keep in touch with her. Your daughter will be very upset if you take the phone from her. Your mother-in laws will be upset. Your partner will be upset,” they wrote, adding, “So you have two choices here. You can ruin your personal relationships with three important women in your life, or you can take a moment to set the phone up so it’s safe for your kid.”
The decision to give your child a cell phone at an appropriate age is one that you will make, but it should be made by the parent. Parents — not from a spiteful MIL. It’s not because it is easier to let them use a smartphone than to hold your mother accountable. It’s a terrible situation and all because of a angry mother-in law. You can pour more eggnog to strengthen you and your spouse and establish some clear boundaries. You never know what the future holds. Perhaps this will be something your family is able to look back on over the years and laugh about.
Before you go, check out these wild stories about Reddit’s most horrific mothers-in-law.