Etiquette School is in session! > "So kind of you to take an interest."

Holy boundary stomping, Batman!

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Mental Magpie:
I wish Inwould have remembered to use this on both occasions. In the first instance, I indeed shut down the conversation, but I think I could have handled it better. In the second instance, I'm afraid, due to feeling attacked, that I didn't handle it at all. Next time, I swear, I will use this phrase.

1) DF, Six, and I were at my cousin's wedding. Six has been having issues lately regarding respecting her belongings. She wore a white and yellow dress to the wedding and was kneeling in the grass in it. I gently reminded her to be careful of her dress and that fancy dresses (as we call them) are not play clothes. Cue RudeAunt (same one from my post about titles) inquiring as to what was so special about that dress. I thought perhaps we would have a normal conversation, so I explained briefly, much like I did here, that it was just a reminder. RudeAunt began arguing with me about Six being only six years old. I explained again that it was just a gentle reminder, that the dress didn't really matter, and that we were only trying to teach her to respect her belongings. RudeAunt told me, in a belittling tone, that we were much too strict (I interjected that it was merely a reminder), and that's just what kids to ad nauseum? I finally just said in a firm tone, "It may not be how you would do it, but it is how we are doing it. Bean dip?" I could have ended it much earlier with a simple, "So kind of you to take an interest." when it was clear she peasant interested in discussion but rather only in a lecture.

2) I swear in front of Six as does DF. She knows not to repeat what we say and that they are grown-up words. This has never been an issue in the past. During this mini-vacation for my cousin's wedding, my sister and mother, on separate occasions and on one occasion together, made it seem that grown ups should never swear ever, that it was Bad, and that she (Six) was allowed to call us on our swearing. As we (my mom, DF, Six, and I) drove to the airport to leave, I swore about something. Six tried to scold me about it and I, as calmly as I could, explained to her, as I have in the past about other things, that I am an adult and I get to make the decision to swear. Once we arrived at the airport, my mom pulled me to the side and scolded me about my behavior, telling me that I was sending mixed messages to Six. I admit my blood pressure skyrocketed. I told her that I had not sent any mixed messages, she and my sister had. Further, she and my sister do not get to tell me how to behave in front of my daughter, and they especially do not get to tell me in front of my daughter how to behave. I was floored. My mom tried to say she wasn't and hadn't and I explained that it was exactly what they had done. Any mixed messages had come from them, not me. When they both started in on swearing, days before this incident, is when I should have told them it was kind of them to take an interest but I had it handled.


PS: No one in my family said anything ever to DF. All criticisms were directed at me. I don't wonder why, I know why, I just have to figure out how to stop it in more effective manners.

JenJay:
I think you handled both situations appropriately. In retrospect you shouldn't have engaged your aunt, but you didn't realize at the time that she was looking for an argument and not a conversation.

lakey:
"I think you handled both situations appropriately. In retrospect you shouldn't have engaged your aunt, but you didn't realize at the time that she was looking for an argument and not a conversation."

That's the thing. Sometimes you can't predict that the person will turn this into an argument.
I do think that there is nothing wrong with using a direct statement, such as, "I am the mother, I decide."

zinzin:
Is it possible that this aunt and the child have over the six years had a closer relationship than you've maybe directly observed? Something to keep in mind is that your perception of her role/their relationship may not be the same as how your fiances daughter sees her relationship with her aunt.

Not to be harsh but maybe you aren't the only one thinking that boundaries are being overstepped?

Mental Magpie:

--- Quote from: zinzin on May 30, 2014, 02:29:12 PM ---Is it possible that this aunt and the child have over the six years had a closer relationship than you've maybe directly observed? Something to keep in mind is that your perception of her role/their relationship may not be the same as how your fiances daughter sees her relationship with her aunt.

Not to be harsh but maybe you aren't the only one thinking that boundaries are being overstepped?

--- End quote ---

This is my aunt and my DF's biological daughter.  This is the first time they have ever met (they met the day before, but this is in totality the first time they have ever met each other overall).

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