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Daughter-in-law jealous of granddaughter

(59 Posts)
Abigailanne Wed 25-May-16 20:01:59

My daughter-in-law has created many problems within our family since our granddaughter was born almost 3 years ago. My son made it clear before they married that he didn't want children and he has stuck to that. D-I-l seems to have taken it out on our granddaughter and is extremely jealous of her. Our daughter lives in Australia so we don't see them often. We have loads of photos of our granddaughter in the house and d-I-l says it's like a shrine to her!!!! Anyone else in a similar situation? Any help gratefully received

tanith Wed 25-May-16 20:51:36

Doesn't sound like you have a very good relationship with your dil Abigailanne what a shame, so are the problems she's created to do with your granddaughter or another problem entirely? I would just ignore anything she says about your granddaughter its not really her business how many or what sort of pics you have in your house so don't let it wind you up by ignoring it.

Abigailanne Wed 25-May-16 21:46:04

Hi tanith, This is the latest issue, it changes from year to year but this is the biggest! She can't/won't spend Christmas with the family as she can't bear to see us making our granddaughter & I quote "her the centre of your univers, it would spoil Christmas for me" unquote. Quite sad, but even sadder is that my son agrees! Thank you for your advice x

tanith Wed 25-May-16 21:53:04

It is sad for parents when their children grow up and gain partners/spouses and their loyalties alter, but its the way of the world and we parents have to just accept their decision to support their own family even if that consists of the two of them. Enjoy your granddaughter just how you want but maybe when other grandchildren come along your first granddaughter won't be the centre of attention as it will be shared amongst them.

Indinana Wed 25-May-16 21:53:07

I'm inclined to wonder if she doesn't actually agree with her husband on the 'no children' rule. Maybe she went along with it and married him because she loves him, all the time hoping she'd get him to change his mind. So the constant reminders of your GD around your home are just much too upsetting for her.

Faye Wed 25-May-16 23:31:43

I think it would be nice if you had some photos of your son and DIL around your house too, that's if you don't already. Your DD and DIL might feel that they are not an important part of the family.

It does seem as though your DIL may want children herself and seeing all those photos of your GD is hurtful. It probably has nothing at all to do with them disliking your GD, though I would tone down your adoration of your GD in front of them.

If your DIL ever does get pregnant it would be helpful if you let her know you will love her DC just as much as DGD.

Faye Wed 25-May-16 23:32:40

*Dd should be DS

Wendysue Thu 26-May-16 00:42:01

Abigailanne, I agree with PPs, especially Faye. IMO, DS and DIL are behaving in a very immature way, but they may feel as if you're saying without actually saying it, "We love GD more than DS; she's more important to us than anyone else; and/or we favor DD and SIL cuz they gave us a GC."

Balancing the scenario, by having more photos up of DS and DIL, if you don't already, as Faye suggests, may help alleviate the problem. Not that anyone has the right to a say in anyone else' decor. But if you want to try to ease their jealousy, adding a few more pics of them may be easy enough and worth giving a try.

It also may help to even out the number of Christmas presents a little more (if that's an issue). Also, perhaps paying more attention to DS and DIL when GD is around, asking them questions about their lives, and so on (again if you don't do that already).

I know it can be hard to focus on anyone else when an adorable child is around, especially if you don't get to see them all that often. So maybe DS and DIL are on the right track and it's better if they're not there when DD and family are. Sad for the sibling and uncle/niece and aunt/niece relationships, I know. But it may be necessary.

But Christmas is a long way off. If you manage to balance out the photos and such, perhaps they'll change their minds about not joining you for it, as we get nearer to the holliday(it's still a long way off). But if not, I think you should just let it be. Maybe see them, separately, on an alternate day, during the Christmas season. Or enjoy other events with them when DD and family back in Australia.

thatbags Thu 26-May-16 07:19:02

Good posts, wendysue and faye. "Gushy" grandparents can be a bit of a pain.

Anya Thu 26-May-16 07:50:19

Odd choice of word 'jealous' ? Jealousy implies she feels less important to someone and that can only be you. She's looking for you to pay more attention to her and your son. That's very understandable.

So your daughter swanned off to Australia but your son stayed and married.

I'd think more about the family you have around you and try to build some boats. You need to put them first most of the time and listen to what they are trying to tell you.

thatbags Thu 26-May-16 08:37:44

Jealousy is a natural and normal emotion. Maybe think about what is causing it.

Greyduster Thu 26-May-16 09:33:32

To some extent, I have had this problem with my son. We only have one grandchild born when we had given up expecting any, so obviously joy at his arrival was unconfined. My son had no children of his own because his first wife had not wanted children, though I've always suspected he would have liked some. He was at the time of which we speak in a relationship with my now d-i-l, who had two boys from her first marriage. When my grandson was born, DS was, on the face of it, pleased, but didn't go out of his way to be here when baby was around, and got quite grumpy about the way we threw ourselves into being hands on GPs. "You spend too much of your time with him". "DD has you on a string" etc. We took an interest in his boys right from the start, and have always liked and had a good relationship with them. They thought the baby was "cool". Once I recognised what was going on - that our relationship with our new grandson was fostering insecurities in our son (insecurities born of him having lost his first wife and not being entirely secure in his new relationship, the seeing us as having a new focus of attention), we did what we could to change the dynamic. Our grandson is now nine, and they get on well though they don't see each other that often, which may help! So I would agree with those who say, throttle back a bit and redirect the focus of your attention towards your son and d-i-l whenever you can. It's not jealousy, it's insecurity and they aren't the same thing.

Elegran Thu 26-May-16 09:41:18

Perhaps her instincts are coming into play and the person she really envies is your daughter, who has a lovely daughter of her own.

Wendysue is right. She could feel like second-best if your house is full of pictures of your grandchild - and none of her and your son. I am sure you don't regard your local family as second-best, but actions are more obvious than thoughts. Maybe you could balance up the apparent bias toward your Australian family with more photos of your local one, and put half of the baby pictures into an album to take out and look at. You could try praise things about her that she is or does better than your son and his wife, too. There are other virtues besides producing the perfect granchild.

Elegran Thu 26-May-16 09:50:17

Can I add in that although jealous is the word used here, and used a lot generally. If I were to be pedantic (wrong thread, but . . .) you are jealous of something you have but could lose if it were taken away (a husband, a reputation) and envious of something you don't have but wish you did (someone else's gorgeous husband, pots of money, wavy hair, the child that someone else has but you don't)

FarNorth Thu 26-May-16 10:10:45

Abigailanne, have all the problems over the last 3 years seemed to relate to your DiL's attitude to your DGD?
In what way does Xmas 'centre around' your DGD?

My DS has a 2 yr old child, my DD has none and wants none. My DD has no animosity towards her niece and wishes her well, as a person, but can only cope with very little of her company and very little chat about her, from me.
That is fine by me and we talk about the same sort of topics we always have.

Try to show your DS and DDiL that you enjoy their company and are interested in them, avoiding mention of your DGD when you are with them.

Lisalou Thu 26-May-16 10:12:38

It is funny, but in my case, the scenario is reversed. I am the DIL and we live abroad, with our daughter. MIL has a long sideboard in her house with family photographs. There is not one of my husband, her youngest son or of her granddaughter. At one stage, I had a frame made up with a picture of her son and granddaughter as a Christmas present and that sat there for a while, but that was eight years ago. Now their GD is eight and they have no photos of either their son or granddaughter, but plenty of the others. I am not jealous - they don't like me much, for a bunch of reasons, and although it saddens me, I can live with that. But it does sadden me that they have favourites as to which children, grandchildren they favour. I wouldn't call it jealousy - I am not jealous of their family, I have had very little contact with any of them, really. But I do think it is sad.
I think some posters may be right that your DIL bio clock is ticking and that may be the key to the problem


Wendysue Thu 26-May-16 11:24:19

Thanks for the compliment, thatabags!

I don't mind "gushy" GPs all that much, but I know some people do and Abigail's DS and DIL may be among them.

But, Abigail, I also know you and DH have "lots of photos" of GD around cuz it's the "next best thing" to actually seeing her in person. But have you and DD talked about possibly skyping or having FaceTime on the phone, perhaps on a regular basis? Then you would actually get to see AND talk to both DD and GD more often, and you might not feel the need for so many pics.

Also, IMO, it might be wise to take Elegran's suggestion and put some of the photos in an album or two? Then you and DH would have them and, obviously, be able to look at them any time, but DS and DIL wouldn't see so many photos of GD around when they came over.

I know I said no one has a say in anyone else' decor, and I certainly don't have any in yours! Just trying to offer some ideas that might help improve the situation.

claireseptember Thu 26-May-16 11:26:54

Interesting post and I found other people's comments very useful and insightful. Like Farnorth I have grandchildren from my son but daughter doesn't want any. Son and daughter don't get on too well and daughter dislikes daughter in law and I realise resents the amount of time I give to my son and the grandchildren. She lives away and is coming up this weekend and on the advice of posters here I have filled the house with photos of her as well as the pictures of the grandchildren.
I think one problem I have is that I so much want to play happy families and for her to be an adoring auntie especially given certain sad things that have happened in our family. Still, we have to play with the cards we've been dealt I guess and I'll try hard to keep the peace and show her how much I love her.

Wendysue Thu 26-May-16 11:31:16

Lisalou, so sorry to hear about your IL's favoritism. I know it must hurt DH, but hope your child hasn't noticed it. I would keep her away from these GPs as much as possible. You may not be angry but she may feel it deeply as she gets older. No need to expose her to that. Good thing you live at a distance!

Lisalou Thu 26-May-16 11:49:52

Thank you Wendysue, I have always said that I have the best MIL in the world - she lives 2000 miles away! grin Jokes aside, daughter only sees them about once a year and adores them - but I doubt she has really noticed anything, at least not yet. At eight, i don't think you notice such things.
OTOH, her other granny is the doting hands on variety. She has her after school once a week, plays with her and attends anything she is involved in. She is strict (follows our lead in parenting, but then I suspect I parent much as she did with me) but a fun granny, willing to do jigsaws and bake, so my child really doesn't miss out.

pollyperkins Thu 26-May-16 13:10:45

It does sound to me, as others have suggested, that your DiL would really like children of her own and so finds all this attention on the graddaughter upsetting even if ahe doesnt acknowledge this herself. My son and his wife were married for 14 years before they had children, and she had had mis carriages although not much was said - she's a very private person. When they visited us at the same time as our other son Who had 2 children we were all making a fuss of, they didn't say much but never stayed long. Now they have their own children the situation is quite different - they take Any opportunity to see my other sons family as they want their children to get to know their cousins. They are now relaxed and happy together although comments are made in a jokey way if they think we've got more pictures of one family on display than the others so I try to keep it fair!

Nelliemaggs Thu 26-May-16 14:25:41

Abigailanne I really don't feel you are doing anything wrong and it does sound as if your DiL is regretting being childless and taking it out on you. We had a hiccup in our family when my daughter miscarried just before my son's second son was born and she couldn't bear to go and visit them for quite a while. I have a daughter too who lives in Australia. She didn't exactly 'swan off', rather she fell head over heels for an Australian and he stole her awaysad. but they are very happy which makes it bearable and I have three little GDs there. My daughter here now has a son and they live with me while my other two GSs I see most weeks. I have two portraits of the one I see and hug all the time and a few each of the other two who visit all the time. I also had great fun putting together a big composite frame of pictures of all six GCs and my sister's GS on different occasions when cousins could get together. But as for the Australian lot, the children's portraits take pride of place in the living room, big ones in my bedroom too, and a wedding photo and a big family photo they sent me. It never occurred to me that my other GD and my GS wouldn't understand that photos are instead of hugs and kisses and take the physical place of my absent child and her family.
After reading all the comments I think I had better check with DS and DD that no-one feels less treasured.

ajanela Thu 26-May-16 14:37:49

Until people have children they often don't get the child adoration thing and it is all a bit boring to them like guys going on about football and cars.

But I find it hurtful they don't want to come at Christmas to see all the family however bored they feel they might be. If the lack of children is such a big problem to DiL maybe your son needs to reconsider and that is a problem they need to deal with. If that is not the problem then they are not considering your feelings.

FarNorth Thu 26-May-16 14:55:28

It may be worse than feeling bored. They may be feeling they are un-valued as they have not provided DGCs.
I am sure that is not the case but it's important for them to know it's not the case, from your attitude and actions.

suzied Thu 26-May-16 16:00:39

Maybe try putting yourself in her shoes - how would you feel if you visited your DD and she had loads of pictures of your Son in law's family around the place and there were few / no pictures of you or your family? If the conversation focused on members of the in laws family ? If you visited her at Christmas and there was a pile of presents and games for a member of his family but no attention paid to you or yours? You might feel a bit left out and not be inclined to visit as often.