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Grandparent not putting in the effort

(15 Posts)
kilauea Mon 20-May-13 17:08:55

This is my first post here, please be gentle.... If its in the wrong place please move or delete it. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this...

Last night I was told by my mum that because my 7yo daughter (their first grandchild) doesn't seem to show as much affection as they would like they've not been bothering to reciprocate. I'm so hurt and cut up by this I don't know what to think.
Mum and I had a massive row after a visit two weekends ago and to cut a long story short last night she confessed the above after we tried to clear the air and move on. My daughter sees them 3 or 4 times a year and doesn't go running up to them to cuddle them, in fact she has been know to run up to her room before when they've visited. I feel its just she is shy and to be honest doesn't know them that well.
They say they've felt like this for a while and don't seem to want to try anymore as the say they get nothing back. They don't really make much effort normally, they don't write, call or skype (they have a very old laptop). They send xmas and b'day cards/presents though. They both work hard and have busy lives but I'm just lost for words that they seem to think that because a 7yo doesnt reciprocate affection that they should do the same.

OrlaKiely Mon 20-May-13 17:12:26

It does sound really bizarre. They have it all the wrong way round!

I'm really sorry for you and your little girl. Not sure what to advise but I agree with you that their behaviour/attitude is far from OK.

ThePavlovianCat Mon 20-May-13 17:13:57

I am stunned by their attitude. You need to remind them that they are adults and your daughter is just a child. They need to lead in showing affection and then she will learn to reciprocate. Also, if she only sees them a few times a year it's no wonder she's a bit shy around them. If they are warm and welcoming to her, she will start to respond as the visit progresses.

I was going to suggest skype but it sounds like that isn't workable. Do they chat on the phone to her regularly?

You say your DD is their first grandchild. Is she their only grandchild? If not, are they different with the others?

sittinginthesun Mon 20-May-13 17:16:12

Welcome to Mumsnet!

That doesn't sound fair at all - a 7 year old will only reciprocate if she feels loved.

if you do want to take charge of the issue, maybe the next time they visit, organise a trip out where they are all actively doing something together? Less time for them to worry about it.

Alternatively, I think everyone would understand if you just didn't bother.

I wonder if you might get more traffic in the Relationships section?

Pootles2010 Mon 20-May-13 17:16:50

Yeah my mil is same with my ds, although we see them more because they live close, its all us going to see them, ds is expected to behave (he's 2 ffs), she ignores him other than practical things like getting him a drink, then she instructs him to come and give her a cuddle/kiss and gets all grumpy when he won't do it immediately hmm

I'm afraid I have no advice, it's just how she is. I don't like that, but I can't change her, so...

kilauea Mon 20-May-13 17:18:57

Thanks for the replies. I should point out by the way that I'm her Dad. She is one of two grandkids. Her brother (age 2) is their other grandchild and is not involved in this due to his age.
I work overseas and and I'm not home that often. We visit when I'm home or they come to see us. This happens only when I'm back. My Wife has gone up to them twice in the past year when I've been away but they have never come down to see them.

mummy2benji Mon 20-May-13 17:28:50

I think it's worth pointing out their respective ages - they are grown up, your dd is 7yo. They are suggesting that they behave themselves like a 7yo. If my ds1 (4.5yo) threw a tantrum, I would be a little taken aback if my mother then had one too. I grew up not seeing a great deal of my grandmother because she lived a few hours' drive from us, so when I did see her it was a 'polite' relationship - good manners, but not affectionate. With children, you get back from them what you put in effort-wise, and while it wasn't my grandmother's fault that I didn't spend enough time with her, it would have been unreasonable for her to get offended that I wasn't more outwardly loving. I did love her, but felt shy and self-conscious because I wasn't familiar with her. Your parents, no offense to you intended, need to grow up here and start acting like the more mature generation that they are. Or they will be the ones who miss out on having a granddaughter who genuinely loves and cares for them.

AMumInScotland Mon 20-May-13 17:44:43

They need to grow up and be the adults here. The reality is that they are virtual strangers to her - as adults they consciously "know" that they are grandparents. As a 7yo, your daughter may know that in her head, but so far as he heart is concerned they are "people she sees a few times a year"

If they give up making any effort at this stage, there is no chance that she will develop any closer feelings towards them.

If they already can't be bothered to phone or write, then I don't thinkthey'll be much of a loss to be honest, specially if they think their own time and effort are so valuable that they aren't prepared to waste it on a child.

QTPie Mon 20-May-13 17:55:58

Oh dear, your poor DD and poor you.

Completely agree what others have said: your parents are the grown-ups and they need to take the lead - and set the example - for any relationship with a child. Honestly, "you get what you give": of they put the time, effort and enthusiasm in, then they will get it back and then some. If they don't, then they won't and it would be very sad.

Really it is up to them.

Sadly people often get "odder" (and more childlike again) as they grow older.

turkeyboots Mon 20-May-13 18:07:45

You have my sympathies. My mother is like this too. We.also live in a different country to her, and she doesn't visit us as she says it doesn't matter as DC don't know who she is. Which isn't helped by her lack of visits to us and not being round at all when we visit her.

Anyone got any good ideas other than ignoring the behavior?

OliviaMMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-May-13 18:25:43

Hello there OP
Sorry to read about this - do let us know if you'd like us to move this to our relationships topic.

kilauea Mon 20-May-13 18:46:11

Thanks to everyone that has taken the time to reply. I just wanted to vent and see if i was being unreasonable...

MissLurkalot Mon 20-May-13 19:27:56

You're not being unreasonable AT ALL kilauea.... I cannot believe their attitude to be honest.

They're the ones acting like children...!

I'm truly sorry this has happened... How did you leave things with her?

chocoholic05 Mon 20-May-13 19:44:28

I've had similar with my pil and my 7 year old ds. They live very close so see dgc regularly about once a week usually. However he will often as mil puts it ignore them or at least doesn't get overly excited and affectionate when they visit or its some kind of get together. And mil does get offended if he doesn't pay her enough attention and will comment he's being unsociable again or will say to ds something like good afternoon grandma how are you grandma I'm fine thank you dgs! All this goes completely over ds head especially if he's playing or got engrossed in a book or his Nintendo ds. Ds2 however throws himself at them! hmm

BerthaTheBogCleaner Mon 20-May-13 19:54:53

Can you imagine what your mum's reaction would be if you told her that as she isn't showing you and your family as much affection as you'd like, you've decided to stop reciprocating? That as you get nothing much from your relationship with them, you've decided to stop trying?

Imagine her response to that. That response is the one you'd be reasonable to be having yourself, right now.

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