Post # 1
One of my first posts on Weddingbee but I’ve been lurking for awhile. Most of the posts I’ve seen are very open-minded and I’ve seen Bees give some really great advice that I would never have thought of so I thought it would be good to post about this topic.
My (step) FMIL is very religious (catholic/Christian) but tends to be very judgemental of others beliefs (but tries to pretend like she’s so tolerant and spouts about God’s love but never seems to spread that love to anyone who doesn’t fit into her boundaries of “a good person”.
FI and I were at a family party yesterday and I overheard a conversation between Step FMIL and FI’s 5 yr old nephew (we’ll call him C).
C and I were playing with his superhero figures. He likes to play house with them and uses his mom’s old dollhouse to do so (his father and uncles are very big into cooking and his dad is SAHD so he doesn’t have the “traditional” role models for what a stereotypical man’s role should be…I loveit! )
He decided to make Superman and Batman live together and then he wanted them to get married. (His parents are big supporters of same-sex marriage as are all of his Aunts and Uncles and obviously the topic has been spoken about to him in a positive way)
FMIL had walked over just as he said this and she grabbed a barbie and said that Batman should marry her since “That’s how God wants it”.
I was dumbfounded! I didn’t want to have a confrontation with her at this party but I did tell C’s mom so she could do damage control later. She was pissed that FMIL even said anything like that to C. Not sure what she’ll do but she’s not into confrontation either so probably nothing.
So this situation got me thinking…How should I deal with FMIL when/if she tries to pull this on my (future) kids? What’s a nice way to say “stop pushing your agenda on my kids” without making it a huge drama? Is there one??
Post # 3
I would just sit down and talk with her WITH your SO present. Maybe when you’re towards the end of your first pregnancy or something. And I would just say something like, “We really want you to be an important part of our child’s life. We know you have strong beliefs, but you know that we don’t agree with them. While we definitely respect your beliefs, we are choosing to raise our child with our beliefs. We know that in the past there have been times when you seemed to try to sway the other grandchildren with your beliefs when they didn’t match up with the views of that child’s parent’s. We don’t want that to happen with our child. We hope that you will be able to respect that so that our child will be able to have tons of quality time with you.” Obviously, in your own words, but basically if she wants time with your kids, she’ll need to respect your choice to raise your kids with your beliefs, otherwise you won’t be able to trust her in spending time with your kids.
Post # 4
I tend to be blunt. I didn’t used to be, but at some point I just stopped worrying about what people thought of me so much, and worried more about making sure that they don’t get to run around spewing their hate under the impression that everyone agrees.
I do try to be casual/humorous about it. In that case, I probably would have picked up another toy and said something in a deep funny voice like, “Well, I’m god, and I say they can all get married if they want!” Or, if the kid’s family was atheistic, I might go for the more pointed, “Good thing god is only pretend!”
For my own kids, family already knows that if the god talk comes out, they will be cut off. No joke.
Post # 5
We aren’t having these kinds of issues, but my dad has some anger issues (nothing at all physical, just yells). He got mad at me a few weeks ago (I asked him to wash his hands…clearly he was unhappy with that suggestion) and yelled at me/got in my face a bit. I left IMMEDIATELY and told him that not only was it unacceptable for him to speak to me that way, but that I was not going to let my child be around that kind of response/think that it’s acceptable. He cooled off, called and apologized, and has been working on it. If it happens again, I will do the same…leave immediately.
I think having a conversation, like @taraelisabeth: suggested, is a good first step, after that, it’s out the door. Don’t threaten it, just do it.
Post # 6
Thank you ladies!! All very good suggestions.
It would be totally easy for me to say what I want to say and walk away but FMIL has a way of controlling her stepchildren and in extension, the grandkids, by controlling my FI’s dad. If we anger her in any way, then she’ll keep him away from us. I realize that he needs to take responsibility as an adult and tell her that she can’t comtrol him but he just doesn’t and it isn’t my place to tell my FI that he’ll have to sacrafice a relationship with his Dad b/c I can’t stand the stepmother’s hate-mongering.
We will most definitely be having a civil talk with her though once we become pregnant. Then I guess we’ll go from there.
Post # 7
@BlueBelle0927: i’m not sure how you should deal with it, but i just wanted to say that if you wouldn’t mind, the next time you see C, could you give him a high five and tell him he’s a great kid for me?
my SO and i are both the youngest of two siblings, we each have an older brother, and they are both gay. you would not believe the garbage, hate and offensive crap that people still spew – including the ever present ‘that’s how god wants it’ trump card.
so kudos to his parents for raising an open minded, well adjusted kid who will go on to ponder much more pressing world issues than whether or not batman and superman should get married 🙂
Post # 8
@BlueBelle0927: I have to say, though, that the balance will most assuredly change when you have children, because FI’s dad will want access to his grandkids. If you make the stakes clear (appropriate behavior=time with the kids), he will probably make her comply. And if not, you can offer that he is welcome to come over, but she can’t unless she follows the rules. I think you will find that you have a lot more power in the situation once your kids are involved.
Post # 9
I will most defintely do that for you! His parents definitely deserve high-fives too 🙂
Once I could get the grandmother away, I told him that I think Batman and Superman would love to be married to one another. He just smiled at me and we kept playing like we were before.
I should have told him that Barbie is their friend who is going to live with them so that Barbie can give them a baby! I’m sure FMIL would have LOVED that! LOL
Post # 10
I don’t have this issue with our parents/close relatives, but some of my husband’s extended family have these views and obviously there are still a fair number of people general who feel this way. We’ve always made it clear to our daughter that being gay is no big deal, but we’ve also taken the time to explain that not everyone feels that way.
The way I would approach it is to repeat your views that you want to share with your children to your kids and let them know that this is how this issue is thought about in your house, but that other people sometimes think differently about it.
I think it’s also fine to – very civilly – approach her and your fiance’s dad when you’re having kids and say something along the lines of “We understand that you have strong views about this, but we don’t share these views and we would like to raise our children in a way that reflects this. We hope you’ll be respectful of our choices.”
Post # 11
@BlueBelle0927: I think the moment someone tries to force their beliefs on someone else, they’re the one starting the drama, so I don’t think respodning would make you the dramatic one. My daughers (3 and 4) know that people can marry once they are adults and are in love, regardless of sex (obviously, I don’t tell them that varies by state!) My oldest daughter was actually told that it was wrong in front of me by a playmate’s mother. A quick, “I’m sorry, our views are obviously different, but we don’t want her raised to judge other people” squashed it.
If it persists, you may just have to tell her that she can either keep her views to herself or you’d be forced to limit contact.
I realize everyone has their own views, but someone else’s kid is not the place to win one for your cause.
Post # 12
Not in this situation yet, but I’m a little concerned as well. However, the in-laws have other grandchildren, and I haven’t really seen this happen with them, so that does make me feel better.
Post # 13
@stuckinwonderland: Ooh! I don’t know what I would have done if that had happened to my kid in front of me…
Post # 14
@BlueBelle0927: My mom is far right anti-gay and DH is far left pro-gay rights. I walk on egg shells, and I can’t imagine how rough it’s going to get when we have kids! I don’t have a good answer for you, except to say that neither side will hear a word of opposition. This issue is so black-and-white to individuals, no matter which side.
Post # 15
I think people can believe whatever they choose. But blatant disrespect and nastiness towards a group of individuals is wrong.
Post # 16
@stuckinwonderland: Thank you for responding! I really needed to hear about someone else’s real world experience.
I agree with you that a direct response toward those who try to spread their views on your kids is best. I think I’ll be going with this tactic with the MIL. Hopefully I can get my very non-confrontational (and yes just asking her not to do this would be a confrontation for him) to do this as well when I am not around.
I also want to express to my kids that it is okay for people to have different beliefs but that once they choose to express those views with hatred, it is okay to stand up for your beliefs civilly and respectfully.
I don’t want them to be intolerant of others’ beliefs just because they may differ from ours (ie. pro-choice/pro-life – so much gray area) but there are some topics (for me, same-sex marriage) that are just about being a human to me and too much hate and intolerance influence some people’s beliefs towards those topics.