I was told babies would bring family disputes....:-( In brief:

My brother lives with my mother, he doesn't work and spends most of his time in his room smoking fags/dope. This smoking is confined to the bedroom only, not throughout the house.

My wife won't take our 6 month old to visit at the house due to the smoking.

My mother visits us and meets us out regularly.

My mother has kicked off a big dispuate saying the reasons for not visiting are "inaccurate and unreasonable".

Is my wife being over protective? If my mother not being respectful of her decision?

asked 05 Oct '09, 19:07

Limey's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


It isn't inaccurate, smoking is universally accepted as dangerous to everybody.

(15 Oct '09, 04:07) MrChrister

Encourage your mother to kick your brother out, that will solve at least five people's problems in one go.

(07 Jan '10, 13:06) Benjol


IMHO, I don't think your wife is being over-protective. I do agree that your mother is not being respectful of her decision.

Personally, I wouldn't bring my baby to a smokey house, even if it were just tobacco. The whole "it's in one room" excuse is bogus. It stinks up a house and 2nd hand smoke is bad for everybody around, especially babies.

I also wouldn't even begin to go down the road of allowing this (drugs as gateway to being a layabout) to be an example of acceptable behavior for the kid to see.

But my opinion is predicated on your description of "spends most of his time smoking [in the house in question]." If, instead, you had said, "I know my otherwise-responsible brother smokes an occasional joint, but my mother's house is safe and smoke-free", then I would agree that it's not justified to prohibit visits there.


answered 05 Oct '09, 19:29

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%


+1 I'm not even going to bother answering, since this answer sums up exactly what I would have said. Well done.

(05 Oct '09, 19:47) Graeme

I agree with this as well.

(06 Oct '09, 14:05) Michelle

I would wager the mother is secretly just as frustrated her son lives at home and stinks up the house, but won't admit it so pretends it isn't an issue.

(15 Oct '09, 04:05) MrChrister

The only way I'd take my child there is if it was a nice day to spend outside. Your wife is just being a great parent by not going there. Good for her to stand her ground and not go!


answered 05 Oct '09, 21:44

Mommy%20trial%20and%20error's gravatar image

Mommy trial and error
accept rate: 4%


You hinted at what I was going to answer with: OK, disregarding that it's autumn now, and given that this question/dispute likely came up during the summer, is it not possible to go and visit outside? A picnic on the patio / BBQ get-together?

(05 Oct '09, 21:52) Jeff

I would not be taking a child of mine over there either until there was NO smoking in the house and it has been thoroughly cleaned. Houses have ventilation systems which means smoke travels. There is also the issue of third hand smoke (all the chemicals in the ciragrettes accumulate on the surfaces it comes into contact with) so all those poisonous things will be anywhere in the house that your brother chooses to go - regardless of whether he's actually smoked there or not - the bathrooms, the kitchen, etc. unless the first thing he does when he exits his room is thoroughly wash his hands. I doubt this is happenning. I also agree with 'lgritz's' answer in that its a terrible example for your little one to see. You are the parent. You get to make the descisions. If you don't feel confortable then you don't go - it's simple. Tell your mother that when your brother moves out, or quits smoking you will gladly visit but until then, this is the way it is.


answered 05 Oct '09, 20:24

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

I'd like to remind you, one and all, that second-hand smoking is one of the risks that can lead to SIDS. This includes the smell that clings to clothes, furniture and walls. Personally, I'm very sensitive to the stench of smoking (of any kind), but even if I wasn't, I wouldn't let my daughter around smokers, especially in a closed environment.

So I agree with everyone here, your wife is far from being over-protective.


answered 06 Oct '09, 07:25

Yuval's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%


More info available here: http://www.sk.lung.ca/documents/writeups/Second-hand%20Smoke%20Increases%20SIDS%20Risk.pdf

(06 Oct '09, 10:32) Scott ♦♦

I agree that your wife is not being over-protective at all. You need to set the boundaries both of you are comfortable with. As with most things in marriage and parenting, discussion is always important when figuring out where these boundaries should be, and sticking with them. I hope when talking to your mum about why you don't want to visit her house you use words like "we don't like this", not "she (your wife) doesn't like this". A united front and mutual support is very important, especially when dealing with each other's in-laws.

I have a similar situation where both my mother and her partner smoke, but fortunately all parties are mindful of not wanting to expose the kids to second-hand smoke. Basically the agreement was they wouldn't smoke anywhere inside their house when the kids were there (or if they knew we were coming over). They would smoke out on the deck instead (which I think they do half the time anyway). Fortunately neither of them are chimneys so it's not like they can't go for an hour or so without a puff.


answered 07 Oct '09, 02:31

Evan's gravatar image

accept rate: 55%

edited 08 Oct '09, 07:15

Respect your wife's opinion. At the end of the day she's the mother of your child and she has every right to make parenting choices.

We also get into parent/grandparent difference of opinion situations, but at the end of the day what the parent says is what sticks. Your mom has to understand that.

There's no reason to bring a child into a tobacco or drug smoking environment.


answered 14 Oct '09, 01:42

lajos's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Your wife is being sensible, your mum is being over-sensitive. Smoking has been linked to SIDS, among many, MANY other health issues. Babies and children should be protected and shielded from exposure to any toxic elements, second- and third-hand smoke being two primary ones.



answered 19 Oct '09, 02:30

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accept rate: 12%

edited 19 Oct '09, 02:39

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦

I think your wife can make her stance on the issue clear and uncompromising without taking a stance that could be so easily interpreted as being against the people.

Could you still take your child over to your mother's house outside when it's nice? Could you meet at a park or location near their house so it's clear that you're not against visiting them as long as your child isn't exposed to second-hand smoke? And show your brother love too. Your mother may feel like she's the only one standing up for this loved one's place at the table.

Try to help mediate this to a quick end before it becomes a battle of pride and egos where no one wants to be the one to cave. Since you're the one in the middle, it means you might feel stuck but you also may be the only one who can calmly and lovingly approach each woman respectfully, explain the other's point of view, and suggest a non-threatening compromise.

It's important to stand up for what you believe in and to not put your child at risk. If you all can do so without alienating your loved ones, why wouldn't you?


answered 16 Oct '09, 18:10

Dinah's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

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Asked: 05 Oct '09, 19:07

Seen: 3,504 times

Last updated: 19 Oct '09, 02:39