Etiquette Hell

Etiquette School is in session! => "What an interesting assumption." => Topic started by: mom2four on September 06, 2010, 11:20:36 AM

Title: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: mom2four on September 06, 2010, 11:20:36 AM
Older DS aged 16 just returned from a trip by long distance bus and ferry to visit my parents with younger DD aged 4. He was a bit shocked because several people had assumed that he was his sister's father. This happens to older DD aged 19 a lot (someone assuming she is the mother of her sister) and she really hates it. You have to be careful with teenagers but generally I don't think there is anything rude about assuming that an adult who is with a child is that child's parent. That may not be a case but it can be difficult to completely avoid any assumptions. Asking doesn't necessarily help in my opinion. If someone is offended by an assumption they will most likely also be offended if you ask. It's the mere thought that counts. At least I know DD was offended when she - then aged 15 - was waiting for DH in a doctor's waiting room and the doctor came out and asked if she was his wife.

The difficulty also occurs if you don't know if two people are a couple or maybe father and daughter. If you have to make a guess or ask I think it is better to assume or ask if they are a couple. If you are wrong you have most likely only offended the daughter. If you make the assumption the other way around you will offend both if you are wrong.

I suppose the etiquette correct thing is to never assume anything about the relationships of others but it can be a bit difficult in real life. When do you think an assumption or a question about a relationship is rude? An example of an assumption or question I find rude and strange but have been met with several times is that because of the age difference between my children now 19, 16, 12 and 4, the youngest must have a different father than her siblings. This is not the case but is probably in part caused by the fact that DH looks much younger than me (he isn't)
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Lisbeth on September 06, 2010, 11:32:22 AM
It's rude when it's accompanied by nasty looks or insulting comments.

A scenario where, say, a receptionist in a doctor's office simply assumes that the older child is the parent of the younger child isn't rude in and of itself.  But if someone made a snarky remark about teenage kids having s*e*x and being the parent of a kid, that would be rude.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Dazi on September 06, 2010, 12:20:48 PM
Everyone always assumes my brother is my boyfriend/husband.  We find it funny now, not so much when we were teens.

It's rude when it's accompanied by nasty looks or insulting comments.

A scenario where, say, a receptionist in a doctor's office simply assumes that the older child is the parent of the younger child isn't rude in and of itself.  But if someone made a snarky remark about teenage kids having s*e*x and being the parent of a kid, that would be rude.

True...also sometimes it is really difficult for some people to judge age.

Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: wolfie on September 06, 2010, 12:27:05 PM
Honestly I can\'t come up with a situation where it would be appropriate to ask. You might be curious but for the most part it isn\'t any of your business and it doesn\'t matter what the relationship between two people is. Even all the cases i can come up with don\'t really pan out. Receptionist at the doctor\'s office? nope - relationship doesn\'t matter - she just needs to check you in. The only cases i can really come up with are in the ER or other emergency type situations.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Rosgrana on September 06, 2010, 12:46:22 PM
I can see situations where it's appropriate to ask. For example, if someone brings a child to join the library, I have to ask if they are the parent/guardian - only someone with parental responsibility can give permission for the child to have internet access. In the Doctor scenario above, parents have more rights to information than any other adult accompanying a child. That said, the asking has to be done politely and non-judgementally.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: HorseFreak on September 06, 2010, 01:14:40 PM
I was at a car dealership with my dad when I was 22 and he was in his early 50's. He picked out his vehicle and was being harassed by the outside warranty company (I have no idea why they were there since Ford sells their own). The rep was a rather slimy guy who leered at me and asked if I was his wife. My dad told him no, I was his daughter. The guy gave him a wink and an elbow nudge and said, "Oh that's too bad, I was going to congratulate you on your young wife!" I almost vomited, my dad did not look amused and refused to speak further to him and we reported it to the sales manager we were friendly with. Never saw that guy again. Who seriously says that out loud like I'm a deaf piece of property?!?!?

ETA: To make it worse, I looked no older than 17 or 18 at the time.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Animala on September 06, 2010, 01:51:03 PM
After working with children for a few years, I never, ever make assumptions.  I have also learned a handy phrase when needed.  Instead of saying your mom or your grandma I say your adult.  For instance when a little one is wandering around the store I will ask "Where is your adult?" and child almost always provides the information like "I don't know where grandma is.".  It doesn't fit every situation, but it really helps.

How about making a T-shirt for your daughter that has a picture of little DD and says something like best little sister ever?
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: 567Kate on September 06, 2010, 08:36:19 PM
I'm really not sure when you would have to make an assumption. For a professional setting like a doctor's office, I think something like "What is your relationship to the patient?" is fine to use with everyone. For a social situation, you can probably figure it out in conversation. "I don't think we've met yet. I'm Stephanie," and hope they respond with "Oh hi, I'm Susie, Bob's daughter."
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Betelnut on September 06, 2010, 09:20:50 PM
This happens to me all the time since I adopted my daughter (now 4) when I was 45.  I'm assumed to be the grandmother.  Since that isn't really an "insulting" assumption, it doesn't bother me.  I just lightly say, "No, actually, I'm her Mom."

Because of this though, I'm better about not making assumptions myself.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: suzieQ on September 06, 2010, 09:47:27 PM
My Dad and I have been mistaken for a couple off and on since I was a teen. I never thought anything much about it - flattered that I looked older than I was when I was younger. He introduced me as his wife to a co-worker once. LOL He immediately told her he was joking of course. We think it's kind of funny.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Swimmer_Heather on September 06, 2010, 10:02:20 PM
I was at a car dealership with my dad when I was 22 and he was in his early 50's. He picked out his vehicle and was being harassed by the outside warranty company (I have no idea why they were there since Ford sells their own). The rep was a rather slimy guy who leered at me and asked if I was his wife. My dad told him no, I was his daughter. The guy gave him a wink and an elbow nudge and said, "Oh that's too bad, I was going to congratulate you on your young wife!" I almost vomited, my dad did not look amused and refused to speak further to him and we reported it to the sales manager we were friendly with. Never saw that guy again. Who seriously says that out loud like I'm a deaf piece of property?!?!?

Wow, that's incredibly creepy and rude. :(  It's good you reported that kind of behaviour.

I agree, because of the age-related assumptions it can be discourteous to voice these assumptions.  It's not usually very tactful to ask a mother if she's a grandmother, or a teen if he's a father; and the other direction of age assumptions can be just as irritating.  The worst is of course if the accidental assumption is accompanied by more damaging judgements, like "You must be a teen parent *and* you must be worthless".  I like the idea of talking about a child's 'adult' and requesting them to clarify the relationship--a good strategy to avoid assumptions!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: JoanOfArc on September 06, 2010, 10:39:20 PM
I think asking a child who/where their adult is is a good solution- I used it when I worked at a children's attraction.  In other cases, I usually can figure it out from conversation/how they are acting.  If not, I try to find a tactful way to inquire.  It doesn't always work, but usually, in social situations, you can find a way to do it. 
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: pinkunicorn on September 07, 2010, 09:45:16 AM
I'm gonna park my POD truck right here.

People shouldn't speculate (and especially shouldn't comment) on things that are none of their business. But that's no reason to let their problem become our problem by taking offense.

The OP's son on the ferry--nothing but an interesting assumption.

Professional personnel--these people do need to know relationship status of people accompanying each other. There's a difference in the amount of information they can share with a spouse/parent versus a sibling, friend, etc.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: squashedfrog on September 07, 2010, 09:50:59 AM
A while back I had a girl come up to me at a party and ask if my brothers GF (then 29) was my daughter.  I was 25 at the time.

Needless to say, it was not a well received comment.  :(
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: JacklynHyde on September 07, 2010, 04:28:23 PM
I'm flashing back to five years ago when my dad was complimented about his hot young wife by his high school classmate.  Before my dad could explode, I calmly corrected the friend by explaining that I am the second oldest of his classmates' children as Dad and his lovely wife (who was laughing her head off on my other side) were married when he was 20 and I was born two years later.

The best part of this exchange?  It was at a funeral for another classmate's father.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Onyx_TKD on September 07, 2010, 07:01:22 PM
Older DS aged 16 just returned from a trip by long distance bus and ferry to visit my parents with younger DD aged 4. He was a bit shocked because several people had assumed that he was his sister's father. This happens to older DD aged 19 a lot (someone assuming she is the mother of her sister) and she really hates it. You have to be careful with teenagers but generally I don't think there is anything rude about assuming that an adult who is with a child is that child's parent. That may not be a case but it can be difficult to completely avoid any assumptions. Asking doesn't necessarily help in my opinion. If someone is offended by an assumption they will most likely also be offended if you ask. It's the mere thought that counts. At least I know DD was offended when she - then aged 15 - was waiting for DH in a doctor's waiting room and the doctor came out and asked if she was his wife.

The difficulty also occurs if you don't know if two people are a couple or maybe father and daughter. If you have to make a guess or ask I think it is better to assume or ask if they are a couple. If you are wrong you have most likely only offended the daughter. If you make the assumption the other way around you will offend both if you are wrong.

I suppose the etiquette correct thing is to never assume anything about the rel@tionships of others but it can be a bit difficult in real life. When do you think an assumption or a question about a rel@tionship is rude? An example of an assumption or question I find rude and strange but have been met with several times is that because of the age difference between my children now 19, 16, 12 and 4, the youngest must have a different father than her siblings. This is not the case but is probably in part caused by the fact that DH looks much younger than me (he isn't)

When you say "Asking doesn't necessarily help," what kind of question did you have in mind? I think the doctor in your example could have very easily avoided that issue--he could either have asked your DH who had accompanied him (and gotten the answer "my daughter") before going out to the waiting room, or he could have phrased his question to your daughter in a manner with fewer assumptions: e.g. "Hi, are you here with Mr. Mom2four?" "Yes, I'm his daughter, [name]" or, if she didn't volunteer the relationship, he could ask "What is your relationship to Mr. Mom2four?" or even "Are you a relative?".

As far as assuming two people are a couple, how often are you in a situation where you need to make this assumption? There are a lot of reasons for two people to be out and about together besides being either a couple or parent and child. In addition to those possibilities, the two people could be friends, co-workers, roommates/housemates, siblings, other blood relations (e.g. cousins, uncle and niece...), etc. If you know one of the "couple", then let them introduce you to the other and you'll likely find out the relationship without making assumptions; if they don't volunteer the information, then do you really need to know (or assume)? If you have to assume something, then I'd assume that they are either friends or non-specified relatives until you are told otherwise.

The "couple" assumption really gets to me. While I don't recall ever being mistaken for anyone's parent or daughter, I do hang out with my older brother a good bit (similar interests and get along well), and more than one person has assumed that he was either my boyfriend or my fiance--trust me, both of us were quite wierded out by that assumption. (Clarification: A friend asking me, "So who was that guy you were with at the festival?", obviously guessing romantic interest, surprised me but was very funny; the guy who had just met both of us on a group trip asking "Oh, so this is your fiance?", obviously confident that we were romantic partners of some sort, was both shocking and kind of creepy.  :o) And if someone assumed I was my father's wife, I wouldn't be the only one offended; I really doubt my dad would appreciate either of the possible implications--that his "little girl" looks twice her age, or that he, a middle-aged man, would be married to a girl barely out of college (even if "cradle-robber" implications wouldn't bother him, the fact that the girl in question was his "little girl" would).
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: ChristiKayAnn on September 08, 2010, 11:43:54 AM
I just heard a story that fits here from a friend of mine. 

B/g Friend has been dealing with serious illness for several years (3 different conditions that may end up being terminal and a laundry list of other conditions that while not as serious do effect his day to day life quite severely.) When these conditions were first becoming apparent Friend and his wife were in seminary to become pastors in the conservative Christian denomination we both belong to.  because of their class schedule his wife could not always accompany him to his doctors appointments so because it was a very frightening time one of the faculty members decided that he shouldn't go to these appointments alone and went with him. End b/g

So first appointment with a new doctor and Friend and Faculty Guy (FG) were sitting in the waiting room praying while waiting for his appointment. Friend is called back to see the doctor, gets up to go and leaves FG sitting in the waiting room and the nurse says "Oh and your partner can come too if you like Mr. Friend."  ::)  :D

Wow wouldn't these guys wives like to know what is going on with them.  >:D
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Nora on September 09, 2010, 04:49:01 AM
My grandfather and I have gotten dirty looks when we walk down the street arm in arm. We have done so since I was a child, because it's cosy, and I tended to wander off because of my Ooooh-look-shiny syndrome, and it stuck. We are almost 50 years apart in age, and other than my skin being light brown, and he being very very dutch looking (e.g. very tall, and very white), we do look like family. Not everyone can see past ethnicity, and some people apparantly assume he's imported himself a girlfriend.  ::)
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: phred246 on September 09, 2010, 10:35:03 PM
Five years ago, I went to the Crayola Factory with my then 11 year old DD. We were invited to participate in a special activity for grandparents and their grandchildren. I just stared at the woman and informed her that DD was my daughter!

Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: DaisyLeigh on September 11, 2010, 08:33:08 AM
You cannot blame people for innocent mistakes. I mean, nowadays it seems acceptable for teens to keep babies, so I can see where someone might think that the teen is a parent and not a sibling. Also, it is sometimes hard to judge age. Some people may think that the sibling looks much older than they really are. I am actually old enough to be my youngest son's grandma. If someone made that assumption, I would not be offended. Big whoop.

For goodness sake, unless the person is being rude and snarky, develop a thicker skin and be gracious about it.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Danismom on September 11, 2010, 09:10:30 AM
In my job, I regularly visit with patients before surgery.  These are cordial, supportive visits meant to offer encouragement and ease the anxiety of surgery.  Due to our setup, each patient may only have 1-2 visitors with them.  I have to have some way to ask who the people are in the room with the patient to assess the support that the patient has from family/friends.  I've learned not to assume though.  I have yet to find a way to ask that isn't awkward.  Right now, I usually use "Who is this with you, today?" or "How are you guys connected?"

One of the times that emphasized not to make assumptions:

The girlfriend was at the bedside while the wife was in the waiting room.  Yes, they knew about each other.  They sat on opposite sides of the waiting room while he was in surgery.  If I didn't know which was which, I really would have stepped in it had I guess wrong.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Everlee on September 15, 2010, 01:23:20 PM

How about making a T-shirt for your daughter that has a picture of little DD and says something like best little sister ever?

I agree with this for the OP's problem.  If I see a little girl that is wearing a shirt saying 'I love my brother' accompanied by an older boy, I would assume sibling.  Obviously that won't work in all situations.  I am 25 and am very close to my dad so we spend a lot of time together.  I would feel a little odd wearing an 'I love my daddy' shirt.   :)
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Squeaks on September 15, 2010, 01:48:49 PM
People can make strange assumptions based on circumstances and circumstances can affect perception.

I am reminded of a time when my boyfriend at the time took his little brother to the hospital for some tests/appointments (he was sick these visits were monthly).  Everyone kept calling me mom.

I was 20.  Brother was 12.  I can see them thinking the brother was younger as he was small, but geez it's a kids hospital they should be used to sick kids being small for their age.

To make it even weirder.  I am as pale as you can get, the brothers are Mexican, we look *nothing* alike.  I guess in someways i have to give them credit for being open minded about apperance,  but at the same time the brothers actually did look alike, but not a single acknowledgment of his presence, at least if they call him dad the whole thing would have seemed more logical to me.  Everyone there kept turning to me to talk to, even after explaining i was not related and he was, they still talked to me. . . . i fear they are just use to defaulting to the moms, which i find rather sad.

As for helpful advice.  Well when it comes up in my office i usually try to politely ask "are you together?" with an air of confusion.  That usually opens the door for them to elaborate on what the situation is. 

I also think sometimes trying to find the least likely relationship to be uncomfortable helps.  In the OP's example i think assuming parent is slightly better.  I suspect many a teen moms have felt uncomfortable and having to correct people who think their child is their sibling.  And I suspect some have been met with judgment on the reveal.  I can't see many people becoming judgmental or cold when it turns out to be a sibling, it seems more benign a correction.

Unless it is said with a sneer, if they are asking if they are the parent, likely the person is not judging them, but rather accepting that all is just fine. 

Another trick with kids when they are older is to ask them in a jokeing manner "Are you taking your little sister out today?"  can come across as playful and hopefully the kid will blurt out who they are. 

Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: JacklynHyde on September 15, 2010, 04:02:49 PM
A decade ago, I dated a man 16 years my senior who had a goddaughter 8 years my junior.  When we came up to visit her in college, one of her friends asked if I was her mom.  I almost put the lad through a wall... but somehow managed to calmly explain the minor age difference.  Ah, for an Interesting Assumption back in the day.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Kimblee on September 15, 2010, 04:09:10 PM
After working with children for a few year, I never, ever make assumptions.  I have also learned a handy phrase when needed.  Instead of saying your mom or your grandma I say your adult.  For instance when a little one is wondering around the store I will ask "Where is your adult?" and child almost always provides the information like "I don't know where grandma is.".  It doesn't fit every situation, but it really helps.

How about making a T-shirt for your daughter that has a picture of little DD and says something like best little sister ever?

Or matching shirts "I'm the big sister" and "I'm the baby sister"
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: HeebyJeebyLeebee on September 15, 2010, 04:46:54 PM

How about making a T-shirt for your daughter that has a picture of little DD and says something like best little sister ever?

I agree with this for the OP's problem.  If I see a little girl that is wearing a shirt saying 'I love my brother' accompanied by an older boy, I would assume sibling.  Obviously that won't work in all situations.  I am 25 and am very close to my dad so we spend a lot of time together.  I would feel a little odd wearing an 'I love my daddy' shirt.   :)

LOL!  Past a certain age, I'd be concerned people thought the word "sugar" was missing from that shirt.   >:D 
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Skoffin on September 28, 2010, 08:17:00 AM
It's best not to make assumptions, and most often these questions are not needed to be asked. If it's for something important then perhaps it could be acceptable, although it would be best to find a better way of phrasing it.

I know times have changed and so certain things have become more prevalent, however I would be offended if someone made assumptions about my personal habits. Many people believe that my generation get around and many do so in their young teens, I however abhor such behaviour and I would not be pleased to get accused of doing the same just because I'm young. Perhaps sometimes there is no ill intent meant, however if I find something disgusting I don't want a stranger to imply I do that very thing. If it's not necessary to ask then there is no reason to, if you can't tell then don't think about it and certainly don't judge the people based on lack of knowledge to their situation.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Emmy on October 01, 2010, 07:57:04 AM
I do see how people will just blurt out what they perceive as the family relationship upon first impression.  I think the polite thing to do would be to simply correct them (while trying to hide any annoyance you might feel from the wrong assumption).  I imagine most clerks and other people don't take time to really analyze somebody before making an assumption.  They might just see an adult (or somebody who looks like an adult) with a small child and automatically assume a parent/child relationship without assessing how old the adult is.

That being said, I think the advise to let it roll off your back is good.  I do see how that can be difficult if the assumptions are considered insulting.  Assumptions such as being mistaken as your children's grandmother in your 30's, being handed the children's menu when you are 25, or being mistaken for your same age best friend's parent would take the wind out of my sails and I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one to feel that way.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Kelvar on October 04, 2010, 08:37:32 AM
A few people have assumed my brother was my boyfriend. Most of the time we just thought it was a bit weird, the only time I got offended was when someone noticed my Taurus tattoo and asked his star sign, then started going into great detail about how it will affect out relationship, including scrabble preferences. :o
(Which would have been out of order even if we had been dating.)

The only other time it could have been an issue was when someone from school saw us shopping together at the weekend and promptly told my then-boyfriend he might need to talk to me about the other guy I was seeing. Luckily he assumed the best and asked for a description, then laughed his head off when he realised it was my brother they were worried about. ;D

The one I'm kind of dreading is when I have kids. I'm 25 and still get ID'd for alcohol (legal age here is 18) and often told I look much younger, especially when I'm wearing something 'immature' (like shorts, sandals and a t-shirt with a silly slogan). Unless I somehow look much older by the time I have kids I'm expecting a lot of comments about teenage pregnancy.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: judecat on January 13, 2011, 04:41:18 PM
I don't think most people are being judgemental at all, I don't bother to get offended.  Maybe because I grew up with everyone naturally assuming the my mom was my grandmother and my brother and sister in law were my parents.  Natural assumption as I'm 20 years younger than my brother,  2 years older than his daughter,  and actually several years younger than on of my step nephews.

Sometimes assuming someone is a child's parent is based on behaviors -- I'm 12 years older than my best and oldest friend - I babysat her when she was an infant and toddler,  and when she had a stroke at age 5,  I was a nurses aid at that hospital,  and her mother's helper at home.  So in public it's obvious that I'm her 'caregiver',  but not a payed one if you know what I mean.  Her daughter is 14,  and yes I am old enough to be grandmother to a 14 year old.  So with 14year old calling her mom,  and the older lady taking care of her,  I'm not going to get bent out of shape if someone asks the teen about her grandmother.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Jenny13 on January 14, 2011, 01:02:16 PM
This used to happen all the time with my brother and I (he's 10 years younger than me). We just politely laughed it off when correcting someone.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: immadz on January 16, 2011, 05:45:36 PM
A while back I had a girl come up to me at a party and ask if my brothers GF (then 29) was my daughter.  I was 25 at the time.

Needless to say, it was not a well received comment.  :(

When my sister was 10, I was 15. Someone asked me if she was my daughter. Again, not amused.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Bluenomi on January 16, 2011, 06:31:51 PM
My (half)sisters are 10, 12 and 18 years younger than me. The older 2 used to think it was great fun to get the youngest to call me Mum when I took them out when she was a toddler  ::) Thankfully we were in the UK at the time and in the part of the country we were in people thought I was the Au Pair not a teen mother.

I've had some interesting looks when out with my Dad. He was young when I was born and since he has aged well if step mum isn't around people sometimes assume I'm his wife and youngest sister is our daughter. I don't mind too much if it's just a misunderstanding but to get annoyed if they make rude comments
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: laud_shy_girl on January 17, 2011, 04:50:11 AM
I think in any situation unless there is a very good reason to know 'like at a doctors' you shouldn't ask.

At a family wedding, I was asked if i was my SIL mum. she was 22 and it was my 27 birthday at the time. There was no reason for her to ask. on the same day I had a young child ask if I  had a baby in my belly, I was not pregnant  :'( it was not a good birthday.  the child I could forgive but the woman... we don't even look alike.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Micah on January 17, 2011, 03:09:29 PM
There is a big gap between me and my other two siblings. When I was sixteen my brother was four. I used to love taking him places and spoiling him (He won't let me do it anymore, he's gone all teenagerish). I used to get a great deal of looks, people whispering to each other in shops and yes some extremely nasty comments. I'll never forget the woman who bailed me up (in a toy store!) and told me it was such a shame that I'd ruined both our lives by having him so young and that she guessed I wasn't even with the father now. If the same thing happened now I know exactly what I'd say and do. At the time I was painfully shy and suffered from severe depression. Taking my little bro places was one of the few things I got any enjoyment out of.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: BeagleMommy on February 12, 2011, 11:35:41 AM
My mother looks young for her age (she's 67).  When DS was about 5 she took him to the local mall for a haircut.  He was a bit fidgety and the snarky stylist snapped at him "Be good or Mommy will be mad at you".  Mom said "Actually, I'm his grandma".  Stylist rolled her eyes and said "oh, that explains it".

She should have been frozen solid after the look Mom gave her.  Mom complained to the manager and we found out the stylist was fired because she'd been rude to other child customers before.  Go figure.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Emmi on February 17, 2011, 07:27:07 PM
When I was a baby, my cousin, Sandy, was 15 and we looked a lot alike because after all we were related.  My mom took my siblings and my cousin to the zoo and Sandy was holding me.  An older woman walked up to her and told her that she had a beautiful baby and then turns to my mother and says to her wouldn't you want a baby like that.  And the older woman didn't believe my mom when she said that I actually was her baby. 

I still hear that story and we still joke about me being Sandy's baby.  Though I don't think she liked that someone thought she was a teen mom. 
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: VorFemme on February 17, 2011, 07:49:34 PM
VorSon is not quite ten years younger than Ambrosia Hino - but as a teenager, she took after her mother (being tall and "developed") and was constantly being taken for someone three or four or five years older than she really was.........

She turned ten when he was four months old - she was NOT old enough to be his mother.  

I was 36 and old enough to be his mother - in fact, if it hadn't been for birth control pills, we *might* have been parents long enough that he could have been our grandson instead of our son.  VorGuy was 40 and we had our 21st anniversary some three weeks after his birth.

But some people can't tell the ages of other people without a birthday cake in front of them so that they can count the candles..........or read the numerals if the cake has a 3 & a 5 on it instead of 35 little candles.  Just roll your eyes and remember that they might need to take off their shoes & socks to count up to 20.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: MizB on February 18, 2011, 12:26:54 AM
I have all kinds of stories like this one. My sister is not quite 9 years older than I am and we have gotten every thing from being called identical twins to mother and daughter. I was 17 when my niece was born and am a very involved Auntie. I was feeding her one day in the mall with my mom and sister there and two older women started saying rude things about teen mothers. My sister piped up and told them I was the aunt.

I have a friend who could possibly end up being a grandma at age 26 or 27. There are plenty of moments for interesting assumptions there.

I have learned to do your best not to assume and if you think you must never in a negative way only curious.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Brentwood on February 18, 2011, 12:43:29 AM
I'm flashing back to five years ago when my dad was complimented about his hot young wife by his high school classmate.  Before my dad could explode, I calmly corrected the friend by explaining that I am the second oldest of his classmates' children as Dad and his lovely wife (who was laughing her head off on my other side) were married when he was 20 and I was born two years later.

The best part of this exchange?  It was at a funeral for another classmate's father.

My dad has four daughters, and on at least two occasions I can think of (one with my sister, one with me), people mistakenly assumed Dad was running around on my mother with "young stuff."
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Nora on February 20, 2011, 10:20:46 AM

I have a friend who could possibly end up being a grandma at age 26 or 27.


HOW?!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: LovesWater on February 20, 2011, 10:34:35 AM
By marriage, I would think.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Jan74 on February 20, 2011, 11:03:02 AM
Two early in your teens pregnancies = grandma at 27, even if by blood, not by marriage. Feasible.

I know a friend who was a grandma at 32. She had her son at 12. He waited a little longer, by being a father at 20. But had he been as young as she was, 26 would work.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Brentwood on February 20, 2011, 01:15:36 PM

I have a friend who could possibly end up being a grandma at age 26 or 27.


HOW?!

Country singer Loretta Lynn was a grandmother at age 29.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: MizB on February 20, 2011, 05:08:06 PM
Two early in your teens pregnancies = grandma at 27, even if by blood, not by marriage. Feasible.

I know a friend who was a grandma at 32. She had her son at 12. He waited a little longer, by being a father at 20. But had he been as young as she was, 26 would work.

This is how. She had her son at 13. If he were to follow in her footsteps she would be a grandma at 26 or 27. I hope it doesn't happen for their sakes, but it could.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: HeebyJeebyLeebee on February 20, 2011, 05:59:35 PM
 Being adopted, I look nothing like my Dad (though Mom and I have similar coloring).  Dad and I are as close as a father & daughter can be and have similar interests and tastes.  We often will have a father-daughter evening out at the movies and dinner afterwards - usually watching a comedy, historical drama, art film, romance, etc.  Basically, "date movies" that my husband isn't interested in.  Even though it's obvious he's a good 20+ years older than me, we are sometims mistaken for being a couple.  It doesn't help that I kept my maiden name (I hyphenated), so we're sometimes also mistaken for being married to each other.

Luckily, since we're both highly involved in local causes and my Dad's very well known in those circles, it's also known that he was very excited that his daughter moved home 2 years ago with her husband (then fiance) and has gotten involved in those causes too.  So he did a good job of pre-establishing the other "Jeeby" as "Ken Jeeby Jr" or "Baby Jeeby".
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Flora Louise on February 28, 2011, 10:54:19 AM
What is the length of a generation? 18 yrs? 21 yrs? Anyone know?
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: HeebyJeebyLeebee on February 28, 2011, 10:59:31 AM
What is the length of a generation? 18 yrs? 21 yrs? Anyone know?

Per wikipedia, it used to be about 16 years (due to women having children at younger ages than now).  As of 2004, it is 25.2 years in the US and 27.4 years in the United Kingdom.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation

So it really depends on the period in history being discussed.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: inna.minnit on April 11, 2011, 01:38:17 PM
At my job, I've learned never to make assumptions.  When an adult brings a child to see the Dr. I ask what their relationship is, if I haven't been told already.  My next question is usually "do you have legal authority to give permission for treatment?"  very few people are offended by either question. 

When dealing with adults I ask what the relationship to the patient is.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Larrabee on May 11, 2011, 07:45:08 AM
At my job, I've learned never to make assumptions.  When an adult brings a child to see the Dr. I ask what their relationship is, if I haven't been told already.  My next question is usually "do you have legal authority to give permission for treatment?"  very few people are offended by either question. 

When dealing with adults I ask what the relationship to the patient is.

Me too, but I've been surprised by how many times the answer is "I'm her mother!" "I'm his wife, thank you" with an offended look.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Redsoil on May 11, 2011, 08:44:41 AM
When staying with relatives for a weekend, I'd take my little cousin (aged 3) to the park, or down to the shops for an icecream.  I thought it was extremely funny when an older lady made mention of "my daughter".  I was 13, and looked it!  I did correct her, and she just changed the conversation, saying how nice it was that I was looking after my little cousin.

It is sometimes useful at work to try and clarify the relationship status of anyone accompanying the patient, simply for future reference in conversation.  Very awkward if one gets it wrong.  There is an actual necessity to do so in the case of a child presenting for treatment - we need consent of a legal guardian.  We do get quite a lot of families coming in, which is why clarification of relationship status is handy - they will sometimes make appointments for each other, often assuming we know who the "mum", "sister" "husband" or "Grandma" is!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Spoder on May 11, 2011, 08:58:56 AM
When staying with relatives for a weekend, I'd take my little cousin (aged 3) to the park, or down to the shops for an icecream.  I thought it was extremely funny when an older lady made mention of "my daughter".  I was 13, and looked it!  I did correct her, and she just changed the conversation, saying how nice it was that I was looking after my little cousin.


I used to get that with the two kids I babysat when I was a uni student. Twice a week I'd pick them up after school and take them to the pool, gym, or whatever. I was watching their gym class one day when I noticed one of the waiting mothers giving me sideways looks. Eventually I looked up from my book, and she caught my eye and said (super-snottily), 'So where do your little ones go to school?'

Umm, the oldest 'little one' is 7, and I'm 18!  ??? (And looked 20 at the absolute most).

(She defrosted remarkably once I told her I was just the babysitter - she obviously had her teen-mother judgy-pants on. But by then I'd lost interest.  :P)
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: bekkhild on May 11, 2011, 12:05:28 PM
I can think of a few incidents where this occurred:

When I was 21 and my older sister and went shopping at the local mall. One store was going out of business and I wanted to buy something in it, but they only accepted cash or credit cards, and I didn't have a cc or have enough cash on me, just cheques. My sister piped up and said that she would buy it on her cc and I could write her a cheque. The sales clerk said, "That is so nice of your mom to buy that for you." My sister was mortified-she was only 24 at the time.

When DS2 was born, my SD was 19-old enough to be his mother. We were at the grocery store one day, when DS2 was about 2 months old and still in his infant carrier. SD was playing with him while I wandered several feet away to look at something. AN elderly woman came up to her and said, "It's so nice when babies smile at their mamas." SD just smiled at her and nodded, not bothering to correct her.

My niece was always was assumed to be my child, even when we were in public with her mother, my SIL. (My niece and I looked alike, even our baby pictures were very similar) My niece and I had blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin, while SIL had brown hair, green eyes, and olive skin. It drove my SIL insane that people didn't think niece was her child. If it was a stranger, I didn't bother to correct them.

DH was always assumed to be his brother's father. DH is 16 years older than his brother (yes they have the same parents).
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: exitzero on May 11, 2011, 12:21:53 PM
There is a big gap between me and my other two siblings. When I was sixteen my brother was four. I used to love taking him places and spoiling him (He won't let me do it anymore, he's gone all teenagerish). I used to get a great deal of looks, people whispering to each other in shops and yes some extremely nasty comments. I'll never forget the woman who bailed me up (in a toy store!) and told me it was such a shame that I'd ruined both our lives by having him so young and that she guessed I wasn't even with the father now. If the same thing happened now I know exactly what I'd say and do. At the time I was painfully shy and suffered from severe depression. Taking my little bro places was one of the few things I got any enjoyment out of.
This same thing happened to my sister. She's thirteen years older than me, I was born in the early sixties. People would make snide comments or give her dirty looks all the time.

On a lighter note, my boyfriend is eleven years older than me, and someone once mistook him for my father. I found that MUCH funnier than he did.

Another time I had a picture of me and my favorite singer. My new boss thought he was my son. He's 5 years older than me. :(
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Xallanthia on May 11, 2011, 12:49:26 PM
My niece was always was assumed to be my child, even when we were in public with her mother, my SIL. (My niece and I looked alike, even our baby pictures were very similar) My niece and I had blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin, while SIL had brown hair, green eyes, and olive skin. It drove my SIL insane that people didn't think niece was her child. If it was a stranger, I didn't bother to correct them.

This is always so crazy... a few years ago I was lucky enough to visit my relatives in Italy, and my siblings and I got to meet our third (or is it fourth?  can't remember) cousin, who's a year younger than me.  We took a picture with the four of us.

When we got the picture back, we noticed something uncanny: my distant cousin and I look more alike than I look like either my brother OR my sister.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: hobish on May 11, 2011, 01:02:12 PM

For those of you who have had your brother mistaken for boyfriend, i give you this. Apparently more than a few people have assumed that my sister and I are a couple. We both think it is pretty funny.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: SamiHami on May 11, 2011, 01:35:22 PM
My dad & I worked for the same company when I was ages 19-24.  Our office was very close to home so we always went home for lunch, and of course we rode together.  So while we didn't actually work in the same office, or even on the same floor, we always arrived and left together.

One day, some woman that I had seen around, but didn't actually know, stopped and scolded me for dating a man so much older than me!  I wish I'd known enough then to brush her off with "what an interesting assumption." But, this was before ehell, so I just told her that he was my dad, not my boyfriend!  She was quite embarraased, as well she should have been!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Spoder on May 12, 2011, 06:58:53 AM
Ooooh, I just thought of an awful one that I heard years ago.

A friend was shopping in a big department store with her two young children (toddler and baby). While she was ringing her purchases up, the sales assistant leaned down to the stroller and said, 'Oh, aren't you lucky, having a special day out with nanna!'.

 :o

Yeah, Friend (who was already exhausted/run down/feeling unattractive, etc) pasted on a smile and politely corrected the shop assistant, who was suitably mortified. Then Friend went to the ladies' room and bawled her eyes out in the stall, she felt so bad.  :(

(Friend is in her late thirties, by the way, and looks it - to me, anyway).
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: HeebyJeebyLeebee on May 12, 2011, 09:51:30 AM
I'm another one with a big age gaps between my sisters and me.  I'm 11 years younger than my older sister (adoptive family) and 15 and 17 years older than my younger sisters (Bio-Pop's other girls).  My elder sister HATED being mistaked for my mother (though she tries to run my life as much as Mom does).  Having seen that, I have a much more relaxed and graciosu reaction to being mistaken for my younger sisters' mother. 
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Larrabee on May 12, 2011, 10:01:10 AM
The sibling age gap to beat them all...

My SIL has a brother 27 years younger than her, a few years younger than her own son!  I can only imagine the assumptions people will make in years to come.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Dazi on May 12, 2011, 07:12:06 PM
The other day someone thought my mother was my girlfriend.  ;D  I thought it was hysterical.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: P-p-p-penguin on May 12, 2011, 09:58:03 PM
An estate agent clearly thought my aunt was my girlfriend.  Even though both of us look younger than we are, I don't think it's obvious that there's a 17 year age gap.

Aunt's reaction was to hastily blurt out, "She's my neice!"  In retrospect I should have put on a hurt face and fake-scolded her for being ashamed of our 'relationship', but I was too busy inwardly laughing at how quick she was to correct the agent!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Brentwood on May 13, 2011, 09:23:46 PM

For those of you who have had your brother mistaken for boyfriend, i give you this. Apparently more than a few people have assumed that my sister and I are a couple. We both think it is pretty funny.


My brother and I went to a Scorpions concert in the spring of 1991; that would have made me 24 and him 19. Two guys were sitting to my brother's left, and I was on his right. At some point during the show, one of the guys to my brother's left made a comment about my brother's "girlfriend."

He said, "Girlfriend?!" (cue laughter.) "She's my SISTER!"

At that point, the guy asked to switch places with my brother.  ;D
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Brentwood on May 13, 2011, 09:24:58 PM
My dad & I worked for the same company when I was ages 19-24.  Our office was very close to home so we always went home for lunch, and of course we rode together.  So while we didn't actually work in the same office, or even on the same floor, we always arrived and left together.

One day, some woman that I had seen around, but didn't actually know, stopped and scolded me for dating a man so much older than me!  I wish I'd known enough then to brush her off with "what an interesting assumption." But, this was before ehell, so I just told her that he was my dad, not my boyfriend!  She was quite embarraased, as well she should have been!

I've probably already mentioned this in this thread somewhere (I'm old, I forget things), but similar things happened to me when I worked at the same company as my father (I worked there from ages 18-25, so VERY similar to your story!).
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: RedDwarf on May 14, 2011, 09:05:14 PM
People have assumed my boyfriend is my brother, because we both have brown eyes and brown hair (so does my brother by the way). Doesn't really help that my boyfriend is really shy and refuses to hold my hand in public.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on July 03, 2011, 11:01:03 PM
I remember a time when my mother came to my workplace to pick up the boys carseats since she was going to be picking them up and I'd forgotten to leave them at the day care (busy and hectic a.m. that day).

When she left, a coworker looked at me and asked me who that was.  I told her "Oh, that's my mom".   According to much of the front office staff, I look nothing like her, aside from being petite, as my mother is 5' and I'm 5'2".   
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: SheltieMom on July 05, 2011, 01:17:59 AM
I'm in my mid-fifties, and I get all kinds of strange reactions when I'm out with one of my foster babies. (I do transition foster care with newborns.) I have had everything from, "Is this your first?" to the more understandable, "Is that your grandbaby?"
The most fun is when my daughter (18) is with me. Almost everyone assumes the baby is hers. To make it better, her boyfriend's family also does foster care, so we sometimes have several little ones. DD and BF enjoy walking around the mall with strollers full of babies. This spring, I had twin boys, and BF's mom had a little girl just 10 days younger. People thought DD and BF had triplets!
I do love the fact that DD and BF are so comfortable and knowledgeable about kids, just in case the relationship does last.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Nora on July 05, 2011, 10:58:43 AM
I'm in my mid-fifties, and I get all kinds of strange reactions when I'm out with one of my foster babies. (I do transition foster care with newborns.) I have had everything from, "Is this your first?" to the more understandable, "Is that your grandbaby?"
The most fun is when my daughter (18) is with me. Almost everyone assumes the baby is hers. To make it better, her boyfriend's family also does foster care, so we sometimes have several little ones. DD and BF enjoy walking around the mall with strollers full of babies. This spring, I had twin boys, and BF's mom had a little girl just 10 days younger. People thought DD and BF had triplets!
I do love the fact that DD and BF are so comfortable and knowledgeable about kids, just in case the relationship does last.

Thank you all for being completely awesome!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: cabbagegirl28 on July 07, 2011, 02:13:53 PM
I'm in my mid-fifties, and I get all kinds of strange reactions when I'm out with one of my foster babies. (I do transition foster care with newborns.) I have had everything from, "Is this your first?" to the more understandable, "Is that your grandbaby?"
The most fun is when my daughter (18) is with me. Almost everyone assumes the baby is hers. To make it better, her boyfriend's family also does foster care, so we sometimes have several little ones. DD and BF enjoy walking around the mall with strollers full of babies. This spring, I had twin boys, and BF's mom had a little girl just 10 days younger. People thought DD and BF had triplets!
I do love the fact that DD and BF are so comfortable and knowledgeable about kids, just in case the relationship does last.

Thank you all for being completely awesome!

Yeah, that's really great!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: RooRoo on July 08, 2011, 12:14:06 PM
I once offended someone because I was trying to tread carefully. I had just been introduced to a new member (NM) of my dog club, a petite redhead with the usual pale skin. Next to her was a large-framed, bi-racial girl, also very attractive. I asked, "Are you two family?" and she huffed angrily, "She's my daughter!" 

Rats. I lost a potential friend. I should have just kept my mouth shut.  ::)  Not to mention that NM probably thinks I知 a racist of sorts.

In the years since, I have acquired 3 bi-racial grand-nephews, and have a g-niece on the way. NM would probably think it's "karma." Well, if it is, it's for my good deeds!  ;D




Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Samantha on July 08, 2011, 01:16:04 PM
One of my friends got married in May. I was MOH in her wedding. Several guests (on the grooms side) came up to me and said they had no idea Bride had a sister, and how wonderful it was that I could attend the wedding. Bride and I have been friends since we were on the same little league team (so elementary school).

When Bride and I were around 19/20 years old, we went out to dinner with her boyfriend. He was 17 or 18 years older than us. We were sitting there, enjoying our meals, when a woman approached us, put one hand on my shoulder, the other on Bride's shoulder, and said it did her heart good to see two young ladies out having dinner with their Daddy, that so few kids are willing to be seen with their parents, and so on. When her boyfriend corrected the woman, and said that he was dating Bride, she got this look of absolute horror on her face. I guess she thought we were minors, and was horrified at the thought of a literal kid being involved romantically with someone so much older.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: gramma dishes on July 08, 2011, 01:33:35 PM
I once offended someone because I was trying to tread carefully. I had just been introduced to a new member (NM) of my dog club, a petite redhead with the usual pale skin. Next to her was a large-framed, bi-racial girl, also very attractive. I asked, "Are you two family?" and she huffed angrily, "She's my daughter!" 

Rats. I lost a potential friend. I should have just kept my mouth shut.  ::)  Not to mention that NM probably thinks I知 a racist of sorts.

In the years since, I have acquired 3 bi-racial grand-nephews, and have a g-niece on the way. NM would probably think it's "karma." Well, if it is, it's for my good deeds!  ;D

I don't understand why she would be offended by your question.  It wasn't offensive at all and you might have asked  the same question even if they looked a lot alike. 
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: SheltieMom on July 09, 2011, 12:35:39 AM
I'm in my mid-fifties, and I get all kinds of strange reactions when I'm out with one of my foster babies. (I do transition foster care with newborns.) I have had everything from, "Is this your first?" to the more understandable, "Is that your grandbaby?"
The most fun is when my daughter (18) is with me. Almost everyone assumes the baby is hers. To make it better, her boyfriend's family also does foster care, so we sometimes have several little ones. DD and BF enjoy walking around the mall with strollers full of babies. This spring, I had twin boys, and BF's mom had a little girl just 10 days younger. People thought DD and BF had triplets!
I do love the fact that DD and BF are so comfortable and knowledgeable about kids, just in case the relationship does last.

Thank you all for being completely awesome!

Yeah, that's really great!

Honestly, other than raising my own kids, this is the most rewarding thing I've ever done. I love feeling like I'm making a difference in the lives of these babies, and their new families. Walking into a room and placing a baby in the arms of a new mom or dad is an incredible feeling.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: SheltieMom on July 09, 2011, 12:41:26 AM
The sibling age gap to beat them all...

My SIL has a brother 27 years younger than her, a few years younger than her own son!  I can only imagine the assumptions people will make in years to come.

We've got a similar situation in my family. My mother's oldest sister was married and had a 3 year old child when her youngest sister was born. There's a 34 year spread between my oldest cousin and my youngest.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Darcy on July 09, 2011, 03:48:55 AM
I once offended someone because I was trying to tread carefully. I had just been introduced to a new member (NM) of my dog club, a petite redhead with the usual pale skin. Next to her was a large-framed, bi-racial girl, also very attractive. I asked, "Are you two family?" and she huffed angrily, "She's my daughter!" 

Rats. I lost a potential friend. I should have just kept my mouth shut.  ::)  Not to mention that NM probably thinks I知 a racist of sorts.

In the years since, I have acquired 3 bi-racial grand-nephews, and have a g-niece on the way. NM would probably think it's "karma." Well, if it is, it's for my good deeds!  ;D

 ??? I don't know why she got huffy.  You asked what was probably the safest question to ask about whether someone was related or not.  You didn't make a wrong assumption within your question.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Brentwood on July 19, 2011, 11:47:51 PM
I once offended someone because I was trying to tread carefully. I had just been introduced to a new member (NM) of my dog club, a petite redhead with the usual pale skin. Next to her was a large-framed, bi-racial girl, also very attractive. I asked, "Are you two family?" and she huffed angrily, "She's my daughter!" 

Rats. I lost a potential friend. I should have just kept my mouth shut.  ::)  Not to mention that NM probably thinks I知 a racist of sorts.

In the years since, I have acquired 3 bi-racial grand-nephews, and have a g-niece on the way. NM would probably think it's "karma." Well, if it is, it's for my good deeds!  ;D

 ??? I don't know why she got huffy.  You asked what was probably the safest question to ask about whether someone was related or not.  You didn't make a wrong assumption within your question.

Count me among those who are baffled as to why that woman was offended.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Mental Magpie on July 20, 2011, 12:35:37 AM
I'm going to go with she usually got a lot of "There is no way she is your daughter!" paired with already having a bad day for whatever the reason.

I have people tell me that I perm my hair, and no matter how much I tell them that it is natural, they insist it is a perm...Being told that there is no way that is her biological daughter would probably get rather trying after awhile, to the point that she assumes that's what everyone must think.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Irishkitty on July 20, 2011, 04:17:50 AM
I was out shopping with a friend who's about 20 years older. She was advising me on what I was trying on. The shop assistant (SA) chimed in "Oh, yes, listen to your mother!" She got dagger looks from me and a terse "I am not her mother" from my friend. SA didn't even blink, just went on with other things. FTR we look nothing alike - polls apart on hair & eye colour, height, build, weight, etc.

Another friend is married to a very dark skinned asian man (she's blond and blue), and their kids really take after him in looks. (though now their older I can see some similarities to her). But when they were little she was constantly mistaken for their childminder. She was not amused.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Redsoil on July 20, 2011, 08:27:34 AM
I can understand that it would be galling to have people continually assume you're not related to someone very physically different, and it would be very hard to rein that irritation in.  However, I don't think it's necessarily a heinous crime on the part of strangers not to make the intuitive leap of familial links when the physical resemblances are poles apart.  I'd tend to cut people some slack.  Likewise, in other scenarios were a relationship is misconstrued.

For years, people often assumed my husband and I were brother and sister.  No skin off my nose - I'd just set them straight if it came up in conversation.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: helixa on July 22, 2011, 04:48:24 PM
What gets me is how many strangers think they have the right to confront another absolute stranger on whatever relationship they have.

I'm not talking about the people you might be having an interaction with, but those with no involvement whatsoever who just have to make a comment, presumably to make you feel bad. If it was a teenager with a child, what do they expect to happen by telling them off? All they want is to vindictively hurt someone for doing something they disapprove of.

Sorry, sanctimonious busybodies irritate me somewhat.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: weeblewobble on July 31, 2011, 07:02:12 AM
Yeah, my Dad and I went on a trip to LA together recently and went to a fancy restaurant to celebrate our last night in town.  We had to correct the waiter several times about what Dad's "lovely wife" would like. I ended up so creeped out, I didn't really enjoy the meal.

ETA: HA! DH just reminded me of when he, my mom, my sister, my brother, and I went on a retreat with an organization we were all involved in when DH and I were in our late teens. DH strongly resembles my sister, believe it or not. Both have intensely dark hair and eyes, tan easily and have very straight, pert noses.  My brother and I resemble each other, and look a lot like my mom.

However, by the end of the week, other people at the retreat were completely confused about our relationships.  (We didn't use last names often. Name tags were first name only.) The most common theory was that Sister and DH were my mom's kids- I was dating DH, and that my brother (then age 9) was our son.  At that point, it was just funny to hear the different configurations. We didn't get offended.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: zyrs on August 01, 2011, 12:57:07 AM
I once offended someone because I was trying to tread carefully. I had just been introduced to a new member (NM) of my dog club, a petite redhead with the usual pale skin. Next to her was a large-framed, bi-racial girl, also very attractive. I asked, "Are you two family?" and she huffed angrily, "She's my daughter!" 

Rats. I lost a potential friend. I should have just kept my mouth shut.  ::)  Not to mention that NM probably thinks I知 a racist of sorts.

In the years since, I have acquired 3 bi-racial grand-nephews, and have a g-niece on the way. NM would probably think it's "karma." Well, if it is, it's for my good deeds!  ;D

"I'm sorry, it's just that you don't look old enough to have a daughter that age.  Please forgive me."
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Biker Granny on August 01, 2011, 08:38:03 AM
I love this thread...it just reminded me of something my Dad and I did...

BG...He was a Pastor(now retired) in small country Churches.  After he and my mother split up he got moved to a very small rural community (2500 pop).  As I worked most Sunday's it took a few weeks for me to get to a service.

This didn't stop us from dining together often.  Exploring the eateries in town was called for as he didn't cook and I worked odd hours. Granted it didn't take long when there were only 4 to choose from ;D.

I went to get my hair cut and imagine my surprise when the new pastor and his VERY young girlfriend was the talk of the town.  I almost spoke up and said...HELLO!!! I sitting right here!!!! but the ornery in me wouldn't let me.  I got quite the earful!  It seems that this young harpy was the reason the Pastor's marriage broke up and it was a shame that the church had to put up with such a disgrace for a least 4 years.

I went home and filled my Dad in on what a terrible sinner he was and he just roared....he found it just as funny as I did.

So here it came...the Sunday morning I was finally able to attend.....I was sitting in the pew near the front with a friend and the wispers began..."CRUD MONKEYS! there SHE is.  I can't BELIEVE she showed her face...blah blah blah"

Dad winked at me from the pulpit and took great pleasure in introducing me to everyone and his daughter.   >:D

Lots of red faces in Church that day.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Redsoil on August 01, 2011, 08:41:42 AM
Oh I LIKE that one, BG!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Spoder on August 01, 2011, 09:45:59 AM

For years, people often assumed my husband and I were brother and sister.  No skin off my nose - I'd just set them straight if it came up in conversation.

See, *that* I could deal with. On the other hand, when my brother and I lived together, we got mistaken for husband and wife a few times. That made me  :-X. (Except for the sweet Indian woman at the local fish and chip shop, who, when corrected, asked us how much older he was than me.  ;D. He's four years younger).
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Carpathia on August 03, 2011, 01:52:17 PM
I work in a library and to join children we have to have a parent, grandparent or guardian co-sign. After a couple of instances of "OK, now I need your mum to sign here" only to find out that person was older sister/childminder/friend's mum I learnt my lesson and ask all the kids "Do you have a parent or guardian here today?". If the adult says "So-and-so wants to join the library" I will say "Do they have a parent/guardian here?"

Just the other day my daughter told me that someoen had asked "why does your sister always drop you off at school?". I was very happy about that!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: mstigerlily on August 03, 2011, 03:48:44 PM
I'm not biracial, but I look like my dad.

My mom has the best reply for when people comment on how I look nothing like her. Her reply was always "She looks like me on the inside!"
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: stitchygreyanonymouse on August 23, 2011, 10:17:04 AM
I once offended someone because I was trying to tread carefully. I had just been introduced to a new member (NM) of my dog club, a petite redhead with the usual pale skin. Next to her was a large-framed, bi-racial girl, also very attractive. I asked, "Are you two family?" and she huffed angrily, "She's my daughter!" 

Rats. I lost a potential friend. I should have just kept my mouth shut.  ::)  Not to mention that NM probably thinks I知 a racist of sorts.

In the years since, I have acquired 3 bi-racial grand-nephews, and have a g-niece on the way. NM would probably think it's "karma." Well, if it is, it's for my good deeds!  ;D

"I'm sorry, it's just that you don't look old enough to have a daughter that age.  Please forgive me."

That can really backfire too. I suppose some women would be flattered (like my mom, when she would be mistaken for my sister), but on the other hand, they could take it as a dig容specially if they really were a young mother.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Jaelle on August 24, 2011, 05:02:45 PM
A co-worker/friend and I went together to give blood last week. The very chatty nurse asked me if she was my daughter! I'm 37. She's 29.  ::)  I did tell her, though, to give her the laugh ... she's stressed about turning 30. ;)

DH was at the mall with YDS when YDS was a baby ... and was complimented on his grandson. DH was 41 at the time. He had some trouble with that one.

I was looking at an apartment once when we were just dating. I was 27, he was 34. The landlord asked if he were my father! And honest, DH has a beard and looks pretty ageless, but he doesn't look anywhere near that old!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Larrabee on August 24, 2011, 05:05:36 PM


DH was at the mall with YDS when YDS was a baby ... and was complimented on his grandson. DH was 41 at the time. He had some trouble with that one.


That can be tricky to judge, there's an overlap, an age range where its entirely possible for you to be either the parent or grandparent of a young child. 

I know a girl who has a sibling younger than her own children, so her dad is grandpa to the two year old on his left knee and daddy to the 18 month old on his right knee!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Mopsy428 on August 24, 2011, 08:13:49 PM
I had a friend whose mother was of Mexican heritage with a dark complexion. His father was a Caucasian American. My friend looked like his mother. Unfortunately, when we were in 3rd grade, his Mom died of lupus.  :( His father remarried, and his second wife is Caucasian. Many, many people assume that my friend was adopted. He didn't get offended, just smiled and explained the situation.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: exitzero on August 25, 2011, 09:47:15 AM
I am the guardian of a man with Down Syndrome. I took him to the doctor a couple of weeks ago.

The nurse asked if I was his mother.


He's 60, I'm 50.

I think it's time to start coloring my hair again.   :(
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Gumbysqueak on August 25, 2011, 10:11:05 AM
Our middle boy and girlfriend would get rude comments and nasty looks when they would take out babygumbysqueaks.  DH, middle boy, GF, baby and I went out to dinner.  We were waiting for our table and they were playing with the baby.  A snarky lady goes loudly to another lady, "teenage parents!"

Alas, DH has been called my father several times. 

Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Nora on August 25, 2011, 10:42:09 AM
I am the guardian of a man with Down Syndrome. I took him to the doctor a couple of weeks ago.

The nurse asked if I was his mother.


He's 60, I'm 50.

I think it's time to start coloring my hair again.   :(

Aaaw! You poor thing! I do have to say that many people, even professionals, have difficulty judging the age of people with Down syndrome.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: exitzero on August 25, 2011, 10:59:35 AM
I am the guardian of a man with Down Syndrome. I took him to the doctor a couple of weeks ago.

The nurse asked if I was his mother.


He's 60, I'm 50.

I think it's time to start coloring my hair again.   :(

Aaaw! You poor thing! I do have to say that many people, even professionals, have difficulty judging the age of people with Down syndrome.

Yeah, he does look young. I tell him he is a "carrier"--he stays young while he makes everyone around him old!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: bansidhe on August 29, 2011, 03:03:56 AM
I once offended someone because I was trying to tread carefully. I had just been introduced to a new member (NM) of my dog club, a petite redhead with the usual pale skin. Next to her was a large-framed, bi-racial girl, also very attractive. I asked, "Are you two family?" and she huffed angrily, "She's my daughter!" 

Rats. I lost a potential friend. I should have just kept my mouth shut.  ::)  Not to mention that NM probably thinks I知 a racist of sorts.

"Family" is a slang term for "g@y." Could be she got so huffy because she thought you were suggesting she was in a romatic rel@tionship with her daughter. Or maybe she's just a crabby, easily offended person.  :-\

When my husband and I were younger, people were forever assuming that we were siblings. We do look vaguely alike.

A rel@tionship assumption that left me open-mouthed actually involved someone becoming confused enough to flat-out ask in a very rude manner, rather than assuming. This happened to a friend of a friend. He and his wife are white and there is an approximately 20-year age difference between the two of them. They have adopted two foster children who are of two different races - neither of them white. The family went out to eat one night and upon approaching their table, their waitress stopped and gawked at them for a minute, then demanded, "I don't get this whole dynamic here. Who's related to who?"  :o
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Mental Magpie on August 29, 2011, 09:17:39 AM
I once offended someone because I was trying to tread carefully. I had just been introduced to a new member (NM) of my dog club, a petite redhead with the usual pale skin. Next to her was a large-framed, bi-racial girl, also very attractive. I asked, "Are you two family?" and she huffed angrily, "She's my daughter!" 

Rats. I lost a potential friend. I should have just kept my mouth shut.  ::)  Not to mention that NM probably thinks I知 a racist of sorts.

"Family" is a slang term for "g@y." Could be she got so huffy because she thought you were suggesting she was in a romatic rel@tionship with her daughter. Or maybe she's just a crabby, easily offended person.  :-\

When my husband and I were younger, people were forever assuming that we were siblings. We do look vaguely alike.

A rel@tionship assumption that left me open-mouthed actually involved someone becoming confused enough to flat-out ask in a very rude manner, rather than assuming. This happened to a friend of a friend. He and his wife are white and there is an approximately 20-year age difference between the two of them. They have adopted two foster children who are of two different races - neither of them white. The family went out to eat one night and upon approaching their table, their waitress stopped and gawked at them for a minute, then demanded, "I don't get this whole dynamic here. Who's related to who?"  :o

Wow, the gall.  I cannot pretend that I might not have snapped back with, "There is no need for you to "get it"," followed by a blank stare.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Brentwood on August 30, 2011, 11:57:46 AM
It's interesting how many young women seem to get mistaken for their fathers' girlfriends, as opposed to sons being mistaken for their mothers' boyfriends.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: BeeGee01 on August 30, 2011, 09:51:33 PM
It's interesting how many young women seem to get mistaken for their fathers' girlfriends, as opposed to sons being mistaken for their mothers' boyfriends.

Ha, that has happened a few times to me and my son. 

The first time he was about 16, I was 39.  My husband (my kids step-dad), myself and my son were driving through the night to go get my girls who had been visiting my parents.  We stopped in a gas station about 2 in the morning and both my son and I were getting coffee.  We had walked into the gas station bantering back and forth about something.  We were arguing but in a joking, light-hearted way.  After a few minutes, the clerk said "Ya'll sound like me and my boyfriend, how long ya'll been dating."   My son looked over at the woman while he was stirring his coffee and said "Lady, you are giving me issues."  I just burst out laughing and about that time my husband walked in and asked what was so funny.

The second time is when son was a freshman in college, I had to take my MD, who was then about 7 or 8 to a specialist.  Son was home on spring break so he went along.  The doctor walked in and saw me and said, "you must be the mom, nice to meet you."  Then he looked over at son who was holding MD on his lap and the doctor said "This must be the.......father?"  He was very confused.  About that time all of us just started laughing and I said, no, no, no, that is my son. 

I have been told that I don't look my age, to the extent that I am 49 and get told I look to be in about my mid-30'.  Some people think it is great to look younger, but it has its drawbacks.  I have four kids, two in their mid-20's, two in HS.  All from my first marriage.  When I talk about having the older kids I get strange looks and I have gotten to the point where I just go ahead and say, "Yeah, I'm old enough, I'm 49."

I get tired of people thinking I had my oldest when I was 15. 

Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: ------ on April 13, 2012, 02:51:28 PM
I have had situations where people assumed my husband was my father. While I was flattered, he certainly wasn't.  ::)
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Stranger on April 13, 2012, 03:27:30 PM
My best friend and I had daughters 2 days apart. When our gilrs were about a year old, we went on a shopping trip for which I used my twin stroller.

About 20 gazillion  ;D people asked me if the girls are twins. The kicker? One daughter is white, the other is not  ;D Initially I said "no, this one (pointing at DD) is mine and this one (pointing at friend) is my friend's". Later is was entertaining to exclaim "yes!" and watch the confusion dawn on the very person who asked the question.

My sisters are identical twins. They are in their 30s, and they are both intellectually disabled. They are also blond, blue-eyed beuaties. Both my children are blond with blue eyes, too. People often comment that I am very brave to have four children  :) I am only two years older than my sisters, lol!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: laud_shy_girl on April 13, 2012, 05:28:03 PM
DH brother is 27 years younger than him and will be just under two when his niece/nephew finally gets here.

DH and I have been repeatedly mistaken for brother and sister and for some odd reason, German  :o We both have blond hair and blue eyes which is the only thing I can think it is. In fact even Germans think we are German. I had a very nice lady come up to me in the street and start asking directions in German. (I live in England)

On my 26Th birthday I had a lady ask if I was my BIL GF Mother. I was at a wedding so we were looking quite well turned out. she is 6 years younger than me. I was not happy.  :(
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 13, 2012, 05:39:20 PM
When DH was in the Marines and showed my picture to his coworkers, some teased him for "robbing the cradle."   Only we're the same age. LOL  Funny thing is I don't get it as I think DH has a baby face, which is really evident when he's not sporting a beard, which he never did while in the corps.

Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Chip2 on May 15, 2012, 05:11:06 PM
It's interesting how many young women seem to get mistaken for their fathers' girlfriends, as opposed to sons being mistaken for their mothers' boyfriends.

When I pick my SSon up from college we always stop for a decent lunch to just talk and unwind from the road. Usually there's no issues, but once a waitress got huffy with me, and treated my son kind of coolly. I came back from the restroom to find my son trying not to bust out laughing. He was wearing a t-shirt that read 'G*a*y? Fine by me!' and I was wearing a deep purple polo; apparently our demeanor when we entered the restaurant came across as romantic rather familial. The waitress told my son that he shouldn't be looking for a sugar daddy but should instead try to find somebody his own age. We got moved to another section and laughed about it all the way home.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: SiotehCat on May 15, 2012, 05:30:14 PM
People are often asking if DS is my little brother. We have been asked at the doctors office, the airport, his school and other, more social,outings.

It flatters me a little, but it makes DS angry for some reason. Like being my brother is a whole lot worse then being my son.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: kherbert05 on May 15, 2012, 05:58:47 PM
When I was at the museum, I would tell the kids to "ask the grown up you are with". It solved a lot of the problems about if someone was mom or grandmom or babysitter.




Growing up my parents had to ask relatives to stop comparing us to family members. I strongly resemble my Dad. Sis takes after Mom. The opposite sides of the family couldn't see the resemblances because they only knew the other spouse as an adult. The comparisons were making us feel rejected, because they always see another relative in every other cousin. Deal was they knew both sides of our cousins family back 3 - 5 generations, because our parents were from small communities and the siblings married into families that were friends from generations back.


Sis and i were often lectured about being teenaged parents, while looking after younger cousins. More about the attitude than the looks there though.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Bluenomi on May 15, 2012, 10:46:44 PM
It's interesting how many young women seem to get mistaken for their fathers' girlfriends, as opposed to sons being mistaken for their mothers' boyfriends.

This assumption almost got my Dad into trouble once. We were taking a family holiday but needed 2 cars. We were leaving the UK and were at French Immigration at the Chunnel. Dad and one sister (who was about 11 at the time) were in the front car and Mum, grandma, 2 other sisters and I were in the next car. The immigration guy almost called the cops on Dad thinking he was in a relationship with an underaged girl! Never mind they look a heck of a lot a like and had the same surname on their passports!

It wasn't until Dad explained his wife and rest of his family were in the next car and they checked with Mum did they let him through!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Mopsy428 on May 27, 2012, 11:50:15 AM
It's interesting how many young women seem to get mistaken for their fathers' girlfriends, as opposed to sons being mistaken for their mothers' boyfriends.

This assumption almost got my Dad into trouble once. We were taking a family holiday but needed 2 cars. We were leaving the UK and were at French Immigration at the Chunnel. Dad and one sister (who was about 11 at the time) were in the front car and Mum, grandma, 2 other sisters and I were in the next car. The immigration guy almost called the cops on Dad thinking he was in a relationship with an underaged girl! Never mind they look a heck of a lot a like and had the same surname on their passports!

It wasn't until Dad explained his wife and rest of his family were in the next car and they checked with Mum did they let him through!
That's really bizarre. Even if it was just Dad and daughter, is he not allowed to take his daughter on vacation by himself? Wow!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Gwywnnydd on May 27, 2012, 12:27:32 PM
It's interesting how many young women seem to get mistaken for their fathers' girlfriends, as opposed to sons being mistaken for their mothers' boyfriends.

This assumption almost got my Dad into trouble once. We were taking a family holiday but needed 2 cars. We were leaving the UK and were at French Immigration at the Chunnel. Dad and one sister (who was about 11 at the time) were in the front car and Mum, grandma, 2 other sisters and I were in the next car. The immigration guy almost called the cops on Dad thinking he was in a relationship with an underaged girl! Never mind they look a heck of a lot a like and had the same surname on their passports!

It wasn't until Dad explained his wife and rest of his family were in the next car and they checked with Mum did they let him through!
That's really bizarre. Even if it was just Dad and daughter, is he not allowed to take his daughter on vacation by himself? Wow!

Well, if the girl's mother is not approving of it, then No, he's not. Policies like that are meant to address situations where one parent takes the child Without the other parent's consent, interfering with a custody order. There were several high- profile cases where one parent kidnapped a child to another country to avoid losing custody. Border agents have been on the lookout for something like that for at least 15 years...
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Mopsy428 on May 27, 2012, 01:51:46 PM
It's interesting how many young women seem to get mistaken for their fathers' girlfriends, as opposed to sons being mistaken for their mothers' boyfriends.

This assumption almost got my Dad into trouble once. We were taking a family holiday but needed 2 cars. We were leaving the UK and were at French Immigration at the Chunnel. Dad and one sister (who was about 11 at the time) were in the front car and Mum, grandma, 2 other sisters and I were in the next car. The immigration guy almost called the cops on Dad thinking he was in a relationship with an underaged girl! Never mind they look a heck of a lot a like and had the same surname on their passports!

It wasn't until Dad explained his wife and rest of his family were in the next car and they checked with Mum did they let him through!
That's really bizarre. Even if it was just Dad and daughter, is he not allowed to take his daughter on vacation by himself? Wow!

Well, if the girl's mother is not approving of it, then No, he's not. Policies like that are meant to address situations where one parent takes the child Without the other parent's consent, interfering with a custody order. There were several high- profile cases where one parent kidnapped a child to another country to avoid losing custody. Border agents have been on the lookout for something like that for at least 15 years...
Obviously if the father is doing that, he's committing a crime. However, that wasn't the border agent's concern. The border agent was concerned the father was having a rel@tionship with an under-aged girl, not that the father was violating a custody order or kidnapping a child. The agent's assumption is a bizarre thing to assume simply only seeing a man with a young girl without anything more.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Asharah on May 27, 2012, 05:24:43 PM
It's interesting how many young women seem to get mistaken for their fathers' girlfriends, as opposed to sons being mistaken for their mothers' boyfriends.

This assumption almost got my Dad into trouble once. We were taking a family holiday but needed 2 cars. We were leaving the UK and were at French Immigration at the Chunnel. Dad and one sister (who was about 11 at the time) were in the front car and Mum, grandma, 2 other sisters and I were in the next car. The immigration guy almost called the cops on Dad thinking he was in a relationship with an underaged girl! Never mind they look a heck of a lot a like and had the same surname on their passports!

It wasn't until Dad explained his wife and rest of his family were in the next car and they checked with Mum did they let him through!
That's really bizarre. Even if it was just Dad and daughter, is he not allowed to take his daughter on vacation by himself? Wow!

Well, if the girl's mother is not approving of it, then No, he's not. Policies like that are meant to address situations where one parent takes the child Without the other parent's consent, interfering with a custody order. There were several high- profile cases where one parent kidnapped a child to another country to avoid losing custody. Border agents have been on the lookout for something like that for at least 15 years...
Obviously if the father is doing that, he's committing a crime. However, that wasn't the border agent's concern. The border agent was concerned the father was having a rel@tionship with an under-aged girl, not that the father was violating a custody order or kidnapping a child. The agent's assumption is a bizarre thing to assume simply only seeing a man with a young girl without anything more.
A poster on another BB I frequent had quite an experience crossing the Canadian border with his two young children. He often visited Canada with the children without his wife coming along, but this was the only time they crossed at Quebec. He had all the proper documentation, but the officials apparently decided their was something wrong about a father traveling with his kids without Mom along. They separated the three of them and tried interrogating the kids about why their mother wasn't there. Son wouldn't say anything because he doesn't talk to strangers. Daughter on the other hand...they had a woman questioning her who only spoke French.  ::) Daughter didn't understand French, didn't realize it was a foreign language, she thought the woman was "baby-talking" her, which she doesn't like, and started yelling "What's wrong with you? Why don't you talk right?" Finally they get someone in with her who speaks English. He asks where her father is. Daughter marches out of room, points to Dad and says "He's right here! Are you stupid?"  ;D  When they're finally released, Dad explains to kids within earshot of officials, "Some people just don't think Dads should spend time with their children."
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: kherbert05 on May 27, 2012, 06:59:29 PM
The Dad's crossing the border with kids made me laugh in a sad way.


In 1976 a bunch of Mom's relatives were going to be on PEI, ones mom had not seen in years, and the rest of us had never seen. Mom wanted to stay and extended period of time.  Thing was Miller was doing a bunch of specials that summer with the both the bicentennial  and the  Montreal Olympics, so Dad couldn't take off as long as normal. 

 Mom was a Canadian citizen. After a bad traveling experience with her boss's kids that included being detained for kidnapping across a boarder, Mom didn't want to travel alone with us. So Dad's Mom went with us. We traveled up together with Dad. Then Dad went home. We traveled back with Mom and Mimi. No-one was accused of kidnapping this time - we were accused of smuggling Levies. Apparently it was common to smuggle Levies in 2 sizes only, in groups of 5  - 8 pairs of jeans, 2 jean jackets - all embroidered with the same 2 names </sarcasm> I come by that sarcasm naturally - because that is the tone Mimi took with the US customs guy after pointing out the difference in temperature on PEI and in Houston during August.  His supervisor was not happy with him.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: SeptGurl on May 29, 2012, 07:15:38 AM
I have had situations where people assumed my husband was my father. While I was flattered, he certainly wasn't.  ::)

This happens to DH and me with some frequency. To be fair to those who make the assumption, DH has salt-and-pepper gray hair, and he's 13 years older than I am. I'm told I look younger than my age. Usually, the people who make the assumption are more embarrassed than we are when we tell them that I'm DH's wife. I tend to think that our matching wedding bands are an observable sign of our rel@tionship, but maybe that's an interesting assumption on my part.  ;)

We experienced an interesting assumption from a restaurant cashier once. DS was with DH and me, and the cashier assumed that DS, who was 10 at the time, was our grandchild. She asked DS, "Did you have a good lunch with your grandparents?" My best guess is that she was basing her assumption on DH's appearance. DH is DS's stepdad. And while it is possible that I am old enough to be DS's grandmother, I wasn't amused by the assumption.

Oh ... I thought of another one. I'm Facebook friends with one of my dad's cousins. My dad died 7 years ago. DH and I were married almost 4 years ago. The cousin commented on some of our wedding pictures that are posted on Facebook. He congratulated us in one comment on a photo, and then he asked if the man in another photo was my dad. The photo was of DH and me lighting our unity candle. Beyond the fact that DH and my dad wore glasses, they bear no resemblance to each other, not to mention the fact that my dad's presence at the wedding would have been a miracle. I didn't reply to the question. Fortunately, the cousin deleted his comment.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: RebeccainGA on May 29, 2012, 09:56:03 AM
With 25+ years between the ages of me and DP, and with all the caregiving that I've had to do of late for DP thanks to the cancer, I get a lot of  'are you the daughter? Are you a nurse?". It was even funnier when DP was in the hospital - I made sure everyone knew she had a wife AND a daughter, but that her daughter was in the Air National Guard and wasn't likely to be there. I still had to identify myself as 'the wife' to every single new nurse. They just couldn't wrap their heads around me being not the daughter!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: nuit93 on May 30, 2012, 12:01:32 AM
I have a few to share

-I have cousins who are mixed-race.  People sometimes wouldn't believe us when we said we were related.

-When I got my driver's license, my youngest sister was in elementary school.  Often it was my job to pick her up after school.  I got a few dirty looks from people that I didn't quite understand--it wasn't until later I thought they must have assumed I was a teen mom.

-When my SO was in the hospital, people assumed we were married (we're not, but it's easier to let them believe that).  Thing is...we're also p*o*l*y.  At one point, I and one of his other girlfriends were sitting on the bed with him.  The nurse was changing shifts and told the incoming nurse "well, that's his wife (gesturing to me)...and we're not sure who that is (gesturing to the g/f).  We had many a giggle over that.

-At the funeral of one of my uncles, I got mistaken for my aunt's *sister*.  Never mind that the youngest aunt was still a good 17 years my senior.  Admittedly I was a bit tired and had been having a rough day.  I wanted to say, "no, I'm the daughter of one of her YOUNGER sisters" but that would have felt rude.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: MariaE on May 30, 2012, 02:41:57 AM
I have on more than one occasion had people tell me how much I look like my mother, and that it's so obvious that we're related... Only, what they're really pointing at is a photo of my aunt who isn't even my aunt by blood, but by marriage. We share no DNA whatsoever.

... That said, I could do a lot worse than to look like her :)
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Nora on May 31, 2012, 02:42:29 PM
When my BF, Bob, was a child, his parents took him and his brother on a vacation to England. They took the ferry/boat to Newcastle, and upon arrival Bobs mom took him and his brother and walked off while their dad got the car and drove. They where supposed to meet on shore.

Naturally Mom and two boys (11 and 7) where asked for their passports, at which point mom (who is terrible at English, and get's really nervous very fast) realized that her husband had walked off with all of the passports. Bobs mom also looks a LOT younger than her age, always has, and had Bob when she was 17, so trust me when I say she looked way to young to have two kids aged 11 and 7. This combined with her non-existing English skills, profuse stammering, and sweaty panicked look made the authorities suspect she was a babysitter who'd kidnapped the two boys. They where about to separate them and call the police, when dad waltzes in wondering what the holdup was...

Poor Bobs mom, she never got over the embarrassment of almost being arrested for kidnapping her own kids. She blushes fiercely red when talking about it 20-something years later.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: KenveeB on May 31, 2012, 10:29:30 PM
My best friend and I had daughters 2 days apart. When our gilrs were about a year old, we went on a shopping trip for which I used my twin stroller.

About 20 gazillion  ;D people asked me if the girls are twins. The kicker? One daughter is white, the other is not  ;D Initially I said "no, this one (pointing at DD) is mine and this one (pointing at friend) is my friend's". Later is was entertaining to exclaim "yes!" and watch the confusion dawn on the very person who asked the question.

My coworker is Caucasian, his wife is Mexican. They have twin boys -- one blond-haired, blue eyed Caucasian-looking boy, and one dark-haired, dark-eyed Hispanic-looking boy.  It's amazing how genes work out sometimes.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: kherbert05 on June 04, 2012, 11:07:03 AM
My best friend and I had daughters 2 days apart. When our gilrs were about a year old, we went on a shopping trip for which I used my twin stroller.

About 20 gazillion  ;D people asked me if the girls are twins. The kicker? One daughter is white, the other is not  ;D Initially I said "no, this one (pointing at DD) is mine and this one (pointing at friend) is my friend's". Later is was entertaining to exclaim "yes!" and watch the confusion dawn on the very person who asked the question.

My coworker is Caucasian, his wife is Mexican. They have twin boys -- one blond-haired, blue eyed Caucasian-looking boy, and one dark-haired, dark-eyed Hispanic-looking boy.  It's amazing how genes work out sometimes.


There is also this family from England. They had 2 sets of 2 fraternal twins. In both cases one child has more Caucasian coloring and features, and the other more African coloring and features. In other words one takes after Mom and the other takes after Dad.


http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2082429/Mixed-race-couple-Dean-Durrant-and-Alison-Spooner-celebrate-after-having-a-second-set-of-black-and-white-twins.html (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2082429/Mixed-race-couple-Dean-Durrant-and-Alison-Spooner-celebrate-after-having-a-second-set-of-black-and-white-twins.html)
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Jones on July 19, 2012, 11:32:09 AM
My SIL is a different race from me/DH/my kids. She is also about 10 years younger than DH, and looks even younger than she is. Somehow, she's been mistaken as the children's parents by multiple people; fortunately, she hasn't gotten the teenage mother lecture, although DH gets dirty looks when they are out together with the kids, and one older woman asked SIL how she had SUCH a LARGE baby with her petite frame.

People shock me. Probably should get used to them though.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: FauxFoodist on July 19, 2012, 02:12:18 PM
The sibling age gap to beat them all...

My SIL has a brother 27 years younger than her, a few years younger than her own son!  I can only imagine the assumptions people will make in years to come.

I thought I'd have you beat, but my mother is only 24 years older than her youngest sister (who is nine months older than me).  I have two siblings who are older than her.  They didn't grow up together (my mom and aunt) so those assumptions never happened (and we're a pretty young looking bunch so it was more people thinking for years my parents were my siblings).  Mom moved out before Aunt was conceived -- my grandmother decided to try for Aunt after Mom and my sibs moved to the US to join Dad because she missed my sister so much (the first grandchild).
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Adelaide on July 23, 2012, 03:23:21 PM
My brother is 18 and looks like he's 30 and I'm 22 and look 17 without doing my makeup/hair, so we're often mistaken for a couple. It's quite vexing.  (Whenever I walk into Sephora the saleswomen insist that glittery eyeshadow and hair tinsel are the "new things!" for prom.)

And I like older men, but even when I'm out and Dressed Up with the appropriate makeup/outfit on, someone will inadvertently assume the guy I'm with is my father-this happens even if he's only 10 or so years older. Once, as a senior in college, I was out with someone and the waitress, who I knew casually, chirped "Oh, is this your daddy?" I held my breath because he was typically a rather serious person, former military, and I didn't think he'd take kindly to being referred to as my father. He just winked and said "Only sometimes" before handing her his credit card. After I told him not to make sugar daddy comments to people I had to see again, he patted me on the head and told me that I was breaking the curfew law.   ::)
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Dazi on July 23, 2012, 04:30:45 PM
The sibling age gap to beat them all...

My SIL has a brother 27 years younger than her, a few years younger than her own son!  I can only imagine the assumptions people will make in years to come.

I thought I'd have you beat, but my mother is only 24 years older than her youngest sister (who is nine months older than me).  I have two siblings who are older than her.  They didn't grow up together (my mom and aunt) so those assumptions never happened (and we're a pretty young looking bunch so it was more people thinking for years my parents were my siblings).  Mom moved out before Aunt was conceived -- my grandmother decided to try for Aunt after Mom and my sibs moved to the US to join Dad because she missed my sister so much (the first grandchild).

My Stepmother has you both beat with a younger sibling that was born when she was 33.  After her mother passed away her father married a much younger woman and they had a child when he was in his mid 60s.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Jaelle on August 07, 2012, 12:59:36 PM
DH just called me at work with a certain bemused tone in his voice.  >:D

He was walking with our 4-year-old son at a local park when they passed two women, one about 60, the other perhaps 80.

They called out, "Oh, your grandson is so cute!"

He handled it well; just responded, "Thanks, but he's my son" with a smile. (DH is 45. Technically, he could be DS' grandpa.)

That's when it gets even weirder. One woman felt obligated to point out that, oh, she just thought that because DH has so much gray in his beard.  :o ::)  Then the other chimed in that "Gray is a gift from God!"

OK, then. I don't think he was so much bothered by the assumption as baffled by the fact they just had to point out his gray.  ::)
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: gramma dishes on August 07, 2012, 01:02:45 PM
"Gray is a gift from God!"

I never realized God loved me so much!!   ;D
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: MummyPumpkin83 on August 13, 2012, 07:23:39 AM
The sibling age gap to beat them all...

My SIL has a brother 27 years younger than her, a few years younger than her own son!  I can only imagine the assumptions people will make in years to come.

I thought I'd have you beat, but my mother is only 24 years older than her youngest sister (who is nine months older than me).  I have two siblings who are older than her.  They didn't grow up together (my mom and aunt) so those assumptions never happened (and we're a pretty young looking bunch so it was more people thinking for years my parents were my siblings).  Mom moved out before Aunt was conceived -- my grandmother decided to try for Aunt after Mom and my sibs moved to the US to join Dad because she missed my sister so much (the first grandchild).

My Stepmother has you both beat with a younger sibling that was born when she was 33.  After her mother passed away her father married a much younger woman and they had a child when he was in his mid 60s.



I've just read about this family http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/three-generations-of-family-give-birth-1156795 in the uk.

This man has become a father (again) grandfather and great-grandfather within the space of 3 months.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: Knitterly on August 13, 2012, 08:52:51 AM
That was a really interesting story!! :)
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: MummyPumpkin83 on August 13, 2012, 05:25:22 PM
Should have said, it could be interesting if they are all in the same class at school!
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: kherbert05 on August 13, 2012, 05:42:06 PM
Should have said, it could be interesting if they are all in the same class at school!


I've had an Aunt and Niece in the same class/grade before. The aunt liked to play it up a bit when they were little. They are quite good friends now.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: PastryGoddess on August 13, 2012, 07:34:21 PM
I have 3 sets of aunts who are really aunt/niece combos.  My Grandmother (mom's mom) and her mother(mom's grandmom} were pregnant at the same time, 3 different times.  They call each other sisters and I call them all aunts
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: FauxFoodist on August 13, 2012, 08:45:16 PM
I've had an Aunt and Niece in the same class/grade before. The aunt liked to play it up a bit when they were little. They are quite good friends now.

I was in a college class with my youngest aunt once (the one I mention upthread).  We ran into each other on the first day of class, not knowing the other was attending the school.  She was embarrassed to be know as my aunt so she asked me not to tell anyone (at the time this happened, we would've been the same age since it was a summer class, I would've just had my 18th birthday and her birthday would not yet have happened so she also would've still been 18).  I thought it was hilarious, but I didn't tell anyone in class, as she wished.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: wonderfullyanonymous on August 14, 2012, 07:02:47 AM
One night I was ringing out a Hispanic couple with three children. There were 2 older, and an infant. The whole family looked alike, same features, skin color, hair, except for the baby. While the baby had the features, she was lighter skinned, brown eyes, but FLAMING red hair.

I said, I'm really sorry, but I have to ask, where did she get that red hair? I said, I can tell she is yours, her features are exact to the 2 older kids, and she resembles you two. 

They laughed, and she said she has an uncle with the same hair color.

I guess that's not the first time who got that question.

No, they said, it wasn't.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: kherbert05 on August 14, 2012, 07:29:16 AM
One night I was ringing out a Hispanic couple with three children. There were 2 older, and an infant. The whole family looked alike, same features, skin color, hair, except for the baby. While the baby had the features, she was lighter skinned, brown eyes, but FLAMING red hair.

I said, I'm really sorry, but I have to ask, where did she get that red hair? I said, I can tell she is yours, her features are exact to the 2 older kids, and she resembles you two. 

They laughed, and she said she has an uncle with the same hair color.

I guess that's not the first time who got that question.

No, they said, it wasn't.
Brett has the most gorgeous hair color - but he is going to have trouble naming it on any official document. Depending on the light it he is a towhead, dirty blond, strawberry blond, red head. One of BIL's relatives was marveling at the mystery of genetics and mentioned that Brett looks like an exact cross between Sis and BIL except for the hair no-one in either family is a towhead or redhead. Sis and I burst out laughing. Sis was a towhead, Mom and I both have dark hair with natural red highlights. Then we started counting off the towheads and red heads in each of the four branches of our family that we really know. 2 of those branches are Irish decent, 1 is Scottish both with a couple of  Arcadian great-great grandparents. I'm the only one on Dad's side in the 1st cousins that had dark hair as a child out of 5. On Mom's side there are 26 or so first cousins and only 3 of us had dark hair as children. Most of the towheads darkened in adolescence to dirty blond/light brown.
Title: Re: making assumptions about family relationsships
Post by: *new*mommyagain36 on August 30, 2012, 09:14:38 AM
About a month ago DS (18) and I were at a family members church gathering.  My hubby and toddler daughter were also with us.  Several hours into the day an elderly woman approached me in the ladies room and said "he's a little young for you dear."  Confused, I asked for clarification.  She had assumed my son was my boyfriend!  I smiled and said, "he's my son, ma'am" and walked out barely able to hold in my laughter.  That was definitely "an interesting assumption!" on her part.