Chinese daughter-in-law Hot Conversation

I am thrilled that my son has found his love – a beautiful and brilliant young woman originally from Shanghai.  They both hold down very good jobs and are successful at what they do.  My only concern is that she doesn’t seem to have much interest in any family visits with us, other than a very occasional dinner out when we visit their city (a 3 hour drive from our home).  She is an only child, her parents are divorced and her mother lives in another state.  Since their marriage this summer (which we did not attend, because they decided to get married at the courthouse, and only two friends were invited), we have seen them together just once.  I mentioned to my son that maybe in a few years they would consider going to Hawaii with us.  He ran it past his wife, and she said she thought it would be fine for him to go with us.  This Thanksgiving our son is coming home to visit, and his new wife is flying to another state to visit a friend.  I am trying not to feel rejected, and to be understanding.  Any suggestions?

Posted in family & relationships.

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55 Responses

  1. MEL810 MEL810 says

    I will quote my own mother when my grandmother (her mother-in-law) asked about when I might give her some grandchildren. My mother said” People don’t have grandchildren, they have children. I will have a grandchild when and if my daughter chooses to have a child.”


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  2. MEL810 MEL810 says

    I will quote my own mother when my grandmother (her mother-in-law) asked about when I might give her some grandchildren. My mother said” People don’t have grandchildren, they have children. I will have a grandchild when and if my daughter chooses to have a child.”


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  3. Generic Image katcat says


    This is in reaction more to the entire text on this page rather than your specific post, but maybe some of the points will be helpful in your thinking process. The primary thing that surprises me here is that women of our age are still measuring their worth by how their children and their children’s spouses behave toward them. I don’t know how to say it gently, so I’ll be blunt: You aren’t the center of your child’s world. S/he is thinking of him or herself not you when making decisions. Place your focus elsewhere. You can be the most perfect mom in the world and for a myriad of reason, not be your child’s or your child’s spouse’s friend.

    Acceptance and appreciation for what is is far more loving than trying to fix or force what isn’t into being.

    There are parts of this thread that really disturb me. The generational and ethnic generalizations are appalling. I see a lot of women gaging their worth by the control they have over their grown children. The idea that your son (or daughter) was yours first therefore you have and should assert some claim of first rights is horribly destructive – to both yourself and to your child.

    Children are individual human beings that owe their parents nothing. All of the parental angst and hurt that I read here could be alleviated if that one fact were accepted. In-laws are strangers who must form relationships over time. The idea that there is an automatic bond, love, and acceptance is lovely, but it can be destructive. With all the judgement being piled onto the daughters-in-law in this thread, I can sympathize with women who want to maintain a distance. 

    No one generation is more lazy than another. It may seem so, but if you were to be completely objective, it is not. They are different. I cook everything from scratch but that doesn’t mean that people who eat out  or cook using boxed ingredients are ‘lazy.’ They’re spending their energy and money differently.  

    No one race or generation is ‘colder’ than another: Nor are they smarted, dumber, better, worse… those generalizations make those who spew them small and mean.  

    There is so much judgement in assigning those labels. How are they helpful? How do they improve relationships? How does our frustration over not being able to control our children’s relationship and/or their spouse and the expression of it bring us closer to them? What’s wrong with NOT reading more into a situation than is stated? Why do we want to find ulterior motives? What do these behaviors say about us? Really. What do they say?

    The idea that your children should have children so you have grandchildren is supremely selfish. No one has the duty to provide grandchildren to someone else. Children are a huge commitment, one that not every person is suited to. Finances are more and more difficult; there are sociological and environmental problems that did not exist 30 or 40 years ago; and MANY people  opting out of child-bearing simply realize that they have the choice… they don’t HAVE to. If people always made mindful decisions about having children, we’d have fewer children, but they’d be more well loved and cared for. To chalk it up to a lack of hope is pretty shallow thinking. It’s unfair to assume  that wives are somehow forcing this on their husbands. Many husbands ‘go along’ with having children because their wives want it.  No one complains about that.

    A couple’s decision not to have children is personal. It’s none of your business. You cannot live your life or fulfill your expectations through your children. As Kahlil Gibran wrote:

    Your children are not your children,
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
    They come through you but are not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your chilren
    as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and
    He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far
    Let your bending in th earcher’s hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    So he loves also the bow that is stable.

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    • Generic Image paintbrush says

      I agree with everything that you said.  Just because people do things in a different way or are untraditional does not make them selfish.  In laws and sons/daughters have to tread carefully and work things out for themselves.  In my opinion, as MIL, I need to be open, friendly, accepting NOT interfering…and find other means to fulfill needs about grandchildren, about coming first with your child, etc.  There are tons of opportunities to volunteer to help with neglected children, and you will find a fulfillment that will leave you less focused on what you do not have.  Share your love, there are many places to do so…and being fufilled yourself makes you less dwelling on things such as slights.  As for the DIL, be sure that she knows that you accept her as and where she is, do not lay your expectations on her.  You may find that where she is is a very good place.  If your son is happy, that is really what you want for him, isn’t it?   And, mom does not get to define happiness.  Just be open, live your life and offer invitations as you wish, with no expectations.

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      • Generic Image GildaNY says

        Thank you for your thoughtful response.  All along the way of our children’s growth and development, from birth to adulthood, we as parents must also grow and change to adjust for their continuing reach toward self actualization.  My son’s marriage to his wife and his focus on their life together is as it should be!  Their marriage has marked another phase of their continuing development as a human beings, and it is another phase of my life that I am adjusting to as well.  I believe that, from all I have read, and I thank everyone for their comments, that I will try to assume the best, not the worst, in my new DIL’s decision to spend a holiday with a friend, who perhaps needed the comfort of her presence more than I needed her to accompany my son home.  My DIL is a very independent person, and my son respects this trait.  We will see about vacations in the future … maybe I’ll invite them for a day trip  – something simpler than Hawaii!  Fortunately, I have many activities and interests that will keep me involved with the world far beyond my relationship with my son.  And I think that the best way to stay close to him is to be imagining the best, unless he tells me otherwise. 

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      • Generic Image katcat says

        You point out some great ways to have children in your life no matter who you are! Thank you.

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    • Oceana55 Oceana55 says

      Katcat, you have summed it up so beautifully and in a way that isn’t disparaging or disrespectful.  I have alway loved that poem and it is also a reminder to myself of where I need to be in regard to the beloved son that I brought into the world and yet who does not belong to me. 

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  4. Generic Image feng says

    i feel sorry for your daughter in law, instead of buing her presents and nice things you have just criticised her.

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  5. Generic Image Jane Y says

    Very nice post Katcat. I agree with your post, it was beautiful and made sense. Our children are not our property, they are their own beings.

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