Grandmoms...I need serious advice please!

Tanya - posted on 02/28/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )

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Hello there,

Sorry ladies, I'm not a grandma so I'm not a match for the group but I'm at a lose with my husband's parents. Both of my parents have passed so I have nobody to truly turn too.

I am in need of advice regarding expectations and roles of grandparents. I'm a married 36 yr old mom of an active 3 year old girl. Both of my parents have passed away (mom had the opportunity to be with my daughter for the first 15 months) and my siblings are spread throughout the country. Plus my husband travels for work and we live in a rural location. With that stated...here's my issue.

It's my in laws first grandchild and I had hoped they'd be more involved and excited about my daughter then they appear to be. They don't dislike her by no means but they rarely show affection towards her. Especially my father in law who if more of the 1950's type man.

Now that she's 3 ys old, I witnessed more interaction between them but my daughter doesn't have the close bond like I'd expect.

They do live two hours away from our home and they might come this direction every 4 to 8 weeks (since her birth). It use to be 1.5 hours distance for the first couple of years.

I can't help but be envious of children who have grandparents who adore them and do travel from great distances to visit. Plus...they have help during those times. I don't expect a grandparent to raise my child but I do wish for them to show affection towards her. She's a real gem! Like my parents would have done.

I realize it's their choice in how they grandparent and everyone isn't kiss and hugs but I feel my daughter is missing out (and so am I).

What can I do? Am I expecting to much for them? I really really really need advice from a grandparents view.

You are my only hope at this point!

Thank you so much!

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Gillian - posted on 02/28/2009

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Hi. I'm so sorry you feel you and your daughter are missing out. My parents were rather like that with our children. But you can't force people to feel what they cannot feel. But have you considered that they may be trying hard 'not to interfere'? Have you expressed your sadness to them personally? If they came more regularly when your daughter was a baby, maybe they felt they were adding to your workload at that time. Other measures you could try are to teach your daughter to email (if they use it) and help her to send them pictures she's done on computer programs. Maybe you could encourage her to say 'hi' on the phone to them.



Because of my experiences as a parent, I make sure I have as close as possible relationship with all my grandchildren - I had them regularly for the day at  my home until they were school age, then have them for sleepovers every few weeks. I will never be an 'absent' grannie! And I'm sure that you won't be either. Hope you manage to work things out with them.

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Robin - posted on 07/22/2010

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I know I'm coming in a bit late on this conversation. Have you considered that your expectations are yours and not to transfer them onto your daughter? I say this as a grandmother of 12 grandchildren (ages 1 year to 10 years). We have four married daughters and they all started having their babies at the same time. We have four sets of grandchildren who are all within 8 months of each other in ages. As much as we love our daughters AND, especially, the grandchildren, we just can't possibly see all of them all the time. Nor do we have the funds or time or vehicle to take them everywhere we'd like to.

We have one daughter who bought the house next door to us. She is the youngest of the girls and also had the first grandchild. I cannot tell you how many times our oldest two daughters have made comments about how much more time we spend with the grandchildren next door and how much more we do for their sister. We don't really, but the live NEXT DOOR -- so naturally we see them coming and going from their home and vice versa. We (me most of the time) seem like we're in a constant battle of comparing between the older girls and their children. Worse yet, when they are upset with us, they complain in front of our grandchildren. So, naturally, we can see how their words have influenced (poisoned) our grandkids towards us AND their cousins who live next door.

We have come to the conclusion that no matter what we do, we will NEVER do enough for them or their children -- and it makes us sad and frustrated.

Just today one of them (they are twins, 36-years-old) has practically ruined our surprised for her twin's children AND her nephews & niece next door to us. We decided to take the two "cousins" who had recent July birthdays to the circus, with their siblings, as our gift to them. Because V's children weren't invited she feels slighted -- even though her children DO NOT have July birthdays. Instead of telling her children that this is a birthday gift from Nana and Papa for the other children, she's decided to throw a hissy fit. Nevermind that we JUST got done paying for her children to be in a summer bowling league with their other cousins AND I just took them to the movies last week with their cousins.

Sometimes you need to really sit back and reevaluate your feelings and see if you are being realistic to the grandparents. I know that you don't have your parents anymore to share with your daughter, but do you think, just maybe, that you are putting more on your in-laws shoulders because, subconsciously, you want them to make up for what you feel your daughter is lacking in grandparent attention? They are only one couple and they can only do so much. I bet you, truly, that they are doing all they can. While it's a good idea to talk about your feelings, be careful of making them feel guilty about not living up to your expectations and be mindful not to hurt, because you feel the way you do. Granddaughter knows them just the way they are -- her expectations are what matters.

Take care. My prayers go out for all of you.

Charlene - posted on 04/27/2010

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are u a first wife ,this is y i ask i have been hurt by love for my grands their mom and dad split up and i lost what i had with my grands it hurt so bad that i am shy to give my heart awayagain

Aldine - posted on 02/17/2010

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As a Grandmother of 10 and 4 great, I do understand your feelings as I love hugging and cuddling with them. Maybe if they could babysit once in awhile, where a bond could happen and she could see grandma and grandpa loves her in their own way with out so much hugging, she will see them in a different way by how they show love. She may herself change them as the they get to know her more, she will wiggle into their hearts and you'll see a difference, I pray that for you. Other words respect that they are the way they are. I have one daughter who doesn't show affection, shows in a different way, as her daughter knows, she loves deeply, but not to show as others and we understand that and accept it. Always talk well of Grandma as she watches how you interact and will follow suit, explain to her that Grandma loves her. So hope they can spend more time with her. Patience, it will happen. Surround your self with friends that have kids and their families, helps her to interact, even older adults that you know. xo

[deleted account]

As a new grandmother, and one who has yet to lay eyes on her 14-month old granddaughter, I will ask if you are taking the kids to see the grandparents, as well as are they coming to visit you? the road goes both ways. I work full time and don't have lots of vacation, but when my son was re-stationed (in the Air Force) to an Air Base 9 hours from me, he had a full month of vacation time and NEVER ONCE came to visit us..I don't have a ton of cash, but could have helped him with expenses (nor would he have to pay for hotels, as I will have to if I get to go visit him...I'm not a terribly "huggy/kissy" person either, especially with small children, but I want to see my granddaugther and am considering visiting them this summer.

how about other older adults that you know & are familiar with in your town? could they substitute as "grandparents" with your kids? just a thought..

Karen - posted on 04/19/2009

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They may come from a background where showing affection was a sign of weakness and they just can't do it. You could see if their is someone closer to where you live that your child can bond with. Someone who is elderly and maybe lonely because their grandchildren don't visit much. Families are sometimes people you chose not necessarily who your born with. good luck. karen

Mommy - posted on 03/31/2009

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I do not know if you already have too many replys, but I just joined so here is my 2 cents.
Maybe you can suggest some activities that the G-parents can do with your child.
Try talking to your inlaws about what thier expectations were of being G-parents, you may gain some insight like that.
Good luck

Tanya - posted on 03/03/2009

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Thank you Gillian! I am very grateful for your wise advice. I will work on her social skills with a different approach. It's been a bumpy road. I have no issues with placing some burden on my child because she does need to learn and understand how her choice of words and her actions effect other people. It's just responsible. I'll begin to send more e-mails and other communications to help build their relationship. The positive side: my in laws have purchased a cabin at the lake (we live here full-time) which I encouraged. I'm still hopeful!! PS-Sounds like your children and your grandchildren are very fortunate to have you within their lives. I can only hope to be honored as a grandma in the future and maybe even a great grandma. :) Thank you so much!

Gillian - posted on 03/02/2009

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Hello Tanya



it sounds to me like you have a very perceptive, well-integrated, authentic and honest daughter, with whom you could/can/maybe do have forthright and helpful conversations. It also sounds like she's not too young in perceptiveness to teach about social etiquette that has nothing to do with what we feel about people (like welcoming relatives that we'd prefer not to see!). But I also think that emails, letters, short phone calls - the type of contact that builds potential bonds but is still distanced - could be a good way forward. The difficulty in just letting things take their course is - their course will be set by what happens when the children are young (because often, as you have pointed out, the grandparents have gone by the time the children are grown up and thus there aren't any memories in the first place). We had a similar situation as you with a son when he was small - he didn't like a grandparent visiting 'cos I can't get a word in when she's here'. It was a tricky situation and we dealt with it (for better or worse) a) by pointing out that there would be plenty of time for getting words in when said visitor had gone home; b) that said visitor DID talk a lot (ie not denying the truth); and c) that son also talked a lot! Teaching our children social skills is valuable in itself, even though it means placing SOME of the burden of communication on the child. But you do have my sympathy as well as my admiration for nurturing someone so honest and articulate about what they feel.

Tanya - posted on 03/02/2009

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Thank you ladies! Your advice is greatly appreciated and taken to heart. One concern is my dd (3 yrs old) told me yesterday that she loves her grandpa because he's calm but she doesn't like her grandma. She said grandma is loud and bossy. Children are pure emotion and I'm concerned she'll state her feelings towards grandma in person. Truthfully, it's not the first time she expressed her feelings about grandma.She's already asked grandma not to play with her several times and she doesn't want grandma to visit us. Though...my daughter will play with grandma on occasion but then she requires some private time afterward. My mother in law tends to be overwhelming but she has good intentions. My daughter is their first and only grandchild at this point (eighth on my side). How do I handle this issue that has developed??

Mary Beth - posted on 03/01/2009

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I'm not a grandparent yet, but I have adult children and can reflect back on their relationships with their grandparents. My advice is to sit back and see how the relationship develops. Some people just aren't outwardly affectionate; my parents weren't, but I think my children know that they were loved (my parents are deceased). Try not to stress over it and just see how things unfold. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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