I am a housewife in my 50s and have a son and a daughter who are already married with their own children. Recently I have been feeling uncomfortable because my son seems to be taken by his wife’s family. My son with children visit me only in summer vacations and New Year Days.

He goes abroad often for business. During that time, his wife returns to her parents’ home. The wife has a married sister living nearby. It looks like she is fond of my grandchildren because this woman has no children.

This woman decided to visit me when my son’s family happened to be in my home. I treated her warmly showing around the town and bought a T shirt for my grandson. The son’s wife said to her sister, “My mother-in-law bought this T shirt.” The sister said to me, saying “thank you”. I felt it was not right that she thanked me. Also, when the anniversary memorial service of my father took place the other day in a Buddhist temple, my son asked me to bring a prayer’s beads (which is like a rosary) for me, but when he came, he said that he borrowed it from his bother-in-law.

I am anxious because I feel as if my son as well as grandchildren were taken into his wife’s family. My friends suggested me that I should tell them instantly that they are my grandchildren and/or son, and that my son must use the prayer’s beads brought by me. I try to behave like “good mom,” but my friends criticize this. People usually say that it is true sons are taken by wives’ families when they are married. I cannot agree with that. How can I behave?


I think that there is more important awareness for you than whether you should be honest with them or not. After your children are married, they no longer belong to the original families. They have their own independent family, don’t they? I think their marriage neither means to cut off your blood relationship nor common relationship itself. Your uncomfortableness about this issue seems that you have a kind of old idea that you can depend on children for the purpose of your living.

Children must leave original families and parents have to accept any feeling of loneliness or whatever as its result. I think if you expected your children to stay with you forever, it would be strange and immature. It is better for you to look for enjoyable and creative ways to live your own life.