19 answers

Problems with Grandma

My husband's Mother treats her other grandchildren better than she does my daughter. She goes through the town we live in on her way to pick up her other grandchildren every other weekend since they have been born and never even stops by. My daughter may have seen her Grandma 10-15 times since she has been born. We live 20 minutes from "Grandma" while the other Grandkids live over an hour away. My husband and I get a long with his mother, so that is not the factor. She just favors her daughters children over our child. My problem is that my daughter will see this more and more as she grow s up and how will I keep this from breaking her little heart the way it does mine.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

when you find a solution let me know... i am in the same boat. It has been almost two months since Meadows seen her grandma...

All i can say is someday they will regret how they have treated the grandchildren. My grandparents did the same thing with me and i was the ONLY grandchild. My grandpa died when i was 7 so i dont think he regretted anything but i was 34 when my grandmother died, never had a relationship with her (her fault) and she finally saw what her treatment led to, i did not invite her to my H.S. graduation or wedding, so she did regret the way she treated me...but it was already to late by the time she realized this and i have no regrets....

so just know you are not alone and the children will grow up knowing who did and didn't treat them right.

More Answers

Hi K.,
I have a few different thoughts on this. So this may be a little long. (And I talk too much anyway :)
First, your husband could help this along. It's his mother, and he could simply talk to her and find out why she's doing this. He could to tell her that that HE feels badly that she rarely sees your family who's closer, but frequently visits her daughter who's farther away. If he tells her how much he'd like her to be an influence in his daughter's life, but that he feels she doesn't see her enough for that to happen, I doubt she would have a negative reaction to such a compliment.
Second, I know you said that you and your husband get along fine with his mother-- but there may be some underlining problem that you're simply not aware of-- maybe because she's trying to be tactful and not say anything that my cause a problem and hurt feelings--(but doesn't realize that she's just causing another one by not visiting with you and her grandaughter to avoid the first problem.) If she really doesn't have any problem with you and/or your husband, it really doesn't make sense that she doddles over her other grandchildren and not your daughter. Grandparents rarely have a problem with such a young child (sometimes behavior problems can cause a grandparent to withdraw because they don't know how to handle it-- get too easily aggitated, etc)-- but your daughter is so young still, that I doubt thats an issue. It's usually one of the parents, (and usually their child's SPOUSE) that a grandparent has a problem with, and unfortunately the child suffers because of it.
Third: It's simply not uncommon at ALL for mothers to feel more comfortable in the homes of their married daughters, than in the homes of their sons. Their daughter's home, is just that, "My daughter's home". But they feel like their SON'S home is "My DAUGHTER IN LAW'S home." This is mostly because they know THEMSELVES that THEY (as wife and mother) were the one who ran their OWN house. (I don't mean was the "boss"-- I mean the one keeping everything "running" in the home; the organizing, paying the bills, doing the shopping, doing most of the housework, keeping up with everyone's schedules, the decorating, the cooking, being involved with PTA, etc, etc, etc) Do you see what I mean? USUALLY, it's the women who do most of these things. So even though it's not always a conscious thing, women subconsciously feel like they keep everything flowing and "run the house." Since daughters very often run their homes the way their own mothers did (with some differences) naturally then, nothers feel more comfortable and more "at home" in their daughters homes, than they do in the homes of their sons. Even though my mother visits all of her children equally (which I'm very greatful for) I can TELL that she feels more comfortable in my home than she does in the homes of my brothers. She feels more like a "guest" in their homes, and more "at home" in my home. Daughters in law usually have to work a little harder to help that happen then natural daughters do.
You didn't mention whether or not you've specifically invited her over-- but if you haven't you REALLY should. A few calls to invite her for dinner or to spend a Saturday or Sunday together in your home, or to go shopping (just the two of you and your daughter) may help to speed things along. Or consider inviting her along the next time you go out to eat, see a movie, etc. Sometimes mom's in law just need that extra little "something" to let them know "Hey-- you REALLY are welcome here, and we REALLY want to spend time with you and have you intimately involved in our children's lives."
Hope this helps!

Blessings to you and your family,
T.

1 mom found this helpful

All i can say is someday they will regret how they have treated the grandchildren. My grandparents did the same thing with me and i was the ONLY grandchild. My grandpa died when i was 7 so i dont think he regretted anything but i was 34 when my grandmother died, never had a relationship with her (her fault) and she finally saw what her treatment led to, i did not invite her to my H.S. graduation or wedding, so she did regret the way she treated me...but it was already to late by the time she realized this and i have no regrets....

so just know you are not alone and the children will grow up knowing who did and didn't treat them right.

I haev dealt with this myself and have within that past few months put a total stop to it.
My parents live only about 25 minutes away from me and if it weren't for me, for the past 3 years taking my children to their grandparents house, they would have never seen them.
In July of last year, my mother laughed at the fact that one of my sons ended up getting hurt and that made me snap.
I flat out told her that if they can blatently show such disregard for their grandchildren safety and well-being and can't seem to make the 25 minute drive out to my home, then I refused to bring them to their house from then on.
Well, needless to say, we have yet to receive a visit from them here at my home and we do NOT make the drive to them any longer.
so, my parents have made it clear to me that these children aren't worth their time....I am also the only child so there are no other grandchildren.
I've explained this to my children because they are old enough to see it themselves (11-8-5) and they have even asked me about it.
so, as tactfully as I could, I tried to explain the situation and that their other grandmother, loves them and gives them enough attention to cover for the absent grandparents, even though she's in CALIFORNIA and we're in ILLINOIS!
She makes more of an effort in each and every way during my childrens' lives while living in a completely different state!
so, make things easy and just don't let it bother you and by all means DON'T let your mother in law know it bothers you. She may just be doing this out of spite...who knows, but it's not worth you getting upset over it...the only person losing out on this is HER!
She's old enough to make her own choices and if she does not choose to be fully involved in your childs life...oh well, you don't need somebody like her in your childs life, someone that blatently disregards her own family.

I was a child that grew up with grandparents like that. I am going to tell you that there is nothing you can do to change your in-laws. I actually really wish my mother hadn't made the effort that she did because they made it clear to me that they didn't want me. In fact I told all my friends growing up that my grandparents were dead because I knew they didn't want me or my sisters around.

In truth i was more scarred by the fact that my mom lied to me about everything being ok when it was so blatantly oveous that she (or grandpa) didn't love or even like us. It hurt me to see my mom hurt when they disrearded us at X-mas and thanksgiving (they didn't even give us seats!). My mom tried soooo hard and they just kept slaping her in the face and my mom just said that was ok and she deserved it. It made me lose alot of respect for my parents because they wanted to impress these people more than take care of my sisters and me. I wish I could help, but I don't think I can. Just so you know I did find a little old lady that lived next door to be my "grandma" of sorts. She had 6 sons and she delited in having me come over every day during the summer and on the weekends. She taught me to garden and crochet. Because of her I got my degree in art (I can spin, weave, knit, tat, dye and sew now too... she opened that door!) and have my green thumb. Grandma isn't the only person in the world. I know it hurts that she is rejecting your kids (and in some way you) but she isn't worth the time you are spending on her. If your kids need a grandparent they can always find them elsewere than in the family.

As a child, I was in the same position as your daughter. My paternal grandmother favored my Dad's youngest sister's kids over all of the other grandkids. I am grown now, and nothing has changed. Those two are still being favored, and life is all about them. Talking to my other aunt, her sister was the favorite growing up. Do your kids have a relationship with your Mom? What I suggest, is let your Mom have the wonderful part of being the doting grandparent. That is what my Mother did, and now we (my Mom's mother) and I have a wonderful relationship. But remember, NEVER talk bad about your mother-in-law in front of your kids. Let them learn on their own how they are. And when they do, just be there to support them.

I also had this same issue with my grandparents. They lived the next street over and our properties were connected in the back. They never gave me so much as a birthday card after I was 3 years old. They would speak to me if we went over there but they never came over. I had a younger cousin who lived with them and they spoild her rotten. They would hug and kiss her when I was there but I can not recall them ever hugging me my whole life. My other grandfather died before I was born and my grandmother died when I was 7 so I really grew up no grandparents. They did start to be nicer to me the year they died, maybe they felt bad for not having a relationship with me but by then it was too late. I would suggest you say something about it to her grandma. It could just be that your daughter is so young. Are the other grandchildren older? But I would talk to her about it before it is too late. You won't know why she does it unless you ask. I would approach it very gently though because you wouldn't want to make her angry which would make the situation worse.

when you find a solution let me know... i am in the same boat. It has been almost two months since Meadows seen her grandma...

Dear K.,
I understand how you may be feeling left out from the Grandmother's love for your child. My husband mother lives almost three hours away and although she takes the time to visit her other grandchild (her daughter's son) here in town, regretfully, we do not get the same "Grandma" satisfaction for our four children. She does not even let us know she is in town....we get the pleasure of hearing from other family members. I used to get very upset and sad over it and would constantly talk to my husband about his mother. And after five years, I have finally accepted that she is not worth the wasted time. I cannot change her and the way she thinks nor can I change her actions. I cannot make her care for my children and make the extra effort when she does not want it for herself. My husband and I have accepted the fact that the only person missing out here is HER! My kids are already becoming estranged from her. They rarely talk about her and do not ask to see her anymore. Kids are smart and can understand peoples actions in a way that adults cannot. My kids know in their hearts that their Grandma does not care for them in the same way that she does for the "other" grandchild. And really, they are learning not to care about her simply by the way she treats them. One of these days the "Grandma" will choose to have something to do with the grandchildren and by that point, my kids will have moved on and will not care to have anything to do with her! This Grandma is the sad one here who is losing out on the wonderful experience of having grandchildren in her life to love and cherish her like no other.

I am sorry that the grandma in your situation chooses not to go the extra mile for your child and possibly the one on the way. My husband and I are honest with our children about our situation with Grandma. We don't lie to them to cover up her unwantingness to visit. We just explain that Grandma is choosing not to be a part of our lives at this time.

If you have not already discussed this situation with the Grandma in your case, that would be a start. Maybe she is not aware of your feelings. My suggestion is to not get too upset about it because your children will see your frustration over it all.

Good luck to you and your family!
Sincerely,
T.

I too had this problem as a child. My paternal grandparents have never had anything to do with me or my sisters. They even refused to come to the hospital when my youngest sister was born. According to my father, they weren't very good parents either, so just the same, how could they be good grandparents? But, I just had to write in and tell you that it does hurt to not be "accepted" by them. The older we have gotten the less it matters but, as a child you're so naive. The best advice I can give you is just that, it is going to bother them at some point and all the love and support you give will guide them through this. After all, your mother-in-law is the one missing out on getting to know and love those beautiful babies.

Well I am not sure if this is the solution you are looking for ... but I cut off my mother for doing the same thing. (We are 45 minutes from my sister and she won't even bother coming to see us when she drives the 6 hours to see my sister and her kids.) I saw her do it with my younger sister's 1st daughter and then continue it with her 2nd daughter over my middle sister's kids. When I confronted her with it she denies it and I was tired of my middle sister complaining about it so I went to her with it after my second daughter (6 and 3) was born. I heard my nephew say once ... why does Grandma "L" love "A and M" more than us? That broke my heart and I can't understand why my sister didn't stand up for her kids ... so I am. I don't want my kids to do the same AND to be hurt by the situation. So protect them right now ... I am not even acknowledging her. (As they get older if they want to see her, they can have that choice ... if not ... then they are better for it.) We don't talk about her nor do we accept stuff from her. I had a counselor tell me that I was cheating my kids out of getting to know their Grandma ... we I disagree ... if she has passed away they wouldn't know her ... They also get to know their paternal grandma and pa and they are just fine with them. So until my mother can reclaim herself ... we don't acknowledge her. (We don't even attend functions she will be at ... this helps because she is in IN and we are in MO.) So I am not suggesting you cut her off ... but if after talking to her she does nothing different ... in my experience it works!

Hello there,
I know exactly what your going through. My son is 8 and both sets of grandparents have been the same way since other grandchildren were born. My son did ask about it, and all I could say is " I don't know" or "maybe they'll come by next time". It isn't the best answer I'm sure, but he took it. And he grew outta it to. He doesn't ask anymore either. I feel that the grandparents will regret not spending time with my son. We just give our son all the love and support we can, God will take care of the rest.
This probably doesn't help you a whole lot, but least you know your not alone. Good luck and keep your head up.
S.

I too was a "forgotten" grandchild along with my 2 brothers once the younger grandkids were born. I was 13, one brother was 11 and the other was 5. This was especially hard since we were the only grandkids for solong and then all of a sudden...nothing. The hardest part about it though, even for my youngest brother, was that it hurt my mom. My brother who was 11 at one point told my grandparents that if they did not care enough about "his mom" then he really didn't want to have anything to do with them. Now I do have to tell you that his outburst was probably influenced by my mother b/c she did not hide her feelings AT ALL when it came to how much it hurt her and she would say some pretty aweful things about our grandparents in front of us.
Here is what I suggest...while your child is young say something to the in-laws about how you feel...they probably won't change but at least you tried. If you decide though to make a relationship happen between your child and your in-laws, make sure nothing is said in front of your child to influence how they feel. It took a long time for my brother and my grandparents to get over what happened... as a matter of fact, he refused to go to her before she passed and only at her funeral did he forgive her. Thankfully he and my grandfather made somewhat of an ammends, but he (my brother)was in Iraq when he (grandfather) passed away.
Good luck with this..I know how hard this can be.

This is something i heard a couple years ago and it transformed my life. The only thing you really can change in this world is your own attitude on things. you cant change people you cant change circumstances. you are rightfully hurt now all you can do besides asking your husband to have a heart to heart with his mom is extend invitations to your in law to come over have lunch and visit or go to the zoo or picnic as a family affair. If she declines there is nothing you can do about it let it go and live your life and love your beautiful children. Your children will learn a great lesson from your own attitude and letting things go will enhance your health and overall life in general. It is your in law that is missing out. Her loss. Since i started living my life by changing my attitude i have been so much happier and so have all those who are around me. good luck!!! You will be in my prayers

Unfortunately I don't think you can. I am sort of in this situation myself, except I'm the one with the grandchild who gets more attention. My mother has favored me over my sister for a long time. My sister had her kids early (15 and then 20). My mother treats my neice better than my nephew and her excuse is that she doesn't know what to do with little boys. Well, that excuse has run out of steam since my nephew isn't a little boy now, he's 17. Now that I have my own child she is doing more for him and I than she ever did for my sister and her kids. The only good thing that has come out of it is that it has actually brought my sister and I closer together because we are both aware of and talk openly about the problem.
Have you discussed this with your mother-in-law? Or maybe your husband? Does she have a valid reason or what she thinks is a valid reason to act this way? Maybe she's just unaware of what she is doing. Does she maybe have a problem with you? I'm sure you're a lovely person, but maybe you did something to offend her that you're unaware of.
I know I'm not being a lot of help, but sometimes if you can't fix a problem it's better to know that you can't instead of wasting time and energy and getting frustrated because it can't be fixed. And sometimes, it's better to not have a relationship with someone (even a Grandmother) if that relationship could be toxic.

We have the same issue with our children. On my husbands side since ours are the last of the grandchildren (10 in total), it seems that they are forgotten. Grandma and Granpa are available for other grandchildren's birthdays but not ours. They forget to buy gifts for Christmas for them etc. What makes it worse is that we are in the same town as 1 set of grandchildren (3) and it is very blatant.

What I have done is just act like it doesn't bother me and give an extra gift for the event to my child. I also point out upon occassion to my husband these issues but of course no one says anything to Mom and Dad. I also have not had to deal with being asked by my children yet as they are still young so I guess it will change at that point.

Hope I helped....I know its not easy

Well I can totally relate to you my mother in law is the same way. she will drive 3hrs to one daughter and 7 to the other 1 but will not drive the 25min. here to our home..
My oldest is 4 and ever since he was born I can say she has only seen him mabey 10-15 times..
What you and your hubby need to know is that this is her mistake not to get to know and love your child(soon to be children) your child is very special. Don't worry your daughter will not notice what she does not know. if she does not know life with being with g-ma every weekend(or whatever it may be) then she can never miss it.
I know this is not the answer you are really looking for but just know there are plenty of other people out there who want to be with your daughter..let her life be filled with people who do want to be with her.
good luck and god Bless

If you ever want to talk feel free to e-mail me ____@____.com

Unfortunately, you can't get other people to use sense and you can't always understand what makes them do the things they do.

However, there are awesome opportunities to have elderly neighbors, friends, and folks in assisted living centers be involved with your little ones.

We used to have the most wonderful elderly neighbors who had no grandchildren. They treated our son as if he were their own grandchild. They were more excited during my pregnancy than even the biological grandparents. They would sit in the yard with us and play with Alex as a baby and toddler. We would send grandparent cards to them for holidays and their birthdays and took baked goodies to them regularly. The relationship Alex enjoyed with them was wonderful for him AND for them. Just because someone is biologically related doesn't mean they are the best grandparent available for your children.

My mom always said that most grandmas act like that to their sons kids b/c they really dont know if its theri grandchils(the daughter in law could have cheated etc)but grandmother will act extremely different towards their duahgters kids because they know for a fact that those grandhildren are thiers even if she cheated on their husband,does that make sense?idk if ur mother in law thinks that way but i know alot of women who think like that.
its pretty sad that shes like that,maybe your husband should talk to her or when your lil girl gets older get her to ask her why she favors the other ones more. i really dont know what to tell you.dont wanna give any bad advice

I also know what you are going through. My mother and my mother in law both do this to my daughter. In fact, everyone in both families does this to our child. My own mother will drive over an hour to pick up her NIECE, yet she NEVER asks to keep Madison. I have recently started seeing a christian counselor and she was asking about the alone time that my husband and I have together. I told her that we never get any alone time because we never have a babysitter. The doctor said, "Well, doesn't she have grandparents?" I thought about it and the answer is no, not really. I have to keep telling myself that they will regret it one day. We have to double up on our love to our sweet babies. I wish you all the blessings in the world. I know it is the worst feeling.

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