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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?

teaandbourbons Mon 21-Jan-13 15:48:09

YANBU. It's only a vase ffs, not worth shouting at a grandchild over. Total over reaction from your parents. Offer to pay for it and then leave it. Are they normally ok or always like this?

MadameCastafiore Mon 21-Jan-13 15:48:57

I can see where you are coming from but I can't think how a 10 year old would behave in a way indoors to break something like that. I think you should have got him to just do the email. At 10 his feelings should have gone behind your mothers who in all respect had every right to be upset.

FeckOffCup Mon 21-Jan-13 15:50:08

Was your eldest the one who actually knocked the vase down? If so then I think an email of apology would be a nice thing to do but at the same time I do think your mother overreacted at the time.

ruledbyheart Mon 21-Jan-13 15:51:20

Yanbu your child tried to apologise for an accident, it wasn't good enough at the time, so you made a card to apologise still not good enough, what are you meant to do an accident is exactly that an accident.
Your mother although obviously upset over the vase is the drama queen (favourite thing in the world hmm)
Accidents happen your DD was obviously upset and sorry, the problem is your mothers.

hippo123 Mon 21-Jan-13 15:51:25

Yanbu, not sure what you can do about it though, maybe go round there alone and talk it though with your parents?

happygolurky Mon 21-Jan-13 15:52:16

I think YANBU! They sound mad as toast, demanding emails from a 10 year old!

Personally I would have apologised, and maybe even bought a new vase if they hadn't been so nasty.

Now I'd tell them to F off!

whatatwat Mon 21-Jan-13 15:52:21

your child apologised at the time? and took the blame?
then no i wouldn't email.
they don't seem to want to accept any apology so why bother doing it again?

CheeseandPickledOnion Mon 21-Jan-13 15:54:32

YAB- a little -U.

I can completely understand your Mum being extremely upset to see a sentimental vase that she has owned and loved for 30 years being broken. I can understand anger and tears being a pretty instant result.

However I also think that as an adult and parent herself she should have been able to see the distress in your daughter and pull herself back enough to accept the apology for an accident.

If it had been blatant bad behaviour that caused the breakage, then I would be more annoyed, but an accident is an accident.

I don't think it will do your daughter long term damage to understand that even accidental breakages cause upset and anger. What would have been nice would have been if your Mum could have calmed down and then accepted the apology.

I think you should have reached out again when things had calmed down and said sorry without prompting. That would have been polite no matter what.
Your Dad shouldn't have abused you, but I can see why he thinks you should have made an effort to apologise again sooner.

flightyskirt Mon 21-Jan-13 15:57:00

It was a total freak of an accident. My other child was skipping across the floor to come and hug us hello which may have caused the furniture to jump up and down at the same time, but my eldest was in a chair that they had moved into an unusual spot and it has a tip-back facility. It may have clipped the vase - the chair isn't usually in that spot so it would never have been an issue normally.

RedHelenB Mon 21-Jan-13 15:57:00

Had the 10 year old been playing up earlier & warned to calm down? I would get a bit more background to this tbh. I am more cross with my kids if there is an "accident" after I have warned them not to do something & they do it again & ignore me.

Mollydoggerson Mon 21-Jan-13 15:57:16

I think you are all over reacting.

I think send the card, leave it a week and then call again.

Is the vase replaceable?

flightyskirt Mon 21-Jan-13 15:59:44

The kids weren't misbehaving, they were watching TV. And believe me they can play up and I am the first to get cross with spilt drinks etc when they have been told to calm down.

Megatron Mon 21-Jan-13 16:05:10

YANBU. I think your parents are being ridiculous and could really damage their relationship with your 10 year old. I have things that I am really sentimental about and would be heartbroken if they were damaged or broken, but at the end of the day, a 'thing' is all it is. It's certainly not as important as a grandchild and I think your your child apologised already and was making a card, then both your parents are just being unkind.

MonaLotte Mon 21-Jan-13 16:06:46

Accidents happen. You tried to apologise at the time and are sending a card. I can see how upsetting it must be for your mum to no longer have her vase but at the same time, if it was that precious she should maybe have moved it? How old is your other dc?
Mine are 2 and 4 and although they don't touch things my mum has moved particularly sentimental items out of the way.

DrGoogleWillSeeYouNow Mon 21-Jan-13 16:07:01

I think YABU. Given that your parents were doing you a favour by minding your children and your mum was obviously very upset I think you should have called her a day or two later to thank them and apologise again about the vase.

grasscrown Mon 21-Jan-13 16:10:47

I don't think you're being at all unreasonable, I really feel for you. Hypothetically, even if they HAD been being a bit silly, it is just what children do, annoying but in the grand scheme of things insignificant.

I'm really sorry they reacted like this, and hope everything calms down soon.

I am a teacher and am constantly chirruping "accidents happen!" - yes, encourage kids to be careful, but things get broken around children, it happens, that's really all there is to it!

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Mon 21-Jan-13 16:15:43

Your mother WNBU to be upset, but she WBVU to tell your child that the apology she (she is a dd, yes?) offered straight away 'wasn't enough' (WTF? What does she want?) and to say things designed to pile on the guilt, and your parents ABVVU to continue the campaign with demands for emails.

I grew up with a mother who extorted elaborate self-abasing apologies for minor things. It's horrible.

Send the card with a note saying 'We were about to send this when DF called' and leave it at that. Don't engage with any further rantings from your parents on the subject. Explain to your children that you know it was an accident and that they are sorry, that Granny is obviously very upset and needs some time to calm down. And if your parents start on your child again, defend her.

magimedi88 Mon 21-Jan-13 16:17:16

I have two vases that I hold very, very, dear that sit on the hearth by my gas fire. They aren't worth much but were given to me by my grandmother who died a long, long time ago.

Any big party or small child coming round I put them away in a cupboard.

Narked Mon 21-Jan-13 16:19:32

It sounds like the definition of accident. They weren't being silly or acting inappropriately.

Does your mother usually react so strongly?

wriggletto Mon 21-Jan-13 16:24:53

Is this really just about the vase? I know things have sentimental value, and it's really upsetting when they're broken, but surely after the initial wave of sadness/annoyance, a grown woman would see that it was an accident, and that demanding an email from a child wasn't going to bring the vase back.

MulledWineandScully Mon 21-Jan-13 16:25:31

I agree with evenifyouseeapoppy, send the card with a note and leave it.

I never understand when people put 'things' above all else. It's just stuff at the end of the day, but she has risked damaging her relationship with both you and her grandchild over it. It's so ridiculous. I can understand her being upset about a sentimental vase but an apology should be enough - it's not as if it was a deliberate act of vandalism ffs. Your poor DD.

We've got friends who will always ALWAYS break something when they come and visit us usually as a result of getting drunk. They never apologise or offer to replace (in the past they've even broken something without our knowledge and taken it home with them, leaving us wondering where it was...) and I'm more irked by that than the broken stuff, I don't go ranting and raving at them. I just put stuff away now when they're visiting!

CatsRule Mon 21-Jan-13 16:26:28

Erm....*My Dad told me that me and my child were both drama queens* if that's true I wonder who you learned it from!! Your Mum and Dad perhaps!!

A total over-reaction on their part and do they realise that they could impair their relationship with their grandchild over a vase?


I hope your chilld is ok.

kerala Mon 21-Jan-13 16:31:54

Pathetic. Them not you. Accidents happen she apologised. Could easily have been one of them that knocked it over - I have freak accidents in the kitchen funnily enough it always stuff that matters to me that gets broken never the John Lewis basics stuff but hey ho.

Have no time for people that weep and wail and attach huge importance to things with sentimental value <speaking as one who has had everything of remotely sentimental value stolen in a burglary> people are important not things.

FriskyMare Mon 21-Jan-13 16:32:03

My dd broke something that my mother had had from her mother. DD was quite upset but my mum just gave her a hug and said " Its only a thing, things don't matter, people do."

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