Home > Mom's Life > Family Relationships > Dealing With In-Laws > In-Laws from a Different Culture
|

In-Laws from a Different Culture

In This Article:

Page 2

  1. Dress to excess: Clothing

    In general, Americans are not a modest bunch. People from other countries are apt to show much less flesh. Considering what most people look like uncovered, there's a lot to be said for more being more.

    If you have any female in-laws from Thailand, for example, they'll likely cover as much of their body as possible. Islamic women are also very modest.

  2. Eat, drink, and be merry: Food

    Are your in-laws Jewish or Muslim? If so, nix on the pork and shellfish. Hindus don't eat beef. Seventh Day Adventists don't eat any meat.

    Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, and some Protestant sects do not drink alcoholic beverages. To be on the safe side, just serve water (and maybe a Little Debbie or two). Or, you can run the menu by your spouse and in-laws before you serve it.

  3. Diamonds are a girl's best friend: Gifts

    Are your in-laws Chinese? If you like them, don't offer gifts of umbrellas, knives, scissors, or clocks. Umbrellas and sharp objects indicate that you wish a separation; clocks hint that life is running out. If you give your Chinese in-laws cash gifts, the amount must be in even numbers and the gift given with both hands. Pretty tricky, no? Check and double-check your in-laws' cultural beliefs before you whip out that AmEx for gift giving.

  4. Battle of the sexes: Male/female relationships

    A young woman was captured by a young man and taken to his home, where she was sexually molested. The victim called the police, who charged the man with kidnapping and rape. The young man was shocked: according to his culture, he is married to the girl and thus innocent of any wrongdoing.

    Some marriage customs illegal in America are customary in other cultures. Among the Hmong, marriage can take place when a young man takes a girl (often as young as fourteen) to his home and consummates the marriage. In exchange, the groom's family pays a "bride price" to the girl's family. This practice is called zij poj niam, "marriage by capture."

    The moral of the story? Hold out for a black-tie wedding and honeymoon cruise to the islands and be very careful to consider your in-laws' heritage as you plan weddings and other family celebrations.

  5. Yo! Adrienne: Forms of address

    Most cultures are more formal than the United States. If your in-laws were born in another country, err on the side of formality when addressing them. For example, refer to them by their titles, not their first names, unless they tell you otherwise.

  6. On thin ice: Compliments

    Be careful if you compliment your in-laws, because the statements that people interpret as compliments and the socially correct way to respond to compliments varies widely among cultures. For example, an American who is complimented would likely say "Thank you." A Japanese person, in contrast, would probably apologize by saying, "No, it wasn't very good."



<< Previous: Page 1
|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Dealing with In-Laws © 1998 by Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Fun Driveway and Sidewalk Games for Kids
Looking for classic outdoor games kids can play in the driveway or on the sidewalk, just like the good ol' days? From hopscotch to bubble-blowing contests, there's something for all ages!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Best Sun Safety Practices for Babies
Follow these sun safety practices for babies to ensure your little one stays safe on the beach and on sunny days all year long.