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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?

fatnfrumpy Mon 21-Jan-13 16:32:44

My son broke the window in my DM and SF house when he was about 9 yrs.
He and DD2 age 7 were playing swingball in the back garden and he hit the ball so hard he let go of the racquet.
He didn,t break it on purpose, it was an accident.
However my step father ( my mums 2nd husband) refused to let my three children visit their grandma at his house after that!

PaellaUmbrella Mon 21-Jan-13 16:34:27

I think YAB a little bit U.

Your parents had been kindly looking after your DCs, and then high jinx resulted in something with obviously a lot of sentimental value being broken.

I would have been mortified had it been my DC to be honest, and would have just sent the email to placify the situation.

BarredfromhavingStella Mon 21-Jan-13 16:34:32

Your mum sounds like the drama queen tbh, YANBU-send the card & give them more time to cool down.

MollyMurphy Mon 21-Jan-13 16:40:18

YADNBU OP. My mother is exactly like this. As a child I suffered several tirades over accidently scratching or breaking things. The woman once locked herself in the bathroom because I accidently broke an item whilst dusting.

It is childish and absured behaviour. You and your child already apologized and she shouldn't be made to do so again. Its enough. Caring about a vase more than your grandchild's feelings and carrying on as they have done - yur parents need to grow up.

I'd tell them politely that you feel they are totally overreacting and being childish regarding then leave them to it to till it blows over.

MadBusLady Mon 21-Jan-13 16:45:24

They were over-reacting, in that sense YANBU. "You don't mean it" is a horrid, unhelpful thing to say to a child honestly trying to apologise. Does she have a history of being emotionally manipulative?

That said, I think your dad has a point when he said you didn't respect their feelings.

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

The "piece of clay" is not just a piece of clay to your mother. It's no good saying "people are more important than things" if you're then going to be selective about which people's feelings you care about. People have attachments to things, rightly or wrongly. Respecting their feelings means respecting that fact.

outtolunchagain Mon 21-Jan-13 16:47:49

But it doesn't sound like it was high jinx at all, just a freak accident.

I grew up with a mother for whom an apology was never enough; her mantra was "if you were really sorry you wouldn't have done it in the first place"hmm

She still goes on about how I broke the coffee jug "on purpose" when I was 9 ; 38 years ago!

I would just leave it now,your daughter apologised at the time, if they call again and issue the demand , remind them that she apologised at the time and they refused to accept it.

She is 10 and by all accounts was not misbehaving , if they want to lose a granddaughters trust over a vase well so be it.

ethelb Mon 21-Jan-13 16:54:23

Refusing to accept an apology from a child following a genuine accident is rude and cruel to the extreme. I would be waiting for your mother to apologise.

holidaysarenice Mon 21-Jan-13 16:54:57

At 22 my granma was still moving a vase to the spare room when I visited!! More chance of her knocking it over, but hey!

They are unreasonable if it was a genuine accident and ur child felt bad. Most gps wud be trying to console the child. I wud send the card with a note to say he had made it before the fone call and end it there.

Pandemoniaa Mon 21-Jan-13 16:55:58

It all sounds over the top. I don't think YABU because it sounds like a genuine accident which your dd apologised for.

I don't believe that everything nice or of sentimental value should be locked away just because children are around (it doesn't hurt dcs to learn to be careful and respect other people's possessions) but for sure, the occasional accident will happen. So if you are going to get utterly heartbroken about things getting broken then it is probably best to put them away! Especially if, like your dm, OP, the thing in question was "the most important in the world".

Your parents sound over-dramatic in the extreme, here. Quite what do they want? An apology in written in blood and tears?

HumphreyCobbler Mon 21-Jan-13 17:01:14

they sound horrible.

high jinx? Did you read the OP? It was an accident!

Not accepting the apology your DD offered at the time was awful behaviour. WTF did she WANT? Blood?

CailinDana Mon 21-Jan-13 17:01:57

What are your parents like normally? Is this out of character or is it pretty much their normal bullshit?

FWIW I can understand someone being attached to an object but if they're willing to go this far for, as you say, a piece of clay, I would think they need to grow up a bit and get some perspective. Yes, it's sad to lose a treasured object but to make a child feel like shit over it is going way way too far in my book.

CheeseStrawWars Mon 21-Jan-13 17:04:02

Your mum needs to get a grip. Likewise your dad.

What is the responsibility that your dad wants you to face up to? Your child acknowledged the fault was theirs and apologised for the accident. They need to let it go.

PootlePosyPerkin Mon 21-Jan-13 17:05:02

*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.*

Exactly. Children are children. Accidents happen.

PootlePosyPerkin Mon 21-Jan-13 17:08:12

Bold fail there!

myBOYSareBONKERS Mon 21-Jan-13 17:22:48


My Godson broke a glass bowl belonging to my Mums Grandmother and she was primarily more concerned about him being surrounded by glass.

Huge over reaction on their behalf. Do they behave this way with other things?

HannahsSister40 Mon 21-Jan-13 17:25:37

I don't have any vases or ornaments or anything I'd be bothered about for more than 2 minutes if they were smashed. Thank goodness. Material possessions are pretty damn meaningless. Grandchildren are far far more important. Your parents are being very precious and unreasonable.

HannahsSister40 Mon 21-Jan-13 17:27:20

I could understand if it was from the Ming dynasty and worth ten million quid. Just about.

flightyskirt Mon 21-Jan-13 17:29:08

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.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 21-Jan-13 17:30:42

I can understand your mum being upset.

I cannot understand her behaving the way she has though. Over the top in every way.

MooMooSkit Mon 21-Jan-13 17:42:23

I would want an apology off my Mum actually if my child was crying and saying sorry and she said "You don't mean that" i think that's really cruel.

floweryblue Mon 21-Jan-13 17:43:56

DP accidentally broke a favourite vase of mine by being very slightly careless. I was very upset and shaken for a few minutes but accepted his apology and calming cuddle. Unfortunately he then had to change his bank account to a joint account so he could pay in the insurance cheque, result grin

Catchingmockingbirds Mon 21-Jan-13 17:47:26

hmm your parents are the drama queens here, what a complete over-reaction.

ironhorse Mon 21-Jan-13 17:52:05


your child knocked the case over, doesnt matter where it was or it they moved the chair or whatever - the fact is they knocked it over and broke SOMEONE ELSEs property - it wasnt your property or you kids but someone elses stuff. yes it seems like an accident but you should have sent the email when asked as the item is obviously dear to your mum - to disrecpect your parents and their feelings like you have is terrible.

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... angry

outtolunchagain Mon 21-Jan-13 17:59:37

Yes but the little girl took responsibility at the time and apologised , but her apology was rejected amid much hysteria . How many times is she meant to apologise?

scarletfingernail Mon 21-Jan-13 18:01:53

YANBU. It was an accident and your DD apologised at the time. I can understand your mum being upset, I would be too if it was something I loved, but think it's a bit off to be so dramatic about it in front of your DD when she probably felt bad enough already.

Send the card and if things are still strained after that maybe go round on your own and find out if there's more to it.

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