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To think that children learn life values from what you do and not what you say?

26 replies

Theresa88 · 13/02/2024 05:40

I'm married to a lovely man (35) with married parents, two sisters (31 and 43) and a brother (33). He's the only one who's ever had a serious relationship and who has children. Tbh that is because I instigated dating him, marriage and having children! Don't worry he is happy now :)
They were all born in a third world country of a different culture. FIL was and is very successful and wealthy with multiple businesses in their country of origin. MIL moved to our country of residence with the four kids when they were 8,10, 14 and 18 (well the 18 year old had been at boarding school here for years already). FIL and MIL have lived in different countries for over 20 years now. They've always told their children to get educated and make money, even to the point of choosing their university degrees for them.
When we got married my FIL gave me a lecture about the importance of family, assuming I would have no such values being a white Western woman.
But now it seems their own children don't prioritise family. One lives overseas with no plans to return, all are single with no children and don't seem to have any interest in having them.
FIL and MIL seem suprised that their children have not "settled down" and they have no grandchildren apart from our one child.
I think it is somewhat unsurprising given the way they have been raised. AIBU?
sorry I don't mean to appear rude or judgmental, but now I have a child I'm reflecting on how I would like to raise them and what to teach them to prioritise in life.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

40 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
40%
You are NOT being unreasonable
60%
Thepeopleversuswork · 13/02/2024 05:53

Its impossible to know how much of this is down to the way they were raised and how much is down to temperament or circumstance.

Maybe none of them wanted marriage or children? Not everyone is the same. They may well be happy as they are.

Actually I think encouraging your children to get a good degree and set themselves up to get a good job is sounder advice than urging them to have a family.

In any case it’s none of your business. You sound a bit smug and judgemental.

whathappenedno · 13/02/2024 06:10

It's both.
We don't become carbon copies of our parents but we do learn from what they role model to us and what they encourage us to be. Plenty of first generation uni students have been encouraged by their parents who saw the value in education even if it was unattainable to them.

Theresa88 · 13/02/2024 06:11

Thepeopleversuswork · 13/02/2024 05:53

Its impossible to know how much of this is down to the way they were raised and how much is down to temperament or circumstance.

Maybe none of them wanted marriage or children? Not everyone is the same. They may well be happy as they are.

Actually I think encouraging your children to get a good degree and set themselves up to get a good job is sounder advice than urging them to have a family.

In any case it’s none of your business. You sound a bit smug and judgemental.

Like I said, I wasn't intending to be judgmental but just reflecting, obviously people's personal preference for what they want out of life will play a role.

It kind of is my business when it's my kid who will have no cousins.

OP posts:
Aecor · 13/02/2024 06:22

Theresa88 · 13/02/2024 06:11

Like I said, I wasn't intending to be judgmental but just reflecting, obviously people's personal preference for what they want out of life will play a role.

It kind of is my business when it's my kid who will have no cousins.

I agree you sound incredibly judgemental, and whether or not your child has cousins doesn’t make it in any way your affair. I’m the eldest of five, and my siblings are all childfree by choice, and only one is married. At one point we were living in China, Poland, the UK and the ME. Yet our parents’ married at 21/22 and are still married at 79/80, and have barely left our home country.

Meadowfinch · 13/02/2024 06:41

We live in a changing world. Climate change is a real & significant threat and I could understand someone choosing not to have children.

I have one ds in his teens. He has seen me work and raise him as a single mum. We do ok, a decent home and a good life, but I've always taught him that it is his life, we only have one life and he must choose for himself how he wants that to be.

I have 23 cousins. I didn't see any of them as a child, and the last time I spoke to any of them was when my dm died in 2009. They are all 10-15 years older than me anyway. I think your idea of having cousins as playmates is a bit fanciful. Nice but a bit 'Famous Five'ish

AndThatWasNY · 13/02/2024 06:48

Boarding school often breaks down family closeness (seen it in my own family).

WhatNoRaisins · 13/02/2024 06:53

I can't comment on your in laws as there are all sorts of things that could be at play here but what you say is true. If you're going to teach a child anything they need to see you model it.

GRex · 13/02/2024 06:53

The 31 and 33 year old may very well still choose to have children. You decided that it was time to have kids, that doesn't mean the timing is right for them. My sibling was a bit like this; had kids young and spent years bemoaning that I didn't have kids yet, asking would I ever have kids etc.

I'm not sure what it is you feel your PIL did incorrectly, because encouraging a career doesn't discourage having a family. You might need to articulate a bit better how they showed a bad family example by having 4 children who they encouraged, supported and are still close to. Sounds more like you're feeling smug about managing to have one child, which just isn't as significant as you seem to think.

PaperDoIIs · 13/02/2024 06:56

It kind of is my business when it's my kid who will have no cousins.

And? I didn't realise having cousins is a need.

Octavia64 · 13/02/2024 07:00

Kids don't always learn what you expect.

There is often a lot of talk about modelling behaviour for children - eg modelling that women can work.

Sometimes what the child learns is that having a career and children is exhausting, and they look at the example of their mother and think "I don't want my life to be like that".

Equally, if someone models that family is important to them by looking after children and not working, and then looking after elderly relatives, the child might grow up and have the value that family is important or they might think that their parent was exploited and they aren't going to do that!

redskybluewater · 13/02/2024 07:10

I don't think anyone here can say what the reasons are for these choices concerning your wider family, or any individual family for that matter.
I would say that on a whole, yes, leading by example will be a considerable factor, but what we comunicate, whether intentionally or not will be the reason.

In my opinion every choice has both positive and negative aspects that we must accept, and I believe that saying that certain choices will only lead to total happiness and fulfilment is misleading. Every choice will bring with it a certain amount of struggle.

Some people are very sure of the right way to do things, but because not everyone has the same internal skill set, or the same upbringing, even within generations of the same family, then predicting outcomes is not helpful if you ask me.

I prefer to talk about the different choices people make, and try to see both the good points and the hardship.
In my parents' generation in the UK, generally those who were academically capable were the ones who left their home town to study and often ended up settling down with a partner further from home. This meant that often siblings would be bringing up their families in different locations and the extended family would have less influence .
So by pursuing a chance to further education, have a possibility of a more meaningful career and be financially stable often the support system of wider family is sacrificed. This as an example of how every choice can have other difficulties down the road.

BananaSpanner · 13/02/2024 07:10

It kind of is my business when it's my kid who will have no cousins.

This is a massive leap. Whether they decide to have children or not or whether they wish to share whether this is even possible for them.

If all the parents lifestyle choices have been made together as a couple and they have had a loving and supportive relationship and brought their children up to be decent hardworking people, why have they not modelled a good family life?

FrontalHeadache · 13/02/2024 07:12

Giving your kid cousins should not be a factor in their decision to reproduce!

They are adults capable of making their own unique decisions. They don’t need you patronisingly analysing the cause of their relationship status.

2mummies1baby · 13/02/2024 07:16

Theresa88 · 13/02/2024 06:11

Like I said, I wasn't intending to be judgmental but just reflecting, obviously people's personal preference for what they want out of life will play a role.

It kind of is my business when it's my kid who will have no cousins.

Oh my word. It is absolutely not your business whether or not your children have cousins! That's not something they have an inherent right to!

As an aside, "third world country" is now considered offensive, and has been replaced with "developing country". That has been the case for at least 15 years.

Also, this is massively bugging me- if your husband and his siblings are now 31, 33, 35 and 43, they can't once have been 8, 10, 14 and 18. The age gaps have changed.

GreyhpundGirl · 13/02/2024 07:19

Those children have made their own choices in life when it sounds like everything else has been chosen for them (parents choosing their degrees?!?), why do they need to be like their parents? And actually, your PiL have lived in separate for 20 years- hardly a 'normal' blueprint for marriage.

So what if your children won't have cousins? My daughter doesn't- my husband is an only and my brothers are child free-, it's hardly disadvantaged her. I mean, she only has one living grandparent but funnily enough she'll still grown up knowing the bonds of family and love.

You sound very judgemental I'm afraid.

Thepeopleversuswork · 13/02/2024 07:22

@Theresa88

It kind of is my business when it's my kid who will have no cousins.

So the primary obligation and concern of your in laws when raising their children two generations ago was to supply their unborn grandchildren with cousins? OK then…

You do know, right, that cousins aren’t automatically friends with one another?

Fizbosshoes · 13/02/2024 07:26

I have 2 cousins. One I probably wouldn't recognise if they passed me in the street. They live overseas and the last time I saw them was iirc 23 years ago

BitOutOfPractice · 13/02/2024 07:27

Whether you meant to sound rude and judgemental or not, you do!

anyway your logic is skewed. You say children do what they see their parents do, not what they say. Then you do on to describe the children in this family as all having done what their parents said (get a career and make Money) as opposed to what they did (presumably marry young, have a traditional marriage where the woman stays home, and have multiple children). So which is it? Do or say?

I’d be wary of casting aspersions on others’ parenting until you’ve done a bit more of your own.

Theresa88 · 13/02/2024 07:29

Right I get it, I'm a rude judgemental person. Thanks all I'm out 👌

OP posts:
LaPalmaLlama · 13/02/2024 07:30

They sound like a successful and international couple who have raised successful and international kids. I don’t really understand what you think they did that demonstrated that they didn’t prioritise family.

Dacadactyl · 13/02/2024 07:33

LaPalmaLlama · 13/02/2024 07:30

They sound like a successful and international couple who have raised successful and international kids. I don’t really understand what you think they did that demonstrated that they didn’t prioritise family.

Boarding school would strongly indicate this to me. No matter how international and successful I was, my children would never go to boarding school.

foghead · 13/02/2024 07:41

There's a lot of truth in modelling behaviour that you want for your kids. Even down to reading. If you want your kids to read, show them you read yourself.
They'll pick up on what you do and not what you say.
Generally, of course. There are always exceptions.

Thepeopleversuswork · 13/02/2024 07:52

Theresa88 · 13/02/2024 07:29

Right I get it, I'm a rude judgemental person. Thanks all I'm out 👌

To be fair, you did post something blatantly trying to recruit a bunch of posters on the internet to say "ooh look at you, you're much more successful at life than your weird in laws who don't prioritise faaaaaaaamily. Well done you."

I don't like a pile-on but you really did put yourself on the line for this. Don't dish it out etc.

LaPalmaLlama · 13/02/2024 07:54

Dacadactyl · 13/02/2024 07:33

Boarding school would strongly indicate this to me. No matter how international and successful I was, my children would never go to boarding school.

Possibly because you’re privileged to be born in a country with a functioning education system. But regardless, there’s no evidence that people who go to boarding school tend to have fewer kids than those who don’t, adjusting for other demographic factors.

Whycantiwinmillionsandsquillions · 13/02/2024 08:03

Your in laws may still have children, they are far from past it.
It absolutely is non of your business though.
Having a child involved huge sacrifices. Perhaps they are intelligent enough to know that. Perhaps they don’t want to have a child for it to be farmed out to strangers.
I know people from big families like this who don’t have children. I know people from big families who do have lots of children themselves.
Perhaps your dh would not have chosen to become a parent if he hadn’t met you. If he had met a woman who stated that she would not be sacrificing anything at all, and that full parenting would be down to him, he might have felt differently.
The cousins comment is awful btw.

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