Story of the Day: Woman Excludes Her Brother's Kids from Family Events

Cathrine Mabvudza
Apr 06, 2021
07:30 P.M.

A woman started excluding her brother's kids from family events after tolerating years of passive-aggressive and controlling behavior from his wife regarding their parenting differences. While it seems unfair to punish the kids, the woman feels justified.


Parenting style varies from family to family, and it's often difficult to determine which technique is superior to the other. It's even more difficult to assert one household's parenting rules on to another.

In today's story of the day, differences in parenting styles resulted in a massive family rift after Joanna decided to exclude her brother, Brian's three kids, from family events.

Photo of children playing on a soccer field. | Source: Pexels/Lukas

Photo of children playing on a soccer field. | Source: Pexels/Lukas

Joanna and Brian grew up in a relatively relaxed and open family setting. The siblings and their parents share a close relationship and conflicts were often resolved calmly and quickly.

However, issues arose after both Joanna and Brian got married and started families of their own. While Joanna raises her kids the way she grew up, Brian allowed his wife to take on the authoritative role, setting the rules and standards in their home.


Brian's wife, Mary, is extremely controlling and has dozens of rules regarding what her three children are allowed or not allowed to engage in. The kids aren't permitted sugar, television, artificially dyed foods, or plastic toys.

While Joanna has always respected Mary's decisions, she always found it challenging to abide by these rules during playdates and family events because her four kids were allowed more freedom than Brian's kids.


Occasionally, Joanna would make an honest mistake and give Brian's kids a snack they were not supposed to have or forget to take away the toys. Despite the earnest apologies, Mary always reacted in a passive-aggressive manner.

Instead of resolving the issue face-to-face, Mary would send insulting emails chastising her along with bullet points detailing areas of improvement as if she were speaking to an employee.

Joanna found the emails offensive, but she remained silent for the benefit of all the kids who enjoyed spending time together. However, Mary's behavior escalated, and a few weeks ago, she sent a similar email to the kids' grandmother.

Joanna's mom forgot the rule about sugar and allowed Brian and Mary's kids to have ice cream with the rest of the kids. When Mary picked up the kids, she smiled at her and pretended nothing was wrong, only to send an angry email later that evening.


Joanna's mom was so hurt by the email, she cried and vowed never to babysit Brian's children again. In that instance, Joanna also realized that the whole family was walking on eggshells because of Mary's impossibly strict rules.

Although Brian continuously defended his wife's actions, Joanna decided that it would be easier to exclude his kids from family functions since they could never keep up with the high standards.

What would you do in Joanna's situation? Meanwhile, in another story about family conflict, a man refused to let his sister see his kids after making derogatory comments about them.

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