Mentioning difficult family members in thesis acknowledgements

posted
15-Mar-17, 14:04
edited about 3 seconds later
Avatar for Nesrine87
posted about 7 months ago
Hi everyone,

I've read a few threads on here already about how people are planning on writing their acknowledgements. I have a specific question and would be grateful for any advice from someone who's been through something similar.

I don't have a problem thanking anybody except my father. We have a very difficult relationship and he was not a good father to me (I don't want to go into more details). We maintain a very limited amount of contact especially as he lives thousands of miles away.

Technically, he's not been unsupportive of the PhD process but rather uninterested. He asks 'how's it going?' once in a while and I say 'fine'. I don't feel the need to thank him as everyone I am thanking actually did help/support me in some way. However, I feel guilty as he has helped me financially prior to the PhD. I also know that he may lash out if he finds out that I didn't thank him (though part of me doesn't care as I'm not responsible for his reaction).

This is a bit silly I guess, but I also wonder what to say if people question why I didn't thank him. I will probably appear cold...

I am thanking my brother, who has been great, and dedicating the thesis to my mum who died 6 years ago.

I hope this makes sense. Sorry if not. Hopefully someone here knows what I'm talking about and can help me decide what to do. Thanks!
posted
15-Mar-17, 14:23
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 7 months ago
How about something like 'thanks to all my family, especially my father for helping me financially prior to starting my PhD, my mother for xxx and my brother for xxx'?
posted
15-Mar-17, 14:29
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for Nesrine87
posted about 7 months ago
Hi TreeofLife,

Thanks for this. I've started drafting in the meantime and have come up with this (not dissimilar to what you wrote):

"Thank you to my family for their love and support, particularly my brother (xxx), for (silly joke that I won't put online)."

I've thanked my mum on a separate dedication page.
posted
15-Mar-17, 20:46
edited about 13 seconds later
by Hugh 2 star member
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 7 months ago
Nesrine, that sounds good. The other thing you could is I thank my parents which leaves it a bit ambiguous.
posted
16-Mar-17, 10:16
Avatar for Nesrine87
posted about 7 months ago
Great, thanks a lot Hugh!
posted
16-Mar-17, 20:51
edited about 2 minutes later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 7 months ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
How about something like 'thanks to all my family, especially my father for helping me financially prior to starting my PhD, my mother for xxx and my brother for xxx'?


Keep it general. "Thanks to all my family and friends for all their assistance". Don't mention names, thank people personally who deserve it. Problem sorted.

Here's what I put at least for the family and friends acknowledgements. Basically my mother understood what I was trying to do and offered moral assistance when she could, even to the point where she told my friends quite bluntly and firmly to lay off me whilst I finished my write-up. She'd done an admin. job years ago at a local Uni. so understood the process. My dad wasn;t sure what I was doing and diplomatically saying just "family and friends" was the way round any issues of apparent favouritism.

"Many thanks must be made also to my parents and friends who had to listen to all my tales of woe whilst I completed the write-up of this thesis. I also wish to pass on my gratitude to Sunderland Association Football Club where I am a season ticket holder; my trips to the Stadium of Light for football matches were at times the only break I had from my doctoral work."

The football reference at least added an element of humour to an otherwise bland statement of thanks.

Ian
posted
16-Mar-17, 21:58
edited about 4 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 7 months ago
Quote From Mackem_Beefy:
Quote From TreeofLife:
How about something like 'thanks to all my family, especially my father for helping me financially prior to starting my PhD, my mother for xxx and my brother for xxx'?


Keep it general. "Thanks to all my family and friends for all their assistance". Don't mention names, thank people personally who deserve it. Problem sorted.


That's what I would do as well. I am not a fan of these super long acknowledgment sections where people prate over several pages thanking literally everyone remotely related to that life period. My family provides the support they always provide, no matter what I am doing. I am incredibly grateful for that, but they give this support PhD-independent. I am pretty sure none of my family members or friends would expect me to mention them personally and all would be fine with a sentence like "Thanks to all my family and friends for all their assistance and support". They try to understand what you are doing and they show some interest in my PhD (some a bit more sincere than others) but that's where the supports basically ends. That's all they can do and they don't have to do more in my opinion. Of course it kind of helps me indirectly during that PhD time to have a loving family and friends but the people who really directly help me are rather colleagues, supervisors and partner and those are the people I would address a bit more detailed. But that's just me.

If you don't want to thank your father this is perfectly fine. We are just talking about an acknowledgment section. I would not overthink it. Do whatever feels right.
posted
17-Mar-17, 01:00
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 7 months ago
Quote From Dunham:
Quote From Mackem_Beefy:
Quote From TreeofLife:
How about something like 'thanks to all my family, especially my father for helping me financially prior to starting my PhD, my mother for xxx and my brother for xxx'?


Keep it general. "Thanks to all my family and friends for all their assistance". Don't mention names, thank people personally who deserve it. Problem sorted.


That's what I would do as well. I am not a fan of these super long acknowledgment sections where people prate over several pages thanking literally everyone remotely related to that life period. My family provides the support they always provide, no matter what I am doing. I am incredibly grateful for that, but they give this support PhD-independent. I am pretty sure none of my family members or friends would expect me to mention them personally and all would be fine with a sentence like "Thanks to all my family and friends for all their assistance and support". They try to understand what you are doing and they show some interest in my PhD (some a bit more sincere than others) but that's where the supports basically ends. That's all they can do and they don't have to do more in my opinion. Of course it kind of helps me indirectly during that PhD time to have a loving family and friends but the people who really directly help me are rather colleagues, supervisors and partner and those are the people I would address a bit more detailed. But that's just me.

If you don't want to thank your father this is perfectly fine. We are just talking about an acknowledgment section. I would not overthink it. Do whatever feels right.


Nailed on.

However, I wasn't able just to leave it to the above quoted paragrah as my supervisor said I should acknowledge just about every member of staff I shook hands with in the previous paragraph. FFS, none of them will even see the acknowledgements. Pointless.

Postgraduate
Forum

Copyright ©2017
All rights reserved

Postgraduate Forum

Masters Degrees

PhD Opportunities

PostgraduateForum is a trading name of FindAUniversity Ltd
FindAUniversity Ltd, Sellers Wheel, 151 Arundel Street, Sheffield, S1 2NU, United Kingdom. Tel +44 (0) 114 268 4940 Fax: +44 (0) 114 268 5766