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How can I make sure late DH has influence over his GC

(17 Posts)
trueblue22 Fri 02-Aug-19 22:25:13

My late DH died just over 2 years ago. He never really had time to get to know his only two GC, who are now 2 & 5.

My DH was a free spirit who loved life. He was a bon viveur, a walking encyclopedia, had great warmth and loved nature; a huge personality.

I'm on holiday with my DD, her husband and the GC, as well as her husband's parents.

DD's in-laws are very nice but they are the total opposite of my late DH; over cautious, reticent, unchilled and uber tidy. I feel they, and my SIL, are having a bigger influence over their/my GC. I feel so sad that my DH is not here to show them the fearless lust for life and openness that he had.

I mentioned this to my DD on this holiday, especially when her FIL complained about the danger of swimming in the sea here in Ibiza. It made me so sad.

It's as though my late DH is trying to tell me to show them how he lived his life and his way of thinking.

I don't know whether it's my grief that is making me feel.this way, or whether it's natural to want to pass on certain family traits?

Gonegirl Fri 02-Aug-19 22:30:57

The family traits will be passed on trueblue, because they are there in your grandchildren. It may be down to genes, I don't know, but your DH's personality will be in there, regardless of other family influences. Give it time. You will see him in them as they grow.

notnecessarilywiser Fri 02-Aug-19 22:41:58

Not that you want to get into any sort of competition with your DD's ILs, but could you promote different areas of "expertise" with the little ones based on your DH's approach to life? For example, my GSs know that I'm the one to go to for a repertoire of silly jokes, but their other grandmother will be able to sing beautifully with them. She will take them for a pre-breakfast swim on holiday, but I'm the one who knows where the best rock pool creatures can be found. No competition, honestly, just two grandparents providing a wealth of experience and outlook for the children.

You'll have the added advantage of telling them about things your DH used to do or say - in my experience small children love to hear that sort of thing, especially if there's an occasional "rude" or funny or unexpected element to the tale.

Not very original suggestions, OP, but I applaud you keeping your DH's memory alive in the minds of the GCs.

GoodMama Fri 02-Aug-19 23:12:45

Trueblue, my deepest condolences on the loss of your dear husband. I'm sure your daughter misses her father as well, I would encourage you two to share stories of him and his lust for life as the children get older and learn to understand.

As other posters said, he's in there somewhere for sure. They are just so young, please don't stress if it seems like the other set of grandparents are "over-influencing".

Take the kids on your own adventures, let your DH's memory and fearless nature work through you. Don't make everything about him, don't make him a mythical figure they can never live up to or meet, just mention him with your daughter. They will begin to ask questions.

In the meantime, be your own free spirited self and the grandma you are. It will all balance out. Hugs to you.

stella1949 Sat 03-Aug-19 05:17:46

Just be your own self - but don't make a big thing of "influencing" your grandchildren. Their main influences in life will be their parents, then to a lesser extent their grandparents, and other extended family. I'm sure your DH was a wonderful man, but the children will pick up on all sorts of influences in their lives, and you can't expect that one person's character will loom larger in their lives than any other. Let the children grow up to be their own people - not a reflection of others.

kittylester Sat 03-Aug-19 07:10:25

I think there is good advice here. Also, your daughter is her father's daughter so that will have a bearing on how your dgc are brought up.

sodapop Sat 03-Aug-19 07:43:19

I know how you feel trueblue22 My son in law died when his children were very young. The children are now grown but have some of their father's traits especially my grandson. It's hard to understand as he was only a baby when his father died. Just talk naturally about your husband when the subject arises but don't make a big issue out of it all.

BlueBelle Sat 03-Aug-19 08:36:55

sodapop we were only saying this the other day one if my my grandsons (18) was only 6 when his dad died he only has snatches of memories and yet so many things are coming out that is so like his Dad things that his sister doesn’t share
Don’t force anything, you can’t, but when you have the grandchildren do things that he would have done and then you can bring him into the conversation

Iam64 Sat 03-Aug-19 08:42:49

Your feelings are understandable and reflect the loss you are living with.
There is increasing evidence about the way personalities are part of the DNA package. Your grandchildren have inherited lots of influences, including your husband's love and lust for life. You're a lucky family, to all be on holiday together. Enjoy this special time x

eazybee Sat 03-Aug-19 08:55:40

Young children love hearing stories about themselves when little, so talk to your grandchildren about incidents involving them and their grandfather, just simple things like baby games he would play with them, gifts he gave them, , similarities in tastes and preferences, how thrilled he was to know them (however slight the relationship), stories where the child is the centre, always stressing the love and affection between them. As they get older tell them things about his childhood, and how interested/proud he would be to know whatever it is they are doing at that particular time.
It all helps to give the grandchildren a sense of identity and knowledge of their family.

Don't seek to compare your husband with their grandparents, or attempt to counteract their influence; "DD's in-laws are very nice but they are the total opposite of my late DH............."
Dangerous ground.

Deedaa Sat 03-Aug-19 15:47:57

My father died when DD was four and he lived 300 miles away so she had seldom seen him. But he did telephone every week and always spoke to her when he did. 40 years later she still remembers those phone calls.

Starlady Mon 05-Aug-19 00:28:51

My deepest sympathies on your loss, trueblue. And on DD's loss of her father, as well. He sounds like an amazing man, and you must miss him very much. xx

IMO, you've received lots of good advice here. I especially like the ideas about telling stories about your DH. And I agree that some of his traits will come through even in GC who never met him. My own DGC show some traits of family members who died before they were ever born.

Just please keep in mind that, overall, parents are "supposed to" be a bigger influence on kids than GPs and others. So it's totally normal and natural if SIL has a greater impact on your GC than your late DH. If his personality reflects that of his own parents, that can't be helped. No doubt, the other parent, DD, reflects some of her dad's attitudes, also, How they work that out, of course, is up to them.

Tonk Mon 05-Aug-19 03:06:49

I feel they, and my SIL, are having a bigger influence over their/my GC.

This is a bit of a troubling statement, of course your SIL - their own father - is going to have a bigger influence on his children than your late DH, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this & is completely natural.

Children are their own person & unique in their own right, 5 siblings with the same upbringing & same influences can end up having 5 completely different personalities so just enjoy them for who they are.

M0nica Mon 05-Aug-19 17:58:12

Just talk about him. DDiL's father died when she was about 6, but she has photographs of him on display and he features in family conversation.

Why not have pictures of him on display in your house (if you do not already) and just talk about him naturally and if you can see traits of him in your grandchildren, comment on it.

You cannot influence your grandchildren, but you can make him part of their lives just be talking about him when it is relevant.

crazyH Mon 05-Aug-19 18:17:22

No one can influence children.....they can probably pass on some of their personality traits. They can probably teach them right from wrong. We can debate all we want about nature or nurture. In the end, Fate is what turns us into the people we are or into what we become.

SirChenjin Mon 05-Aug-19 18:20:57

Firstly, I’m very sorry for your loss and I can completely understand that you want your DGC to know the kind of person that your DH was - that’s only natural. You and your DD are still able to show them the adventurous side of life but remember that they will become their own people regardless. I’m not sure if you meant to sound derogatory in your description of the in laws but not everyone can be ‘big personalities’ and exhibit the extrovert traits your DH seems to have had - but that’s OK. They will have their own special relationship with the DGC in their own way and they will bring different things to their young lives. Talk to your DHC about him, perhaps look for outdoor classes or activities that would be age appropriate for them but remember that their parents will be their biggest influence, just as you and your DH were with your children - and that’s the way it should be.

Callistemon Mon 05-Aug-19 18:43:57

Yes, the nature/nurture debate has been going on for years.

My DC never met my FIL and in fact he died when DH was 4 so he can't really remember him either. However, we have photos and have talked about him a lot and I think some of my DC may have inherited more traits from that side of the family than from mine.
My own father died when youngest DC was nearly 4 and she can barely remember him although she resembles him physically.

I think telling your grandchildren lovely stories about your DH, sharing photos and memories is the best way to let them know about his zest for life.

In the end, they will be their own person, they may be nothing like your SIL's family - or they may. That's just how it is and their parents will be the ones who are the most influence. Is your DD like her father? If so, I hope she will encourage them to swim in the sea, be adventurous, despite what her FIL said.