How did your family take it?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
How did your family take it?
8
Thu, 02-02-2012 - 2:19am

As far as bwing in a multicultural relashionship and raising kids in a bilingual and multicultural environement how did your and your partner's family react?

My family was pretty much fine with whatever I did, they might not like it but they wouldn't tell me, they respect my choices so there never have been any issue.
My in-laws are another story all together, or shall I say my MIL because the rest of DH's family doesn't have any problem, but for my MIL as far as she is concerned my biggest flaw is that I'm not Indian, and that it is my duty to redeem that flaw at all cost for making up for the fact I robbed her of a DIL from a respectable well off Indian family. So to redeem it I must act Indian , breathe Indian walk Indian and talk the talk, she is pretty much pissed that I didn't follow certain customs for my daughter like the whole head shaving thing after she turned two, she hates the fact I speak French to her and not hindi (never mind my hindi is so poor it would be stupid to communicate with my kids in this language) her reasoning is that any other language is useless to her so not worth teaching to our daughter! DH and I ignore her, after 5 years of marriage going on 6 she still hasn't realised I'm here to stay and that no matter what she does I will not bend, or prove her right on the whole divorce stereotype she has, and that I have no intention of loosing my roots. But as I said she is the only one on that boat so it isn't a biggie, plus we live far enough from them that I don't see her more than a week a year, I can play the part to an extent while there, so sad she can't even be civilised to me for more than a day though.
She also lives in this notion that as far as India goes only her version of it matter, never mind that it is a country of high cultural diversity, if it isn't her way then it isn't Indian...oh well!


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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2012
Thu, 02-02-2012 - 3:24am
My parents were only nervous at first because DH was my first boyfriend ever. My mom likes DH because he treats me really well, and my dad also loves that he's a Catholic.

My MIL was like yours but she is slowly improving. But like you said, I have to earn it by proving how German I've become. At the beginning she loved to hear me talk about things I dont like in my family or America - I like to acknowledge both good and bad, but I noticed she was just enjoying the bad, so now I only tell her the good things. I'm nervous about becoming a mother in October though - she already complains that I should only watch German television and read German books. The funny thing is that most people think I'm German because I speak the language well. (I started learning it 16 years ago and have a college degree in it.) She, however, makes me feel like I'm a struggling beginner. Lol.

The nice thing is that the more I stand up for myself, the more she seems to respect me. It must be some sort of German cultural thing.

- JM

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Thu, 02-02-2012 - 10:01pm

Wow, I wish I was speaking German and I mean more than the basic survival skills, being Swiss I had to learn it in school, but it wasn't my favourite topic, my dad is a native swiss german speaker, but he chose not to speak the language with us when we were kids I guess I resent that still now, I had an opportunity to grow up bilingual that never happened. My paternal grand ma for some reason still writes to me in German, I get most of what she writes because she keeps her letters short and simple though.

My MIL has put me in a no win situation, if I play the good Indian DIL she always find something to say about how not perfect certain tiny things I did are making them feel like it is the end of the world, and if I don't try at all she has all found amunition to say it was a mistake to allow her son to marry a foreigner. DH and I have learnt to let her bark and ignore because clearly she doesn't want to change, she doesn't want to be pleased and she will never like me just because she made up her mind she doesn't want to, because liking me would be admitting she has been wrong about me and she doesn't want to admit that possibility...and I thought I was stubborn :)


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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2012
Fri, 02-03-2012 - 2:12am
Lol. And I thought Westphalian Germans were stubborn. ;-)

My grandmother also regrets she wasn't raised bilingual. Both of her parents came to America from Italy, and they wanted to integrate the children better so they only spoke English with them and moved to a German neighborhood. For them it was probably about avoiding negative stereotypes of Italian immigrants.

Did your father give a reason for not teaching you German? Maybe it was a stereotype thing?

- JM

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Fri, 02-03-2012 - 11:26pm

No my dad never gave any reason, though I suspect it has to do that as a kid he found it hard to settle in school, his parents are both Swiss Greman my grand father was an army officer, he got a posting in the Swiss French part of the country before my dad was born, my grand parents learned French but never thought they would stay there forever, afterall being in the Army means you can get reposted anywhere, so when my dad was born they spoke only German to him, figuring out he would pick up French in school anyway and that should they get reposted in the German speaking side of the country at least he would know the language already as learning a language later in life is thougher.
turned out they stayed in the same town all their life, my grand pa never got reposted, they might have suggested it once but he already had at least 2 of his 3 sons born then, and was reluctant to relocate and since he was senior enough they granted him the right to stay where he was.
But my dad hed difficulties learning in school, and he probably feel it had to do with the language thing, so yeah maybe that is why he probably didn't want to teach us german from an early age...this is just my theory though. The most I got out of my dad on that topic is "I didn't want to"


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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2009
Wed, 02-08-2012 - 11:40am

Thankfully, it isn't a big deal for us.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Wed, 02-08-2012 - 10:55pm

I would totally encourage your DD to learn the language, beside I heard people speaking Russian in Switzerland, it sounds like a beautiful language :)


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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2011
Thu, 02-09-2012 - 1:16pm

We're not so much in a multicultural relationship, but interestingly, the only person who has an issue with the two languages is my DH.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Fri, 02-10-2012 - 12:14am

Oh yeah my MIL is indeed pretty much the borderline stereotype Indian MIL
mine has also two other DILs who are Indian and aren't necessarily treated more kindly, in my case my MIL says it's because of a languge barrier and I don't understand her means (that's how she tried to sneak out of a confrontation when DH and FIL scolded her on her bahaviour), I know from my two SILs that they have been there done that and still are in the same boat as me with MIL...sigh! I doubt she'll ever come around, so does DH but we are all beyond going out of our way to try to please her :)

DH is actually no realising that I understand far more Hindi than he understand French, he keeps saying we should teach each other's language to the other, but living in Mumbai inevitably means long working hours coupled with long commute so when he makes it home he is too tired :)


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