When family values collide
We spent several days this week with my parents, who I love dearly and who are terrifically loving and patient with my boys. Except for this one thing: Oh My God. My parents consider this "swearing." They are non-negotiable on this point. And my children have been raised in a house where "oh my god" is a far more acceptable phrase than, say, bleep bleep bleep mother bleeper. You get the picture.
My younger two are pretty good at accepting the will of the authority figure. At grandma & grandpa's, they follow the rules most of the time and -- if they were the sort of kids to slip now and again in an exclamation -- it would probably be something else (mama says "sh!t" sometimes. she always apologizes).
Not so my oldest. His faults tend toward the repetitive and the profane. When he's upset, he says "oh my God" and worse. (Note: he has also decided that he doesn't believe in God, which doesn't help his compliance any.) The more horrified the adults around him seem to be, the more he's likely to slip up. His obedience works in inverse proportion to the number and intensity of reminders and explanations.
My mother lost her patience entirely a few times, and there were several consequences meted out. I -- well, we'll say I didn't have the relaxing family togetherness time I'd hoped -- at least, until after the kids fell asleep each night. However I might prefer "OMG" to other things, my parents don't agree, and consider all his exclamations as equally unwanted.
Grateful as I am for a child who speaks his mind to power (he'll lead rebellions one day, I'm sure of it), it's not easy when such seemingly small differences in nuclear family values collide. As you (perhaps) prepare to spend some time with extended family this weekend, are there any particular conflicts between your kids, your partner, or even yourself, and your family members? I had to laugh, a little, when I heard on NPR someone saying that they wouldn't talk about weather patterns any more after a rather heated exchange at dinner with a large family (if we can't talk about the weather -- oh dear!). Is there any way you prepare for these inevitable differences of opinion? Are your families able to talk about it, or is it best to avoid certain toxic combos?