My wife's brothers live with us, some of them know where boundaries are and some are always telling my wife what to do with kids and intervening.

It has been annoying for me because it seems they are crossing boundaries and I told my wife our son will have tantrums. This has been going on for forever and more since we moved in because my mother-in-law died last year so I am paying the majority of bills & rent.

Today Uncle S was asking my 4-year-old to eat pasta but my son didn't want to and soon it turned into a forceful pushing him to eat and my son started crying while his uncle won't let him get off the kitchen counter. I told my wife to tell his brother to stop but she is very neutral so I called my son in the room.

While his uncle came I told him this is not the way to introduce food, you are scaring him. Imagine I force you to eat cheese (as he hates cheese) like this. one day you will have kids too. He told me I would make my kids like this, and I said it doesn't work that way.

I told my son to eat things, it is not like they going to feed you wrong things. I know he would have listened/ignore and he eats what he likes or unless I make something new fun to eat than he eats.

While in my room, I overheard the conversation on the dining table where my wife and his brothers were sitting, as he (uncle S) was telling the issue to his very arrogant big brother (who used to force my son to sit on the toilet seat until he pooped and he would cry for a long time). Uncle S was telling how our mom put in spice in my mouth, and while I was crying she hit me twice until I swallowed it and told my wife to do the same but my wife was silent. As I said she is neutral.

Was I right to intervene to call my son towards me and tell his uncle? If they respect me why was the issue discussed and my wife was silent whereas partners are supposed to be back of each other?

  • 2
    Have you discussed what is and is not acceptable in terms of parenting with uncle S and your wife? He seems to be taking on the role of a father here, and you seem to be (rightfully, given his approach) bothered by this while your wife is not. It sounds to me like Uncle S thinks he has a position in your family that you don't think he has and your wife is silent about.
    – Erik
    Commented Nov 15, 2020 at 10:48
  • 3
    Honestly, the whole situation seems horrible. I wish you all the best. And a lot of strength, patience and luck. Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 4:43
  • "My wife's brother lives with us, some of them know where boundaries are" - sorry, but is it one brother or multiple brothers? There seems to be a typo here.
    – sleske
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 9:13
  • @sleske brothers* sorry I will update them as they are multiple
    – localhost
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 10:03
  • 3
    @localhost my personal opinion: I'd throw them out the moment they try to force feed my kid. Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 10:44

1 Answer 1


I share your view on what fosters a healthy relationship to food. I would not tolerate that someone treated my kids the way you describe. I understand that you are providing for your extended family. I do not find it unreasonable to condition this financial support on their respect for your parenting preferences.

I do not, however, share your view that a married couple should always have one another's back viz a viz parenting decisions. One must always parent in a manner that feels right to oneself. I absolutely endorse having these discussions with your wife, but you're not in a position to demand that she enforces your will. If you're the only one who feels this way, this will be your fight to fight, in which case I'll reiterate that I think you absolutely should.

  • 11
    I would go further. The behaviour of the OP's brothers in law is borderline child abuse. The OP should be prepared to go to the child protection authorities if necessary to put a stop to this. The fact that they were abused in childhood is no excuse for abusing the OP's son. (Note: we don't know where this is, so its possible that the local authorities will not consider this behaviour an issue) Commented Nov 14, 2020 at 11:19
  • I always stood for my wife n her values, she, however, remain silent abt her brother treatment towards my son, in other words, she tries to cool me down that X doesn't matter n I want our son to answer them back n stand up, my wife was telling me that our son won't go toilet and hold it back, and I told her that he is afraid coz every time our son was about to go toilet her brother would yell out "make sure u do potty" n it would turn into an episode. now she say it is our job to fix our son, I feel like my wife just ignored me and let him/them carry on wht they do coz they lost their mother
    – localhost
    Commented Nov 14, 2020 at 18:59
  • 2
    @PaulJohnson If the OP meant "a forceful pushing him to eat" to refer to the uncle using physical violence to force his son to eat, that would definitely be child abuse.
    – nick012000
    Commented Nov 15, 2020 at 3:57

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