Scenarios: My wife thinks my family is too loud and aggressive. What do I do?
Aug 31, 2022, 5:38 PM | Updated: Sep 1, 2022, 9:03 am
(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
On the Gee and Ursula Show, hosts Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin take listeners’ advice questions and discuss what they think you should do.
Scenario: I am from an outgoing and loud family. Our love language is yelling, and sometimes outsiders think the confrontations and fighting between family members is scary, but it’s really not. It’s just how we are. Here’s the problem. My wife has adjusted to my family well, and they love her. But now we have a new baby and don’t want to raise her in that type of environment. We’re calm, relaxed, and want them to be in that environment. When we are around my family, it’s a different story. While it’s almost like deja vu here, we get together and are obnoxious and somewhat abusive towards each other, my wife is really worried about it. I told her that if we hide her from my family, that was not going to go well, either. They really are a loving family and would do anything to protect a family member, it is just not like most people would expect. So what should we do? I’m afraid of talking to my family about toning it down. That won’t work. I don’t know if they will change, and it can work against us. They would likely take the attitude that I’m too good for them, but my wife really doesn’t want them to have a negative influence on our daughter. I’m in a tough situation. What’s the best thing to do?
Ursula Reutin: So I have a loud family as well. If you can believe it, I’m probably one of the least talkative ones, so that can give you a sense of how loud my family can be. And then my husband, who was an only child, had to join a very loud family. So I’ve always felt for him when we have big events because it’s hard to get a word in edgewise. That said, you can totally protect your daughter. And I think you can limit the amount of time that she is a part of the loudness or the abusiveness, even though it’s jokes and behavior that you don’t want her to be exposed to. I think you can limit that amount of time. But I would also bring it up and just say, ‘look, I love how our family acts, and I love that. But maybe some of the language that’s used in some of our get-togethers is not appropriate for a young kid. So that’s why I’m going to limit her exposure.’ I think that would be okay. It’s family.
Andrew “Chef” Lanier: One, you cannot protect your children from bad language for their entire life, or bad ideas or concepts that you disagree with. That is entirely not possible. It is your job, however, as a parent, to contextualize those things, and as someone who is raised in what I will call a reserved family. You know, the kind of family where you go to church and they start singing, and you stand up and you uncomfortably put your hands in your pockets and you just kind of hum amazing grace, because you know, why would you sing out loud? Why would you express yourself if it makes you uncomfortable? When people around you at the Mariners game start doing the wave, that’s too much of an expression of emotion for you. You know your child can benefit from growing up in an environment that is more boisterous, that is more exuberant, perhaps it will lead them to be a little bit more of an extrovert, or at least know how to deal with those kinds of people, because I am thankful that my children now have the influence of someone like my wife, who is a little bit more enthusiastic about life than someone who is more naturally reserved, and doesn’t want to show enthusiasm or joy over anything.
Gee Scott: Good answer there. When I was reading this, I kept stopping in between to say, ‘wow, wow, wow, I don’t know anything different. This is how I came up.’ Other than when I was in military school, and I got to go to different people’s homes, and I got to see how different homes and different families do things. But in my family, there was a lot of loudness, and as a matter of fact, so much so that if you didn’t speak up, then nobody heard you. At the family get-togethers, nobody listened to you. Some might say, ‘well, Gee, man, you’re loud.’ I am nothing compared to what I was in my 20s. I am a lot calmer today than I ever was. I got family members back home that would make you say, ‘wow, now I see where it comes from.’ My dad was two times louder than me. Just passionate like this. Every discussion required him to grab his cigarettes and he had to really get to your point. And like that’s the way that the Gee and Ursula show was designed, the way people agree and disagree. That is a normal family get-together. Like we don’t sit there and say, ‘oh, what do you think, Bob?’ ‘Oh, yeah, you’re right about that.’ ‘Well, I agree with you.’
Nick Creasia: I was always on the quiet side. When it comes to these family get-togethers and reunions, I let the rest of the family talk no boundaries, though. When it comes to a filter and getting the kids together and making sure they don’t hear anything they don’t want to hear, forget about that. Maybe I should start speaking more at family reunions to make myself heard like you said, Gee.
UR: Also in these very loud families, I do appreciate those quiet, reserved ones who don’t speak a lot. But when we do speak, it’s profound.
GS: It’s profound, yes. Is that you and your family?
UR: No, I tried to mix it up.