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Do your family treat your children equally, regardless of their SN? (sorry, long).

(13 Posts)
Hangingbellyofbabylon Sun 16-Aug-09 20:49:44

My family do, my mum goes out of her way to give dd2 who has CP the same opportunities as dd1; even if it means piggy backing her to the top of a hill so she can do the same as dd1.

Dh's family do not. And I feel in my heart it's because she's disabled. dd2 is only 3 but for the last 2 birthdays aunty and uncle haven't bothered to get her a present. This year dh phoned them and asked them if they would like to contribute to dd's special needs swing seat. They agreed then never bothered. PILs got her a little cheapy pressie which was fine, I always try and tell all relos that both my dd's have plenty and no need for big pressies.

Well today was dd1's birthday and I was bracing myself. Lo and behold, huge pile of expensive pressies from PIL. And some really nice stuff from Aunty and Uncle too. I actually sent a message last week to aunty and uncle saying, 'if you're thinking of getting dd1 something for her birthday she might like xxxx sort of thing and if you do, you might like to get something for dd2 as she missed out on her birthday'. So having got that message they still decided to ignore it and treat my two very important girls differently. sad

When they come to visit they enjoy running around the garden with dd1 who can run but aren't bothered about dd2 who can't. sad. I am 36 weeks pregnant, feeling very vulnerable and emotional and spent the afternoon sobbing as I really feel so upset that they don't treat my dd's equally. I know they are not the same, a physical disability is hard to miss but I guess they just don't love dd2 as much as dd1.

Dh won't grow so balls and tackle them, but says it makes him feel sad too. My mum says it's nothing to do with dd2's cerebral palsy and just because dd1 was the first grandchild hmm. I don't care, I manage to treat my girls as equally as possible and they should too.

I guess the proof will be when this next baby arrives, here's hoping she's 'perfect' then she might get loved and accepted in the way my beautifully unperfect dd2 never has been.

God, I feel so crap tonight. Just love my girls so so much.

HecatesTwopenceworth Sun 16-Aug-09 20:55:57

Mine (both asd) are not treated the same as my neice, no. But they can't be. They're not treated the same as each other either.

They have different needs, so what's ok for her isn't ok for them. What's ok for one of them isn't ok for the other. My dad took ds1 rock hopping last week. He couldn't take ds2 because he couldn't manage him, he wouldn't be safe.

My parents took my niece to a 1940s weekend. They didn't take my boys because they couldn't have ensured their safety and they (my boys) wouldn't have coped with the noise and all the people.

It's not always about love, sometimes it's about practicalities, abilities. Sometimes you can't do the exact same things because the children's needs and abilities are different and don't allow for it.

That said, your situation sounds like favouritism and really needs tackling. Sometimes you have to say enough is enough. "Their first grandchild" - that's crappy of them.

TBH, I'd be tempted to say if you can't love them both, then you see neither of them.

BriocheDoree Sun 16-Aug-09 21:11:39

I think that's crap. I'm sorry for your DD2. And your DD1, for that matter, because when she's older she will notice it and it won't matter to her that her sister is disabled.
We had all 4 grandchildren at PILs at the weekend. Not for a moment was DD treated any differently to the rest of them. Actually, she is given the most "responsibility" because she is the oldest by a couple of years.
Few un-mumsnet hugs to you because I don't think that's fair to your DD. It's almost like they think she won't notice / won't care because she's not "perfect". Cross on your behalf!!

Hangingbellyofbabylon Sun 16-Aug-09 21:11:45

totally agree about certain things where they can't do the same things, for example dh took just dd1 to a theatre production that dd2 just couldn't have sat through. but I just can't get my head round this and it's not the first time it has happened. Even at christmas dd2 gets small bits and they go totally over-board with dd1, ie, dd2 small keyboard, dd1 really expenive bike. It makes it look as if I am really materialistic but in truth I don't care about size and expense of presents but I have a strong sense of justice and fairness and this just cuts me up. I would love to say something but I feel I would be cast as the wicked witch and I really think dh needs to deal with his own family.

Phoenix4725 Mon 17-Aug-09 06:13:07

my mum treats them all the same , mind x family well they treatthem all same ignore the lot of defintley prefers dd to ds as in his wordscant cope with ds so he hardly sees either

tiredmummyoftwo Mon 17-Aug-09 07:01:37

My dh's family treats mine differently to my brother in law's children, always buy them more expensive things, buy them more things and all his sisters do the same. We used to feel very upset about it as they did not make any attempt to hide the fact that they do it. More than anything, they told us on our face that they like them more. DH told them that he felt upset about them discriminating against our children. It did nothing, they did it more because we realised they were doing that to hurt us on purpose. It's funny how we never told them about DS's ASD (he can be passed as NT). So the confrontation did not work, we only let them know they were getting to us. Now we don't care, my family makes up for everything they don't do and to be honest, we consider it to be their loss as my children loves my family members and will have very fond memory my mum. Will they remember my FIL and MIL? Probably not, as we hardly see them due to their behaviour.

devientenigma Mon 17-Aug-09 07:22:32

I agree families are funny? probably the wrong word to use. Ours being a little different. My dh has been married before and his 4 kids from his previous marriage were thought more of than the 2 I had with him bearing in mind I have no others. Then all 6 of dh kids are treat differently to the other grandchildren. This being he has too many kids, lol.
Then my neice and my ds are both down syndrome, both unique in there own way, however mine having more probs, e.g ds has a heart cond neice doesn't, ds has mobility probs, neices doesn't, ds has challenging behaviour neice doesn't...
All of this is because we don't work with himhmm They come to our house where the wallpaper is pulled off, things are broke etc due to ds and say we never do anything. Then on to hers where it is immaculate and her dd can tidy up and do as she is told and more importantly UNDERSTANDS.
Sorry rambling now I suppose what I am trying to say is my 2 kids are compared because of the probs they have with the others. And i didn'e even get on to my dd.
I do agree yours needs sorting and by the sounds of it you are willing if your dh isn't. So keep up the good work with the hints.
Take care x

TheDMshouldbeRivened Mon 17-Aug-09 08:10:20

no. In-laws think she shouldn't be alive because she's got a disability.

troutpout Mon 17-Aug-09 13:25:14

oh..this is horrible
Agree totally with Brioche.Your children will begin to notice as they get older.
I would tell them that they have treat them the same.If that means that they would prefer to give them no presents then fair enough.
In terms of activities's just about time really isn't it? i would expect them to want to spend time with both girls in a way that is appropriate to both. You have to take in to account abilites/age/behaviour with any nt child it's the same anyway isn't it?
I am also very angry on your behalf.
My mother had the same kind of thing happen to her 40 years ago (slightly different circumstances..but essentially they didn't think that one of the children should exist and decided to penalise the child for it). She wrote a letter to all of the family saying that they either treated all the children the same (invites/gifts) or she would have to curtail the access they had to the children. I found the letter recently was fantastic! smile

Nyrrem Mon 17-Aug-09 14:47:42

Hi Hanging,

It is horrible sad, children should be treated as fairly as possible. Not the same as, children have different needs and interests; but fairly is important. So you do need to go into battle about this. You and dh have done the polite hints etc. You are right that dh needs to be the primary person to deal with it as they are his family, but it seems from what you've said he is reluctant to.

SOOOOO I have the following question. Is this the right time to deal with this? I don't know you very well, so don't know how you are when you're pregnant, but I hated those last few weeks. I'd be tempted to wait and start encouraging grin your dh to deal with it in 6 or 9 months time when the stresses on you and your family may be less than they are right now.

HTH Nyrrem

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 17-Aug-09 15:19:11


I would be wondering why your H is not actively tackling his parents over this issue. Perhaps he is at heart afraid of them and or their reaction - this is often the reason why. This though is not an excuse for him not to talk to them about this issue. My guess as well is that his parents are also "difficult" people to deal with hence his reluctance to date.

Favoritism like your PIL's display to the favored sibling can be extremely damaging to both children as you realise. Your H needs to be reminded also that for her last two birthday's she has not received a gift.

Think your Mum's response to this issue also was a copout.

grumpyoldeeyore Mon 17-Aug-09 21:38:23

This is all new to us (DS3 recent ASD diagnosis) but i really hope this does not happen to us. When my PIL p**s me off I have a naughty habit of letting DS1 and DS2 "overhear" and then without fail the little stars go and say "Granny why do you.. ??" Its terrible isn't it to prime your kids to pull up your PIL on their crap behaviour, but it works. Your DD1 is going to grow up a great, well adjusted, much nicer person because of DD2 and even if your DH doesn't pull them up on it odds are she will. Totally nothing to do with SN but in the last year of primary school we had this horrible supply teacher for several months who was really an art teacher and she only liked the kids who were great at art and ignored everyone else. One day she brought in some clay (big treat in those days) and said only these 4 favourite children could play with it and the rest of us could just do colouring in. Well what happened was that these kids felt really uncomfortable and knew it was unfair and so one asked a few other children near her to help her, and then the other 3 kids did the same and before you knew it the whole class had split themselves into groups and everyone was joining in using the clay. Her face was bright red she must have been so ashamed! Children notice this stuff, your DD1 will realise that this isn't right and your in-laws will be the losers because DD1 will grow up knowing they aren't very nice people. People think you can buy kids, but you can't. My DH's parents had no time for him but were always buying him stuff, but he says he would have given back every penny if they had just once said they were proud of him or taken his side. If your DH won't go for the treat them equally or see none of them line, then I would warn him that DD1 won't grow up thanking them for mistreating her sister. My older sister ignored me most of the time at school as too uncool but that didn't stop her pinning a girl who bullied me up against the wall! DD2 will always be more important to your DD1 than any big pile of presents could ever be. Your in-laws risk losing them both if they can't see that.

Hangingbellyofbabylon Mon 17-Aug-09 23:03:55

thanks for all the advice and support, I knew you'd 'get it' here which is why daily mail or no daily mail I need you lot! Dh does have a hard relationship with parents, sent away to boarding school abroad as a very young child and was never really 'parented'. He knows it wrong and it needs tackling but also knows that it's not a great time to tackle it. Unfortunately I need their help at the moment being heavily pregnant can no longer lift dd's wheelchair in and out of the car so dd's barely go out if they don't take them. Will grit my teeth till I'm back on my feet.

On a side note I think dd1 although only 5 did get that her presents were just so many, she has been sharing all of her pressies today and even gave dd2 her brand new set of bike lights for dd's wheelchair as she said she had more presents than she needed! smile It's good to know that the sisterly bond comes first and I'm really proud of both of little girls.

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