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Question for the non-Americans.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have a question and I'm going to do my best not to be rude in asking. My uncle married a very nice German woman who has now been in the family for 15 years. My question is about what is polite in other countries.

My aunt has an obsession with how much things cost. She has no qualms about point blank asking how much anything in my home or on my person cost. She has pointedly asked how much money my husband makes, how much my ex husband pays me in child support, she even asked about our tax refunds.

She also critisizes my parenting. This in itself doesn't bother me so much honestly, it's the way she does it. I am strict I admit, and I expect my children to behave but I view this as a good thing honestly. The best example I have is my 7 year old has gotten to the mouthy stage. When she mouths off she has to write sentences. My aunt apparently thinks this is cruel and unusual punishment and makes no bones about telling me so. I do NOT think it's acceptable for my 7 year old daughter to be snotty to my 75 year old grandmother, so she wrote sentences, 50 of them and apologized to my grandmother.

Other than these and a few other habits my aunt is truly a lovely woman, and I really think her heart is in the right place. I'm just wondering how much of this is acceptable in other countries. If I'm being over sensitive I want to know so I can try to cool it.
post #2 of 8
i think for your aunt she's just a straightforward and frank lady.. i do believe she cares but she doesn't know that things she say can cause u a bit of irritation..

in singapore, more traditional chinese families are much more prone to asking abt such things and we tend to take it in our stride.. cos we know they care and all that's why they are asking... my relatives would always complain about my mom not knowing how to take care of me such that i end up being big sized and all that * it's not really acceptable in our society to be big size* but we just simply smile and shrug it off...
post #3 of 8
Well I guess I can respont to that since I am German .
I think the reason she ask all the time how much eveything cost is : The German have a happit of turning the penny 5 times around , especialy if she is one of the older generation . A lot of germans grow up mittle class or poor , but all off them had to work hard to earn their money . But to tell you the truth (sp) IMO I think your aunt is a very nosy person . And to tell you how your punish your children is also non of her busyness . I would understand if you miss tread them and she try to inter act , wich I belive you dont do that .And by the way , the German believe in spanking the children . So I really don't understand her problem at all . I would tell her very nicely that raising your own children is non of her bussynes , you also would not tell her how to raise her children if she had any .Then also , if you don't want to tell her how much your ex pay for the children that is also your onw busyness not hers . So with other words it is the same there in germany like it is here in the us . Don't be afraid to ask me some more
post #4 of 8
I don't think it's necessarily a 'non-american' thing. How often do we in a store see a child having a temper-tantrum, we hold our breath, wondering how the mother will discipline her child? Then when we see how she is discipling, we usually have our own ideas or make comments either outloud for those that are brazen enough to stick their nose in it or walk away thinking we could have handled it better? Even when I didn't have a child, I still had my opinon of how someone should raise their kid when I see them acting up. LOL! When we moved to the house we are house-sitting for my friend, all of our neighbors first question out of their mouths were 'what does your husband do for a living, what do you do for a living, how much do you make, what is your educational background, etc' This was my first time living as an adult in housing areas, the other homes we've stayed in were college campuses where everyone is laid back and says hi and doesn't bother themselves with the worldy things like that. LOL!!! One of my neighbors felt it a need to tell me what each neighbor was making and what their degree was in, he was an old man and very much american, born and raised!! LOL!!! I don't think it's a non-american thing, each of us even as americans, have different ways of raising children, eating habits, lifestyles, language even though we speak english, it's different from east coast west coast, races, blacks , hispanics, etc.
The last family I was raised in, very posh black american military family, were very much into how much money someone made, what they were doing for a living, how many degrees, etc. Very sickening and disgusting to me, their waste of lifestyle, but both of them were raised from different lifestyles, the father was raised in poor city where his parents barely made it by raising him and his five other relatives, the mother, was fortunate, raised in a military family that had money but she moved everywhere, a military brat but I think she suffered from not making friends long-term growing up since they were always moving. And they were proud of their money and lifestyle even though I wasn't. Anyway...just wanted to point out that it's not a non-american thing.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys so much for the input. My family has always had very different money situations and we just didn't ask. So my aunt doing this really floored me. It's just recently she's seen me as an adult I think(I'm 28 she's 36) thus the questions. I'm going to keep either dodging her questions politely for the most part. She gets her feelings hurt so easily. Sigh. Mind you it is fun to shock her every once in awhile. LOL. She was over for a party Sunday and said "That cat tree must have cost 200 dollars. How can you spend so much on a cat?" I said "Nope, 30 dollars at Wal-mart!" Sigh, I know from experience it's pointless to debate with her how much Simon is worth to me.
post #6 of 8
Just want to say a couple of things from my experience being married to an Iraqi. In many other cultures, the extended family is an important part of raising the children and helping/guiding the young parents. Since she is a lovely lady other wise, I would guess that this is more of a cultural thing and she thinks she is being a good aunty and doing her job!
post #7 of 8
I'm an American living in Germany, with a German husband and in-laws. I was going to echo Hedi's comment about penny-pinching (which the Swabians in SW Germany are renowned for), but your aunt is probably too young for that - it really seems to be the senior citizens who went through WWII who do that. I don't think it's a cultural thing (though my father-in-law always asks how much something cost), but just a question of your aunt's personality. I do find that a lot of Germans are more lenient with their kids than many Americans, but part of that might be that they have fewer kids.
post #8 of 8
Your aunt is younger then me so much for the older generation thing . I think she is just a person who wants to know everything . For sure it has nothing to do with culture since german and amerikan have almost the same kind of culture beside the penny turning and beeing cheap .
But I think that I would have a fit every once in a while with her . She would drive me nuts And by the way , most people would not understand how much our precious cats are worth . Only cat people understand that and dog people too So that I wont leave any body out , all animals lovers would understand
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