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Uninterested grandparents

(17 Posts)
colacoka Fri 08-Apr-16 15:11:03

Okay this will probably be very long but I keep thinking about it, going to try to be vague to avoid outing anyone but descriptive enough to give a full picture, which sounds impossible, I don't know how everyone isn't terrified someone they know is on here!

DP's DF and SM haven't seen DS since before his 1st birthday and he's 18 months old now. They live about 20 minutes away, and come to the town we live in regularly without seeing us. This is weird isn't it?

I guess taking our other family into account, my mum lives close by and sees me and DS weekly, DP also sees her for the occasional other family thing like birthdays with other extended family like DS's great grandparents on my side, my siblings etc. That's all fine. DP's grandparents are great too. DP's DM and siblings and also my DF and his partner live further away but every few months they (independently!) get in touch and come down to visit us and DS, and we've been there too, that's also all fine.

For record I leave DP to sort things with his relatives and I sort things with mine but we've never had to really "formally invite" anyone else and more importantly DP's DF and SM had no problems with dropping in totally unannounced when they did visit when DS was smaller so I really don't think it's a lack of invite that's the issue. I have to admit we have been busy, DP works crazy hours and I'm a sahm to a toddler so it wasn't really until after Christmas we noticed just how little they'd seen him which does sound bad I know, but the point is it hasn't happened with any of our other family, somehow arrangements just happen naturally when we all want to see each other, and I know they have a lot of free time so it's not that they're not able to find time to pick up the phone.

Anyway his DF's lack of interest in his grandson is pretty upsetting for DP. I'm just baffled. They never had any interest in me until I was pregnant, then they were suddenly wonderful which was a nice surprise. DP's SM texted me every day while I was in hospital with DS, they visited lots and brought things and were just lovely, we were in there a little while. Obviously didn't expect that treatment forever! But I never thought they'd lose interest like they have. They have form for losing interest I suppose with other things like houses and jobs but I wasn't aware grandchildren would come under the same treatment, and obviously I aim this more at DP's DF since DS is actually his grandchild, I realise that DP's SM isn't actually related to DS but she did act like she wanted to be like a granny to him at first. They dropped a card through the door on his first birthday (we were out) but no attempt to want to see him and nothing since then except a Christmas present sent via DP's grandparents. I think just the drastic change from being SO excited and interested when I was pregnant and DS was a newborn to now has been disappointing. Esp the pregnancy - no point in being excited about him when he wasn't around to see it and then not now!!

There is so much more to this (no falling out or arguments or anything like that at all) but I think I've rambled on quite enough. DP doesn't want to just get in touch, invite them over and pretend it's all totally normal because it isn't really, I'm not sure if I'll just a load of replies saying that grandparents have no obligation to be involved which I totally understand but in that case frankly I'd rather they just weren't, instead of being there in the sidelines giving DS the impression they don't really care throughout his childhood, only writing gushy comments on facebook for show but never having anything to do with him. DP's sole idea so far is to ring his dad up and "tell him he's being a dickhead". Probably not the best approach so does anyone have anything better?! Don't expect much at all, just a visit to see DS every month or two would be totally fine and seeing him around Christmas and his birthday, I think. I'm not getting involved short of supporting DP so he might just do that anyway but I may as well try and get some advice to offer him.

Wuffleflump Fri 08-Apr-16 15:29:52

Pretty sure my dad has only ever seen his grandchildren (my nieces and nephews) because it was someone else's idea. Not that he is completely indifferent or doesn't feel duty towards them when required, and he interacts with them when they are there, but I don't think kids have ever been his thing. It's not what he chooses to do with his time.

Therefore my mum (no relation to kids in question) doesn't see them much either. She's much more into children, and has no grandkids of her own, but it would be a bit weird for her to go and see children who aren't her relations without her husband. She dotes on them when they are around for big family gatherings.

Admittedly distance involved in these things is much greater than yours, but I don't think it's fundamentally weird. I only see my siblings and parents a couple of times a year too. Family, including half-family step-family etc get on great and have fun when we're together: maybe it's because we don't see each other often!

I think fundamentally family isn't day-to-day support for us, while being ready and willing to help out when big problems come along, which isn't often. I absolutely know that this isn't the same for all families, and without knowing background, I don't know if this is normal for them, or something else. But normal is within the range of possibilities.

colacoka Fri 08-Apr-16 15:45:02

Thanks wuffle. Agree with a lot of that, especially the part about it not being day to day support and just helping out when needed etc., we're definitely more that sort of family. But I don't only want to see family when someone needs help, I think social visits are important too and I included the stuff about how often we see other family to show that I suppose it isn't normal for our families, no. Not the rest of them anyway! I'm sure DP's DF and SM think they're being perfectly normal. Also think if they'd never given the impression they wanted to be doting, loving grandparents we'd be less fussed but they really did, and they both adore children.

SurroMummy13 Fri 08-Apr-16 15:46:33

Talk to them.

Muskey Fri 08-Apr-16 15:54:44

The only thing I'd say is that they are missing out on so much joy. Do talk to them but if at the end of the day they are still not bothered then it's their choice. A friend of mines mil only saw her dgd once and never saw her dgs. I actually think this terribly sad but you can't make people interested

zoelife111 Fri 08-Apr-16 15:58:13

maybe they just find toddlers difficult and destructive. How about suggesting they meet you in the park, or something?

colacoka Fri 08-Apr-16 16:11:26

SurroMummy yes that is what DP would like to do. Just not sure how to go about it.
Thanks Muskey, I agree it is sad. DS has a good relationship with our other family and it's a shame not to have it with them too.
And Zoe that honestly is definitely not the case, they have had a lot of children between them, DP has younger half siblings which admittedly aren't toddlers but they're still young so there's really no issues with children.

MatildaTheCat Fri 08-Apr-16 16:48:45

Tbh it doesn't sound as if either of you have made any effort either. Maybe they are waiting to be invited or for you to visit with the baby. It's possible they aren't over excited any more but six months with no communication is a bit odd and I'm baffled as to why your dp hasn't picked up the phone himself.

A call or email, 'Hi dad, is everything ok? We haven't seen you for ages. Let's fix a date to meet up soon.'

For all you know there could be a reason they haven't called..illness, other problems or just fed up with always coming to you. I may be way off but unless someone's starts talking it won't resolve.

colacoka Fri 08-Apr-16 17:17:19

Matilda I totally agree we haven't made enough effort either, but they did just used to turn up when they felt like it in the very beginning so I assume if they really did want to see DS they would continue to do so, we've never been invited to theirs either. The only excuse I can give for our lack of reaching out is that we're both just so busy, not a great excuse I know. But lately I think DP just feels awkward about it, not sure of the best way to have a constructive conversation about it and move things forward without causing any issues, we're both really non confrontational and would rather avoid problems I suppose. And it just hasn't happened with other family (mine or DP's) so although i totally hold my hands up to us not being the best at instigating arrangements, it's just that arranging things with all of our other family doesn't seem to be such a big deal, it just happens. And yes didn't put anything in my op but no illness or anything like that either. Thank you.

colacoka Fri 08-Apr-16 17:20:08

Forgot to say I think we've not been invited to theirs ever as their house wouldn't have been appropriate for a baby/toddler, I'm not sure but I think that was the reason they always came to us when we did see them.

colacoka Fri 08-Apr-16 17:21:47

But yes I will get DP to phone his dad. I was just hoping for a bit of practical advice on how to be constructive about it and not just cause a big row.

Emsie1987 Fri 08-Apr-16 17:27:15

Maybe they got fed up of making all the effort. Relationships are two ways

colacoka Fri 08-Apr-16 17:54:38

Okay, charming. It really wasn't like that but I can't really see this thread going any other way now. From mine and DP's view it's not a competition about who's making the most effort, and the rest of our families don't seem to think like that either, they want to see DS, we want them to see him it's as simple as that. Yes other people did put more effort in than us when DS was particularly little as they had less obligations than us and were all perfectly happy to, I'd be surprised if it wasn't like that in a lot of families, but now with all the other members of our family we contact them, they contact us, it's all totally fine. We've just found ourselves in an awkward position with DP's DF and SM and the relationship hasn't naturally progressed like it has with DS's other family members because they don't seem as interested.

MatildaTheCat Fri 08-Apr-16 19:54:10

If you re read my post I did make a constructive suggestion about what to say when calling or emailing. Just needs doing. Good luck. smile

MistressDeeCee Sat 09-Apr-16 02:08:36

OP live your life, enjoy your DCs etc and accept you can't do anything about it.

My "DM" is horrid - I don't get on with her but, she dotes on my eldest. Not so much youngest. Apart from that - she doesn't see her other grandchildren - ie my 2 brothers' DCs - at all. Just yesterday I had a conversation with SIL about this, she is adamant about inviting my DM to family events, going on at my DB to go speak to DM, her stance is my DM SHOULD be seeing the DCs. The whole thing was stressing my DB out; although I could understand SIL wanting grandmother around for sake of her DCs, my advice to her when she mentioned it to me for the umpteenth time was, to just leave it. When people are disinterested in you and yours, "should" doesn't come in to it. You can't force them, and get consumed in the whole thing of why they aren't interested, how you can convince them etc. Im a firm believer you just have to make peace with it in your own way and time. If they change their attitude all well and good but if they don't, what can you do? Life goes on. Some people are just very self-absorbed

Imbroglio Sat 09-Apr-16 07:57:24

Families can be funny things. There are obviously lots of family people around and those people seem quite relaxed. Maybe they haven't quite found their 'step'? Maybe they are just the kind of people who like to be invited.

I think make an effort to turn things around for six weeks and see how it goes. Tell them you want to see them, get them involved.
Asking for advice on something sometimes works.

Joysmum Sat 09-Apr-16 08:24:48

My dad and step mum live about a mile away. I'm pretty close to my dad and my step mum is wonderful.

However, they've never come round for a cuppa and only when invited. I've said numerous times they should come to us for a change of scenery but they never do.

Think back, my grandparents never visited them either, it was always my parents doing the visiting.

So now I just accept that's how it is. We'll call each other but if I want to see them I go to them or arrange a trip for us all to go out.

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