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I’ve been thinking a lot about grandparent-grandchild relationships as of late as I have my son and his future to take care of. So many people have those in-laws that just can’t stand. Mothers-in-law are known to be disasters that come from hell. I’ve had a fairly good relationship with my in-laws since I met them a year into my relationship with my husband. Since the birth of my son, we’ve gotten even closer. That’s with the exception of my father-in-law. He and I have absolutely no relationship whatsoever. Whenever we do have to see each other for my sisters-n-law, we don’t say a word to each other, and I deliberately ignore him and avoid having any eye contact with him. For one, I have nothing to say to him, I don’t care what he has to say to me, nor do I care for his presence in my life. In fact, I’d much rather have him not be in my life whatsoever. I even joke with my husband that the only negative thing about being married to him is my father-in-law. But then again, every joke has 50% truth to it, so there you have it.

I’ve always been taught that one must give respect to get respect. That’s just how I live my life. I give respect when it’s given to me. I don’t care if the person is older than me and has more experience than me. I deserve the same amount of respect as I’d give them. My father-in-law is no exception despite the fact that he assumes he is an, or even THE, exception. He’s an old school person who still sees the world as black and white. Times are different now, though. My husband and I have a different perspective than he does on a marriage is and a family dynamic is than he does. I have a different views of the world as a whole than he does. My father-in-law hadn’t shown me respect since the first second he saw me. Hence, I show him the same lack of respect towards him. I don’t owe him a single thing; never have a never will owe him anything.

Throughout the years, I’ve probably seen my father-in-law 3 times a year, and that was more than enough for me. I’d say it was too much for me. But I kept seeing him and pretended that everything was fine and well for the sake of my sisters-in-law who are young pre-teens. Now that I have a son, the dynamic of my relationship with my father-in-law didn’t change even though he’s my son’s grandfather, at least by blood. I’m extremely hesitant to allow him to be in my son’s life. I have too much experience seeing how toxic in-laws can become toxic for the children. I also know that I can overreact to certain situations. So I decided to ask other moms in a Facebook what they’d do in my situation and if they’d been in my situation already. Here are some of the responses I got:

“I completely separated myself from toxic family members. If my family can’t accept my man or children, than they don’t deserve them in their lives period.”

“If he can’t be respectful toward you, he doesn’t need to be around your kid. End of story, and that is exactly what I would say to him.”

“We cut my in laws off & don’t see them. I don’t owe anyone that can’t respect a boundary. Toxic is toxic, regardless of who they are to you. If I wouldn’t let a stranger treat me like that, by no means will I entertain “family” doing the same.”

Family is very important. I’ve always been close to my family, and I want my son to be as family oriented as I am. I want him to inherit this trait as I inherited it from my own mom. There’s a lot that I learned about the importance of respect acceptance from a very young age, as well as how the lack of it can affect future generations. That’s something I witnessed way before I ever met my husband.

As a parent, you have different roles in different stages of your child’s life. At first, you’re there to make sure your child is fed, cleaned up, and that their diapers are changed. Once your child is a toddler, you’re there to teach them basic life hacks such as washing hands and brushing teeth. Once they’re in school, you’re there to teach them life lessons, make sure they don’t hurt themselves and that you make the right decisions for them, and spend as much time with them as possible. In a blink of an eye, they become adults, and you’re there for them for emotional support when they’re out there in the real world and letting them make their own mistakes.

When I think of parents respecting and accepting their adult children’s decisions, I immediately think of Schitt’s Creek. In the show, David Rose, the main character, is pansexual and is in a long term relationship with a man by the fourth season. His friends and his entire family, his parents and sister specifically, are very supportive of him in spite of his sexuality no matter how much they make fun of him. There was one particular scene that really got to me as a parent. It was when David’s mother, Moira Rose, started crying when she sees how happy her son was when his boyfriend, Patrick, serenaded him with a song and dedicated it to him.

As a parent, all you want is to see your child happy. That’s all I want for my son myself, both now and in the future – always and for the rest of my life. When I see my son smile now, I feel like my heart melts because that’s how I know my baby’s happy. With that being said, I promise I’ll love my son and respect and accept his decisions as an adult, especially when it comes to who he chooses to be his life partner in the future. Let’s face the truth here – you can’t choose who you fall in love with You just do. I promise myself that no matter who my son chooses to love, I will accept and respect his decision, whether I agree with it or not. If, for example, he chooses someone who has a disability, I’ll explain to him that it’ll be hard and tell him exactly why, but that’ll be the end of it.

I’ve had conversations with my husband about it too. I made it very clear that no matter what, we’ll both accept and respect our son no matter. It doesn’t matter if he’s gay, if he falls in love with someone who’s not of the same ethnicity as us, if he’s with someone who has disability, etc. We accept him and we make sure we show him he’s loved by us no matter what.

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