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MIL political opinion driving me mad


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#1 Alimoon

Posted 13 May 2016 - 03:02 PM

Currently Pregnant with my second. (first with OH)

Recently it has been bugging me that my MIL (and FIL who is not as vocal though) has one of those really right wing, ignorant bigoted political opinions. The type there is no reasoning with- albeit i have tried..
(she complains about refugees, drugs, LBGT, race, parenting and anything that doesn't require an educated option to feel like you know what you are talking about haha)
i disagree with just about every one of her options, and i don't hold back on telling her when I disagree, and why.

I was brought up the opposite, very left wing and have no qualms with any race, religion or anything that  Australians like to whine about.. (i had to work on it but my OH is very left wing now too)
i should ad that my sons grandfather is Gay and has a Gay aunt who are both huge positive influences in his life. I would be devastated if any of my in laws opinions rubbed off on my son in that regard!

Anyhow,  now that she is going to be a grandparent to my child, it has dawned on me that maybe her opinion might rub off on my children. I know that we shape children in the home, but my 6 year old takes things for gospel if an adult says it.
i want both my children to grow with an respect, acceptance and joy of other cultures, nature, animals and the world as a whole.

Has anyone had this issue? i am tired of getting mad and almost starting debates at every family dinner because i have to stand up for what is right, but i dont want to seem like a trouble maker or only b**ch about her behind her back because no one likes that.
Even though i am standing up for what i believe as the lefty peaceful side of things, it still creates a little table top war, which is ironic considering what i am standing up for haha.

I firmly believe in saying when i disagree with something, especially if it is a remark that might affect my child and shape them into baby bigots haha.

Please any advice would be great? im a little worried about starting a war and saying to her that she is banned from speaking her opinion etc but surely she would respect not speaking about anything to do with Gov or Playground politics in front of my kids?

Edited by Alimoon, 13 May 2016 - 03:33 PM.


#2 seayork2002

Posted 13 May 2016 - 03:06 PM

Maybe come at it from the perspective of you having opposite views to her rather than you being 'right'

#3 EsmeLennox

Posted 13 May 2016 - 03:09 PM

I think the most important thing to remember is that you will be a bigger influence on your child than their grandparents and your children will encounter different opinions, values and beliefs throughout their childhood.

I have had a similar issue in that my MIL spent quite a bit of time telling my children that 'without God life means nothing'...knowing full well I am an atheist (and I wouldn't exactly call MIL religious either).

We simply spend time talking about different beliefs and opinions about things...and with the example above we talked about the fact that it was perfectly OK for their Nan to think that, and that it was perfectly OK for me to not believe that, and that we can all make up our own minds about things. I am also very careful to say that they may change their viewpoints about things several times before they settle into one firm belief about a whole range of things.

#4 anna_garny

Posted 13 May 2016 - 03:09 PM

As a blanket rule (with right-wing grandparents who make noises about 'the gays' every time they see anything vaguely rainbow coloured) we do not allow discussion of race, religion or politics at family dinners. Anyone who brings it up is usually stared at as if they have two heads.

About the only 'safe' topics in my family are sport and the weather, but with farmers in the family the weather can even be a controversial thing to discuss...

#5 Natttmumm

Posted 13 May 2016 - 03:18 PM

Two things spring to mind.


In laws are entitled to their opinion just as you are - personally Id agree to disagree and not discuss all the time. Sounds like they are firm in their views as you are so you should be able to respect that. I wouldn't fight over it as there is nothing to be gained. Id say...its clear we don't agree so lets talk about other stuff.

Each time you see that your child is being taught something you don't agree with its a good teaching opportunity. My most recent one was about racism when the inlaws said some things and the kids told me later. Your kids, once they hit school age, will be exposed to so many different views and kids need to learn how to deal with that (this is how I deal with my in-laws whose views I really don't agree with). My in laws  haven't had much influence over my kids over the years (see them once a fortnight and im usually there).

#6 steppy

Posted 13 May 2016 - 03:21 PM

They do influence the kids! But it doesn't last, as long as the kids are presented with alternatives. My stepchildren used to come home with some very strange beliefs. My favourite all time comment was that Italians are stupid because they don't speak English and also have no culture.

ROLLED AROUND. Took me a long time to recover from that one.

#7 Alimoon

Posted 13 May 2016 - 03:29 PM

Thanks to all of you so far. Gives good insight.

I think i am also very hesitant to not argue, because this side of the family has one of those very old school habits where women don't give opinions and just agree with the men etc.
(i was once discussing the legalities of abortion in Australia- very briefly- and my FIL literally sad 'we dont discuss abortion in this house) ergh.

I live a very very equal life with my OH in terms of opinion, money, house work and cooking etc and i find it despicable when women are seen and not heard haha.

I dont want my children to see me not standing up for what i believe in. i wont be silenced thats for sure haha.

I am hoping that i can ask her not to discuss or display her political opinions in front of the kids. and me for that matter, maybe telling her that we have different opinions will work.

Then sadly that limits our conversations to her telling me about her various ailments all the time hahah

#8 HappyTapper

Posted 13 May 2016 - 03:36 PM

My MIL bought DS a GOLLIWOG. I had to refuse it.

So I get it.

Mine are still little but I am trusting myself to raise good humans who can be exposed to a range of opinions and form well considered views for themselves.

Don't overthink it.

#9 ~Jolly_F~

Posted 13 May 2016 - 03:38 PM

View PostAlimoon, on 13 May 2016 - 03:29 PM, said:


I live a very very equal life with my OH in terms of opinion, money, house work and cooking etc and i find it despicable when women are seen and not heard haha.

I dont want my children to see me not standing up for what i believe in. i wont be silenced thats for sure haha.


You can show your kids this without going into battle with your MIL.

When she starts you just politely say you disagree and its not the time for the discussion and shut it down. Be the bigger person, this your kids that you so stand up for what you believe in but that there is a time and a place for everything.

#10 Lou-bags

Posted 13 May 2016 - 03:49 PM

View Post~Jodama_Feral~, on 13 May 2016 - 03:38 PM, said:

You can show your kids this without going into battle with your MIL.

When she starts you just politely say you disagree and its not the time for the discussion and shut it down. Be the bigger person, this your kids that you so stand up for what you believe in but that there is a time and a place for everything.

Exactly this. I wrote a response and deleted it several times trying to articulate this and failing.

Getting into a debate and not holding back, refusing to be silenced etc etc doesn't necessarily equal standing up for yourself and your beliefs in every circumstance. Like JF said, time and place.

My own mother can be a bit like I think you might be, OP, goes in all guns blazing when she disagrees or finds something offensive. You know what it taught me? That mum can be embarrassing, and that she often ignores the discomfort of others to say her piece.

Sometimes that's appropriate. Sometimes other peoples discomfort be damned, someone needs to say something.

But not every time a person expresses a view opposite to yours. Not every dinner time, etc etc.

There is actually quite a bit of power and grace in respectfully shutting someone down the way JF has described. That's something very valuable to model to your children too.

Balance, OP.

I know it's hard. I am more like my mother than I actually imagine, I'm sure (DH will tell you I am).

Good luck.

#11 No Drama Please

Posted 13 May 2016 - 04:02 PM

My grandfather, who I absolutely adored and was like a father to me, was in WW2 and said insane shocking racist things about the Japanese all.the.time.

Like things too mind boggling to believe and to horrific to ever ever repeat. I think he'd probably seen and done such horrendous things that dehumanising them was the only way he could function after he got home.

The thing is that even as a child I just took it as part of his personality and not a true reflection of reality. Even though he said these terrible and crazy things they weren't true, it was just his scewered belief system.

I totally agree with PP about just reinforcing the "just because X thinks Y doesn't mean it's true". Maybe try and make it into a kind of weird game, like well at dinner tonight who thinks X said some false information, discuss!

Is annoying as an adult but I think kids are pretty good at figuring it out after a while. Good luck

#12 Bono25

Posted 13 May 2016 - 04:24 PM

DP and I have opposing views for alot of things.  We have a big box of "agree to disagree" and "not worth the arguments" box.  

I think at the end of the day, you are going to have a bigger impact on your kids than anyone else, and it may not be worth in the long run

#13 CallMeFeral

Posted 13 May 2016 - 04:36 PM

View PostAlimoon, on 13 May 2016 - 03:29 PM, said:


I think i am also very hesitant to not argue, because this side of the family has one of those very old school habits where women don't give opinions and just agree with the men etc.
(i was once discussing the legalities of abortion in Australia- very briefly- and my FIL literally sad 'we dont discuss abortion in this house) ergh.

Well, now's your chance to do it back... "we don't discuss race/religion/politics in this house!"

(even if you do... just not with them :p)

#14 Jingleflea

Posted 13 May 2016 - 04:50 PM

Maybe it's my inlaws, but those types of subjects just don't come up!

I can't see why you'd talk about that sort of stuff all the time,especially if you have such opposing views. Just agree to disagree and drop the matter. I can't think of much worse at  family gathering than sitting around arguing about everything. That's no fun for children to see or hear. I would think seeing adults arguing on matters they WILL never agree on jsut upsets kids needlessly. Talk about that stuff at home, sure, but change the subject at family dinners etc. They won't change, their views are set.

My grandparents were racist and bigoted etc, but they didn't influence us in how we think. Mum and dad did a great job at teaching us otherwise.

#15 Jane Jetson

Posted 13 May 2016 - 04:52 PM

I've learned to say only (and calmly), "I disagree completely" with Dad when he starts trolling me with racist/anti-refugee bullsh*t because he cracks the sh*ts for real when you actually debate the point with him.

If he keeps at it I escalate to, "I disagree completely and I'm not going to discuss it with you".

It turns into a blow-up fight otherwise. But if he doesn't get the reaction he's hoping for (lefty diatribe) he finds something more interesting to talk about.

#16 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 13 May 2016 - 05:10 PM

I'm a leftie feminist.  I never ever argue with my BIL who decidedly is not.  If he starts sharing his opinions, there is a cold silence while nobody engages with him.

It's really not worth it.  You won't change their opinions, they won't change yours so why spend the energy?  It is very unlikely they will damage your kids to the extent you appear to think.  And TBH once your kids are teens/adults they will have opinions of their own.

My nieces and nephews don't necessarily agree with their father.

#17 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 13 May 2016 - 05:12 PM

Just do something like this

Child: "nanna says gay people don't deserve to get married and are evil"

You "oh, hahaha! Very funny child, you know we love your nanna but we don't have to agree with what she says, make sure you ask mummy and daddy about anything nanna says so that we can tell you all the facts about it"

I have similar in laws, my biggest issue is their sexism and racism. It's so casual with them that it's hard to spot sometimes. Luckily I have two boys so it won't be as bad as if I had had a girl, but still, when they get home from a stay at nannas I'll be keeping an ear out for any strange facts or opinions they may start echoing. But they need to love their nanna so there is only so much you can do other than constantly reinforce your opinions with sound facts and calm discussion.

#18 Soontobegran

Posted 13 May 2016 - 05:21 PM

Remember....you probably equally drive her mad.


Religion and politics are off the menu in our home and the homes of extended family.
Everyone thinks they are right and there is little you can do to change things and nor should you try.


Be firm, tell her there'll be no discussion....her political stance will mean diddly squat to your children....don't overthink the power she'll have over them.

#19 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 13 May 2016 - 05:25 PM

View PostLuckyMummy1+1, on 13 May 2016 - 05:12 PM, said:

. Luckily I have two boys so it won't be as bad as if I had had a girl,

Nonsense, racism and sexism are just as bad for boys to hear as for girls to hear.

#20 eponee

Posted 13 May 2016 - 05:32 PM

View PostLuckyMummy1+1, on 13 May 2016 - 05:12 PM, said:

Just do something like this

Child: "nanna says gay people don't deserve to get married and are evil"

You "oh, hahaha! Very funny child, you know we love your nanna but we don't have to agree with what she says, make sure you ask mummy and daddy about anything nanna says so that we can tell you all the facts about it"

I have similar in laws, my biggest issue is their sexism and racism. It's so casual with them that it's hard to spot sometimes. Luckily I have two boys so it won't be as bad as if I had had a girl, but still, when they get home from a stay at nannas I'll be keeping an ear out for any strange facts or opinions they may start echoing. But they need to love their nanna so there is only so much you can do other than constantly reinforce your opinions with sound facts and calm discussion.

deleted

Edited by eponee, 13 May 2016 - 05:37 PM.


#21 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 13 May 2016 - 05:39 PM

Yes I can't fathom why racism or sexism would be any worse for a girl than a boy to hear.

Having a "we don't talk politics" stance is all well and good - but the personal can be political - and when my MIL made her racist comments in front of an (extended) family member - it got personal, we pulled her up on it, it got political and it got heated. But we weren't going to let it pass. I think my kids need to see that too - you don't just politely "agree to disagree" in the face of bigotry or racism.

#22 archyandmehitabel

Posted 13 May 2016 - 05:54 PM

View PostWakingUpTired, on 13 May 2016 - 03:38 PM, said:

I've given up on the inlaws.  Mine aren't quite that bad but they have some very umm 'old fashioned' (is the nicest way I can put it) views.  On things like gay marriage, taxation, support of the poor, the environment etc....

Fil & mil are a product of the time and place they grew up, nothing is going to change them now.

Y'know I used to accept that 'old and product of their time' argument.  It was used to excuse my parents racism and bigotry in the 1960s when they were in their 50s.

Now close to 60 years later, in 2016, I see posters on EB trotting out the same story: someone who is 50 - 55 was brought up in a different time and you can't expect anything different except close-mindedness.

Is a there a group of middle-aged reactionaries travelling through time for the purpose of perpetuating this view of middle age from generation to generation?

These people grew up in the same time as I did, which was a time when multiculturalism was promoted, and 'boat people' were welcomed. When we read people like Andrew Bolt saying that multiculturalism has failed, we don't excuse it. Nor should we give anyone else a free pass to think that way. See it for what it is and don't dismiss it as just a minor foible of age.

I do agree though, that retaliating with prolonged argument is often pointless, not to mention boring and possibly embarrassing for onlookers.

#23 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 13 May 2016 - 05:56 PM

I said "not as bad" because while they might get taught some bad attitudes. At least they won't be told they can't do something just because they're a boy. Calm down people. Calm down.

#24 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 13 May 2016 - 06:01 PM

No I won't calm down.

Boys get told they can't do things just as girls get told.  You need to examine your attitude and beliefs if you think this doesn't matter.

A&M I don't recognise these throw back dinosaurs with their racist and sexist and etc etc opinions either.  Even my parents in their 70's don't fit that mould.  I think for those of us in our 50's and 60's, we can remember more socially hopeful and progressive times.

#25 Jingleflea

Posted 13 May 2016 - 06:06 PM

My GP's spouted their sexist garbage in front of all three grandkids. Two girls and a boy.

The girls didn't believe the crud, but my brother does appear to believe he is superior to females.
But he could just be an a*se.


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