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Trouble with the Swedish in-laws/family

*Gabriela*
post 6.Dec.2005, 11:58 AM
Post #16


Hello Andersson: Everyone's advice is right in some way but one thing is for sure, besides people's different personalities, characters and backgrounds there's the cultural factor, therefore the Swedish concept of family seems to be very different than ours (from other cultures of the world). As they believe much in freedom, then many people don't feel they have to justify why they wouldn't want to do this or that, it's their right and choice and there's no such a thing as a moral obligation, no moral obligation to take care of the elder, for example (let's not start a new thread about this).

Your husband isn't the only one who doesn't want to be caught in the middle, but I'm sure that he feels bad about it and wishes that his family would be more supportive.

The best thing is to confront them once, nicely and diplomatically, and if that doesn't work try go get over it, because it will only hurt you.

My case is quite the opposite, my mother in law never worked, she's very opinionated and instead of being a friend she acts like a therapist, talks like one and drives me crazy. She would prefer to live with us to take care of my son and she doesn't think dagis is the best for him. She used to visit once a week, stay a couple of days and wash my husband's clothes against my wish and all the time has insisted that we send our son to her town for several days at a time. I don't want that, I prefer she visits then. If I have to say yes to all of this, then I feel that my freedom to choose ends where her freedom starts.

So my husband told ME to confront her. I wrote a letter, which I haven't given her yet. smile.gif Don't want to make her cry so I will just tell her in person, nicely of course.

You see my point? We can't change them, we can confront them and should not stop being ourselves.
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Roowhip
post 6.Dec.2005, 11:01 PM
Post #17
Joined: 16.Sep.2005

Hej everybody..thanks for all your comments..they have in themselves cheered me up. I have been reading but haven't had a chance to reply and now my husband is banning me from the computer as I need to get some sleep but I will hopefully be back Thursday night..there's more to tell

Just a few quick replies though
QUOTE
Take him out of choir and put him in hockey. They will all show up.
laugh.gif laugh.gif

He plays football too..does that suffice??



Lelebeauxart, to answer your questions

1. How many brothers and sisters does your husband have?
2 brothers, 1 sister, 1 foster sister
2. How many grandchildren are in the family on that side?
My 2 children are the only grandchildren on BOTH sides ..that's why I can't belive it and especially considering one reason we moved here was for them to be nearer to the grandchildren. Farmor has also been a dagmamma and currently works in a daycare..perhaps she's had enough..but I don't think it's that..I really don't get it.
3. How close to all these children and grandchildren live in relation to the grandparents?
We live an hour away.
But interesting enough, one of the excuses I heard for not coming to the dance concert was that my husbands adult brother and sister would be visiting that weeken as they regularly do and for crying out loud they are usually sleeping in Sunday morning anyway.

4. Can you communicate with them in Swedish or English?
Don't mean to boast, but I am fluent in swedish..no frickin excuse on that front


5. Did they go to your wedding?
No..but it was in Australia. The father didn't even visit in all the 10 years my husband lived there and even my husbands older brother gave his father a telling when Farmor cam,e out to Australia and he didn't follow.


That's all for now..I have more to tell later
But thanks for cheering me up guys!!
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Jeanette
post 7.Dec.2005, 12:39 PM
Post #18
Joined: 11.Sep.2005

Eagerly anticipating the 'more to tell', Andersson.

Farfar needs a good telling off for not immediately giving your daughter a resounding 'yes'. No excuses whatsoever and in this case I would say a bit of messenger-shooting is also in order.

But, without wishing to dramatise your personal situation, it sounds to me like Farmor is the root of the problem. Farfar had to check with her first, she comes up with the excuses, husband reluctant to have a go... A little woman-to-woman chat might be in order.

I find as I get older that more and more people disappoint and fewer and fewer are truly dependable. The ones who are dependable are precious and must be nurtured. The ones who are not dependable are never going to change and nine times out of ten it's not worth wasting time on them.
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*Ant*
post 8.Dec.2005, 10:13 AM
Post #19


I must ask what this have to do with Swedish inlaws? again with the generalization. people are different, famelies are different.

This have nothing to do if they are Sweedes, Turks or Americans.

So dont jump to any conclusions.
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Roowhip
post 8.Dec.2005, 10:23 AM
Post #20
Joined: 16.Sep.2005

QUOTE
I must ask what this have to do with Swedish inlaws? again with the generalization. people are different, famelies are different.


Fair enough question but you see Ant, although problem with the in-laws in not unique to Sweden (I mentioned that in my first line), when one moves from Australia to Sweden partly so that these particular Swedish in-laws can be close to their grandchildren, one expects a lttle more support than from your average in-laws. Or is that selfish of me to think like that? Without my husbands family support, I am very alone..as my parents can't help out, attend dance concerts etc
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*Ant*
post 8.Dec.2005, 11:44 AM
Post #21


QUOTE (Andersson)
QUOTE
I must ask what this have to do with Swedish inlaws? again with the generalization. people are different, famelies are different.


Fair enough question but you see Ant, although problem with the in-laws in not unique to Sweden (I mentioned that in my first line), when one moves from Australia to Sweden partly so that these particular Swedish in-laws can be close to their grandchildren, one expects a lttle more support than from your average in-laws. Or is that selfish of me to think like that? Without my husbands family support, I am very alone..as my parents can't help out, attend dance concerts etc


I get what you are saying and its sad that yor inlaws dont support you kids more. But to me it looked like you somehow was looking for a reason why and that it meaby had to do with the fact that they are Swedish and you are Austrailian and that some cultural crach was the reason.
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Roowhip
post 8.Dec.2005, 12:44 PM
Post #22
Joined: 16.Sep.2005

QUOTE
get what you are saying and its sad that yor inlaws dont support you kids more. But to me it looked like you somehow was looking for a reason why and that it meaby had to do with the fact that they are Swedish and you are Austrailian and that some cultural crach was the reason


Well, Ant is is very interesting you say that because I promised to come back with "More to tell" which is very relevant to your comment about the culture clash. Part of the reason I was really upset about them not attending the dance concert was because it brought back memories of one of the toughest times in my life and that is when we first moved to Sweden January 2002 in the middle of winter and to a small town (about 100 people) where my husbands parents live. We stayed there for 3 months until my husband found a job and we found a plave of our own. As I said, although obviosuly not the entire reason for moving here but a big factor was for our children to be near the grandparents (on my husbands side). My parents in Australia who are divorced were also very disappointing when my daughter was born and did not assist much (which is why, at the time I felt particularly sorry for my in-laws who never got to see their grandchildren and with my mother-in -law having childcare as her vocation..it was a particularly sore point for my husband). I agreed with him that my parents were at times not supportive but my mother admits she is not so keen on babies..she prefers when children are older and communicate and she has shown this with much greater interest now and she would have been at the dance concert in a flash.I had always got along with my mother-in-law during the times we visited from Australia and when she visited us and I recall raving about her to work mates in Australia who had problems with interfering mother in laws. Sorry this is long..thats's a bit of background to what happened next..

My daughter turned 3 on the 1st of March, ie about 4 weeks after arriving here in 2002. I would have thought that would be a special event for my in-laws..not only are my children the ONLY grandchildren on both sides but this would be the first birthday celebration they would be involved in for their first grandchild. And initially it seemed to be so..we had a family discussion to arrange a date that my Husbands brother could come down from Stockholm and my husbands cousin came with his 3 daughters (the first "friends" for my daughter). And what happened a few days before. My mother in law, suddenly said that she had to go to a celebration for a friend of hers so she wouldn't be able to attend. She said it had been planned for ages (don't ask me what happened when we were discussin the dates)..she priortized going out that Friday night and partying with her friends and shopping for horse things the next day rather than her granddaughters birthday (Farfar was still there). I was astounded and deeply hurt. Ant, I told her how I felt and she said "OH I THINK IT'S A CULTURAL DIFFERENCE" and I said in return "NO, IT'S YOU" and turned and walked out the room. I can say one thing for my husband (being his mothers favourit son), is that he came to me and said..you are right in this situation.

She then thought she could make up for it by "buying the cake mt daughter wanted" but to me that didn't mean much. In addition she promised to spend the Friday morning with my daughter but I recall my daughter asking to do somehting with her and she said, sorry, not now as she was colouring her hair for her night out.
And to add insult to injury, my grandmother that I was very close to died a week earlier and her funeral happened to be on that Friday of my daughters birthday. And NOONE in that house (except my husband) said anything...my mother-in-law did show sympathy when I brought up the discussion of a poem I wrote for my brothers to read at the Eulogy but before that no word of sympathy from Farfar, Farmr or my husbands sister..let's just avoid the topic why don't we..and Ant, I think THAT is very Swedish.
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*Gabriela*
post 8.Dec.2005, 01:01 PM
Post #23


Andersson, I'm sorry for how you feel. I understand you in the last part, about your grandma, because I had a miscarriage a few months ago and nobody in the family said anything except my mother in law and her mom. But later my mother in law asked me "can you see something positive out of it?" I said "No, there is nothing positive for me product of the lost of a life" (well she probably thought it wasn't a complete life yet, bla bla bla). :cry:
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Muckle
post 8.Dec.2005, 01:02 PM
Post #24
Joined: 7.Sep.2005

Oj oj oj. Agree with you that this is a certain aspect of Swedishness, this head-in-the-sand thing.

Don't know what to suggest. Families, eh?

If I were you I'd find out from your husband how his mother dealt with those sorts of things, school concerts etc.., when he was a kid. If she was the same towards his things then you know it's just how she is - not interested in kids - and perhaps you'll take it less personally.

If she always attended them diligently and was proud etc. then that gives you something to work with. Remind her (or get your hubby to do it) of how important those things were to her at the time, ask her why this is less important.

Just an idea. Wish you luck with it though.
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Rachel F
post 8.Dec.2005, 01:56 PM
Post #25
Joined: 12.Oct.2005

It does rather sound that Granny, as a child care worker, regards seeing the grandchildren as a bit of a busman's holiday which is sad...

I'm really not sure how much of this is a cultural difference - to let your grandchildren down at the last minute is not very nice in any language. I suppose one could argue that Swedes don't like saying 'no' so it could be that Granny never had any intention of attending birthday parties, choir concerts etc but couldn't bring herself to say anything until the eleventh hour.

Andersson, I hate to say it but I don't think that they'll change - you could have a confrontation but you probably won't get a straight answer. You may have some recourse if they had made huge promises of grandchild support prior to you moving here but if you had moved merely under an assumption that they would be more caring than your own family, then I guess you don't have a leg to stand on...sadly. But at the end of the day you can't change people and if they're not that reliable or interested, then there's nothing you can do about it.

It is your children's feelings that are paramount in all of this and you have to find a way of managing their expectations. I know that's what I've to do ...it's much better that the grandparents turn up as a big surprize rather than children be told that they're coming, only to be told otherwise at the last minute.

And sometimes children do actually form very close bonds with family friends who will turn up and support you all as a family so they don't really miss out - as parents we may get hurt and angry over the situation but the children won't miss what they haven't had.
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Eyallow
post 8.Dec.2005, 02:28 PM
Post #26
Joined: 2.Jun.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:


Andersson, i think that is a very Swedish mentality. Independence. I don't think that their not being there is out of neglect or disrespect (I dont know the state of your relationship with your inlaws?). Anyway, parents might not even turn up if their grown up kids are having a show and the kids will not bother! So maybe there is a little bit of a cultural clash there in my opinion!

But hey, i hope the kids did put a good performance. As longs as they did please some one, they will feel that gratification! Regardless of where appreciation comes from, it is always a big confidence booster to the performer!
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*Ant*
post 8.Dec.2005, 02:33 PM
Post #27


Well.. im a Sweede, and i have lived here my entire life. I dont recognize that behaviour as typical Swedish at all.

I dont know what to say but my family doesnt behave like that and neither does anyone of my close friends family.

I dont know what you are trying to reach other than you have some problem with you husbands family.That is of course sad and i feel sorry for you.

All im asking is do you think something like this can´t happen in other cultures? if i understood your last post correctly you have come to the conclution that its the fact that they are swedish they are behaving the way they are. or am i totally wrong here?
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*Meglos*
post 8.Dec.2005, 02:34 PM
Post #28


What's with all the "you need to talk to them" nonsense? You don't! You just need to start disregarding the buggers and save yourself a lot of time and effort and worry, not to mention money on Christmas presents (if you must get them something, get them one of those stupid julbok straw goats). Actions speak louder than words, and their actions tell you that they're not worth p***ing on. So they're your in-laws and you feel like you "should" be a big happy family? So what?! It'll never work when the other party are completely selfish, so don't waste your life trying. Now go and be a bit ruthless, and if your husband has a cry about how mean you are, kick him in the cobblers.
Dr Matt has spoken.
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Rachel F
post 8.Dec.2005, 02:37 PM
Post #29
Joined: 12.Oct.2005

Matt has said it as it is!

And Andersson, it sounds as if Ant has a very nice family - see if you can kidnap his parents and pass them off as Granny and Grandad!!
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*The Teenage Diplomat*
post 8.Dec.2005, 02:39 PM
Post #30


I don't really recognize this either.
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