Gransnet forums


Being concerned

(53 Posts)
StormySunshine Sat 13-Aug-22 10:52:36

I have originally posted this on Mumsnet but got a lot of basing and not much help ? I'd really appreciate feedback from anyone who's been in a SIMILAR situation, not an opinion on rights and wrongs. Please bare with the long post but don't want to drip feed. I have a DSD who is close to me and DH - not much contact with her mother. Her and her DP had kids very young (18 & 19). We were very supportive. I look on them as my own DGC and her as my own DD. We have a very regular contact, oldest DGC is 7, the other is 2. We travel a lot, she used to come with us whenever we had her (she moved in with us at 14 by choice). I've been asking them for years if we could bring DGC with us on a holiday (we have gone together a couple of times with them all). Feb just gone they finally agreed to let him come for half term skiing and it was great. This summer they said they can't afford a holiday so I suggested taking the eldest DGS with us for a week/ten days abroad at our expense. We have a flat by the sea and a mountain house. They refused, saying that 'he doesn't need it" but we can have him/them when we are back in the UK. Now he's stuck at home for 6 weeks with just his mum and little DB (SIL works 6 days a week). They aren't very social, DGS doesn't have any friends for playdates, doesn't go to any clubs, etc. I am really at a loss as to why he wasn't allowed to come and quite a bit concern about his lack of interaction outside school. How do I approach this difficult conversation without coming across as criticising their parenting - she is otherwise a fantastic mum and I tell her that often.

wildswan16 Sat 13-Aug-22 11:16:21

On first reading your post I was assuming mother was alone with the children, but I see their father is with them.

There could be any number of reasons. Maybe they want some family time together with both children. Maybe they don't want one child to be away, therefore leaving one behind alone. Maybe they don't want their children to feel that grandparents are more "fun" than they are.

How they bring up their children, as you admit, is up to the parents. If you try to encourage them to your way of thinking and your wishes for the children they may well begin to resent it.

geekesse Sat 13-Aug-22 11:17:57

Short answer - you don’t.

Maybe Mum just wants to spend some quality time with her son, maybe she has other reasons, but whatever they are, it’s not really something you need to question. All this play date/ clubs/activities stuff that some young parents get caught up in is neither necessary nor compulsory, and can end up being pretty expensive. And maybe, just maybe, she’s worried that you seem to favour the older boy over the younger child.

I was a single parent, and I used to love the summer holidays with my kids - we had long earnest chats over meals, danced round the kitchen to silly songs, cooked together, played French cricket, swingball and boules in the garden, had long evenings with board games and canasta, and sat up late with a telescope stargazing. They got all the socialising they needed during termtime, and the holiday was all about family time and building happy memories. They occasionally went swimming with friends in a local millpond or kicked a football around, but that was all. They now look back on those holidays with pleasure.

If any of them had been asked to spend 10 days on their own with either grandparent, they would have flat out refused. Have you considered that a seven year old child might express a reluctance to spend that much time with an ageing couple in an unfamiliar place and having to be on best behaviour to please Granny?

PoppyBlue Sat 13-Aug-22 11:26:16

You don't.

Chewbacca Sat 13-Aug-22 11:33:44

I agree with geekesse on this; I wouldn't have wanted my DC to have gone away for 10 days with GPs either, especially as that would mean that the 2 year old is left on his own with no sibling for company. Personally, I'd leave it until both children are of an age where they can both be invited and I'd be suggesting an initial long weekend first, rather than 10 days. But bear in mind, it's the parents who have the final decision.

Kate1949 Sat 13-Aug-22 11:37:34

Their children, their decision.

Cabbie21 Sat 13-Aug-22 11:38:27

I helped cover childcare for one grandchild during school holidays whilst the younger one was in full time nursery, but after that, the parents wanted them both to come, not just one, so I think that may be the reason.

Smileless2012 Sat 13-Aug-22 11:41:34

You just have to accept the decision that's been made. All of the suggested reasons are reasonable so look forward to spending some time with your GC on your return.

welbeck Sat 13-Aug-22 11:43:11

agree with above replies.
you say that you do not want to hear about the rights and wrongs.
you have already got flamed on MN, of course.
you just want to hear from people in similar situations.
but. you have put yourself in this situation.
and the only advice anyone can give is to
remove yourself from it.
i doubt you will take the point though.
watch out, or you may lose contact with all of them.

Elizabeth27 Sat 13-Aug-22 11:54:14

Although the two-year-old would not have been aware maybe the parents think it should be both children go away with you or neither of them.

If the parents are not concerned about his interaction outside school then do not worry about it.

MagicWand Sat 13-Aug-22 11:55:25

I can understand your thinking but I can also understand theirs. One of our AC is not in a position to be able to afford a family holiday this year. Afraid we are not in the position of having a couple of holiday homes so we offered to take the whole family for a break which was accepted enthusiastically.

Is there something obvious you haven’t mentioned that stops you offering your young family, who are in the same position, the use of your flat by the sea or mountain house?

BlueBelle Sat 13-Aug-22 12:01:00

I totally agree with the other posters do not say anything it really isn’t your business
I had to read this through two or three times because of all the DSD s and the other D whatsits which makes it very confusing but I think I ve got it now
I totally agree with your step daughter because you’ve already taken your seven-year-old grandson away on one overseas holiday I’m sure she wouldn’t want you taking him on another when the younger one hasn’t had anything, maybe she would let them go together or maybe she feels they’re too young at seven and 4 to go on an overseas holiday whatever her reason she has said no and that is what you have to abide by you’ve already had the eldest one to yourselves this year Why doesn’t the little one get a look in ?

I would not have let my child go on a second overseas holiday and leave the smaller one at home AGAIN

Whatever their reason you simple abide by it … harm in asking both of them for next summer but way too much for now
As for interacting you say she’s a brilliant mum so she will pick up if anything extra is needed He ll find his feet some kids like adults are more interactive than others
Calm down and enjoy your mountain retreat with your husband

BlueBelle Sat 13-Aug-22 12:14:59

Sorry 2 year old yes magicwands right why can’t you offer the four of them a holiday in one of your homes that would be lovely
Be interesting what answers you got on Mumsnet I don’t know what a lot of basing is ??

Zonne Sat 13-Aug-22 12:18:10

I take my granddaughters away singly for something the are particularly interested in - a sports event for one, a dance show for another etc - but just for a night or two, and I make sure they all have pretty much equal time/activities.

And when my children have been a bit skint, and I haven’t, I’ve invited the whole lot, including all the adults, away for a break.

I can see that your intentions are good, but I agree with MagicWand: offer them one of your extra homes, and, if you’d like to spend time with them, join them for a very small part of their holiday.

HousePlantQueen Sat 13-Aug-22 12:22:45

However well meaning your offer of a holiday for 7 year old grandchild is, it could be interpreted as favouritism over the younger child. Why not offer the entire young family the use of one of your holiday homes?

welbeck Sat 13-Aug-22 12:23:32

BlueBelle, i guess it was bashing; or maybe that speciality of MN, basting with hot oil...aka flaming.

VioletSky Sat 13-Aug-22 12:24:27

10 days is a long time, not just for the parents but for the little sibling who would miss their brother.

I would say nothing, they are the oarents and set the rules.

In future I'd offer to take both siblings somewhere and for a shorter time

ShazzaKanazza Sat 13-Aug-22 13:59:09

I agree with the other posters in that you have to go along with what they say and not say anything.
I would not have wanted my parents or mother in law to take my young children away for a week or ten days without me.
We are taking the grandchildren away next year but with their parents so we can all have fun together. I would be offering them the use of a holiday home to enjoy. I would love to buy a holiday home so my GC can go away with their parents. Especially my son who can’t really afford a holiday.

You are obviously a caring grandmother but I really wouldn’t mention it again only to either offer to pay for you all to go away together or the use of your holiday home. As grandparents we often have to take a step back and go along with what they say. X

Lathyrus Sat 13-Aug-22 14:08:59

Yes, I’ve experienced this but from the other side. My children had grandparents who liked to spend time with my oldest son. For various reasons his younger brother wasn’t invited, age being one factor.

Whatever the reason for their wanting time with just one child, we decided it couldn’t be. a regular expectation. We came as a package.

Also my son, although he enjoyed his trip away with his grandparents, did say when the second school holiday trip was mooted “Will I always have to go away now?”

Maybe it isn’t just the parents who are reluctant?

StormySunshine Sat 13-Aug-22 14:37:01

Thank you all for your perspectives. Just to answer the most asked question: I have offered, of course, our homes, but they say they can't afford flights and spending money for all 4. DGS1 would've come over with his uncle and came back with all if us (did that in Feb the other way round). He can't have both on a plane and I believe that would be completely out of question for my DSD due to his young age and the fact that he's never been away from her for more than a couple of nights so far. We cannot afford 3 or 4 return tickets for them all to come during peak season, that's why we said we can only pay for one. With prices in the UK being what they are, his flight will cover a day out at an amusement park over here for 4 people. As to the "ageing grandparents" - I'm sure 48 isn't that old FGS! Plus we have friends and family with similar age kids over there, so plenty of company. Both DGSs are very different - DGS1 is social, engaged and loves to be out. DGS2 is a Covid baby, very reserved and doesn't like even going to the park. I guess, I have to accept the eldest will be missing out on various activities, since the young one isn't into anything and they tend to spend much of their time at home. Thank you for the advice! I will back off.

VioletSky Sat 13-Aug-22 14:52:10

I think if you aren't careful the disapproval about eldest missing out in your comment is going to come across to them.

At 2 the little one won't be impacted by covid, they don't need huge amounts of socialisation as a baby, they need secure attachments with their parents.

If you are concerned that the 2 year old doesnt like outside activities and isnt sociable, why leave them out anyway?

Why don't you just make your activities something everyone can afford? Lots of country parks and places exist that just need parking to explore and you can take a picnic that would be normal lunch anyway.

Take balls, take a Frisbee, take a bike....

This will still create positive lasting memories for the older child and no one is excluded.

FannyCornforth Sat 13-Aug-22 14:56:30

Geekesse just popping my head around the door to say that your description of your life with your children sounds absolutely idyllic. You must be the most amazing mum!

Hithere Sat 13-Aug-22 15:03:15

I am glad you are backing off.
Agree with all posts

StormySunshine Sat 13-Aug-22 15:11:54

@VioletSky We do all that anyway. And it's not a question of "wanting" to leave DGS2 out - I believe I have explained the reasons earlier. Would love to have both, but can't see that happening anytime soon... And since I am on palliative care at the RMH for the last few years, I have no clue whether I'll be around for them all to have saved money to come next summer...

Chewbacca Sat 13-Aug-22 15:13:39

I wish you well StormySunshine flowers