How do you deal with family that is ANTI-MILITARY?

Kim - posted on 03/24/2009 ( 21 moms have responded )

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My husband joined the Navy in June and his family was completely against it. While he was at boot camp his family would say things against the Navy to me and my children. I could care less what they think, but I don't want my children to think that he is doing something bad. My oldest son gets angry at times that my husband waited till now to join because if he had joined when he was younger he wouldn't have noticed that daddy was gone.

Now they pretend to be supportive in front of my husband, but still say rude things. How do I deal with them? I don't want my children around them and to make matters worse they are coming for Easter.

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Dave - posted on 12/06/2012

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He is doing something bad and you are too i hope your kids have enough sense not to be war mongers like they re blood soaked parents

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Sarah - posted on 06/14/2009

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just wanted to speak up and tell your husband good luck with this decision. my husband has been on submarines for the past 15 years, and i can't imagine our life any other way. it can be scary for a family who has no idea about military life to have a loved one make such a commitment. it sounds like your inlaws are not prior military?? i really hope they change their minds and support their son. i'm so glad you're on board with his decision, i hope navy life is wonderful for you.

as far as your 8 year old, i hope he can deal with his anger. we treat separations/deployments as a time to plan trips or short vacations, so the kids and i have something to look forward to instead of just the guys' return. there's lots of online resources for kids dealing with military life. lots of luck to your family :)

Susi - posted on 06/12/2009

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You and your husband can sit down with them and tell them that this is a choice you've made, you're adults and let them know these comments are hurtful and they do them in front of your children. Ask them to politely refrain from their harsh comments in front of you and your kids. If they can's be adult enough to stop then take the high road and you don't have to be there. they will learn. Remember- if you can't say anything nice, keep your mouth shut. :)
Good Luck
Susi

Donna - posted on 06/12/2009

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1st of all.. any family that does not support their child joining the military and defending their couontry is terrible.. dont let them get to your or your children.. you should be proud that your husband has choosen to defend our freedom.. this is not a bad thing..reinstate the fact that he IS making a right decesion for his family and that you are proud of him and the choices he has and is making and tell them that they need to be supportive or keep their comments to them self.. I am sure they like having the freedom to do things they do.. this is because of our freedom.. it is " the land of the free, because of the brave" dont let them get you or your kids down.. dont let them tell your kids that he is not making good decisions for his family..your kids should be proud of their dad...I am proud of him for making the decision to fight for our freedem...

Christine - posted on 03/27/2009

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How great it is to find so much support from all these strangers than you're own family!  I have recently had similar dealings with some civilans & boy does it just make me want to live on base & get away from ignorant people.  It's pure ignorance on their part if they can  not understand what all branches of our military do for us all & go through for us all in order for us all to have a better life.  My husband has been in almost 11 years now (Navy) & dealing with him being gone is one of the hardest things.  But dealing with ignorant people is THE hardest thing. 



I'm a stubborn lady, but my feelings would be to say to your parents-in-law that if they don't have anything nice & supportive to say: then don't say anything.  If they can't adhere to that rule you have made for the protection & support of your family (he is your husband now) then they are no longer invited to be a part of your family.  Of course, have your husband's support in this--but I would not allow them to be around my family with such negativeness & non-support.  Your children need to be around other military children in order for them to vent & stress to others their age and in the end they will also see & better understand that they are not alone in this.  The support you give them & the support they can seek from their friends who are also experienceing the same situations, will be what matters. 



You also need to be around other military wives going through this & have the support you need in order to keep sane around such ignorant parents-in-law.  Maybe with time they will come around, but if not, it is their loss, not yours.



I wish you nothing but the best & I do hope & pray that things work out the way you want them to.



 

Teyaka - posted on 03/26/2009

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Don't let the family get to you. You continue to be you and take care of home. Continue to be that support system behind your hubby and stay by his side. His family isn't the one in the marriage, nor are they the ones that he is taking care of. You household has a roof over its head, clothes on everyones backs, and food on the table. The kids are being brought up in a good environment. What is there to complain about? Ok, your hubby has to spend time away from home... so what. If his family can not respect his career choice then let them talk. Don't let it break you down. Use their words to build you up and make the support you offer your hubby that much stronger. Let the family know that you respect their opinion, BUT they need to respect yours, and let you guys live your lives. Stop looking at the negatives and be grateful for the positives and the fact that your hubby is standing by his country representing them.

Amy - posted on 03/26/2009

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I don't. If you can't respect my family you don't get to see my family. I would express my feelings & concerns with my husband & then he would have to address them with his parents. He needs to let them know that if they can't be supportive or at the very least respectful of decision then they are not welcome. They are teaching your children to be disrespectful to the military but most of all to their father. Military life is hard enough so I wouldn't invite any drama into my house. Even if they have genuine concerns there are better ways to address them then being hurtful & rude. Your husband is an adult now & they need to respect his decisions. If they can't keep their negative thoughts to themselves then they don't get to be around you & your children. There are consequences for being unkind & rude so let them know what they are. I have been there for a different reason & my husband let his Mother know under no uncertain terms that it is his life & she can complain when we are druggies, alcoholic's, neglectful or are being abusive to are kids. So here we are 5 yrs later & we have a great relationship with her. Not saying it may happen that way but it can. If not then sometimes being family does not mean you have to take all their crap. Respect is a two way street & you, your husband nor your kids are getting any.

Jennifer - posted on 03/25/2009

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Congratulations on your great attitude!!  The Army has given me a wonderful life I was an Army Brat and now I am an Army Wife - it can be hard and the rewards are huge - I have lived in Europe how many people can say that?!?



You have gotten great advice I would just add to be clear with the in-laws before they arrive, tell them you will not tollerate them belittling your husband, his career, or the Navy and let them know you will ask them to leave. Also ask them to think some about what their worries are - tell them you would like to help them understand the Navy life so they can feel more comfortable. Hopefully they will arrive with questions that lead to open minds.  Hugs to you, and hang in there.



 

Kim - posted on 03/25/2009

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Quoting Tabitha:

I just want to say how great it is that you're supportive of your husband. So many military wives gripe and complain about what we all go through. It's tough, but it's well worth it. Your husband did make a great and brave decision. It won't be easy sometimes, but your oldest will soon be bragging to his friends that his dad works on a sub and how freakin' cool that is! I hope it works out with his family. Kids are resilient so they'll adjust, but parents of adults tend to forget that their kids are grown. It sounds trite, but tell his parents that you can recommend a hotel for them because you don't want your kids exposed to their negativity. It's very hurtful and will confuse the crap out of your poor kids. I don't blame you for going away from his family. They need to act like a family and support your husband instead of being petty and childish behind his back. I hope everything turns out well for you. It'll get frustrating sometimes, but just remember that you guys are in the military together!



Thanks for your support.  I would love to tell them to stay in a hotel but they would not come if I did.  My husband and I are actually hoping and praying that they change their mind about coming here, but my oldest son is excited because he thinks he'll get gifts.LOL Truthfully he's the only reason that I'm going to grin and bear it.  I will not allow them to say inappropriate things in my house...if they do my husband knows they will get my full opinion on what I think of them. 



My oldest son has already adjusted so well to everything.  While my husband was gone at boot camp and at basic sub school (nearly 5 months) it was definitely hard, but we got through it.  It was especially difficult because I was pregnant and having complications, but like I said we made it through so I think we'll do just fine with deployments.  My son loves the community that we live in because there are soo many kids and playgrounds...sometimes I have to coax him to come home.haha.  He is already proud of his daddy and he wants to go into the Navy when he is grown up.  He reads books about it and tells everyone he is going to be a Navy Seal. 



I'm hoping that once my in-laws come here and see that we are just fine that their attitude will improve, but I have a feeling that it will actually get worse.  Oh well, I already know that they will be mad when they get here because we bought new furniture and I've been already told by my mother-in-law that we didn't need it.  I wanted to tell her my husband bought it just despite her, but I refrained.  Anyways I got to get going and make dinner, but I just wanted to thank you for your support.



 



 

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I just want to say how great it is that you're supportive of your husband. So many military wives gripe and complain about what we all go through. It's tough, but it's well worth it. Your husband did make a great and brave decision. It won't be easy sometimes, but your oldest will soon be bragging to his friends that his dad works on a sub and how freakin' cool that is! I hope it works out with his family. Kids are resilient so they'll adjust, but parents of adults tend to forget that their kids are grown. It sounds trite, but tell his parents that you can recommend a hotel for them because you don't want your kids exposed to their negativity. It's very hurtful and will confuse the crap out of your poor kids. I don't blame you for going away from his family. They need to act like a family and support your husband instead of being petty and childish behind his back. I hope everything turns out well for you. It'll get frustrating sometimes, but just remember that you guys are in the military together!

Kim - posted on 03/25/2009

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Thanks for your comments. My husband knows that I support his decision to join the Navy 100%. I was on board from the very beginning...the recruiter said he had never met a wife so willing to have their husband sign up.(LOL) I know this decision was the absolute best thing for our family even if that means difficult separations. My in-laws are against anything my husband does to better our lives. They simply want him to stay in their ghetto town and be a loser. I hate to say that but its so true!!! They truly only care about themselves. They don't ask about anything he does other than if he likes it. They hope that one time he'll say "NO". In reality we are very happy with the decision to enter the military. My husband is in school for ET-Nav and will be on a submarine when he finishes in June. I have flat out told his parents we wish to be stationed on the west coast...my parents know it is to get away from his parents, but I don't think his parents get that.



Thanks for all of your help and I will try what you guys suggested...don't know how much it will help but I'll keep trying. Hopefully I don't swear and kick them out at Easter!

Carrie - posted on 03/25/2009

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First of all, I am sorry that you are having to go through this.  My main priority would be to make sure that my children understand that Daddy is doing something wonderful for this country.  I am sure that there are classes even for children that work with them on separation and other issuses.  I know that there are some for Army families, and I am sure that the Navy has similar classes.  Help your children understand that not all people agree with what Daddy does, but they should be proud of him.  If he can, have him show the kids where he works and what he does so that they can understand better. 



  With your in-laws, unfortunately it may come down to you giving them an ultimatium. Your husband should tell them that this was his choice and he feels like he is doing what is best for his family.  If it doesn't work, I would tell them that they can either keep their negative comments to theirselves because it upsets the children or they are not allowed to come and visit.

Cari - posted on 03/24/2009

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I have sort of the same issue with my mother-in-law, but my DH has been serving for 20 yrs...she still gets upset and very vocal with every deployment, but I just tell her, that this is his decision and that I support him 100%. Even when she says that his being gone isn't good for us, he needs to be home with the kids, he won't get these years back, (yada, yada, yada)...I say...Well...we are doing fine and kids are resilient...we have a good routine and "I support him 100%" I think that because of the current situation with the "war on terror" she is just worried about him (being safe while deployed) and who wouldn't be worried about their son deploying all the time or even getting ready for their first deployment (I know I would be crazy with worry if my son were in the military right now)...maybe she/they just need to vent or you could ask them what it is about the Navy that is so distasteful to them that they do not want their son enlisted? Maybe with a better understanding from them, you'll find a line of defense to handle their obnoxious attitude about the new lifestyle you've started together. It is hard getting bombarded constantly by negativity, but at the end of the day, all that matters is you, your husband and your children. Fortunately you don't have to live with them, it sounds like you don't live too close to them and a visit here and there isn't terrible (just tell yourself...this is only temporary). I would advise them however to keep their negative comments to themselves when the kids are present! They definitely do not need to be subjected to that! Good luck with the Easter visit!!!

Kayleigh - posted on 03/24/2009

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I'm a put it all at there type of person. I would tell them that if they want to see you and your family then the comments have to stop. It's not easy being military with kids or even in general. Rude comments from family members are not exceptable and you should never put up with them.

Sandra - posted on 03/24/2009

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First, Let me just say that I am sorry that you are having to face all of this on your own. It's a very tough place to be in. I know, I am a wife with 5, my oldest being 11. We have all had alot of adjusting to do over the years, but I hear about it alot, not just from family, but from outside influences, especially people that are in my kids schools.
I have learned that the best way to deal with family is to be upfront and honest about all of it. Get everything out in the open and on the table so that there is no mistaking why things are going to be done the way they are. If they are unwilling to express why they feel the way that they do, send them off until they can. I know that this seems like a cruel way of getting them to talk about this, but this seemed to be the only way I could get my husbands family to talk about what was bugging them the most about him being in the military. I am an Air Force wife and have been for over 10 years. His family finally came around about 4 years ago and talked to us about the issues that they had. Most of it seemed to be fear. Fear of the unknown. So, instead of them gaining knowledge about what he did in the Air Force and trying to find out what was important to him, they became cynical and almost downright cruel at times. Know that there are many support groups out there for us as spouses. Especially within your own home base. Locate your Family Support Center and try to find someone there that may be able to help you with them. They may be able to come and talk to them and find out why they feel the way that they do. Again, Maybe it's simply fear of the unknown that drives them to feel the way that they do. Maybe, It's because he is trying to do something that is good for his family and moving around alot may keep them from seeing him, you and their grandchildren. If this really is something that your husband wants to make a career out of, Support Him. What matters is his immediate family and that is you and his children. I know that it's discouraging when you have In-Laws that are not supportive. Don't let them stop you from being happy in the Military. We might be spouses, but we are very influential women, and we have to be very careful about what we say to our husbands. Our positive role in their careers is very important. If this is truly something that you want him to succeed in, It won't matter what anyone else thinks.

Amber - posted on 03/24/2009

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Wow! That is horrible! I am guessing that their negative attitude about the military is probably based at least partly in fear of what might happen to him and they are just coping with it very poorly. Hopefully thinking of it like that can help you to not take it personally and to teach your kids how brave their daddy is. Perhaps over time they will come to accept it and understand that you and their grandchildren need their support. The military takes care of its people but sometimes it's not easy being a military spouse. If they can't be supportive I guarantee you there are plenty of other people who will be! Welcome to the military family : )

Kim - posted on 03/24/2009

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My oldest son is 8 yrs old now. My husband looked into joining the Navy when my oldest was only 2 yrs old, but his family was so against it that he was persuaded not to. He had regretted not joining for 6 yrs and when he finally decided to do it I was completely for it. My husband is very intelligent and has a B.A. in fine arts but never had been able to find a job that paid enough to support our family. He had minimun wage dead end jobs. We went into this knowing everything about what we would have to go through...deployments, separation, moving away from family...etc.

My oldest is really angry at my husband for waiting, but is even more angry at my in-laws for persuading him not to go when he was 2.

My husbands family is supposed to be coming here for Easter weekend and I'm concerned that they are going to be rude. I just know that they are going to be obnoxious about our housing and our new life style. I really just don't know how to deal with them when they are here. If they start acting like idiots I may just tell them to get the hell of out of our lives. Any tips on how to just let their comments roll off my back?

Sarah - posted on 03/24/2009

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I'm really sorry to hear that.  Sometimes family can be cruel.  If talking to your husband's family isn't working, then at least you can talk to your children and remind them of how good it is for your husband to be in the service.  Now that your husband is in the service, you have a new family - it's called the military family.  You will find a lot of support along the way and you will make many friends that end up being closer to you then family will ever be.  Hang in there.  

Amanda - posted on 03/24/2009

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First off, hugs to you.



Secondly, since dealing with them seems like it may end up being a no-go on any angle, be sure that you and DH provide a supportive, patriotic, "Hoo-yah Navy" sort of front together  - if it feels over-the-top and cheesy, it WILL get through to your kids :) Afterall, you're a Navy Family now, and they need to know what that's all about more than the in-laws do.



My oldest (soon to be 3) is old enough now to understand that Daddy leaves and is gone for work a lot, and sometimes for a month or two (spare me the 'this isn't REALLY a deployment" lectures - my Army-wife cousin has given me all of them already, teehee). We took her to the base, showed her all the other Daddies that work "for America" and their boats/offices/equipment. Now she is all for Daddy being "gone for work".
I know it's not nearly the saem, and probably not a solution, but having his kids support him, too - especially when his parents won't - will do worlds of good for DH, and thus, your family.



Welcome to military life :)

Kim - posted on 03/24/2009

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I let my husband know exactly what they were doing while he was at boot camp. His mother even sent him the rudest graduation card ever for RTC graduation...stating that he should make better decisions for his family...etc. His parents have repeatedly said things about him getting out when his contract is up. They do not understand that he went into the Navy for a career not a temporary situation. At this point if we visit home I don't want to go to their house without my husband because I don't want to have to deal with it by myself.

Sarah - posted on 03/24/2009

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That's a tough one since it involves his family and not yours. Have you told your husband what his family has said to you and the children about him joining the Navy?  If not, now would be a good time to say something.  Let your husband talk to his family about their anti-military comments and how it is impacting your family.  Maybe they have genuine concerns about him being in the military and they simply don't know how to address them.  If your husband can help alleviate some of their concerns, then maybe they won't be so anti-military.  If they simply are against the military in general and talking to them won't help, just have your husband ask them to refrain from saying anything in front of your children.  For what it's worth, it took my in-laws 4 years to get used to the idea that my husband joined the Navy and it was not an easy 4 years.  Hang in there and keep supporting your husband!!

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