what to do about in-laws with a child preference?

[deleted account] ( 3 moms have responded )

Hi all,

I need some advice. Just an idea of what other moms would do in my situation.

I have 3 wonderful boys - all bright, energetic, funny, and happy. One is 6, one is 4, and one it 1. I have been trying to raise them well, with equal treatment and treats for all.

But an issue has arisen that I did not expect. My in-laws and my husband's sister visit us, occasionally, and I have noticed that, when given the chance to interact with all three boys, my relatives seem to always end up playing and praising my oldest, while leaving the two younger ones to fend for themselves. At first, I thought it was just circumstance, but it has become worse over time. If they interact with the younger ones at all, it is brief, and usually involves them trying to get pictures with the child. For example, today the baby will toddled up to show his grandma a new block. She grabbed the camera, flashed it in his face, and then walked away. Poor baby didn't understand. And my four year old's only interactions are to be chastised for "interrupting" their activities with his older brother. Another problem is my husband's sister tells bad jokes, and frequently they are subtly at the expense of my younger children. My boys are too young to comprehend that one, thank heaven.

Well, I am trying to be a gracious host, and be warm and welcoming, but I cannot have this sort of preferential treatment in our family. I'm not even sure they are conscious of it. It would seem like it is an unconscious preference for the oldest male child. I have seen hints of this type of thinking in a few of the extended family on that side too.

So, what can I do? They are sensitive and easily offended people, and I am treading on eggshells already as it is. I feel like I am too young to have much authority with my husband's family. Can I change this without completely alienating my husband and boys from his family? It is hurting relations already.

Thank you very much for your advice.


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S. - posted on 12/30/2012




It happen's with my mil too she favours my middle daughter (her 1st grandaughter) a few weeks ago I hit the roof, I rang her and had it out with her, I was just so sick of her hurting my kids and I am 99% of the time a mild mannered person but I snapped. Luckily we talked it out and I felt so much better for sticking up for my kids, she said she didn't mean it and she loved them all the same anyway she's been loads better but I am not holding my breath with her.

My grandad left me out and made it perfectly clear I was the black sheep and I can honestly say I hated him for it when I got a bit older it turned out he was like it with my cousin too, seems he had to pick one to hate for some reason.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/30/2012




I don't know. just know you are not alone. We have the same thing happening with my kids. The older is the preference, he was the first grandchild on my husbands side of the family, and we have a daughter. They are the only 2 grandchildren still. My son is definately preferred over my daughter. He was essentially the perfect baby, toddler, and kid. He really is a great kid. My daughter on the other hand, is a typical child, with terrible 2's to boot. It is quite obvious he is more doted over. We have yet to speak with them concerning this, because quite frankly they don't live near us and don't see the kids often. When they visit in the spring, if it is still quite obvious, we will both sit down and speak with them about our concerns. They love both children dearly, that is beyond evident, but still.

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