To be really upset with my parents?

(108 Posts)
flightyskirt Mon 21-Jan-13 15:43:26

2 weekends ago my children went to stay with my parents while me and my partner did some decorating at home. When we went to pick them up we were in the living room having a cup of tea with the whole family when there was a bit of a kerfuffle - one child skipped across the floor and the other moved his chair back at the same time. Somehow a large vase was accidentally knocked off a shelf right in front of us and smashed. (I still don't really know how it happened - fairly freak accident). My mother was beside herself as it is a vase she has had for many years (much sentimental value although not monetary). We all jumped into action clearing up but my mother had started blaming my eldest (10 years old) who got very upset as my mother was shouting and crying. She said things like 'it was my favourite thing in the world' and 'I've had it for over 30 years.' which only made my child more upset. When my child tried to say sorry she was told it wasn't enough, and that she didn't mean it (she was still crying at this time). We decided that the best thing to do was to leave. It was impossible to console my mother as she was so hostile - although when I left I said I was sorry and that I hoped she could mend it - she said - 'Oh no we'll take it down the dump'.

I called my parents a week later as I hadn't heard from them, left a message but didn't hear back. A few days later my Dad called and said that he thought that my eldest should e-mail my mum with an apology. I didn't really agree, as I felt they had been through enough, but I said I would think about it. However as a family we decided to make a card and send it from all of us saying 'sorry about your vase'. I was going to send it today but I got another call from my Dad last night asking me where the e-mail was and then a whole tirade of abuse that I didn't respect their feelings. I countered that although it may have had sentimental value there was no need to make a child feel that bad when it had clearly been an accident, and no--one was sure how it had happened anyway. My Dad told me that me and my child were both drama queens and that we needed to face up to our responsibility. I however think that peoples' feelings (a 10 year olds' particularly) are more important than a piece of clay. I'm now really upset as I've not rowed like that with my Dad since I was a teenager. AIBU?

Pandemoniaa Mon 21-Jan-13 18:04:32

as to the others who says its just things - its other peoples things and they should be respected. must admit it pisses me off when someone says its just xx that was damaged, doesnt mean anything - yeah but you didnt fucking pay for it...

There's no suggestion that the OP's children were being disrespectful. It was an accident. To make such a drama out it is completely unreasonable. People are always far more important than things regardless of "who fucking pays for them". It seems ludicrous to cause such bad feeling over a vase. Especially since the OP's dd has already apologised.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 21-Jan-13 18:13:52

Send a card and ignore them.

If they want to see their GC they will have to ask.

pointythings Mon 21-Jan-13 18:43:10

ironhorse the OP's DD offered a genuine, tearful and heartfelt apology and was rudely and hysterically rebuffed.

She is now the one owed an apology IMO. It was the OP's 'D'M who has shown disrespect in the aftermath of a genuine accident.

OP, if my parents pulled something like this, they would not be seeing the GCs again until an apology from them had been forthcoming.

BarbarianMum Mon 21-Jan-13 19:11:42

I don't think either you or your mother and father are being terribly reasonable tbh. Your mother/father for the behaviour described in your post and you for your casual dismissal of your mother's feelings.

<<I however think that peoples' feelings (a 10 year olds' particularly) are more important than a piece of clay. >>

Basically this is saying that your dd's feelings are more important than your mum's. Maybe you don't get attached to things - but a lot of people do. I have a little figurine given to me by my Gran. I don't like figurines generally, it's certainly worthless but I can't tell you how upset I'd be if it got broken, even accidentally.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 21-Jan-13 19:15:35


AngryTrees Mon 21-Jan-13 19:18:35

Your mother was completely out of line. Not for being upset, but shouting and scaring the hell out of a ten year old girl and then accusing her of being a liar when she tried to apologise. It was a massive guilt-tripping tirade.

If your parents were exactly the same way with every object when you were a child then I think you need to tell your daughter that they used to behave in the same way with you so she doesn't torment herself over it. She needs to know it's them, not her.

timidviper Mon 21-Jan-13 19:27:40

Your mother has over-reacted, no matter how much the vase meant to her it is not worth the relationship with her grandchildren.

I do think you could have acted a bit faster though. It was a week after the event that you rang them, then a few days till your Dad rang, then presumably another few till he let rip his tirade. That is almost 2 weeks and, knowing what they are like, I think you should have sent something sooner just to defuse them. (I would have done a really passive-aggressive "We are sorry that you were upset about your vase" personally!)

thegreylady Mon 21-Jan-13 20:29:09

My step son aged 18 at the time] accidentally broke an ornament of great setimental and some monetary value.
I burst into tears [it was a figurine recently ihnherited from my mum who had had it from her gran] but all I kept saying was ,"It wasn't your fault,I'm being stupid,it's only a thing boohoo! boohoo! boohoo!]
Poor dss was so upset too so we had a hug and he later bought me a little gift with a note"Please let this carry on the memories with an extra one for me"
People are so much more important than any thing-your parents ought to think about your dd and let the vase go.

Purplefurrydice Mon 21-Jan-13 20:45:47

Children (and adults) occasionally have accidents. When my friends DC come round I put away things I would not want get broken (all DC are under 7).

Therefore, when the children invariably fall over/bump into each other nothing valuable gets smashed.

I would have thought a face to face apology was much better than Email apology, but maybe I'm old fashioned.

outtolunchagain Mon 21-Jan-13 21:53:46

Purple the little girl did apologise at the time but her apology was rejected by her grandmother .

"Yes it all echoes accidents of my own youth. Being made to feel terribly guilty about things I broke without meaning to. Everything in the house seems to have some kind of massive emotional value, or it cost them a lot, so we have to be very careful with carpets, mugs, you name it."
That is a very telling statement, flightyskirt. Basically, your parents have form for this crap. And what they did to you, they are now doing to your DC. See it for what it is, emotional abuse. An accident happened, your eldest was blamed, tried to apologise and the apology was not accepted. You are now being hounded for a formalised, theatrical apology.

"My Dad told me that me and my child were both drama queens and that we needed to face up to our responsibility."
<rolls eyes>
The cast-iron pot appears to be calling the well-polised stainless steel kettle black.

Can you play them at their own game? Tell them that you want (nay, DEMAND) an apology, in writing, for the upset they have caused your DC?

Wow. YANBU your poor daughter. I would feel very sad if my mother put an object (even a precious one) ahead of my daughter's feelings. But I know she wouldn't.

thegreylady, you have a lovely DSS.

cees Mon 21-Jan-13 22:11:39


I can understand your mother's upset but she behaved like a drama queen, not you and your daughter.

usualsuspect Mon 21-Jan-13 22:13:38

YANBU,Ironhorse are you the OPS mother?

Crunchymunchyhoneycakes Mon 21-Jan-13 22:14:10


Stuff is just stuff. They've overreacted.

Shriekable Mon 21-Jan-13 22:17:43

YANBU. Your parents obviously don't simply want an apology - they had that immediately - they want to make you & DD feel as guilty as possible, which is pretty low. My DM was like this when I was a kid - an 'I'm sorry' was never enough; I had to be absolutely contrite and begging forgiveness. I would have thought that any reasonable person would have calmed down by now and would be trying to build bridges, but your parents don't want to do that do they? They seem to be insisting on dragging it on. Rather cruel, when a child is involved. It's pretty obvious who the real drama queens are.

AnneTwacky Mon 21-Jan-13 22:20:21

I'd send the card, as you were going to, and then leave it at that.

Your DD does not owe them an e-mail. She apologised at the time and you're reiterating it in the card.

Sorry your parents are behaving like this. I can understand they were upset but they're being totally over the top.

QOD Mon 21-Jan-13 22:26:16

Ridiculous, mean as well.

My mums a wee bit like that. Dbil opened a cupboard over Xmas, a mug fell out and smashed a serving bowl.
He apologised and asked where it was from and said he'd replace it, she said that she didn't want another serving bowl but he could buy her something else!!

I said "but he doesn't need to does he as it was an accident and it's not like HE had put the mug badly in the cupboard in the first place"

Ariel24 Mon 21-Jan-13 22:35:34

YADNBU, they sound nuts tbh. Understandable that your mum was upset but totally unacceptable for her to treat your DD like that, especially as it was an accident and your DD had apologised. I'm imagining how I would feel if I was in your DD' s position, I'd probably be very upset and scared to go round the grandparents house in future. It would definitely have an effect on the relationship with them.

As for people saying you didn't contact them soon enough, after the hysterics I'm guessing you wanted time for things to cool down. And it's not like they didn't have an apology at the time from your DD.

Hobbitation Mon 21-Jan-13 22:36:48

It can be frustrating and upsetting when things get broken, I can understand someone flying off the handle initially, but then calming down and apologising for the overreaction and saying that it really doesn't matter. Not to expect grovelling and sulking about it, that's terrible.

I once got annoyed with my mum over a broken glass, and she was only washing up at the time so actually trying to help blush . It was just that I'd always had five glasses, as one of the previous set got knocked over or something. Then we'd gone to IKEA and got a set of six big red wine glasses. I was overjoyed to at last have a full set of matching glasses. Then the next day mum broke one. So it was frustrating, and then you could only get those type of glasses from IKEA and I was annoyed at the thought of having to go back...But I quickly realised it was ridiculous, and apologised. No biggie now as you can buy glasses cheaply in Sainsbury's. I still don't have six matching ones though!

TheFallenNinja Mon 21-Jan-13 22:40:29

Email an apology? I'd tell him to fuck off and pick on someone his own size and I'd tell her to stick her vase up her arse.

TheFallenNinja Mon 21-Jan-13 22:41:42

It's a vase. Any grandparent worth their salt puts the good stuff away when kids are in the house.

Katisha Mon 21-Jan-13 22:43:20

If they were like this throughout your childhood then it's pretty entrenched. But maybe it's time to call them on it, or not cave in, now they are treating your own children like this. As someone says earlier, things don't matter, people do.

Purplefurrydice Mon 21-Jan-13 22:53:33

I thought you DD sounded v grown up to apologise off her own back without being told to by a parent. Especially since it may/may not have been her fault.

I don't understand why your parents want an email from her apologising when she has already apologised.

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