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What do you tell your kids when grandparents have a favourite and its not them

(22 Posts)
Excitedforxmas Tue 14-Jul-15 15:27:38

Exactly that. My kids grandparents show no interest in them but do lots with db,s kids. We aren't local which I can understand but technology means they could phone Skype Facebook but they don't. It's very sad and my kids are at an age now that they realise they are treated differently.
It's nothing new though as db always been favourite child and now that favouritism had been passed on to his children.
Any advice?

MiddleAgedandConfused Tue 14-Jul-15 16:13:31

It's upsetting but a valuable lesson that not everyone in DCs life will be fair or reliable. You can't change it, so just be honest with the kids. We turned it into a joke at our house. Focus your attention on the people who do care for your kids.

BoxOfKittens Tue 14-Jul-15 16:22:38

That is how it was with my family. I was the favorite grandchild and it was painfully obvious. My cousin and (ex) aunt moved several hours away when she was 7 due to my aunt and uncle divorcing.

From that point onwards it was like she was no longer a grandchild and it grew worse over time. My grandad stopped sending her birthday cards and gifts. He didn't ever call or seem bothered to keep updated with her life.

However, I do think it worked both ways. My aunt stopped any contact after the divorce, we never saw her again even though we were all close. My grandad saw it as "they make no effort so why should I?" and he saw my cousin so little (occasionally when she was staying with her dad /my uncle) that it was like out of sight out of mind.

If this is anything like your situation then I dont think there is a lot that can be done apart from bringing it up to the grandparents. My uncle tried to conceal the behaviour for a while by giving my cousin a gift supposedly from our grandad but I don't think that solves anything.

Its very sad

pocketsaviour Tue 14-Jul-15 19:36:38

Depends on the age of the kids, but "Unfortunately your nanny and grandad X aren't very nice people" will work with most ages.

badRoly Tue 14-Jul-15 19:39:41

No advice just empathy.

When mine ask, I just mutter something neutral about distance and try to change the subject blush

Excitedforxmas Tue 14-Jul-15 22:08:47

Thanks all. Just so desperately sad when you hear what they are up to with other grand kids and mine don't even get a phone call!

Ludways Tue 14-Jul-15 22:21:20

My IL's favour my SIL's children, particularly the eldest, so much so they have been known to actually call her "our favourite" in front of the whole family. She has her own room at their house that none of the others are allowed in to, she goes on holiday with them, they pay for school trips abroad, they buy all her clothes, she's an adult in her twenties now but these things still go on. They have 5 grandchildren children and I can actually put them into position from number 1 to 5, my dd being number 5. I could rant on forever, lol

Mine just know it's the case and sort of accept it without question. It hurts my dh the most, he's always the forgotten one in favour of SIL. My dp's idolise my dc, so they don't go short of grandparent love.

Excitedforxmas Tue 14-Jul-15 22:58:08

It's just horrible. Mine only gave one set so no other granny love sadly

AyeTheresThePub Tue 14-Jul-15 23:06:34

There isn't much the 'favourite' can do though, is there? Aren't they the favourite through no choice of their own?

Genuine question. I want to make it clear that I understand the hurt that the non favourites must go through, but what can the favourite do about that? Only feel guilty? Or perhaps try and get the family together more often?

Promise I'm not trying to goad. I think I may be the favourite although I'm not sure. I don't think about it much but when I do I feel bad for my siblings. Again, what can I do?

Ludways Wed 15-Jul-15 00:01:24

In some instances the favourite can't do anything about it, they're usually the child of the favourite child. Often it can be helped though, my niece definitely plays on it. She sulks if she doesn't get her own way and then cuddles up to grandma with a sad face, it was annoying when she was 4 but I just want to scream now she's in her twenties. She competes against my 9 yo dd fgs, she tells the others "I'm the favourite, get out of my chair" etc.

Ludways Wed 15-Jul-15 00:03:56

If you are favourite the only thing you can do is turn down the extra you're offered if it's gifts etc. if you invite family around on behalf of the grandparent that will just magnify the situation. Don't be "perfect" in front of the others, lol

Canyouforgiveher Wed 15-Jul-15 00:09:10

How do you hear about all they do with the other grandkids?

If it is facebook, just block it.

If you hear it from family members, just don't tell your kids.

In the end if their grandparents don't have much interest in them, they won't have much interest in their grandparents. Just cut loose and let the close ones have a grand time.

it is incredibly hurtful for you but no reason your children need to care.

springydaffs Wed 15-Jul-15 01:01:29

Goodness me, get out. Why would you want this in your face? Revolting people, cut them loose.

Rather trying to read crowing from favourites on here. You don't think about it much? Well you wouldn't hmm

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 15-Jul-15 01:07:56

What have they asked OP?

mathanxiety Wed 15-Jul-15 05:56:50

Luckily for my DCs, we lived and still live a long way from the GP who thought the sun shone forth from certain grandchildren's rear ends -- two children in a family of three, with the third child relegated to 'odd child' status and all the rest of the fifteen grandchildren were 'Also-rans'. This favouritism was not expressed in material terms but in terms of glowing praise of every single school report, every school play, every piano recital, every sports day, etc. Nobody else got a look in. Great things were openly predicted for these children, especially the oldest.

If it's any consolation to you, OP (* schadenfreude alert *), the older Favoured One flunked out of university and works in a shop now. The other was proclaimed to be the next Einstein but it turned out he was in exactly the same level of maths classes that all of my children took all the way through school and is interested in the same sort of subject in university that DD3 is interested in. They are the same age but GP (ok, it's exMIL) has never once asked what DD3's interests are, what subjects she is good at, etc. The 'Odd Child' quietly excelled in school and chose to apply to a hippie university on America's west coast, graduated, and now has an excellent job. The rest of the grandchildren, my children included, did very well in school or are progressing well, got into good universities, and graduated or are heading towards that goal with no dropping out in sight.

The Favoured Ones are nice people. It isn't their fault exMIL openly worships the ground they stand on. The way the family operates, enjoying exMIL's favour was seen as a good thing by the mother of the older Favourite and so this child was never protected from exMIL's tendency to praise results and not effort, and learned to suck up and work only if lavish praise was going to be the result. Middle child ('Odd Child') had a mind of her own from the start, and the dad (Son in law of exMIL's) had learned from oldest child's experience so he was shielded somewhat from exMIL. I do not know how it has all affected the relationship between Oldest, Middle and Youngest children in that favoured family. The mother (exMIL's DD) is very dependent on her mother (exMIL) for validation, approval -- emotional crumbs from the table really, as her next younger sister was always the favourite child when they were growing up. What a poison favouritism is.

My DCs live effectively without a grandparent as my mother is in another country and only visits every few years, and we were lucky not to have a lot of contact with exMIL. They get along very well with my mother and enjoy her visits.

Whatever way you can find to shield your children from all of this, please do it, and do not share with them anything you hear or learn of, or your own anger or disappointment. Behave as if everybody in the universe loves and cherishes and appreciates your children. You can reveal the truth to them when they are much older or when they notice things themselves and ask, and even then, be brief and as neutral as possible in your answers. You can have a right old bitching session when they are in their late teens, early twenties..

mathanxiety Wed 15-Jul-15 05:59:33

'had learned from oldest child's experience so he [youngest] was shielded somewhat from exMIL.'

DeckSwabber Wed 15-Jul-15 08:11:34

I would be careful about reinforcing any view that the other grandchildren are the favourite. I can only imagine that would be hurtful and won't achieve anything. And if your family decide you are 'jealous' it will only get worse.

Focus on your own behaviour (the only bit you can control) - how do YOU deal with it?

eg - and I don't know if this would work for you - could you arrange get-togethers with the cousins without your parents? Then your kids build relationships with their cousins.

Or initiate outings with your parents and the children. Tell your parents that your children want to spend some time with their GPs.

Make sure there are some lovely photos to keep for your kids

A bit of flattery can go a long way.

If it doesn't work, fine. You've tried.

But remember that things change over the years and unless your parents are really toxic and damaging it may be that when circumstances change the dynamics become more balanced.

I do get it though - I felt excluded for years when I was little because we lived far away from both sets of grandparents so we never really got to know any of them, and I imagined that my cousins had something special which I didn't. It meant that I made a big effort for my kids to see both their grandmothers.

mathanxiety Thu 16-Jul-15 08:52:39

Some people really are toxic though.

When exMIL used to visit us she would hold forth at the table on the dreadfulness of the city we lived in and how rotten it was for the DCs not to have cousins to play with every day.

But I agree, all you can do is control how you respond, and do your best to keep your children shielded from your hurt and anything aimed at hurting them.

StonedGalah Thu 16-Jul-15 09:02:32

I had this with one set of my GP. It wasn't nice but just something all the other GC knew.

i have told my IL and DP l wont tolerate this though and will pull them up or cut a lot of contact.

diddl Thu 16-Jul-15 09:09:19

"My aunt stopped any contact after the divorce, we never saw her again even though we were all close. My grandad saw it as "they make no effort so why should I?" and he saw my cousin so little (occasionally when she was staying with her dad /my uncle) that it was like out of sight out of mind."

The problem there though is that it wasn't the child's fault!

DeckSwabber Thu 16-Jul-15 09:16:27

Some people just don't realise the impact they are having.

I had a conversation with one of my cousins once about her mother, who according to her was always talking about and favouring her sister's son, and oldest Grandson. It clearly hurt her deeply.

But when I was with her mother, the only topic of conversation was my cousin's genius/amazing/wonderful prodigy of a son. She barely mentioned the other grandson.

I think she is just one of those people who likes to make sure we all know our place and don't get above ourselves.

jollygoose Thu 16-Jul-15 13:43:15

My paternal grandmoher was like this she very obviously favoured by brother. My dm and I would laugh about it together and I quickly learned not to mind though fortunately I had dear grandparents on the other side.

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