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How to handle FiL's homophobic go's at 2yo ds?

(38 Posts)
phdlife Wed 08-Jul-09 13:02:29

My PiLs are mostly great, they do a lot around the house and help me with the dc's and are forever feeding us, buying us stuff for the house, etc.

But Old Skool FiL is really starting to grate. He's constantly going on about ds (2.3) turning into a "poofter", a "great big girl's blouse" etc., because ds likes to have his toenails painted, occasionally wears a tiara and a skirt, and loves to help in the kitchen. I am seriously hmm and angry about this but I don't know how to address it.

I've tried pointing out that (1) even if ds does turn out to be gay, we'll love him anyway so it's irrelevant; (2) they all do it at this age and it means nothing to how he'll turn out; (3) it is possible to be a scone-making jet pilot (what PiL said today he wants ds to do instead of baking hmm), the two are not mutually exclusive. But he's not taking the hint. (he did once say he wasn't homophobic, and I'm still kicking myself for biting back the obvious retort.)

Any suggestions how I can deal with this, gently but firmly? I think PiL is already a bit nervous around me (big scary lefty feminist over-educated me) and being OldSkool the whole family tend to be "avoiders" in a big way, so mentioning it at all is going to be a bit bolshie, but I really don't want the dc's growing up subjected to so much homophobia.

RealityIsMyOnlyDelusion Wed 08-Jul-09 13:04:49

Message withdrawn

chevre Wed 08-Jul-09 13:08:13

you could say 'oh he must get it from his granddad, you old metrosexual you!'

bet that would shut him up.

phdlife Wed 08-Jul-09 13:10:34

not exactly gentle though is it Reality? wink

abraid Wed 08-Jul-09 13:13:25

I like chevre's riposte!

CMOTdibbler Wed 08-Jul-09 13:14:57

I have told FIL to stop using xxxphobic (insert which ever discrimination he was showing that day) language in my house before now. He now will actually stop himself (after 12 years of me arguing)from saying stuff in front of me.

You have to confront it head on - hints don't work, so just pull him up every time with a gentle but firm 'No FIL, we don't use words like that in this house, and I really don't want to set a bad example to the children' or something similar. Think of it like stopping a 4 year old swearing - consistent, kindly, no fuss

limonchik Wed 08-Jul-09 13:18:03

I don't know if I would be gentle - just clear. Everytime he says something homophobic say "we don't use homophobic language in this house FIL".

Lizzylou Wed 08-Jul-09 13:18:09

Or point out to him that not allowing his grandson to experiment and get in touch with his emotions/feminine side now will mean that he will end up repressed and, even, shock horror, could possibly make him into a homosexual adult shock

I was sooo excited when DS1 was going through his Angelina Ballerina and love of pink phase, school and peer pressure has beaten that out of him sad

phdlife Wed 08-Jul-09 13:20:12

12 years! shock

francagoestohollywood Wed 08-Jul-09 13:23:13

Tell him that you don't like homophobic remarks and don't get tired of repeating that children actually like baking, pushing buggies, painting nails etc no matter what their gender is.

crokky Wed 08-Jul-09 13:24:04

Personally, I don't think you can change the views of someone like your FIL. He is presumably quite old, set in his ways etc etc. I have had racist and homophobic things said in front of my children (3 and 1) by my father (who is totally toxic, but that's a whole different story...) as well.

Anyway, the way I deal with it is not to attack the actual homophobia etc because I think it would be pointless and lead to an argument etc etc - I could never change his mind and he just would think that I'm an idiot. So what I do is to ask him not to use certain words in front of my children with the reasoning that if they repeat it at nursery, there will be a lot of trouble. So that way, I'm not actually telling him he's bigoted and wrong (which of course he is), I'm just telling him what the nursery school finds unacceptable.

MamaLazarou Wed 08-Jul-09 13:25:16

Sounds like your FIL may have some repressed issues of his own... wink

Seriously, though: stuff being gentle. I would say what Reality said upthread.

CMOTdibbler Wed 08-Jul-09 13:29:24

I know PhD - but there is a lot of ground to cover with FIL. We still get to play Daily Mail bingo when we visit (you read their paper, then score up conversations that are based on 'news' stories in there) though.

aGalChangedHerName Wed 08-Jul-09 13:33:11


Just tell him he must stop saying XY and Z or else he can't visit. That's waht i told my dad and it bloody worked.

I am not having my dc listening/being subjected to that crap!!

phdlife Wed 08-Jul-09 13:38:47

and what do we think dh's role should be?

phdlife Wed 08-Jul-09 13:39:45

and do I correct FiL in his own house???

FabBakerGirlIsBack Wed 08-Jul-09 13:42:04


cloudedyellow Wed 08-Jul-09 13:52:12

I think I remember Steve Biddulp in 'Raising Boys' writing about the need for boys to explore all aspects of their personality in order to become well balanced men.

Would your pil be more open to a book written by a MAN grin on these issues?

Lizzylou Wed 08-Jul-09 13:55:44

That's where I read it Cloudedyellow!

Yep, get your FIL a copy, Phd.

minouminou Wed 08-Jul-09 14:16:19

My DS has long blond hair, looks like Joey Tempest from Europe (really), and is mistaken for a girl daily, which has led to a couple of morons giving it the old "But he'll grow up gayyyyyy" line.
Response "Why on earth are you interested in the sexuality of a toddler - that's really rather odd"
"How many gay men do you actually know? Do they have long hair?"
This can be amended to "wear nail varnish etc etc"
I jokingly asked one of DS' gay odd-parents if he thought DS would turn out gay, and his response was a sniffy "Not with (non-existant) split ends like that, he won't".
Alternatively, you could invite him over for a screening of "American Beauty" and watch his face as it turns out that the super-duper-alpha-male Nazi-fan homophobic former marine turns out to be a closeter!
Good luck....sounds odious.

suwoo Wed 08-Jul-09 14:22:24

Minouminou, I love your retorts- very clever and not a great deal they can say to come back from those.


minouminou Wed 08-Jul-09 14:36:41

Aye thenghhh-huuuugh!
Just had another thought as I was making a sandwich....
OP, this is meant v gently, as I'm 100% on your side, but the "we'll love him anyway" reinforces your FIL's idea that being gay is some kind of pathological situation, so I'd replace it with something like "Oooh, fab, I'll get an invite to Mardi Gras every year".
Now I'm aware that's playing into stereotypes as well, but it'll show FIL that you REALLY don't care, and neither does anyone else.
God I hate homophobes.

Chrysanthemum5 Wed 08-Jul-09 16:15:25

My FIL really loves my DCs, and he is a fabulous grandad. But on occassion he has been a bit 'old school' with DS. For example, DS really wanted a buggy to push so I bought him one from ELC, they only had the blue ones so that's what he got. FIL was really uncomfortable with this (don't know why he happily pushes his GCs in their prams, changes nappies etc.) and was making comments about how he didn't like to see DS with a buggy. Rather than make a big fuss I just pointed out to him that there was nothing wrong or odd about a boy pushing a buggy and that the buggy also came in pink and if I heard one more comment about it then I'd swap the blue buggy for a pink one. That shut FIL up pretty quickly

I know my FIL loves all his GCs, and I believe he will love them no matter what they do with their lives, or their sexuality. So, I don't worry too much about it, but if he makes comments I answer straight away to let him know it's not acceptable. I think you have to be pretty straightforward and upfront about this. To be fair to FIL it has been several years since he made any comments, I think he learnt his lesson!
Donna x

minouminou Wed 08-Jul-09 16:25:47

Ha ha...this thing with the buggies makes me laugh. If you see a man pushing a pram, he's almost certainly NOT gay - there'll be a few guys who are gay, but it's almost certainly the child's dad!
It really is very silly indeed.

Greensleeves Wed 08-Jul-09 16:27:31

I told my dad straight when we had ds1: one breath of racism, homophobia, antisemitism or any of your other bullshit in front of my son and you will be out on your arse quickler than concorde

so far he has held himself in

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