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If you give to one, surely you give to the other?

(74 Posts)
Shelly32 Tue 26-Mar-13 23:02:05

Had a real issue with MIL this weekend over fairness. We were over with our DDs and their three cousins were also over. At the end of the day whe the three boys were off home, I caught her trusting £5 into their hands and asking them to 'SShhh!'. I assumed she wanted to surprise our girls with the same later when we left. The boys didn't Shh about it and told me and their cousins what they were going to spend it on. The girls didn't get their 'pocket money' and the Shhhing was obviously MIL trying to hide the fact she'd given them money. MIL is one of the wealthiest people I know and although I'd never expect her to give my girls pocket money, if she's going to give one set of grandchildren pocket money, in pretty much full view, shouldn't she give all of them? I felt really over protective of my girls and spoke with DH who didn't see anything wrong with it. To me it's really odd behaviour and it made me really cross, but maybe IABU...

Shelly32 Tue 26-Mar-13 23:27:44

Yfronts good idea but I think it'd wash over her. From the phone call, she didn't seem fazed that she'd been unfair or even recognised that she'd been unfair which is again odd to me.

Shelly32 Tue 26-Mar-13 23:30:54

MNETBPOOL I know it was wrong to get DD to ask but didn't want an outright confrontation about unfairness with MIL. The way it was done made it look like it was an innocent Q. She'd seen cousins get some pocket money and so naturally thought she'd get some. They are not the type of girls to ask, I would normally be cross if they did ask. It was my fault that happened but just didn't want to cause conflict and thought this was a way around it.

quornqueen Tue 26-Mar-13 23:36:11

TBH I would swallow it and give your DD's a fiver each from you so they didnt feel left out, rather than have them ask.

I had a friend's husband give his daughter a grape in front of my 2 yr old. DS asked in his best possible voice if he could please have one and the bastard got up and left the room leaving my DS in tears (I no longer visit this friend). So I gave DS a grape myself from his own lunch box and make a loud point of doing so. MIL might have overlooked your DD's but you can always try and make it up to them instead by giving them something special yourself, better than what the boys got.

Xmasbaby11 Tue 26-Mar-13 23:36:19

My family were unfair when I was growing up - gp and uncles seemed to favour either my brother or I. My mum told me later they had to top up/invent presents so that we wouldn't know. I'm glad she did - as an adult I can understand that sometimes adults just don't remember one child's birthday, or just see something for one child they want to buy, but children don't understand and would be hurt.

Nanny0gg Tue 26-Mar-13 23:36:26

I think your MiL was very unfair and I don't like treating children differently.
However, you were very U in your handling of it - you don't like it, don't manipulate your children. And you are very U with because that's just me and most MILs pee their DILs off.
And I don't even have a DiL!

quornqueen Tue 26-Mar-13 23:39:49

Also, it makes a far stronger point to your MIL for your DD's to be saying "mummy gave me a fiver!" rather than "Wheres my fiver, nan?"

I wouldn't involve them in disputes again, it's very confusing for kids.

Shelly32 Tue 26-Mar-13 23:41:56

Sorry Nanny Ogg Of course at times we all get cross with our MILs, don't we, whether reasonbale or not?? Plus I've already put my hands up to the whole unreasonableness of getting my DD to do my dirty work (minus the conflict I'll add). If you knew my MIL, you'd understand. She's a grand matriachal, domineering type. My Dh's reaction surely tells you something. She's not a monster but we have our issues.

Shelly32 Tue 26-Mar-13 23:43:30

Quornqueen I agree. I was wrong for involving the girls. I just felt so gutted for them to have to see that type of unfairness.

anonymosity Tue 26-Mar-13 23:44:43


Maryz Tue 26-Mar-13 23:51:18

I always tell this story.

When we were kids, my grandfather used to bring money for us. £20 for my older brother, £10 for my younger brother and £5 for me. Every time. And every time my mum objected and he would say that he didn't have equal notes, but he would make it fair next time. But he never did.

So mum just quietly removed the money ever time, and gave us a tenner each (or sometimes 8 if she was skint).

She never made an issue, because he would have enjoyed it. Because he liked the power of having us all hang on to his every word. He also enjoyed the fact that every time he came he thought I was hoping for the tenner or twenty. But I didn't care, because of my mum's dealing with it properly.

Your children won't care if you don't. They might notice, but they won't care.

Shelly32 Tue 26-Mar-13 23:59:40

Maryz Your mother is a wise woman and I have a lot to learn about diplomacy and how to deal with people with a warped sense of right and wrong. Thank you.
I still have a bit of a niggle inside of me about the fact my DH and PIL don't get what's wrong. I haven't even mentioned it to my friends or my side of the family as I know they'd be as flabbergasted and annoyed as I am. I don't want my girls first taste of injustice to be from people they are related to and care about!

Shelly32 Wed 27-Mar-13 00:00:26

Your last point needs to be my mantra! thanks

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Wed 27-Mar-13 00:46:46

OP my MIL is exactly the same! My little boy has 2 older cousins, and an older sister (my SD). She always always always treats my son differently; never offers to take him out to fun places yet always wants to take the other children, when she treats them she never treats him. sad I feel so unbelievably sad for him and I am extremely protective over him. He has a little brother who is 1 month old at the moment, and I can 1000000% guarantee that MIL will NOT be taking ds1 out in the future (if she ever does) and not ds2. If she buys something for one and not the other then she will be told her gifts aren't wanted.

I am sick of her and I am going to be very difficult in the future if she doesn't get her act together.

Benby Wed 27-Mar-13 01:42:32

Hi Shelley,
My mil is exactly the same as yours. We have 2 dd's that she sees about once a week, normally mid- week she told my girls she was going to give them €5 a week each as their wages this was before Xmas. My girls have seen it about 3 times since then and only cause we happened to be over on a Sunday when her other 2 grand children are there. They visit every Sunday so get their money regardless.
My girls haven't noticed how she treats them yet but it's only a matter of time before my eldest does when this happens I will sit down with mil and tell her she needs to treat them the same or she won't see them because she won't do to my girls what she has spent a lifetime doing to my dh.
My dh also doesn't see anything wrong in what she's doing because since the age of 4 when his brother came along my dh has never been as good as his bro, not as intelligent, not as generous, not as charitable the list goes on and on. My dh has a job his bro has a career. My dh only has a house because of me. For 21 years this is what has been drilled into my dh and its only in the last 5 years since he moved in with me and we married that he has started to stand up to her a bit
I can't believe the way she treats my dh still now but I know we'll never measure up so I don't try anymore and please myself and dh is starting to come around to my way of thinking.
Maybe your dh is the same Shelley its not a nice thing for someone to do to a child and if your husband won't call her on it I would. I hope my dh will have copped onto the problem by the time my eldest notices and he will say something cause I will just loose the rag at her.
Hope that helps and things improve for you and your dc
Regards ,

AdoraBell Wed 27-Mar-13 01:56:45

Sounds to me like playing one off against the other OP.

My MIL does this and even tried it with me and other DIL. My OH and his brother visited a short while before Easter one year, other DIL had already broken off contact, so MIL waited for number 2 son to leave, which he didn't do before OH. Neither could work out why she was agitated and then the next weekend she practically summoned OH so that she could give him my easter egg and told him that she couldn't do it in front of number 2 as she hadn't bought one for his wife. At that stage OH still thought his mother was a nice person.

ipswichwitch Wed 27-Mar-13 02:10:29

My gran was forever giving me (only granddaughter) presents/money, and would leave my DBro and her other 2 grandsons out. My brother would sob his little heart out and my parents would always end up having to get him something (that they could hardly afford, and gran knew this).
It actually caused a lot of resentment between us growing up, and I would always feel so guilty and try to share whatever she gave me, but it was always girly stuff he'd never be interested in.

It's a harsh lesson to learn so young just how unfair people/life can be, and I am so grateful my DPs and Mil treat all their grandkids the same. I can't believe anyone would think that sort of behaviour is acceptable tbh.

Icelollycraving Wed 27-Mar-13 04:07:17

I must be in the minority here. I understand you are protective of your dc but I don't think I'd get worked up over a bit of pocket money.
I certainly wouldn't be rude enough to ask for it or encourage children to ask for their pocket money/treats etc.
If my mum spent more on one grandchild,I wouldn't necessarily notice but if I did I would not make an issue of it.

nooka Wed 27-Mar-13 04:29:25

Are the children the same sort of age? It doesn't seem particularly unreasonable to give older children spending money in a way you'd not do for younger ones. Or to do different things with different children. I've certainly never spent any time thinking about whether my FIL (MIL is dead) is different with my children than dh's sister's children, but they are quite a bit older.

Tabliope Wed 27-Mar-13 07:12:01

Sorry but YABU. I don't like the kids being treated differently but there could be reasons for it. Maybe your DDs have had extra presents that the boy cousin didn't get and the fivers was to even that up. Maybe your DDs got more spent on them for xmas, if the presents your PIL bought cost more for your DDs than for the boys - not to be unequal, just how it works out sometimes. Maybe the boys are being rewarded for something you don't know about - pulling their socks up at work, behaving well at home. Maybe they're going on a school trip so when your DDs do they'll get it.

I completely agree that things need to be equal but you don't know for sure if they aren't. Your DH will know if it will equal out in the long run and he says it will. I think you were terribly, disgustingly grasping telling your DD to go and ask her GM where here money is. Unbelievable. If my DD had seen cousins get money and she didn't I would have told her what I've put in my first paragraph.
Basically it's none of your business what MIL does with her money.

Based on that one incident you don't know things are unequal between the grandkids. If it's a constant then yes it needs to be talked about but based on that one incident you don't know that they are being talked about. The best thing you could have done is sweep over it - if you don't care your kids won't but to tell your DD to go up and ask for money, unbelievable. I know my GM wouldn't have given it to me based on that rudeness alone.

Baroozer Wed 27-Mar-13 08:25:41

YANBU to feel annoyed by it. My DSIL used to favour my oldest DD in really obvious ways, e.g. she turned up at my DS's birthday to give him a card and then produced a massive doll for my DD because she'd seen it in the shop and 'thought DD would just love it!' I took it immediately and said how kind DSIL had been and that I would wrap it up for DD's birthday (in two months). And then I gave her the extra present I had wrapped up for DS, in front of everyone, and said, 'It's so kind of you to buy presents in advance for ALL the children!' so she had something to give him.

After that incident, my DH and I discussed it and he told his family that it was wholly unacceptable to single one child out like that, that it would cause bad feeling and resentment, so it wasn't to happen again and if it did the gift would simply be returned. There was a fair amount of chuntering about us being too controlling, but it didn't happen again and it's far better to get these things sorted out when the children are young than to let it fester into adulthood.

Purple2012 Wed 27-Mar-13 08:31:11

Yanbu. It is unfair to treat kids differently. If they hadn't been there at the time then fine but to do that when all the kids are there is so unfair.

I have had this with my SD. All my family treat her exactly the same as my nephews. We had a family thing once and I invited some friends of the family who we have known all our lives. They gave my nephews a fiver each and nothing for my stepdaughter. The boys thanked them for the money and they were not even embarrassed that they hadn't given to my SD. Also the female part of the couple could hardly bring herself to talk to SD, and got annoyed when her husband was taking an interest in my SD and her drawings.

They have always been people that I really like as we grew up with them as our 'aunt and uncle' but that really disappointed me. Luckily my SD didn't make a big deal of it and appreciates my family treating her the same. I was more upset about it than she was!

Toasttoppers Wed 27-Mar-13 08:34:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nokidshere Wed 27-Mar-13 08:41:33

My mum has always treated people in the family differently. One set of nieces and nephews have always been given more time, attention, money, gifts than the others - and still are even though they are now adults.

But, you reap what you sow, and now mum sits alone day after day lonely and in need of help because the family members who live closest to her are the ones she ignored growing up. They have no time for her and refuse to get further drawn into more family rifts. Sadly she can't see that the situation is one that she created.

MrsKoala Wed 27-Mar-13 08:49:52

this is horrible. my grandparents paid for everything for one set of cousins and nothing for the rest of us (driving lessons, car etc). when they died and we sorted the house, there were only photos of the special cousins, nothing to even suggest the rest of us existed. Sad thing is, my other grandparents obviously favoured my other cousins too (same with pictures, didn't come to my wedding as too much hassle, but travelled further to theirs etc). So i grew up knowing i wasn't special to either set of grandparents. sad

fluffyraggies Wed 27-Mar-13 08:50:31

My exMIL used to lavish much much more time and money on her youngest son AND his kids than either of her 2 older son's - or their children. (Three of which are my DDs.)

The youngest sons first baby was unplanned, and although he and the baby's mum stayed together, and lived together in a decent flat my exMIL took it upon herself to virtually raise the child at her's, and feed and clothe it for the first 2 years while they carried on like teenagers ''sorted themselves out''. They had another baby together and moved toa bigger house - still my MIL carried on as if her son and his GF were destitute teens living in a cardboard box! Paying for their holidays and buying loads of expensive stuff for their kids.

Her 2 other sons (one of which was my DH) just had to get by on their own with their families.

Fair enough.

But what really grated on me was the way she would simper on about 'fairness' to all her grandchildren. And how she 'always treated them all the same'. (one such lecture to my DDs was on the same day she sat and showed them photos of her youngest sons kids holiday to Disneyland Florida - paid for by her) .....

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