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Would it bother you if you were not informed of religious milestones?

Started by Liz, May 07, 2012, 06:59:10 am

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Just a general question seeking mil feedback.  My inlaws think they have a close relationship with their kids.  About three years ago inlaws and I had a major falling out.  I finally called them out on their bad behavior and we are now estranged... which we have all accepted.  My dh goes through the motions with them... but it took a long time for him to see their bad behavior...he made excuses for them for the past 20 years.

So now my question... My niece and nephew were making their first communion and my bil never told them.  They live 800 miles away so they would have not known anyway. However, they randomly decided to visit... and stepped knee deep into all the festivities.  Catholics make a big deal out of first communion... So a meaningful religious ceremony and a big party with sils foo.  And sils foo are very close to kids... So I am sure they felt like outsiders.

If bil invited them they would have never come.... and they refused to attend baptism because they practice a different religion.  BIL just didn't want to tell them about first communion because he knows his parents (my inlaws) don't support their religion. 

Just wondering what all of you wise women think.


I am of a different religion than my grandkids.  But it doesn't matter IMO.. I would still want to be included because it is an important event to the GKs.  My GS made his first communion last year and I was not invited..  It was very hurtful to learn this after the fact.  I would say an invitation should be extended and left up to the recipient to attend or not. So in answer to the question..  Yes. it bothered me.


We are Catholic...well, "were", and two of our grandchildren are Jewish. We were invited to both Bar Mitzvah events and very much appreciated being included. It wasn't about their belief system or ours, it was about family, courtesy and respect.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


My YDD and her BF have decided not to get their children Christened, as they both do not believe in God, I and my daughters were Methodists and her BF is ex-jehovahs witness, YDD's BF in particular is very much against it, dont know whether it is to do with his upbringing.

It bothers me slightly but i can see my YDD's reasoning, they have said that when their DS & DD are old enough to make their own decisions and if they decide they want to get Christened/baptised or whatever then they can do that when they can make an informed choice.


I was thinking like Louise... It is about family, courtesy and respect.  My inlaws are Presbyterian... so it is not like they are extremely different.  I just think it is sad you are fearful about telling your parents your kids are making their first communion.  To me, it speaks volumes about the relationship... or lack thereof.

lancaster lady

Although a different religion , it was an important occasion for them .
An invitation should have been sent , and the attendance left up to them .
They might have wanted to mark the occasion with a gift even though they didn't attend .
I would like to be included in any of my GD milestones , religious or not .


I think it's perfectly reasonable for parents to exclude grandparents from religious ceremonies if the grandparents can't be trusted to be supportive and polite.  The ceremony isn't about the grandparents - it should celebrate the child and her relationship to her religious community.

I have a friend whose oldest daughter had a confirmation/coming-of-age ceremony at age 14.  Her grandparents, who were from a different religious background, were invited to the ceremony and the party that followed.

On the morning of the ceremony, the grandparents cornered the granddaughter and begged her not to go through with it.  They told her that they had prayed every day if her life for her to accept Jesus, and cried that they would never see her in heaven after she died, etc etc.  They prayed out loud for the Holy Spirit to soften her heart and turn her to "the right path."

I was raised in the same religion as the grandparents, and I believe they were motivated by love and concern for their granddaughter.  At the same time, she was crushed by their disapproval, and it ruined what should have been a happy and meaningful day for her.

She told her parents afterward, and they didn't invite the grandparents to their other kids' ceremonies.


Wow Karenna....that is just wrong.

Inlaws did give 48 hours notice they were coming.  And that is when bil told them.  They could have stopped at grocery store for a card...nothing.  It would have never occurred to them to acknowledge event with a gift.  They were just passing through and needed a pitstop.  The ceremony and party was just happenstance.


Being a reasonable, tolerant person I would be hurt if I wasn't invited to be part of a celebration or informed of a milestone, but I totally understand limiting those GPs who, though loving, are intolerant & disruptive.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


You know, these religious milestones don't just happen in a vacuum.  If the GP's of the celebrant were involved in his/her life, then they would have heard SOMETHING in the weeks leading up to the occasion.  I think, in this case, the bad relationship came first, so this is a result, not a cause.


Scoop... You are SO right.  I don't think they have a bad relationship....they have no relationship.  The same for our kids.  I rarely talk to my sil and I knew it was coming.  I sent Bibles.  Not because we are close...but I wanted to acknowledge.


My son's baptism seems to have been one of the cluster of events that triggered my current issues with my MIL. There was some grumbles about baptizing my son Catholic, because it's my mom's family that is Catholic (my dad is not but my brother and I are). Funnily enough, if it was solely up to my DH, my baby wouldn't have been baptized at all. Nothing was ever said that was outright mean, but she certainly wasn't thrilled about it. If we have another baby, it will be baptized Catholic, and she can grumble about it all over again.

After all the stuff she pulled over refusing to come to his birthday party (which they did eventually come for, but left early), I decided from here on out if there's any family event, everyone gets an invite. However if they choose not to come or try to enforce their own terms on it (ie I'm not coming if so and so is there) it's just going to be "that's too bad you can't make it, I'm sure DS will miss you", end of story. If someone was downright disruptive about a particular faith though, I don't think I'd invite them.


Hi Liz and Pen,

Well, in this case, the grandparents were not trying to be territorial or to score points off the DIL. They sincerely believe that hell is a real place, and that their granddaughter will suffer there forever if she doesn't convert.  So if there was even a chance that they could save her from it, they couldn't pass it up - even at the expense of their relationship.  Their belief is that strong, and they love her that much.

Knowing this, her parents didn't cut the grandparents off completely, but from that day forward, the grandparents have not been able to be a part of the family's religious life.  Their involvement would only make everyone unhappy.  The partial cutoff is intended to eliminate opportunities for conflict, not to punish the grandparents for their beliefs (although the grandparents probably see it differently).

And in the general case, I think that grandparents should only be a part of these events if they can wholeheartedly support the child.  If they come just to glower through the whole thing, or say sarcastic/disapproving things, or push their own belief system on other guests, then I think they have no place there.

Liz, your inlaws skipped the baptism because they couldn't bring themselves to support the family.  I don't think they should feel surprised or slighted by not being invited to a first communion.  Your BIL is under no obligation to invite people to this ceremony if they don't value it.


My take: I had that problem..."doomed to Hell"...when my son entered the Assembly of God seminary studying to be an ordained minister and youth pastor. I paid for his education, supported him 100% and attended his graduation...but he was heart broken that I was "going to Hell." Tough years for both of us until he broadened his perspectives and decided that each person has to make that call for themselves because it is wrong to think you're right. He moved on into counseling, eventually. I have the same problem where I live...they really want to save me...and I would just love to save them. I think mutual respect is still the bottom line. And I honestly believe each and every one of us has a full time job trying to live up to our own belief system without second-guessing any elses. At 85, it looks to me like it is more about what people do than what they say.

We have to be careful here...it can be a touchy subject. You know me, if we get on thin ice, I will close the thread rather than step on any toes.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I think the grandparents were ok by not being invited...because they wouldn't have made a special trip to see the first communion.  I just wanted some mil perspective...did they pull out of the driveway wondering WHY they were not invited???  I just know it would have made me sad by having stumbled upon it by accident.  As scoop said...that it wasn't a part of the conversations.  I don't thing bil is in the " doghouse".  I think he was sad that it was so happenstance.  And knowing them...simply took up space.

Really insightful discussion ladies.  Thanks for your input.