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To have discplined my SILs children as she was doing nothing...??

(966 Posts)
Shinyballsandtinsel Sat 15-Dec-12 13:11:35

Two days ago, DH, me, our three DCs (9, 11, 13), granny, SIL and her two DCs went out for a meal in the evening (early about 7.00pm) for one of granny's landmark birthdays. We went to a chain pub, which later on turns into a club with bouncers on the door, no children after 9pm etc. It is in a town well known for stag/hen nights, however this time of year it is mostly Christmas parties.

It was very very busy, behind our table there were two long tables of about twenty people each, which looked like work do's. The bar was also very busy - there were steps leading down to the restaurant bit from the bar.

Our food arrived quite quickly. When we had finished our meal, we were waiting for the staff to bring plates for the birthday cake. My SILs older DC started running around and around the table very fast (aged 5yrs). SIL sat there doing nothing. Then the her younger DC started doing it also (aged 3yrs), whilst they were running the 3 year old ran into the legs of a fully laden waitress who nearly dropped all her plates. SIL still just sat there. They were running within close proximity of the people sitting on the end of the work do tables.

SIL was completely oblivious to it all, so I grabbed the 3yr old on his next run around, and plonked him down on a chair beside me, and said in quite a firm voice "sit down now, those people are having their dinner and Granny is about to have her cake". He immediately burst into tears, SIL glared at me, grabbed him on her lap. The 5 year old continued to run around the table, and then ran up the steps on her own into the bar area, my DH went to get her back, when she arrived back he put her onto her chair, she immediatley slid off under the table and started the running around thing again.

They have behaved like this before, I often make excuses for not going out when they are going to be there, as the children's behaviour, or rather the mother's complete oblivion to their behaviour actually winds me up. In the past she also literally just sits there whilst her children run around other people's tables, talk to strangers eating, ask if they can try some of their food (I kid you not!) and generally act as if they are in a playground. SIL has said in the past she thinks it cheers people up to see her kids smiley faces, and they are so freespirited and cute nobody could get annoyed with them..... Hence why I usually make my excuses, but as it was granny's landmark birthday couldn't get out of it.

Anyway, the saga continues - we all take it in turns to do Christmas dinner, this year is SILs turn to do it at her house. Today DH has received a telephone call to say that we are no longer invited for christmas day, as SIL is upset that I took it upon myself discipline her child, and it will ruin their Christmas if I do so again.

I am of the opinion that I am quite pleased not to have to go around there, and am happy to break away from the big family Christmas and start having Christmases at home with just our family, but Granny has now rung up very upset, and asked DH if I can apologise and make an excuse, i.e. say I was stressed at work or something.

I am not happy to do this, as I am not sorry. AIBU to not aplogise even though it will probably upset MIL?

GanglyGiraffe Sat 15-Dec-12 13:17:46

No don't apologise, you did nothing wrong. Out of curiosity what was the DC's Dad doing while they were cause havoc?

Anyway enjoy your Xmas at home. Sounds bliss smile

BluelightsAndSirens Sat 15-Dec-12 13:18:13

Ohh tricky, I wouldn't want to upset my granny but your sil sounds like a plank and you have just been given your get out of jail free card.

Can you speak to granny, what would her reaction be if you said you won't be apologising or attending Christmas Day? Could granny come to yours wink

redwellybluewelly Sat 15-Dec-12 13:19:25

Yanbu. We are also going it alone this year after I refused to spent another painful occasion with my annoying and spoilt sister constantly in my DD's personal space wanting to "play" with her. <- sounds ott but for example she tries to spoon feed her and DD can use cutlery or will NOT put her down and let her go other people!

mellowcat Sat 15-Dec-12 13:20:34


I would try to come to some compromise re granny but stick to your guns, it sounds like you will all have a nicer time if you are apart.

Aspiemum2 Sat 15-Dec-12 13:21:17

YANBU, she is. But you know this already. I guess the real question is what do you want to do about it?

Do you swallow your principles for the sake of your mil or stick to your guns.

Personally I'd like to think I would stick to my guns but I'm probably more likely to apologise and spend the entire day seething silently

It's a tricky one - can you say something like "I'm sorry I disciplined your dc's, their behaviour isn't acceptable to me but I appreciate that you don't give a toss about others" ...... Or would that not help?? wink

RandomMess Sat 15-Dec-12 13:21:37

What does Granny think of the dcs behaviour and BIL & SIL attitude towards it?

Theicingontop Sat 15-Dec-12 13:21:46

I'm failing to see how you disciplined her child? You just sat him down and told him to stop running around. Discipline is a strong word. Clearly these children don't know what a telling off actually is confused

YANBU. Don't apologise. Everyone's version of acceptable behaviour is different, but your SIL's bar must be set pretty low. You did nothing wrong.

ChaoticforlifenotjustChristmas Sat 15-Dec-12 13:22:09

YANBU I wouldn't apologise either and I can see why you try to avoid going out with her and her DC.

PurpleRayne Sat 15-Dec-12 13:22:47

Sounds like you have been handed a 'get out of it' card to me... don't apologise. Perhaps explain to Granny that it really isn't an issue, and you don't mind, honestly...

Don't put yourself in a situation again where you may feel forced into disciplining her children. She's correct, it is her responsibility, not yours, and if it goes wrong then eyes will be on her, not you.

Nancy66 Sat 15-Dec-12 13:24:29

YANBU - i tell my nieces and nephews off if they misbehave and would have no issue with my brother, sister or their spouses doing so with my kids.

SIL sounds pain in the neck and her kids sound out of control. Enjoy the peace of Christmas at your own place.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 15-Dec-12 13:25:00

YANBU. You did the right thing in the pub and your SIL is an overindulgent,oversensitive twat.

Children going to restaurants is great,doesn't seriously bother anybody. Children running around and misbehaving in a restaurant will piss off all the other diners. You were so in the right.

MammaTJ Sat 15-Dec-12 13:27:15

I like what Aspiemum said but I don't think it would help.

A more measured 'I'm sorry that you think I was wrong to stop your child running around'. More of an apology for her behaviour but you might get away with it.

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Sat 15-Dec-12 13:27:24

Don't apologise.

Granny is leaning on you because she knows you're the reasonable one who cares about others whereas chance of getting SIL to back down is probably close to zero. I've seen similar in my own family and it is very upsetting when people try and switch it so discord is now your fault.

ImperialSantaKnickers Sat 15-Dec-12 13:27:43

Yanbu of course, but it's a great shame about Granny. Is SIL her daughter, and Granny is your MIL?

Does Granny perceive her grandchildren through SIL as badly behaved, or have you never really spoken about it?

Jingleflobba Sat 15-Dec-12 13:28:34

YANBU, the children could have been hurt or scalded by hot food or drinks, you weren't disciplining, you were protecting!!
Invite MIL for Boxing Day and explain your side of it.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Sat 15-Dec-12 13:30:00

I sympathise. I actually had to stop seeing a friend due to the bad behaviour of her DD's.

They would run off and 'hide' in the shops. What fun hmm. And we got to spend hours looking for them. I kid you not. Sometimes we couldn't and we had to rope in staff to help.
And when we found them? Cuddles all round.

Meals were just like yours - except they would lick, without reprimand, the salt and pepper shakers. And not just at our table.
Bad memories

But it is a lot harder with family. How far will it go? Will she eventually get over it and move on? Or will it divide you forevermore - which means your children won't get to see their cousins.

Maybe you could say a neutral "I'm sorry you are upset. We parent differently and if my children were misbehaving I would expect you to tell them not to. Obviously a misunderstanding."

MrsTomHardy Sat 15-Dec-12 13:30:13

Do not apologise!

Greensleeves Sat 15-Dec-12 13:30:42

did you speak to SIL before you grabbed her child? Not that I'm saying you did the wrong thing - but I'm intrigued that^ anyone^ would just sit there and watch while their child is crashing into waitresses with plates of hot food! What would have happened if you had said "That is dangerous, you really need to go and get them and tell them to sit down"

SIL sounds foul and her kids sound like hard work. You'll have a nicer Christmas without them, and Granny...well, tough. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth grin

DontmindifIdo Sat 15-Dec-12 13:31:29

Refuse to apologise, say you aren't sorry that you stopped them behaving in a bad way and it's a bit shocking is that you had to do it.

nickelbabylyinginamanger Sat 15-Dec-12 13:33:13

I say fuck that for a game of soldiers.

i can't believe that no one has said anything to your SIL about it!

yes, people like cute children, but not those who are dangerous (the waitress and running in general) or rude (asking for other people's food)

I don't know a single adult who would accept that kind of behaviour in public!

If I were you, I'd be on the phone to Granny myself saying that I can't socialize with someone who has so little regard for anyone else

peeriebear Sat 15-Dec-12 13:34:56

What if the child had rammed into the waitress who had then dropped the birthday cake for eg. Would she still defend her free spirited darlings?
Grab the opportunity to stay home with both hands. Do NOT make up an excuse to appease granny! She's a big girl.

GozerTheGozerian Sat 15-Dec-12 13:35:04

I think you've had a lucky escape tbh. I wouldn't fancy Christmas at hers - sounds like it would be chaotic and you'd be the one on edge making sure the kids were safe and not acting up too much.

I wouldn't apologise but I would speak to MIL and explain why you won't be. FFS it's your SIL who should be apologising to you!

FobblyWoof Sat 15-Dec-12 13:36:34

Oh I would not apologise in a million years. In fact I'd be more than a bit tempted to spell it out loud and clear to SIL that if she's not willing to discipline her kids then someone else will.

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 15-Dec-12 13:36:53

YANBU. We've had a broadly similar situation a few years back and the repurcussions still ripple on though

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