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To expect my parents to be interested in their only grandchildren?

(24 Posts)
emlu67 Mon 21-May-12 10:13:08

I am the eldest and less favoured child of four and the only one with children. Have never had a close relationship with my parents but did with one of my grandparents and was hoping my children would form good relationships of their own with my parents (my husbands parents are elderly and live quite far away so we don't see them as often as we would like to but they are interested).

This is never going to happen and I feel really sad. They live only a 15-20 minute easy drive away and never visit us or invite us to them unless it is some sort of family occasion like a birthday. They will babysit if asked but I really feel by their attitude that it is a big ask and putting them out so I don't really bother asking anymore. They would certainly never offer even if it was my birthday or anniversary. I always invite them to school events but they rarely attend as usually have something better to do.

The other mums at school all seem to have parents that see their granchildren on a regular basis and help out with childcare. I feel my parents are missing out on so much. My daughter has a hobby that my mum used to do and love but I really have to drag her out to come and watch.

What has angered me today is that I invited them to another school function in a couple of weeks time but they didn't respond and then emailed me this morning about something else they are doing that day so seem to have forgotten all about it or pushed it to the bottom of the priority list. Instead they are visiting one of my younger siblings which they could do any day of the week to help out with his new rundown house (the only thing he could afford as despite being in his mid-late twenties he has never had a full time job, by choice). I have never had any help with anything in my house!

I have not had a falling out with them as such and in a real emergency they will come up trumps but I just don't understand their lack of interest in me or my family. If and when one of my siblings have children they will be different with them I just know it and that I feel would be the catalyst to fall out for good.

Sorry for ranting, the hurt just really builds up over time...

bitofcheese Mon 21-May-12 10:15:29

that's sad reading your post. have you ever sat down with them and told them how you feel (in a nice way as opposed to being confrontational)? i am a big one for sitting down and talking about problems in an attempt to clear the air. if often works wonders although not always

boobellina Mon 21-May-12 10:16:02

I read this wondering if I have changed my user-name and posted in my sleep. I'm in an identical situation, eldest of 4 with completely uninterested Grandparents for my poor DD.

Afraid that I don't have any strategies for making this hurt any less just wanted to reassure you that you aren't the only one.

gamerwidow Mon 21-May-12 10:19:59

It is horrible and hurtful when your parents don't show an interest in your child. They are the ones who are losing out not you and more fool them if they don't want to take this chance to build a relationship with their grandchild.

My dad show very little interest in any of his grandchildren and despite repeated complaints from me and my sister shows no sign of changing. On the rare occasions he does make an effort it's so forced it would almost be better if he didn't bother.

diddl Mon 21-May-12 10:20:25

Hard to understand, isn´t it?

My parents have always been interested & ILs make out that they are, but in reality, if it involves an actual effort on their part, forget it.

We have been in Germany for 13yrs & they have never been over, so have missed their only GC growing up.

diddl Mon 21-May-12 10:35:20

Sorry, that was very me, me, meblush


sleeplessinsuburbia Mon 21-May-12 10:50:03

YANBU. I often see on MN posters saying that it is unreasonable to have expectations of grandparents but as parents ourselves how could we show absolutely no interest in the biggest part of our children's lives? It is sad for the children and your parents in the long run. Anyhoo, no advice!

elizaregina Mon 21-May-12 11:05:20

YANBU but from personal experience of trying to get something out of people who cant give it - it will only lead to more hurt.

You could try talking to them, perhaps leaving children with them - in a so called emergency may help....or something like that were they all have to muck in and get on with it - otherwise I would say, dont put yourself through the pain, and focus on learning to accept that thats how they are.....

otherwise it could be a lifetime of - they didnt do this again, look they havant got that again....

randomfennel Mon 21-May-12 11:10:43

I agree with Elizaregina. We have experience of disinterested grandparents (our dc were numbers 7,8,9, they weren't interested at all by then) and DP in particular did mind (they're his parents). My parents are a bit more interested but problematic in other ways, so we do have a duff set of grandparents all round.

But if they aren't interested that's probably not going to change. I think it's far more common than people realise, grandparents not actually being very interested. and we found it did help just to accept that's how they are, and move on. Find other people to spend holidays with etc, or friends who want to share babysitting to make up for lack of keen granny.

lostInMyHouse Mon 21-May-12 11:20:24

I have similarish. I try very hard to be grateful for what they do and not dwell on what they do not.

Often easier said than done when I see so many hands on grandparents around me and it often hurts and it feels like a rejection of me and my DC. Its often worse when we are struggling and a helping hand would make life so much more pleasant.

The DC don't know any different and the other DGP are clearly interested if some distance away - but they make an effort to see the DC. I try really hard to keen my expectations low - but I do find that hard as mine do have a tendency to blow hot and cold at complete random.

I don't think there are any easy answers - if they won't change you have to change how you react to it sad.

TwoPeasOnePod Mon 21-May-12 11:24:06

I could have actually written your post emlu as I am eldest of 4 too, with my dad and stepmum utterly uninterested in my 3 DC despite them being their only GC so far. Nearly everything about your post is the same as my situ.

It is very hurtful, I used to live round the corner from them and they never ever dropped in etc, I did drop in on them but gradually stopped because it is possibly even more hurtful to turn up (sometimes announced, sometimes not) and they would all carry on with what they were doing, not really wanting to talk. Leaving me with DC, ignored, feeling like a prat angry

I echo a previous poster- sometimes it hurts more to want something that people just can't give you, for whatever selfish fucked up reasons they may have. My dad and step-mum also don't see my Dbro, don't even bother to try with him despite him going through a rough patch. They say awful things about him, conveniently forgetting that they haven't made effort with him through most of his life, now he is an adult he has chosen not to bother with them, and HE is the bad one?! Ridiculous.

I always think I should stop thinking about them, and just leave it. But I know it is going to really hurt when my half-siblings (who live with them) have their kids etc, because then I just know that my Dad and his wife will be totally involved with them.

I think the final straw happened when my 3rd DC was born 7wks ago.. They planned a holiday abroad across the 2wks of my due date, came to 'see' my newborn when they got back, and my dad literally did not even look at him properly. he walked in, glanced at him, they gave my other 2 DC presents which they boasted had cost 49p from HomeBargains (I dont care about the cost, but why say it in such a crowing manner?!) and then left after 20 awkward mins. Horrible.

Do you have any close friends to talk about it to? I'm lucky that my mum is obviously divorced from my dad, and hse would walk over hot coals just to spend 5mins with the dc grin so she is a lovely grandparent.

FWIW, I think your DC will be fine without close Grandparents, they can't miss what theyve never had, can they? Not in any damaging way I dont think. And it is not your fault that your parents are morons, such a shame people like us have to walk around feeling sad and awkward about it though.

<sorry that post was mainly about me> blush

lostInMyHouse Mon 21-May-12 11:31:27

Neither set of grandparents have ever attended a school event - the DC don't expect it.

I would suggest you stop inviting them at least for for a while.

Perhaps they don't enjoy such things - I know my parents had had enough by time we left Primary though its galling in my case that they make an effort for one of their other DGC but not my DC then want to ring me up and tell me all about other DGC.

PuppyMonkey Mon 21-May-12 11:33:55

My mum would be hands on with ny kids if she could, but she is frail and housebound. I take kids to see her once a week and it's the highlight of her life. DP's mum on the other hand is 20 years younger, really fit and v bubbly etc. But she's simply not interested in gc. She's got such a busy social life and whenever we invite her round, she's doing something else with friends.

At New Year, she seemed to have an epiphany and said she wanted to start coming round every Saturday and stay over, babysit, come out with us the lot. We were hmm but delighted.

She's been twice. Now, she's back to never being in always busy etc.

I don't mind at all that we don't see her as she gets on my wick grin but feel sorry for her missing out.

My kids have got to know lovely lady up the street, who has them round to hers all the time to play with her GC. She is more of a grandma to them now.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 21-May-12 11:34:51

Sadly you cant make them interested, our children are always a joy to us but not to everyone.

You mention childcare in your post a couple of times, not wanting to provide childcare doesnt mean they should be judged on this. They have raised thier children already and many dont want to do it again.

SmallShips Mon 21-May-12 11:55:50

Same situation here. Except I'm the eldest of 2.

I think what annoys me the most is that they pretend to be doting GPs to their friends. We even moved house and areas to be closer to them when I was pregnant with DC3, on their insistence as DH was on a 9 month deployment, they promised to take the kids for sleepovers and help me out as much as was needed. They did fuck all, yet all the while telling people how they were doing so much for me. DH was fuming.

We're very fortunate that DH's parents are absolutely fabulous, despite being older than my parents, they take them up to their caravan for weeks at a time and have babysat all 3 twice so we could go on holiday alone. They live a couple of hundred miles away unfortunately though.

I would agree with the suggestion to stop inviting them and giving them the chance to turn you down, it only leads to upset. Since I've stopped caring I don't feel half as resentful and upset for the DC. Problems will start when DB has kids though and my mother falls over herself to help him angry

ddubsgirl Mon 21-May-12 12:15:39

my in laws seem to not be so bothered,they will help out if asked but never bother to come and see any of us even tho they have free bus passes and can pop over whenever they want too,not seen them since easter.

emlu67 Mon 21-May-12 12:23:37

I am saddened that so many of you are in a similar position to me but comforted that I am not the only one.

I have thought about sitting down and chatting with them about it but if they started making more of an effort as a result I would not know whether it was genuine or false, I think this is just the way they are with me and my DCs.

Happymummyofone I would never expect childcare other than very occasional babysitting so that DH and I could have a night out a couple of times a year. That wasn't really what I was getting at so sorry if my post was misleading. I totally understand that they have raised their own family and may have had enough, I would really just like them to enjoy them.

It would be great if they could just drop in every now and again just to spend some time with them or have them over for a couple of hours in the school holidays.

I do thankfully have close friends I can talk to about it who are aware of the situation and supportive but have never experienced it so find it bewildering.

Anyway thanks for all your posts.

TwoPeasOnePod Mon 21-May-12 12:26:56

It's weird isn't it, I can't imagine not wanting to be involved in my grandchildrens lives, as much as my DC want me to, in the future. I don't ever expect any 'childcare' to be provided by the GPs, I just want them to be remotely interested (in me too, not just the DC) and want to spend time with us occasionally sad It's a hard feeling to let go of.

Sounds pretty harsh, but in one respect I'm glad of the emotional barriers they have put up, it means in future my DC will only have to be upset by the passing of my mum when she dies, and their nanna/grandad from their dads side of the family, and likely not really care about their other grandad and my stepmum (CANNOT call her a step-grandparent because she so isn't) hmm

ben5 Mon 21-May-12 12:28:53

my MIL made my dh and I laugh on Christmas day one year. My 2 ds are her only grandchildren ( dh is an only child). I said I would do all cooking, dh would assemble toys ds's had for christmas. Between my parents and MIL they were in charge of the boys for the day, in reality we needed them to look after them for a few hours while above jobs were done! my mum was happy to look after ds1 and was fab. ds2 was left with my dad and MIL. DH found me in the kitchen cooking with ds2 on my hip. He took ds2 to MIL and my dad who were watching TV. MIL said she wasn't able to look after him as he didn't sit still. He was 2 ffs!!! Both her and my parents are crap so made move to Oz very easy. There loss! My gain as I have to lovely boys , well sometimes!!!

Adversecamber Mon 21-May-12 12:38:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Adversecamber Mon 21-May-12 12:38:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pars1 Mon 31-Aug-15 13:18:00

I speak as a remarried divorcee. My wife has older children than me,. Her son and his partner have two children of about 2 and 4. I wish the children well, I understand my wife's interest in them both and I wouldn't expect anything else from her. The children are lovely kids but ....I'm just not that bothered myself. I would much rather spend my time as I want rather than having to visit (a 3 hour drive) and then suffer the boredom and stress of pretending to be interested in what they are doing (videos or going to the park). I might be viewed as being selfish but I cannot produce the enthusiasm that seems to be expected of me by my wife. Am I all alone with this?

DawnOfTheDoggers Mon 31-Aug-15 13:26:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

2rebecca Mon 31-Aug-15 14:23:28


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