16 answers

My Inlaws Favor My Sister-laws Kids over Mine

I am hoping that someone might have the same issues that I am experiencing and can offer advice on how to deal. My inlaws favor the other grandkids over my kids and it really hurts my feelings. We live a few towns away and they rarely visit, call or have my kids over thier house to visit, but seem to visit often with my husband's two other sisters and thier kids. I have always been nice and pleasant with my inlaws, but we definately don't see eye to eye on a few things. I just don't understand how anyone can favor 1 set of grankids over another! Thanks a bunch for your help Moms!!! : 0 )

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I can't give any advice... just letting you know I'm sort of in the same boat...except it's my own mother favoring my son over my 2 daughters and my sister's son.... We all just try to pretend it doesn't bother us. We've brought it to her attention and she outright admits my son is her favorite kid of all time. :(

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I am a grandmother of my daughters children and my sons children. First of all, I can honestly say I love all four grandchildren exactly the same, there are no favorites. And that includes one of the grandchildren from a previous marriage. All four children are precious to Grandpa and Grandma. We both still work, we are too young for retirement. We try to spend time with all of the grandkids. We do see more of my daughter's children more because my son lives out of town. It is hard to get together because of everyones schedule. That does not mean that we love her children more or favor them any more than our sons children. I am also a daughter in law and have had issues with grandparents, but I think that they did love my children just as much, just did not see them as often. Remember, that is their son and I am sure they do not mean to hurt him. The other person who responded is right when she said that it is easier to intrude when it is your daughter, harder to know where the bounds are when it is your daughter in law. Don't forget, she is a mother and a daughter in law too.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Remy - I have a few pretty simple thoughts... First of all, these things usually bother us more than they bother the kids.

And - you will not be able to change who your in-laws are.

Simple concepts, hard to internalize and create a different energy that you can bring to the relationships.

Your kids are not aware of who visits who and when. They are busy doing their own thing. Because you know, and you are "reading" the message from your framework, you are the one being bothered.

See the connection here? The only person you can do anything about is you - the only attitude you can change is yours.

SO - keep your kids busy with their lives and their friends. Get them together with their cousins when you can and when it's convenient.

Change the energy you bring to the family relationship. When you are with your in-laws, be cheerful and stupid (to quote Dr. Joy Brown.)

Enjoy what you can. You will find that once you adjust your attitude towards your in-laws and your relationship, things will change... Who knows? Maybe they will see changes in you and make changes in themselves!

Slow down, mellow out, enjoy your children - that's your focus.

1 mom found this helpful

I can't give any advice... just letting you know I'm sort of in the same boat...except it's my own mother favoring my son over my 2 daughters and my sister's son.... We all just try to pretend it doesn't bother us. We've brought it to her attention and she outright admits my son is her favorite kid of all time. :(

We have the same issues here and while I have an easier time letting it slide it hurts my husband terribly that his stepmother and father prefer her grandkids over his fathers. They give them more at Birthdays, watch them on occasion (they never ever watch our kids) and are just there for them much more than they are with our kids.

I think the only thing you can really do is just let it slide off your back and just let it go. If they don't feel the connection -- they just don't and nothing we do will change that and that by trying to force the issue all that will be accomplised is that the kids will see that there is a difference. So, we spend birthdays and christmas with them and visit on occasion (probably once a month or so) and let it go at that.

I know this probably isn't much help...

Hi Remy,
I think that sometimes parents do what feels natural to them. I think the other grandkids are their daughters grandkids. Usually, people see their own daughter more, but it can also depend on who lives closer, who has the greater needs, who works, who has the younger kids versus school age kids. My kids have received a lot of attention from my husbands parents. But, they live closer to us than my parents do. My parents (dad) is still working and my mom always seems to have something better to do. So, we see my in laws more than my parents. So, I don't necessarily think that it is the kids per se, but I think it is other issues. My suggestion would be that you call them and invite them over for a meal or a visit. Maybe do it on a weekend when you know your husband will be there with you. Also, you could invite them over so they babysit and you can spend a little time with your husband. Then, they get some quality alone time with the kids. If your kids are too small and you don't want to leave them yet, then do the early Sunday dinner thing. Sometimes its hard to get organized for it all, but hopefully they will pitch in and help you out in the kitchen or spend some time reading to or playing with the kids. You can always give them a few options of different dates/days to come over. Hope this helps.......good luck.

I have the same problem with my own mother. She favors my oldest and my sister's son over my youngest son. She never offers to take him overnight like she does with the others so we just don't go there very often. I don't really have any suggestions just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. Maybe you should try speaking to her about it and explain to her how you feel and how your kids enjoy spending time with grandparents just as much as the othe grandkids do.

Maybe it's an age thing, meaning, are your sister-in-laws kids a little older? Perhaps they connect more with older children than younger ones? Or vice versa, they may like the babies but not the kids that need attention? Maybe try having your kids send their grandparents an invitation to a pizza party, or a brunch, try and start getting in the habit of doing things together more often? Your in-laws might be creatures of habit, and are used to going to visit the other grandkids. You can also try picking a venue outside the home to meet at that they might find nice. Also, it may be a comfort issue. For instance, our place is not as comfortable as some of the other people in our family, and my mother and my in-laws aren't fans of staying over (they all live far away). I try not to take it personally, but it's very difficult. Maybe it's our not-so-great sofabed, or the cats, but we have a hard time getting folks to visit.

I have the same issue with my own parents believe it or not and it really stinks.My niece and nephew are definately favored over mine.it does hurt but luckily my son doesn't notice because he doesn't see or hear what goes on when he's not around. I don't understand either and bringing it up never helps because they will deny it. Because of this and other things we don't visit too much.They actually show favortism towards my sister in law over me.She also feeds into this. I have done nothing wrong it is awful. My sister deals with the same thing from them.We just deal the best we can. T.

Be glad they aren't favoring one of your own children over the others. That's why my own parents do. They favor my oldest over the other two. Granted she's the first grandchild. When my son was born last year I thought my second daughter is really going to get the shaft now because he's the first grandson. Well, that hasn't been a problem. They are even more stand offish with my son. However, my brother who had his first child (a girl) a few months before my son was born seems to have their heart. They live in another state though so it's hard to tell if there's clear favortism there. However, the kids won't notice that kind of favortism since I don't have to tell them when or how often they see that grandchild.

As far as what to do goes how does your husband feel about it? Does he want them coming over and spending more time with the kids? I'd talk to him and see how he feels. If he prefers it that way there could be a reason. And honestly unless the kids start questioning why grandma and grandpa always visit Aunt Suzy and her kids, but not them I wouldn't worry too much about it. In my case I have had to bring up the favoring of my oldest with my parents because it was bothering my second child and it was putting a strain on my relationship with my oldest. You see in my parents eyes my oldest can do no wrong, but they were constantly picking at my second daughter. So I was feeling like I had to stick up for her and protect her more. Unfortunately my parents weren't too receptive to the idea of me telling them they were favoring one child over another. It still happens and not there is a strain on our relationship because of it. It's a shame. But I couldn't let my children keep getting hurt like that.

Just one last thought though. Do you frequently invite your inlaws over to spend time with your children? Maybe they just don't want to come over uninvited. Maybe they are being invited to see the other grandchildren, but they just don't want to step on your toes or anything. If it's really bothering you that they aren't spending more time with your kids then maybe that's a way to start by inviting them over. Good luck.


Hi Remy!
Don't fret the relationship between a daughter's children is alot different than a relationship with the son's children.
For some reason I think that a Mother is closer to her girls than her son's children. Some times they feel that they are getting in the way, or trying to get interupt you. I'm a 56 year old grandmother and sometimes feel that way about my granddaughter in St Louis and her mother is my daughter!!!
Just enjoy your children while you can before their grown and gone!!!

Hi, Remy,
Although I just skimmed the other responses, I do have to say Cindy's response resonated with me!

First: You said it hurt your feelings. Try to get past it.. if you can't rant to your husband, your friends, here. Just not in front of your kids!

Second: (I) try to keep my kids separate from the others so she doesn't see what the other kids get that she doesn't(I don't not let her play with her step-cousins when they are at a family social event.. they get along fine.) It's easy here because my father and his wife live in NY, as do the rest of the grandkids. (I also try to do the first step by remembering that proximity to my father & wife are a blessing, too.)

As long as they are kind and respectful of you, your honey, and kids, let the visits continue. But if their 'favoritism' is obvious only when the other relatives are in tow, maybe find a diplomatic way of saying, "Gee, maybe you can come alone to spend one-on-one time." My favorite is blaming that the house it too cramped to have a lot of people in the house at the same time. That's how it is with us and our daughter doesn't know she is not the 'favorite'.

Good luck!

I've dealt with this a long time (mine are 13 &15). I decided when they were babies that it was my in-laws loss, not my kids. We went out of our way to surround them with people who love them. To this day I joke they like our "made up" family more than they like us. I have great kids who are bright, do amazing things, and are fun to be with. It is seriously my in-laws loss, my kids couldn't care less about them and I don't think they have missed out on a thing. If anything it has taught them that life and love is what you make it. Don't despair about your kids and don't waste time and energy trying to make your in-laws happy. Take it from me, married 32 years, it won't happen.

Hi -

I can completely relate to this and have the same situation myself. My theory for my own situation is that Mother's seem to have an easier time or feel more entitled to spend time with their own daughter's children while I think somehow my mother-in-law feels like she is intruding on me and my daughter even though I have repeatedly told her I would like our daughter to spend time with her. We just moved back to the area, with our 1 and 1/2 year old, after living on the west coast for 10 years while my sister-in-law has lived here the whole time with her kids. So I think it can just take time for everyone to adjust and figure out how to not step on each other's toes. I would just make sure that you are making as much effort as you wish she was making to get her to connect with your kids. If it is important to you for your kids to have a relationship with those Grandparents be sure to suggest getting together rather than waiting for them to make a move. Good luck!

I am going threw this with my mother. So i understand your pain. I feel my mom favored my brothers 2 kids who live with my mothers wife's family. So they get a grand parent every day. Ware my little one one see them when we go see her. I did tell my mom that i feel she favors my brothers kids and not mine and it really hurts. We sat and talked about it. She did not relize that she did it. She is doing more with my daughter than she was. So i would say have them over so you can talk with them and talk with your husband before you do this so he is on the same page. Good luck keep us in touch.

I've always thought that the mother daughter relationship is what starts this. I feel the same way about my inlaws too. I have a really good relationship with them, but they do a heck of a lot more for my sister in laws kids. I live about 15 minutes away from them and she lives 1 hour away and they do more with them and don't hide the things they do and buy for them. So, you are not alone out there. My theory is that it is the mother daughter relationship. Hope this helps.

Hi Remy, Great advice from the other Mommies. I will just add a few comments that I hope you will find helpful. My sister and I went through the same thing growing up. My mother's parents were awesome to us, and the other grandchildren as well. My father's "mother" was just terrible to us, and always spoke about the other grandchildren, and always got our names wrong, etc. The awful thing about her, my parents were next door neighbors... so when we visited on side, we went to the other's as well. We could see this everyday. My father's father was exceptional to us, but unfortunately passed away early in my life. We always respected my grandmother for my Dad's sake, but never had close relationship with her. She died a lonely old woman, and my other cousins always felt the burden of HAVING TO VISIT her, because we were now adults, and only visited her when we had to. I just feel that you should continue to be respectful because most importantly, you want you children to learn that. If you speak in a negative way about them like my mom did, they will find it hard to be respectful. Do you know what I mean? It's not an easy thing to witness because you love your children, and you don't want anyone to hurt them in any way. I think if you speak to your husband about it, let him handle it with his own parents. It's a shame that parents do this to their grandchildren, they just don't realize HOW it affects the little ones! take care and the best of luck to you! C.

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