Our expert says:
Odd, isn't it, that they assume that staying with any of their married offspring will be an unthinkable imposition, but staying with their single child for however long, won't be ? Where's the sense in that ?
Remind them that if you ended your single status, they'd have nobody left to be able to stay with, and nobody to criticize and coach !
You need to be firmer about setting ground rules. Just as I'm sure that if you ever went home to stay with them, they'd expect you to stick to their usual ground rules, they should expect the same when invading your home.
They shouldnt criticize the contents of your fridge any more than you would do the reverse. If there's some food they really want which you don't have, they can buy it and add it to your stores. If they want you to have a new TV, they can buy you one, or shut up and appreciate the one you have. Maybe you can find earphones for them to use attached to your T ; if they're so darn fussy about child-rearing, then surely they should be eager for your child to get rest undisturbed by the TV. Far more risky for a child than a guinea pig. And of course at home, they can watch anything they please whenever they please.
If they want to pay for you to have beauty treatments and hairdos you'd appreciate or at least tolerate, fine - but all these examples are of them selfishly insisting on dictating you YOu must spend YOUR hard-earned money.
Answer their foolish criticisms calmly but firmly - they are welcome to their opinions, but not to express them so demeaningly to you. This is YOUR home, and YOUR rules and wishes do and will always apply, and if they don't like that then they're very welcome not to visit.
If they tell you not to speak back, remind them that such a silly child rule never applies in your own home, as you are an adult ; when they say you're unteachable, say Allelujah - yes, you dont ask for lessons and will strive to remain unteachable.
Don't feel in the least bit guilty - you're not rejecting your parents, you're rejecting their terribly bad manners and their total lack of respect for you asd an independent adult person. I suspect that whatever other excuses they may have given, the real reason they wont stay with your sibs is that they know those people wont accept this behaviour from them, presumably strongly backed up by their spouses.
To feel miserable and gloomy at the proespect of a scarifying visit from these harpies is entirely normal and natural. Stand your ground and announce your firm rules, and that though you love them as parents, if they can't and wont play by your rules in your home, then they're not welcome to stay there. Do not allow them to lure you into feeling guilty about what is essentially their ignorance and their bad manners. They do not deserve more respect than they give.
And next time they announce they're going to bless you with a visit, just send them the message that it will be highly inconvenient and you won't be available, but will try to arrange to be free to spend an evening with them if they stay with any of your sibs or in a hotel.
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