critical family members

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-03-2012
critical family members
Sat, 11-03-2012 - 5:56am

I'm wondering if anyone else has this issue.  I'm raising two teenagers that both have been challenging at times but are overall really good kids.  Neither has gotten in trouble in school (or anywhere for that matter) and both are good students and dedicated athletes.  But being teenagers they occasionally make mistakes, mostly in regards to forgetting to do chores and things of that nature.  They get consequences but my family thinks they aren't severe enough.  My siblings and I were raised very old school and were treated harshly verbally and physically when we messed up.  This isn't how I desire to raise my children. I've expressed to my family many times that I feel they're too critical and quick to comment on ways that I should be parenting differently.  It's not said in a constructive manner and I feel like both my kids and I are always being torn down.  One of the biggest complaints they have is that my teens would rather spend time with friends than with extended family which is true.  Tonight I was told I haven't raised them with proper values and that family should be the most important aspect of their lives.  I value family but think it's pretty normal they'd rather be with friends over much older cousins, aunts, and uncles.  Plus why would my kids want to be around people that are constantly pointing out their flaws?   I'm sick of hearing it and feel like telling everyone to stuff it.  I've talked nicely about this and nothing changes.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 11-03-2012 - 2:33pm

First of all, I wonder where your family hears things like your kids aren't doing their chores?  I'd definitely stop telling these critical people anything negative about your kids so they won't get a chance to throw in their 2 cents.  As far as hanging out w/ the oldsters, maybe you might want to comment about why would they want to be with people who are always criticising them?  I agree with you--I'd make my teens come to a holiday or a big family event, but on a regular basis it's normal for teens to want to be with their friends rather than with extended family esp. if they don't have cousins their age.  I think you have to be firmer and if you can't just let what these people say go in one ear & out the other (or just nod and smile and say "thanks for your opinion") then tell them that their criticisms aren't welcome by you.

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Sat, 11-03-2012 - 9:06pm

I agree with Music - if you're ok with the kids only going on major family events I'd be fine with that. And don't feed the fire by giving these people anything negative about them.

DS has 7 cousins, one older female, then 2 other females before a male 6 years younger, and then 2 more that are younger than that. He decided at 11 that he didn't want any more family birthday parties; I respected that, as obviously there were plenty of other family birthdays and holidays to attend - I let him opt out of his birthday, where he much rather had fun with friends.

Do what's right for your family - compromise and ask for the kids to attend the big holidays or events (at least for a while), but otherwise I wouldn't want to be around critical people either! (I never liked going to a couple of my cousins' places as a kid and was relieved when I got into HS and we didn't have to attend as much any more)


Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 11-04-2012 - 1:08pm

I can't believe I got on!! For a while, I could see replies if I shrunk the page, and wore cheaters OVER my bifocals--giving a whole NEW meaning to the term "bifocal".  But it been telling me I'm "not authorized to post" if I try to sign on.  Today, I still got that message, but then I was called away from the puter, and when I came back, the message was gone, and I got on.  Now, lets see if this actually posts.

As for the reason I tried to post...  I have a slightly different outlook than the other posters.  While I do not think that relatives should comment on your child-rearing practices, I am pretty sure they are not commenting to the children's faces how terrible they are, or they would NOT want the kids to visit them.

I DO believe even teens should respect their extended families, and visit them.  And they should not sulk, & be decent while they are there.  It may not mean anything to the kids, but it often means a LOT to the aunt, uncle, or grandparent.  I VIVIDLY remember being at one of my kids' aunts b-day parties, WITH my kids.  This is an aunt by marriage, to my husband's brother.  HER sister's kids refused to come because they wanted to be with their friends, instead of with a lot of "old people".  This woman was crushed.  *MY* kids were upset for her, asking me, "How could they not want to see their AUNT?"  

 Kindness, tolerance and generosity are taught by example, and YOUR example of turning a deaf ear to critisms, and CERTAINLY by not repeating them to your children, will go a long way toward teaching these traits.  And occasionally, kids need a push to think of others befor themselves.  It is the parent's job to give them that push.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Sun, 11-04-2012 - 2:43pm
It really depends on how important YOU think chores are, Your family should not be putting you or your kids down and if it continues I'd distance yourself from them. I actually see this problem with my inlaws on fb (I was actually going to start a thread but I'm glad I read this one instead, Lol!), Sister in law parents her own kids by intimidation and JUST TODAY she put down a picture my DD uploaded, I reported it as spam and I am sick and tired of her ugly criticisms over there - She can use it on her own kids but I will not let her send that crap to mine! Good luck to you, Stand your ground, Only you know what's best for your kids.



Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 11-04-2012 - 5:35pm
The simplest answer is to get off FB. You cannot expect that things posted on a public forum of ANY kind, will not be subject to criticism. If someone cannot tolerate criticism, they should not post, not upload, or set the whole thing to PRIVATE-and choose who is allowed to see it VERY carefully. Rather than throw your family over your shoulder, do not give them ammunition to discuss you or yours. Restrict your interactions to happy things, and let the rest roll off. Life is too short, and blood IS thicker than water.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Sun, 11-04-2012 - 8:52pm

Dear Holdingontohope,
Love that name.
Welcome to our corner of the village.
If you’ve got two teens doing well in school, staying out of major trouble, not doing drugs, I’d say you’re doing a good job. Keep it up!
Believe me; many many many parents would love to have your problems with chores and such. My sister and I have cousins with kids that are known by the police, have their own personal probation officer, have or are using and dealing meth and other drugs. One of those forms of meth is called ICE. Sis and I are just grateful that our kids still think of ice as what floats in a soft drink from 7-eleven or Costco.
Sis and I are also wise enough to know that we are and have been most fortunate that our kids didn’t go down those paths.
We try to go to these major family events and the girls go to those of their guy’s family. We try to arrange things where our events don’t conflict with the guys families. There are really only a couple of big ones each summer and a couple of smaller ones around Christmas. The two around Christmas are mostly with the grandparents and our sibling’s families.
We have large family get togethers every summer with my family and hubbies family; lots of wonderful people attend and lots of screw-ups also. LOL We now have SILs who go with us. Naturally they really don’t know most, but they have a blast observing the Jerry Springer branch of the family tree, but they keep their thoughts to themselves. Every family, including there’s has a Jerry Springer branch. My point is that you can think whatever you want to think. Wise people don’t express those thoughts, especially when doing so would be mean. As the bumper sticker says, MEAN PEOPLE SUCK! Sadly, there are people in the world who do not understand that you can think what you want, but often times you should keep your mount shut.
Some people enjoy being critical and there isn’t anything that you can do about that, except don’t feed their fire by providing information. There fire only burns when they have negative information. Give only positive information and that will drive them nuts. LOL (Lie if you must and go to confession the next day. LOL) Most families have them and most in the family learn to avoid having substantive conversations with them for that reason.
Your kids can learn a very important lesson from these types of people and that lesson is: Don’t be that type of person.
It’s only natural that teens want to spend time with other teens their age and if your family doesn’t have teens their age, then do the big events and pass on the smaller ones or go without your teens to the smaller ones.
And as Sabr noted sometimes you do things for the family. Kindness during life is far more important than flowers at a funeral, as dead noses smell no roses. The rest homes are filled with older people that a visit from a distant family member would brighten their day beyond belief. These are gifts that cost no money.

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Mon, 11-05-2012 - 8:30pm
Sounds like you have a couple of great sons & that your parenting style is working. Everyone skips chores, this is normal for a teen. I would say ignore your negative feedback & continue doing what you are doing with the exception of letting your boys skip family events. I feel like some of those who have given advise. It's good for kids to think of others. I am an only, so not much happening with the family stuff there but DH is one of 5. SIL's kids range from 3 to 25 yrs older than my 3 kids. SIL's kids were allowed to stop coming to family events at 11/12 but my kids had to attend until they were 18 & if living at home after that, they had to come to the major events like Xmas, funerals, etc. I can only say how proud I am of my kids & the way they behave with regards to dealing with older people. They automatically book time off to attend visitations, funerals, 50th anniversary parties, 75th birthdays, etc. of their families & of their friend's families. They are often the youngest people there. They range from 26 to 32 but they learned these important lessons as a teen.