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Advice on MiL ignoring kids

(32 Posts)
Hakky Thu 23-Jan-14 12:41:31

Hi all,
I'm new to posting, so please bear with me! I'll try to keep it brief.
I really need some advice on MiL, she is ignoring my DC, she has other GC who she sees all the time, but barely bothers with mine, it's so distressing.
Bit of background, all GC live within approx 30m drive, all junior/primary school age. MiL divorced so no influence from FiL.
Recently my DH took her to task, she said it was all our fault(!) since then I've made efforts to improve things, trying to involve her in stuff but she always declines as is invariably with other GC. I am at the end of my tether, it's not fair to my kids which I find massively distressing.

NollaigShona Thu 23-Jan-14 12:46:22

I feel your pain, Hakky.

My FIL was like this to such an extent my boys thought he was their cousins' grand dad and not theirs.

I have no advice, just think what she is missing out on.

hoppingmad Thu 23-Jan-14 12:49:53

I too feel your pain. Mil is always doing things with sil's dc's but ours don't get a look in. Dt's were born nearly 2 years ago and she's seen them about 4 times. She then gets annoyed at them not hugging her and says they are too clingy!

I've no idea what the problem is as she's otherwise a pretty fantastic mil. It bothers my dh particularly.

hotblacktea Thu 23-Jan-14 12:51:15

What exactly was she complaining about ? If you feel the complaints were unreasonable, you shouldn't do anything more, it's already enough. If she wants to see them, fine, if she doesn't it's her loss but I don't think you should put in more effort.

Hakky Thu 23-Jan-14 12:58:54

Hi, thank you everyone,
She was complaining that we don't bother with her, that shed invited us over earlier in the year and we hadn't returned the invite (not true) that we spent all our time with FiL, we do spend time with him but he is involved and engaged with all his GC.
TBH she has been like this a long time, but it has worsened over the last year. I do feel her points are unreasonable but I'm prepared to swallow it for the kids, it seems like I've made efforts to meet her half way but she hasn't.

HenriettaPie Thu 23-Jan-14 12:59:03

Oh I am also at the end of my tether with this problem! MIL has 4 GC, 2 are mine and 2 are DH brothers. She takes the other two 4 days a week to give the mum 'a break.' We see her once a month, when we visit her and she always makes sure that the other grand children are there when we come so the cousins can spend time together. My children think that she is their cousins mum.

Hakky Thu 23-Jan-14 13:01:56

I know it's her loss, but also it galls me that my DC's see their cousins regularly so are aware that granny sees them all the time. I feel they are missing out, even though they are loved and cherished by other people

Hakky Thu 23-Jan-14 13:03:16

Henrietta, my MiL does that too! My DH goes mad that the cousins are always there

IAmNotAMindReader Thu 23-Jan-14 13:11:51

Let me guess are your husbands siblings treated better than he is. Do you find as a family you get to find out about things involving them at short notice or even after the event?

Was your husband labelled a difficult child?

It seems as though he may be the scapegoat in MIL's eyes and perhaps for the rest of the family. He is always the one who does things wrong usually despite him being seemingly on a level playing field to the others.

In some families this can be quite vicious and obvious in others it may be treated as a family joke but its no less damaging. That mantle unfortunately may well have been passed on to your children as hard work etc.

Have a mooch around here and you will find plenty of posts from people who were labelled as such and see if any of their experiences resonate with you.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 23-Jan-14 13:24:36

Selective memory or blatant favouritism, it is an uphill struggle. Can you even begin to imagine picking and choosing between your grown DCs later on, giving one set of GDCs preferential treatment?!? I would just make the most of Grandad time instead.

Hakky Thu 23-Jan-14 13:32:29

Hi mind reader, yes and no, his DS is quite needy so gets a lot of input, she was the more challenging child, DH quite independent, always pretty sensible as a kid, but yes, we don't get to find out about things involving wider family from MiL in a timely fashion at all.
The one thing I know was an issue was my second child was the 'wrong' gender as 3rd GC and she wanted what she didn't have, we knew the gender as did she so not actually a surprise, however very much treated as 'the afterthought' . She now has GC of other gender from SiL which is complete favourite child. But there's loads of stuff for those GC, special crockery, activities, statement toys, days out, she is actively involved in their lives. Ours get nothing and whilst I know love isn't expressed through material things, she never spends time on/with them, she doesn't know them

Hakky Thu 23-Jan-14 13:36:39

Believe me, I'd happily settle for grandad-time but DH wants to keep trying, and it is challenging with wider family, who believe she's some superstar granny although now if family ask I just say we barely see her.

AdoraBell Thu 23-Jan-14 13:41:19

I was going To ask about the gender. My PILs have a clear preferencia for boys even though they claim not To. It's her problem, don't let it become your's or your DC's.

Do all the fun things with your DCs and if your parents are around and reasonable then have DCs spend time with them. If she complains of not seeing the GDCs just ask which weekend she's free To come and see them.

Yorky Thu 23-Jan-14 13:44:11

Can I be completely self pitying and say at least its your MIL. It is my mum who chooses my brother's DC over mine. sad She works in a school so can only really see us during the holidays which I am fine with. But is a real kick in the guts when during the 6wk holiday my DC saw her on 2 days, both times she travelled to us, both times she had my nephew and niece with her. Nephew and niece spent more NIGHTS at her house than she spent HOURS with my children. How am I supposed to feel?

I'm sorry I have no advice to offer you Hakky, I hope your MIL realises how unfair she is being, and that she is losing out by her behaviour

AdoraBell Thu 23-Jan-14 13:44:54

Sorry crossed post, let DH keep trying but distance yourself a little from the MIl aspect of it. Support DH when he feels rejected/angry/other emotions at the situación but don't Get drawn into arguements with her or wonder family about it.

DH's family = DH dealt with it while you providencia him with moral support.

AdoraBell Thu 23-Jan-14 13:46:50

wider family, sorry.

AdoraBell Thu 23-Jan-14 13:48:25

Gah, bloody autocorrect.

DH deals with it while you provide support.

BarbiesBeaver Thu 23-Jan-14 13:57:49

We've experienced some of this too. MIL and other set of GC live close so she regularly provides childcare for them as well as having them frequently for overnight stays/weekends. Fine - but even when we see them we get shown endles photos of the other GC, constant comparisons between them, anything we talk about regarding our DD is instantly turned into yet another anecdote about the other GC. Even a weekend we had booked away with them was highjacked as they ended up bringing one of the other GC with them so our DD didn't get a look in! It is hurtful.

Hakky Thu 23-Jan-14 14:04:02

Thank you everyone, I'm sorry so many of you have equally hurtful MiL/mums, but it feels better to know we are not the only family in this position.
I have been distancing myself for a while as I reached a point last year where I couldn't continue to try, I'm only trying now as DH spoke to her about it, but also if/when the children ask I want to be clear it's her issue

Pagwatch Thu 23-Jan-14 14:16:35

Can I give you my advice without attempting to understand why she is doing it?
The reason being that you probably won't ever find out why she does it, you just won't. And even if you did it won't change anything.
I have in laws who don't want to be around my children. I tried everything I could think of for 10 years (as did DH)
In the end it made zero difference.

Once I accepted that I had a helpful realisation which was that the children actually don't give a shit.
Children are remarkably resilient and accepting. They accept things without analysing or assuming that they should be different.

So I say to my DC with an unconcerned shrug 'that's just how granny and grandpa are'

My dc are much loved, confident happy dc. They don't feel any loss because that is how it has always been
If you don't wring your hands and worry about it and if your dc feel loved and content in themselves it won't matter.

Now my eldest son is 20 granny and grandpa are so interested and try to get to see him. He is polite but disinterested. Their loss entirely.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 23-Jan-14 15:02:21

Hi Hakky,

re your comment:-
"Recently my DH took her to task, she said it was all our fault(!) since then I've made efforts to improve things, trying to involve her in stuff but she always declines as is invariably with other GC"

Your sole mistake here was trying to improve things; that process has to
be two way and your MIL is clearly not interested. Do not bother with the woman any more, let your DH deal with her if he wants to.

DH keeping on trying as well with her will likely prove to be a wasted effort.

It seems to me that you are fortunately from a family unit where this type of familial dysfunction is thankfully unknown but it is hard to deal with. Would you really want your children to have any sort of relationship with such an awful sounding person anyway, think of your own reasons why you tried to improve things. Whatever, it is not repeat not your fault your MIL has acted in the ways she has done and will continue to do, such people do not change. TBH your own children would not benefit any by having any sort of relationship with her anyway.

What Pagwatch stated as well.

Hakky Thu 23-Jan-14 15:26:07

Thank you Atilla & Pagwatch I can see that you're right, she's not going to change, and it's very helpful to hear from someone with older children effectively coming out the other side of this situation. I don't think she is a nice person, and I think to an extent I've been chasing an unobtainable fantasy of what a GP/GC relationship should be.
I am going to disengage, be polite, but I'm not chasing her to have a relationship with my children if she can't deliver. My DH is fed up with her and I think his next conversation will be a make-or-break one, tbh I think it will break but that's clearly her choice, and yes, she will miss out massively.

ROARmeow Thu 23-Jan-14 20:32:03

Do you have much contact with your bro/sis in law and the other grandkids? Have you spoken to them about their opinion and feelings?

I can really see why you are upset, but keep your focus on your lovely DC and your DH. It's the MIL's loss.

Hakky Thu 23-Jan-14 21:22:52

We see SiL who knows the historical issues but I think stirs a bit between MiL & DH, I guess she doesn't want things to change as it could reduce the input she gets from MiL, which is a lot!

Sparkletshirt Fri 24-Jan-14 08:58:50

Sorry you are going through this Hakky. I had a realisation with my Mum a few years ago, and it was that 1. She doesn't know how to be nice and 2. She doesn't like me because I am a constant reminder of her cruelness and inability to be nice. So what I'm saying is, your mil struggles because you and your dh are lovely, caring people and she doesn't know how to do that. She can only rub along with people as insensitive and thoughtless as her. It's great that you're clear it's coming from her, and you'll be so much happier without her. I wouldn't have the make or break talk tbh. I would just cull and go no contact.

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