How do you make your values stick and others’ slide away?

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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Overall, I love my side of the family. Individually, though, they’re hard to handle. I feel very alienated from all of them. I often wonder how I turned out so differently than my parents and my brother. They think and feel one way, and I’m the total opposite. I feel I escaped from having a mind and soul filled with things they think are OK, that just aren't. How did I escape, though, and how do I protect my son from their opinions that they express constantly and strongly?

With everyone over at Christmas, you can be sure Lincoln was told some things to which my husband and I whole-heartedly disagree. During gatherings such as this I get very nervous, and I hover. I want to be sure I’m there to tell Linc that the way so-and-so thinks is not the way we want to think about whatever the topic may be. I immediately address it as something that’s not OK, but I usually get laughed at, and the comment gets repeated. It’s like “don’t listen to mommy; this is the way it is…” or “HAHA, silly mommy. I know everything and it’s like this…” It does stop just before I start kicking people out of our house.

Hopefully, at 11 months, he’s still too young to understand and absorb anything, but what happens when he’s older? What happens when one day he tells someone something that they’ve said to him? What happens when he reacts to someone the way they would react to them?

I’m not saying I’m right—doing that would put me with them—but, we want Linc to form his own opinions. To do that, I believe, he needs to be open to everything not closed off from the get-go. We want him to be nice, accepting, understanding, compassionate, and all the things we try to be. I’m sure my parents wanted me to think like them, but I don’t. Why is that?

They definitely grew up in a different world that I did, but don’t they see now is not then? My mother has told me that it’s the way she was raised. Technically, though, it was the way they tried to raise me, and I’m not like them.

We do keep Linc away from them most of the time, which is sad to say. Also, they’re never alone with him. They can’t be trusted, they don’t understand that we don’t agree with them, and they're not respectful of our feelings and how we want to raise our son. I don’t want him inundated with thinking that we feel is just not right.

How can I tell him the way they think, what they’re trying to inject into him, is not the way he should be thinking? I didn’t adapt to the way they are, and I lived with them for 24 years. So, I know it’s a possibility Linc will not agree with me. That’s fine. However he forms his opinions is how it is, but how do I keep other people from influencing him with things that, in my opinion, just don’t make a good person? What if the people are people he's supposed to grow up respecting and looking up to?

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