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To be a bit upset that DS has little interest in his grandparents?

(20 Posts)
fiveacres Sat 06-Jun-15 21:44:12

I probably am being UR, as they are all dead and he only met one of them (my dad) when he was very, very young.

All the same, he's 8 and when I try to talk to him about them, he clearly isn't really interested, although he listens to be polite.

I also feel sad his younger sister will be even more disinterested, as she was born after all had died.

I didn't really have any relationship with grandparents growing up and it makes me sad when I see silver haired people cheering on children at sports day or dancing with them at weddings. It brings sharply back what we've lost.

Is there any way I can engage the children with them?

mrsdavidbowie Sat 06-Jun-15 21:47:39

YABU to expect an 8 year old to be interested in people he's never met or forgotten.
And grandparents aren't all silver haired either!!!

Mine don't have grandparents or even much extended family... Its just something you accept and get on with.

fiveacres Sat 06-Jun-15 21:48:47

One post on here doesn't mean I haven't accepted it, or that I'm not getting on with it.

Still saddens me though.

TheRoseAndTheFire Sat 06-Jun-15 21:50:55

Just keep mentioning them and I'm sure they will ask about them when they're a bit older. Do you have photographs of them out?

I only ever had 1 grandparent from each side growing up but I became very interested particularly in my maternal grandmother when I was 12 or 13 or so. I felt she would've understood me. I'm in my 30s now and still feel regret on ocassion that I was never able to meet her.

snowglobemouse Sat 06-Jun-15 21:52:49

yanbu, I was thinking about this today for some reason!

Pippa12 Sat 06-Jun-15 21:53:03

That is really sad, your parents are so special to you and it must be hard to convey this to your children. Perhaps as they grow older and more inquizative about the past they will engage in conversation rather than listening. Sorry i have nothing useful to say- hopefully someone will be along with better ideas/experience xxx

fiveacres Sat 06-Jun-15 21:53:14


Some people my age have grandparents still alive, and I just feel sad at all all of us have missed out on.

cashewnutty Sat 06-Jun-15 21:53:14

He is too young to be thinking about people he has never met. When he is reaching his late teens/20's he will probably be much more interested in where he came from and who his relatives were.

DinosaursRoar Sat 06-Jun-15 21:57:59

Are there any interesting or funny stories about grandparents? Right now, they are just people he's never met. Not all that interesting, but stories about the time Grandad did X or when Granny did Y might help engage him.

Topseyt Sat 06-Jun-15 22:00:49

I guess it is just something he hardly has any experience of. Does he remember your Dad, or was he too young to remember?

I didn't have any Grandads as both had died long before I was born. I guess at age 8 I probably wouldn't have really been able to connect with the idea of them, if that makes any sense.

As I got older I became more interested though, sometimes wondering about their roles in various historical events. For instance, I know that one was from a family of shipbuilders in Northern Ireland, and was descended from those involved in building Titanic. That was my paternal grandfather, and his father.

I know more of my maternal grandfather, or at least, I feel I do even though he died three years before I was born. My grandma kept a photo of him in his WW2 army uniform (was a volunteer/conscript) around her flat, and my mother now has it. I know a fair bit about his action in the Second World War, including being involved in the liberation of Belsen, which was something he could barely bring himself to mention much.

I suppose it is how family history relates to world history as learned in schools now. I realised eventually that my grandparents (even those who had already died) were my window onto some of that.

Maybe it will be similar for your DS.

fiveacres Sat 06-Jun-15 22:00:52

It's quite hard to think of ones out of context.

What's really difficult is I know my mum would have loved being a grandma but never came close to getting the chance - she died 17 years ago, when I was 15. I barely remember her properly myself.

It's just odd, I don't know how to put it! DS's friends grandparents are so much part of their lives.

DinosaursRoar Sat 06-Jun-15 22:07:03

Perhaps start writing down every story, every event you can remember, or remember your parents talking about. Give them your family history for later if they want it.

Topseyt Sat 06-Jun-15 22:20:12

OP, I did have two grandmothers, although only one of them was a big part of my life. The other was lovely too, and did visit sometimes, but geographical distance made it difficult. My memories of her in her heyday are very, very hazy indeed. I have to rely on things my parents have told me about her.

Perhaps whenever events studied in school history lessons are mentioned (talking fairly recent history, obvs), then you will get the opportunity to engage with your son and say "Ah, I believe your grandfather, great grandfather, great great grandfather played roles in that". It can arouse children's interest.

My DD3 will soon be going on a school history trip to Ypres/the Somme. She asked me recently whether or not we have any ancestors who could be buried there, a question which I had to refer to my own parents. We don't as it happens. There was a WW1 army contingent amongst my family, but they spent it in India. They were career army, not conscripts, and that was where they were posted to. It does suggest though, that relating your family history to its links to world events of the time can prick children's interest.

fiveacres Sat 06-Jun-15 22:25:51

Thank you smile

I think I struggle mostly with feeling quite disconnected, and very much acting in a singular family unit. It's a strange feeling and one that I haven't quite got accustomed to yet, although I should.

MrsTedCrilly Sat 06-Jun-15 22:47:50

It's hard isn't it OP.. My dad recently died and my first child has just turned 1. He meant so much to me but how can my son ever understand without meeting him.. All we can do is tell stories and keep them alive. Like you I do know lots of people with grandparents still alive but many without also. (I'm 30) All you can do is make sure the relationships he does have are good and fulfilling.. Your children won't know any different flowers

WyrdByrd Sat 06-Jun-15 22:58:59

Of course you are not unreasonable to feel as you do.

I lost both my grans by the time I was 7 (never knew my grandpas who died when my parents were children), and I don't supposed I showed a huge amount of interest in them growing up. I'm nearly 40 now and still remember a lot of details about the nans and my 10yo daughter frequently wears a bracelet that she dug out of my mum's mum's old jewellery box a few months ago smile.

Just keep your parent's presence as part of your day to day life, i.e. photos and nick nacks, let the DC's hear you taking about them with other relatives. You may well find that their interest increases when they are older.

flowersthatbloominthespring Sat 06-Jun-15 23:07:59


Your post reached out and touched me. I regularly saw all 4 of my grandparents all through my childhood and (extended) family was a massive part of my life - weekends at aunt's, gps etc. Cousins a massive influence.

My DH's dad died before I met DH, and DH's mum couldn't wait to join him, plus she got dementia when my DD was about 2 - she has zero recollection.

My parents were amazing grandparents, and my DD + her two cousins adored them. Dad died 3 years ago. I still miss him in an active way, which bloody hurts. I see my dd forgetting him day by day and it cuts me. And I know it cuts my mum more.

Worse, my DS has descended into madness, and has now decided there are massive conspiracies against her (there aren't!), so we don't see them or their 2 DC any more.

It breaks my heart. And I hate how I haven't given my DD the importance of family in the way it was given to me. Although, that's in tatters now, so hey.

Keep mentioning, fiveacres. You will keep their memory alive.


DoJo Sat 06-Jun-15 23:23:35

At that age, I remember being in complete denial about the idea that my parents would die. I understood what it meant and I knew that they would, but the only way I could deal with it was to not think about it at all! I remember my mum talking about her dad (who died shortly after I was born) and I just couldn't process it, because it was her talking about her dad, who had died, and if I thought about it then my brain would have to accept that that would happen to me.

I'm not for a moment suggesting that your son is experiencing the same feelings, but he is at the age where he will be starting to consider mortality and may find it hard to deal with your reminiscences about your parents, especially if he realises how young you were when you lost your mother. As he gets older, his natural curiosity about where he comes from will no doubt increase as will his ability to put your memories into context.


Trinpy Sat 06-Jun-15 23:25:59

My maternal grandfather died several years before I was born but I feel like I know so much about him because my dm is always mentioning him. Not lengthy stories but at random times she will be reminded of him and over the years those little anecdotes have built up a picture of the kind of person he was. As pp have said, your ds is still very young so his interest in his grandparents may come later. In the meantime, keep mentioning them from time to time, especially if ds reminds you of either of them in some way.

The other thing I thought of when I read your post is this family tree book which my PiL bought us a few years ago. There's sections about grandparents, great grandparents, family legends, important places, etc that you fill in and pass it on to your dc so you can keep family memories alive. Might be an idea for your family?

DeeWe Sat 06-Jun-15 23:27:40

I think you have to tell stories about them, say what they would have done in certain circumstances and things like that.

Onlydd1 met my grandparents, and she was not quite 2yo when they died, but the dc do have interest in them, because I'll tell them about the time dgd ran over dgu's wheelbarrow, or when dgm got caught in an air raid... Stories passed down from my dm. Plus things I remember, and things they told me.
The dc (aged 14,11 and 7) will ask for stories about them and talk about them to friends.
Ds (7yo) is particularly proud of dgd, as he's very interested in planes and WWII, and dgd was a battle of Britain pilot, and continued flying after the war. There's a number of times at museums when he has been telling attendants about his wonderful great grandad and what he did, and the attendant has asked if it's possible to meet him.
But all this has come from me. It's not just they have decided they want to know, it's the little every day stories that make him real to my children, and actually some of their friends ask for tales about them too.

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