Dealing with Opinionated Family?

I recently got married, and almost as soon as we returned from our honeymoon, we’ve been bombarded with people telling us not to have kids. Some say “Don’t have them yet” and some say, “Don’t have them.”

While it’s not anyone’s business, we’re a little shocked. We were planning to just see what happens for the first year, not actively trying, but not trying not to, as we are in a decent financial position and things seem calm.

I guess my question is, how do I respond to people, like my MIL and SILs, telling me, not to have children, or to wait, especially if I should become pregnant (God willing)?

Also, as a side note, I am charting, but not in an attempt to prevent, just to keep track.

Tell them that it is God’s command that we be “fruitful and multiply”, given both in Genesis and to Noah after the Flood. Therefore, it is against God’s will that we prevent ourselves or others from having children who are married.

Smile and say “I know you love us and you are concerned” God bless you! Leave it at that. Keep saying that over and over. “Aren’t you sweet to be so concerned!”

In their mis-guided way they are concerned about you, and they do love you. However you do not need to discuss personal matters with them.

On the other hand some people would use this opportunity to tell them off completely and to butt out! You have that right too, I guess it’s up to you. God bless.

Honestly, I wouldn’t respond at all.

How you should react depends on a number of factors.

A previous poster suggested responding with kind non-sequitors–ie, “You’re so sweet to be concerned,” etc, and dropping the subject. That’s certainly a valid option.

If you really want them to stop bringing it up, though, you’ll need to set a boundary, and especially since these are your in-laws, you’ll need your husband on board for this.

Remember when setting the boundary to be kind, polite, and firm. You’re not trying to cause a family feud here; the goal is to set the boundary and have relations still be good between you, not to tell these people (however, in my opinion, justifiably) where they get off for telling two perfectly functional adults what to do with their reproductive organs.

To set the boundary, wait until the next time they bring this up. Smile politely, and say, “Thank you for your concern, but Bill (or whatever your husband’s name is) and I only discuss those sorts of decisions between ourselves. Let’s change the subject.”

It’s better yet if this comes from your husband, but I know women frequently bring this sort of thing up when only they are present. If he’s not there or the statement is directed at you, then he need only back you up and be supportive.

I do warn you that in today’s oversharing society, people often don’t like having boundaries set with them, and even the above sentence will be considered a slap in the face to some, though it is, of course, entirely polite and reasonable. However, if the other person has a certain amount of good will, then if you continue to be polite and kind while not backing down on the boundary, they’ll cool off. You may need to remind them of the boundary occasionally–ie, they bring the subject up again, and you’ll smile very sweetly and say, “Remember how Bill and I only discuss that subject between ourselves? Let’s change the subject.” Wash, rinse, repeat a few times, and they’ll learn.

I would either not respond at all, and give them a look that means, “thatisnoneofyourbusinessandican’tbelieveyouaresayingthat” OR, if possible, just tell them verbally that it’s none of their business. To parents and close friends, of course, you’ll have to be polite, but you should be absolutely firm that they are completely out of line.

Tell your mother in law: "I’'m certainly glad that YOU had children! "

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My MIL was very nosy about my married life.

Giving her “the look,” especially when we were in public was the only way to stop the questions.

At one point, her sister said, “Wow, if I had asked my DIL that, she would have flipped.” (Of course the sister, Hubby’s aunt, would have never been so crass as to ask a question like that.)

PaulfromIowa, I love your response!

That’s another great response. You could probably add to that, “I’m glad that YOUR MOM had children too!”

These are the only options worth considering at this point.

There is no need to justify yourselves to others in this matter. Don’t even let the topic be discussed.

PS Rest assured that most parents will come around very quickly when they realise grandchildren are involved. My MIL was not pleased when we fell pregant soon after the wedding, but has been a wonderful grandmother ever since.

“We are looking forward to starting a family in Gods perfect timing. Could you pass the potatoes please?” Of course with a big smile on your face and the cheeriest tone you can come up with.

Now if anybody is rude enough to push the subject after that, they deserve to sternly be put in their place.

Congrats on your marriage!

This is basically what we did with my in-laws. Although in our case it was before we got married. I think it surprised them that we were talking about children before even having sex. My husband came from a family that waited 5+ years after marriage before having a child.

underacloud is right about grandparents. Most of the time they get over the sudden pregnancy and are just thrilled to have a grandchild.

My mom has learned to stay her tongue. But she now has 15 grandchildren, and loves every second of it. She jokes that she can’t completely retire because she needs the money to spoil them all. :smiley:

I find that a sweet “that’s not something you need to concern yourself about” goes over better than “that’s none of your business.” Although it certainly isn’t; your marital relations are none of their business.

I had somewhat of the opposite problem: people asking me when I was going to have children. Instead of a long explanation of our fertility woes, which I felt were a personal matter, I simply smiled and said, “I’ll let you know when there’s news.” Then, I’d repeat it as many times as necessary until they stopped asking.

If they keep bringing it up, you could also say something like “Oh, right, I remember you said that at the Labor day BBQ [or whenever the last time they brought it up was].” You’re just acknowledging they said it before, but not agreeing or making any promises. It also discourages them from bring it up again, since you heard it already.

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What a beautiful, reasonable reply! Thank you =)

This is goodadvice. It’s also a good skill to learn - to be non-comittal and pleasant when people are trying to tell you all kinds of crazy stuff about how to run your life.

Obviously they don’t need any kind of info about your sex life, or your ordinary medical needs. So don’t bring up charting, trying or not trying, or anything like that.

If you do get pregnant sooner than they would like (we heard that you have to wait a year :rolleyes:), you can just say “yeah isn’t it amazing!” and leave it at that.

Obviously your MIL had children. She will be excited about being a grandma when the time comes. Who knows, it could be that you don’t get pregnant right away, so it might be over a year before that bouncy baby shows up. :slight_smile:

That’s a good response, actually. You can go ahead and look shocked, gather yourself up, and say “I beg your pardon?” If they repeat their advice, say, “Funny, but I don’t remember asking anyone their opinion about when we ought to have a family. Pardon me, but we’ll be making our bedrooms decisions without your help or anyone else’s, thank you very much.”

If they say another word, just look incredulous and say, “You must be kidding. Just stop. This is so over the line…” and then go onto another topic, “Now, didn’t we have a real topic before this…what were we talking about?”

Even if they say, “So, having kids right away?” you can respond with, “I beg your pardon, but that is a little personal. When we have a baby coming, we’ll announce it. Until then, consider the question private.”

Live your own life and seek counsel when needed.

Try not to let it bother you so much. Otherwise, tell them it isn’t their concern and they should spend that energy praying.

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