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#791666 - 11/07/12 11:17 AM SIL defensive when told kid was disrespectful
chiak Offline

Registered: 08/01/08
Posts: 32
Wow! This blew up in my face. My neice made a racist statement at dinner which basically disrespected people of that race including me, her aunt who happens to be of that race. SIL (mother of kid) just laughed. Father-in-law actually said, "let's not be racist" but nothing else was said. I was so shocked and I don't even know what all I felt. My mother put up with way too much racism growing up and this was the first experience I ever had- from my own neice?!!
My husband was beyond upset- mostly at how his sister just laughed and didn't even seem to care about the disrespect? Does she know my ethnic background? (we've been married 20 years and dated 5 years before that- I don't have a specific ethnic look to me but really??!!
So, I wrote an email for my husband to send to his sister. I merely wrote "I know she is just a kid and didn't mean anything by it, but when you laugh she isn't learning that it is disrespectful to others, including her aunt sitting at the table. I am hoping you can talk to her about how words can be helpful or hurtful."
wow- SIL really, really got defensive and let us have it. wrote 3 emails. basically saying how dare you judge when you don't have kids and have no idea how to raise them and you may think you do but you don't. then a p.s. you both act "holier than thou" and stuff about how we don't get involved with his family and how is that working out for us?
I didn't see any of that coming. wow!!! I tried to be so careful in my wording. Now it seems there is some deeper resentment or maybe hatred there? wow. I don't even know the next step.
We lived in Alaska for awhile and know the anger of the mama bear when defending her baby cub. But, this neice is 14- a freshman in high school. She is def. old enough to be able to be told that what she said was disrespectful. I don't hold it against her, because she is a kid, but I thought it would be best to stay silent and point it out to her own mother so she could then explain to her daughter that comment was disrespectful. I am the one who should be angry because I am the one who was disrespected and now my SIL won't address the racist comment, only defend her mothering skills and attack us further?
Why does this have to be about "you don't have kids so you cannot tell me..." so because I don't have kids I can't point out that I was disrespected (as well as everyone else of my ethnic background) and that it is not okay?
How would you handle this? Should my husband call his sister tonight because right now it is between them- blood is thicker for sure? Should he wait a bit till she cools off or will she just keep building her anger if this doesn't get solved.
Any advice? What a mess!!

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#792106 - 11/09/12 01:51 PM Re: SIL defensive when told kid was disrespectful [Re: chiak]
Rhinestone Rocky Offline

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 5
As a young woman that has been with the same man for 12 years (married 4), with no inclination of having children (ever), I completely understand why this is so frustrating! Your SIL is definitely on the defense because she is assuming your husband is 'telling her what to do with her kids' rather than seeing that her child said something offensive. Because admitting that her child made a mistake would reflect poorly on her. She would rather attack you than admit that she didn't teach her child right and wrong. Denial and throwing the blame back upon you and your husband are totally the actions of a person that does not want to admit fault. It sounds like she has a very reactive personality. If your husband were to calmly express to her that if the situation had been reversed or if someone else had done what her daughter had done to you, what would her reaction be? Would she be offended that someone insulted you? Asking thought provoking questions rather than making statements, would be a lot less volatile. Of course repeating, "I love you, this has no bearing on my love for you or my niece" and "What would you have done?" Also asking 'Why are my wife's feelings not valid just because we don't have children?" or "Please respect our feelings and not make this more than it needs to be." It does indeed sound like a huge mess. I only hope your SIL realizes that no matter what happens, family is family and regardless of personal parenting views, if someone is insulted or disrespected that isn't okay to tolerate. Hope this helps!

#792195 - 11/10/12 10:29 AM Re: SIL defensive when told kid was disrespectful [Re: chiak]
Samb. Offline

Registered: 01/11/12
Posts: 27
Her child should be taught to respect her elders. It doesn't matter whether they are her parents or not. Parents these days can just do no wrong with their brats can they? Honestly, if you aren't going to raise polite, well-rounded citizens that will one day take a place in this society, don't raise any at all. I wish I had more advice for you in this situation, but that's mainly because if it were me I would have just told her the above. And I'd probably throw in "Just because you have a kid doesn't mean you have all the answers all of a sudden. And if you can't accept RESPECTFUL criticism of your child's behavior regarding common sense items like being polite and respectful to elders which WE were taught as children -even from people who don't have kids *who OMG...still amazingly have common sense and manners even though they haven't had kids*- then possibly it's YOU that needs to do some growing up."

#792257 - 11/10/12 08:06 PM Re: SIL defensive when told kid was disrespectful [Re: chiak]
chiak Offline

Registered: 08/01/08
Posts: 32
You guys are the only ones who seem to get this!! Everyone else who is a mother really seems to be on the whole defensive side!!

We bring up a specific point- I was disrespected by the racist comment and furthermore from SIL laughing right afterwards and now SIL keeps side-stepping and going back to attacking us.

DH wrote her again actually saying that his intention was not to judge her parenting, only to express to her that he was upset about the situation: comments made, her reaction which came off derogatory and disrespectful and actually said he was sorry he came off wrong.

she emails back yes, she went off quite harsh because her daughter is having some trouble right now (once again, because she is a mother is she supposed to be allowed to get all crazy and blame that on the stress from having kids) but she does feel we both constantly judge her and her husband and she feel they must walk on eggshells around us. and then writes at the bottom
FYI I did talk to her on the drive home that night and she felt bad.
And then has the audacity to say if I am so offended I can call the kid on it? what??!!! that is not my job!! Is she telling me she feels we judge her and now I am supposed to do her job and reprimand her kid?? What is wrong with this mother???

yep that is it. no apology whatsoever, no responsibility taken at all.
then she emails and invites my husband to talk to her on phone. That outta be a great conversation. We don't know how to get out of this mess.

He is going to call tomorrow because this emailing is getting stupid and if he doesn't- he will look like the bad guy because she was at least trying and he avoided communicating ya know??
I just need something resolved soon so we can tell his mother if we will even go there for Thanksgiving now.

This is so awful. If this woman does not apologize I will never feel comfortable around her and I sure don't want to go to her house for a holiday when I am obviously not respected enough.

She just keeps throwing this stuff back at us instead of focusing on my feelings. I am so beyond angry. mad If she wasn't family I would not even think twice. But, whatever happens with this tomorrow will set the future as far as if we will be comfortable enough in family gatherings. I don't want to break up his family, but I cannot pretend this didn't happen and go into a house where I am so disrespected. I feel sick about this.

The truly sickening thing is that I really believe this is a conflict of her being seethingly jealous of me for not being a mother. I really believe this. She got married later and seemed to feel pressure to have kids. We never talked about it and when she realized we weren't having kids- ever- well I got this feeling she was shocked like, wow- why didn't I know that was an option?? DH and I have been able to pick up and move to quite a few fun small resort towns out west which def. made her envious and we have so much more freedom to do fun things. Why should I feel guilty about any of that? There is no judging of her other than stepping in when her kids were little - if they were obnoxious my husband would tell them to settle down.(quite respectfully I must add) She never once mentioned having a problem with that so truly what is this about? Hopefully we will find out tomorrow!

#793886 - 11/22/12 09:31 AM Re: SIL defensive when told kid was disrespectful [Re: chiak]
thisiseasycash Offline

Registered: 02/02/11
Posts: 146
What was the outcome? I would actually talk to the niece about it if you have that kind of relationship with her. Just simply tell the niece yeah that comment you made hurt my feelings and tell her why. If it were me I'd avoid the SIL. I'd be polite but I'd feed them with a very long handled spoon. You don't have to be best friends just be cordial and agree to disagree.

#799493 - 01/07/13 09:48 AM Re: SIL defensive when told kid was disrespectful [Re: thisiseasycash]
chiak Offline

Registered: 08/01/08
Posts: 32
What a stupid situation to be in. Recap- at a family dinner, niece made disrespectful comment about my race, SIL laughed. DH emailed his sis and told her he was upset about this. SIL emailed and attacked us saying we judge her and she is uncomfortable around us, feels like she has to walk on eggshells. SO- DH called his sister and said, “If you have nothing to say about what happened, then this conversation is over” she was shocked and kept saying, “what do you want me to do?” REALLY? You have to ask. How disgusting. She ends up crying and saying she didn’t know why she did it and she felt stupid afterwards. Hmmm.. It is all about her. Then she actually cries, “I don’t want you to hate me” What is wrong with this woman? She starts saying she is having problems with our niece(find out later the girl has become a perfectionist in school and is going to a counselor. Hmmm. Maybe my SIL could go too?!!!! ) The typical excuse of so many mothers- I cannot be held accountable for my life right now because I am so stressed out with my child.. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Give me a break.

We end up seeing them at my parent-in-laws’ house a couple weeks later and not a word said about their rude behavior let alone any sort of apology from either SIL or neice. Figured as much. I did make small talk with them and just acted like my usual, friendly self. She is pathetic and just taught her daughter that one does not need take responsibility for one’s actions and that it is okay to make disrespectful comments and racist remarks. It is disgusting.
We really, really did not want to have to go to her house for Christmas. Luckily, my DH got sick and we had to stay home! Seriously- he really was sick. It was one time he didn’t mind it!

2 days ago, SIL called and left a short message on DH cell mumbling some stuff about sorry he was sick and that we couldn’t make it on Christmas and how they just got back from a trip to NY and call me when you get a chance. WHY???? So now he is supposed to call and chat on the phone like they are buddies? This is out of control. I don’t harbor ill will towards her, but I think she is a pathetic person and will speak to her when I have to. I sure would never choose to associate with a person like her if she wasn’t in their family!! DH does not want to call her at all. We have absolutely nothing in common with her and after all this- nothing to say to her on the phone for sure!

The fact is her kids are spoiled brats and it is the fault of their parents. That is not a judgment= that is reality. It is obvious when a child is over-indulged and obnoxious isn’t it? We cannot relate to her, her husband, or her kids. We are completely different people. I know she really is envious of us because we don’t have kids and we have been able to easily pick up and move to some great resort towns out west and have had some pretty awesome adventures along the way. She used to live that lifestyle before getting married and having kids. Her decisions. Our lifestyle is not an affront to her. We are just living the life we enjoy. To each his own.

Bottom line is= We act cordial at family gatherings, because that is what one does to keep the family together!! We will continue to do what is expected for family gatherings, but we sure aren’t going to go out of our way to spend extra time with them! The only reason we have to keep this friendly is so we can still have a relationship with his parents. If he told his mother that sis never even apologized she would totally take sis’ side and we’d be the bad guys and then that would cause a family rift and DH would never really get to see his dad and grandma (the 2 nicest people in the family). We have to find a way to keep neutral. Why is this blowing up in our faces?

Edited by chiak (01/07/13 09:50 AM)

#800626 - 01/14/13 12:26 PM Re: SIL defensive when told kid was disrespectful [Re: chiak]
Debbie-SpiritualityEditor Offline
BellaOnline Editor

Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 4789
Chiak.....so sorry all of this has happened to you, as it is totally unacceptable and should have been corrected on the spot by the parents. I agree with all the other posters on this. SIL has some nerve to say that you and your husband are acting "holier than thou", when actually she is the one who is acting this way!
Debbie Grejdus
Spirituality Site Editor
Spirituality Forum Moderator

#800823 - 01/15/13 01:14 PM Re: SIL defensive when told kid was disrespectful [Re: chiak]
Elleise - Clairvoyance Offline
BellaOnline Editor

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 4024
Loc: TX
I first saw this situation on the marriage forum. And, lol, just not to make lite of any of it but I'm like..."This is my parallel Universe..." and on so many levels. smile

Truly, I'm like, down to simply changing names here and there, there really are a great deal of similarities.

For here, right now though (I'll post in other threads as well) but remember that saying?

"You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, BUT you can never please ALL of the people all of the time."

This is a personal mantra I succumb to on a daily basis and that's no lie! wink

I do this in the name of self-preservation smile
Karen Elleise
Clairvoyance Editor
Clairvoyance Site

#802861 - 01/26/13 04:02 PM Re: SIL defensive when told kid was disrespectful [Re: Elleise - Clairvoyance]
Elleise - Clairvoyance Offline
BellaOnline Editor

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 4024
Loc: TX
The SIL, depending which side you're seeing it from, like if you're the wife...a siter-in-law, could be the actual sister of the husband.

However YOU could in fact have a SIL., etc. due to the woman your husband's brother married.

The situation here...what comes through to me the most is, if YOU'RE the primary house tenants, you're entitled to "HOUSE-BOUNDRIES" so to speak.

I (in a way), understand your husband, just not maybe wanting to make waves/ruffle feathers, because he kind of has to live w/whatever goes down. You know? confused

The husband/he's outside of your "control factor"

But! What you can do is just tend to your own being, like what you're doing, getting your degree.

Your primary family (you and your husband) and if the extended family wants to intervene or "pop up" unexpected, etc. You can create a create a "safe-haven" for yourself in ONE room and PLEASE by all means, if family is going to show up unexpectedly...let them do their own laundry and stocking and such.

If you feel the need to wash up after them, you know, after they've left...husband or not...sure go ahead and do laundry and fold them up (the towels) but leave them downstairs.

If they want them...they know the layout of the house and can can go down and get them smile
Karen Elleise
Clairvoyance Editor
Clairvoyance Site


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