(Closed) SIL doesn't consider my kids her niece/nephews …. wtf?

posted 6 years ago in Family
Post # 47
Member
592 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

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majorairhead:  the kids are definitely first cousins but it’s because they are your brother’s children. Technically she is correct, her kids are your nephews, your kids are not her niece and nephew. If she divorced your brother tomorrow her connection to them would be broken but her kids are your blood relatives. 

That said, I don’t think you should take offense to how she sees your kids, it may be a cultural or even a personal view she’s entitled to hold. Personally, I view my BIL’s kids as my niece and nephew and they call me aunt, maybe your SIL doesnt see things that way. 

Post # 48
Member
1030 posts
Bumble bee

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majorairhead:  Have you reached out to your SIL directly to see if she’d like to do something with you? Asked to have a kids play date? Maybe the problem is your brother and he is causing the rift. 

Post # 50
Member
1915 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - backyard in the woods

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Olivepepper:  I understand how you feel completely. I really think it’s a depth of relationship thing, an emotional one.

majorairhead:  Maybe she doesn’t feel tht she has earned that title? It doesn’t sound like she is that close with your children. If she was very close with her family maybe it feels weird to call kids she doesn’t know very well her nieces and nephews? Like she hasn’t earned it? I don’t think she means to be offensive.

My situation: when DH and I married his brother and sister each had kids. Two girls over 18 and one in high school. Shortly after we married his brother and brother’s girlfirend had a little boy. A year and a half later my brother and my Future Sister-In-Law had a little boy. (I’m 32, DH is the baby of his family) DH and I dated for approx. 5 years before we married.

TBH, until recently I’ve always felt awkward calling my nieces and nephew on DH’s side my nieces and nephew. With my nieces, I’m equally close in age to them as I am DH’s siblings. It took awhile for me to feel like I was close enough to the to deserve the title. Even my my nephew, DH’s brother’s son, who I’ve been an Aunt to his whole life, I felt this way with, since we only see him 2-3 times a year. I never held him much as a baby becuase my Mother-In-Law, SIL and my nieces were crazy for him, I though they should have priority of his time over me.

The closer I’ve gotten to my nieces, the more and more I refer to them as my nieces without thought. I’ve only been comfortable with it the last 6 months or so. Calling DH’s brother’s son my nephew still feels awkward, but I’m sure I’ll feel that way with him too, when he gets bigger and can interact with me without shying away. I honestly still don’t know Brother-In-Law and SIL that well. DH”s family is very quiet and reserved compared to mine. This may be why it felt awkward for awhile too.

With my brother’s son, I instantly felt like his Aunt. I was in the room when he was trying to be born, helped my brother and Future Sister-In-Law care for him that first night in the hospital when she had a c-section. The relationship was instantaneous. My brother and I are very close as our mom was killed and we had to wade thorough that mess together. My brothers, Future Sister-In-Law and DH I feel are my immediate family, as I have a strained relationshp with my father. I was the first one my brother and Future Sister-In-Law told when they found out, and the one my brother called with worries and excitement through the pregnancy.  I think how close we are has something to do with how I feel about my brother’s son.

Another perspective: I also have an Aunt by marriage that I still refer to as my Aunt, even though she and my dad’s brother divorced over 15 years ago. That uncle has a new wife who I’ve rarly met, as since they married shortly after the divorce he rarely comes around the family. I have a hard time calling this new woman my Aunt. The one who I had a relationship growing up with- she is my Aunt, divorce or no. I also consider my mom’s best friend and her husband my Aunt and Uncle.

Post # 51
Member
7556 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Unless you’re a genealogist, who cares?

calling a child “niece ” or “nephew”  does not guarantee a close relationship, and calling a child “my partner’s nephew” doesn’t prevent a close relationship. nit picking the name is just looking for an excuse to feel slighted. 

Post # 54
Member
7556 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

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majorairhead:  then you need to explain to your son why this is not a big deal.

Post # 56
Member
1915 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - backyard in the woods

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majorairhead:  That’s odd indeed. Hmm, all I can think of is that maybe there’s something going on in her life, or between your bother and her that you don’t know about. *Shrug* I don’t really have any suggestions.

Post # 58
Member
6889 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

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majorairhead:  Then apparently I am odd too because my brother married a woman who has/had children and I do not consider them my nieces and nephews at all.  And my DH’s nieces and nephews are his neices and nephews not mine.  The only one I really consider my niece is the daughter of my brother from a different relationship.  Logicially I know we are all family but I am not connected to any of them other than the one niece. 

Post # 59
Member
24 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2015

This is weird to me. My fiancé and I have been together for 10 years and I consider his brother; my brother. We have a 3 year old daughter and she adores her uncle. He’s one of her favorite people in the whole world, and he does so much for her and spoils her rotten. He has a baby boy on the way (in june) and I would never not  refer to the baby as my nephew. I’m going to treat him and do for him the same way my brother does for my daughter.

Post # 60
Member
545 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

My husband has a couple nieces that were older when we got married, so they don’t call me auntie. He has a nephew I’ve known since birth, but I don’t see him often. When he talks more, maybe he’ll call me auntie. My nieces and nephews refer to my husband as uncle. But I refer to his nieces and nephew as his and he refers to my nieces and nephews as mine when talking about them to others. Nothing personal. I’ve never thought to do it differently. Just a way to show who is related to who I guess. Just like I call his sister my sister in law instead of sister. 

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