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Old 06-27-2008, 11:01 AM
 
7 posts, read 28,023 times
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Just wondering...Do other grandparents favor a child whose parents are no longer together? My MIL sees all her other grandchildren more than my daughter. She buys them things, takes them places, spends time with them. She says that the reason she does more with them is because she knows my daughter is well taken care of and the others she is not sure about so she wants to be with them more. I think this is a sorry excuse. I understand her point, but if she can make time for the other kids she should be able to make time for my daughter. I am a stay at home mom and my husband (her son) owns a construction business. Sometimes I need to get away from this house and this "job" so bad, but can't find anyone to watch our daughter.

My problem goes a lot deeper than this surface point. I will call my MIL "V". V told us last Easter that she did not have time to do anything for Easter. She was not doing dinner, easter egg hunts, nothing. Then a couple days later I saw pics on her myspace of her and one of the grandkids dyeing easter eggs. I was like WTH? So I stopped talking to her or letting our daughter see her for 6 months. She kept telling my husband to "talk to her" like I was the one who did something wrong. Well I let it go because one of my husband's brothers was in town from Cali on leave from the Air Force. My husband has 4 brothers, and 3 sisters. Very mixed/blended family....

Another brother "C" has a son, "D", on the weekends for visitation. C has his own place with friends, but when he has his son he stays at his mom's (V's). V provides all the food, diapers, bed, clothes.... everything. They take him shopping and to the park to play, and to church. C does not go to church with them. He stays home on his butt. She posts all kinds of pics of their outings on her myspace.

There is another grandchild, O. O and his parents live in California on a Navy Base. O is not quite a year old yet. They have come home a few times and stayed at V's. THis last time before they came V talked about getting a swingset and having all the grandkids over more often. I thought that would be a good idea. Well, O and his parents get here and V has to go out and buy a new bed for them because O and his mom will be here for 6 months while dad is deployed to africa. The air mattress is not good enough. So she buys a new king bed, and a crib for O. And instead of a swingset for everyone, she bought a baby swing and an A frame for it. They have been here one week and I have not heard one bit from anyone. Usually I am on the phone with V 5 times everyday, struggling to get off the phone with her....listening to her complain about her husband, money, etc.....

My question is...is this normal? It hurts me so bad to see her spend all this time with these other kids and I know that my daughter loves V so much. My husband will not stand up to her. I dont think he knows how. I just dont know what to do. Any advise would be appreciated.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:13 PM
 
Location: in my mind
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My mother does this.

I think it's horrible.

She has 4 grandkids; my 2 boys, and my brother's 2 girls. My brother's girls are from 2 different marriages. The first grandchild (my niece from my bro's first marriage to his high school sweetheart) was doted on and fawned over, even from afar. She grew up in Florida and we were in Tx but that never mattered. My mom drove to or flew to FL several times and has always paid lots of attention to this grandchild and sent cards, letters, gifts, etc. My mom also has a good relationship with my brother's first wife and they are very close to this day even though my brother and her have been divorced for almost 20 years!

With the other granddaughter, it was difficult because her mother, my brother's second wife, is pretty awful and they split when the child was not even born. My brother took off and has not been a good father to either of his daughters, really (long story)... but my mom didn't make as much of an effort even though THIS grandchild was local, because she didn't like dealing with the mother. To be fair, her mother moved her around a lot and didn't keep us informed of her whereabouts so my mom did have to "track her down" several times but even so, she obviously favored the first granddaughter and now she does NOT have a good relationship with the second-born one (who is now 15 and in a lot of trouble).

She feels guilty about this and blames it on the child's mother but I think, personally, she could have been more involved.

Now, I have 2 boys and my mom very OBVIOUSLY favors the firstborn! It makes me very angry. I have had to "put my foot down" several times about her buying the oldest stuff but not the youngest, inviting the oldest to do things and not the youngest. She has stopped it but I know she still have "favorite" feelings for the oldest, and I really do think she has issues with my youngest because he reminds her of his father. I met my ex when my oldest was 2, and married him when my oldest was 4... so my ex is "Dad" to him (though he knows it's not his bio father), but my mom never liked my ex and seems to resent my youngest for "looking like" his Dad! Crazy.

She says it's because for the first couple of years with the firstborn, she was very involved as I was a single mom. She says that when I had the second child I "didn't need her" anymore as I had a husband and says that I "kept" her from the youngest when he was a baby. Not true! She stayed away, out of dislike for my husband!

I have zero tolerance for this behavior. It's all or nothing. She used to say "Well I invited him (eldest) because he's older and I can do more things with him, like camping and fishing"... when my youngest was younger( 5 or 6, apparently "too young" for camping/fishing). So I said "fine, then you can have him for a week as long as you take the younger for a week right after, just take them one at a time, and alter your activities for the age level!"

This made her mad but she would just give in and take both. I haven't seen any overt favoritism from her in a long time because she knows I will call her on it, and I think that's what you must do. Call her on it, don't tolerate it, and if she won't be fair to the kids, then I would not allow her to be around them, because they will eventually notice and it DOES hurt their feelings.

Oh yeah, and don't get me started on my ex's parents. They have 2 "sets" of grandkids, from their 2 sons. With the other grandchildren, the girl was born exactly one month after my youngest. They do everything with and for the ones by their other son, because they live in the same city. There is total favoritism, and again I think it has more to do with my EX than anything else... my Ex being the "bad son" or "black sheep". Good grief people, quit punishing the children!
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Old 06-28-2008, 03:32 PM
 
7 posts, read 28,023 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fierce_flawless View Post
My mother does this.

I think it's horrible.

She has 4 grandkids; my 2 boys, and my brother's 2 girls. My brother's girls are from 2 different marriages. The first grandchild (my niece from my bro's first marriage to his high school sweetheart) was doted on and fawned over, even from afar. She grew up in Florida and we were in Tx but that never mattered. My mom drove to or flew to FL several times and has always paid lots of attention to this grandchild and sent cards, letters, gifts, etc. My mom also has a good relationship with my brother's first wife and they are very close to this day even though my brother and her have been divorced for almost 20 years!

With the other granddaughter, it was difficult because her mother, my brother's second wife, is pretty awful and they split when the child was not even born. My brother took off and has not been a good father to either of his daughters, really (long story)... but my mom didn't make as much of an effort even though THIS grandchild was local, because she didn't like dealing with the mother. To be fair, her mother moved her around a lot and didn't keep us informed of her whereabouts so my mom did have to "track her down" several times but even so, she obviously favored the first granddaughter and now she does NOT have a good relationship with the second-born one (who is now 15 and in a lot of trouble).

She feels guilty about this and blames it on the child's mother but I think, personally, she could have been more involved.

Now, I have 2 boys and my mom very OBVIOUSLY favors the firstborn! It makes me very angry. I have had to "put my foot down" several times about her buying the oldest stuff but not the youngest, inviting the oldest to do things and not the youngest. She has stopped it but I know she still have "favorite" feelings for the oldest, and I really do think she has issues with my youngest because he reminds her of his father. I met my ex when my oldest was 2, and married him when my oldest was 4... so my ex is "Dad" to him (though he knows it's not his bio father), but my mom never liked my ex and seems to resent my youngest for "looking like" his Dad! Crazy.

She says it's because for the first couple of years with the firstborn, she was very involved as I was a single mom. She says that when I had the second child I "didn't need her" anymore as I had a husband and says that I "kept" her from the youngest when he was a baby. Not true! She stayed away, out of dislike for my husband!

I have zero tolerance for this behavior. It's all or nothing. She used to say "Well I invited him (eldest) because he's older and I can do more things with him, like camping and fishing"... when my youngest was younger( 5 or 6, apparently "too young" for camping/fishing). So I said "fine, then you can have him for a week as long as you take the younger for a week right after, just take them one at a time, and alter your activities for the age level!"

This made her mad but she would just give in and take both. I haven't seen any overt favoritism from her in a long time because she knows I will call her on it, and I think that's what you must do. Call her on it, don't tolerate it, and if she won't be fair to the kids, then I would not allow her to be around them, because they will eventually notice and it DOES hurt their feelings.

Oh yeah, and don't get me started on my ex's parents. They have 2 "sets" of grandkids, from their 2 sons. With the other grandchildren, the girl was born exactly one month after my youngest. They do everything with and for the ones by their other son, because they live in the same city. There is total favoritism, and again I think it has more to do with my EX than anything else... my Ex being the "bad son" or "black sheep". Good grief people, quit punishing the children!

Any ideas on what to say to get her to realize what she is doing? I have marked on a calender when she made the effort ot see our daughter and am going to see how long it takes her to "want" us....
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Yellow Brick Road
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I hope no one takes offense b/c I write this as an older mom hoping to reach out and give some support to younger moms. I have already raised my kids, so let me preface this by saying that when I was younger, such things as how much time my mother and MIL were spending w/ my kids as opposed to other relatives' children was definitely noticed.

However, I learned something over the years, and it may mean nothing to anyone (and I am surely not CRITICIZING - just offering something to think about).

In the end, it really does not matter if your mothers or MILs are doing "the same" for your kids in comparison to other children in the family.

You really should not waste the energy trying to hold your mothers/MIL to some "standard" that you feel is appropriate or inappropriate. I know you may not understand why I say this . . . but we all are doing the best we can w/ raising our kids - and as g/parents - we are all doing the best we can, as well. Some parents are disengaged, as are some g/parents. But overall, we all do the best we can. The reasons WHY we interact w/ our children and our g/children are many and varied.

As a parent, our duties and responsibilities are to raise our children the best we know how. Really, by being so concerned w/ how extended family members treat our children (as long as they are not being mis-treated) is not that important. You see what I mean? If you never mention it to your children that g/mother shows what you consider favoritism, will your children ever notice? I mean - children just enjoy the moment. WHen they are w/ their g/mothers . . . then whatever that relationship evolves to - that is b/n the child and the g/mother. It really does not matter if the g/mother is fulfilling YOUR IDEAL about how that relationship should go. You cannot orchestrate everything other people do! THey do it of their own free will.

We all are quick to judge and make comparisons and hold our family members up to whatever "standards" we believe are "fair." Really, you should just concentrate on making sure things in your OWN household are fair and equitable.

Don't waste time trying to figure out "why" g/mothers behave as they do. As long as no one is abusive to your children . . . what does it matter? As long as the kids' g/mother is kind to them and it is nice being together . . . isn't that the only realistic expectation that anyone should have about someone else's relationship w/ their children?

In the end, so what if your MIL spends more time w/ other children, or if your mother seems to favor other g/children over yours. That is what you are seeing when you look at the scene. You don't know what is going on in someone else's mind.

My g/mother refused to babysit for anyone's children . . . and then when the youngest child (son) in the family had kids, suddenly she was babysitting for them every day. My mother and her siblings were all INCENSED and - as I look back - I think envious and feeling needy and hurt b/c it appeared to them that their mother was "favoring" the youngest son and his kids.

As it turned out, my g/mother knew something no one else did. Her son was an alcoholic and so was the kids' mom. My g/mother was babysitting trying to give some stability to those kids. We eventually all found out what was going on (years later) but all the hurt feelings, envy, anger b/n the other siblings (my mom and her siblings) had caused a lot of tension in the background for years . . . and lots of wasted time and ugly words about "favoritism" and criticism about my g/mother. THen my g/mother died prematurely of aggressive cancer, and let me promise you, her kids have never recovered from the guilt b/c they had pushed their mother away and been angry w/ her for her "favoritism" over one set of g/children.

It is not worth it. If you don't talk about this to your children, they will never notice. While all this was going on w/ my g/mother and her babysitting, all I knew is when I went to visit my g/mother, I had my cousins to play with. It was great as far as I was concerned. Children do not see situations the same as their parents do. If you don't draw attention, everyone will be better off for it in the long run.

Just something to think about, and again, I am in no way suggesting that your feelings or disappointment are not real (and I am not criticizing). Let relationships unfold as they will and don't focus on who did what w/ whom, when they did it, etc. You and your children will be a lot happier, in the longrun, if you just focus on enjoying the time you and your kids have w/ the g/mothers . . . and leave it at that.
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Old 06-29-2008, 02:13 PM
 
5,987 posts, read 5,101,093 times
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Sorry, an air mattress is not good enough for 6 months. Why don't you try it yourself? Sounds like most of the grandchildren only visit your DH's side of their families. Your kids actually LIVE with both of their sides.

MIL may not realize how much she may be going overboard with the other grandkids, or do honestly expect her to punch a timeclock with every kid? When the other kids are there, any reason you can't plan ahead with MIL to take your kids there so they can see their cousins?
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Old 06-29-2008, 04:29 PM
 
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I guess I did not clarify how often she sees our daughter. I would generously say the MIL sees our daughter once a month. It is probably more like once every 2 months, but I will give her the benefit of the doubt. Also she lives 10 minutes from us....But sees my husband's nephew every other weekend...And, steelstress, what do you mean by DH? I am not familiar with that abbreviation....I can't plan anything ahead with her, because she will not say when someone is coming over. She will flat out lie about whether one of the cousins is there....Thanks
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Old 06-29-2008, 04:35 PM
 
7 posts, read 28,023 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
It is not worth it. If you don't talk about this to your children, they will never notice. While all this was going on w/ my g/mother and her babysitting, all I knew is when I went to visit my g/mother, I had my cousins to play with. It was great as far as I was concerned. Children do not see situations the same as their parents do. If you don't draw attention, everyone will be better off for it in the long run.

Just something to think about, and again, I am in no way suggesting that your feelings or disappointment are not real (and I am not criticizing). Let relationships unfold as they will and don't focus on who did what w/ whom, when they did it, etc. You and your children will be a lot happier, in the longrun, if you just focus on enjoying the time you and your kids have w/ the g/mothers . . . and leave it at that.

My daughter is 3 and very smart. She does notice and I am very careful to never talk about this in front of her. She wants to know if she can go see Grandma V and so I call and see. V says she has to vacuum. So then Madelyn cries about it. She asks me why she can't go to V's house. She says that Daegan gets to go to Grnadma V's....It breaks my heart to see that. I don't know what to tell her. Last time this happened I called V back and let Madelyn ask her why she could not come over. V was very angry with me for "putting her on the spot" But how can I explain to a three year old why her grandmother does not want her to come over if I can't even understand why.....And it is not because my daughter is not well behaved, V says all the time how she is so good.....I am just so upset by all this....
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Old 06-29-2008, 04:55 PM
 
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My MIL does this as well. They go on vacations with the other children and grandchildren, have holidays without us, didn't bother baby proofing her home when my child (the oldest grandchild) was born but as soon as her daughter had a child she did it.

There are times when it really bothers me, but recently I have started ignoring her calls and this makes her crazy. She knows better than to tell my husband I am being ugly because he sees what is going on...thank goodness.

I have no advice that works for any length of time. Best of luck and try to do what you feel is right for your child.
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Old 06-29-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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Quote:
If you don't talk about this to your children, they will never notice.
I agree. Favoritism only becomes an issue and hurts the child more if the child's parent insists on making it an issue. Just give the kid some extra hugs and attention and s/he won't notice or care whether grandma spends more time here or there. Also, give your child the bigger piece of cake.
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Old 06-29-2008, 06:05 PM
 
Location: in my mind
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I'm sorry, I don't agree that the kids will never notice. My own 2 came home from their paternal grandparent's place with comments about it. They're not dumb.

Now, we live about 6 hours (car) from their paternal grandparents. The other set of grandkids (my ex husband's brother's 2 kids) live in the same city as the grandparents. While my kids were visiting them (which is about 3x a year because they go to visit their father who lives there too)... the others were also there at least every other weekend, sometimes more. My kids heard talk about swim and dance lessons for the granddaughter (who is one month younger than my youngest), saw that they had their own room at Omie & Opie's house with game systems and all that, heard talk about the trip to Six Flags with the other grandkids. I mean, all they had to do was be around the other grandkids, their cousins, to have the difference in treatment be GLARINGLY obvious...

and I vented about this on another thread, but my kids are very much "out of sight, out of mind" when they are not physically around their other Grandparents. They don't call or send birthday cards or any of that. It DOES hurt their feelings, and I never said anything about it in front of them... they came to ME with questions about it.

If you (as a grandparent) think this is not the case then I'm sorry, but it sounds like you might be telling yourself this to assuage guilt.

The same happened with my own mother... but it was a different situation than the one the OP posted about because my mom was showing favoritism not only with different grandkids by different children (i.e. my brother's with his first wife vs. his second, then mine vs. my brother's) but also with my 2 boys who live in the same house! Of course they're going to notice when she wants my eldest son to come visit and not my youngest, or when she'd come over and bring little presents for the eldest only! They'd have to be deaf, dumb, and blind NOT to notice.

She will say things also, in private, to my oldest, such as "You know you're my favorite, don't you?" He is sixteen and told her quite bluntly to stop it. He feels bad for his brother when she says things like this, even if it doesn't get said in front of my youngest. I don't care what she thinks/feels about it, there's no excuse for making it obvious. Favoritism by adults is inexcusable in most cases, regardless of if you're Grandma, Mom, or a teacher... at least that's how I feel about it. Especially when all things are equal... in my case, my kids are very well behaved and that's never an issue.
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