I am always amazed at how people get married and blend two different ways of thinking into a new family, especially when they come from extremely different backgrounds.
We have a current battle between our DNA and my sis-in-law's DNA. I do not understand her side of the family. I can't even fathom how she was raised.
In my family, the worst thing you could ever do was lie. Education was a must, and loyalty meant everything. We were not coddled, and if we wanted extras we had to work for it. Three sayings are ingrained in my brain from childhood:
This is not a democracy, you do not have a vote.
You are a (insert last name). You are not allowed to be average.
I am not your friend, I'm your Mother/Father. You have a lot of friends, but I am your only Mother/Father.
At the time I did not appreciate being raised in what some might call a military type environment. They broke us down and built us up in the image they wanted.
I thank God for it every day of my adult life. We always had great support to meet our goals. My parents had a great appreciation of the arts, and they filled our lives with music, books, art supplies, and movies. They encouraged us to be well rounded children.
My Mother restarted her career once we were all in school, and we had responsibilities to the family. If these responsibilities were not met, there was hell to pay. No, we did not get the beating of a lifetime. In fact, I can't ever remember being physically hit by my parents. I think the extent that ever happened was maybe I swat on the butt when we were toddlers.
Oh my parents could think of far worse punishments. Exile to your room was the worst. They removed every last thing that could provide some form of entertainment. Any belling aching over it only extended your solitary confinement, and they never, ever backed down from what they said they were going to do.
As an adult I realize how hard this had to be for them. I had and still have an unfathomably amount of respect for my parents. Just hearing those words "I am so disappointed" was worse then getting smacked across the face.
I was grounded for 6 weeks in the summer for getting a B- in shop in 7th grade. We had a project to do, and I did it the first day of class and goofed off the rest of the term. My Dad knew this, so when he saw my report card, he asked if I had tried as hard as I possibly could. I could not lie to my Father, so when I said no I was grounded.
It may seem harsh, but that is the only B I have ever received in my life. I graduated college with a 4.0. For them it was more about ability then getting straight A's. I had the ability to do that. My brother, who wasn't as gifted in a book smart kind of way, was rewarded for getting B's and C's. It used to really piss me off as a child, but I can see their reasoning now. He had other talents, and they chose to help those flourish.
To contrast this with my sis-in-law's family is unbelievable. Both of her older sister's quit high school as soon as they turned 15. Both were pregnant by 17. Their parents let them do whatever they wanted. They were their "friends".
She managed to not follow her sister's mistakes and finished High school and started working. She was a friend of mine, and that is how she met my brother. I used to marvel at the way their house was ran. The kids would just yell at their Mother to do this or do that. It used to make me cringe.
Her sisters didn't have anything to do with any of the Fathers of their children, and the parents encouraged them to stay on welfare. They used to give them spending money for part of their food stamps. Why should they work? They were Mothers! They would tell people this!
This was a world I had never experienced before. To say the least, my parents weren't exactly thrilled when they found out about their new in-laws to be. My sis-in-law K wasn't like that though. Until, of course, they had children.
We started seeing the signs when the kids were really small. K is definitely more of a "friend" parent, and is basically to lazy to disipline her own children. They do what they want, when they want. They are both overweight because she lets them eat whatever they desire. To me, that is a form of child abuse in itself.
It has gotten worse as the kids grew up, and the only time they behave is when my brother is around. I'm almost ashamed to type this, but a good portion of the time I cannot stand being around my neices. They whine and cry all the time. The disrespectful things that come out of their mouths astound me.
I also cannot correct these children, unless I want to release WWIII. K thinks we were raised to harshly, and that there was not enough emotion in our family. Her family is constantly saying I love you and hugging and kissing (to the point where it gets sickening), but they would stab each other in the back in a heart beat. Her sisters also syphin money out of them like crazy, much to my brother's dismay.
No one in my family would ever stab me in the back. We are loyal to the end to each other. I may not hug and kiss my brother everytime I see him (ok, ever eww), but he knows I am there for him, no matter what the cost or consequence.
The real battle began once her kids were all in school full time. Her and my brother had made a pact that she would get a part time job once the kids were in school. This was the result of my sis-in-law wanting this huge ass house. My brother said they could buy it, but that the only way they could make it was for her to work once the kids were in school.
My brother worked double shifts and an extra job when they first got the house, so that she could stay home with the youngest. He did this for two years, and when she went to 1st grade it was time for my sister-in-law to get a job.
Her family was outraged!! Why couldn't he provide for the family!! What fucking decade do these people live in? They made my brother out to be some monster on the level of a woman beater. Their poor, poor daughter was going to have to work 20 hours a week!!
At first she was resistant to the idea, and refused to get a job. I know, I know...Being a stay at home Mom is a full time job. Once all the children are in school though, what the hell is there to do all day? My sis-in-law had plenty to do, like take her sisters out to lunch and shopping. No wonder they didn't want her to work.
She broke down finally when my brother said he was selling the house. That was a status symbol she wasn't willing to give up, so off to work she went. She always finds some kind of problem at whatever job she has, and gets fired/quits. I bet in the last 3 years she has had 8 different jobs.
So the battle rages on, their kids are fat little brats, and I weep for the future of our DNA. My Mom has hope that once they get older our DNA will win out. I just don't know.
*edited to add*
I'm really not a heartless monster who hates her neices. I love them even though I can't stand them most of the time...lol...On this day, my emotions seem to run high, and I get into bitch mode more then my usual bitch mode.