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Criticizing other people’s kids

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My DH and I will be spending Thanksgiving with our daughter’s in-laws. A little background, we have known each other for over 30 years. We met when they only had one child, we had none. We now have 2 adult daughters, they have 2 adult sons and 2 adult daughters. Both of our families have had our ups and downs in child rearing and we have shared those stories and moments with each other. Well, much to our surprise, our youngest daughter is now married to the younger son. Last time, when we shared a long weekend, DH came home upset. Paul, our daughter’s FIL, made a few critical comments about our daughter. During his last visit there, he made mention of how she tailgated, which was probably true. I visited them on 3 occasions while they lived there. I said the very same thing. Another was her spending habits. He thought she didn’t do enough comparison shopping. She had spent money on some herb garden, when they only had a couple of months before they came stateside. He also has made critical comments about our oldest daughter, his goddaughter. Again, DH and I are well aware of the faults of our children. I can honestly say, DH and I have been supportive of their 4 kids, who have faced their own challenges. So, advice on how to handle it? I’ve let it slide or made some comment about waiting for those perfect kids. DH usually walks away. Thanksgiving is around the corner and DH has already mentioned he’s not looking forward to the visit.😕Thanks for any advice or insight😊

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I don't know how I would actually handle it but I would probably feel bristly and defensive. But, it might be best to keep it light while also standing up for your dd . I can envision something like, "Now, now, let's keep it positive! Remember, she's my daughter!" smile smile with very slight side eye. 

Or you could pull him aside and be sincere and tell him you know he'd never in a million years seek to hurt either you or your daughter, but it does indeed sting when he is saying those things. Don't apologize for being "sensitive" or anything, just tell him how you feel, as if he surely must not realize how he is being hurtful. This gives him room to apologize and be more aware. 

Even if he is being a little jerky. 

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Ugh - that is so obnoxious!  I would be super irritated by that and it would make me not want to spend time with them.  

I might respond something like "Well, they're adults now and they get to choose how to live their own lives.  I love them just the way they are." or I might tell them straight up that you wouldn't dream of criticizing their adult kids and that it hurts you.  Actually if you did that once, and put an end to an event immediately after, I'm guessing that would make an impact.  I certainly wouldn't stand and listen to it.  

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The previous posters have given good advice and it depending on your personality which way you feel comfortable saying something,

Does he say these things in front of your daughter?  Otherwise I'd wonder what all he's saying about you when you aren't around, and I'd ask my daughter about it. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Mbelle said:

The previous posters have given good advice and it depending on your personality which way you feel comfortable saying something,

Does he say these things in front of your daughter?  Otherwise I'd wonder what all he's saying about you when you aren't around, and I'd ask my daughter about it. 

 

 

Honestly, since they have been married, they’ve  lived in Japan and just recently moved stateside. So, all the parents haven’t been with the kids since they’ve been married. I hesitate to ask my daughter about what he has said to her. Only because I don’t want to put any ideas in her head that he doesn’t love her like a daughter. 

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I’d probably defend her.   My dh, on the other hand, would say something snarky.  A year ago, ds bought a kayak that was almost too big for his then car.  Dh had to go down, 1.5 hrs away, and help him load it in dh’s truck (now ds’s truck, but I digress...). Anyway the sales person said something jokingly to dh about ds trying to fit that kayak on his little car.  Dh snapped and told him if he (the sales guy) knew anything about what he was doing, the kayak would’ve fit.  The sales guy kept his mouth shut after that.  Dh told me that *we* can criticize ds if we feel the need and do it the right way, but nobody else is criticizing our kid.   So that’s probably how we’d handle it.  One time of a smart ass comment and that guy probably won’t mention your daughter like that again.  After your comment, just act like it didn’t happen, no hard feelings, or anything like that.  Just get your point across and drop it.  Now if he says something back?  Unload on him. 

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1 minute ago, Thatboyofmine said:

I’d probably defend her.   My dh, on the other hand, would say something snarky.  A year ago, ds bought a kayak that was almost too big for his then car.  Dh had to go down, 1.5 hrs away, and help him load it in dh’s truck (now ds’s truck, but I digress...). Anyway the sales person said something jokingly to dh about ds trying to fit that kayak on his little car.  Dh snapped and told him if he (the sales guy) knew anything about what he was doing, the kayak would’ve fit.  The sales guy kept his mouth shut after that.  Dh told me that *we* can criticize ds if we feel the need and do it the right way, but nobody else is criticizing our kid.   So that’s probably how we’d handle it.  One time of a smart ass comment and that guy probably won’t mention your daughter like that again.  After your comment, just act like it didn’t happen, no hard feelings, or anything like that.  Just get your point across and drop it.  Now if he says something back?  Unload on him. 

Thank you! We know our kids aren’t perfect and we’ve never pretended otherwise. They have heard us criticize them plenty. When it first started happening, I was just taken aback. I now feel I should have pushed back when it first started😕DH is a retired chaplain/pastor. He’s always very conscious of his calling and doesn’t feel he can say anything😳except to me, of course. This is a person we may share grandchildren with, someday. I don’t want to burn any bridges for the sake of our daughter and SIL, who, despite his faults, we do love😊

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I think I'd mildly defend and then deflect. If he moves on, I would not take it personally. Some people just spout negativity when they barely mean it. If he doubles down, then you won't need to say anything to you dd because I'm sure she'll be hearing it too.

So he says a criticism and then you say something like... "Oh, I've done that too. Live and learn." "You must have seen her on a bad day. I know she's usually very good at that." "That's not her strong suit, but she's great at this other thing." "You know, they're adults. I like to let them figure it all out on their own." "I've been really trying not to sweat the small stuff. In the grand scheme, I've been so impressed with both of them because..."

And follow up with a change of subject. Pass the bean dip. See how the sportsteam is doing at sportsball. Ask how his hobby is going. Comment on the weather or the garden or the lovely new whatever in their lovely house.

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2 minutes ago, May said:

Thank you! We know our kids aren’t perfect and we’ve never pretended otherwise. They have heard us criticize them plenty. When it first started happening, I was just taken aback. I now feel I should have pushed back when it first started😕DH is a retired chaplain/pastor. He’s always very conscious of his calling and doesn’t feel he can say anything😳except to me, of course. This is a person we may share grandchildren with, someday. I don’t want to burn any bridges for the sake of our daughter and SIL, who, despite his faults, we do love😊

Yes, you’re right... it would be extra hard to share grandkids with him if the relationship isn’t great.  But I would still say something to nip it in the bud.  Farrar has some good ideas.   Frankly,  I default to her and Rosie and Stella in matters like this and nearly everything else.  They have the wisdom I’ll probably never ever have.   I have a tendency to go ‘’mama bear” in about .5 seconds. 🤣

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51 minutes ago, May said:

 Last time, when we shared a long weekend, DH came home upset. Paul, our daughter’s FIL, made a few critical comments about our daughter. During his last visit there, he made mention of how she tailgated, which was probably true. I visited them on 3 occasions while they lived there. I said the very same thing. Another was her spending habits. He thought she didn’t do enough comparison shopping. She had spent money on some herb garden, when they only had a couple of months before they came stateside. 

 

I don't drive so I was told I was a burden to their son for having to drive me around. They only stop that comment when my husband keeps getting lost even with a GPS and I have to be the GPS. As for my spending habits, my husband partially defended me. He is too polite to defend totally and he also don’t think his parents need to know how much fun money comes from my parents and my relatives, and how much from him. His parents did try to pry the amount.

14 minutes ago, May said:

 I hesitate to ask my daughter about what he has said to her. Only because I don’t want to put any ideas in her head that he doesn’t love her like a daughter. 

 

I know that my in-laws prefer their oldest son’s wife so I wasn’t surprised that I could “do nothing good”.

My parents only defend if my husband does nothing. When my parents are annoyed enough to defend, it also carries the undertone that my husband isn’t up to their standard of care for taking care of me. 

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Pastors are allowed to say stuff!  

I think you need to come up with something clear that you can repeat..."I don't like that you're being so critical of dd."

This is a habit worth breaking him of before grandkids come along.

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“Common now. Those sort of comments can be hurtful. I know you don’t mean it that way. Let the kids figure it out on their own.” This would be my take on it. And I would say it  in a very friendly, non confrontational manner. 

 

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I was once Once upon a time I was repeatedly put in a similar situation.

I finally told the critical person, "When you make comments like that, I am forced to either defend Name, or join you in bashing Name. I'm not comfortable with either position." Critical Person didn't like that one bit, but the criticism ended. 

Edited by Angie in VA
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I think I'd tell him I would prefer not to discuss our grown children's faults, as there is nothing to be gained by discussing them.  Nobody is perfect.

Having recently been subjected to a barrage about my rotten kids from the grandmother of absolutely perfect ones [snark], I feel your pain.  But know you are in the right.

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I would say that's how they drive in Japan. 

I don't have grown kids, but I don't tolerate people being negatively critical of my kids.  Constructive criticism, ok.

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2 hours ago, Farrar said:

I think I'd mildly defend and then deflect. If he moves on, I would not take it personally. Some people just spout negativity when they barely mean it. If he doubles down, then you won't need to say anything to you dd because I'm sure she'll be hearing it too.

So he says a criticism and then you say something like... "Oh, I've done that too. Live and learn." "You must have seen her on a bad day. I know she's usually very good at that." "That's not her strong suit, but she's great at this other thing." "You know, they're adults. I like to let them figure it all out on their own." "I've been really trying not to sweat the small stuff. In the grand scheme, I've been so impressed with both of them because..."

And follow up with a change of subject. Pass the bean dip. See how the sportsteam is doing at sportsball. Ask how his hobby is going. Comment on the weather or the garden or the lovely new whatever in their lovely house.

I think I'd go with this and let it play out. Some people worry out loud by being critical of decisions--his comments sound like they *could* be concerns about safety and money habits that he finds worrisome or associates with being a step away from a car accident or financial ruin. 

Neither or those seem (to me) as personal or as pointed as pointing out something he doesn't personally like about her core self.

If that doesn't work, I'd try the idea below.

1 hour ago, Angie in VA said:

I was once Once upon a time I was repeatedly put in a similar situation.

I finally told the critical person, "When you make comments like that, I am forced to either defend Name, or join you in bashing Name. I'm not comfortable with either position." Critical Person didn't like that one bit, but the criticism ended. 

You can even soften this a bit with, "It seems like you want me to either do x or y..." 

If you've known them for years and not seen this kind of behavior, it makes me think that maybe he's just concerned, or he thinks this new level of connection via marriage means a new level of sharing and hasn't thought about how it sounds.

I don't mean at all to excuse bad behavior; I feel like I have a perpetual target on my back with my own MIL, and her comments are usually pretty darn personal. 

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3 hours ago, Mbelle said:

The previous posters have given good advice and it depending on your personality which way you feel comfortable saying something,

Does he say these things in front of your daughter?  Otherwise I'd wonder what all he's saying about you when you aren't around, and I'd ask my daughter about it. 

 

 

Honestly, since they have been married, they’ve  lived in Japan and just recently moved stateside. So, all the parents haven’t been with the kids since they’ve been married. I hesitate to ask my daughter about what he has said to her. Only because I don’t want to put any ideas in her head that he doesn’t love her like a daughter. 

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I appreciate everyone’s comments.🌺 With our families being friends so many years, I didn’t expect the critical comments of our daughter, at least not to us😳

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3 hours ago, May said:

Honestly, since they have been married, they’ve  lived in Japan and just recently moved stateside. So, all the parents haven’t been with the kids since they’ve been married. I hesitate to ask my daughter about what he has said to her. Only because I don’t want to put any ideas in her head that he doesn’t love her like a daughter. 

You sound like a wonderful loving mother!  You've gotten some great feed back, and I hope it all shakes out even if it's a bit uncomfortable for a few minutes or so.

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2 hours ago, Angie in VA said:

I was once Once upon a time I was repeatedly put in a similar situation.

I finally told the critical person, "When you make comments like that, I am forced to either defend Name, or join you in bashing Name. I'm not comfortable with either position." Critical Person didn't like that one bit, but the criticism ended. 

 

This is better than what I was thinking, which was to put on my thickest southern accent and smile and start with, "Bless your heart..."

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I'd ask him 'questions'.  does he realizes he's, a) criticizing your children to your face?, and b) criticizing his son's wife.  (and for that one - I'd go for the jugular with the addition: does he want to interfere in his son's marriage to the point that either they divorce, or he never see's his future grandchildren because if his son has integrity, he'll choose his wife over his father.)

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12 hours ago, May said:

Honestly, since they have been married, they’ve  lived in Japan and just recently moved stateside. So, all the parents haven’t been with the kids since they’ve been married. I hesitate to ask my daughter about what he has said to her. Only because I don’t want to put any ideas in her head that he doesn’t love her like a daughter. 

 

Maybe he does love her almost like a daughter?

Maybe he is hoping you will say something to her so she doesn’t get into a car crash or financial difficulties?

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1 hour ago, Pen said:

 

Maybe he does love her almost like a daughter?

Maybe he is hoping you will say something to her so she doesn’t get into a car crash or financial difficulties?

Thank you for giving me another way to look at it.🌺 The driving, I would agree😊 the financial part I question. He thought it was a great idea for his son, our SIL, to spend $25,000 on some used Jeep. Their family takes a lot of pride in the cars they drive and the size of the house they live in. Their choice, their money. When my daughter shared the cost of this herb garden she had bought, I did question the cost. But ultimately, she and her DH need to figure it out. 

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1 hour ago, May said:

Thank you for giving me another way to look at it.🌺 The driving, I would agree😊 the financial part I question. He thought it was a great idea for his son, our SIL, to spend $25,000 on some used Jeep. Their family takes a lot of pride in the cars they drive and the size of the house they live in. Their choice, their money. When my daughter shared the cost of this herb garden she had bought, I did question the cost. But ultimately, she and her DH need to figure it out. 

 

Perhaps she needs to say she compared cost of herb garden to _____ (cost of buying herbs or whatever is alternative) and determined it is a good investment in health and happiness of family.  

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1 hour ago, Pen said:

 

Perhaps she needs to say she compared cost of herb garden to _____ (cost of buying herbs or whatever is alternative) and determined it is a good investment in health and happiness of family.  

You are too sweet🌺No, hubby was deployed and she cooked very little when he was gone. When she mentioned the cost, I did say something. But she said “Mom, I like seeing the stuff grow.” Did she use any of it before they left Japan, I have no idea🧐

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29 minutes ago, May said:

You are too sweet🌺No, hubby was deployed and she cooked very little when he was gone. When she mentioned the cost, I did say something. But she said “Mom, I like seeing the stuff grow.” Did she use any of it before they left Japan, I have no idea🧐

 

Then perhaps it compared well to cost of psychotherapy- to be happy from seeing something grow?

how expensive was this herb garden anyway?

 

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1 hour ago, Pen said:

 

Then perhaps it compared well to cost of psychotherapy- to be happy from seeing something grow?

how expensive was this herb garden anyway?

 

It was some sort of kit, where you could grow several different types of herbs. She said she paid $250 for it😳

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2 minutes ago, May said:

It was some sort of kit, where you could grow several different types of herbs. She said she paid $250 for it😳

 

I see!  Well that does sound like quite a lot for seeds, soil, container!

but, maybe she wasn’t up to finding individual components in her circumstances  😌 

perhaps a few high quality seed catalogs would be good for her to have! I recommend the Fedco Seeds from Maine catalogs.  Plain black and white, not glossy enticing pictures, but hugely informative!  And excellent seed (and tools) quality for fair prices.  

 

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1 minute ago, Pen said:

 

I see!  Well that does sound like quite a lot for seeds, soil, container!

but, maybe she wasn’t up to finding individual components in her circumstances  😌 

perhaps a few high quality seed catalogs would be good for her to have! I recommend the Fedco Seeds from Maine catalogs.  Plain black and white, not glossy enticing pictures, but hugely informative!  And excellent seed (and tools) quality for fair prices.  

 

She showed me a picture of it and it was pretty elaborate. It had its own light electric light source🧐I’m sure finding something that shipped to Japan was also a challenge. They are now living in San Diego so growing herbs may be easier😊

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Just now, May said:

She showed me a picture of it and it was pretty elaborate. It had its own light electric light source🧐I’m sure finding something that shipped to Japan was also a challenge. They are now living in San Diego so growing herbs may be easier😊

 

With lights etc and given difficulty of finding components it may have been relatively reasonable.

San Diego should be way easier, especially if they have a balcony or yard of any sort, but even a good window spot would probably do a lot.

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Re the herb garden:

I think it's none of his business (or anyone else's, for that matter), if she chooses to spend money on herbs. She is not doing drugs. Her children are clothed; they have a roof over their heads; no one is going hungry. There are plenty of people who would spend that on a dry-clean-only sweater. 

Spending money is worthy of criticism if someone is being abusively deprived (like children going hungry) or if they are racking up large unnecessary consumer debts that bring them to the brink of bankruptcy. Other than that, it's really not anyone's business. 

That type of scrutiny and nitpicking are what kills relationships.

Edited by Harriet Vane
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My kids sometime spend money in ways I disapprove of.  Whatever.  They’re self-supporting adults.  They’re married and those decisions are between them and their spouses, not me.

 

Anne

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9 hours ago, Pen said:

 

Perhaps she needs to say she compared cost of herb garden to _____ (cost of buying herbs or whatever is alternative) and determined it is a good investment in health and happiness of family.  

She's a self supporting adult.   She shouldn't have to defend herself to her father-in-law.  He only gets a say if he's paying any of their bills. 

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1 hour ago, Anne said:

My kids sometime spend money in ways I disapprove of.  Whatever.  They’re self-supporting adults.  They’re married and those decisions are between them and their spouses, not me.

 

Anne

Psst.

i sometimes spend money in ways that my kids disapprove. 

I bought Raisin Bran today which they definitely disapprove of.

my dh buys bull semen. 

I buy gardening gear.

im sure as they get older they’ll find more stuff to criticize.

ill do them the courtesy of minding my business and I hope they’ll keep their nose out of my finances.

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6 hours ago, May said:

She showed me a picture of it and it was pretty elaborate. It had its own light electric light source🧐I’m sure finding something that shipped to Japan was also a challenge. They are now living in San Diego so growing herbs may be easier😊

 

It was probably an AeroGarden. I love mine! There are several different sizes and styles:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Aero+garden&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

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How did Paul come to know what she paid for her herb garden?  

And if you have known each other for 30 years and your and do friendship with Paul and his wife antedates the birth of your dd and Paul’s son who are now married, can’t you talk openly about and resolve the hurt feelings? 

 

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9 hours ago, May said:

No, hubby was deployed and she cooked very little when he was gone. When she mentioned the cost, I did say something. But she said “Mom, I like seeing the stuff grow.” 

 

7 hours ago, May said:

It was some sort of kit, where you could grow several different types of herbs. She said she paid $250 for it😳

 

When my husband was working from 7am to 11pm (including company bus travel time), I easily spent more fun money than that amount because it was rather sad coming home from work before 7pm and waiting hours before my husband could be home.

7 hours ago, Pen said:

Well that does sound like quite a lot for seeds, soil, container!

 

Japan’s cost of living is generally higher though.

Edited by Arcadia
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24 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

 

 

When my husband was working from 7am to 11pm (including company bus travel time), I easily spent more fun money than that amount because it was rather sad coming home from work before 7pm and waiting hours before my husband could be home.

 

Japan’s cost of living is generally higher though.

 

Once realizing it’s a whole set up with lights etc I thought it sounded reasonable for what it is- and sometimes the space saving aspect is also part of cost

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13 hours ago, Pen said:

How did Paul come to know what she paid for her herb garden?  

And if you have known each other for 30 years and your and do friendship with Paul and his wife antedates the birth of your dd and Paul’s son who are now married, can’t you talk openly about and resolve the hurt feelings? 

 

Paul probably asked and she volunteered😳Yes, I thought we had that type of relationship until our kids got together. They got engaged and a few months later, I got together with Wendy. They had moved out of the area so we didn’t see each other as often but usually texted several times during the week. Anyway, I shared my concern about the engagement and that I felt it was important for Philip to pay off some debt (some to his parents) that he had before they got married. I only knew about this because both parents had talked about it. I also knew our daughter was bringing savings into the marriage, about $25,000. Well, I saw also immediately that I should’ve gone there. She got defensive of her son and said they didn’t care about the money he owed them(not something previously they had said) After awhile, we agreed to disagree but I knew she was upset. Our relationship cooled considerably😢And the kids getting married without any of us being there sure didn’t help😕

Edited by May
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I think if they don’t lay off with light deflection - “Oh, I know! My order for Perfect Kids got bungled in the mail, so I’ve had to work with these instead!” - it can definitely shut it down by being direct. 

“Well, she’s our daughter and we love her, flaws and all!”

or

”I feel upset when you make these remarks about my kid.”

Looking back over my life, there are many times I wish I had just directly told the person how whatever they are saying affects me. It would have saved a lot of after-the-fact crying and ruminating and anxiety over the next time I was going to see the obnoxious person. 

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1 hour ago, May said:

Paul probably asked and she volunteered😳Yes, I thought we had that type of relationship until our kids got together. They got engaged and a few months later, I got together with Wendy. They had moved out of the area so we didn’t see each other as often but usually texted several times during the week. Anyway, I shared my concern about the engagement and that I felt it was important for Philip to pay off some debt (some to his parents) that he had before they got married. I only knew about this because both parents had talked about it. I also knew our daughter was being savings into the marriage, about $25,000. Well, I saw also immediately that I should’ve gone there. She got defensive of her son and said they didn’t care about the money he owed them(not something previously they had said) After awhile, we agreed to disagree but I knew she was upset. Our relationship cooled considerably😢And the kids getting married without any of us being there sure didn’t help😕

 

Maybe because you criticized their son in the past, they think it’s acceptable for them to say similar things about your daughter? 

Perhaps they are still annoyed that you mentioned their son’s finances, so they wanted to point out that your dd isn’t perfect, either?

It seems petty, but that could be the reason.

Edited by Catwoman
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10 hours ago, Pen said:

How did Paul come to know what she paid for her herb garden?  

And if you have known each other for 30 years and your and do friendship with Paul and his wife antedates the birth of your dd and Paul’s son who are now married, can’t you talk openly about and resolve the hurt feelings? 

 

 

I was wondering that too. Why on earth would the fil know how much she spent on something? My only thought was that her husband complained to his father about it. Which she needs to nip in the bud, if that's the case.

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4 minutes ago, QueenCat said:

 

I was wondering that too. Why on earth would the fil know how much she spent on something? My only thought was that her husband complained to his father about it. Which she needs to nip in the bud, if that's the case.

 

Ooh! I hadn’t even thought about that! 

Yikes.

If that’s what happened, it’s time for May’s dd to have a discussion with her dh!

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1 hour ago, May said:

Paul probably asked and she volunteered😳Yes, I thought we had that type of relationship until our kids got together. They got engaged and a few months later, I got together with Wendy. They had moved out of the area so we didn’t see each other as often but usually texted several times during the week. Anyway, I shared my concern about the engagement and that I felt it was important for Philip to pay off some debt (some to his parents) that he had before they got married. I only knew about this because both parents had talked about it. I also knew our daughter was being savings into the marriage, about $25,000. Well, I saw also immediately that I should’ve gone there. She got defensive of her son and said they didn’t care about the money he owed them(not something previously they had said) After awhile, we agreed to disagree but I knew she was upset. Our relationship cooled considerably😢And the kids getting married without any of us being there sure didn’t help😕

 

Ah.

It may not be possible, but with a long friendship prior to the kids getting engaged, to me it seems like it would be worth trying to sort things out.

While your concerns about the kids getting married and the boy’s financial readiness were no doubt very justified that may have started the criticism of the children-in-laws pattern.

It could be that an apology from you is a needed step.

Also, though you may not say it out loud, critical feelings you have about the sil choice / cost of Jeep, or the parent-in-laws values in re housing may come through to them as a feeling even if there aren’t words. 

There also may be feelings on part of Paul that he is helping to financially support the couple because he hasn’t asked for loan repayment (or maybe he’s even providing more money to his son?) and thus more sense that he *is* entitled to some say in what they’re spending.

And there may be negative feelings you have if it seems to you that SIL is even indirectly turning the savings your dd brought to the marriage (if I understand correctly) to buy a vehicle for himself that you perhaps consider overpriced or unnecessary.  

It seems a shame to me to let a 25 year (or whatever it was prior to the engagement) go bad without trying to work things out emotionally.  And that seems like it would be better than avoiding Thanksgiving with them or going to Thanksgiving with underlying distressed feelings.

 Incidentally iirc Yom Kippur the Jewish holiday is a Day of Atonement (.   https://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/biblestudyandtheology/discipleship/yomkippur0902.aspx ) passed recently, and there is also a similar day iirc followed in Eastern Orthodoxy and some people I know think there should be one followed by more people.  In any case, it could be a way of introducing the subject and desire for starting over with repentance for hurts given, forgiveness for hurts received, and a new slate to change how things will be done in this next year so that a renewed good friendship will be something to give Thanks for at Thanksgiving.  

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2 hours ago, QueenCat said:

 

I was wondering that too. Why on earth would the fil know how much she spent on something? My only thought was that her husband complained to his father about it. Which she needs to nip in the bud, if that's the case.

FIL probably asked, she probably told him. According to Paul, when he mentioned the cost to his son, Philip just shrugged🧐I’m not trying to justify my dd’s spending. I said to her, when she told me about it, it was a lot of money to spend when they were getting ready to move stateside. She did work most of the time she was living there, which involved lots of travel. She was compensated very well. She voluntarily tells me this stuff, I don’t ask or pry into their finances. As a result of her job and the additional allowances military members get when they are overseas, they cleared all of Philip’s debt🎉

 

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1 hour ago, Pen said:

 

Ah.

It may not be possible, but with a long friendship prior to the kids getting engaged, to me it seems like it would be worth trying to sort things out.

While your concerns about the kids getting married and the boy’s financial readiness were no doubt very justified that may have started the criticism of the children-in-laws pattern.

It could be that an apology from you is a needed step.

Also, though you may not say it out loud, critical feelings you have about the sil choice / cost of Jeep, or the parent-in-laws values in re housing may come through to them as a feeling even if there aren’t words. 

There also may be feelings on part of Paul that he is helping to financially support the couple because he hasn’t asked for loan repayment (or maybe he’s even providing more money to his son?) and thus more sense that he *is* entitled to some say in what they’re spending.

And there may be negative feelings you have if it seems to you that SIL is even indirectly turning the savings your dd brought to the marriage (if I understand correctly) to buy a vehicle for himself that you perhaps consider overpriced or unnecessary.  

It seems a shame to me to let a 25 year (or whatever it was prior to the engagement) go bad without trying to work things out emotionally.  And that seems like it would be better than avoiding Thanksgiving with them or going to Thanksgiving with underlying distressed feelings.

 Incidentally iirc Yom Kippur the Jewish holiday is a Day of Atonement (.   https://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/biblestudyandtheology/discipleship/yomkippur0902.aspx ) passed recently, and there is also a similar day iirc followed in Eastern Orthodoxy and some people I know think there should be one followed by more people.  In any case, it could be a way of introducing the subject and desire for starting over with repentance for hurts given, forgiveness for hurts received, and a new slate to change how things will be done in this next year so that a renewed good friendship will be something to give Thanks for at Thanksgiving.  

Thank you Pen🌺Yes, it does distress me to have this underlying conflict. I need to put on my big girl panties and shut it down ASAP. Our kids think we have this wonderful relationship and we did at one time. Philip has commented more then once how much he loves us and thankful for the support we have shown both of them. I’ll reread all that is written and choose my words carefully if the subject comes up.

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10 hours ago, QueenCat said:

 

I was wondering that too. Why on earth would the fil know how much she spent on something? My only thought was that her husband complained to his father about it. Which she needs to nip in the bud, if that's the case.

my grandmother would directly - and bluntly - ask how much something cost.   (she would immediately make a snarky comment about cost, so no one would tell her anything.)

my mil - was a terrible gossip, and always wanted to know how much things cost too.  but she wanted to know for gossip reasons.   

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It may be worthwhile to try and rekindle a friendship with this couple based on topics completely separate from your children. The "children" are adults now, and your thoughts and opinions about their finances (or other sensitive topics) are best saved for your husband alone - that is if you wish to maintain a positive relationship with your dd as well as this couple. You can see how quickly things can get emotionally charged. If you trust that your dd chose a good man, then let them work out privately as adults how they manage their lives.

I'm not sure that I'd bring up the topic of "criticism" with anyone. Rather, I'd work really hard on complimenting your son-in-law and making positive comments to and about him, and his parents. Look for the positive, as it really seems to be there. You want to be a positive force in all these people's lives when the grandchildren come along, don't you? 

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On 10/19/2019 at 3:27 PM, May said:

It was some sort of kit, where you could grow several different types of herbs. She said she paid $250 for it😳

That is so little money that it’s downright rude and nosey for anybody to interfere. It’s very hard to live in another country, with many things unfamiliar. People should be happy for her and mind their own business. She also should figure out who the unsafe people are she’s talking with and stop talking with them.

Edited by PeterPan
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On 10/18/2019 at 8:27 PM, May said:

I appreciate everyone’s comments.🌺 With our families being friends so many years, I didn’t expect the critical comments of our daughter, at least not to us😳

OK, so not defending this guy at all but just want to give you a different prespective

My FIL used to scream at me (and cursed me) any time he disagreed with me. My husband told me that it's all normal for his dad, that's how he has treated everyone in the family  and since now I was "family"....you get the point.

It didn't end well for FIL and my relationship bc I don't tolerate that kind of crap, but may be Paul just feels that now your daughter is his DIL he can let it "all hang out"....

So, I would definitely say something (I think ideas you were given are awesome - polite yet get the point across) before it deteriorates the entire relationship

 

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