To not want to see or speak to my Dad again?

(88 Posts)
WonderBarbara Fri 26-Jul-13 19:06:19

Once again, as per usual, a visit to my parents house has ended up in a huge row, my kids upset and me fuming beyond belief.
All had been going ok until lunchtime, when my complete insensitive cock of a dad, served up sausage and mash, to my Dcs, with complete knowledge that they do not eat pork, since DH is Muslim and we are bringing our children up (loosely) in the faith. Naturally this pissed me off, but I just took the sausages from their plate and calmly reminded my parents they don't eat pork. My Dad then started going on that there was nothing else and he wasn't going to cook them anything else. I said, that's absolutely fine, it won't do them any harm to have just mash and beans, they don't need meat. Dad went on that mash and beans wasn't a proper meal and they needed a meat. I told him that was rubbish, and they would be fine.
Cue then the age old arguement that practically ensues every time we go around (and the reason why we don't visit very often) right in front of the Dcs. Of course I can't write all down here, but to summarise, dad trumped his favourite line about how it's not fair that they can't eat pork because of DH, and it's not fair that we haven't let them choose for themselves, and that my dc are deprived of a normal life because I am letting DH rule over us and its not fair that "his side" always gets priority.
I told him that when the do are old enough to choses for themselves then that's fine, but for now out of respect to DH we are a pork free family and I would appreciate if he did not speak that way in front of the Dcs, while they were eating.
Dad then took some sausage and said to dd1 (7) "you want to try some don't you, you want to see whats it like?" To which dd replied no. He then started having a go at dd1 saying do you know why you can't eat it? You don't even understand why you can't eat normally do you? it's just sausage silly girl it won't kill you. Just taste it" and tried to force it to her mouth. She looked petrified.
At this point I lost it. i said to my mum are you gonna let him torment my daughter like that? As per usual my mum said she wasn't getting involved (she never does) and I told my Dad to get the hell away from my Dcs. He went on about the dc have to Learn when in Rome to live like the Romans and at our house they will eat what they are given. I told him that won't be a problem because we won't be back. We then left. When I got in the car, dd1 told me that when I was looking for ds's shoes, my Dad had given dd2(2) some of the sausage in her mouth.

I actually feel sick, i want to just burst into tears but I hate the DC seeing me upset. Me and Dad have never had a great relationship tbh since my teens. he has never really supported my marriage, always makes a huge effort with and clearly favours my Dsis's DH, and always makes snide comments about our parenting. He spent the first two years of DD1s life calling her by her middle name because he couldn't accept that we had given her an Arabic first name.

The only good thing I can say about him is that he is usually very good to my DCs, and he was good to us when we were young.

Anyway, I now have just been comforting DD1, who was went into her bedroom and cried as soon as we got in because "we are never going to see gran and grampy again", and she has asked me why we are always arguing, I don't know how to explain it to her.

I know it's probably extreme to ban the Dcs from seeing their grandparents, but I actually can't face speaking to my Dad again, until he gives a damn good apology, but I have never heard him apologise in his life.

So, for those of you who have had the perseverance to read to the end, AIBU?

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 29-Jul-13 21:52:50

YANBU and I bet it is because he has a problem with Muslims. Too much Daily Mail, probably.

I wonder if he would have had such a problem if your DH was a practising Christian and wanted your children to not eat sweets for Lent? I bet he'd have gone along with that alright.

pizzachickenhotforyou Mon 29-Jul-13 20:32:07

Yanbu

How horrible for your children to have their heritage disrespected by their own family.

Unfortunately they will most probably face ignorant comments etc about being Arabic / Muslim in their lifetime. From their own Grandfather at such a young age is really sad.

Good for you for sticking up for them.

cjel Sun 28-Jul-13 23:39:55

from what i've seen they really do.confused

AnnabelleLee Sun 28-Jul-13 23:38:08

I know there is one where they pretend to do so, but I don't beleive they actually do it all the time, just on the bits that suit them. Toddlers can't really reason for themselves whether to play with knives or not, which is why we make that call for them!

cjel Sun 28-Jul-13 23:33:17

annabelle, there is a style of parenting that does exactly that and they will not dictate anything to their children believing its not right for an adult to have that much control.

I have met a few of these children and its really hard to mix with them. eg at a toddlers they won't be asked not to hurt your child because they really think their child has the right to not be controlled, even above the right of your child to be safe and not hurt. They will home school although education is done if the child wants to! They tend not to have many friends!!

AnnabelleLee Sun 28-Jul-13 23:24:00

U-huh. Do you ask a two year old whether brushing their teeth is the right action and let her choose whether she does or not? Do you let a five year old choose to eat only chocolate? Do you let a 12 year old have boys to sleep in her room?
We all make decisions on behalf of our children, every single day. Pretending we don't is utter rot.

Tubemole1 Sun 28-Jul-13 23:09:17

IMHO I cannot I doctrinate a religion into my child. Its for her to decide. I discipline her but only to ask, is her choice of action the right one if she thought it through? I support OP, so please don't call my approach to my child's moral wellbeing, "rot". angry

AnnabelleLee Sun 28-Jul-13 12:48:12

allowed to discover the world on their own terms? What rot, as parents we make the decisions about the terms, we tell them when to sleep, what to eat, what school to go to, WE define the parameters of their lives until they are old enough to do so for themselves.
Saying your child isn't allowed pork is no different than saying they can't eat coco pops for dinner every night.

Sheshelob Sun 28-Jul-13 12:37:23

So let me get this straight. He accuses you of forcing your children into a way of life, then tries to physically force your child to eat a sausage?

It would be funny if it weren't so awful.

He sounds like an unpleasant narcissist. It isn't about a cultural clash - it is about him not getting his own way. There is no middle ground with people like this. He must win.

There is no point asking your mum to step in. She's too busy enabling his crappy behaviour.

I think you should be true to how you are feeling and cut ties. You will have lots of resistance to it, but if that is how you are feeling, go for it.

motherinferior Sun 28-Jul-13 12:25:10

It is 2013. Mixed families are hardly unusual in the UK, dammit. These attitudes were understandable (if unacceptable) in the days when my parents and DP's parents met. These days half the kids in our road have mixed backgrounds. He really is vein appalling.

Tubemole1 Sun 28-Jul-13 09:41:09

I am going to be controversial here and say in one way, children are entitled to discover their world on their terms and decide for themselves what lifestyle to lead. We are humanist, but if dd decides to be Muslim or Buddhist or whatever its her choice.

That said...

Force feeding? No. The old when in Rome argument? NO! Trampling all over a family's personal lifestyle choice? Nooooo. I agree with other posters OP, your old man thinks he's lost control and can't cope with your parenting style. If this is typical behaviour, don't go round there again. Say, Dad, if you want to see the kids, then come to my house.

PS sounds like he also needs educating about Islam. He seems frightened of it. Ridiculous.

ilovesooty Sun 28-Jul-13 09:40:52

The OP did not expect to be fed then take issue with what was on offer. She was happy for her children to eat the offered meal minus sausage. All this stuff about her father's lost culture and finding middle ground is claptrap. His behaviour has been that of s disrespectful controlling bully and forcing the sausage on one of the children is so far out of order it's off the scale. I would say that refusing to visit them again is totally understandable and entertaining them at your house is the only way to ensure they respect your family's beliefs and boundaries.

Doingfine Sun 28-Jul-13 09:14:36

It's not about pork. The ops father is not showing respect. That must feel hurtful.

claig Sun 28-Jul-13 09:01:00

And there was nothing wrong in bringing your mother into it. You hoped that she would intervene and make him see sense. but she knows him well enough to know that he won't change his mind easily over this, since this is pretty core to his own beliefs and culture. She proabably knows that to confront him oenly about it will just escalate it and anger him even more. She probably does try to make him see sense ofline when he is in a calmer, more amenable mood.

claig Sun 28-Jul-13 08:53:56

The same thing probably happens the other way around too, where some muslim parents would not probably want their grandchildren to eat pork.

It's not nice, but it is about culture and it is a pretty common human reaction to prefer that grandchildren be brought up in one's own culture with its customs and rules.

claig Sun 28-Jul-13 08:43:48

"Agree with those saying that OP's F wouldn't feed spare ribs to a vegetarian and her kids on the basis of "when in Rome" etc."

I think he would, because it is about following how he himself was brought up.

claig Sun 28-Jul-13 08:41:15

lemon is right, it is a cultural thing. He wants the children brought up like he was, in his culture. He feels as if his culture has lost and the children follow a different culture. He thinks he can stop it, but of course he can't.

One of these days, he will eventually probably come to accept that the kids are brought up with different beliefs, but it will probably take him some time.

It's the old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks"

lemonluscious Sun 28-Jul-13 08:27:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cardamomginger Sun 28-Jul-13 08:11:43

YANBU YANBU YANBU. And SO impressed with your last post - DH sounds extremely level headed and tolerant and I think together you are handling this very well. Just so sorry that your DF is such an arse.

Justforlaughs Sun 28-Jul-13 08:04:11

OP, I just wanted to say that in some ways I am jealous envy, your DH sounds an absolute gem and you are very lucky that he is so understanding and tolerant of your DF.

chocoholic05 Sun 28-Jul-13 07:58:53

A lot of Muslim children go to my dc school. They take part in the school nativity and go to the church services at easter and Christmas. They never eat haribos or similar gelatine sweets. In fact my dc often get sweets passed to them that their dc have been given and they can't have!

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 28-Jul-13 00:04:52

I think not seeing or speaking to him again might be a bit extreme.

His behaviour was absolutely not acceptable don't get me wrong.

I would try and speak to him when you are feeling less (justifiably) angry. Explain to him that this is how you are raising your children and if he reacts badly or pretends to accept then later acts in a similar way, cut off contact.

Perhaps also speak with him about his lack of acceptance re you DH at the same. Calmly and patiently. Again if he reacts badly, cut him loose. Your DH sounds like a top bloke who doesn't deserve to not be accepted.

Xiaoxiong Sat 27-Jul-13 23:59:34

I interpreted OP's appeal to her mother more as an attempt to see whose side her mother would take, basically asking her mum "do you really agree with him on this". And probably it was asked with OP already knowing the answer - that her mum would continue to enable her dad's bad behaviour by "not getting involved".

I too would not be visiting anytime soon. Agree with those saying that OP's F wouldn't feed spare ribs to a vegetarian and her kids on the basis of "when in Rome" etc.

BlueOrange Sat 27-Jul-13 23:54:28

Op, you are doing a wonderful thing by attempting to keep lines of communication open still despite such an awful situation. Indeed, is also a requirement in islam to maintain ties of kinship.

Complete side-track here - i do agree with hissy regarding gelatine, but still cannot help eating only halal haribos!!! grin. In fact, i am eating halal haribo teddies as i type! And yummy they are too! grin

Jan49 Sat 27-Jul-13 21:58:01

I think it would be a good idea to talk to your parents about it and make it clear that if they want you to continue to go to their house, they must never again attempt to force pork on your dc and any argument about it in front of the dc is inappropriate. If they can't agree to that, then avoid seeing them at your house. I'm vegetarian and have brought my ds up vegetarian and would be shocked if someone tried to force him to eat meat. Make it clear to your df that not eating pork as a family is your choice and your h's and by trying to force pork on your dc your df was trying to make it his choice when it should be the parents' choice. But I don't think I'd trust your dad now anyway - he could serve up a stew and hide pork in it and pretend it's not there.

As someone else mentioned, your comment to your dm about "are you gonna let him torment your granddaughter" was odd. You are the parent and you were present so I would expect you to prevent him forcing pork on your dc, not your dm. Obviously it would help if your dm took your side in general on the issue though. I also wondered how it got to the point of your df serving up a meal with you not knowing what he was cooking. I'd expect to know what he was cooking for my dc, particularly when you know your diet is different from theirs.

As you say your df never apologises, I don't think you've much chance of getting an apology, but you can insist that either he respects your dietary choice when you visit or you will not visit.

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