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How to deal with the other annoying/overbearing GPs?

(47 Posts)
Nansnet Wed 30-Aug-23 11:18:37

Well, just that really!

I thought we were over situations like this since our GCs were born a few years ago, and we took a step back, and let the other GPs just get on with it. However, since our DS and family moved closer to both sets of GPs, they have become insufferable.

Previously, they had their own time visiting and spending time with the GCs, and we had ours. Things were fairly harmonious. However, now that they are living closer, they have taken over the show, so to speak.

She is quite overbearing, and they are both self absorbed people, and often manipulate situations to suit themselves. They are constantly telling us about our own grandchildren, as though we don't know them, or spend any time with them (we do!).

They constantly spout off to mutual friends about 'their' grandchildren, as though we have nothing to do with them. We wouldn't be able to get a word in edgeways even if we wanted to! I've been in situations with friends where I've been asked something about the GCs, and one of them will take over the conversation!

We're getting to the point where we really want to spend as little time with them as possible, but due to our family dynamics, and mutual friends, this is very difficult. We really don't want to rock the boat, or have any fallings out, as this wouldn't be fair on our DiL and DS.

I can see they are going to be a thorn in our sides for years to come! Any advice on how to handle people like this would be most welcome! Thanks!

jocork Fri 01-Sep-23 14:27:16

My DiL's parents are lovely and I'm so grateful! We all live at a distance to the grandchildren but I don't think there is any competitiveness about how often we see them. Hopefully things will stay this way. They have other GC too whereas the shared grandchildren are my only ones. I wonder if this is a factor for you - are there other GC on either side? I'm just grateful for the times I do spend with my GC, some of which is shared with them and some when it is just me. W are just one big happy family.

Norah Fri 01-Sep-23 14:57:02

Ignore them. You be you, it will self sort.

Saggi Fri 01-Sep-23 15:01:43

I’m fortunate really ….as I’m only remaining grandparent to my two…. I sometimes wish I weren’t and could share them occasionally.
I try to tell them about the other grandmother who I only knew a year before she died , when our joint grandson was 14 months ….try to keep her ‘there’ for him …but he’s 16 now and doesn’t ask of her. Shame …I think she might have made a better gran than me!

Cabbie21 Fri 01-Sep-23 16:10:09

The less time you spend with the other grandparents, the better, by the sound of it.
When my son and his wife had their children, I lived miles away, whereas her parents lived close by, so naturally they saw more of the other GPs. Fortunately for me, when I visited, they did not encroach on my time with them. I can understand how infuriating it must be though. Best thing is to cultivate your own life. If it doesn’t revolve entirely round the GC, you won’t feel the stress so much. As others have said, try and let it wash over you.

pascal30 Fri 01-Sep-23 16:58:48

I would just concentrate on having a good relationship with your son and DIL and everything else will follow..

Nansnet Fri 01-Sep-23 17:27:00

The sad thing is, before the GCs came along, even before our DS and DiL were married, we all had a very good relationship. We often socialised together, and even went on a couple of holidays together, even without DS & DiL. But once the GCs came along things changed. They became so obsessed with the GCs, and frankly, often, they made us feel like we were surplus to requirements, and in the way. Anyway, we know that DS and DiL won't let us be pushed out, so we'll just carry on, and try to ignore their over the top grandparenting!

Nan0 Fri 01-Sep-23 18:09:31

I always maintain that the mother , the daughter in law or daughter with the child (ren) grandparents are the senior so to speak grandparents and make it a rule that I as mother of the son married to their daughter, see them as the main grandparents but in my case I live close to my sons family and they live far away so I do see more of the grandkids than they do, so when they visit I never intrude on their time..and if we are together, let the senior grandparents do their thing with the other grans nutters say, best to let it wash over and around and not worry

icanhandthemback Fri 01-Sep-23 20:42:25

I have the opposite problem. My SIL's mother is extremely jealous of my relationship with our grandchildren and made up her mind that she would be considered to be the lesser grandparent because not only is she the paternal GP but a poorer one. I try to take a back seat when she is around but she is so poe faced that the children gravitate to me again. If we go on a picnic, she will deliberately place her chair as far away as possible and if her parents dare to integrate, they cop it when they get home. When she told my daughter that she didn't like me and didn't want to be at the same family events as me, I offered to take a step backward but my SIL wouldn't have it. He told her that she was entitled to make her own decision but there was no way the grandchildren and I would be put out. Now she hates me even more.
The funny thing is, when my DGD was telling me about how she didn't like her grandmother because her parents had had an argument with her, I was very firm about how her parents' arguments weren't hers and that her grandmother loved her dearly. I would never say anything against her to my grandchildren and I am firmly of the belief that the more people the children have to love, the better off they are.

Hammo Fri 01-Sep-23 20:56:07

Saw GP’s - and thought this was about doctors 🤦🏼‍♀️! Much more serious, though. I do think this is very tough and heartbreaking.

NotSpaghetti Sat 02-Sep-23 08:17:18

Having an overbearing doctor Hammo would be pretty grim too!

I admit I expected it to be a "medical" thread as well!

swampy1961 Sat 02-Sep-23 21:51:28

I can understand both points of view here as DH and I both have children from a previous marriages and we both have the DCs other parents to consider as well as GGPs too. We have 10 GCs between us with another due imminently and varying relationships with all of them as well all the various GPs. With some of the GCs we are (to them) the main GPs and with others we very much have to take a back seat particularly when some of the other GPs seem to over compensate and are overbearing with the GCs but we will not enter into competitive mode as it isn't fair on the GCs particularly if the other GPs don't make too much effort with them but want to monopolise GCs when they do see them!!
I know that DH was deeply hurt when his DS and DDil was letting all and sundry friends and relatives visit their first child. We had said let us know when is a good time to visit and it took his DD to tear a strip off her brother for how crass they had been. His GS was nearly 3 weeks old before they said it was a good time to visit!! This has had a knock on effect as DDil's parents have been the dominant GPs the whole time. But it's now turned full circle as they won't make themselves available to pick the boys up after school and we are expected to pick them up (we live two minutes walk from their school) feed them tea and entertain them until collected. We put our foot down and said only twice a week as we look after other GC's too but also want to have some time to ourselves. But sadly the boys have been badly over indulged by DDils parents and are very often rude and badly behaved and do not like being told No! However their sister is totally different simply because the same GP's have had less input with her.
We neither of us retired to spend more hours looking after GC's than we spent working a full time day however much we love all our GCs.
We do see the other GPs and GGPs socially on occasion but prefer to maintain a safe distance and mix with other guests. It's a minefield out there at times!!
So OP tread carefully and avoid the other GPs as much as you can. Keep your circle of friends close to you and develop new ones for yourselves. Your friends will have seen for themselves how these people are being regarding your mutual GCs. Don't reveal any of your activities in advance regarding the GCs and make your time with them one that is full of happy memories for them and you. Good luck

dizzygran Mon 04-Sep-23 08:23:32

Some good advice here. GC are lucky if they have 2 sets of GP around who love them. We GPs are time limited. Enjoy our GC - they are a bonus to our lives. Put up and shut up about the other GPs. Never complain or run anyone down to your AC - they will have their own issues to contend with. Try to do some fun things as a family - maybe a theatre trip or lunch without other Gps. take care.

Mamasperspective Mon 04-Sep-23 18:50:23

Whereas you see them as overbearing, DIL and DS may not. It's likely DIL is just closer to her mother than she is to you (back to the old saying, 'A son is a son til he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter for all of her life') and thus they get a lot more access.

As for rubbing it in your face, I would just say something along the lines of 'I know, GC does that at our house too' (rinse and repeat)

Nansnet Wed 06-Sep-23 04:53:15

Lots of very good advice, thanks everyone!

Mamasperspective, as I mentioned further up post, DS (& DiL) most definitely do see them as overbearing. DS doesn't want to 'rock the boat', so to speak, or upset DiL by saying anything and causing any upset/atmosphere with her parents. DiL is a very sweet person, who just wants to try to keep everyone happy. It's also a fact that she's intimidated by her own parents, particularly her mother, and she never says what she really thinks/feels, because her mother always knows best! Although, DiL is always very relaxed in our company when her parents aren't around, and we all enjoy spending time together. It's a shame really, but, hopefully, she'll one day stand up for herself, I have seen a couple of instances of this recently. If that's what a close mother/daughter relationship is all about, I'm so glad that my relationship with my own DD is based on love and mutual respect for each other, and that's how I treat my DiL too.

MonaG Wed 20-Sep-23 01:10:50

I’m a brand new Step Grandmother and this is the only chance I will ever have a grandson. It’s so exciting and at the same time I don’t even know how to have a role in this precious child’s life.
Today I sent our first card to our grandson who is two days old. My husband signed Grandpa and I didn’t sign because I didn’t know what to sign.
It’s important to me that I have any title that the family will allow me to have. You GiGi or Nana or something similia. Of course I don’t expect to be called grandmother because it’s not my role however I want to love this child with a role of some kind. I want to sign my cards with an endearing name. Is that crazy or ridiculous to want? How would y’all sign cards?

theodoreevans Wed 20-Sep-23 03:23:22

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Grandmabatty Wed 20-Sep-23 05:36:32


Nanatoone Wed 20-Sep-23 07:25:09

I often feel like the only GP (husband died four years ago and very much missed). The other GM lives up the road with her third hubby but never bothers with them. She spends all her time with “her GC” that’s her own daughter’s children. She once told me that I was the third parent in “my GC’s” lives and she was the same for her daughter. It’s tremendously sad as my GC know she is there but hardly see them. Similarly with the GF and his wife. I feel for my little GC having adults in their lives that somehow prefer their “own” GC. I find it very odd.

NotSpaghetti Wed 20-Sep-23 09:09:14

Re this, MonaG:

It’s important to me that I have any title that the family will allow me to have. You GiGi or Nana or something similia. Of course I don’t expect to be called grandmother because it’s not my role however I want to love this child with a role of some kind. I want to sign my cards with an endearing name.

Could you not tell the new parents this?
I would definitely do this. I think you need to contact them as you did not sign your partner's card and they could be wondering why.
Can you call them and explain?
Tell them you don't want to tread on anyone's toes but are truly excited gor them and would be very pleased to have a role in the little one's life.
Ask them what they would like the baby to know you as?

icanhandthemback Wed 20-Sep-23 11:33:27

MonaG, I am a step grandparent too and when the first grandchild was born I had to ask what did they want me to call myself for their child. They were somewhat surprised because they just naturally assumed I would be Nanny X just as they had always called my Mum by Nanny plus her first name. Since then all the grandchildren have used the same Monika, even my own grandchildren. Do ask, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Cabbie21 Wed 20-Sep-23 13:07:29

My stepson refers to me as Grandma Cabbie, ( ie first name).
I do wonder what sort of relationship, if any, I will have with his daughter now that her Grandad is no longer with us. They live quite a way away, and I don’t see myself making the journey now. We get on alright when we meet but are not close. It was always made quite clear that the relationship was between Grandad and Granddaughter.