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Not AIBU, more what to say to SIL

(42 Posts)
LucyGoose Tue 09-Nov-10 20:14:24

With Xmas coming up, yet again we need to go thru the difficult process of buying presents for my brothers 4 kids (ages 1.5 years to 7 years). They seems to be allowed every Lego set in the world, but have to read bible stories every night. PS: I am now agnostic and SIL/DB are staunch catholics.

I emailed SIL re the older kids reading levels today for some books, since they have a gazillion toys and I am not spending a lot on plastic junk. Anyhow, SIL emails me back saying their levels are x & y, but to let her know what types of books I am looking at since there are some books they are not allowed to read even if they are at their reading levels. And she added that there are books I can get at the local --god-botherers-- catholic bookstore that are on a pre-approved reading list (!). I wrote back saying that all items I have already purchased or looking to purchase were not violent or inappropriate, and not to worry (i.e. illustrated fairy tales/nature books).

SIL has a history of pressurising people to do as she wants and my brother is henpecked, but does not seem to mind.

How should I respond if she comes back with some nonsense about fairy tales being pagan?

DH and I have gotten to the point where we stay away from their house b/c they really make it so stressful for us, praying before every meal and all that goes along with that. She really makes it hard to be spontaneous.

pozzled Tue 09-Nov-10 20:18:25

"some nonsense about fairy tales being pagan"

If that is their belief, then I'm afraid you need to respect it. They do have the right to bring their children up in their own religion. If you ignore her and choose your own books for them they will probably end up in the local charity shop straight after Christmas anyway.

AMumInScotland Tue 09-Nov-10 20:20:50

You don't have to agree with her views, but you could try to respect them just a little. Would you buy a Jewish or Muslim child a bacon sandwich? If you hand over books which she disapproves of, then I'm pretty sure they'll vanish and the children won't get to read them.

lucky1979 Tue 09-Nov-10 20:21:29

Why buy a present that she'll chuck out, just to annoy her (or to prove that you know better than her)?

Bet you wouldn't be thrilled if she was getting your DC illustrated bible texts for Christmas.

bigchris Tue 09-Nov-10 20:21:39

jeez you both need to get over yourselves

you wont buy 'plastic tat' -what ? the sort of things that kids like?

and she vets the books you buy?

just buy them a selection box each and have done with it!

TattyDevine Tue 09-Nov-10 20:24:12

I think you are pretty disrespectful of their religion. I'm not religious myself but I felt slightly stung at your OP on their behalf.


WinkyWinkola Tue 09-Nov-10 20:26:15

LucyGoose, you don't like your sil, do you? Have you had ructions in the past?

I reckon just buy her kids what you think they'd like and if she doesn't like the gifts, she can take them back. Don't bother to ask because it obviously causes strife.

theevildead2 Tue 09-Nov-10 20:26:52

You can't go around their house because they pray before meals? THat seems kind of over the top to me tbh.

If SIL says she doesn't want you to buy fairey tales (for any reason) you shoudln't buy them, why waste money on things the children won't be allowed and just upset them?

PinkieMinx Tue 09-Nov-10 20:28:31

YA both U and petty. Avoid them, buy things they will let kids have, stop creating problems.

thesecondcoming Tue 09-Nov-10 20:29:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

runmeragged Tue 09-Nov-10 20:30:26

I think you should just get stuff off her pre approved list to keep the peace.

If you get something you want your nieces/nephews to have, she'll just take it away and put it in the charity shop.

I have been known to unwrap a present given to DS (whilst he is asleep) and check the contents and rewrap. Admitedly it was not to censor the present, it was just to check whether it needed batteries/assembling as he was 3 and would not have been of a mind to wait. Anyway - look your SIL can unwrap and rewrap as well - just give her what she wants. She is going the be the greatest influence in her kids' lives and anything you do via christmas presents is largely
irrelevant re their upbringing.

I would also second the point made above that kids like plastic tat. It makes them happy.

fluffles Tue 09-Nov-10 20:30:30

"praying before every meal and all that goes along with that"

you mean saying grace? hmm

i'm a staunch atheist and even i can cope with people saying grace, it's pretty mainstream..

pre-approved reading lists are another matter entirely and i'd like to see them try to enforce that when the eldest hits secondary age grin

bigchris Tue 09-Nov-10 20:31:12

agree with thesecondcoming
xmas isn't a time for pettiness, digs at her through her kids
fgs just buy them pyjamas
why have a heart attack over it?

ChippingIn Tue 09-Nov-10 20:31:24

Lego is not 'plastic tat'

Her beliefs are certainly not mine - but she's entitled to them and you need to respect that.

Feel free to whinge on here or do this hmm a lot, but there is just no point in buying things that are not on her 'acceptable' list.

bigchris Tue 09-Nov-10 20:32:22

'I have been known to unwrap a present given to DS (whilst he is asleep) and check the contents and rewrap'

aw please get your ds to wait a minute for a battery grin

ott imo

Katey1010 Tue 09-Nov-10 20:33:32

I'm not religious and would feel uncomfortable. What about neutral ground. I have religious people in the family and stick to things like Animal Facts books or a nice Atlas. Not contentious and normally appreciated.

frgr Tue 09-Nov-10 20:39:05

i can understand that it might get too much from you (i genuinely don't get religion or the attraction that religious people have for it - it's totally alien to me because i grew up in a household without any religion, no framing it as good or bad really, just irrelevant and unfamiliar).

but i think you should respect her views. i've had to fight this corner myself with family members - e.g. SIL feeding my little ones shite (imho) such as sugary cakes at every meal, bribing with sweets to keep quiet - i would be offended if the relative continued to go against my wishes as long as i'd made them known... so.. whilst i 100% agree with your own views, you HAVE to respect what she wants for her kids, no matter how stupid it seems to you. it's the right thing to do

tribpot Tue 09-Nov-10 20:40:00

I would say I am pretty anti-religious but I respect what other people do in their homes. I know people who won't let their kids read Harry Potter - which to my mind is barking mad, frankly - but I wouldn't buy them Harry Potter books for Christmas.

I don't think it's nonsense that fairy tales are pagan, (I don't personally agree) but there must be a middle ground.

saffy85 Tue 09-Nov-10 20:53:49

Get them all PJs. Problem solved! smile

hobnobsaremyfave Tue 09-Nov-10 20:59:10

you both sound as bad as each other

AnnOnimous Tue 09-Nov-10 21:05:10

Give them book tokens, then you nobody can get upset.

LucyGoose Tue 09-Nov-10 21:12:16

To clarify - the not going to their house is not because of the praying before meals, its for their homophobia, right wing views and friends and their love of George Bush. i.e. they have told the 7 yr old, the didn't vote for Obama because he "hates babies"

Does that make it any easier to understand why we stay away?

And of course, I would never purchase the kids anything violent or immoral, I may be an agnostic leftie, but I am not clueless.

PS: I was told by my brother that the kids already have too many toys and not to buy any more.

So am I supposed to purchase books from the catholic store to keep the peace? When I do not want to give money to the catholic church ever again?

StayFrosty Tue 09-Nov-10 21:17:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StayFrosty Tue 09-Nov-10 21:18:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LucyGoose Tue 09-Nov-10 21:19:17

I think I am just going to get something easy, like saffy said, its pyjamas all round!

This type of interaction with SIL makes my blood pressure go up, and there is no point in doing that.....not worth it

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