Rules For Relatives That All Moms Can Relate To

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How many of these rules for relatives can you relate to?

Dear Relatives:

We love you. We value you as people who are a part of our lives and our children’s lives. We want you around. We want you to visit. We want our children to grow up to have a relationship with you. All these things are important to us, just as you’re important to us.

However, we need to set some ground rules for interacting with us and with the kids. Not onerous rules. Not rules you’re necessarily already breaking. This isn’t a passive-aggressive way to criticize last year’s Christmas presents. Instead, it’s a proactive way for us to have the best relationship we possibly can and have the best interactions we possibly can.

We’re not mad. We’re asking for your help.

DO NOT expect us to make our kids hug you, or make them feel guilty when they don’t (“Oh, I’m a poor sad aunt who needs a hug”). To you, a hug from the kids shows politeness and immediate affection. But our kids might not feel immediate affection toward you, especially if they don’t see you often. We teach our kids that they don’t have to hug or kiss anyone they don’t want to — even relatives. This isn’t rudeness — it’s teaching bodily autonomy and helps prevent abuse. You can be an important part of that teaching when you accept a high-five or a “Hi” instead of a bone-crushing hug.

DO NOT go nuts on the Christmas presents. Obviously, it’s your decision what to give our kids, and we’re grateful that you think of them. However, there are some things they — and we — will enjoy more than others. Experiences, rather than items, rule the day: An annual pass to the zoo or the local children’s museum is a present the whole family can enjoy. Building toys are wonderful; so are books. But please don’t spend too much on things, especially plastic things that beep. We have a lot of things already, and they’re taking over our house.

You can read the rest of the rules on Scary Mommy. When you're finished, leave a comment and share your own.


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