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03 January 2008

A Question . . .

We made it back from the beach just in time to enjoy the temperature dip into the 30s. I am currently wearing a sweater, jeans, and boots and loving it :)

The family time at the beach brought up an interesting questions. One that does not have an easy answer but I'd love some thoughts from others outside my family as we have spent the last week together thinking about this. As a parent, what do you do when your adult child is rude, selfish, and mean to you and your other adult children? Also, what happens when this adult child's spouse is also rude and mean to family members? Do you just ignore it or do you try to have a conversation about this?

I have a sibling who is truly self centered. During this family vacation, the spouse of this sibling directly insulted my husband, my child, my father, and me. For the sake of surviving the week, I said nothing as I will not see this sibling and the spouse and their child for another year. The rest of the family has had private conversations about this spouse's behavior as it has been shocking. We are also stunned at my sibling's tolerance of such behavior. It is clear to all of us that this spouse is seeking a confrontation, at which point this spouse will force my sibling to make a choice. Of course, the spouse will be chosen and we believe they will then deny my parents access to their grandchild.

No parent is perfect as I can attest to, but my parents gave us a solid, loving childhood. The sibling involved is the youngest and the only male sibling, and in reality my parents were much more permissive with him. That said, my parents are wonderful grandparents who always remember that their role is grandparent and not parent. The behavior of this past week has left me angry and flabbergasted.

Not exactly the way I wanted to begin this new year, but at least everyone has left and the kids and I are heading out to enjoy the cold before the temperature surges to the 70s this weekend.

8 comments:

RennyBA said...

Its a difficult question and not easy to answer, but openness is always good. I think it is is important to state your position and tell how you feel about your sibling's behaviour. So instead of attacking with arguing: tell how you feel about it and what it does to you and your closest.

Whatever start you've had, I wish you a wonderful 2008!

Lisa said...

I agree completely with Renny. How does your father feel about it? I think if the incident really bothers you, you should discuss it with your sibling once you have calmed down. Good luck . . . it sounds like a potentially difficult situation.

Thanks so much for your visit to my photoblog, and your nice comment, by the way! Happy New Year!

Sunshine said...

Tricky family situation. That totally sucks.
Ignoring the bad behavior, since you hardly see them, was probably a good idea, you don't want to make things worse for your folks.
However, if the spouse was nasty and overstepped a line the next time you are together, I would probably take them aside and tactfully say something about their verbal attacks on other family members. That kind of crap shouldn't go unchecked because they're jerks.

Anonymous said...

If this were my brother, I would write him a letter, telling him how hurt you feel about his transgression(s) and that find it unacceptable. Tell him that you would like to understand why he behaved that way. That way, if there's any underlying past hurt on his side, some missunderstanding, whatever, he can communicate with you, he can also choose to ignore it. I believe in reaching out. Don't feel hurt if there's no answer: It may never come, it may take years. He may not even understand what eats him, but a few words from you may at least help him to get thinking why he acts that way.
Hugs,
Merisi

hexe said...

Thank you all for the advice. I tend towards discussion and my family leans towards ignoring the situation. I think what bothered me most was how my sibling treats my parents and the idea that my kids could do the same someday. I am disturbed by the idea that my children could grow up and become unkind people. Thanks again for the kind words and suggestions.

Ms Mac said...

I'm afraid I've learned the very hard way that the best thing to do (at least in my family) is to hold your tongue. All the time. Never say anything about any of your brothers and sisters to anybody, ever. It'll all backfire one day.


Sorry to be so negative darls, I wish I could be more upbeat but I learned my lesson once and once was more than plenty.

EuroTrippen said...

I'm with Ms Mac... and I don't even have siblings! There's not an adult in the world who likes being lectured, especially by family members.

People normally have what they believe to be a valid reason for their behavior. Taking the bait by calling them on whatever it is you think they're doing will only seem like justification to them.

Besides, what's the quickest way to piss off someone who's itching for a confrontation?? Ignore them completely... gets 'em every time.

Rosie said...

Difficult one Hexe. I am an only child, so not in a position to give advice. I have trouble imagining what it is like to have a sibling and feel slightly jealous of those who do, but relieved that I don't at the same time! But I do share your fear of what my adult children will be like. Mine are teenagers and so are showing rather more signs of what they will eventually be. So far so good...but who knows. I am a believer in the enormous power of nature over nurture, and I dont think you can do that much to change someone's character. There is no point in messing with your sibling and family. Let them go off and be rude to somebody else...like you would do with anyone that you dont like very much!