Ask Amy: Sister smokes, curses around...

Ask Amy: Sister smokes, curses around the kids

There are 280 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from May 20, 2009, titled Ask Amy: Sister smokes, curses around the kids. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Dear Amy: My husband and I are of a different faith than his family. We never discuss religion or condemn them for their faith, but one of his sisters blasts us for our faith.She hosts family gatherings on Sundays and gets very upset if we choose church instead.

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“Snow days!”

Since: Nov 08

A winter wonderland

#1 May 20, 2009
So, nobody in the office has the backbone to tell the belcher that it's disgusting? There's a woman in my office who does the same thing. We finally let her know that you can actually belch quietly. And to excuse yourself when you have to burp. We all do it, why do some people act like it's a point of pride to let one go at top volume?
Not frustrated

Camp Hill, PA

#2 May 20, 2009
Do NOT ignore these calls. Stop them! The correct words are: I am invoking my rights under federal law and specifically refuse you permission to ever call me.
Mia

Chicago, IL

#3 May 20, 2009
LW1 - You must have other options for when you can attend church because I know you're not choosing potluck over God.

Yes your SIL is rude. Are your children going to be any worse for being exposed to her? Not if you're raising them right.

LW2 - The next time he does this you need to say: "That's disgusting. Please don't do it around me anymore."
reader

Chicago, IL

#4 May 20, 2009
LW1..explain to your kids that their Aunt uses the wrong words when she is angry, they will understand. As for the smoking there is nothing you can do if she is in her own house, you simply work around it.

LW2..simply say that the person they are looking for is no longer at the number they are calling. Take note of the area code for the calls and then ignore them, they will stop.
reader

Chicago, IL

#5 May 20, 2009
as for the burpee...don't ignore him, the next time he belches and doesn't say something, let him know that what he just did was loud and rude...and start saying "excuse you" as you would to a child.
Jess

Colonia, NJ

#6 May 20, 2009
Uh oh... I actually agree with Amy's answers to both LW1 and LW2.

For LW1 - Does church last all day? If hubby doesn't want to go to his sister's house, that's fine. If he wants to use church as his excuse when he talks to her (instead of confronting her), that's his prerogative. However, LW1 should be honest with herself about putting her children's health and welfare first - church has nothing to do with it.

For LW3 - Yes, collection agencies are very sneaky, but that doesn't mean that the husband didn't co-sign on a loan. Family does stupid things out of love, sometimes.
Ivory Dove

San Antonio, TX

#8 May 20, 2009
A Southern fable:

A young fireman went into a burning building where he found
three people in need of help: a smoker who yelled rude words,
a gassy, groaning man and a bitter faced collection agent.
"I'm here to save their lives, and not one of them can get up,"
he lamented to his older partner. "Which one do I rescue?"
The kind middle aged fire fighter gently replied, "The one that
will let you help him, son."

Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

#9 May 20, 2009
L1: Aside from Amy's dumbarse comment about sailors not cursing any more than the average person, I actually thought her advice was pretty good here. The LW can't control her SIL but she can control the circumstances under which her children are exposed to their aunt.

L2: Use. Your. Words.

L3: Happy Hump Day, everyone.
New Yorker

United States

#10 May 20, 2009
To Nancy with the smoking/cursing sister in law. Continue to go to church if that's you're usual Sunday activity. Do not subject your children to second-hand smoke (cursing may be unpleasant but it won't damage their health). Why not invite your in-laws over to your (non-smoking) house? Then your SIL can go outside if she has to smoke. You will be able to spend time together without harming your kids.
Suzy

Poway, CA

#11 May 20, 2009
If SIL is hubby's sister, he could attend her events after church. The kids shoukd not be exposed to smoke, but they are old enough to hear bad language and know ir's wrong to talk that way. Could be SIL feels bro &/or wife look down their noses at her cuz of her different religion. Smokes like a chimney, swears like a sailor...a bit judgmental?
saffie

United States

#12 May 20, 2009
LW1: I'm a Christian, and I'd have zero problems telling dear SIL that if we can't meet in public where she can behave herself or at my house where if she doesn't I'll kick her out, she can stay home alone and run her mouth until her little heart's content. Why do you have to put up with bad behavior because you fear being called a religious nut? I think there are atheists and agnostics who still wouldn't want to sit around listening to every vile curse word in the book, reeking of cheap ciggies when they go home.

Love is one thing, but being a doormat is quite another. Religion has nothing to do with it, other than you're selling God out for a cussing, smoking harpy. If you feel so strongly about it, stand your ground! Don't be a wuss!

LW2: Go for the embarrassing route. The polite route will only get you labeled as the office nag. But do put them on the spot, and do it as if you're concerned. "Bud, I notice you belch a lot. Is there anything we can get you to get you to STOP?"

LW3: Collection agencies have called me on occasion for my brother, and there isn't a snowball's chance in H-E-double hockey sticks I'd EVER co-sign anything for him. I tell them "He doesn't live here, he NEVER lived here, and if you call me again I'll report you." They don't call back. Ignoring the calls only make them call MORE.
Bob Leblaw

Chicago, IL

#13 May 20, 2009
Was in the navy. Cursed a lot more then. During my exit interview, my XO even mentioned cursing and how it's not as acceptable in the civilian world. But Amy's at least trying to give the impression that she is bias-free. Most stereotypes are based (is he going to? yes, he is -- please note: I used the word "most") in truth. Cursing like a sailor is a pretty accurate maxim).

You know what else? Truck drivers get hemorrhoids, hippies smell bad, and Prius drivers blather about their cars. Beautiful people get advantages in life. Lawyers drink. Engineering professors are persnickety. And sailors curse.

“Joy is the shadow cast by pain”

Since: Dec 08

Twin Cities, MN

#14 May 20, 2009
saffie wrote:
LW1: I'm a Christian, and I'd have zero problems telling dear SIL that if we can't meet in public where she can behave herself or at my house where if she doesn't I'll kick her out, she can stay home alone and run her mouth until her little heart's content. Why do you have to put up with bad behavior because you fear being called a religious nut?
Interesting. It didn't occur to me that the SIL was nonChristian. I just assumed it was one Christian criticizing another Christian for having a different brand. But now that I read your post, I think you're right: SIL thinks the LW and her husband are "too" religious, I bet. And how RUDE and condescending (and many other bad things) to behave to a family member!

I'm not Christian (I'm learning about Buddhism now, actually, and then will learn about Taoism), but my Christian friends and coworkers are awesome people. I can't imagine criticizing them for their faith (and what a horrible way to treat people you care about).

Thanks for some clarification. I really like the SIL even less than I did before.
too old

Springfield, IL

#15 May 20, 2009
LW1 should stay in church. Her SIL sounds pretty classless.

LW2- just speak up already!

LW3- Pass along his contact info, and inform the creditors to never call you again.

“Joy is the shadow cast by pain”

Since: Dec 08

Twin Cities, MN

#16 May 20, 2009
Bob Leblaw wrote:
You know what else? Truck drivers get hemorrhoids, hippies smell bad, and Prius drivers blather about their cars. Beautiful people get advantages in life. Lawyers drink. Engineering professors are persnickety. And sailors curse.
I'm so hot for you, Bob! I agree with most of your generalizations! ;) Having worked with, for, and dated lawyers, I'd change that to "Lawyers argue/play devil's advocate."

“I'm bringing sexy back...”

Since: Jan 09

Location hidden

#17 May 20, 2009
LW1 - My immediate family doesn't smoke (aside from the ones that my dad sneaks - he thinks he's fooling us, but we're not stupid). Anyway, my extended family on my mom's side smokes...alot. Luckily whenever we're together they always smoke outside, and I can make sure that both my daughter and I can stay away from it. I don't want to say I'm allergic to cigarette smoke since I know there are people who will jump on me saying that it's not possible, but I will say that smoke causes me to sneeze and have a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes if I'm around alot of it. Since the SIL is only like that at her house, then if you visit spend time outdoors.

As for the cursing. My cousin thinks it's hilarious to curse in front of my daughter and try to teach her new words.(We have all apologized to his fiance in advanced for the payback that they will incur when they have children). I tell him to stop. I had a neighbor that used to curse around my cousin - I told him to stop. We've been in situations where total strangers have been dropping the eff bomb around the kids and no one in my family has a problem asking them to stop (we do it in a polite way - ex: my sis once said, I don't mean to be a pain, but if my sister hears her daughter say the eff word then she's gonna kick my butt. Is there any way you could tone it down?). Another thing that we've learned - it's not what you say, it's how you say it. If someone is cursing but is using their normal voice, chances are the kid won't pick up on it. If someone stubs their toe and screams out "GOD DAMN IT!!!" then, yeah, the kid will probably repeat it.
LW2 - Belching - hee hee. At work and in public, I'm very polite about this, but back in high school and at home we would always have burping contests, and I would normally win. But back to the issue at hand, it's simple, be like - DUDE! Enough!
LW3 - I forgot what it was about.

Since: Apr 09

St Charles

#18 May 20, 2009
LW1: I am a truly faithful Christisn (Lutheran). I also dring a little and smoke (which I hate). Smoking is an addiction and I wish I had never done it. My precious bride is in the same mindset. Nevertheless, we do what we want in our own home. But, anyway, this lady seems openminded and responsicve to reasonable conversation. Talk to he diplomatically.
Hot Momma

Fort Lauderdale, FL

#19 May 20, 2009
Lil Roo wrote:
LW2 - Belching - it's simple, be like - DUDE! Enough!
My thoughts exactly.
Matilda

United States

#20 May 20, 2009
saffie wrote:
LW1: I'm a Christian, and I'd have zero problems telling dear SIL that if we can't meet in public where she can behave herself or at my house where if she doesn't I'll kick her out, she can stay home alone and run her mouth until her little heart's content. Why do you have to put up with bad behavior because you fear being called a religious nut? I think there are atheists and agnostics who still wouldn't want to sit around listening to every vile curse word in the book, reeking of cheap ciggies when they go home.
Agreed. I'm agnostic, and I wouldn't put up with the swearing and smoking for a second. I'm mildly potty-mouthed when I want to be, but I am mindful of children and other people who might not appreciate that language. I know kids will learn swear words eventually, I just don't want them to learn from ME.:-)

My soon-to-be in-laws both smoke and curse like it was going out of style. They also have a house full of ill-behaved pets. Should my fiance and I have kids, I am sure there will be an "understanding" reached on why we ask that they come over to our house and not the other way around.
Deputy Dog

Altamonte Springs, FL

#21 May 20, 2009
LW1: I can't believe it!

LW2: What is this world coming to?

LW3: Oh...My...Gosh...

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