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Comparing Grandchildren, Cousins etc... Is this normal? Should I just suck it up?

(21 Posts)
CannotEvenDeal Wed 24-Aug-16 10:06:47

Just that really. My mil constantly compares my dss (who for all intents and purposes is my son) negatively to his cousins and it drives me MAD. She particularly raves on about my dh's brother's two daughters and my personal view is that she not only favours dh's brother but that she never had a daughter so lives a bit vicariously when she sees them.

My mum doesn't do this with children our side of the family (which is ironic because technically they are step and not bio but you wouldn't know!) but maybe I'm just lucky and mil is a more typical example.

Any ideas/advice much appreciated, I'm beginning to really dislike my mil over this!

Wishfulmakeupping Wed 24-Aug-16 10:10:38

My mil does favour her dd's Dc over our Dc. The official line is rolls out is 'they get treated the same' same amount at Xmas etc but she spends far more time with them, babysitting, days out/holidays and when she does see our Dc she talks about her other gc constantly.
It really pissed me off and I'm worried when my Dc might notice it sad
Sorry no advice but can sympathise how frustrating it is

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 24-Aug-16 10:13:59

No it is not normal and this should not be at all tolerated. Such familial favouritism is damaging to all concerned; it could well ruin his relationship with his cousins.

What does your DH say, if anything, to his mother when she talks negatively about this child?. You would not tolerate any of this from a friend, family are no different.

What you can do is completely now limit the time your MIL spends around your children.

CannotEvenDeal Wed 24-Aug-16 10:17:28

Argh yes the constant talking about the others I can definitely relate to. She actually sees her granddaughters less because my bil moved abroad and doesn't tend to bring them back very often. (And yet he's still the preferred brother lolconfused)

My dss is the eldest of the gc by about 3 years and is definitely staring to notice the favouritism towards the girls sad

Oh and I should probably add that dh and I are currently ttc our first child together and I'm adamant that they'll be raised equally with no rivalry or comparing as far as possible. Dss is very much my ds.

CannotEvenDeal Wed 24-Aug-16 10:24:48

Yes, my dss is developing a very "can't be bothered" towards his cousins because he knows he'll never compare in his gran's eyes.

My dh is concerned about my mil's mental health because admittedly she does have moments when she is very, very nice to us but then her old ways return. However I struggle to feel sympathy because when the dgds are around, there is no venom in sight whatsoever.

Why is it just us who get crapped on??

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 24-Aug-16 10:28:26

Your DH is also key in all this; what are his thoughts here?.

The most important thing parents can do in this kind of a situation is help the children understand they are not the problem. There is nothing wrong with them: the offending grandparent has problems and it doesn’t matter what they are. Too often the focus is on the grandparent’s feelings, with everyone trying not to upset her or make her unhappy.

Protect the children, and put an immediate stop their being publically humiliated by grandparents who turn on their grandchildren because of their own issues. Help children in this situation see all the many others in their lives who love and accept them unconditionally.

CannotEvenDeal Wed 24-Aug-16 10:29:10

Oh also it looks like dh is going to accept a job abroad himself in the autumn so that could solve our issue re limiting time wink

I think I'm anxious because I suffer enough with seeing dss subjected to this, God knows how I'll react when it's my own baby. I'm pushing for the move but the deciding factor is my terminally ill fil sad

CannotEvenDeal Wed 24-Aug-16 10:33:03

To be fair my dh has pointed out that comparisons are not helpful or fair. He by no means rolls over.

I think the pressure of my fil's illness is very great for us all but again, bil has the luxury of being in a different country and is still number one despite not giving a flying fuck about either of his parents

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 24-Aug-16 10:39:29

It sounds like your DH is really the scapegoat for all his family of origin's inherent ills. That has also extended to his own family unit.

She has been told by your DH and she still keeps on doing this behaviour. It is not your fault that she is the ways she is; you did not do that to her.

Keep your child well away from his grandmother and keep reassuring your son that he is loveable.

CannotEvenDeal Wed 24-Aug-16 10:46:03

Yes, scapegoat is the right word. Thank you.

It's true, he has stopped her in her tracks in front of dss and spoken to his mum privately.

A lot of my concern is borne from the fact that that my dh's exw completely rejects her son but is raptured by her sister's daughter. This is then echoed by my mil's and her dgds.

My boy is going to grow up hating females at this rate sad

MadameCholetsDirtySecret Wed 24-Aug-16 10:49:51

I have no advice, but your DSS has a lovely SM.

Littleladylumps Wed 24-Aug-16 10:54:06

My ds (3) was made to cry by mil a couple of months ago as he didn't want to use the potty as he was over tired and had a nappy on. We had also just spent 3 hours in the car traveling to the mild house.She banged on at him that his cousin (2) was a bigger better girl than him as she never wore nappys anymore!

CannotEvenDeal Wed 24-Aug-16 11:00:21

Thank you Madame, that means a lot to me. I love him so much I actually can't even explain it. I'll definitely be a mum of 2 even though the baby will technically be my first smile

I've spoken to dh and said that I'm reluctant to take dss to his gm. I might be tainted as the evil second wife keeping her grandchild away from her but right now I don't care!

And oh yes Little , all of my dss' younger cousins are sooooo advanced academically and in fact in everything blah blah blah grin

CoverYourEarsTeam Wed 24-Aug-16 11:07:25

My SIL used to compare my boys to her own nephew, in front of them. My two always came off worse. We no longer speak (one of many reasons).
My MIL has always favoured her daughters and their children (almost all girls, co-incidentally) over her sons and their kids. Except for her "baby boy", who is her acknowledged favourite (and horrible SIL's husband). He has daughters too.
One of my older SILs (husband's older sister) has a grown-up son. This SIL now gets it, because MIL has very little to do with him or his kids.
I have no advice for you, except that families can be shite. And keep loving your step-son. That's lovely, and awesome.

LemonBreeland Wed 24-Aug-16 11:20:19

It is a horrible situation for your DSS. At least you and your dh are standing up to her.

My Gran used to go on and on about how wonderful her sisters granddaughter was. She was a year older than me. You would think my Gran didn't have 10 grandchildren of her own the way she went on about how wonderful this girl was. It used to really piss me off.

Zaphodsotherhead Wed 24-Aug-16 13:24:21

My mother favours my DB's children. Always has. They lived closer, so she used to babysit, looked after them when DB and his wife split up, always round Christmas morning etc. It became geographical when I moved away, but I always felt peeved that I couldn't go back to work (no childcare I could afford for all five), and was hearing how well DB and wife were doing in their jobs.
She still does massively favour one of my nephews, but all the kids are older now and just shrug about it, even my nieces and nephews are a bit apologetic about it.
So I don't think there's much you can do about it, OP. Presumably your MIL (like my own DM) doesn't even really realise she's doing it - it's only noticeable to others.

pallasathena Wed 24-Aug-16 16:45:15

No. Challenge it every time. Admittedly, I'm no longer in full contact with two family members due to their pathetic scapegoating of a child but frankly, I don't really care about them, I care about the mental health of the child concerned.
When good people do nothing, evil prevails.

CannotEvenDeal Thu 25-Aug-16 13:57:05

Thank you pallas yes it's dss' mh that worries me... in addition to my blood pressure angry

Thanks all for sharing your experiences... I feel slightly less lonely if nothing else sad

happypoobum Thu 25-Aug-16 16:12:57

How old is DSS? If he is six or over, I would say he might be old enough to have a very lighthearted, short conversation where you acknowledge what MIL does.

It may not sounds like much, but it will make him see that other adults he cares about know there is something amiss and that he isn't at fault. Something along the lines of "It's funny how granny always says DN1 and DN2 are so fabulous when she hardly ever sees them isn't it?" "I am so bored of hearing about DN1s ballet lessons, I am far more interested in what you did at swimming last week." That kind of thing?

I agree with PP you sound like a lovely SM.

MatildaTheCat Thu 25-Aug-16 16:33:03

I'd mention it every time. Some stock phrases might help.

' Yes, X is lovely but so is dss so please don't compare them.'

'Dss really doesn't need to hear this sort of thing so please be sensitive.'( obviously out of his earshot)

'It hurts us when we hear this.'

Perhaps you could spend an afternoon comparing her to your own DM and see how she likes it to be found inferior in her cooking, tastes and intellect. Then point out she is doing this every time she sees dss. Your dh must be on board with all of this or, yes, sadly you will be the interfering, wicked SM when very obviously you are not.

CannotEvenDeal Thu 25-Aug-16 18:43:23

Thanks for that advice. I keep trying to imagine how a conversation with her would go but just the thought of her makes me angry And dss is a preteen so there have been a few direct conversations about it... Definitely food for thought there, thanks!

I've made it clear to dh that I'm not going to get stressed when we've just started ttc. He's very supportive and really appreciates how much I've taken dss on as my own.

The conversation idea about my mum made me lol grin

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