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How to deal with favouritism from the MIL?

(7 Posts)
mmrred Tue 25-Aug-09 16:06:18

My MIL is a lovely woman and we get on very well, but gives a lot more attention to my DSS than to our two other children. At first I thought it was because my DD wasn't 'family' whereas DSS is. Also due to problems with DSS's mother, contact was stopped for an extended period and MIL feels very sorry for DSS and is trying to 'make up for it'.

We now have a DS between us (so biologically the same relationship to her, ie blood grandson) but she's still at it! For example, for Easter she sent a package with chocolates for all 3, but with an aeroplane kit and an expensive jumper for DSS.

This morning a HUGE package arrived for DSS for his birthday, crammed with really expensive stuff (games for his DS, clothes, all sorts) far more than she sent for either of the other two.

Does she realise she's doing it? I also have to continuously stop her 'sneaking' non-veggie sweets to DSS, whose mother is a fanatical veggie.

I have talked to DH about it, and he has had a word with his Mum - for example at Easter he told her we would be giving DSS his 'extra' treats when the others were having treats, too. But it doesn't seem to have worked.

Any ideas? I'm worried it will cause friction between the kids as they get older.

ChocHobNob Tue 25-Aug-09 17:07:07

She might not realise she is doing it and she may not be willing to change. The only thing you can do really is for your H to speak to her again and explain his feelings and if she continues, to try and do some damage limitation your end, like you did with the easter treats.

It sounds like a difficult situation though.

2rebecca Wed 26-Aug-09 11:01:56

I don't expect my current MIL to give my kids from my first marriage the same stuff as my husband's kids from his first marriage. My kids after all aren't her grandchildren and have 2 sets of biological grandparents who give them more than enough stuff. Likewise my parents (dad now) don't regard my husband's kids as their grandchildren and give them the same stuff as my kids.
If husband and I had kids together though I would expect both sets of parents to consider those kids as their grandchildren.
Perhaps it's just your youngest is a baby so they don't think babies need as much stuff (they don't after all).

mmrred Wed 26-Aug-09 11:35:31

That's what I told myself at first, but youngest is 2 and a half, and I remember the pressies and fuss made of DSS when he was that age.

I do appreciate the effort she goes to with my DD, particularly as MIL had 3 boys herself so isn't as comfy with teenage girls, and yes, DD has my parents (grandparents on her fathers side are both dead) But I do think the two boys should be treated the same (as far as you can given that they are different ages)

The food thing is very difficult, too. MIL clearly thinks vegetarianism is a bit of a silly fad (she's a very old-fashioned good old plain cook)and it's almost like she tries to sabotage DSS's vegetarianism to prove her point.

I'm not a veggie but I don't think it should be made into a big issue.

2rebecca Thu 27-Aug-09 10:37:00

If your youngest is 2 1/2 then he should be treated the same as his brother and I'd ask husband to have a word re this.
If she's a pain re vegetarianism I'd visit her less for meals and say that it's because she doesn't seem to cater for vegetarians. Must admit though I have no idea which sweets are or aren't veggie and wouldn't have thought a child would care that much. I thought that was more vegan extremism than vegetarianism.

gagamama Thu 27-Aug-09 11:12:30

I have the exact same thing, but reversed... MIL treats DSD as somehow 'less' than the 3 DCs DP has with me. I think it's partly because she's older, partly because DSD was conceived in a fling, partly because the first they knew of the pregnancy was when DSD was several weeks old, and partly because I think MIL doubts/resents the fact that DP is her father. (And he obviously is. DSD doesn't look that much like DP, but looks practically identicle to my DS2 and a lot like my DD!)

I also have the vegetarian issue with DSD, which MIL 'forgets' - we've stopped going there for dinner because she'll cook a casserole or a lasagne or a BBQ and poor DSD will end up just eating a few vegetables and dessert. angry

It's a weird situation, but perhaps your MIL has very old-fashioned views about divorce and seperation and sees DSS as some kind of victim and tries to overcompensate? If there's been contact issues too, maybe she's worried contact might be stopped again and that DSS will forget her and won't ask to see her. There's also probably an element of PFGC (precious first grandchild grin) going on too - not sure if there are older cousins.

That said, I don't really know how to deal with it - I try and be quite pushy to get DSD treated the same, but I think it's slightly easier because she's my DSD so I can do that without looking like I'm trying to get preferential treatment for my biological DCs.

mmrred Thu 27-Aug-09 17:57:18

Well, they live a fair distance away so although I have tried suggesting meals out, we usually stay at least overnight, and often it's for family get-togethers at her house so she caters. I suppose I'll try taking some veggie alternatives - but it's not as if she doesn't provide veggie food, it's the 'can't he just have a little bit of this...pork pie/chicken leg/thinly sliced ham' (Thanks Royle family). Child has had lots of stuff about what is and isn't veggie drilled into him and it's not fair to him to be put in the middle, nor have his mother's choices disrespected.

MIL definitely sees DSS as a victim, and she's not a malicious woman - maybe I'll just have to accept it as one of her foibles and just do damage-limitation, as suggested.

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