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'D'M treating my two DC differently - any advice?(32 Posts)
I am currently low contact with my DM (I posted about the reason for this before here). I have two DC, a DD who is 4 and a DS 7 months. We only communicate on whatsapp and only really as me facilitating messages between her and DD, e.g. a thank you message after DD's birthday.
Anyway, my current issue is this: a card arrived yesterday addressed to my DD. Inside was an Easter card for my DD, an envelope with DS's name on containing an Easter card in for DS, and a cheque made out to DD, with a note in DD's card saying the money was for her to treat herself to something. There was no cheque for DS. I'm so sad and angry on behalf of DS. My DM and I were still talking when he was born and I remember being in tears on the phone to her because so few people acknowledged his birth - we had dozens of cards for DD, and after two weeks only 7 cards for DS - she said it was "second child syndrome" but that yes it was very sad people did that, and now she does this!
We are already in the situation that she gave us a cheque for DD to start a savings account when she was born and has a standing order paying into that account monthly but hasn't sent a penny for DS. She didn't even meet DS until he was nearly three months old - she cancelled her visit the day after he was born (by planned c-section so plenty of notice) because her DP hurt his ankle .
What do I say? She'll be expecting a thank you message from DD. Would it be really bad of me to say something like "Thank you for DD's cheque - she's going to share it with DS so he isn't left out" or "Thank you for the cheque- I assume it's meant to be split between DD and DS"? Or do I just send a message from DD saying "Thanks for my Easter money love DD" and just not mention the lack of anything from DS? I really don't want to engage with her but equally I want her to realise how sad it is that she's treating DD and DS so differently .
I'd take the middle option and say you assume the cheque was meant to be shared. From your previous thread it seems that your DM is possibly a narcissist. You won't win with her if that's the case. They are impossible to deal with and always twist what you say. Try to emotionally detach from her.
I suppose I'm hesitant to choose that option as it was abundantly clear it was actually meant just for DD - the cheque is in her name, and is only mentioned in her card as being for her to spend. Plus it's an amount ending in a 5 which makes it an odd amount when split between two.
I think the first options best.
That way, your telling her what your doing with the money rather than asking her permission.
Yes, that is true but it gives her an opportunity to explain why it was just for your DD if she insists. I note too that she hasn't set up an account for your DD either. Did she treat you and your siblings fairly? Narcissists are notorious for having a golden child and classing the other child as a scapegoat. They choose favourites, in other words. I don't know if this also applies to grandchildren. I feel for you. Don't let her get to you. Realise that it's her being unreasonable.
My DM has been guilty of this in the past.
For example : She used to give DD1 £5 and DD2 £2 when they visited and tell DD1 not to say how much she'd got.
She used to give DD1 money for a good school report but then nothing for DD2 when her report came out which was equally as good.
After saying a few times it would be fairer to give them the same and not getting anywhere i gave up.
The kids would just share the money out equally themselves.
My one remaining grandparent does this. She'll send a cheque, to my mother (whom I'm low-contact with) for my/my eldest child's birthdays and the festive season, with an instruction for me to split it between myself and my child. My parents get a separate cheque. Each. And I have two children, the youngest of whom is 12 and has met her several times.
The cheque between myself and my children is always an odd number, too, but as it's given to me and I throw it in the bin and then give my children £20 each (never the amount my grandparent sends... I think the last one worked out that we'd get £2.83 each) with a "this is from your great-grandparent!". I'd rather she spent her pension on herself than us, for various reasons, not least of which is the fact that we're NC with her! I have never told my youngest child that he's been forgotten, because... you can't do that, can you?! Second-child syndrome or not... it's cruel.
Throw the cheque in the bin. Give your DD and your DS an extra tight hug and an extra easter egg, or buy/make them a decoration to keep. But don't play into your mother's game. Because that's what it is. It's a power-trip for her. A game. She knows how you felt about your DS being ignored... and she's utilising that information now to get you back into line.
But protect your DS from being hurt by her. Because that is what will happen. My DS was horrendously hurt, emotionally, by my grandmother (which is why we're NC), and my DD was hurt, because her brother was hurt. It has a knock on effect. Walk away before that starts, OP, because in all honesty... your children don't deserve the pain and the emotionally crippling sense of not being good enough that it causes.
I'm split here as I can see why it's upset you, but you do have to keep in mind DS is only 7months - so will be completely oblivious to all of this. Would you be so upset if she'd bought an easter egg/bag of sweets for DD but not for DS?
I think you should keep an eye on it, but only really challenge it if she starts to give gifts to one that the other is also old enough to enjoy, otherwise she'll just excuse her behaviour as 'oh but he's not old enough/doesn't understand' and carry on until it does become an issue for your ds.
AhYerWill I wondered if anyone would say that about DS's age. I agree if it had been a small bag of sweets I wouldn't have an issue, but it was £25 to buy toys with! DD already has a four figure sum in a bank account from DM and DS has nothing... it just feels so unfair.
Lissette yes funnily enough my brother was the golden child and I was always to blame for every argument. He dropped out of his A levels, briefly fell in with the wrong crowd to the point a policeman had to come and have a stern chat about suspected breaking and entering, versus me never in trouble and have several degrees and yet nothing I do is good enough.
contrary13 sorry to hear you have similar troubles. It hadn't occurred to me it might be to get at me as a power trip. Who would do that to the detriment of an innocent grandchild?
Thanks dippity for your advice- I definitely don't want to seem I'm asking permission.
Thanks for sharing your storey boo - did you ever get to the bottom of why she did it?
Love your first idea, I would do this. It's nicely passive aggressive, which would suit me! Yes, tell her dd will be sharing equally.
I was an only child - not close to her and always felt she didn't like me.
DD1 was spoilt by her from the word go.
When I told her I was expecting DD2 she said "Well if that's what you want but I don't know why you'd want two".
To be fair she has improved over time and now they are at Senior school they are treated pretty evenly.
The last 12 months she has actually been nice to me as well. My Dad died 2 years ago and she has downsized and now doing what she wants. I feel she was previously a bitter and not very happy person. Now she is happier she is much nicer. It just goes to show that people can change.
Having dealt with her rubbish for many years though I would say just take the money and do what you want with it.
Could you change your dd's bank account to a joint one with ds? I'm not sure if you can do this with children's bank accounts but it might be worth looking in to.
I think you should send a text saying thank you for the cheque but as I have two children I'll be sharing it between them.
I'd go with Vroomster's suggestion. It's perfect!
I would open a joint a/c in both children's names and pool all the money your mother gifts to divide when the youngest is 18.
I would be a bit more assertive-and say thank you for the cheque. I assume you will be doing the same for DS when he is a bit older and treating both your Grandchildren the same! Problem is that I think she will hide behind fact your DS is so young if you challenge about lack of equality now
Your current low contact position needs to be further reduced to that of no contact. She is basically carrying on the same dysfunctional dynamic and now with your children being similarly favoured and scapegoated. Narcissists do use money to further control their chosen victims wit, her actions are entirely deliberate here.
Re the current issue say nothing, do not acknowledge. Throw the cheque out with the rubbish.
I would close the child's account and set up two new ones that you only manage.
I would ask her directly why she didn't send anything for your DS. And if you don't find the answer acceptable then return the cheque with a polite note to the effect that you cannot accept someone playing deliberate favourites with your children.
From the sound of the back story there isn't an innocent explanation, it's her playing games and being manipulative, but I'm all for giving people the benefit of the doubt
enough rope to hang themselves with . But at least if you don't make assumptions you're not playing along.
"Thank you for the cheque Grandma....mummy is taking me and my baby brother to the toy shop to choose a toy each. We're soooo excited! Baby bro would thank you himself but he's too little so I am thanking you from both of us "
I think you should ask DD if she wants to share her present with DS. They won't always get everything the same you should take things away from her to give to him although obvs your DM is in the wrong.
Thanks everyone for all your comments and suggestions.
Attila - I was trying to avoid going no contact as it didn't feel fair to stop my DC having a relationship with their only grandparent. DS is young enough that he won't ever know the difference but how do I explain to DD (4) that she won't ever see Nana again?
NeedABumChange - it doesn't seem right to expect a four year old to make that decision. I know they won't always get everything the same but this just feels wrong.
I still haven't decided how to reply - whatever I say will be wrong
whatever I say will be wrong
So stop worrying - if whatever you say will be wrong, just say what you like as the outcome will be the same.
You are at the start of decades of this with your kids if you let it go unchallenged. Time to send a clear message to your DM. Give her a chance to behave decently, but be ready to deal with it when she doesn't.
I would be tempted to ask her directly why she has ignored your DS. Don't send passive aggressive texts. Just ask her directly why she has done it and see what she says.
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