In Laws Issues

Updated on July 13, 2013
S.B. asks from Englewood, CO
20 answers

Trying to make sense of an invite from my sister in law for my in laws golden wedding anniversary. She is putting together a dinner party for them, however, it is being financed by both siblings, me/my husband and hers. Keep in mind that my husband and I have had no recommendations for this dinner as she and her husband put it together without our input, we didn't even know about it until last weekend during a visit at which time my sister in law let us know what her plans were. We thoguht it sounded great and were happy that she had taken it upon herself to do all the "leg-work" as we wanted to do something for them as well. My SIL has two children, they are 12 and 15 and are planning on attending the dinner. However, she made it clear to myself and husband that it was an "adult" dinner which led us to believe that our grandchildren were not invited. She initially wasn't going to invite our adult daughters until my mother in law overheard our conversation (it is not a surprise) and told her that they were certainly invited. My MIL wasn't present during the next part of our conversation. I then made it clear that while I understood why younger kids wouldn't be invited, my oldest granddaughter is almost eleven and is capable of sitting down for a dinner party. I was very polite during our conversation and told her that we would go with whatever plans she had made as I knew that me and my husband would discuss later. She still wouldn't agree that the ten year old should come, she simply looked at us in silence.
My concern is, if we are splitting the bill, shouldn't we have some influence on whether or not our two granddaughters can attend?
Now, in an attempt to educate you on our situation a bit further, I'll try to set this up for you without taking too much time. I married my husband with children from another marriage. We are close to my in laws even though we live three hours away. My husband grew up in a very close family. He doesn't talk to his brother much, however they are still close. I have never had any issues with the family in regard to bringing along an immediate family when marrying their son. My In Laws are wonderful and are close to our girls and granddaughters, I feel that they truly love them! I don't know why my SIL didn't assume that our kids and grandkids were close enough to my in laws to invite. She even made a comment that it was going to be very intimate dinner. Should me and my husband be offended by this, should we discuss it with her, if so, what would we say? We know this is about our parents right now, not us! My husband has adopted my youngest daughter as he wanted her to know how much she meant to him as well as her children. He walked her down the aisle at her wedding and his parents and SIL were there to see. They know how close he is with her and her children as well as my oldest daughter. We have been together for 17 years. Am I over thinking it, my husband was bothered as welll. We understand that it's intimate and are requesting that others do not bring children however, we are part of the immediate family and feel that the kids should come. Even if my SIL and BIL don't feel that my children are as much part of the family as theirs, I believe that my Parent In Laws do and it is their party.

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answers from Denver on

If it really is an adult dinner - limit to adults. If kids are invited all should be invited. I agree with Katie too. As a mom of a blended family, I am also sensitive to the issues of prior kids/families. So maybe I'm biased when saying that my radar would be up to.... ALL family invited not just some based on age or "family".... best of luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I would be ticked off! It isa GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY. The whole family should be there. Never ever would I leave out anyone. I am truly shocked!

I think Katie is right. Ask in laws. Small intimate adult dinner or whole family, little and big.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Jacksonville on

I would be very offended. It sounds like SIL wants your money but not your company or input! I understand not bringing kids who will be running around, making noise, etc, but a 10 yr old certainly knows how to behave. Your SIL seems to be treating your children like they are not "real" members of the family, when you have indicated that your hubby and his parents feel they are. I'd ask your MIL what their feelings are. My aunt was planning a fancy smancy dinner for my grandma's 90th birthday and didn't want young kids there. When someone finally got around to asking my grandma what SHE wanted, it turned out to be a casual cookout at her house with ALL of the family, including 5 yr olds running amuck and babies crying! So my aunt's plans were scrapped and grandma got her way. I'd be firm in finding out what your parents want and follow THEIR wishes since its about them!

ADDED: Some people are hung up on the generational thing. But that's not it- the SIL said "no children". But then she's allowing HER children. She also wasn't planning on including the adult kids of the poster, until MIL insisted. Like I said before- sounds like SIL doesn't consider them a real part of the family because they are not blood and that is very offensive!

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I don't think you are looking for a fight at all, you have a legitimate gripe on several fronts.

I think to boil it down, I agree that you should look at what generations will go, regardless of age. However, it would bother me beyond belief to not be involved in this decision yet be expected to foot half the bill- unacceptable on SIL, just wrong.

I would try to be civil, but be matter of fact in approaching SIL. Simply saying "let's hash out this guest list and what WE want to do in terms of kids." If she says that she already decided, politely say "oh, I'm just wanting to make sure that since we're contributing to this event that our feelings are considered." If she balks at that, then it's bad on her because you kept it on the up and up.

Again, I do feel like ultimately it's fine to keep it generational. If you really feel like age is the relevant factor and that your grandkids should attend, then fight for it- you are paying for half!

Even if you decide to not have your grandkids attend, at least you have made the decision together and had your say, and find ways to point that out. I am a believer that you teach people how to treat you, so draw the line so SIL knows. You are handling this nicer than I would, and you can certainly hold a boundary without being rude.

I think you are just trying to have your say, not picking a fight. Good for you.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Family is family.
I can't imagine NOT inviting all family kids and grand kids!
Nor do I know of anyone that wouldn't want ALL of their kids/grand kids to be present!
I don't know you or your family, but what your SIL is trying to dictate sounds nasty to me.
Personally, is have my husband talk to her and tell her you're planning to being your WHOLE family to celebrate his parents anniversary.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

If you are paying for half then you get as much say as they do!! I can see if she wants it to be Adult only (18+) and if that is agreed to by all of you then it is OK. If she is wanting it her way or the highway then tell her that you will not be paying anything and will do something for your PIL. If she throws a fit remind her that since you have no say in it you are not a hostess and not obligated to pay.

When my grandparents had their 50th their Children and Grandchildren were included and not Great Grandchildren (even though there were 3 that were older teens). We did a cookout later that had all generations and they said later that is what they wanted more than a fancy sitdown dinner

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

It's adults only, older teens are sort of young adults. I'd be annoyed but I would not bring my kids. It's not a kid party.

When we have adult dinners at church we do invite the teens old enough to date. They are invited knowing it's a couples sort of thing. They are expected to act like they are adults.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

If you are splitting the bill than your children and grandchildren should be invited. Since your in-laws welcomed your children into the family they are now their grandchildren. You and your husband should discuss this issue with SIL. If she can make all of the rules then she should pay for everything. An adult dinner means adults only. Her 15 and 12 year olds shouldn't be invited either. Good luck!!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

I think you should both agree on which generations will be invited. If one of you gets to invite your children, both of you should. She does not have grandchildren so to be fair, you should not invite your grandchildren. Just because her children and your grandchildren are the same age, I don't think they are on equal ground so to speak.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I would think immediate family and kids would be invited. So it would be your kids and step-kids plus husband and then Sis in law with husband and kids. I don't think your grand kids should come unless the couple whose party it is for, says that's fine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

Sorry, but I agree with your SIL. There's no need to invite your grandchildren just because you have one that is mature and only a couple years younger than their youngest child. If the party is for your inlaw's children and grandchildren, then it's not necessary or appropriate for you to also want to invite YOUR grandchildren. Suck it up and swallow your pride and hopefully you can all have a good time celebrating this milestone.

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answers from St. Louis on

It seems like you want a fight. Your kids are invited and I assume their spouses but now you want your grand kids as well. The 12 and 15 year olds are their kids, not grand kids so just because they are close in age doesn't mean those flood gates should be open.

I am not sure how you are getting not wanting grand kids to equal not wanting your children.
After reading some of the other responses am I the only one who picked up on "our grandchildren"? She isn't talking about her adult children, they are invited. The OP also feels her 'grandchildren' should be invited because they are sort of kind of close in age to her husband's sister's children. In other words she wants to invite another generation since she has grand kids and her husband's sister doesn't.

All seems rather petty to me.
Okay another way to look at it. Mom and dad (2), son and wife (2), daughter and husband (2). So six. Now daughter's kids, perhaps older kids, don't know, (2). Son's adult kids and SO (6). So on your side you already have 8 to your husband's sister's 4 but you are complaining about splitting the bill. Now you want to add god knows how many grand kids? Yet here you are trying to act like this is about your kids being step kids? Sorry but you have eight from your side, total guests 14, that is the limit of intimate regardless of ages.

This isn't about second class family, it seems to me you want your husband's sister to flip the bill for all your lineage. You seem to be the problem, not your in laws.

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answers from Boise on

I had to think on this one, partly cause I was a little confused and partly cause I wasn't sure what my answer was going to be.

SIL is going for a much more grown-up party for the IL's. You and hubby don't agree with the age range she has placed? Basically?

Ok, so if it was me. I'd say anyone over 14/15 is invited, while a some 10/11 year olds are quite capable of an adult dinner.....I can not see it being any fun for them. At 14/15 it's also a good learning experience. Since you are helping pay for it, I'd have no problem inviting the older teens along, even against the SIL's wishes, if she was the only one paying then I would respect her wishes.

Now for the younger kids who couldn't attend.....they can throw a party. Get them involved, it doesn't have to be big, just some punch and cake and maybe a few party things. Nothing over the top, but enough that they can also be a part of the IL's anni also.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Take whoever you want. What is she going to do - tell y'all to leave?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am assuming you are splitting the bill for the anniversary couple and everyone else payes their own? Then invite who you want but I really don't think you are being slighted. You have your kids there and she has her kids there. Thats equal.

You sil planned it and had one vision in her head of kids and grandkids of the couple. When you start adding your grandkids to a dinner, that gives the whole thing a different flavor. It was not her vision which she was gracious enough to plan.

If you want to include more, then plan something yourself. You are over thinking and being oversensitive. It's her parents and you don't get to call the shots this time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I'm confused.

It's an "intimate" dinner party, adults only. But, you are requesting that "others do not bring children"? What do you mean by intimate? Here I was thinking it was going to be your in-laws, and your and your BIL/SIL's families and that's it. How many people are you talking about?

What is the per plate cost? Have you considered offering to cover the per plate cost for the "extra" non-adult members that you want to have present? Does the venue have space for the additional people? Does it change the costs otherwise?
There are a lot of reasons to keep the numbers smaller, and not just cost. But unless you can objectively discuss them, you won't get anywhere and will only see this as offensive. The quickest way to find out, is to offer to pay for them on your own (not as part of the split bill).

What is the event designed to be like? Is it mostly close friends and then the family is there also? or is it more family and a few close friends that are "good as family" thrown in?

--Just wrapped up celebrating my parents' 50th this past spring. They didn't want a party. We rented a large cabin and all the family (3 sibs, spouses, and ALL the grandkids) came and stayed together in one cabin. Grilled, enjoyed beverages and company, played board games, enjoyed the hot tub, went on walks, brought in a catered cake, etc. It was great. A pain in the patoot getting everyone there and finding a place large enough in the right area... but we did it.

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answers from Washington DC on

if it's a party, the kids should come. if it's dinner out, with the bill being split, they shouldn't.
if you have issues with this, just plan something else where all the grandkids will be welcome.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I couldn't quite get though all you wrote, but I will venture to say that if you are paying for half of this party, you should just bring your kids. If her 12 year old is coming, your 10 year old should get to come.

Stop trying to be nice about it and just bring your girls. Sometimes you need to just DO what you need to do. If she has the audacity to say something ugly to you about it, you tell her that when you pay half the expenses of the party, you WILL bring your children whether she thinks they are as much a part of the family or NOT. And you walk away from the discussion from there.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

I think you're being overly sensitive and presumptuous about how your SIL feels about your step-kids -- it's probably hard to lose that sensitivity but I would guess no one feels they AREN'T part of the family since you've been together for 17 years.

It does sound like your SIL is being insensitive about having kids at the party (and not thinking that your kids would want to attend) but you should just talk with her about which generations you want included on the guest list and leave it at that. Just because your grandchild is about the same age as her children does not mean your grandchildren should be included. You have to draw a line somewhere when inviting people. But if you feel firmly that the great grandchildren (your grand kids) should be included then say so. But I don't think you invite only the oldest -- that's equally unfair to other grandchildren.

If it's really important to you, perhaps you could plan another, more appropriate way for this generation to celebrate the milestone with their great grandparents?

Good luck in whatever you do. And try not to be sensitive about the step-kid relationship. Give you SIL the benefit of the doubt and you'll probably find she's just being obtuse.



answers from Minneapolis on

Sorry- I agree with SIL. It would be different if she was not allowing your kids to attend, but she is. You shouldn't need to invite the grandchildren... (and by arguing that one is 10 and close to her daughter's age, how would your other grandchildren feel if only the oldest is allowed to go?).

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