Sister in Law Problems

Updated on August 26, 2013
M.P. asks from North Hollywood, CA
10 answers

For a long time my husbands family has not treated me the best. My husband stopped talking to his brother and sister for 6 months until finally last week they both came over. My brother in law apologized to me and said he wanted to get to know me better and that he was sorry for everything. Ive been burned a lot by them in the past but I appreciated his apology a lot and I hope/ and am looking forward to hopefully having a better relationship with him.

My sister in law on the other hand...Shes in her early 20's, parties and really doesnt know a thing about life. Shes treated me really bad and everytime I am around her shes stuck up and just rude. My main problem with her is that she smokes around my daughter who is two years old. We got into a screaming match the other night and she said she didnt see what the big deal is. My husband hates it and anytime she does smoke he just takes my daughter and walks away. Im getting tired of bringing it up.

Im actually getting tired of bringing my sister in law up at all because my husband stuck up for me for 6 months but also it took a strain on our relationship and I really would just like to ignore my sister in law all together. Yesterday we were at my mother in laws house and she comes up to all of us while my husband is holding my daughter and lights up a cigerette, my husband walked away.

I guess my question is this whole situation took a toll on my relationship and I need advice on how to get the romantic aspect back with my husband. I think its better not to mention my sister in law anymore and when I have to be around her just ignore her?

Its not just the cigerettes, shes just a spoiled brat and is a really hard person to deal with. Does anybody have an inlaw they wish to ignore and how do you do it without ruining your relationship?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from San Diego on

What kind of person smokes around a child or a baby? Everyone knows (in their 20's or not) that this is bad. I wouldn't be around anyone that is that selfish.

More Answers


answers from Hartford on

As others have said, in your home there shall be no smoking. If your sister-in-law lights up in your home then you politely ask her to put it out and your husband needs to back you up. If she refuses, then she needs to leave.

In other peoples' homes, I have to say that you're just going to have to suck it up. You can make a polite request for them to smoke outside or you're just going to have to take your daughter outside without making a big deal out of it in order to get fresh air. No rude comments from you, no rude facial expressions, nothing. Because as someone already said you can't expect others to change simply because you had a child if those others don't live in your home.

No more screaming matches. You're better than that, and it's not a good example for you to set for your child. If you ignore your sister-in-law then you're putting your husband in a very difficult and unfair position. He loves his family and he's trying to work things through with them. YOU have to make as much effort as his family makes, if not more, because this is important for him. All of the issues can't possibly be "all them, none you."

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

At your home, you can have a no smoking rule.
At someone else's home? Remove your daughter.
I wouldn't want anyone smoking around my kid either, but you can't expect other people to change because you have a child.
Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Let's get one part of the problem out of the way. If SIL is at your house, she needs to abide by your house rules. If you're at her house or someone else's house where smoking is allowed, there's really nothing much you can do except leave.

Much more important than your relationship with your SIL is your relationship with your husband. His way of dealing with his sister's smoking is to walk away from it, and perhaps that's not a bad system.

Perhaps he feels quite pressured right now because he thinks you're expecting him to solve a problem that he can't solve.

The screaming match was not a good thing. Generally speaking, men aren't comfortable around shrews (nor are women, of course - and can you blame them?), and I imagine he felt caught in the middle.

Be classier. Choose to let SIL's character problems be her problems, not yours. Ask your husband what HE would like you to do when you all are with with his sister. That might open the door to discussion, and you can work out a plan. As you talk to one another, don't start complaining about SIL all over again. He knows all that. He's already heard it.

When I'm with relatives I have a hard time with, I concentrate on being friendly and polite. I will be glad to speak when spoken to. I will be kind. I will try to listen with interest to the conversation (because I may learn something that will help me to deal with the person). I don't get too involved, however, so that I can suddenly need to be very busy somewhere else. I have learned to do this over years of experience!

It may not change your SIL, but you can't do that anyway. Your classiness will take some pressure off your husband. Then you can start to enjoy one another's company again. And that's what you're aiming at most right now.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

If other family members smoke this is a lost cause. You can choose to pick her up and walk away when you're at someone else's home. As for your home put a sign on the door that states NO SMOKING so she'll know she has to go outside to light up.

If you are going to get along with this family you have to compromise. You are able to pick your child up and move her away from someone that is smoking. So stop yelling at other people if you're not going to proactively take care of it yourself.

Other than that just have nothing to do with her. Be around the family at family functions but don't be around her other than that. If she comes to your home don't let her smoke inside your home....unless you do allow smoking. If you do then you're going to have to stop picking on her.

Either no one smokes or everyone can smoke anywhere. If your child is around anyone or inside a home where anyone is or has smoked then it doesn't matter. She's exposed already and continuously is being exposed.

So either no smoking in the house or anyone and everyone can smoke anywhere inside the home they want.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Why do you have to go over to his parent's house when the sister-in-law is there? Instead, go over when she's not.

At YOUR house, you can say NO SMOKING. At your parents in law's house, you can't push your rules on her. It's a shame that your husband's parents won't stand up to their daughter in law, but that's on them.

You can also invite your husband's parents to your place more often so that you don't have to worry about the SIL coming over while you're visiting them...

Were YOU part of the shouting match, or was your SIL the one doing the shouting? If you were shouting, shame on you. You want her to be more mature, but getting in shouting matches with her brings you down to her level. That's not the way to treat family and it's wrong to do to your husband and wrong to do in front of your child. NO more shouting at any of them. Your husband should not only be picking up your daughter and and walking away, but he should be leaving the house if your SIL is smoking in the house. However, it is something that HE has to decide to do.

If you want to get along better with your husband, then no more fighting with his family. Try to have his parents over to your place more often and your husband should try to do things on his own with HIS brother that don't involve bringing the SIL along. The less you see her, the better.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

She's being a child. So you take your child and walk away. If you can, invite the grands to your home, where you can insist on a no smoking indoors rule. You also need to rein in your own emotions and ignore her stupid behavior as much as possible. A shouting match with her only gives her drama. Sometimes the real way to get to someone like that is to ignore them. If she can't get your attention, there's no motivation. I'm assuming that the BIL and SIL are siblings and not husband and wife. If they are husband and wife, you can try asking BIL to ask her to have more respect, if they really do want to patch things up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

If SIL is at your home, then by all smoking and certainly not in your house or around your child. I honestly think this girl is oblivious to how life really works and what it's like to be a mother. She sounds immature and also selfish. Her need to smoke seems to be something she does not matter who is around and who objects to it. Selfish, rude, and oblivious to others! It's also a bad example to a very young child that sooner or later will ask what she is doing and why. If it were me, and my SIL smoked in front of my kids without regard and they asked me what she was doing, I would say..." Well, Auntie has a very nasty habit that will eventually make her sick. I hope you guys don't trade your health for a smelly and yucky habit like that." I would. I can't stand smoking. It is just plain disgusting to me...smells gross, looks nasty, and I have only kissed one person who smoked and that was so unbelievably horrid that I almost gagged out loud!

Okay...I'm over my rant! You will have a hard time controlling this girl unless she is on our property or over at your home. Especially if other members of the family smoke as well and don't seem bothered by it. I think removing your daughter whenever the smoking is occurring and you are not in your own home is a wise idea. I also think your husband is doing a great job by using actions....removing her from the scene.....instead of using words. Those actions speak volumes in my book. I understand why you don't like the behavior of the SIL and especially the smoking too. It is hard to put it to the side and especially when she seems snotty and unapproachable. My advice would be to distance myself from things that are toxic or poor behaviors and put your stock into people that bring you happiness, joy, and offer you support as a mother, family member, or friend. You might be related to this clueless, tactless, and impolite chimney but that doesn't mean she needs to be your best buddy. Be cordial, and that sould be enough until she decides to get some better manners or make better choices in regards to her smoking habits.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New London on

A person in their early 20's can be very immature. Your marriage is number 1 and your child is only 2yrs of age. I agree that your daughter should not be around the 2nd hand smoke!

If somebody is apologizing to you...I am wondering if u are quiet and do not put them in their place. Can you go to the next event and firmly tell them that your daughter cannot be near 2nd hand smoke? Even run this by your pediatrician. You can throw his name in there, too.

The SIL is a kid and will only have a fighting match w/ you. So, tell her that your daughter is not going to be around the smoke or they can come to your house where there is a no smoking inside rule.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia!

So IF your sister in law comes IN TO YOUR HOME - she needs to follow your rules. Your house. Your rules. If you have a "NO SMOKING" policy in your home - then she needs to respect that of she needs to leave. PERIOD.

If you are somewhere else - then it's their rules. You and your husband are handling it right by walking away when she lights up.

It's obvious you do NOT like this girl and it probably shows in your actions and words/attitude towards her. So - it will continue until one of you decides to take the high road. And I suggest that be you. Why? Because you are the better person than she. You have more life experience than her. Stop seeing her as a spoiled brat and start DEALING WITH HER. This means treat her as you want to be treated. Bite your lip, tongue - whatever and BE THE BETTER PERSON!!

As to your relationship? You can't hide from this. You need to talk about the situation and how as a couple you are going to resolve it. You tell him HOW YOU would to handle it. Then make a decision and stick with it.

You need to keep your relationship a priority and not let other people meddle in it.

How did we handle my husband's baby sister? We told her that she was free to have her opinion. She had told us we didn't NEED more than one baby and when we lost our second child at 14 weeks gestation - she said something VERY cruel - see - I told you you didn't need more than was extremely hurtful to us. When our second son was born - she wasn't sure if she could make time for us - as we traveled up to see his side of the husband told her "that's fine - when you want us in your life - let us know! BYE-BYE!" and that was that. it was HIS decision, not mine or even ours - HIS. As it was and is HIS family (yes, I know we are married and therefore they are my family too but I am NOT going to force my husband to choose).

Both their parents are dead now. Their father died in March. When we went up for the funeral - she asked WHY - and we both looked at her dumbfounded - and reminded her of what she said to us and how much it hurt us...she lost out on 11 years of my kids lives because of her comments.

Keep the fire alive in your marriage. Make it a priority and don't let others intrude.

good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions