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Preferring one set of grandparents

(10 Posts)
NappyShedSal Tue 03-Nov-09 23:31:32

This isn't really a AIBU, I don't think.

My children have now realised (age 8 and 4) that my M-i-L (Gran) gives better / more presents tha my mum (Granny). Everytime we see my MIL she has got presents for them , she spends more and gets more presents at both birthdays and christmas and always sends things at holiday time. My mum, however, just buys a present for birthdays and christmas and hardly ever in between and certainly not every time.

I don't want my children growing up thinking that Gran is a better grandma than Granny - but it's very hard to justify to them without slagging off either grandparent. Granny is very mean so she just gets you 2 presents a year or Gran is OTT and spoils you.

There is no way that I could say anything to my mum about it - do you think you could buy my children more presents????? Idon't think so.

But equally I can't really ask MIL to stop buying so many presents as it obvioulsy gives her pleasure.

I do hope that as my children will get older they won't just remember the number of presents, but certainly visits from Gran are always eagerly anticipated because she'll always have something for them.

It is quite a dilemma.

honeybehappy Tue 03-Nov-09 23:34:43

So do you think your mum is mean then if thats what you would say to them? TBH i would ask your MIL to stop with the gifts, i would be mortified if my DD's thought that because of gifts.

busybutterfly Wed 04-Nov-09 22:51:58

Noooo, I don't think your DCs will think that!

My mum is the same - buys small bits but certainly not all the time. DH's parents are both divorced with different partners and buy our 3DC's loads and loads of stuff (tbh, it's a nightmare fitting it into our small house!) shock

Certainly doesn't mean our DC's love their "other" GP's more than my mum though.

Give your kids a bit of credit, it's not just about the material stuff y'know! wink

Lotster Wed 04-Nov-09 22:57:16

I think you should dissuade them from placing value on a grandparent in terms of presents (not that i'm saying you do but kids do this).

Don't really experience this myself, but MIL's of friends of mine seem to buy more presents too. I think they feel the need to be part of the kids lives more, perhaps an underlying uncertainty of their place as the mums of the children's father, not the mother IYSWIM.

mellifluouscauliflower Wed 04-Nov-09 23:07:41

I had a very generous grandma and a more traditional grandma. I loved both my grannies dearly...but what was most important, more important than the presents to me was the time that generous grandma spent with me (especially without parents which other grandma never, ever did), the jokes she told, the stories she told and the long letters she wrote.

Maybe you could just quietly encourage your Mum to do the important things that don't cost money to even things out a bit?

2rebecca Wed 04-Nov-09 23:09:19

We had 1 set of grandparents that bought loads of presents and another set that didn't. I think we soon realised it was just the grandparents' personality, and as we got older it got difficult as you didn't dare say you liked something if in a shop with them (as children tend to) as they'd buy it for you and then mum would have a fit telling us not to always ask for things and be such greedy children.
Going in a shop with the other gps was much less stressful as they just ignored it or said "yes it's nice" in the way our parents did.
My mum (whose parents they were) thought it was all ott but couldn't stop them.

perfectstorm Thu 05-Nov-09 00:20:21

I think kids grow up aware of caring, and they value that most. Presents are fab, but children are savvier than given credit for, and they won't be bought unless they have no other benefit from either relationship.

slushy06 Thu 05-Nov-09 09:33:59

My mil buys lots of gifts usually cheap crap but my mum does not however when my mum comes she sits down and plays with my kids.

Of the two the prefer my mum as when I say the other nan is coming ds3 asks why cant my mum come over. Children bond with actual time spent not money.

My dad literally used to spend thousands of pounds on me he would take me to America and give me a 1000 pounds to spend on clothes and although I was grateful I loved my step dad more as my dad lived abroad and I only saw him 3 times a year one 3 week visit and two one week visits.

Your dc will work it out for themselves.

pippylongstockings Thu 05-Nov-09 09:56:11

I agree with others it is time spent not the money.

My Nanny always did great things for us - cooking home made chips and serving them out of the kitchen window wrapped in newspaper (like a chip shop) or turning her coffee table upside down and pretending it was a pirate boat, writing little books for us with pictures for us to colour in, letting us have our own bit of her gaden to grow stuff in.

There was alot of love and time spent and that's what I remember the most, I couldn't tell you any presents that I was given as a child that have more of a memory for me.

Encourage both sets of grandparents to spend real time at the childrens level it will reap rewards for all.

cakeywakeywhizzbangmakey Thu 05-Nov-09 10:02:12

I agree with the other posters that your children will get past presents being the only yardstick of granny preference.

I would try to have a word with your MIL though, or perhaps your DP could? Before we had DD, my DH and I used to always have a little something to give to our niece whenever we saw her. She grew to expect it and took it for granted, which we didn't like to see, so we stopped it. Perhaps MIl could be asked to rein it in a bit for that kind of reason, rather than the Gran vs Granny? smile

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