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Are Grandparents that dip their toe in and out of their Grandchildrens lives damaging?

(53 Posts)
Sad4kids Sun 10-Nov-13 09:00:10

As in when it suits them?
Kids are 9,7 and1
Both sets moved away nearer coast to semi retire
I feel hurt when I see other children enjoying quality time with their Grandparents
We visit them about twice a year, and they us, but when they visit us they stay elsewhere and only spare us an hour or so of a 3 day break
Bizarrely this goes for mine and DH s parents
I feel like cutting them out altogether, harsh I know
DH thinks I'm being ridiculous
But to see snippets of their 'too busy' grandparents is better than not knowing them at all?
What do you think?

NorthernShores Sun 10-Nov-13 09:03:58

I thought it was quite usual for grandparents to drop in and out. They're not the parents but extras in the family.

I'd love for either or ours to be more involved but I don't think they will be.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 10-Nov-13 09:04:03

It's not damaging, no. Children IME are quite capable of taking people as they find them. If the GPs are the distant sort, children will take them on face-value, enjoy the rare meetings as a treat, but find other people to be close to instead. Please don't make the mistake of looking at other family set-ups and thinking all is rosy. Some people find too-involved GPs to be suffocating and interfering

ToTheTeeth Sun 10-Nov-13 09:04:56

Of course a little bit is better than nothing. They're not being abusive or cold, just busy. They have their own lives, but that doesn't mean they don't want your kids in it.

Everything shouldn't revolve around your children.

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 10-Nov-13 09:09:00

You sound as though you're almost mourning the loss of parents. It is sad that they're missing out. But thats the point they're missing out. Your DC don't know any different - its just what GP are to them.

Cutting them out sounds like a recipe for hostlities to me. Possibly not even dealing with your own frustration.

You never know in a couple of years time they might enjoy having the older DC to stay on their own as teens. Or they might carry on as they are. I don't think it can be damaging if they're not abusive in their short visits.

Do you have other mature family members that could possibly enjoy the involvement with the DC - lonely Great Aunts/ Uncles could be candidates?

Sad4kids Sun 10-Nov-13 09:11:41

Ok thanks for the perspective
I'm still sad for them though
I think that they are great kids and deserve better than shoddy treatment
I don't wish to drip feed but my mum let them down twice in the summer after realizing that she'd 'double booked herself'
So I've told her not to bother promising anything to them again
And DHs mum seems far more pre occupied with her other grandchildren sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 10-Nov-13 09:15:49

In an ideal world, grandparents would be scrupulously fair to all their grandchildren and children, spend exactly equal amounts of time, care and money on each and find a sweet balance between too-involved and too-distant. But it's not an ideal world. Rather than wasting time being offended, it's far less stressful to get on with making your life and your family how you want it to be. In time, when you're the grandparent, you can apply your own standards....

ToTheTeeth Sun 10-Nov-13 09:19:14

What Cogito said. Also children are different, but more importantly so are people's expectations. I'm afraid it is just normal that if your MIL's other children have been raised to behave in a way that she finds preferable then she will prefer to spend time with them.

PatTheHammer Sun 10-Nov-13 09:19:17

It can be hard to understand when they are your kids and you love them so much why anyone would NOT want to see them more often.

On the positive side your DC can understand that they live quite far away. We have one set of GPs who live a 25 minute drive away. My children hardly see them, sometimes up to a 4 month gap. They see my parents far more and they live over 100 miles away.
They are 'extremely busy' despite both being retired. They are lovely to them when they do see them, but just not very interested (it's DHs dad and step-mum). As the kids have got older we have just stopped asking them over (they very rarely come here, we have to invite ourselves over there). My DC just seem to accept that they don't see them often but they never ask why.

I don't think it's damaging at all as Cogito says, however we are lucky that dh's mum wants to be very involved so she sees a lot of them, attends school functions, has them for sleepovers etc. Do you have any close family members like aunts and uncles that could fulfil this sort of 'role'?

RandomMess Sun 10-Nov-13 09:22:53

PILs are the same (I'm NC with my parents) and they live locally! Yes it really hurts especially when they make time for the favoured GC who are the same ages and in reality much harder work sad

PatTheHammer Sun 10-Nov-13 09:25:47

Sad4kids- if your MILs other grandchildren live near to her, the preference is probably due to convenience. They fit around her routine and are geographically close. It's probably very little to do with how your children have been raised or behave.

LovesBeingHereAgain Sun 10-Nov-13 09:30:58

I've felt abit like this re tge inlaws, they've hardly seen my dc although they have made more effort since ds arrived. They've had dd for a few hours a couple of times recently so I think they are just over too old for they baby/toddler stages anymore

Joysmum Sun 10-Nov-13 09:42:24

Kids take things on face value. I have A SIL that we rarely see and lives in another country. She forgets birthdays etc too. My daughter has never thought anything if it and just loves it when she she's her aunty. It bothers me, it doesn't bother my daughter.

Sad4kids Sun 10-Nov-13 09:49:45

patthehammer thanks! but no her other grandchildren live across the street from us! and I have no worry that it's about the children's behaviour, she is just favours them in general I think. And no there is no lovely older aunts or uncles.<shrug> it is their loss, but that doesn't help how I feel. We have tried to gently broach the subject with out being rude and putting them under pressure, but they are always bright and breezy with their denials and excuses.
I'm well aware that the world doesn't revolve around my children, but I'm simply wondering if going no contact ( we are already not through choice low contact) is better for them?

LegoCaltrops Sun 10-Nov-13 09:57:58

Know what you mean. My DM has never made much effort to spend time with DD (often doesn't see her for more than a month), but spends lots with my niece (sees her most days). Dsis & I both live locally to DM. I don't drive & it's too far to walk, & I don't have time & energy on my rare half days off from work. DM & Dsis (who both drive) seem most put out as DD doesn't recognise them. The only time DM took DD she cried the entire time, & now cries when she sees DM as she is clearly scared of DM.

Of course, it's all my fault. hmm Apparently I should have given up work to be a SAHM (which I'd love) but sadly that's not am option.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 10-Nov-13 10:00:36

I have parents who take the levels of uninterested to new heights (mine when here do not stay even an hour) but even I have not shut the door on them by going no contact. I would keep that door still open, your behaviour here needs to be above reproach. DS has a relationship of sorts with them though he is not really bothered about them either way now. It has though over the years bothered me far more (I had a close relationship with my own grandparents) but I cannot change another's person's behaviours. What has been hard is that although people do say well its their (grandparents) loss if they do not see their grandchildren very often they (the grandparents) themselves may not actually see it as this.

PatTheHammer Sun 10-Nov-13 10:01:39

I think not seeing them at all might be more damaging. At the moment they are not going to mourn for a relationship they have never had.

Perhaps next time your in-laws are due to visit consider taking your family away, offer them your house to stay in but make clear you have plans to be away.
Sounds counter-productive but it makes it clear that you are not at their beck and call and it can be on your terms as well as theirs. They may not notice but it will also get across to the kids that its quite normal not to see granny and granddad.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 10-Nov-13 10:02:07

'No contact' would be for your benefit, not the DCs. If you don't like these people, be honest about it rather than using the DCs as an excuse. You could discover they don't particularly like you much and that's why they stay away ... hmm

janey68 Sun 10-Nov-13 10:03:07

I think you're confusing two different things.

Any grandparent who is cold, or indifferent, or who promises something and let's the grandchildren down, is not behaving well, whether they live 100 miles or a 100 yards away.

Likewise, a loving, interested grandparent is a wonderful addition to a child's life whether they live near or far

My own grandparents lived a long way away, near the sea, and like your situation it was usually twice yearly visits. However, it's quality not quantity that matters. I adored seeing them, it was a really special time, in fact a lot more special than if they'd been along the road and I was seeing them every day.

MarshaBrady Sun 10-Nov-13 10:03:26

It's harder on you than your dc. I imagine they will be fine with this and think it's the norm.

PatTheHammer Sun 10-Nov-13 10:05:16

Out of interest, what is it like when you visit them? Or does that never happen as they are 'too busy?'

Sad4kids Sun 10-Nov-13 10:50:32

When we visit them it is pleasant and the children enjoy it, thus stopping me from going no contact.
Its when they half heartedly visit us thats pissing me off I think,
It is definately harder on me than the DC, Must keep gritting teeth then ?
And it is hard to not get sucked in by other peoples children seemingly enjoying regular healthy contact with their GPs
It also makes me mad that my Mum has photos of them all over the place at home and work and yet is too busy to see them in the flesh,I feel that they are just some sort of boast to others for her fully prepared to be told IABU

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 10-Nov-13 10:54:01

You can't help the way you feel. But have you ever asked them to visit more often? Ever told them you wished they were closer? Ever had a look at moving to the area in which they live... (if the mountain won't come to Mohammed etc.)?

ZooTimeIsSheAndYouTime Sun 10-Nov-13 11:01:13

I think children will accept the situation no matter what's on offer with no side effects. It's you who sounds disappointed and rather hurt by their choices and therefore limited contact. Some will say you shouldn't expect gps to be involved etc but I disagree and would also feel saddened by their choices. Not much you can do admittedly sad

ZooTimeIsSheAndYouTime Sun 10-Nov-13 11:03:39

I also think for me at some point it'd have to come out and I'd inevitably say something, but that's probably not a wise approach if you value family harmony.

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