Gransnet forums


Aibu to dislike with an absolute vengeance

(43 Posts)
notevensecondbest Mon 24-Oct-11 16:06:23

favouritism toward children?

I'm new here I have lurked on mn for quite a while but have never written anything but I am posting here because it would help me if I could get an understanding from a gran's point of view.

My son is 7 months old, my partners sister also has a son who is a few weeks younger, they are both beautiful children and I get on well with my sil.

When my son was born my mil and fil were all over him, but they are quite short on money so I understood that things like taking him out or buying gifts ect would be difficult and I never expected them to.

Then my sil gave birth to her son. Since about 3 weeks after this, my mil and fil have not even sent us a text message. It is now going on for 5 months since they have contacted us. We live quite far from them so popping in isn't an option and whenever we try to cal to arrange a visit they vet their calls through their answering machine and text us saying they are busy. When we have offered to have them stay at ours they say they cannot afford the journey, yet my mil has a blog and she is frequently driving to my sil to see her other grandson. We haven't done anything wrong so I don't understand why they have suddenly become disinterested in us like this.

My sil lives equally far from them so distance is not the issue, and they always find the time and money to go over there to see her son. I have just seen some photos of my nephew having a lovely time with his nana and grandad with an ice cream and bags of things from a known toy shop listed individually. Also numerous times on the blog my mil has referred to the little lad as "special" because he has a slight cleft palate.

So is it wrong to feel hurt for my little boy that his nana and grandad prefer his cousin, and can find time and money only for their daughters child and not their sons child? Is she trying to compensate because the other little lad has a cleft palate? ( I don't know anything about these so I don't mean to sound unsympathetic if it is a serious condition or disability)

I don't want or expect them to take him out or buy him gifts but it seems their finances are only a hinderance when it comes to my son. When my son does eventually see her I think he will be afraid because she is effectively a stranger to him and it is so sad and unfair that he has spent most of his first year without a grandmother (my mum passed away before he was born) when other grandparents in the world are crying out just to see even a photo of their grandchildren?

Thank you so much for reading

notevensecondbest Mon 24-Oct-11 16:07:51

Sorry I haven't read this through I mean they do not text us off their own backs unless it is a response to an answer phone message we have left - they never telephone back

Elegran Mon 24-Oct-11 16:30:47

notevensecondbest I suspect that they found the cleft palate such a shock that this other little grandchild took up all their attention when he was born, and they reacted to his problems with extra love and gifts. Now that he is a bit older they have still not adjusted to having two grandchildren.

How about you? You say you know nothing about your nephew's cleft palate (and yes it can be a very serious condition. Google it to see what is involved) Does this mean that you have not spoken to your SIL about it to let her know that you too are concerned? Do you see her, or contact her, and your nephew separately from your MIL? Is there anything you could do (as opposed to what anyone can do for you) to help in what is probably a difficult and worrying situation?

If you get on well with her, can you discuss with her that you understand that your nephew needs a lot of Granny time, but you are afraid that your little boy will feel his grandparents are strangers - and his cousin too. Surely there are occasions when ALL the family can meet together and the little cousins can become friends? It should not be either/or for any of you.

Annobel Mon 24-Oct-11 16:49:07

Where does your husband stand on this issue? After all they are his parents, his sister and his nephew. Surely he has spoken to his sister about her baby's problem. Are they not a very close family? I suspect that parents are often closer to their daughters and their children than to their sons. Not that I would know, having no brothers. I'm not seeking to condone, merely to explain, as Elegran has done, your in-laws' behaviour.
I should think that Christmas would be the ideal time to have a get-together with all the family. If the babies are together, I am sure your in-laws will see the wisdom of treating them equally.

shysal Mon 24-Oct-11 16:50:15

From following other threads on Gransnet, it seems to me that grandparents are often closer to the children of their daughter than to those of their son. I suppose the mother/daughter bond is closer than mil/dil. I think the suggestion that you stay close to your sister-in-law is a good one, so that the cousins can be friends.
I hope your in-laws soon realise that they and your son could be missing out. Hope all is resolved soon. thanks

notevensecondbest Mon 24-Oct-11 17:13:19

I do see my sil when I can and the two children get along as well as such young babies can, but due to the distance arrangements are always made in advance, so the pil always know when I'm going there and it seems like pil just don't want to see us. My partner is hurt and disgusted. He says this but disgusted is quite a strong word, confused perhaps as to why they don't want to see him or his son, I'm not too traumatized by them not wanting to see me but i hurt for my partner and I hurt for my baby. I have asked a few questions of my sil before about the cleft palate just to understand what support she might need from me, but I don't feel i have the knowledge to question whether it is something that would reasonably require such compensating. I can only relay what I've been told and i try my best to understand. My sil tells me that he has a small dip in the roof of his mouth that doesn't hinder him at all now he is on puree, and is due for a small corrective procedure in November. She also told me that she feels awkward about the attention being focused on one child and has tried to encourage them to come and see the cousins playing together,but that they insist that they are ridiculously busy. I understand that when nephew was a newborn it was quite difficult with the feeding because he could not make a proper vacuum in his mouth and it took the hv a couple of weeks to notice. I didn't begrudge her any time that she needed help from her parents because being a new mum is hard especially when your baby can't eat well or sleep well and I take my hat off to sil, but surely now my sil is telling them that her little boy doesn't require all the fuss they would ease off and even out the visits? It seems a little extreme but it just feels like they don't want us to exist in a way. I'm getting married next year and would have loved for my mil to take over the motb role, but the only response to the invitation was to ask if we had invited the nephew... I don't even know what to make of it myself but it feels like writing it down makes it easier to break it down, maybe I could link her to this and she could see what's going on outside her busy world

crimson Mon 24-Oct-11 17:18:56

I feel there are a lot of complicated emotions going on here, and agree that it's to do with your sil's child having a cleft palate and also the mother/daughter bond which becomes very strong at such times. What I do find sad is that I always felt that I would never be allowed to be close to a child born to my son, and yet here is a daughter in law wanting [and dare I say] needing that closeness. Maybe the boy will need to have operations [which always have a slight risk] which makes your mil want to spend as much time as possible with him? There seems to be a bit of overcompensation going on. But, as I said, a lot of emotions floating around.

notevensecondbest Mon 24-Oct-11 17:42:07

I've forgotten my own manners I haven't thanked you all for your answers smile

em Mon 24-Oct-11 17:57:20

This is difficult isn't it? It seems that you and your sil have formed a good friendship and you seem to be able to talk quite frankly. Maybe this friendship is the way to solve it if you can work together. Getting the babies together would be the ideal way to do it so how about having a photo opportunity with the wee ones and invite grandparents along to take part either at your home or sil's.

notevensecondbest Mon 24-Oct-11 18:08:43

Sadly we have offered to have everyone round, both me, and sil have tried this but they always have an avoidance excuse, they just don't want to be in a situation where their attention is divided or diverted away from my nephew and it's becoming irritating. They don't even want the photos I gave them my sil advises me that they're still in the envelope, stuffed behind other bits and bobs. I don't know what it is that they find so repulsive about my baby that they are excluding him. Perhaps they resent that he is healthy while his cousin has not been so fortunate, I don't mean to sound nasty at all but there was always a high chance of some form of birth defect as sadly my sil refused to give up smoking despite infinite cajoling from various relatives until her 30 th week. By then the damage was perhaps done if the condition can be caused by smoking, if not I apologize for my assumptions.

em Mon 24-Oct-11 18:20:50

Maybe it's time to force the issue a bit? What if sil invited them over and you just 'happen' to turn up. It would be very difficult not to be a happy gran when two cute cousins are together. How could she resist having one on each knee for a pic if you and your sil work together? Sorry if I seem to be blethering on but I do find it difficult to understand so my heart goes out to you if you've tried so hard and are frustrated! One of these days she is going to regret missing such these chances to have her two wee boys together.

Annobel Mon 24-Oct-11 18:25:57

It would be interesting to see what they would do with a photo of the two babies together, in a nice frame, given as a Christmas gift - better from your SiL, perhaps.

Elegran Mon 24-Oct-11 18:30:34

I don't think smoking while pregnant would have influenced the cleft palate. That is a development problem.

notevensecondbest Mon 24-Oct-11 18:31:37

I hope it ends before the children are old enough to cotton on. I haven't thought of a surprise party crash really, i will mull it over with my partner, it's a good idea but if it backfires and I see them in person, rejecting my baby I will either explode or burst into tears it's so hurtful and I wish I could swap her for one of the poor ladies on that very sad thread who have been cut off from their grandchildren. It's just so pathetic if I was an outsider looking in I wouldn't believe it was true for a moment that someone could inflict their bias on an innocent child.

notevensecondbest Mon 24-Oct-11 18:34:38

Hmm, the photo is a very good idea, I will try that too and see if she displays it, or she could discard, hide, or cut it to her taste...I'm sorry to be so negative but I'm going doolally trying to figure it out why she doesn't want anything at all to do with him

crimson Mon 24-Oct-11 18:46:54

Did they realise the baby would have a cleft palate before he was born? It was one of the things that my grandchildren were screened for, I'm sure. Not that it would make a difference to what is happening now.

notevensecondbest Mon 24-Oct-11 19:18:36

No, they didn't notice until a few weeks after which is about the same time we made it onto the ignore list

gracesmum Mon 24-Oct-11 19:42:08

It sounds like a case of over-compensation for wht they see as a birth defect --I have never,ever been able to excuse favouritism in GPs but I think I can sense some motives here -maybe they feel your baby will do fine but the other one "needs" them more? I can also wonder if it says something about how they feel about their daughter in comparison with their son? Maybe she was always the "protected" one while her brother was considered more able to take care of himself?
I would have it out with them and risk WW 3 - why are they discriminating agains your baby? Do they intend to go on like that and do they understand how unhappy it is making you and your DH to see them rejecting him,especially as your own Mum is not there as the other granny?
As someone said earlier how does your partner feel about this? I can feel for you feeling pain on your baby's behalf - but remember, he will not have the slightest idea!

grannyactivist Mon 24-Oct-11 19:49:38

Hello notevensecondbest - It's much easier and more satisfying to have a strop than to look for a constructive way forward, so well done for seeking advice on this issue. There are no quick fixes or easy answers I'm afraid. Keep talking to your SIL and let her intercede on your behalf if she has a mind to do that, but I'm afraid favouritism does exist and what can't be changed must be borne with as much grace as you can muster. Your hurt is understandable; if your own mother was alive your feelings would be tempered by the knowledge that your own mum would enjoy being 'granny'.

One way forward might be to write to your in laws and ask them to offer you some dates when they can meet up with you and your son. A gentle reminder that he has no other granny might encourage them to take your request seriously.

notevensecondbest Mon 24-Oct-11 20:06:38

Before either of us had children we were all equal and loved, we visited the pil each week, or they visited us.When I became pregnant they were excited and treated me like a princess, but mil was worried that I'd only have time for my own mum. I wouldn't have excluded her in any way as my partners baby both mothers were equally important. Suddenly a few days after i announced my pregnancy my mum died and mil seemed to revel in the fact that she could now be top granny. In her words to my partner " it's so sad about her mum, but at least I won't have to compete for time with your baby" I just didn't even rise to it when he told me, I guess she didn't realize what she was saying. Then when their daughter got pregnant shortly after, it was oh poor poor sil even though she was sailing and I had hyperemesis on top of a world of grief. Eventually as time passed I went for my last scan my baby was breech and too big to turn so I had a planned cs, pil were very excited and were in the hospital before I'd even left the theatre, they came every day for 4 days and gave my baby lots of cuddles ect, when I got out they practically lived in my house which was quite unhelpful as they just wanted to take the baby from me (made bf difficult!) and drink tea but I never made them feel unwelcome. This carried on until my sil gave birth, they eased off, this was fine as i thought now sil needed 'help' to adjust, her baby cried and screamed lots, after a few weeks the hv saw the cleft, and it was after this time I noticed that they had just completely lost interest.

Elegran Mon 24-Oct-11 20:10:48

notevensecondbest I cannot believe that no-one noticed the cleft for weeks! New babies are checked out all over!

Notsogrand Mon 24-Oct-11 20:18:23

Hello noteven. I really appreciate your concern about your son's relationship with his paternal grandparents. There's some really sound advice here from other grans about potential ways forward with this.
I just wanted to offer the thought that the most significant _long term_ relationship within this situation is that between your son and his cousin. The boys have a whole lifetime ahead of them, much of which they can hopefully share.
Thank goodness you have a sound link with your sister in law, so you can both work together to promote the boys' developing relationship. From everything you've said, it seems that even though the grandparents may be a bit skewed in their responses, you 2 mums have got your priorities right for your little boys. That's more important than anything the grandparents do or don't do. smile

notevensecondbest Mon 24-Oct-11 21:03:53

Thanks again for the replies. Kind words and good advice, Elegran not sure how it was missed I'm just going on what I was told but up til today I can't see it despite my sil's attempts to point it out to me. I'm an untrained eye though but she says its small. She kicked up quite a fuss about them not noticing and to be honest the hospital in this city is negligent at best or my mum would still be here sad

Faye Mon 24-Oct-11 21:09:39

Favourtism is one of my pet hates. I have had lots of experience of it with my own grandparents and still find to this day that my memories of them are not kindly. In my family it was very obvious and those of us who were not favoured were treated quite badly by the grandparents.

I have three children and never had favourites, of course sometimes you get on better with one more than another but they were all my babies and I love them dearly and they have said when they were adults how much they appreciated me not favouring one over another. If one was angry with the other for some reason I would always mention that their brother or sister thought they were wonderful. That must have worked as my children as adults have always been happy for each other if things are going well for that other one.

In 2008 I was lucky enough to have three grandchildren born to all of my three children in seventeen days. They were my third, fourth and fifth grandchildren. My youngest grandchild has a heart condition and had a major heart operation on his second day. Even though I often wake up in the morning and my first thought is worry about him I still love all of my five grandchildren all so much I would at this instant lay down my life for any one of them.

Your in laws are idiots and I don't think anyone should make excuses for them. How hurtful for your son and you to be treated like this. I think your husband should write and let them know how bloody hurt you both are that they are so obviously favouring your nephew to the extent that they don't even want to see their own son and grandson. I agree and would also risk WW3 having it out with them. If this doesn't work I would also find it hard to even bother with them and/or even invite them to my wedding. They probably would be there holding your nephew the whole time and ignore your child anyway.

My advice to you would be to not let this be one thing that spoils your baby's young years. Obviously their heart just isn't big enough for more than one grandchild and probably any other grandchildren that come along will never equal their favourite anyway. Just know that your baby is just as precious too!

harrigran Mon 24-Oct-11 23:39:47

Some people feel the need to compensate children who they consider have had a rough deal. My MIL did that with my DH's youngest brother's child who had a very rare disorder. She maintained that the child would never have the quality of life that the rest of the GC had.