Post # 1
Ever since I got engaged (Feb 2012), my in-laws have been trying to get me to refer to them as “mum and dad” and treating me as if I’m their daughter. Now, I really do like my in-laws, but I’m not comfortable calling anyone mum or dad except for my own parents – I love my parents and I didn’t marry my husband with the intention of obtaining new parents. I married him because I love him.
On top of that, the in-laws aren’t the best parental figures. Father-In-Law has been verbally and emotionally abusive to his two sons (as well as any nieces and nephews) for as long as they can remember – always telling them what they’re doing wrong in life, how they should live, encouraging them to be “men” (drink, get into fights, etc.). What I hate most is, as he’s started thinking of me as his “daughter” he starts thinking of me more as a child and treats me the way he treats his own kids (i.e. with no respect whatsoever). Mother-In-Law is nowhere near as bad, but she’s can be really high-strung and just draining to be around.
I could go on and on (this post was originally really long), but I’m just so fed up with them seeming determined to treat me like their daughter (i.e. like a child). When they say I “need” to call them mum and dad, I usually laugh it off with “Haha, yeah that would take a lot of getting used to,” or “Nah, that’s a little weird for me,” and continue calling them by their first names but they just won’t stop! I don’t want to call them mum and dad! I don’t like the implications of that at all – they’re not my parents; they’re not people I would want as my parents; and I want to maintain, as much as possible, that I am an adult not their child.
Post # 3
It’s funny, I actually would LIKE to call my fiance’s parents mom and dad… but not till after we are married. However my fmil already expressed to me how odd she thinks it is for people to call their spouses parents mom and dad, because that’s something only your own parents deserve. So she is sort of in your place.
I can’t relate too much here… My fiance’s parents do treat me like I am one of their kids, but I’m okay with it. I actually like it, just because to me that shows that they care about me and are comfortable with me.
I’d say the best solution would be to talk to your fmil and just tell her that you want to wait until you are part of the family to start thinking of them in a parental role to yourself. That’ll buy you a little time and things might change by then.
I have been dating my fiance 5 1/2 years and I am still trying to break the habit of calling his mom and dad “mr. and mrs. neugebauer” and instead call them “gerard and maria”
Post # 4
no desire to call my FH’s parents mom & dad. I’ve always called them by their first names – that won’t change just because we’re getting married. She’s been calling herself my Mother-In-Law for years – the only time I don’t use their first names is when I’m talking to my FH’s neice & nephew in which case I call them Grammy & Grampy like you would…
Post # 5
I suggest talking to them about why it makes you uncomfortable if the other ways of bringing it up aren’t working. I don’t see why you can’t say “While I really appreciate your offer to call you mom and dad, and the sentiments behind it. I believe that mom and dad are names that you reserve for your own parents. I hope that you can understand where I’m coming from. I prefer to call you x and y”.
Post # 6
Commenting to follow… my background is this…
When I was about 7 or 8, my mother began to really spiral out of control in terms of her mental illness. In effect, I became her carer, and the second parent within our home. By the age of 10 or 11, this transformation was complete. The result was that I grew up to be very independent.
Fiance, on the other hand, grew up within a supportive family and was comparatively emotionally (although not financially) spoilt. His parents protected him, and still do.
The problem is that they “feel sorry for me, because I was never a child” and want to see me as a daughter. I get it… but I find it really weird. I’m used to relating to people as adult-adult, not as adult-child.
Post # 7
I get along well with my in-laws, but I will never call them Mom and Dad. My parents are my parents, my in-laws are my in-laws… I’ll always call them by their first names.
However, if I was asked by either of them straight-up to refer to them as mom and dad, I’m not sure how I’d react! It would be hard to tell them “no, you aren’t my parents”, because they clearly KNOW that… I’m really not sure how I’d handle it. Perhaps tell Fiance that he needs to have a private word with them about how I’m just not comfortable calling anyone except my parents mom and dad.
Post # 8
@CiaArielleNeugebauer: That’s great you’ve got that kind of relationship with your in-laws! I wish that mine were the kind of people I’d be comfortable thinking of as “parents” but I just can’t. As I said in the first post, not only do I already have great parents, I just don’t feel comfortable enough around my in-laws to think of them as close family.
@Rachel631: I’m sorry you’re experiencing this too. I’ve had to deal with Father-In-Law calling me his “little baby girl” or Mother-In-Law telling me how to dress, how to cook, etc.
For Chrissakes! I’m 25 (was 21 when I met them), so I’m not a child! I don’t like the patronising pats on the head, or the cheek pinches, I just want to be treated as an adult that is marrying their adult son (who they also insist on treating like a child). We both want them to respect us as adults, and even my husband has said I shouldn’t call them mum and dad because “It’ll just encourage them.”
Post # 9
my mother calls her Mother-In-Law, my grandmother, Mom. She requested that I do the same for my in-laws but I’m like UM no not really. I address my in-laws by first name, as they requested years into DH’s and my relationship.
Post # 10
I really hate this. I mean, I know they’ve always wanted a daughter (they only have two sons), but just because I’m in love with their son doesn’t mean I want them to be my parents.
They’ve also implied in the past that, because my parents have four children and they have two, we should spend more time with them, because my parents have “other children to visit them! We only have two!”
Post # 11
I really think it varies by person. My mom calls my dads parents “mom and dad”… But my dad calls my moms parents “chuck and gail”. So it’s really a by person basis. You have to do what seems right to you.