31 answers

Frusterating Grandparents

How do you get the grandparents to become involved in your childs life?? NO matter how many times we invite them, I send them all of their sports schedules, school activities etc...they are no shows. The story really could go on & on forever, but I dont have enough time for all that right now. Bottom line is that my kids get ignored for the rest of the grandkids in the family. I've feel we have tried everything we can do....MORE INFO....these are my IL's who do everything for other sets of grandkids, they want to see my kids only when its conveinent for them, has always been this way, and I guess I should just accept that I cant change them. I'm not asking for them to show up at everything just occasionally. We recently called them to let them know it was grandparents day at school & could they come eat lunch w/ the kids that day, but no that couldnt happen cause they had 1 of the other grandkids w/ them, who they watch on a regular basis even though mom or dad in that family doesnt even have a job(thats a whole different story :D ) I'm just needing any suggestions anyone has, I'm at the end of my rope w/this!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Nothing is what happend, we've brought up the issue to the grandparents & they really dont understand that there is an issue, so in my opinion we have done everything we can possibly do, so in the end its their loss, they are missing out on some of the best times in my kids lives!! Thanks for all the advice you gave me!!

Featured Answers

Honey just keep them in the loop..adventually they will come around.. the older I get I find my self in a world wind...every day is a battle of some sort.

have you tried letting the kids call the grandparents and asking them to come? the guilt trip from the little people usually works wonders and THE GRANDPARENTS can explane to them why they don't ever come to their functions.

You can not make other people do anything. I would continue to do as you have, but do not expect anything, and you won't be disappointed.

More Answers

I have been married for almost 13 years also and have been fighting that battle the whole time trying to get my in-laws to get more involved in my kids life. My parents are complete opposite and I guess it just disturbs me that they are not interested in my children! I have come to the conclusion that they are never going to be any different no matter how hard I try. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I go thru it also! Neither my family (including my sister)nor his Mom are involved in my sons life. For sometime after he was born his mom showed a preference for my step daughter but since my husband mentioned it to her she has stopped be involved with her also. She says she has fibromialgisia(Sorry for spelling). I don't fully understand the pain but from what I understand the best cure is activity. So I don't think that is the case. My mom doesn't keep in contact with me either so I am not surprised. I asked the Moms here for advice and the best advice was to show so much love that he doesn't notice the lack of participation from them.The day he askes me why I plan to drive him to thier house and have them explain it to him because I can not. I am not sure that is the best advice but definitly show them all the love and than some and think that maybe your kids are better off without the negitive influence in their lives.

1 mom found this helpful

We're in the same situation with DH's parents, and my parents live too far away to do anything with my kids, but when they're up for the summers they go to everything because that's who they are. Those things are important to my parents like they are to me, but those kinds of things aren't important to my in-laws (including my bro & sis-in-law). I know it's very frustrating, but I think it bothers us a lot more than the children. I grew up across the ocean from everyone outside of my immediate family and was perfectly happy with only having my parents and brother at things. Even when we moved back to the states and were close to all of our family (on both sides), it never bothered me that no one other than my parents and bro ever came to any of my stuff; however, my grandmother did come to about one thing a year, and that absolutely thrilled me that one time she'd come, but I never really cared that she didn't come to more things. In fact, I can only think of a few people that have both sets of grandparents come to things. It seems like most families these days have at least one set of grandparents that don't really want to do much with the grandkids. My in laws come to our house about once a year, and other than that, we only see them when we go to them (even when they're in town, they go see my sis-in-law and her kids and spend the day/night with them, but never us, and that's about once a month). I've grown to not really care anymore. We never even get any help from my IL's anymore because my SIL's kids are up there with them so much, that when we need them the rare couple times a year, My MIL already has plans with their kids or is too tired from dealing with their kids to help us. We've just gotten used to it and just never invite them or even tell them about things anymore and never ask for help anymore. Every once in a blue moon we'll hear complaints that they never see the kids anymore, and we usually just respond that we're busy with ball games, music, church, etc, and they're more than welcome to join us any time, and that's usually the end of the conversation, which has become fine with us.

I don't know if the gp's you are referring to are your parents or your ILs, but I just wouldn't worry about it any more. Some people are just like that as crazy as that is to us. If they're your parents, tell them how you feel if you're close enough to do that. If they're you IL's, ask your husband to talk to them about how HE feels (that way they won't have something against you). If that doesn't work, just move on and stop inviting them and just let them be. Don't let the kids know it's an issue for you. The more upset you are about it, the more upset they'll be about it.



Confront them...That is what I had to do. It helped a little...Good luck!

You can not make other people do anything. I would continue to do as you have, but do not expect anything, and you won't be disappointed.

Do the kids ask? Nothing like a child who says "gma, I have ____ on Saturday & I'd really like for you to come." Are they your parents, or your husbands? If your husband doesn't have the best relationship w/ his parents, it may help for him to address it..."Look, I know you & I haven't always gotten along, but it's really important to the kids that you support them in ___ event. If there is something I can do to ease any tension, I'm willing to do so..." Also, if your kids aren't similarly situated (i.e. some of the other grandkids have less money or are in single-parent homes) the grandparents may feel especially compelled to try to make up for some of what those kids lack.

I have these same issues w/ my in-laws, and I think I've decided that it's their loss. I won't close the door on them, but they are the ones who are missing out. If and when my children come to me & say "How come grandparents never call/visit" then I guess I will have to reassess what if any action I need to take to force the issue. Until then, I figure that the less I stress about it, the less likely I will give the impression that she should feel upset that gparents are treating her differently and give her something to worry about that she wouldn't otherwise. (She's young now, so that will change as she gets older and I'm sure eventually she will pick up on it herself, but no need for me to bring it up earlier than necessary. Plus, they live out of state, so the expectations are clearly different, but personally, I think they could pass up on a vacation here & there to visit...my husband & I certainly have.)

OKAY, so I realize I've already gone on, but I have to update given some of the other ladies responses...you don't need to tell your kids that you're asking gp to come, but PLEASE DON'T STOP ASKING. I think this is one of those situations that calls for you to be the better person. You can probably assume they won't come and hopefully, you'll stop feeling bitter about it over time (can't say that's worked for me, but I'm sure some day I'll get over it!), but the last thing any of us want is for them to say later on, or for your kids to think is that you never asked! Keep giving them the opportunity (doesn't mean they have to know about EVERY game, but recitals or playoffs, special holidays, definitely) and let it be their fault/their choice not to come... don't make it for them. Even if they never change, I think you can at least feel good that you tried to give your kids the opportunity to get to know their gps.

the other ladies offer good advice, if they arent interested, your probably better off without them. most family members have thier favorites and if you or your children arent it, well you can forget them changing thier ways for the most part. believe me we have been through hell with this very problem. its better to find friends that can be a grandparent figure and choose your family when your treated this way. it is sad to have to give up on your parents, but you cant make them feel the way they dont. it will only hurt the kids feelings more if you make an issue of this with the gps. ok maybe this is bad advice, but we tried talking to them about it, and all we got was a big uproar and sils throwing hissy fits and we were let known that we and our children really idnt matter. make some elderly friends that maybe dont have family left, they will be more than happy to be your childrens grandparents.now im gonna go cry cause it still hurts thinking about how my kids and i were treated by both our grandparents.

it is their loss. i would give up and let them suffer with not knowing what their grandkids are doing and if they are ok.

Fact if life: You can not force adults to stop behaving childishly. Just be sure you aren't the one who looks like they need the play pin.....

That includes your husband who has the respociblity to speak to his family and let them know what they are doing to his children.

You can provide your children with love and life experiences that will shape them into the best individuals they can be.

As awful as it is they are learning from this. It will shape how they treat their own in-laws, children and eventually grand-children.

You can and should provide them with an opportunity to associate with older adults.

Volenteer at a retirement home, help older neighbors to do yard work... the list of how is long. Pick what works--feels comfortable for your family.

Pleae do not let your frustrations teach your kids to dislike or even hate their cousins, aunts and uncles.

I can relate ! My sister's kids were the "talk of the town" & mine were nonexistant! We lived about 6 blocks from them so mom expected my kids to do all her yard work for free but made it known when she sent money to the others. My dad died when my oldest was 6 so he really never knew him but my mother was the one who was so biased....her loss and now he's grown & lives five hours away. She's in a nursing home now & I have to look after her...my sister told me to "just let me know when she dies"...

I'm so sorry. I'm dealing with the same thing. I've all but given up on inviting them to do anything. I've stopped asking them if they want to come over or participate in anything they are doing. It's hard for me because my parent's would give anything to be a part of their lives but they live in Arizona. So it's a daily battle for me. But you know I've learned to make my friends my family. My kids are just as happy. Your children are old enough to know what is going on and that makes me sad. My children are 29 months and 10 months. You need to hang in there. Just stop doing what you are doing for them and they will eventually come around. Mine did. They came over for dinner the other night and had a lot of fun and they are buying food for Brodie for their house. I guess once they feel like they are not being invited anymore they realize they are not apart of the childrens life. I'm thinking about you.

Hmmm. I see that you have set ideas of what grandparents should be and how involved they should be. One thing we cannot do is make parents or grandparents into the type of people we would have them to be.

All you can do is continue to be civil and polite while letting them know what their grandkids are up to. YOu know what type of people they are. Accept that they will not be the type of grandparents you'd prefer for your children, move on and realize that your kids have another set of grandparents. Also sometimes our close friends of the family become "adopted" parents and granparents and that's cool, too! I know I am parent and grandparent to many kids to whom I didn't give birth. Your children will not lose out on affection, however, that set of "birth grandparents" are depriving themselves. That's not on you.

What Kelly above said is the truth "One thing we cannot do is make parents or grandparents into the type of people we would have them to be."
I was in the same boat as many others here and I was constantly unhappy about it. My own sister pointed out that one of our own sets of Grandparents were couch potatoes. We only saw them when our parents visited them, and then all of the adults talked while the kids played outside. And my sister's point was that as kids, we did not resent this, we accepted it. We loved going to their house and playing in their yard.

My in-laws are not grandmotherly or grandfatherly. They do not race over to help watch the kids and spend time with them. They do not ask when my son's ballgames, etc. But they do come to birthday parties and they do love my kids in their own way. It has taken me 7 years to accept this. I wish they were like my neighbor's in-laws. (She NEVER has to get a babysitter because her in-laws BEG.) But they are not. And after I accepted how different they are, I began to love them more for who they are.

M.~ I have the identical situation with my in-laws and I think it is fairly common....several of my friends experience it as well. My daughter has honestly been shunned at her dance recital for a bean dinner at church!! Have you tried talking directly to the grandparents and letting them know how this affects your children? I know that is easier said than done (I haven't been brave enough to do that!). I would just keep issuing them invitations but would not let the children know that you have invited them so they are not disappointed when they don't show. My oldest daughter (she is 16) has finally realized that she and her sisters are not the favored grandchildren and it broke my heart to see how much it hurt her but I was still careful not to say anything bad about her grandparents to her. I am hoping that one day they will come around and see what they have missing. I do not know of ayone who has this situation with her own parents, it is always the dad's side of the family and I really think that has to do with girls just being closer to their mother....just my own personal opinion :-) I hope the situation gets better and I apologize that I don't have any solid solutions for you.

Just be there for the kids and don't worry about grandparents, what goes around, comes around. My parents adopeted a boy when I was 18 and there is 6 of us kids and its been 34 years now and thats all we hear is Carl this or carl that and they never mention us kids and it used to just eat me up but I finally met a man that loves me and it don't bother me anymore. I don't need to hold on to something that isn't there, I need to hold on to what I have that makes me happy. Life is short, love your children and never let them down because they really look up to you,not there grandparents.

It is hard for me to say this because I was in this same situation as was one of my younger brothers. My Dad passed away this year, he seemed to have favorites! One grandson and one granddaughter. He had 3 more grandsons and another granddaughter that never really got to know him. (I love my Dad and I forgive him for not coming around. I am sure that he had his reasons. But that is another story.) It was his loss as well as the grandchildrens. They will never have memories to share with anyone about "Papa" like the other 2 will. But, I am thankful that my son does have the few memories he has. Mostly due to photos taken when he was very young. Plus, we spent vacation with Dad last May.
The best thing you can do is STOP sending the invites and just enjoy your childrens activities to the utmost. Also, don't tell the children that you have invited them so you won't have to suffer through the eternal questions as to why they didn't show! Soon, the grandparents will call and then you can confront them if you wish. If they don't call, then just drop it! You have done so much more than your part to try to get them involved.
I know that it would be nice to see the Grandparents take part in the activities but again . . . . IT IS THEIR LOSS!!(the Grandparents) Soon, your children will be teens and they can invite them if they wish and will be able to voice their own hurts to the Grandparents and know what they have really missed out on. - - In all honesty, I hope that your children become the star players in each activity they are in. And that the Grandparents have GREAT regrets when your children excel!!
I feel for you and will be praying that a solution comes along soon that will satisfy your desire for them to take part in your babies lives.

Don't waste one more second worrying about the lack of attention the kids get from that set of grandparents. It is the grandparents loss and the kids won't know what they're missing if you don't bring it up. You and their dad do what you can and that's a done day! Continue to send them a note with the schedule and tell them you would love for them to see how the kids are growing up. If they take the opportunity to do so - Yea! If not, no worries! You've done what a good mom can and you've invited them. Don't talk with the kids about it and make them feel bad or ask more than once to the grandparents.

I am so in the same boat as you. My IL's come to things ever so often. I have to threaten to not tell them about anything for them to come. My Oldest gets upset when her GP's aren't there. My parents come to everything that they can but my father is very sick and my Mother works plus takes care of my Dad. I have tried every approach imaginable to keep them involved. Let me give you an example. My youngest was about to have her 3rd b-day and I invited them to her party. My IL's told me they were going to a biker ralley instead of being at my daughter's party. Well my IL's kept the girls alot when they were babies. (I mean on a daily basis while I worked) So I got really upset and when my MIL asked me if something was bothering me I let her have it. My husband was just as upset as I was. Of course she called him and told him I jumped all over her expecting him to take her side and when he didn't she decided to come.

My thing now is that I tell her when they have stuff coming up and I don't tell the kids I invited her. If she shows up then fine but if she doesn't then I don't have to deal with my girls crying because she didn't.

If you get any really good ideas let me know. I have tried everything that has been sugggested to you already and none of it works. I just try to remember it's their loss not mine.

I also have to deal with MIL putting my niece on a pedastal while my kids and the other grandkids take a back seat to this one little girl. I know it isn't the baby's fault but MIL sure makes it hard for the rest of us not to feel that way.

Don't sweat the small stuff!! It is all small stuff!! Time is God greatest gift. Keep doing for your children, helping them to be the best they can be. Keep inviting the grandparents. Even if they don't come. It will never be said you did not tell them and they were not aware. If you have friends who admire your children be sure to always include them and let them be "like" aunt, uncle or grandparents. Treat you in laws with love and don't worry about "why" they behave that way. Don't assign your own reason to why--even if you think you have good reason.

It's all about NOT sweating the small stuff. Indulge in your family. If it is your husband's parents don't dis them much with him. He will feel bad and feel like he has to take sides. Dont put him in that position. We women do have a hard job---having to lift everyone up. We turn to each other to get lifted ourselves. Stay strong and don't sweat it.

Hi M., OH MY, i can't even imaging having the opportunity to be involved in my grandchildren's lives and not taking full advantage of it. I live in Arkansas and my grandbabies (1 & 3) are in Indiana....my husband and i both still work full time so it is so very hard to get there and of course our kids are wide open all the time so it's hard for them to take off and get here. I hate the fact that my babies are growing up and i'm missing it. I can't tell you how to make this not hurt for you or for your kids.....i wish i had answers for you but the whole concept just doesn't compute for me. I'm so sorry for what you guys are dealing with but i'm also so sorry for the grandparents that won't have the blessing of being part of 2 of their grandkids lives. R.

Honey just keep them in the loop..adventually they will come around.. the older I get I find my self in a world wind...every day is a battle of some sort.

I wish you the best of luck I've dealt with this problem from my husband side for 12yrs. I think they attended 3 games in the twelve yrs. My son is now 17 in a few weeks and we are coming up on graduation from high school which i'll still invite but don't except them to show, we attend all of the nieces and nephew events that we are informed about. It maynot be noticed by your children now because they are still young but they will notice when they get older and they will be hurt alest my son was. He acceped that now they wont come so why ask I even quit sending scheuldes what's the since I feel i'm just wasting my time. I wish I could help you slove this but maybe just to know your not alone will help my best advice is to be their to support them whether they play or set the bench it really means alot to see your parents faces in the crowd if nonelse from your family is their. We arrange our schedule to make every game home are away. From G. in AR

As a grandparent, I would give anything to be a part of my grandchildren's life. I used to be all the time. Then one day my ex-son-in-law remarried. Long story. But, not knowing the ages or health condition of the grandparents and the timing of your childrens births, sometimes grandparents get "tired". I know my parents never attended any of my children's activities, and they were the first grandchildren. But that didn't make them love them any less. Grandparents have their own agenda, some live to see the grandkids, others feel the opposite. My only advise is to keep telling your children that their grandparents love them with an unconditional love. Your children are old enough to call them on the phone. Let them establish their own relationship with them. Hope that helps.

I have 2 wonderful grandchildren and for the life of me don't understand how grandparents can NOT get involved. My grandkids live about 20 miles from me. I retired last January and they are one of my main reasons that I did. I try and make all their games and school activities. And any time my daughter-in-law calls, I am right there. Her parents live out of state. Have you tried talking to them and ask why? Good luck, i know it's hurts. Proud Nanna

first you can not get them to do anything.... what i would do is have your kids invite them. even if they have the other grandchild with them they can still come or take the other grandchild home for a little while. my mom in law takes care of a grandchild and still manages to make it to everything she is invited to. she enjoys all the grandbabies and is always super busy doing things for her family. so maybe your ils dont get it and your kids can explain that they feel left out by them. good luck and i know this is insulting also your husband should be

hey i am a grandparent of 10 ages from 18 to 5 , i just wanted to tell you don't give up , keep sending invations and try including them in your life. they'll see what their missing it might take awhile. my daughter-in law has that problem with her dad but she doen't give up she says one day he'll open his eyes at what he is missing some great times with his grandchildern, they are,11,10,8, they will let their grandfather know how they feel when their ready . GOOD LUCK & GOD BLESS

Though much depends on how much grandparents are physically capable of and really want to be involved in your kid's lives, for the sake of your kids', I would still encourage you to continue thinking of loving & creative ways to involve them in your kid's lives.

How about you ask grandparents to meet you at the local zoo or a park or another venue of their choice (closer to their home), many weeks in advance, to a date of their choice. Even though the meeting is initiated by you, grandparents will probably show up because it is planned much in advance and they chose that date/venue.

Could your kids make something special for grandparents and initiate a meeting to gift it to them (a scrapbook, pottery, poem). I liked the idea of another lady that the kids should themselves invite the grandparents.

If the grandparents are still not moved by the sincere and loving gestures of your kids, you should then express your sadness to the grandparents and ask them what can you possibly do to make it easy for them to be involved in your kids lives. Thats when you will know of their issues or if they are really interested in your kids. I hope they come around.

You may have to tell them Exactly how you feel. Sending them invitations is obviously not doing the trick, so you'll either need to be direct or just try to stop letting it bother you (which is probably impossible). If you tell them they're neglecting your children and give them examples, they may realize it and change their ways. That may be all you can do. Good luck.

have you tried letting the kids call the grandparents and asking them to come? the guilt trip from the little people usually works wonders and THE GRANDPARENTS can explane to them why they don't ever come to their functions.

Please don't bother with that!

I have experienced it first-hand. My children have commented on it. The only thing you can and should do is make sure that YOU are there for your kids.

I even have a nephew that played a sport with my daughter and they didn't support either of them that year. (Even though the year before they went to several of HIS games.) To this day they have intentially missed birthday parties and sporting events of MY children.

Get over them and focus on your kids!!

Hi M., I'm sorry to say, but you cant get the old mules to drink. I've got the same problem with my 2 young girls. My mom has two young kids of her own, so her house is absolute chaos. My ex-husband's mom lives out of state and sees the girls rarely (I swear she still assumes they're not his). My husband cant have kids of his own (although he still hasnt told his fam), so he's been trying to encourage his parents and grandparents to include themselves - all that gets us is some extra gift cards around xmas. We're pretty much on our own around here. The best you can do is keep up trying and hope they snap out of it. Good luck.

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