She had had enough of the way her sister-in-law treated her bilingual son and was set to show her just how it felt to be intentionally misunderstood and ignored!
England to Belgium
The Original Poster (OP) is a 32-year-old woman from England who now lives in Belgium with her 39-year-old husband.
Two Kids Travel a Lot
The couple have two children: a 4-year-old son and a 3-month-old daughter.
OP’s husband has a job that requires him to frequently travel to England, usually once every 4-6 weeks. When he goes, OP and the kids tag along.
She Manages to Stay Close To Family
The frequent travel home gives OP a chance to see her parents, and she also usually drops in on her 35-year-old brother and his 29-year-old wife. They don’t have any children of their own.
Her Son Is Bilingual
At home in Belgium, OP and her family speak both English and French since her husband is Belgian.
Son Blends the Languages
As often happens for kids in a bilingual home, her son sometimes mixes the two languages when he speaks.
It’s Normal For Bilingual Kids
That’s no big deal for OP, especially since her son’s nursery school staff have told her they always see that sort of thing. Kids grow out of it.
Sister-In-Law Harshly Corrects Him!
But the language-mixing drives OP’s sister-in-law nuts, and she usually harshly corrects the boy when he slips into that mode.
OP and her husband have asked her to lighten up, but she refuses to let it go.
New Mean Tactic
More recently, though, OP noticed that her sister-in-law was taking a different approach to the boy.
In particular, when OP’s son mixes languages, her SIL just completely ignores him. It was subtle at first but became more obvious as time went on.
She Left Him Thirsty and Crying
On one occasion, OP went upstairs to feed her daughter, leaving her son with her sister-in-law.
When she came back down, the boy was holding his cup up to the SIL and crying, but she was ignoring him.
He Needs to Say it Correctly
OP asked what was going on. Her son was clearly thirsty, but the sister-in-law said she refused to get him anything to drink until he could ask correctly.
OP’s sister-in-law also told her she shouldn’t be ignoring her son’s obvious speech issues.
She Pretends to Not Understand
Her sister-in-law even admitted to OP that she knew exactly what the child was asking for but that she was not going to respond to his jumbled English.
Her Husband Tried to Bring Calm
OP was livid, and her husband had to step in to try and diffuse the situation.
Retaliation at Dinner!
Later that night, her sister-in-law asked OP to pass something to her at the dinner table, using slang in her speech.
But OP chose to ignore the request. The SIL repeated her ask, and OP ignored her again.
A Taste of Her Own Medicine
Finally, OP’s brother asked her why she was ignoring his wife. She told him that she couldn’t reply if her sister-in-law could not speak English correctly.
That response ratcheted up the tension in the room, and all four adults became angry. Even OP’s husband thinks she went too far.
Childish but Effective!
OP admits that her non-response and subsequent explanation was childish, but she definitely got her point across. Her sister-in-law had been unfair to her son for far too long.
It Was an Effective Solution
This post struck a nerve with Redditors, who provide various perspectives on the situation, most fully supporting OP.
Many commenters agree that ignoring the sister-in-law was an effective way to make her realize the impact of her actions on a child.
Be the Bigger Person
Others think OP could have confronted her SIL in a more calm manner and explained the issue to help resolve the conflict.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Penyushkina. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.