Grandparents playing favorites with kids

Erica - posted on 08/14/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )




I am hoping for some advice. My husband and I have two boys together. He also has a 6 year old daughter from his previous marriage. We all get along great except I am having an issue with his parents. When my husband and I first got married, all his parents could tell me was how happy they were that he had divorced his ex wife because she was just horrible to him, was crazy, they didn't like her, etc. They seemed to just love me to death. Fastforward two years later and now my husband and I have a 15 month and a 3 month old. His parents were there for our boys at all the customary events...(birth, baby shower, birthday, etc.) but what I started to noticed was that the only other time they do anything with us as a family is when my stepdaughter is around. We always invite them to do things with us but they wont unless it is my husband's weekend with his daughter. His parents get to see her all the time since they live less than 5 minutes away from her so I don't understand why they will only come over when she is around. They claim that they are always afraid that my stepdaughter's mom wont let them see her if she gets upset with them. Also their house is full of toys that they have bought for her and nothing for my children. They will buy a gift for my son's birthday or if my stepdaughter (who loves her little brothers to death) pushes them to do it. One time my mother in law even told me that if ever my step daughter didn't want to be with her mom she could go live with her!!!! My inlaws are always begging my husband to give up one of his weekends so his daughter can stay overnight with them. My stepdaughter has even told me that her "grandpa" says that she is his most special. What finally got me really upset with my inlaws was when my husband told me that his parents were going on a cruise with his ex-wife and ex-mother in law because they wanted to take his daughter on a cruise. I am so upset because we have asked them so many times to go on a cruise with us and all the kids.

I feel really hurt by my inlaws. It is not like they have ever done anything to show they don't like me since we have always had a good relationship. My husband even expressed concerned to them with regards to showing favoritism but they claim that it is not true and that anyway my kids were too young to notice anything. I told my husband that I no longer want anything to do with his parents and that they are no longer allowed to see my kids. I know its wrong but I do not want my children playing second to anybody. It's already been a month and it seems that they do not care they have not seem our kids but God forbid they do not see their granddaughter for one week.

This issue is really consuming me. I love my stepdaughter like if she was my own but now I find myself feeling a little resentment when I see her and I hate it. It is in no way her fault and that is why I feel so emotional about this issue. I felt very close to my in-laws and I also hurt for my children. My kids are rejected by my mom because she does not like my husband so I basically have no relationship with her. My dad lives cross country so my in-laws are the only set of grandparents my children really have. Please advise me on what you would do in a situation like this.......


Teresa - posted on 08/14/2012




Its not right for the grandparents to act that and your husband needs to try again to talk to them. Explain that your step-daughter loves them unconditionally and that its not fair on how they are treating the other children because they are afraid that the ex-wife is going to take her away. Even though their son had divorced her...they are still giving her power. They are spending time like it will be the last time they will ever see her. Explain to them that children picks up on everything whether they are young or not. Ask them how would they feel if their brothers or sisters were more loved and giving more attention than them. You do not want your kids to be an outsider. When they get older they will start resenting there sister and that will damage another relationship. Trust me I know...I was my grandfather's favorite. Even though I tried to share what was giving to cousins after 30 years later still resents me.

Michelle - posted on 08/14/2012




Your boys are so young right now it could be that your in laws just aren't really comfortable with that age, ask your husband to think back to when his daughter was a baby were they really involved or did it come about after she got old enough to become what I consider fun. I think you and your husband need to sit down with them and discuss their relationship with the boys leave your step daughter out of the equation find out why they don't want to spend a lot of time with them. Get to the heart of the matter so you can repair your relationship with your step daughter as well as your in laws. Family is important and worth fighting for.


View replies by

Gale - posted on 08/15/2012




I can see their point, she 6 she will notice and remember things, my husband and I don't want to go to place like disney world or cruise until our kids are over the age of 4, due to we want to make the trip about the kids and not us, but 15 months and 3 month they're not going to know the difference between a cruise and a hotel. I don't think they are playing favoritism, my nephew was 6 when my son was born now that he 8 and my son is 2 my son is starting to get family to come and spend time with him. But my sister only came to visit for my nephew party and not my son, why? Because the party was really for me then my son who really won't remember or really notice who there and who not but my nephew know because he is able to due his age.

Danielle - posted on 08/14/2012




I completely understand.

We have this problem with my husbands parents too.
We have a 4 year old boy together, and my husbands brother and his wife have a daughter.
Whenever we are together with the family and Ella (the granddaughter) is there she always gets special treatment from my husbands parents.
Ella will whine, and pout, play shy, and my MIL will sweep in and take her off to another room to play with her while my son is just there. We live over two hours away so when we visit we always try to get the family together, but it makes me so frustrated.
My BIL and his wife only live half hour away so they always call on my MIL/FIL to babysit their daughter so they see her a lot!
When we are down she always takes the spotlight.

My husband agrees with my that they play favourite to Ella, and we've made it apparent that we have noticed that they dote on her more than Jack.

Sorry, I don't have any real advice... I can just relate.
It breaks my heart that my son is just there sometimes.. when it happens I always take him and pay special attention to him so he isn't left out.

It scares me because he is getting older so I am sure before long he will start to notice too.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms