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patronising/weird behaviour from in-laws

(6 Posts)
basejump Sat 02-Jan-16 15:07:11

Not sure if I'm being too sensitive about this or how to put a stop to it if I'm not.

DH and I have no kids (unexplained infertility). We're in our early 40s. We've stopped "trying" and are starting the adoption process. DH's family know a little bit about what we've been through over the last few years, we told them about one miscarriage but not the second. They know we've also done IVF but not how many rounds etc. We haven't told anyone about our adoption plans yet.

Last year we moved to live in DH's home country so we are a lot nearer his family and see them more often - at least once every 2 months. When we were in the UK it was more like once a year. Recently, his parents have started treating us in a way that we both find quite difficult.

My PILs call us "the big children" or "big kiddies" in contrast to their grandchildren (my SIL's kids) who are the "little children". They say this at least twice every time we visit. My MIL has taken to calling me what would roughly translate as "girly" in English when she texts. By itself that wouldn't be annoying but together with the "big kiddies" stuff it's started to grate. Over Christmas I tried to gently / jokingly call them out on it (not very effective as I'm a beginner in their language and their English is not great) and my FIL said something like "oh, you've remained children".

I'm pretty sure they do this because we aren't parents and so aren't adults in their eyes.It really got to me, probably more that it normally would because Christmas is such a family centric time and reminds us of everything we wanted but couldn't make happen.

Apart from this one quirk they're nice people and I don't want to make a big issue of it but it makes me feel patronised and belittled. DH thinks they've always been a bit like this (i.e patronising towards him, not so much his sister) and I just notice it more now because we see more of them and I understand more of the language.

My SIL is lovely and sympathetic to our situation as they were ttc a long time, but I don't think it would be appropriate to mention it to her. My in-laws don't actually talk to us like this when my SIL and her husband are around.

Not sure what to do really, just try and ignore it, or say something ? I got quite upset after my FIL's remark at Christmas (they wouldn't have noticed or understood why) and I want to handle it better next time.

PotteringAlong Sat 02-Jan-16 15:15:06

If they don't do it when your SiL is around are you sure they don't talk to her like that when you're not around? Especially if you've not mentioned it? It might be there way of saying they see you as one of the family that's just got lost in translation?

basejump Sat 02-Jan-16 15:34:16

Good point, thanks ! I can't be sure they don't talk to my SIL like that... That's a nicer way of looking at it and I suppose I can't really expect them to walk on eggshells around us especially as we weren't all that communicative about our ttc nightmares.

AnotherCider Sat 02-Jan-16 16:07:58

My ex-BIL used to call me and DH 'youngsters' and it annoyed the crap out of me. Then we stated referring to him as 'the old fart' and funnily enough he stopped....

Can you find something as annoying, (although perhaps not as rude as old fart!) to call them back?

FATEdestiny Sat 02-Jan-16 16:19:12

This could just be a translation issue. Your DH ( and sil) are both still the children of your PIL, just that they are "bigger" (as in adult) children. In saying you are also on of their bigger children PIL could just be describing you as part of the family, a daughter to them

basejump Sat 02-Jan-16 16:21:36

Ha ! Yes. I'm going to try that smile

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