Do You Have Family That Blows off Your Child?

Updated on July 24, 2011
M.. asks from Anchorage, AK
23 answers

Hi Moms, my daughter's 3rd birthday party was today. It was an awesome party and we had a blast. But for the second year in a row, my family did not come. We are not super close, but I attend their functions. I was very hurt when once again not one of them came. Except for my 2 sisters, none of them show much interest in my child. They don't come visit, they don't attend her birthday party's, they don't even call on her birthday. My husband's brother is the same way. He shows no interest in our child. He works 2 miles away from our house, and never stops to see us or his neice. He also did not come today because he had plans with his girlfriend. I get very hurt and angry over this. My husband says "just don't expect anything from them, and you won't be let down". Good advice, I guess, but how do you not expect anything from your own family? I am super grateful for the friends and family that did attend. My husband's family is great (minus his brother) and treat my daughter like a princess. But I think that magnifies the fact that my family couldn't care less. I don't think my family will get invitations to the next party.

Do you have family that blows your child(ren) off? How do you handle it? Does it hurt you? How do you learn how not to care anymore? Thanks in advance!

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for sharing your stories. I know its not easy to talk about this without feeling some pain, and all your stories gave me strength. Anyone who can ignore a child must have a screw loose. Kids are so precious and I adore seeing all the kids in my family - even the kids whose parents ignore my child. Its about the kids. And those adults who choose to be petty are the ones who are missing out. What great and wonderful children they are missing out on! Thanks again ladies for making me feel better!

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answers from Louisville on

My ex's family pretty much did this all thru their growing up! Only one that seemed to do anything was his sister when she came into town over T-giving weekends and she'd pick them up for the day. Son has no interest in them - they never really were around! He might get in touch w/his aunt next time he's here, but it's not a bet I'd take!

I hear the ex has a toddler age now - Karma??!!

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answers from Cleveland on

My husband and I just had this conversation. My mom comes into town a couple of times a month, she lives 45 minutes away, and this is the first time in over 8 months she has been to my house. She did come to see the baby when he was born, and I call her, and I arrange times and I take the kids to see her once a month or more, so she does see the kids. But she never makes the effort. My dad, who lives in town is worse. Again I normally make all the effort and it's only holidays that he sees the kids.

I suck it up and deal. I make the effort to go to them, and risk the heartache when they have better things to do, because my kids deserve to have grandparents and they are good to them, they just don't make the effort to see them.

They are also busy with jobs and lives of their own, my parents are only in their late 40's, but I'm just as busy with 4 kids, homeschooling, doctor's appointments and activities, a husband that works, housework and being pregnant, so while I understand that they are busy (i don't really think I care).

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answers from Portland on

Your family has shown you what to expect. Sadly, that's not much.

Your daughter will think this is normal unless you make a big deal out of it. It's a kindness to her to keep your disappointment to yourself.

If you really would like to get over expecting your family to be more involved with your child, here's an effective self-help process that both my husband and I have found useful for all sorts of issues and people:

Check out some of the videos to see The Work in action. Wishing you the best.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Just take the high road. Its their loss. And keep reminding yourself to be grateful for those that are interested: your 2 sisters, your husbands family, other family and friends.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I'm a little late in responding to this, but I just wanted to let you know you are not alone. I have dealt with this since my kids were born. I have two really terrific kids (I say this because they are really delightful to be around, and I wouldn't necessarily blame people not wanting to be close if they were bratty!) My two are the only children on my husband's side of the family, so you would think that they would be considered special.

We get together on the obligatory holidays or when something special is happening with them. A few years ago they were traveling back (right through our city) from a summer vacation spot on my son's birthday and couldn't stop by our house.

I have been the one to say the same thing as your husband. "don't expect, and you won't be disappointed." But it's hard not to be That isn't what family is about for me. But that's the difference. I have different expectation about what I want for my kids and what family is. There's not a lot that I can do to change how they are. And I have learned that their dysfunction is theirs, and it has little to do with me or my kids.

After a while you do learn to expect less and it doesn't hurt as much. We still let them know what's going on with our plans, but we put the most importance on what's best for us. For instance we used to plan our summer vacation around the "family" vacation spot they always use and try to coordinate it with them. We ended up doing all of the cooking, not having proper accommodations because they would choose the rental house, and I ended up with my kids because they would all go off and do their own thing together. Now we plan our our vacation and if we're able to go up for a day to see them we do, if not, we don't.

Good luck Mama. I know it' hurtful, but they are the ones who are missing out. Surround yourself with family and friends who want to be involved and close to you and your kids and try to let go what you can't change or control.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My in laws do it ALL the time! Does it hurt me? Of COURSE! But I'm not worried about myself being hurt, it's the kid's that are let down and probably get hurt....Soooo then it's my hubby and I that are always making excuse's for his family not showing. It's sad but what can we do? I would tell them that your daughter was looking forward to seeing them and that it would be nic if they were to be more active with their grandaughter. But it happen's! And is very sad, especially when it's your OWN family. Open up to your family and let them know that you were embaressed and hurt because they didn't go to her party...I'm sure your guest were probably asking about your family so then mention that to them too! Don't let it upset you that much-as hard as it is not to-but talk to them, and if you don't want to invite them to anymore birthday parties, etc, then don't. Glad to hear your little princess had a wonderful birthday, that's the important part right? Happy Birthday to her! Have a wonderful weekend!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

My husband's mom and brother totally do this. My MIL rarely visits us. I get that it's a long trip (she lives across the country), but she travels extensively otherwise. She recently celebrated her 75th birthday. She still hadn't met my daughter (then 10 months) at the time, and it had been 18 months since she'd seen my son. It's obviously a big hassle for us to fly that far with two small children, so we were waiting until her birthday to make the trip and have her meet her newest granddaughter. But surprise! She only invited her kids. Spouses and grandchildren were specifically excluded.

My BIL and his wife were my son's godparents. But they have missed three out of his four birthdays - no presents, no card, no call - and three of his five Christmases. It isn't for lack of money either. I mean, I understand no presents, I guess. But not even a call? Same thing with my daughter's first birthday. And it's not like we ever hear from them any other time either.

My sister is not a kid person. At all. I know she loves my kids, but she can only take them in small doses. She came to visit a couple days before my daughter's first birthday party, but she left the day before it because she said that a 1st birthday party wasn't her cup of tea.

It is definitely hurtful, but I just try to be grateful for the loving and involved family my kids do have. And honestly, I believe that anyone who is so self-centered that they would hurt their family - especially their smallest, most innocent relatives - has something a little wrong with them. So it's probably just as well they're not bigger presences in my kids' lives.

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answers from Beaumont on

Yep, my we have very few family members that we're close to. The ones that we are close to live far away so they can't be super involved. The ones we do live next to have NOTHING to do with my kids. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it bothers them (they're 9 and 11) but I usually explain it away saying they're doing such and such this weekend etc. In separate conversations, I've tried to explain that sometimes family friends can be as close/closer than family and that you get to "pick" those people to be close to you. As far as "learning not to care anymore", I think it comes with age. There are LOTS of people I chose not to be with, not a good influence, different values etc. and that life is too short to force yourself into someone's life that chooses not to be with you. Just surround yourself with friends-they're with you because they want to be! :)

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answers from Chicago on

Yes, we have family on both sides. I just gave birth to my daughter (baby #3) three weeks ago. My husband's family (who lives out of state but in driving distance) isn't coming to her baptism. His sister came for the birth, but the rest didn't and don't have plans to come any time soon to meet her. My brother, who also lives out of state, was in town to unload a storage unit and claimed he didn't have enough time to come meet his newborn niece. I'm angry, hurt, and disappointed in our families. I know my little girl is so important to me, but I wished our families loved her like we do. Unfortunately, I just have to accept that they won't make the effort.

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answers from Medford on

My mother in law has never paid any attention to my kids. Shes barely seen them, and never asks about them when on the phone. She wouldnt buy them gifts for Christmas even when she knew we were coming to visit for the holiday. We arrived one year and she had about 40 gifts wrapped under the tree,, all for one of her other grand children, and nothing for my son, who is only 6 months younger than the grandson she shopped for. Then they all thought it wasnt a problem to make our son sit and behave, while his cousin opened gifts. They were 6 or 7 that year. you tell me thats not unfair.. But the final blow was when our daughter developed type 1 diabetes at 12, and grama said, she didnt want to be around her anymore "because it gave her the creeps to be near people who do shots"..ok take the title of grama away from that lady. So, yes, I have family who blows off my kids.. Always have. yes it hurts, I just get on with my life and tell my kids those people are being rude and have no idea what terrific kids they are missing.

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answers from Kansas City on

Yes. My family is like that. I was the beloved fun-babysitting-all-the-time-Auntie whose house the kids always looked forward to visiting and never wanted to leave. I have no problem with that because I love children and I especially love my family. However, I couldn't help but notice that once I got engaged and married none of my family showed up for any of the parties where I or my child was the guest of honor. It hurt a lot, but I kept getting the kids because they are dear to me. I finally broke ties with them because of their lack of support among other reasons. I don't waste my time inviting the them to things though because they will just come of with some lame excuse/big lie as to why they did not attend.
I don't think there is a way to not care. I still care, but I don't focus on it. I focus on enjoying the people who do show up and stay in touch and aren't out to use me.

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answers from Philadelphia on

With your kids - the hurt is the worst. I really would not care otherwise. My inlaws come to nothing for my kids, or even for general gatherings (like Thanksgiving) with our family. I was tolerant (for 20 plus years) until the last gathering (for one daughter's high school graduation and another daughter's one-year birthday) --- but I have had enough!! So, they are no longer invited. We will see how that goes over this November :) when they have no place to go for Thanksgiving -- I will let you know. And yet I truly wish they would change - because they are family and I want them to be part of our lives and celebrations, because that is how it was for me growing up.

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answers from Tulsa on

It hurts my child to see the others get tons of gifts, trips, and attention.
They are jealous of our child being successful and they constantly try to say she is bad. They are nuts and I started inviting friends who we are close to. They are not blood but they make her feel accepted.

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answers from Jacksonville on

My husbands family is that way. With the exception of his mom and dad. Last time I was home visiting, I was in town for three weeks. Since we live half way across the country, ALL of my relatives, aunts, name it, was vying for some time with me and my daughter.
His family...not a peep. His aunt even came in from Arizona, and said she wanted to see my daughter. We were out running and she told us to meet her and her boys at the mall. Even though my daughter was tired and ready to go home, we drove all the way across town. Well she was shopping at a different store and said she would meet us in a bit...then she never showed! She said she found what she needed at the other store and her boys were acting up (Hello! They are 7 and 13 you think you can control them?) so she just went home. Never even bothered to tell us. I was PISSED. The only time we saw the aunt was at the wedding, where she doted on the other two great nieces but ignored my daughter. What a %!#&^%.
So yeah, I learned to expect squat from them and it doesn't bother me anymore.

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answers from Columbus on

I'm so glad it's not just my family who does this!!!

My in-laws were great with our first child when he was a baby, but now that he is older (3.5 years) and more independent, they ignore him. My MIL will hold my daughter and just stare at her for hours, but I'm sure when she gets bigger and gets a mind of her own they'll get tired of her as well. Also we have to make all the efforts to get together. Last month my FIL was in the hospital and we stayed in a hotel to be close by, and they didn't visit us at all during the entire week we were there.

My brother-in-law is my son's godfather, but he never does a thing with him, it's pathetic. We chose a different godfather for our 2nd child.

My husband thinks they just feel awkward because they don't know our kids well and don't know how to interact with them. So sometimes I try to arrange situations where the in-laws are forced to do things with my son. I'll take the baby in another room and tell my son to ask grandma or grandpa to read him a book until I get back. But most of the time when I come out, they're watching TV and he's playing with legos or coloring by himself. He's a smart kid, and he's mentioned a few times that they don't like to play with him. It breaks my heart and makes me so angry. Not sure how to explain it to him as he gets older!

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answers from Cleveland on

Speaking from experience, you can give effort where it is reciprocated.

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answers from Dallas on

My parents always blew me off, then they blew off my kids. So have just about every other family member I have. I no longer have anything to do with anyone from my mom's family--a bunch of nutcases! My dad's family isn't nuts but never reciprocate so I am not going to keep trying with them either.
My in-laws are not quite as bad, except for MIL and FIL (who recently passed.)
It is certainly their loss.
My nephew was killed 7 yrs ago leaving 2 precious children. I am the only one in the family that has contact with them. They were just here for a week with me. I let my dad, brother (their grandfather) and their aunt know and no one came to see them! All had the usual lame excuses.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My family is the same way! When they do bother to come to my kids parties, they have a great time and are warmly accepted by all the guests. Yet the last two years we have been blown off so that the rest of the family can get together at another family members Lake House. We however have never been invited to this get together. So what ever. Surround yourself with the family that you choose, Good Friends! My friends and neighbors are fantastic and now my kids don't even ask if Aunt X & Uncle X are coming this year. Every one around us has big families that visit them and bring dishes to parties. They realize that my family is not like that so they have become that for us. Friends are what you make of them, they can often be better than "family".

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answers from Boston on

Oh yes!! how about the whole family and all the children are invited the the first family wedding. Since my two children are step children they were the only two not invited. Now mind you they have been in the family 13 years. This happen 5 years ago and I am still mad and hurt. It showed me how much I mean to them when this happen and I been a bitter even since. I do not go out of my way for the like I used to nor am I as friendly at family things.

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answers from Washington DC on

My husband's baby sister is a self-absorbed snot-nosed brat....she hasn't sent my kids birthday or Christmas cards in 5 years...

We don't do anything about's HER loss...

my kids are missing out on an aunt - but the rest of my family makes up for really - they aren't missing her...they haven't seen her since Greg was 2 and Nicky was born....that was 9 years ago....pretty sad, eh?

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answers from Dallas on

My husband's side is that way. Most of them have serious issues (narcissistic and manipulative and controlling, etc...), and often it comes across as a way they are trying to hurt us. So, I choose to not care...though I do care, just not enough to really care. I know that makes no sense. It used to eat me up and drive me crazy all the things they would do. But overtime I've adjusted and refuse to allow it to eat at me anymore. It's a process. I'm not sure there is anyway to tell you something that will help you immediately resolve the problem. It's something that has taken me 2-3 years to work through.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My MIL often blows off my children for their cousins because they have an unstable home life. Oh well. What really worries me is that sometimes she blows the cousins off because their crazy mother is too much trouble to deal with. A few years ago she blew them off for three years. Insane.

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answers from Seattle on

I have a really tight knit, large, extended family.

But not all of them like kids in general, and lets face it, kid's bday parties are one of the world's best forms of contraception. Even people who LOVE kids avoid children's bday parties.

Certain of my family always come/ send gifts/ cards/ whatever... but it's never occurred to me to get upset with those who don't. ESP if I'm "just" doing a kid thing. I can reasonably expect other parents with similar aged kids to come, but that's a 2 year margin tops!! If I'm doing a half kid/ half adult party... then yeah... more people come. I often "just" do kid things, and often do both the kid party / adult party.

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