A fed-up mother recently took to Reddit to ask for opinions about how her sister-in-law treated her bilingual son when he didn’t speak “properly.” Here is the full story.
They Regularly Travel Home to England
The Original Poster (OP) is a 32-year-old woman from England who now lives in Belgium with her 39-year-old husband. 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.
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. As often happens for kids in a bilingual home, her son sometimes mixes the two languages when he speaks.
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.
Her Sister-In-Law Can’t Stand Her Sons Mixing of Languages
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.
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.
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.
She Flat Out Ignores Him
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.
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. OP was livid, and her husband had to step in to try and diffuse the situation.
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.
She Gave Her 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.
OP admits that her non-response and subsequent explanation was childish, but she definitely got her point across. Her sister-in-law had been a jerk to her son for far too long.
This post struck a nerve with Redditors, who provide various perspectives on the situation, most fully supporting OP.
It Was an Effective Solution
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.
Others think OP could have confronted her SIL in a more calm manner and explained the issue to help resolve the conflict.
So, what do you think of this story? Did OP go too far with her snarky backlash? Or was this just what the doctor ordered to finally get through to her sister-and-law and make her back off the little boy?
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / AlenD. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.