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Grandparents lack of caring

(34 Posts)
teadrinker Fri 14-Aug-09 21:35:19

This is my first go here so apologies in advance.

I'm trying so hard not to be bitter but am failing. My parents seem to want nothing to do with my kids. They don't visit and even bought a house miles away from us so we 'wouldn't use them as babysitters'. They never have!

They blame ill health but are able to travel many miles when it suits them. My brother lives further away and yet they see him and his kids. I get annoyed (never to them) as all my mother talks about are his kids.

I find myself envying people who have grandparents picking their kids up at the school regularly. Mine have never been to a concert, sports day or anything like that.

My kids are too young to really care and I don't emphasize it but worry they will grow to resent it.

I never saw my Gran much as my Dad fell out with her (no idea why). He's not a people person to be honest but it saddens me that Mum was and she has become more like him now.

Recently lost my last Aunt who I was fond of and my FIL who was sweet but had Alzheimers for years. Neither lived nearby but we saw more of them than my parents.

Can anyone offer advice?

Frasersmum123 Fri 14-Aug-09 21:43:01

YANBU but I dont think you can make them care if they dont want to. Have you asked them outright why they dont?

I can see why you are upset, I would be too

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 14-Aug-09 21:44:55

It is sad isn't it, we are in the same position but with DH's father and Step mother, having spent 8 hours recently in their company and them not showing any interest in our children or DH then we have decided that we will be polite when they phone but will make no effort to see them. They seem to have made the decision to play no part in our DC's lives. We are lucky though that we have my parents but also a large group of friends and Godparents who play an active role in their lives. When they are older we will explain why and hope that they understand.

LovelyTinOfSpam Fri 14-Aug-09 21:47:47

No advice teadrinker, but sad for you. It must be extremely upsetting.

londonartemis Fri 14-Aug-09 22:17:44

I can understand you perfectly. Do your parents get on with your DH by the way?
Whether they do or not, it all sounds deliberately hurtful. Just remember that it is THEIR LOSS and NOT YOUR FAULT. It's upsetting, but you have your own family and will get more joy from that, so concentrate on that. Your children will grow up accepting that the GPs live far away and they aren't easy to visit. They will form stronger attachments to your friends and non relatives who show interest in them and support for them.
The one lesson I have learnt, is that a blood relative does not necessarily deliver what you need. MN is full of in law resentments. You are not alone.

piscesmoon Fri 14-Aug-09 22:25:01

I think that I would try writing a letter and asking them.

Seabright Sat 15-Aug-09 19:29:42

I agree with the others, I think you need to ask why they make the difference and then make your decision on how to proceed based on their response.

Does you brother know why? Could you ask him?

becky7000 Sat 15-Aug-09 19:54:16

I can completely sympathise with the bitterness you feel. My ILs live very close but never show much interest in our 3 kids. I find myself very envious of friends who get support and help from grandparents. My parents live a few hundred miles away, although the few times they have been able to visit they are great and I get a flavour of what it could be like.

I am expecting DC4 at the moment and it is a real stuggle (DC1 is 3 ,DC2 is 2 and DC3 is 8 months so they are at home with me full time). I feel very angry that they know I am struggling but do not offer their help and support. I would never expect them to have the children on their own if they were not confident but would love them to come round and play with the kids and just relieve some of the pressure on me to be cheif cook, cleaner AND entertainer!

I frequently tell myself not to be bitter as it only upsets me but it is very difficult and somewhat of a relief to know I am not on my own with these feelings.

BaconAndEggs Sat 15-Aug-09 20:23:20

yanbu and I am sad for you

weegiemum Sat 15-Aug-09 20:29:52

YANBU. My MIL is like this.

She was very helpful; (from a distance - which meant she didn't often have to be) until BIL and his wife started having kids. Since then, everything revolves around them, their kids, their plans, her commitments to looking after those grandchildren etc ......

She always said that she would help anytime, especially as I have recurrent depression. But when it comes down to it, the other grandchildren take total priority. BIL and family live round the corner from her, whereas we (by choice) live hours away.

I just think - don't say you are prepared to help in any way at any time if you actually mean "only when it suits me". MIL is retired, BIL and his wife are both not working, but their childcare needs take priority!

<breathe, breathe>

Have too many issues with MIl just now!!!

pamelat Sat 15-Aug-09 20:32:46

YANBU. It sounds very sad.

If they were like it with all grandchildren then I would say accept it but because they seem to show a preference (????) I would ask why.

Aranea Sat 15-Aug-09 20:38:06

Have you spoken to your brother about it? Perhaps they talk about your children to him, and his to you?

I wouldn't worry that your children will grow to resent it - they will just accept things as they are. It's you that resents it.

It sounds very hard to deal with but I would tread carefully in case you have made any assumptions or misread the situation at all. I'd speak to your brother before your parents if I were you.

TheYearOfTheCat Sat 15-Aug-09 20:49:38

OP, I can sympathise completely, my MIL is similar. She runs herself ragged chasing round her other GC, yet doesn't bother with our DC. She didn't come to my DS's 2nd birthday because she was busy with my SIL's children hmmangry. My DH was gutted about it, and spoke with her. Her response to him has tipped me from ambivalence to outright anger towards her.

Your OP suggests that you are on speaking terms with your parents, in that you say 'she talks about your brothers DC endlessly'. You are ultimately the only one who can gauge what your relationship is like with your parents, and whether you could raise the issue with them.

You probably need to be clear in your mind what it is you want from your parents. Do you want them to have a relationship with your DC, or do you have an expectation / hope that they will help out? (You mention your envy at other GP picking kids up from school - I know it well). If you decide it is only a relationship that you want, with no expectation of help, you could try speaking to them and making this clear, emphasising that you feel saddened that they are missing out on your DC childhood.

However, sadly, you may have to just accept things the way they are, and stop getting angry about it. (Note to self: Take your own advice, sometimes it is good.)

Hope things work out for you.

TheYearOfTheCat Sat 15-Aug-09 20:54:19

Sorry, I meant to add my condolences to you. I strongly believe that children derive great benefit from having the influence of older people in their lives. We have adopted our lovely elderly neighbours, who my 2 yr old DS absolutely adores. Perhaps you will form similar friendships.

MogTheForgetfulCat Sat 15-Aug-09 21:37:50

YANBU. We have the same situation with my dad and step-mum - they live in Scotland, right enough, and we are in the south of England, but dad seems to find time to go to every single regatta in the northern hemisphere and take lots of holidays in the Caribbean, so I can't imagine the odd flight down south on easyjet would be beyond them, but it seems to be so.

My view is that they have grown-up kids and several grandkids on tap in Scotland, and so don't feel the need to be bothered with ours. I just try to tell myself they are the ones missing out, but I feel bad for the DCs - he's their only grandad sad

At least my mum is nearby, and whilst not exactly hands-on (which is fine) she does make an effort to see them regularly.

No advice, really, sorry - just sympathy.

teadrinker Sat 15-Aug-09 23:27:40

Thanks everyone.

I have tried talking but my Mother has always taken the slightest criticism badly. They are self centered people and deep down I know they won't change.

I am lucky DH is a good man. They don't 'get him' and never have. I think its a social hang up as they are from poor working class even tho. they now have more money than I'll ever have. DH went to University shock.

I talk to my brother but he thinks like my father purely in money terms ie. what they haven't given him. He does take a lot of flack from them tho. so I sympathise with him.

I want parents to get to know kids not babysit. I'm not a socialite type and never was even before kids but I had PND first time and sometimes I just need a shoulder, you know. I don't want to be told always it was harder in their day.

DH encourages me to keep ringing them and he's probably right.

floatyjosmum Sun 16-Aug-09 16:58:57

i fully understand where you are coming from my dd and ds who are 4 and 8 have spent 1 whole hour in the care of my mum and thats only cos i was desperate and she was my only option and that was june half term this year an i havent heard from her or seen her since!

its awful when your parents dont bother but weve decided its not the children missing out its my mum who isnt seeing her grandchildren grow up!

its that bad here that dd (4) doesnt call her grandma but 'my mummys mummy'.
luckily we are very close to my grandparents so they do have the grandparent role but the concern for us is that it wont last much longer as they are old.

ive now made the decision to cut them out and leave it to her to do the running, i dont mention her in fron of the children and i no longer go from majorly pi*^%d off to crying in 20 seconds!

KembleTwins Sun 16-Aug-09 17:08:00

I have exactly the same issue with my in-laws. Since my DTs were born 3 years ago, they have seen them a total of 5 times, and never for more than 3 hours at a time. They do live a fair distance from us, but have made it clear we are not welcome to stay with them. They also blame ill health for not travelling to see us, but will go practically past the end of our road (IYSWIM) to visit friends who live an hour and a half further on from where we do. It really upset me at first - my kids have a good relationship with their other grandparents and I really didn't see why my in-laws wanted so little to do with them. DH isn't so bothered, but I used to get very angry about it. When SIL had her baby (now 18 months) she regularly went to stay with them for weeks at a time, and MIL was full of how wonderful the baby was and what she could do and so on. I've had to let it go though - no point continuing to be upset about it. We still send photos and so on, and DH will update them on the DTs progress when he phones (they never ask, so he makes a point of telling them) but that's it.
Sad, but no point in continuing to let it upset me.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Sun 16-Aug-09 17:11:14

yanbu but you cant make them show an interest. My in-laws haven't lifted a finger in 18 years, even when things went pearshaped.

katiestar Sun 16-Aug-09 18:14:13

YANBU.That is horribly hurtful.Was your DB the favourite when you were growing up ?

moondog Sun 16-Aug-09 18:17:27

Yearofthecat, what did your dh say to his mother and what did she say back?

sunburntats Sun 16-Aug-09 18:28:23

Dont get me started......

just carry on as if they dont exsist really.

Not even offering to walk with ds for half an hour round the block when i was surviving on 2 hours sleep a night and not sleeping through the night til my son was nearly 4.

I paid mil to have ds for 2.5 hours every Friday afternoon while i went to work, til he was 2. Since then, unless there is some thing wrong with their car (dh is a mechanic) they dont come near.

My parents, its like ds belongs to some one else and is nothing to do with them.

Its very very upsetting, very annoying and frustrating but accepted now. Its up to them.

FarkinBarkin Sun 16-Aug-09 18:43:31

My family is like this too. The other grandchildren are invited for visits, holidays and parties while my children are forgotten. In my experience the children care less than their parents do.

What the grandparents often forget is that eventually their grandchildren will lose all interest in them. I saw my mother in town with her friend at the beginning of the summer holidays. They didn't recognise her at all to start with. When told it was her grandmother my dd called her by MIL's name. The other children were more interested in which shop we were visiting next.

If this kind of scenario would be your mother's worst nightmare, especially in front of a friend, then appeal to that side of her personality. Sometimes the shame of what the neighbours might think/say can give them the push they need.

pranma Sun 16-Aug-09 21:46:45

These posts are so sad.I have 9 dgc and see all of them as much as possible,sadly only 2 are near enough for me to babysit etc.when my dgd was born in turkey I went over 3 times a year for 5 years so we could have a proper relationship.These grandparents are missing such joy in their lives and risk alienating their own dc as well as dgc.

bichonbuzz Sun 16-Aug-09 21:56:09

Dont feel alone - i too have same.My mum left me as a baby then wanted to know me when grown up - was great - until... i had children at which point got seemingly jealous as is self centred and stuff no longer about her ..when i had first child she said that she was jealous of birth partner stayed an hour and went home!.She too now says cant drive for 1 .5 hour but can go abroad !!She expected me to sit down with cuppa or wine and talk to her for an hour whan she wanted to - this was her actual request - not me just thinking this - and she said that she could tell i was distracted and i should not allow the childeren to butt in or be near when i spoke to her - what mother of a three and 4 yo can do that !! last time i saw her she was furious as she "HAD TO "- her words -spend half an hour with my dd-she even rang my sister to complain about it !! she had not seen her in a year and it was only ten minuites whilst dd showed her a fave book - you would think a grandmother would be intrested or if tired at least pretend to be so !!
Yes it is sad an di too have anvied folk with local and involved granparents- one lady i work with just pops them nearby in jamas for school run..
But you can foster other good relatinships and the children can get much from them i promise.I do KNOW that it doesnt feel the same though as of couse you would wish for family but please dont feel alone in this situation.

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