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Trouble with the Swedish in-laws/family

Roowhip
post 4.Dec.2005, 10:56 PM
Post #1
Joined: 16.Sep.2005

I'm so disappointed in my in-laws..I know this seemingly isn't an odd situation but I feel living here without my own family would warrant a little extra effort and support. My children had a dance concert this morning and they wouldn't make the effort to attend., it was my daughters 3rd dance concert and she also sings in a choir and my sons first (he was the only boy under 10..and there were 4 boys in total out of 200 students so it was pretty special) and I really thought it would be good if they could come. They haven't been to single one of their concerts or any of my choir concerts (but for me the children are more important). I was furious with my husband earlier this week because he wouldn't even ask them or explain to them how important it was. He said, you know how boring it can be to watch and although I disagree (I love it), I said that wasn't the point, it could be as boring as hell but it was to support the children..they really wanted them there. My daughter rang Farfar to ask him..Farfar who has gone in pension so has the time to travel (they live 1 hour away) but he couldn't make the decision without consulting Farmor who rang yesterday with a million of excuses. I'm so sad and I told my husband I am disappointed but I know I shouldn't shoot the messenger. His brother and wife also refuse to come and visit (my husband is really angry about this as he should be as he has invited them numerous time). They have been to our home ONCE since we have been here..Oh..I'm so sad :cry:
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Beth
post 4.Dec.2005, 11:27 PM
Post #2
Joined: 15.Sep.2004

So sorry to hear about the disappointment. Don't know what to say really.
I am wondering if by telling you my Swedish in-laws are very supportive I'm making you feel better or worse. I am hoping that it helps to understand it's not exclusively culture-clash in this situation and that maybe they can come to understand how important it is to you and your children.

And if your husband doesn't want to act as a conduit, talk to them yourself. He grew up with them and might think he "knows" what they think and that's there's no need to intervene. My hubby would think they couldn't care less about something and after I talk to them they are glad I asked.

How was the concert anyway? Did your kids shine? I'm sure they did biggrin.gif Tell them they can show the video of it to Farmor and Farfar next time they visit to cheer them up.

Again. Sorry about the bum deal. Hang in there...we're there for ya smile.gif
Beth
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Gordy
post 4.Dec.2005, 11:33 PM
Post #3
Location: Skåne
Joined: 1.Oct.2005

You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family...

I've got a a few choice ones I could tell you about in-laws, and not just the Swedish side of the family. My sister's husband is a complete fruit cake.

All I can say is that the opposite senario is not better, my sister-in-laws husband cracked up long ago because her parents are never out of their house!
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Bruce B
post 5.Dec.2005, 01:44 AM
Post #4
Joined: 7.Jan.2005

Take him out of choir and put him in hockey. They will all show up. laugh.gif
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*Kodos*
post 5.Dec.2005, 02:49 AM
Post #5


Hej Andersson...

I'm really sorry to hear about your in-laws' selfish behavior. It's saddens me that they cannot appreciate these rare moments in the lives of their grandchildren.

If you need a vent (off-line) feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

Kram kram kram

/Marnie
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*Toronto 1*
post 5.Dec.2005, 02:56 AM
Post #6


Not very nice. We as adults can take disappointment to a certain level, but when the kids are singing everybody should show up. Its called showing interest in them. I call that a bit of a kick in the ass. I know how you feel. My mom and dad did not show up for my high school graduation. They were too far into a bottle to care. So if you want, get the camcorder next year and film it and show them how wonderful they sang. Turnabout is fair play.
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*Mark Boy*
post 5.Dec.2005, 08:07 AM
Post #7


Hej Andersson, I am sorry that your in-laws sound like twits, if I were you I would confront them and say my piece. For years my mothers family always treated her in a hurtful way but when they became nasty with me or my 2 sisters my mother always cracked. She always said 'treat her as they may but when it comes to her children, it ain't gonna happen'

That old saying comes to mind, you can choose you friends but not your family.

I hope you become happy again soon ALSO how was the concert!

hugs and tickles...

Mark x
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xneoist
post 5.Dec.2005, 09:11 AM
Post #8
Joined: 5.Nov.2005

QUOTE (Andersson)
I'm so disappointed in my in-laws..I know this seemingly isn't an odd situation but I feel living here without my own family would warrant a little extra effort and support. My children had a dance concert this morning and they wouldn't make the effort to attend., it was my daughters 3rd dance concert and she also sings in a choir and my sons first (he was the only boy under 10..and there were 4 boys in total out of 200 students so it was pretty special) and I really thought it would be good if they could come. They haven't been to single one of their concerts or any of my choir concerts (but for me the children are more important). I was furious with my husband earlier this week because he wouldn't even ask them or explain to them how important it was. He said, you know how boring it can be to watch and although I disagree (I love it), I said that wasn't the point, it could be as boring as hell but it was to support the children..they really wanted them there. My daughter rang Farfar to ask him..Farfar who has gone in pension so has the time to travel (they live 1 hour away) but he couldn't make the decision without consulting Farmor who rang yesterday with a million of excuses. I'm so sad and I told my husband I am disappointed but I know I shouldn't shoot the messenger. His brother and wife also refuse to come and visit (my husband is really angry about this as he should be as he has invited them numerous time). They have been to our home ONCE since we have been here..Oh..I'm so sad :cry:


Is the language an issue here?
I've noticed some of my friends have done the same thing since I married an American. They need a few drinks and then they love to speak English but before those drinks, they almost aviod us.
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*Meglos*
post 5.Dec.2005, 10:50 AM
Post #9


Andersson, unfortunately you have no alternative but to get over it. Unless of course they really did have a good excuse, your inlaws might simply be lazy or selfish or both. Some are, some aren't, being Swedish isn't anything to do with it (my Swedish in-laws are very kind). They clearly don't want to participate in this sort of thing, so just don't bother in future. In fact, you should take it in a positive light, as another set of obligations that you now excused from (For example being by their side when they're dying of cancer, when you could be home watching TV). There's no greater weight to lift from your shoulders than stupid family obligations. Somebody's being a relative is no reason not to drift away from them if you have nothing in common or they treat you badly.

The other possibility I can think of - and this is could be borne out by your husband's unwillingness to fight your corner - is that for some reason they disapprove of your kids' activities (see hockey comment above), but don't want to say so, in which case I'm doing them an injustice!
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*The Teenage Diplomat*
post 5.Dec.2005, 10:55 AM
Post #10


oops wrong topic
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Rachel F
post 5.Dec.2005, 12:23 PM
Post #11
Joined: 12.Oct.2005

Dear Andersson

I think that Matt has rather summed up what I wanted to say but I'll add a couple of other thoughts now that I've got started!

My own parents have been absolutely rubbish at turning up to anything remotely kiddy orientated. I remember trying to play the Kofi Annan role when my sister in law was very upset about the fact that they didn't want to go and see my niece in her ballet performance. When I questioned my mother she just said, 'Oh, I don't think it's something that your father and I would be terribly interested in', missing the point entirely. Likewise, they weren't going to turn up to my graduation, never made a big fuss of my eighteenth or twenty first birthdays, etc etc. You'll probably find that this runs true for your husband as well in his upbringing...some parents/ grandparents don't set a lot of store by these occasions or really go in for encouraging extra curricular activities.

However, they have been very good at other things - they do see the point of helping out with babysitting and with house redecoration so it may be that you just have to find something that they are happy to do.

My mother in law has not been much help either to be honest as she seems to ber very busy leading her own life, with the children not being a priority.

Many of my friends have had the same response from their families - it seems that many grandparents have been waiting for ages for their own children to leave home, to retire, so that they can get on with all the things they want to and that they show very little interest, apart from buying the odd toy and handing out 100 sek notes every now and then, towards their grandchildren - there certainly doesn't seem to be any sense of having a responsibility towards helping with their upbringing.

It could be that your husband's family just isn't very close, hence your brother in law not making the effort to come and see you. Not really a lot you can do about that - just stop inviting them and then you won't have to put up with them decling the offer...a shame I know but put your efforts into making a few good friends here instead.
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*The Teenage Diplomat*
post 5.Dec.2005, 12:30 PM
Post #12


I think that it vary a lot, but in some cases there could be a struggle about independence behind it. Swedes usually wanna manage a lot of things on their own, so it's possible that the in-laws don't want to interfer. However for me it was different though, my grandma and grandpa used to do a lot of things for me and my siblings. We would constantly go on funny trips all over Sweden and stuff like that, it was great! But it's pretty common that swedish parents becomes annoyed if their in-laws interfer too much, so I dunno...
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Jimmy
post 5.Dec.2005, 07:38 PM
Post #13
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 5.Dec.2005

You are not alone. I came here in April 98 our son was born in June. My sister in law demanded so much to know when the child was due that we informed the hospital not to tell anyone ( she was a doctor in south of Seden). After the birth she came up to Stockholm permanently but then took three weeks to come and see her nephew. For the next six months she travelled past our house two times a day yet only called in once. The other sister in law only babysat for us once in two years.
The mother in law gave us for the birth of her first grand child 1000Kr to buy a pram. It was only when my mother came over from Australia that we got to have a night out without our boy. And the mother in law brought a present for our son (a T-shirt) .
My parents had sent over a brand new cot and about 60kgs of clothes and toys by plane.
It is here that once the children leave the home they are on their own. Back home you have to spend so much time and diplomacy asking the in laws to give you space especially after the birth of a child that you don't realise what a blessing it is to have your family there until you don't have them when they are only four train stations away
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FR
post 5.Dec.2005, 07:44 PM
Post #14
Joined: 22.Oct.2005

Sorry to be a little off-topic, but I think Swedish families are suffering from "why should I do it when the state will" syndrome. There is no reason for families to feel obligated to each other anymore.
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Lelebeauxart
post 6.Dec.2005, 11:27 AM
Post #15
Joined: 26.Oct.2005

QUOTE (voice of reason)
You are not alone. I came here in April 98 our son was born in June. My sister in law demanded so much to know when the child was due that we informed the hospital not to tell anyone ( she was a doctor in south of Seden). After the birth she came up to Stockholm permanently but then took three weeks to come and see her nephew. For the next six months she travelled past our house two times a day yet only called in once. The other sister in law only babysat for us once in two years.
The mother in law gave us for the birth of her first grand child 1000Kr to buy a pram. It was only when my mother came over from Australia that we got to have a night out without our boy. And the mother in law brought a present for our son (a T-shirt) .
My parents had sent over a brand new cot and about 60kgs of clothes and toys by plane.
It is here that once the children leave the home they are on their own. Back home you have to spend so much time and diplomacy asking the in laws to give you space especially after the birth of a child that you don't realise what a blessing it is to have your family there until you don't have them when they are only four train stations away


This is actually very accurate. Although my husband's mother has helped us out a great deal, his father has only been marginally helpful and I think a large part of that is due to the culture. I think it's very true that a rule in Swedish culture is that once you leave the nest, so to speak, you're on your own. It's the whole I'll help you if I have to, but I'd rather not school of thought. It's sad, because I would never hesitate to ask my parents to help me out or feel weird about it, since I know they will willingly and loving do so without a grudge.

That's not the case with every family, I am sure, but it seems to be the general parent-child relationship here. I will, however, say that my husbands immediate and extended family has been very kind and supportive. They always remember our birthdays and often send our daughter gifts. They also host a variety of parties and get-togethers and I am sure that when our daughter is old enough, not a karate tournament nor a dance recital will be missed.

I feel for you though. I know what it's like being away from a close-knit family. The differences can be rather shocking. I would suggest confronting on the issues you feel are important like being supportive of their grandchild. I have a couple of questions:

1. How many brothers and sisters does your husband have?
2. How many grandchildren are in the family on that side?
3. How close to all these children and grandchildren live in relation to the grandparents?
4. Can you communicate with them in Swedish or English?
5. Did they go to your wedding?
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