cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
Lucy ([personal profile] cereta) wrote in [community profile] agonyaunt2017-04-26 07:00 pm

Dear Abby: MiL Alarmed by DiL's Twitter Posts

DEAR ABBY: I just stumbled upon my daughter-in-law's Twitter account. She has posted half-naked pictures, talked about all the drinks she was consuming, and said that if she didn't have a child, she'd be gone. The language she used would make a sailor blush.

I baby-sit for her, and I was shocked, to say the least. I foolishly posted a shocked cat on Facebook, stating that "this is me reading your Twitter account."

My son is now upset with me that I read her Twitter posts. I am not sure he had seen them. I saved them on my computer, which he picked up when he was here and ran through my history.

I know I didn't handle this the right way, but she was saying she starts drinking at 7 a.m., and that "moonshine wasn't working anymore." I am truly concerned about the baby. What can I do to repair this situation? -- SHOCKED IN KENTUCKY

DEAR SHOCKED: If that post was public, then anyone could see it. Your son may be embarrassed that you saw how dysfunctional his marriage is, and that's why he is misdirecting his anger toward you rather than where it belongs.

If your daughter-in-law is drinking from the moment she wakes up, she's in no condition to be caring for a baby. If she is using something stronger, you need to remind your son that the child's welfare must come first. If your statement is ignored, you will have to decide whether to involve child protective services.
bethany_lauren: (Default)

[personal profile] bethany_lauren 2017-04-27 12:14 am (UTC)(link)
I can hardly formulate anything but what!? in a loud tone of voice.
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[personal profile] ellen_fremedon 2017-04-27 01:18 am (UTC)(link)
The first thing that strikes me is that she doesn't have any evidence besides Twitter that the DIL is day-drinking, etc. The Twitter could well be purely performative.
jadelennox: Judith Martin/Miss Manners looking ladylike: it's not about forks  (judith martin:forks)

[personal profile] jadelennox 2017-04-27 04:11 am (UTC)(link)
"moonshine doesn't work anymore" and "I start drinking at 7 AM" as tweets don't strike me as accurate statements of truth, any more than tweeting "My boss dissed my project. So I set fire to his car" or "Hubby didn't feed the baby. I'm running off with the mailman."
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[personal profile] vass 2017-04-27 04:27 am (UTC)(link)
Yes, this.
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[personal profile] deird1 2017-04-27 06:45 am (UTC)(link)
I have to say, if I were to post "moonshine doesn't work anymore", it'd probably mean I'd run out of chocolate. Or tea.
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)

[personal profile] vass 2017-04-27 04:27 am (UTC)(link)
She thinks her DIL is alcoholic, suicidal, and neglecting her baby, and she finds time to be concerned about her SWEARING?

She mentioned she babysits for her grandchild. I wonder if she "stumbled onto" the twitter account by snooping on their computer while she was there.

The "shocked cat" macro on Facebook reaction really suggests to me that her reaction is more about indignation and wanting to shame her DIL, and less about being sincerely concerned about her DIL and grandchild's welfare.

Abby's assumption that "the moonshine isn't working any more" implies that DIL has moved on to "something stronger" than alcohol is not supported by the letter, and is beside the point anyway.
saunteringfiend: (centurian)

[personal profile] saunteringfiend 2017-04-27 06:41 am (UTC)(link)
Yes - if you really wanted to help, why go straight to a public sha,img instead of a conversation?
shirou: (cloud)

[personal profile] shirou 2017-04-27 02:56 am (UTC)(link)
Posting to Facebook was indeed foolish. The best thing for the LW to have done would have been to approach the son and/or daughter-in-law, and say she* saw the tweets and is concerned by them. Then listen and try to understand before taking any further actions. The LW can't take back the Facebook post, but she can go to the son and daughter-in-law, apologize for handling the situation badly, and then begin the conversation they need to have about the daughter-in-law's tweets and whether the baby is being properly cared for.

As mentioned above, the tweets could be a total misrepresentation of the daughter-in-law's actual behavior. Fine. If that's so, then it's better to have an uncomfortable conversation and know the baby is safe than remain unsure. If there's truth behind the tweets, then it's all the more important the LW act swiftly.

The son's behavior is also weird. Why would he object to the LW reading his wife's (presumably) public tweets, and why was he looking through the LW's internet history? I agree with Abby that, at least on the fact of it, he seems to be misdirecting his anger.

*I'm assuming "she." The journal entry title, but not the letter, says mother-in-law.
shirou: (cloud 2)

[personal profile] shirou 2017-04-29 02:01 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks, it's good to know where that text comes from. I admit the letter has more of a MiL vibe than a FiL vibe, but I hate making gendered assumptions.

I also admit, I'm a little surprised by the other responses to this post. Yeah, Abby may be overreacting, but if you're caring for a child and writing publicly about starting drinking at 7am, you're inviting some strong reactions. True or false/performative, the tweets warrant some follow-up questions.
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[personal profile] likeaduck 2017-04-27 12:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Agreeing that tweets are not necessarily factual descriptions of life, but also, if one suspects one's family member has a troubling relationship with alcohol, there are a lot of potential steps between "mention your concern to a closer family member" and "call CPS".
jadelennox: Judith Martin/Miss Manners looking ladylike: it's not about forks  (judith martin:forks)

[personal profile] jadelennox 2017-04-27 03:24 pm (UTC)(link)
This! Like, everything here makes no sense. Not just Abby's not having the sense to see that this description of tweets is likely not factual, but also the mother-in-law (whom I will give the benefit of the doubt and assume she is genuinely worried) thinking a shocked cat macro on Facebook is going to accomplish anything, and Abby thinking that CPS is a reasonable response when there is not solid evidence of child endangerment! CPS flat out ruins lives, and not just the parents', but the children's'. You don't go to social services until you have good reason to suspect that children being separated from their families substantially safer than all of the negatives that come from going into foster care, from the trauma, to the potential job and home loss, to the potential for abuse, school switching, and that's just the surface of the iceberg.

(I understand that CPS does a lot of necessary good in the world. But that doesn't change the fact that taking kids out the family's care is super destructive. And depending on the class and race of the parents, CPS might not be willing to give any benefit of the doubt.)
Edited 2017-04-27 15:26 (UTC)
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[personal profile] cliosfolly 2017-04-27 02:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Why was the MiL's first response to FB post, if she's really taking the Twitter feed literally and seriously? It feels as performative as I'd guess the Twitter posts to have been. If she feels fine about posting to her DiL on FB, why not have a private convo to ask her if she's ok and say that the Twitter posts were concerning? As many of the other commenters have also stated, Abby's response goes pretty extreme pretty quickly. It's lacking as much nuance as the letter writer seems to have.