In laws

United States
October 10, 2007 9:23pm CST
I have a problem, but who doesn't right? Well, last Christmas my husband's neice who is around 14 came to visit and wanted to spend the night with us as my little neice was here too. I caught the 14 year old smoking and I told her mother about it. Her mother is my hubby's sister, they live out of state and we don't see them but a few times a year at the most. Anyway, she asked me not to tell her mother or her hubby, the girl's stepfather. I said ok thinking she would handle it. She told me she too had caught her smoking during the year and that the girl had promised that she wouldn't do it anymore. Well, around the same time, she was also on myspace. I was her friend on there so I could see what she was into, her interests, friends, etc. Scared me to death the types of friends she was turning to and her comments. It was turning very "dark" and I was worried about her. So, I confided in her stepdad about the myspace thing and thinking that the mother had done the right thing and told her husband about what was going on, plus the fact that it slipped out about me catching her smoking and being worried about her. Well, all hades broke loose and my sister in law is mad at me and wont' speak to me. Before all this she was very friendly and wanted to talk all the time to me. Was I wrong for letting the parents know there was a problem? If something happened to this girl and I had not said anything or warned them, I would have had that guilt on my heart forever. Have you ever been in a situation like this before and if so, what can/should I do about this. I'd love to be freinds with her again. It's just difficult b/c now no one wants to get together for family things. I would appreciate any input.
10 people like this
19 responses
@gradyslady (4056)
• United States
11 Oct 07
I understand how you feel, my ex boyfriend, I was with him for almost 7 years, well his mother, father, and three brothers didn't really like me, and I was always invited to family things for their family, and they always made me feel so uncomfortable. They would never talk to me and if they did it wasn't really much just where my ex was at, if he went to his room or something. They mostly gave me weird looks and would stare at me...it always made me feel like crap....No matter how hard I tried to talk with his family, it's like they never wanted anything to do with me. I agree with you though, try to work things out and get a good relationship with them.
2 people like this
@carmelanirel (21108)
• United States
13 Oct 07
Some people don't want anyone to keep their kids accountable but them, I think they are embarrassed if someone else was to point fingers at their, "baby". I kind of feel that way too, but knowing what dangers lie out there, especially on myspace, I want others to keep an eye on my kid, and tell me what things she is getting into. It would be for her safety..;)
@jothis (519)
• India
13 Oct 07
I don't think any thing wrong in your activity. Do what your mind says. It always help you
• United States
12 Oct 07
No ya was not wrong and it seem to me that the mom is acting like she is 14 to don't worry about it ya done what ya could to help the girl
• United States
12 Oct 07
You did the right thing. You told someone about your niece so she could get some help.I hope after some time her mother will realize that you told because you were worried ans not to make the mother look bad.And you said that you would have felt worse if you didn't say anything.All you can do is try to contact them and see what will happen.Take care.
• United States
11 Oct 07
I can relate to your problem in so many ways. I believe you did the right thing. It does take a village to raise a child, especially when it comes to a 14yrs old girl and a website like myspace. I work in a school and was shocked when our principal found a bunch of our students on myspace. They were young girls who seemed so sweet and innocent, but they were getting involved in some pretty scary stuff. Parents don't want to know things sometimes, they are afraid that people will blaim them when their children do "bad" things. Parents do not want to be judged or take accountability for their kids actions. As a parent I hope everyone and anyone would feel free to let me know what my kids are up to. Then trust that I will discipline them. I would never be upset with someone for being an informant, kids are sneaky and need to be watched. I disagree with your in laws for allowing your honesty to strain your relationship and I think it sends a message to their child that you are wrong in some way. This generation is in trouble. Adults need to get on the same page and support eachother as parents.
@mummymo (23709)
11 Oct 07
You really couldn't have kept quiet about these things sweety - maybe your sister in law is angry because she feels guilty about not sorting out her daughters problems herself, maybe she is upset because you spoke to her husband instead of her and then again maybe you were just in a no win situation! I do think you should try and be patient, give things some time to settle down and then extend the olive branch. Try to draw a line in the sand and not dwell on the past - start of with a little note or a quick phone call to see how things are going. I know sometimes it feels as though these things are never going to get sorted out but believe me sweety people have managed to work through much worse situations Good Luck xxxx
@mamasan34 (6522)
• United States
11 Oct 07
You most certainly did the right thing. It is quite obvious that she was in denial about the whole situation and she wasn't going to do anything about it. The young lady needs guidance, which at this time mom isn't giving or willing to recognize the problem just to keep peace in the house. When in reality it should be her and her husband dealing with this as a team instead of keeping secrets. It is wrong all the way around in that house. He has every right to know what goes on under his roof. I would give it a couple of weeks, let her cool down, let everything in their house cool off and then email her explaining your feelings and concerns and why you did what you did. Something terrible could have happened to this girl and what would mom think of that, it would be too late for coulda, woulda, shoulda. Right now, her pride is injured and her house is tossed so I would just give her some time to reflect and then email her. If she doesn't respond or at least accept your apology she isn't much of an adult and doesn't set a prime example for her children. I wouldn't want to hang around with her after that. If she does accept your apology and is willing to open the gates to friendship again, then in time everything will be fine. Good luck to you!
@gberlin (3836)
11 Oct 07
You did the right thing. They may be mad at you but doing the right thing is more important. Hopefully down the road they will see that you only had their best interests in mind. This happens to me all the time. As a teacher at a private boarding school we must act as parents to our students while they are here at school. Sometimes they do not like what we down and some even leave school mad at us, but years later they come back or write a letter and thank us for disciplining them.
• United States
11 Oct 07
I am sorry that your sister-in-law is angry with you. She should be angry at herself for not paying more attention to what her child was getting into. Taking offence when you were genuinely only trying to help her daughter before she got in too deep. I would have been [leased if I had been alerted when my daughter was heading towards a potentially dangerous situation. So I think you did the right thing and dont worry about it as your SIL is missing out by losing you as her friend.
• India
11 Oct 07
Well yes, the guilt factor is definitely there and more so since its in the immediate family. But then you did see the reaction didn’t you? Our children are an extension of our own self, our beliefs, our values our pride. Rare is the parent who can take a criticism of their child with a straight face and that also from friends and family. They feel insulted, let down, violated and abused in some way. so its better to stay out of such situations, even with the guilt factor thrown in. if a parent cant look after a 14yr old girl properly or hand her down the correct values about leading her life, I think the child is as it is doomed. No way you can save her from it and I also think it would not be prudent enough to allow this girl to mix with other impressionable children in the family. It is harsh, but then that’s the only way maybe her parents will see where they are going wrong. But knowing such parents, they never learn, it’s a waste of time and energy pointing out to them, and generally they create a great deal of misunderstanding within the family on trivial and well-meaning issues. Its difficult for you to be friends again coz your sis-in-law already feels that you have insulted her daughter and her by intruding into the upbringing of their child which every parent feels is a very personal matter. However, for the sake of civility, you can approach her and apologise by saying that you only had the best intentions of the child in your mind and nothing else. You can also gift the girl something.
11 Oct 07
ive not been in this postition but it sounds to be as you were looking out for her and i think you did the right thing. if they found out you had known and told told them theyd probably be just as mad wouldnt they? im sure it wll blow over x
@naty1941 (2336)
• United States
11 Oct 07
You did the right thing as the child is only 14 and the father should know what is going on.
• United States
11 Oct 07
This happens all the time with people. They don't want anything bad to happen to their kids but they don't want to here about it. They think it will go away. I have been there, and the parents end up hating you for life. I don't know what I would do. Mine was never solved. They look at me as if I am the bad guy.
@drannhh (15002)
• United States
11 Oct 07
I think it was wrong of the mother to ask you not to tell the girl's father. If it was as you imagined, a request not to tell while they were on a visit, as in wait until we can handle this at home, that is one thing, but to ask you to keep this secret forever is unreasonable and probably a disservice to the girl as well as others in the family. Any family member who gets mad and then won't speak to another is still a little child in many ways, and not someone you can reason with. But since this woman is your husband's sister, it would seem to be his call. There may be some problems between your sister-in-law and her husband that you don't know about. I am sorry this happened to you, but from what you have said, based on what you observed, you did the right thing. You had to make your decision based on what was happening in real life and the girl's mother seems to be living somewhere in fairyland.
• United States
11 Oct 07
I believe you did the right thing too. Not saying that it's right but I was smoking at 14 and rest assured if one of my aunt's caught be they would definitely be telling my mother too! As far as the my space thing, as you know, my space is full of a lot of weirdos - sometimes I'm not sure if they are pretending to be someone they are not or just plain weird but in any event, she's only 14 and if she was heading in the wrong direction better you save her than god forbid have something happen to her. Perhaps you could've spoken to the mom once again before speaking to the stepdad. I think she's probably just hurt by the fact that you overstepped her and went to the husband instead of confronting her first. What does your husband think about the situation? I think maybe you should call her and tell her you didn't mean to hurt her but you are really concerned about her daughter. Try to think if things were reversed...would you be upset with her? I'm sure you would just simply for the fact of her not coming to you first. Pick up the phone and talk to her....you're family....
• United States
11 Oct 07
Well first i want to say that YES you did the right thing.. i too wuld have informed the parents of such behavior and concern that i have had. A parent should welcome concerns adn look into them.. If there is a problem with my kids and someone notices it and doesnt tell me then i would hold that person partially responsbile for not informing me there lack of communciation could be a major problem... How can i fix the issue if i dont know about it... so i would have glady taken your concern and actually headed htem in the right direction. I have been in similar situations mostly regarding the inlaws as well... lol inlaws... but because of tht type of feedback i get i usually go to my husband and confide in him tell him and then we go together... he's there for moral support incase all hell breaks loose... etc etc dont sweat it ... give it some time it'll pass over.. if she was a caring mother she would be thanking oyu not being mad at you..
@asgtswife04 (2482)
• United States
11 Oct 07
You definitely did the right thing. By keeping it in and not discussing it with the parents something bad could have happened to this girl and then, you are right, you would have felt like it was your fault by not letting them be aware of the situation. sometimes you have to take a stand and do what you think is right no matter who it makes mad. eventually i think that the sister n law will come around and may even thank you for it one day. i don't think she is thinking clearly on this at this point and not thinking about what could happen to her daughter had she not been told. hope everything works out. let me know. good luck
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
11 Oct 07
Let me see if I have this right, She's mad at you for telling her husband first? If that's the case then the woman needs to grow up because her husband has every right to know what his step daughter is doing in his household. The only thing I can see you doing is to write her a letter explaining your sid in hopes she'll "get over it". If she doesn't, then it's her problem to deal with, not yours. You were doing the right thing. Hopefully one day she'll come to realize that.