21 answers

Grandparents That Favor One Set of Grandkids over Another?

So my hubby's parents obviously favor another set of their grandkids over our kids. It's really frustrating to me and my oldest is starting to notice and ask questions. Before long his feelings will really start being hurt and I really don't want that. The kids are all similar in age so age isn't the issue and it's boy - girl in each set. They do things like have the other grandkids over to spend the night and my MIL in particular just GUSHES over their oldest. That child can do no wrong in her eyes but with my oldest she makes comments like, "I'd need 3 days worth of drinks to have yours over for the night" and she'll come over to our house and say something about she doesn't want to spend her retired years babysitting, blah blah blah.

And we do NOT ask often for them to watch our kids! In the last year we've asked twice! Once was for conferences at school and the other we went to a concert but the kids were asleep they just stayed at our house and watched tv so I absolutely don't feel like we've taken advantage of them so she had a reason to say that...and she says it very often. Then there's "Well he's a sweet boy BUT we just can't take a lot of him" Come on!! He's an 8 year old boy and did you not raise 4 kids of your own?? It's true he's busy and gets really excited (sometimes too excited) when people come to visit but he's not out of control! And your OTHER grandkids act no different then he does but somehow with them it's "Oh how precious!" " I love they're so excited to see me!" " They're so full of personality!"

UHGG!! It's gotten so bad that I have started to actively dislike my SIL and her kids. Yes, I know it's wrong and childish and I feel bad but this has gotten ridiculous. How can you not love all your grandkids equally and show obvious favoritism?? Not to mention the disproportion of pictures at their house. I give you just as many pictures as SIL does so how do you have 3x the pictures of her kids than mine??

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your sweet comments!! I want to be fair and point out that my inlaws DO love my kids. I know it and they know it. They give lots of hugs and kisses and come to games to support them. But when the kids are all together you can really see the difference. My husband does see it too but at times he's told me that I'm being over sensitive which is probably true but my heart hurts over this. Sometimes it will be a little bitty thing that I probably wouldn't notice or care about if all this wasn't going on but every instance just glares at me.

I've told my husband that we have got to do something about this and he agrees but his parents are SUPER sensitive to anything resembling criticism so we don't want to alienate them.

Featured Answers

MIL has the same problem. She favors her daughters set of kids over her sons. I have come to justify it, by thinking she is closer to her daughter, therefore she is closer to her kids. It ate me up so long, I had to get past it and make it her loss for not spend the time with my kids.

1 mom found this helpful

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I just wanted to say that I think it is very natural for the grandma to be closer to her daughter's children than her son's simply because she is closer to her daughter than her son. Her daughter probably makes more of an attempt to reach out to her than her son (your husband). maybe I am way off here. But that's what has happened in our family. My mom is much closer to my kids because we talk on the phone all the time, etc. We live 18 hours away but I still feel like she is very involved in my children's lives. But here's the kicker... my brother lives right down the road from her. She rarely sees them. This really hurt her for a while, she couldn't figure out why they didn't come over, etc. They were always at his wife's parents house. I think it is a natural thing for Grandparents to be closer to their daughter's children.

My mom heard this saying that made her feel better. "A daughter is yours for life, but a son is yours until he takes a wife." For some reason this helps her keep it all in perspective.

I know this doesn't answer your question directly but, that's what's going on in our family.

3 moms found this helpful

How mean! This is just horrible. At least my MIL is equally uninterested in ALL of her grandchildren -- except when she's talking about them when they're not around, then she's REAL CLOSE to all of them ;-)
Seriously, 8 yo is old enough for him to totally notice this slighting.
Normally in the case of in-law issues, I'm a big believer in politeness, respect and here's your hat, what's your hurry? But this is just flat-out mean.
I think your hubby (and maybe you) should say something to them. I would say something like "Perhaps you don't notice this, but Timmy is very hurt by the lack of time, attention and interest you show in him compared to Susie and Jeff. Just wanted you to be aware of how this hurts him."

2 moms found this helpful

Let your kids ask grandma and grandpa those questions. There is nothing more obvious than when a kid brings it up. Be around to hear the answer and that should be the deciding factor on if you want to continue fostering that relationship.

2 moms found this helpful

I suspect that my mom has a bit of a preference for my children (over my nieces and nephews) simply because she and I are very close to each other. But, like any decent grandparent, my mom would NEVER show favoritism of any kind and is very conscientious of displaying equal amounts of love/affection towards everyone. She does spend a lot of time with me during the week, and (by default) my kids as well, but she goes out of her way to keep it balanced as much as possible.

Part of loving your child or grandchild is showing them unconditional love. Which means that even if there is a closer "bond" with one set over the other, nobody knows but Grandma herself.

Your in-laws are making a tragic mistake here and I really think you need to talk to them about this. My in-laws are extraordinarily defensive as well, so I understand your concern about alienating them. But what if you made it all about your kids? Specifically your oldest and the potential of his feelings getting hurt. You could even (pretend) to give them the benefit of the doubt and tell them that even though you know it's not true, you're worried that your son might percieve their actions as showing favoritism. Focus on how devastating that would be for him.

I don't know any decent grandparent that wouldn't take something like that to heart. Even if they react defensively at the beginning, they'll eventually consider your words. Ideally, though, all of this should come from your husband. I've found (in dealing with my own in-laws) that things will be taken a lot better when coming from the mouth of their own flesh and blood, lol.

Good luck to all of you.

2 moms found this helpful

How awful for your kids. Grandparents are supposed to fun and wonderful! I say just keep your distance and try not to hold it against your SIL an dher kids. They haven't done anything wrong. I would also let the grandparents know that they are being VERY hurtful. They need to know how hard this is for everyone.

good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Well gosh, they are damaging him... he obviously is old enough to see that this his happening.

There is no excuse for it.
And your son is old enough to know when he is being given an 'excuse' for their behavior or not.

Just be honest with him.
And teach him everyone is different... NOT better, just different and NOTHING is wrong with him. Don't take it personally... for him.

Also, I would, or your Husband should, tell them that it is HURTING your son.... period.

I would really start teaching your son about how to value himself... not it being about how his Grandparents act toward him... give HIM value and confidence about it, if it is affecting him.
Arm him with skills and emotional astuteness... about people. Make it a learning lesson for him.... and you must role-model for him...... that YOU/Hubby value him... which I know you do of course.

It is sad... that your In-laws so openly dis-favor him. That is real mean.

What is your Husband doing about it? That is his parents....

Do not let, your In-Laws TOXIC behavior, damage your son.... bottom line.
Socialize with them or not... YOU choose.

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful

Of course you realize it's wrong to dislike your SIL and her kids – what you may not have thought about is WHY it's wrong. What if the situation were reversed, and she resented you and your kids because the GPs preferred you? I think you'd see that it is not in your control to make them love you less or the others more. Switch that back to your situation, and you can see the pointlessness of resentment toward her.

As unfair as this situation feels, it really is beyond your control whether or not your in-laws love or don't love people all the same. Do you? None of us do. Are there sensible reasons? No, not usually. There can be a whole host of rationalizations, but usually our likes and dislikes are based on things we don't recognize and can't control. Can I make myself love, or even like, somebody who rubs me the wrong way? Honestly, I do try, and occasionally I can achieve at least a scruple of respect or caring. But that doesn't mean I'd like to hang out with that person.

It's just human. Unfortunately.

Help your son to understand this so he won't be wounded by the lack of care and interest from his GPs. This will be an amazing life skill that he will find useful in many situations. For me, it's Rule #2 for living a sane and happy life: Don't take it personally! (Rule #1: Whatever I hate in other people, I hate in myself, and don't want to face. Rule #3: Recognize that the only things I can change are in myself, not in others.)

I think if I were in your situation, I would try to focus on dealing with my own business, and leave their business to them.

I wish the best for all of you.

1 mom found this helpful

MIL has the same problem. She favors her daughters set of kids over her sons. I have come to justify it, by thinking she is closer to her daughter, therefore she is closer to her kids. It ate me up so long, I had to get past it and make it her loss for not spend the time with my kids.

1 mom found this helpful

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