DEAR ABBY: We visit my in-laws two or three times a year. During our most recent visit, my kids (ages 12 and 14) were roughhousing with their cousins and accidentally slammed a door, which resulted in a broken frame. Their grandpa had asked them to stop, which they apparently didn’t do.
Now, three months later, my in-laws are visiting us, and my mother-in-law is having the kids pay for the frame. When I spoke up and let her know I thought this was inappropriate, she became very upset and said, “Kids these days don’t have any consequences,” and this is what she and the kids had agreed should happen.
I emphasized in front of the kids how important it is to listen, to be accountable for your actions and to see what they could’ve done to make it up to her. I’m just not comfortable with her still holding onto this and expecting them to pay for the frame. It seems to me that a conversation about respect and listening is plenty appropriate but, after that, shouldn’t my mother-in-law have gracefully let it go?
These kids, by the way, get excellent school reports, play instruments and sports, and are considered by most people to be great kids. Was I wrong to express my opinion that having the kids pay her is inappropriate? If it wasn’t, then maybe we shouldn’t visit at her home, since it’s filled with breakable valuables.
I am very frustrated by my controlling mother-in-law. — UPSET IN MORRO BAY