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Anyone despise DS's culture?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Ok, I will be the first to say there are very positive things about it... but for the most part it gets on my nerves! My in-laws are from India. DH was not raised there so him and I are both pretty culturally neutral. I never hated it before they came to live with me and now I DESPISE IT!!!!

ESPECIALLY when it comes to DS. They are constantly praising how "fair" his skin is, telling him that he will be a doctor or an engineer (, and of course criticizing western culture and praising their own.

Oh yeah, and there is that "you are so lucky to have married our son! You must have been knowing he had a good education." I just want to SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!! It makes me nauseous!!! So much criticism on me, but their kids are PERFECTT. And who am I? Just the mother of their SON'S CHILD. And why is their son so wonderful? Of course because of them. It has nothing to do with my encouragement or support as his wife (many of which was to go against what they would have wanted and pursue what makes him happy... the fact that he was successful in that- nope. nothing to do with me).

I HATE IT! And there is just nothing me or DH can do. We have tried everything. He has talked to them, praised me relentlessly, did whatever he could. nothing helps.
post #2 of 21
Do the in-laws have to live with you?
post #3 of 21
s mama! it has to be hard. i have little to no advice because i just dont know enough about it! i do know (from buyers i had) that it is a very particular, family proud and for the most part have high expectations for their kids. the buyer i had would say all the time... you should meet/marry our son or you two would make great kids. i would say that would be nice, but i already have a great DH that i will make cute kids with! they said that their son would blow DH out of the water

so i do understand what you are going through on a very SMALL scale.

s again! i hope it gets better for you!
post #4 of 21
i also hope that things get better, but i don't have the experience in the matter to make a statement. this one is a tough one and i am sending you in dealing with them as skillfully as possible.
post #5 of 21


That is a tough situation. I think this is something your DH needs to address with his parents. His parents are 'old school' for lack of a better description. You are a woman and therefore don't have the right to do anything but comply with the wishes of the family you married into. You do, but as far as your IL's are concerned you don't. Traditionally in India, the woman becomes the property of the husbands family. It's how they were raised and it is what is familiar to them. So your DH has to step up on your behalf, he has to back you up when you speak out. He needs to make it clear to them, maybe many times, that certain comments or behaviors are not welcome in your DC's environment.

Try not to despise your husbands half of your son. Your DS will pick up on it as he gets older.

And if you feel there is nothing you can do, try reading the book "Toxic Parents", there might be some helpful suggestions in there. I know it's a huge thing to consider not living with the IL's in this case, but is there anyway it can be done? Could they live nearby but not in the same home? I really think much of the pressure on this situation will be on your DH to make it absolutely crystal clear to his parents that these behaviors/comments need to cease. Yes, that is a great culture that they come from, but they are living in US and need to realize that they can't carry on as if they aren't. And respect is respect. They know when they are not being respectful to you and your DS, don't let them talk their way out of it.

I'm sorry. I hope you are able to find some way to make peace with all of this.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yes, they do have to live with us. My FIL have health problems and we just cant leave him. I really appreciate everyones support and feedback. Thanks mamas
post #7 of 21
My inlaws don't live with me, so it's probably much easier for me. But what I did was proactively engage them to help teach their culture to my son. I'm American and my husband's middle eastern Muslim, so I can't help with any of the culture and very little of the religion. I've asked my MIL to help show me recipes that DC can eat, songs to sing in Arabic, and other kid traditions from her culture.

They LOVE this! They feel so useful and valuable, which they are. And it makes them feel like the are participating a lot in his life, so they don't particularly interfere with other things, like discipline. Do they talk about his light skin? Yes. And a host of other culturally driven observations that can be a bit bizarre to me at times. But mostly it just makes me chuckle. (Again, if they were living with me, I could see it being a much bigger problem). Anyway, I might try that with your in laws and see if it helps take some pressure off.
post #8 of 21
The "Fair" thing drives me batty. I'd like to take the entire world stock of "Fair & Lovely" and nuke it. I get it sometimes... as do my friends who are married to other cultures who "value" that. And of course, it's a cardinal sin should your child ever go in the sun because they might become "dark".

If it were me, I would try and find things I like about DH's culture...that I can hang on to...and emphasize with my kids..... and try and keep from associating it completely with your In-Laws. I mean, there are crappy people everywhere....and the US's reputation took quite a beating when Dubya was in office, but it's not like all of America agreed with him.

Just off hand, incredible food, Bollywood (I Bollywood films!), architecture, relative religious tolerance (although there are flare ups), etc. Ancient culture, great knowledge.. an amazingly beautiful country... etc.

I think it's great that your DH is standing up for you--and I would try and hold on to that. You could also mention (or DH could mention) that their grandson isn't going to think very highly of them based on how they treat his Mom. If they are Muslim too (which I'm assuming), you could always say "Ummuk Ummuk Ummuk" or maybe have some of the ahadith on how great Moms are on your wall/fridge.

I'll make du'a for you.
post #9 of 21
s mama

my in-laws are pakistani(i'm white) but DH grew up over there too. we turn it into a joke kinda. i've realized that they have their values, and we have ours, and its just something i'm gonna have to ignore. i'd probably go crazy if they were living with us indefinitely though... i don't know my MIL or FIL too well, i haven't met them since we got married, but they're probably like their friends

why don't you talk to DH about this? i mean, make him talk to his mom about how she is acting. tell him to tell her that you are their mom, and his wife, and how much he loves you and cares about you. then, take DS to the beach or the tanning salon. lol... j/k, but that skin color thing really gets on my nerves. its something that i just realized that i am going to have to let go. i'm not going to make my DC avoid the sun just so MIL and everyone thinks my DC is beautiful.

wanted to add: my SIL's name is Faiza
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
LOL!! You mamas are so funny! Love the tips!

Yeah, we sing "I think my mom is amazing" AGAIN AND AGAIN! LOL! I think its more for me

I guess one thing I would like to instill in DS is how Allah really blessed him with a connection to India because there are so many people there who need help, and having that connection will make it easy for him to help those people. Maybe I can use that as an opportunity to talk about some of the cultural things that are not Islamic (like judging people based on their skin color)!!

My hubby and I are more religious than his parents, but we still have that in common. So yeah, maybe I can use that to involve them. Unfortunately they mix a LOT of their culture into Islam (things that totally contradict the teachings).

One thing that DH and I have talked about and tried to talk with them about is emphasizing on the rights of the parents, but also the rights of a wife. And how both deserve respect and one person cannot be mistreated so the other can feel respected.

My FIL stright out told me, when I asked him why it seems to be so common in India for the in-laws to dislike their daughter in laws.... he said its psychological and that they feel they raised him, brought him up, educated him, and then the wife takes them away.

I think we reallyyyyy need to have a chat with FIL about how these actions affect the child. one thing is for sure, he LOVES DS, and he would not intentionally do something damaging.

MIL is different... she would love if the baby disliked me a loved her. Seems the culture is sooooo competitive- especially the women!
post #11 of 21
India is a BIG place and I agree with umsami's point that you can only blame the culture for so much. I am also a white woman married to an Indian guy - I have been VERY lucky with my ILs though. My MIL has said specifically "Skin color doesn't matter, it's the heart inside that counts."

I would agree with the PP's points to involve your ILs and show that you respect their experience and desire their input. Eg if your MIL is a good cook, show enthusiasm for learning her recipes or housecleaning tips or whatever.

Regarding things they say to your DS - didn't your grandparents ever say things that you knew were a little off? I know mine are slightly racist but I can recognize that they are a product of their own culture and still love them. You are still the mom and you will undoubtedly have a bigger influence on your son than your ILs, no matter how much they are around. Just be sure to let him know there are other views in the world.

One key thing I have found is that if you are going to disagree with your ILs directly, it is best to start out by agreeing with them. Find some kind of nugget of truth in what they are saying, no matter how small, and say that first. This disarms them and makes it easier for them to accept what you say next. E.g., "You're right, drs/engineers work very hard and are helpful to to others! ...AND (*not but, AND) there are many other types of jobs in the world like that too! (like insert-your-DHs-job)." SMILE!!
post #12 of 21
We get the fair thing here, too, and it grates on me. The funny thing, though, is that my second son IS fair - blond hair, light skinned, and my MIL complains that he is too fair, and that a little darker is more handsome. I just can't get it right.
post #13 of 21
Another white woman with an Indian DH here! I also didnt hit it quite right - my boys are a little TOO fair with blue eyes so don't look Indian enough. My FIL and MIL are lovely, though recently I travelled to India alone with our sons and was stunned at the difference from when I went last time with DH. When I was with him we'd decide where we wanted to go and we went - I realise now that's because he was the son and can do what he likes, and naturally I went along with him. This time, me just being the DIL, I'd say I wanted to go somewhere or buy something and then more like a child would be told if I could go or not to if they didnt think it was a good idea. DH tried to explain his dad was trying to be protective of me in the boys which I understand, but I will not visit without DH again.

While my MIL and FIL are very accepting and very appreciative of anything I do associated with their culture (eg we eat mostly Indian, learning the language etc). One of my SIL on the other hand, who lives here, delights in testing me. They have just left after a 2 week stay (her, her DH, and 4 children). They told us they were coming the day before, they never tell us how long they are staying. I used to think it was just a cultural thing but have now found out she tells other SIL and cousin months in advance, just wants to test my hospitality - that I will welcome them with open arms no matter what. She will say things like "If we moved to Sydney we couldnt afford a house, maybe we would live with you?" and studies my response. I've learnt years ago to smile generously and say "that would be lovely to have all that extra help! When are you coming?" Knowing now she's only bluffing.

For the most part I love DH's rich culture and delight in watching my boys grow up in it, but there are times, especially with the whole family structure and implications, that I also find myself cursing it. You don't just marry an Indian - you marry his whole family!
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuslimMama View Post
Ok, I will be the first to say there are very positive things about it... but for the most part it gets on my nerves! My in-laws are from India. DH was not raised there so him and I are both pretty culturally neutral. I never hated it before they came to live with me and now I DESPISE IT!!!!

ESPECIALLY when it comes to DS. They are constantly praising how "fair" his skin is, telling him that he will be a doctor or an engineer (, and of course criticizing western culture and praising their own.

Oh yeah, and there is that "you are so lucky to have married our son! You must have been knowing he had a good education." I just want to SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!! It makes me nauseous!!! So much criticism on me, but their kids are PERFECTT. And who am I? Just the mother of their SON'S CHILD. And why is their son so wonderful? Of course because of them. It has nothing to do with my encouragement or support as his wife (many of which was to go against what they would have wanted and pursue what makes him happy... the fact that he was successful in that- nope. nothing to do with me).

I HATE IT! And there is just nothing me or DH can do. We have tried everything. He has talked to them, praised me relentlessly, did whatever he could. nothing helps.
MuslimMama,

I feel for you. I have a similar situation in that I have become rather bitter towards the Vietnamese culture simply because my in laws have treated me so poorly. I have found myself taking cheap shots at DH's culture only because I am so sick of being told how horrible Americans are. I can't even tell you how many times I have said to my inlaws, "If America is so bad, then why is all your family still trying to come over? And, why did you flee Vietnam while people were shooting at you?."

I wish I could give you some advice on how to handle it, but I am struggling with the same issues. All you can really do is try to check yourself and remember, it is not the culture is the choices of the individual people you are dealing with.
post #15 of 21
I have a very close Indian friend (who is herself Indian) but she struggles with the same things. She often has vented to me about what I perceive as her in-laws' cruelty towards her. Not wanting to impose my own cultural background on her, I originally tried to be supportive of her without saying anything drastic, thinking I probably couldn't really understand the situation. I wish I had been more vocal about suggesting she demand change. Eventually she fell into a deep depressive crisis regarding how she was treated by her husband's family and about her husband's nonintervention and mixed loyalties.

I think it's fair to say, as others here have, that it is your husband's responsibility to praise you and advocate for you and set the standard for how your in-laws should treat you. And it is your responsibility to help your husband recognize his responsibility. If your children see you being treated badly, it will also affect how they view themselves (and you and how family life should be.) So this is something that is important not just for you, but for everyone.

EDIT: I re-read your post and hear that you feel you have already tried to do what I mentioned. I guess it's really a tough circumstance if one or both of them just refuse to acknowledge cultural differences or difficulties, and you are unconditionally committed to taking care of them in your home. I have been through a situation with relatives where I finally decided that I couldn't expose my daughter to their dysfunctional behavior on a daily basis--didn't want the scars of a past generation to be passed on to yet another. But your situation may be different. Maybe your persistence in refusing to accept the status quo will pay off in the end.

Just my perspective. I hope you find a way to improve your quality of life with the in-laws.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Wishing you the best!
post #16 of 21
I know that the connection between people and then associating it with the culture is natural, and, of course, there are cultural values that you may not agree with, but I think you need to work on seperating your in-laws personally and "the culture". There are obnoxious people from every background and no culture is "perfect".

For your child's sake, I think you need to find a way to seperate what is purely personal in your relationship with your in-laws and what truly is "culture".

And, try not to sweat the small stuff. Who "made" your husband the success that he is, quite honestly, is a useless argument. If they say that, smile and tell them, "Yes, he is someone we are all proud of!". Get out of the competition with them. Doctors and engineers make great contributions and I would be proud if my sons became those things. Of course, there are many more options and you will have many, many years to talk about them with your children. And, I get the feeling you ARE lucky to have married their son . I'm not saying all this to make you feel like you have to agree with everything they say or that it wouldn't drive me batty too- I'm just saying that it might be worthwhile to think about letting these comments pass and knowing that you, your husband, and your child are confident in your role and that you don't need to engage with every comment. Convincing them you are great and arguing for yourself only gives the impression that it is even a point to be argued and that you are in need of defending yourself. Its not, and you do not need to justify your position. Plus, it serves to fuel a drama and give them a rallying point. So, smile, laugh a bit, and tell them they did a good job raising him and move on with your day.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CheekyLilMonkeys View Post
One of my SIL on the other hand, who lives here, delights in testing me. They have just left after a 2 week stay (her, her DH, and 4 children). They told us they were coming the day before, they never tell us how long they are staying.....
you are a saint!!!
post #18 of 21
i'm white, but i actually grew up in pakistan and india... i'm a bit of an anomaly because i'm actually more "pakistani" than many of my pakistani friends who grew up in north america. to be honest, i always wanted to marry an indian or pakistani guy, because it's such a part of my background and i'd love to have held on to it more, but i also realized that if i married into a more traditional family, i'd be dealing with all the stuff you are!

all i can say is that in-laws can be difficult at the best of times. i find it very hard to appreciate my in-laws, actually... they are so different from my own family (despite being technically the same culture) and i have a hard time finding things about them that i really admire (despite the fact that they managed to raise a truly wonderful son). that sounds terrible, and i really do love them as people, but when i think of what my own parents have accomplished in their lives and are still doing today, my in-laws seem kind of like bumps on a log... they go on cruises and watch a lot of telly... not much else. if they had to live with me? oh man, i don't think i could handle it.

anyway, i'd be careful to seperate their actions from their culture... are my inlaws annoying and boring because they're white? no! you're having a stressful time because these very different people are a constant part of your life, but they don't annoy you because they are indian, they annoy you because they are old-fashioned and critical of you. i don't think there is going to be anything much you can do to change their behavior, but they did manage to raise a very great partner for you, and i think you have to trust they will also be a positive influence on your children.
post #19 of 21
Try having the In Laws be from the same culture and ethnicity!!! Sometimes my DH's in laws drive me INSANE! On my island, we do this... we have things this way.. bla bla bla-- i DON'T CARE! ...my parents always said not to date/marry guys from the Greek islands and stick with mainlanders cuz they gossip, nag, and are cheap-- and in a way they were right... except the cheap part.. we are thankfully, well off but Nick's parents criticize and are judgmental to certain things!
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverFish View Post
\... i'd be careful to seperate their actions from their culture... are my inlaws annoying and boring because they're white? no! you're having a stressful time because these very different people are a constant part of your life, but they don't annoy you because they are indian, they annoy you because they are old-fashioned and critical of you. i don't think there is going to be anything much you can do to change their behavior, but they did manage to raise a very great partner for you, and i think you have to trust they will also be a positive influence on your children.
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