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Is this how grandparent favouritism starts?

(17 Posts)
SquirrelFruitandNutkin Sat 18-Jun-16 03:47:50

Mil has always treated her dd as her favourite. Her other 2 sons are aware of this and laugh it off although in recent years have started to moan to each other about it. The daughter is the golden child and can do no wrong, got extra help with £ (whether she needed it or not), etc etc

Me and dh have 2 dcs who were for a while the only grand children. But sil (golden child) has recently had a baby so mil has another GC.

MIL is not easy to handle and likes things her way. She is really hard to pin down for visits and despite us telling her she can come visit any weekend (dcs are at school and we both work) she rarely does. We can't visit her easily due to school and as she doesn't have space and it's too far for a day trip. Yet she still moans and guilt trips about never seeing her GC. She has form for making plans to come see us and then cancelling at the last minute because she got a better offer or cutting visits short.

Anyhow this week she was chatting to dh via text and said she was on holiday with golden child's in laws. I've since noticed through Facebook that she was actually on holiday with golden child's family and in laws. This was not mentioned to dh. That's weird right- why would you leave out that you were on holiday with your daughter?

She has already spent way more time and money with the new GC than she ever did with either of our dc at that age. I always suspected that when golden child had dc ours would be pushed aside. I think that's what I'm seeing evidence of and it upsets me. Even though I thought I was prepared for it I'm still angry and hurt that she guilt trips us about never seeing the GC and then puts all her efforts into the other one.

I suppose I could be being paranoid and it's all a harmless misunderstanding. And maybe I have a heightened sense of fairness as my parents were meticulously fair - due my dad experiencing being the non-favourite. But...

What's your advice for when your dc are not the favourites? 😞

Out2pasture Sat 18-Jun-16 04:16:50

I won't be of much help squirrel i'm a mil who is being pushed away and am dreadfully frightened to have it appear that I have a favorite sad

joellevandyne Sat 18-Jun-16 04:47:09

Are you certain that your DCs are not the favourite, or is there still a reasonable chance that you're being paranoid or misunderstanding the situation?

You don't give a lot of cold hard examples of how MIL has treated the children differently. Without more info, it's hard to say whether it's reasonable that she's spending more time/money on GC's baby than she did on yours. Does GC live closer or find it a lot easier to visit? Does GC make a greater effort than you do to be in touch with MIL? Have MIL's finances improved since your children were born? There could be a lot of reasons behind a perceived imbalance.

The example you gave of her 'leaving out' that she was on holiday with GC doesn't seem that weird to me. If she said she was on holiday with GC's inlaws, surely you would assume that GC would be there too, right? There's no way my parents would go on holiday with my brother's inlaws without my brother, nor my inlaws go on holiday with the parents of one of their other kids without the kid being present.

Either way, I honestly think the best way to deal with it is to focus only on your own relationship with her and not compare. Unless your MIL is making it blatantly obvious to your DCs that her other GC is her favourite, I think it's best ignore what you see as unfairness and attempt to give it the benefit of the doubt as being unconscious, not malicious. If your DCs feel loved by Grandma, that is all that matters.

Of course, if your DCs start asking questions, like "Why does Grandma never come to visit us when she sees Sylvie all the time?" then it's time to address it with her.

DeathStare Sat 18-Jun-16 04:47:20

That's weird right- why would you leave out that you were on holiday with your daughter?

Probably because she assumed it was obvious. Why on earth would she be on holiday with her daughter's in laws but without her daughter and grandchild?

I'm sorry Squirrel but you sound really angry towards your MIL and SIL and I doubt that helps. Does your SIL live closer to her mum than you do? Does SIL visit MIL more than you do? If so then of course she is going to see SIL's DC more often than your DC. That's just inevitable, it doesn't mean favouritism towards the other GC.

Have you asked MIL to go on holiday with you and she's turned you down? If not is really supposed to turn down invitations from her other children just in case it upsets her DIL? You say she's difficult to handle so maybe your SIL is just more adept at handling her (she has had more experience at it)

I get that she's a bit difficult and cancelling arrangements at the last minute would drive me up the wall - and personally I'd speak to her about that. But yes I do think you are being a bit paranoid and that more than anything is likely to result in your DC picking up your vibes that they are the least favourite GC

icklekid Sat 18-Jun-16 05:36:04

It's probably inevitable that if shes closer to her daughter than her sons she will be closer to her daughters children.

It doesn't make it right or fair. It doesn't mean there is anything you can do about it. As your children grow up all you can do is give them the opportunity to spend with their grandparents. Try not to take it to heart even though it seems wrong

pallasathena Sat 18-Jun-16 07:56:14

Sometimes, its easier as a grandparent to get on with some family members than it is with others. Just maybe, that's what's going on here. I know from my own experience as a grandparent that if you have judgey, unwelcoming relatives who seem to constantly find fault, then you're not going to feel relaxed and happy in their company. And yes, that feeling can impact on the extended relationship you have with grandchildren.
Perhaps your MIL feels more at ease with some family members than others.

quicklydecides Sat 18-Jun-16 08:02:13

I think you are over sensitive or looking for trouble.
Or both.
It's not easy for mil to spend time with you.
It's understandable that she should spend time with her own daughter if she can.

greenfolder Sat 18-Jun-16 08:09:18

There is nowt you can do about it. Mil spends more time with her daughter than her sons and their daughters. That is not unusual. If they are close they will spend time together. Are you close to your mother or are these the only grandparents? Would you really want to go on holiday with this tricky mother in law? Would your husband?

Tearsoffrustration Sat 18-Jun-16 08:10:51

Maternal grandmothers tend to be closer to their grandchildren I think. Plus there's the difference in age - my grandparents were working full time when I was a child, but they were retired when my younger cousins were little so they had a completely different relationship.

Plus from the dynamics you have outlined I think it sounds inevitable. If she lives closer as well then she will see her more.

I think it's very unusual for all grandchildren to be treated exactly the same.

Goingtobeawesome Sat 18-Jun-16 08:12:02

When she moans about not seeing your kids ask her if she wants to see them why doesn't she do so? Then tell her do something about it or stop moaning. Stop accepting her behaviour.

maddiesparks Sat 18-Jun-16 08:18:56

I think it's probably more normal than you think. Although my MIL helps out when we ask her to and we see her fairly regularly we are never invited on holiday with them or for Christmas etc as her daughters and their families are. She definitely puts more effort into spending time with them. I'm not particularly bothered personally as I am very close to my own Mum and feel my mum has that 'special' bond with my children. I don't know how my DH feels about it, I don't think he would want his parents spending huge amounts of time with us anyway! It seems to be socially acceptable for Mum's to be very close to their adult daughters but if they stay very close to their adult sons this often gets viewed in a bad way, ie the son should 'cut the apron strings' etc etc. As long as your children don't feel they are being pushed out I really wouldn't worry too much about this.

Imbroglio Sat 18-Jun-16 08:34:51

I think that you need to let it go, to be honest. She's entitled to spend her time as she likes, and if she likes being with her daughter then what's wrong with that?

Money issues are harder to reconcile but that's really between her and her son.

If you want to improve your relationship there are things you can do, eg work hard to pin her down to a date for visiting, and make sure her visit is a success.

NapQueen Sat 18-Jun-16 08:44:58

If you live too far for a day trip and you can't stay overnight there then why not have a regular weekend down to hers once every two months and arrange a regular weekend the other months when she comes to you.

You seem to have reasons for not going to her. Then express unhappiness that she doesn't come to you.

DrWhy Sat 18-Jun-16 08:53:50

We are much further from PIL than their daughter is, we both have first babies due before Christmas. I fully expect they will see more of my SILs baby as she is a day trip away, we are a minimum of a weekend and that's still pretty grim (6 hours drive each way) and FIL still works. They are making a real effort to treat us fairly at the moment, come to visit, have offered to buy is both buggies but inevitably they won't see our baby in person as much. I'll try to make lots of Skype opportunities. They do throw cash as SIL (she's a bit of a spoilt princess) but to be fair they are generous with us too, I've been a bit stubborn in the past that we don't need it so don't take it but are happy for them to buy baby stuff if they want.
As for the holiday, I assume your SIL invited both sets of parents on a holiday - have you ever tried that? Neither my mum or my PIL would ever intrude on our holiday but we've holidayed with them both by inviting them and plan to in the future.

MrsBertBibby Sat 18-Jun-16 09:01:33

It sounds to me as if you're trying to get in and fight your husband's childhood grievance using the next generation as a proxy. Leave it. If the grandmother is playing favourites, your kids are better off on the edges, or out of the poison altogether. Grandparents aren't a necessity, they're just a bonus if you get lucky.

HappyJanuary Sat 18-Jun-16 09:22:30

It's hard to tell whether you have a genuine grievance of not op.

As pp have said, is it easier for mil to visit golden child?

Perhaps she lives closer, works fewer hours or extends more specific invitations (rather than 'come anytime')? People don't tend to respond to open invitations when people have busy lives, they worry about imposing.

It is only favouritism if she turns down your invitations and refuses to holiday with you.

Be honest, how do you show her that you want her in your life, that she's welcome?

You do actually sound very negative about your MIL, maybe she detects this. All of the things you say she does wrong sound like normal family interactions to me.

JohnnyDeppsfuturewife Sat 18-Jun-16 10:28:23

I'm in the same boat.

Dh has one brother who is the 'favourite' one. This brother has had mental health issues and financial problems so I can understand why pils are more supportive to him. I have had 15 years of observing this favouritism - and to a lesser extent so has dh - although dh is secure enough in himself and happy with our little family to not be upset by it.

i used to spend a lot more time with pils than dh so see it more but I get constant comparisons between my children and their cousins and it is always how advanced / intelligent theirs are. So I get more upset than dh. Dd2 was born a week after their dc1 and if I made any observations that dd2 has done something I'm proud of the instant reaction is that cousin 1 did that ages ago. I try not to bore people about my children but I love them and hate the fact I can't talk about dd2 as inevitably I get hurt when I'm told cousin 1 is a world class violinist at the age of 4. Or is reading war and peace in Russian!

What's galling is that bil is really selfish and never does anything to help pils whereas we run around doing everything we can.

I don't have much advice other than to say at some point I just stopped calling pils and stopped inviting them over. i know they're not malicious or nasty people, they can't see how insensitive they are but after they made a negative comparison of my dd2 compared to her cousin in front of her I made a light comment that it wasn't nice and retreated. Sadly mil is ill at the moment so we can't visit but we had already reduced visits and while dds love their grandparents and miss them I find other things for them to do. It is painful but people of that age are never going to change and they lose out as I had wanted them to be part of my family and I have stopped inviting them in.

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