An ugly ugly problem - please advise

Hi, I’m a regular poster to these boards but have such a horrible problem that has just arisen in my life, I am too embarrassed to go by my regular username so created this account to address it. If I’m not allowed to create a new account for situations such as this, apologies to mods and please delete if necessary.

I have 2 young children, and every Saturday my husband’s grandparents take them for the day to their house. They have little going on in their life, and have said to me that their only joy is having the grandchildren, both under age 5, to visit. They also have a son who lives at home, who has an alcohol problem, as in, every weekend he binge drinks himself into a stupor, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. But we have just found out that this son, who is in his early thirties, is also a regular visitor to brothels. It makes my skin crawl to even say it. He has a very secretive personality, we only found out by chance, but it’s definitely going on. As I said, he is secretive about everything, his work, everything - I would wonder if he is even taking drugs, but have no evidence that he is.

The parents have swept his drink problem under the carpet for over a decade now. The family are very bad communicators in general. But the thought of my children going there every weekend for a day visit creeps me out now because about half the time he is there. I know that being a regular with brothels does not make him a paedophile, but I just get this feeling that if he has crossed the line of what is acceptable already in this domain, I just do not trust him near my little girl. Maybe society has made me hyper paranoid about this, maybe the 2 are completely unrelated.

So, if I tell the parents who have no idea (my husband absolutely won’t because he knows this revelation would destroy them), it would be like throwing a grenade into the family. I honestly don’t know what reactions would be and fear there could even be violence, or the son would want to “get” me for revealing his secret. I would be genuinely fearful. At the same time, I don’t have excuses I can dream up every Saturday to end the visits, and have no other reason to stop them - there are no local clubs here I could enrol my kids in or anything. Plus the grandparents have always made it clear to me that they don’t like visiting the grandchildren here with me around, they want to bring them to their house - they have consistently pushed boundaries in this respect, it’s as if they would rather parent my children in this rosy little world they have created with them, and pretend their own dysfunctional family is ok, rather than parent the problem under their noses. They did not make much of an effort parenting their own kids as in spending time with them, I know this for a fact, and it’s as if MIL is making up for lost time, in some strange fantasy world where she can be a mother again, and often displays what I can only describe as ownership of my children. Not healthy obviously.

As I’m on these boards so often, I know you guys are great at advice, how do I proceed here please? I don’t want to be in a situation where something happens and my first reaction is, why didn’t I act, nor do I want to be in the middle of WWIII and accused of over-reacting. If I knew for definite he was on drugs it would be much easier to put my foot down because then my husband says he would intervene straightaway and disclose everything. Would there even be a way of engineering a situation where they could find out abotu his habits without me being directly implicated?

Thanks and God bless

I see two issues here: controlling inlaws who are getting their way with the children and the brothel story.

My first question is about your husband and what his position is. That is his family - he should be the one to do the talking and setting down some rules. Can you discuss this with him and ask him to make a new arrangement with his parents? You said that his parents want the kids in their home rather to visit you at yours. Really? Perhaps your husband should change this setup now. Remember, these are your children and the grandparents have no right to impose themselves like that. Your husband is the crucial person in this because I doubt that you can achieve much if he is not willing to side with you.

I think the bigger problem is leaving your kids alone with your in-laws, whether or not the brother is there.

If they refuse to visit with you present, something is rotten in Denmark.

I don’t think you need to give a reason, simply change the game.

Go from all day visits to a couple of hours WITH YOU PRESENT IN THEIR HOUSE, to inviting them to your house. The kids are getting older, things are changing in the family dynamic, soon they will want to go play with their friends, not grandma…

You really don’t have to give a reason or excuses.

Simply say, “this is how things are from now on”. Your husband needs some counseling if he cannot see the issues and will not support you in making sure your children are protected from all this. He really needs to back your play here. It isn’t healthy for the kids to be around a binge drinker or in grandma fantasy land.

why is your huband reluctant to “put his foot down” knowing his brother is an alcoholic binge drinker? He thinks drugs are worse? He needs to get to Al-Anon and understand what his brother’s alcoholism is doing to the family.

This. It will only get worse if you don’t set some boundaries NOW. Do not allow your children to be alone with Grandma and Grandpa. Their input into your childrens’ minds will be very powerful - children tend to absorb and accept what their grandparents say and do. I would immediately change the plans to “The kids and I will come for a couple of hours on Saturday, but we have other plans later.” “Other plans” can mean watching a movie in your own house, doesn’t have to be anything special. Undoubtedly your in-laws would soon request overnights if the time restrictions aren’t put in place now.

Any fall-out from this should be dealt with by your husband. He needs to man up and face the issues in his family of origin. He needs to protect his own children, not his parents or his brother. Families in denial are harmful to children, period. If your in-laws don’t recognize his drinking, they could ask him to watch the kids for 1/2 hour while they run an errand, or worse, take the kids along with HIM on an errand while he’s drunk. You just can’t guarantee your kids’ safety when drinking is going on in the household. I wouldn’t make the jump to pedophilia (unless there’s porn usage too) but the drinking is alarming enough to change the situation immediately.

I see this problem as the key to everything. It almost doesn’t matter what the brother is doing at this point. Even if he weren’t living there, this is just not right.

If they want the kids, they get you too. To allow this to go on week after week, you and your husband are just enabling this dysfunction to continue. At some point, your children will be able to notice what is going on and will ask why mommy is never around at grandma and grandpa’s? The grandparents, if asked, may fill your children’s heads with untruths about the situation. You have no idea what they will tell them. If they are older when this happens, they may actually start to believe it and resent you.

As others have suggested, end it now.

You do have a problem and I am sorry for everyone. My personal way of dealing with things, if at all possible, is to do the offender the courtesy of speaking directly, kindly and as quickly as I can with them privately. This is the way I would want to be treated and I believe it is the fair way when dealing with adults, even if it will be difficult. The situation needs to be dealt with swiftly and your children need you to act. Invite the Holy Spirit to give you the wisdom you need to go forward and move on. When children are in danger we have to place that ahead of all else, God blessed you with them and He wants you to protect them. Even if nothing else went wrong, the idea of two young children watching a grown man drink himself into a stupor in front if them is wrong. My first move would be to discuss everything you wrote with the offender and see where to go from there.

God bless you.

Yes, yes…have the kids visit less often and have you or your husband with them!
You can tell your in-laws you will bring computer work to do or something off to the side, if they want to have one-on-one time with the kids…but this way, you or your husband can keep an eye on everything and make sure if the son is around, nothing untoward happens.

But honestly…visiting a brothel is VERY different than having anything to do with children.
And, unless your information is for sure coming from a reliable source then I wouldn’t believe information about someone unless you know for sure it’s true, just in case it’s gossip.

But no matter what, you have to go by your gut and feelings…so do what you have to do so that your kids and their grandparents can visit, but in a way you feel is okay.

Also, you don’t need to feel embarrassed about this…it is a common worry among parents, indeed…and alcoholism is also a common debilitating problem among adults.
So you are not alone at all.

Your reply to the OP is very kind and thoughtful. However, her in-laws are the larger problem. Talking to the alcoholic is not going to be productive since addicts are not in control of themselves, thus the addiction. Her in-laws demanding to have her children without her or her husband being present is a worse problem, frankly. THAT is what needs to stop and the exposure to the alcoholic BIL will cease at the same time. Her husband can suggest Al-Anon for his parents, but the suggestion should NOT come from her. But both the OP and her husband need to protect the children at all costs.

It doesn’t matter – the drinking problem alone is enough for you to refuse to let your children visit there without you or your husband.

This is a HUGE problem, as bad as their son’s drinking. They’re acting like they have something to hide. And if they do, it can’t be anything good.

You and your husband absolutely must grow a backbone and put an end to this. Tell them they are welcome to visit the children at your house, and/or you’ll bring the children over when at least one of you can stay. You’ve got two extremely good reasons to worry about your childrens’ safety there.

I would freak out if my inlaws said they didn’t want to be around my kids unless I wasn’t around. I would just say, why don’t you come over after church and we’ll spend the day as a family. We consider the weekend to be family time and that includes our children. Perhaps even your kids’ uncle can come too (if he’s sober and right) and you can spend time as a family and maybe he will find he prefers that to brothels. (Do they even have these anymore? You’d think all the girls who give it up for free would have put them out of business!)

I think you’re being a little silly and judgemental on this. Just because thier son visits brothels does not make him a pedophile. And maybe the parents don’t like visiting the kids when you’re around because maybe they just don’t like you? Ever thought of that?
Maybe they love their son (your husband) and his kids but not you. Don;t be offended. Some people just don’t like some ppl just because… No reason… Just because. I think you know this and you’re using the lifestyle of their other son, as an excuse to be spiteful and keep the kids away from them as some form of revenge for not liking you?
And now you’re coming here looking or some vindication for your spitefulness.
Maybe you have feelings for your borther in-law and you’re jealous that he is seeing other women?


You’ve got to be kidding!

Yeah that’s probably what it is. :rolleyes:

That’s an awful lot of assuming, LR - and ironically, even the very thing you accuse her of - being judgmental. You and I don’t know her well enough to judge her intentions or motivation - we can only go by what she has said. Maybe, just maybe she really is vexed by the fact that the brother is a binge drinker and visits brothels. Maybe she really is just concerned about being a good parent and caring about where and under what circumstances her kids go and stay places. Given what she has said, I would definitely have reservations as well.


“I think you’re being a little silly and judgemental on this…” more appropriately applies to your advice than to the original post.

I can’t believe you posted something so vile.

ETA: I forgot to respond to the OP.
The fact that your inlaws have said they want to spend time with the children without you around throws up all kind of red flags.
My inlaws were kind of the same. FIL thought the best cure for a colicky baby was to put whiskey in the bottle, and we actually had a fight about my not allowing him to feed my infant son whiskey after a long night of crying. MIL wouldn’t keep the children strapped in to their car seats. She thought if she just ‘held them real tight’ it would be good enough. I could not trust them to be alone with the children for good reason. If you feel you have good reason, then by all means your first responsibility is to protect your children. It would be best if your husband would support you and handle it. Mine did not, so I spent those years being the ‘evil DIL’. That was fine with me if it meant keeping my children safe.

Besides that, the conclusion makes no sense. Grandma and Gramps would be learning to like me or they would be learning to spend their Saturday alone with their drunk son.

Ok, thanks all for posting first, I’ll try and respond to your questions. Still reeling from “latin rite”'s answer though…

Anyway, an extra bit of background I should post is that in the UK there has ust been a case all over the media about “April Jones” - an awfully sad and frightening case of a 5 year old being abducted, by someone she knew, and having read a lot about the case in the media over the last week I guess my mommy overprotective thing has gone into overdrive, and I’m trying to identify any issues bothering me - add to that I read a profile of a child abductor in the media - purportedly from a reputable study, and it just matched my BIL’s background a little too closely. I don’t know, the case has just really got to me, and I cannot imagine a worse scenario for a parent than this.

To answer your question re: my husband, and many other posters’ questions, I’m afraid that’s a dead end. He just does not communicate with his family well, there is no sit down and talk about it, which he does manage within our own home, but just not with his parents. And no amount of talking to him about it has made him budge an inch on this, which is why I say that only if drugs were involved would he put the foot down. Also just to clarify, BIL’s drinking would never be in the daytime at home. Sometimes he does drink through the entire weekend, yes, but never at home, only in bars. It’s mostly confined to all-nighters.

I know this is odd. It changed actually from MIL coming over to our house when they were very small to her implying that I was with them too much (I did challenge her on that one, how can a mother spend too much time with their children?) The next development was saying that they wanted to take them out more, so they took them a few places, but now it’s all the time to their house. I don’t have any fears as to them being with the grandparents, only the BIL. However, yes, there is a totally unhealthy thing going on with the grandparents “parenting” them. Sweeping things under the carpet is their forte such as ignoring the reality of a dysfunctional son sitting on their couch in front of them, meanwhile pretending that they are in some way parents of these kids while I’m not there. My children as far as I can tell are the only thing that makes MIL happy. She has nothing else in her life. No social life, nothing. Yes, I do need to change the game you’re right.

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