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Absent family relationships for DC

(16 Posts)
pygmywarrior Tue 01-Nov-16 12:17:16

Would you rather your children had a relationship with their grandparents because you lay guilt on your parents/inlaws to keep in touch (particularly around birthdays, important milestones etc), or would you prefer to leave grandparents to make the effort out of choice (knowing that will ultimately mean that they are not seen, as the individuals concerned are aloof and only make an effort if they are asked to & feel obliged etc)

I have a tendency to waffle so am trying to avoid a long ranting post. I just wondered if you had a disappointing relationship that impacted upon a DC, would you/did you leave things be & expect very little to prevent getting hurt? Is it unreasonable to lay guilt on grandparents so that DC can have a relationship with them?

user1477282676 Wed 02-Nov-16 03:52:14

It's very hard when you're in this situation. I know because I am. We moved to Australia last year and my DH's mum has been so uninvolved.

She used to be very hands on...she visited us in the UK every year....then just before we came to live in Oz, my SIL had a baby (alone) and MIL has since been obsessed with SIL's child to the neglect of mine.

I used to get annoyed but now I think "Meh your loss"

I also think MIL has her work cut out as SIL is a bit incapable and MIL is shouldering the weight of her grandson's care...but again that's HER choice and she could do less and visit us more.

I don't lay guilt on her....I couldn;t be arsed.

Bruce02 Wed 02-Nov-16 06:24:33

Dhs parents don't involve themselves with our kids at all. Despite having their other grandchild all the time.

But honestly I just let it go. We still visit. It's almost 3 hours there and back and visit about 3/4 times a year. They don't visit us at all. I feel we do what we can and if they don't reciprocate that's their problem.

The the kids still love them. They don't have the same relationship as they do with my parents. But they do love them. Ds didn't get a Birthday present off them until we visited 3 months after the birthday. It didn't upset him or even bother him.

We don't treat it as an issue so the kids don't see the issue either.

WinterWinds001 Wed 02-Nov-16 07:37:25

My in laws don't bother with my children at all, despite living 10 mins away and seeing other grandchild at least every week.

I got bored of chasing, making all the effort and forcing my DS on them when I was pregnant with DD, i don't bother now and only go to things I have to . Not my problem, iv done my bit and they're not interested so be it. My kids have my parents (divorced) so have 2 sets of grandparents and they are loved.

You reap what you sow and it'll soon be too late and the DC won't care anyway because they don't know any different.

Ragwort Wed 02-Nov-16 07:43:39

I don't think you can 'guilt' people into having a genuine relationship with someone, how would it work? It's like trying to 'make' someone agree with you or see your point of view. They might pretend to, they might not, but either way it's not going to be a genuine relationship.

The trouble with so many relationships is that we think they should work the way 'we' want them to work, we always consider ourselves the reasonable ones ..............but barring abuse or totally obnoxious behaviour I would assume the best way is to try and be relaxed as possible about it - Bruce's attitude is right, try to be laid back, don't view it as a problem & your children won't either. I have some very close relations I barely see from one year to the next ............. but when we do meet we all get on well and have a pleasant visit - I just don't put any 'expectations' on the relationship.

MillionToOneChances Wed 02-Nov-16 07:49:11

If you're having to force it to that extent I think it's better to let it slide. Don't encourage the kids to rely on something that's not stemming from a place of genuine love and desire to spend time with them.

Manumission Wed 02-Nov-16 07:50:24

We've had this and (at least as far as my eldest is concerned) I've watched it play out over 20+ years.

I really wish now we hadn't tried to encourage them. That set of grandparents (one of the couple in particular) have been inconsistent, always at least vaguely inappropriate, said things to the DC that i could throttle then for, then required chaperoning etc etc.

People who don't behave appropriately, will continue to behave inappropriately in myriad small (or big!) ways. And you'll end up doing the legwork to explain, gloss over, keep things going and generally make things okay for your DC.

If they CBA maybe it's better to let it wither early and save your DC all the nonsense.

M1ssunderstood Wed 02-Nov-16 08:10:53

Going through this situation just now and non contact after years of showing face. DC sense underlying issues and eventually work things out. The best thing to do is be kind even to people who are unkind to you. It loosens their hold but doesn't mean you have to make all the running. I'd leave them to make effort and if they don't it's their loss.

SpookyPotato Wed 02-Nov-16 09:25:44

I agree with others that you shouldn't force them, it's their loss. Chasing people to get them to make an effort sounds so draining. But don't make a big deal of it to your kids and they'll work it out themselves when older.
I'm gutted my kids will never know my lovely late dad and only have my distant FIL. I keep thinking of adopting a grandad for them! grin

PollyPickets Wed 02-Nov-16 09:38:38

Yes, my DD is 17 and my MIL doesn't take much of an interest in her and never has. She doted on SIL's children (born 15 years before DD), in fairness to her she lives 2 hours by plane away from us and only about an hour away from SIL. But she's never made any effort to visit very often or invited us / DD up to stay. It's her loss, I gave up years ago.

My mum is slightly better but she was never overly fond in being a doting grandmother on DD either, she does care for her but she's never been that interested in spending time with her iyswim. And there is a long family history relating to why my mum has never been interested in spending time with grandchildren.

Oh well at least my DD had my lovely dear departed dad, he was a wonderful granddad. (FiL died about 30 years ago).

hummingbird100 Wed 02-Nov-16 10:26:16

This plays on my mind a lot. We have a toddler DS, my DM lives 2 hours away and sees us regularly, my MIL...not so much. Only grandchild for both.

MIL hasn't once instigated contact - she made awkward excuses after half an hour when DS was first born, never picks him up, cuddles him, or anything. My DM emailed her some pictures of MIL and DS, no reply. She lives an hour away from us and doesn't drive, however, she's now retired and used to work in our city so could certainly get the train. She saw DS back in the summer for his birthday (she barely spoke during the meal), she then cancelled the next meet-up we had planned, and hasn't seen him since. Our calls go unanswered. I find it truly strange.

Last time she tried to see any of us DH received a text out of the blue in September saying she was in our city and would HE like to go for lunch - no mention of spending time with DS or I. It was even more bizarre as it was a weekday and he was at work (he does standard Mon-Fri and she knows this) so couldn't go anyway! Why she couldn't plan to come see us on a weekend I have no idea. We've offered to come to her but she changes the excuses or has other plans.

I've given up now, it's her loss.

hummingbird100 Wed 02-Nov-16 10:27:13

^^changes the subject that last bit should say.

MavisCrouton Wed 02-Nov-16 10:31:01

My dad's parents were always having me to stay with them and taking me on holiday, right up until I was 9 and my cousin was born. After that my nan tended to favour my auntie and cousin, even though I had a sister born the week before my cousin. I stopped being invited to stay overnight and only saw my grandparents a couple of times a year. As a child it really confused me but looking back now it makes me quite cross - as it happens when my nan died my auntie said she would take care of he funeral arrangements and then she buggered off to Florida with the funeral money leaving my dad to pay for it out of his savings. They haven't spoken since.

pygmywarrior Wed 02-Nov-16 21:41:15

Thanks for taking the time to reply everyone, it really helped me calm down and realise I should let things be. Comments that struck a chord were not to make an issue of it so the DC won't see an issue either, and not to encourage the DC to rely on/expect a relationship that will most likely disappoint them. If I lower my expectations then we are less likely to be hurt.

hummingbird100 Sat 05-Nov-16 10:51:16

That's what I've done pygmy - coincidentally my DH managed to get hold of his mum on the phone the other day and grilled her about lack of contact, she basically denied it and said we don't contact her either, which is just untrue. I don't particularly dislike her as when we do see her it's cordial enough, but I do think she has some very odd ideas regarding spending time with her family.

QuizTeamaAguilera Sat 01-Apr-17 17:18:17

My MIL has never once suggested seeing DS (2.5, her only grandchild). Every time she has, it's been at our instigation. I just don't think she has any yearning or thought in her mind to spend time with us, she's got four DC herself but doesn't seem particularly at ease or comfortable with her grandson, and made excuses and left after about half an hour when she first met him despite repeated assurances she could stay as long as she liked (he was about a week old and we were totally happy to have visitors).

She last saw him just before Christmas, on a Santa grotto trip I arranged, which my DM collected her for and then dropped her off. She lives an hour away and retired last year but hasn't once suggested we spend time together. I can't be arsed any more trying to include her, we've repeatedly offered to come to her house or suggested trips together, and have been brushed off. DH is a bit sad about it I think but he also finds her uncommunicative and awkward, so things get left as they are.

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