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expecting our first..........

  1. #9
    kiwiinoz is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Hong Kong
    I guess I am one of the fortunate few that my pretty awful relationship with my Chinese In-Laws actually improved when my first child arrived. My husband is the only child, so a lot of expectation was (and still is) put on him.
    It is really something that you and your wife will have to work at and balance out, as if you don't go into this strong together, the cultural issues can tear you apart (Don't even ask about how un-accepting my NZ parents are of my chinese husband!). My husband has had to put his foot down on many an occasion (which was something he had to learn to do as it is totally out of character for the son to 'talk back'), and while it may cause initial anger, my M-I-L will normally go away, calm down and come back no worse for it. She, like others M-I-L's here has very strong opinions on how our children should be raised, and we've either clashed, or I've smiled innocently and let her have her rant, then devised strategies with my husband how best to find common ground, or know how to justify our decisions so she will accept them. It is no easy task at times. And even i'll admit she has had a few moments where I've gone away and agreed she was right...

    But my advice, on top of what everyone else here has suggested, is to make the effort to learn a little bit of cantonese (or whatever dialect they speak) with your wife's help. A little effort goes a long way, but more importantly, if you learn a few key words, you will be able to determine attitudes and when (perhaps even what) they are talking about you. My In-Laws know I speak cantonese... but I understand more than I speak... and it can be extremely useful to know what is "not" being said to you. ;)

    Another thing we had to introduce was 'ground rules' when the in-laws visit. My M-I-L smokes, but she is not allowed to smoke in our house, nor around the grandkids. We set the rule, she respects it. To re-enforce this, and similar issues where we believe there is no compromise we make it clear that if the rules (all to do with their grandchildren's health and well-being) are broken intentionally, access to the grandchildren will be removed. In our case, that's a shattering proposition to our In-Laws.. and they have come to understand why we've been so firm with things like the 'no smoking' rule over time.
    Your house, your rules.

    I really hope if and when your in-laws arrive they come to realise that the 'land of the free' is not the money-bin of instant wealth they think it is. I also hope they are willing to accept you as the father of their grandchildren, and respect you, your wife and your baby enough for you to have some form of a relationship with them....

    All the best!

  2. #10
    AlohaBoy08 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2008


    All I can Say is WOW!!!

    Such a response from so many. I will be putting allot of it into effect with my wife.

    Nicolejoy your suggestion on sitting down and setting ground rules and those we have to work as a "Team" is certainly how I feel. I have already had a short discussion with my wife while we were making dinner last night and she seems to agree. She feels more like an American than Chinese now and gets along with my mom so well that they are like best friends (I think my wife opens up more to my mom than me about problems with her mom and dad) I love the fact that they are so close.

    MayC: like you I will not in any way allow my in-laws to control our baby and how we do things. My wife's middle sister is doing the same thing like yours is blaming us for her problems. I use to think she was nice but forgive me for this outburst (she is a bitch and I will have nothing to do with her after what she wrote my wife in an email).

    I am a Strong willed independent American college educated man and I will not allow her family to bully their way over here to "milk-the-system" like so many of her other relatives. I discussed this with my wife while we were dating and she knows how I stand on this. The hard part is that she divulged a hidden truth just last week when we were discussing this issue with my parents. That her family hounded her that she needed to marry a rich old American man so that he would bring them all over. Instead she married me when I was unemployed and poor. So I truly believe she loves me for how I am. Now were doing ok we can pay our bills and put food on the table. But in no way can we even afford to buy plane tickets for them.

    My wife does feel the pain of being obligated to taking care of her mom an dad but in my eye's if my parents who are 65 and still working a realtors? in Hawaii (a very hard business here to be in) then her mom and dad have no right to ask us to support them when they are only 53 and capable of working.

    I do know a little Cantonese, I can count and say good morning and order food. I fear that if I really did learn more her parents would be in trouble cause I would truly give them a piece of my mind and tell them where to go. I think my wife knows this also and is also thankful that I do not know allot of Chinese and is reluctant to teach me more ?can you say Rosetta Stone?. I am a very straight forward man and while I can be subtle, I feel that stating what is truly on your mind or how you feel is the real way to go. So I have never held back telling my wife how I feel about something. So she knows I won?t on her parents. I know this might sound mean or cruel but I have told her my fear is that they get over here and just refuse to leave or go get their own place or get jobs. Can you say ?what?s the number for immigration?. I wouldn?t have a problem helping them get over here to stay but only if they understand they have to their own place and work to pay for their living here.

    I love and cherish the relationship my wife have built and the family we are building but will not let her parent drag us into debt and homelessness just for their benefit. Like you all have said this is our family and our child both Chinese and American and I will not endanger his future for their benefit.

    Again I thank you all and will be checking this thread as time passes and the baby is born. You have all been wonderful with your responses and this is the first time I have ever used a forum to sound off. Please KIT ?.

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