Why do grandparents like being able to say they have grandchildren, but don't want to spend anytime with them?

Melissa - posted on 12/30/2011 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My MIL and FIL love to tell people that they have grandchildren, but then when they are around them they are completely annoyed by them. I'm soo tired of it. I wasn't always like this, my MIL kept telling people how the grandkids were her life and the kids would spend every friday night over at her house. About six months ago my FIL lost his job and is home all the time now. When he wasn't around the kids spent the night on fridays, they didn't even have to ask they knew when it was friday they were going to nana's. Now, it's like pulling nails for them to spend anytime with the kids. When they do spend the night once a month if that, I get phone calls up the yin yang how the kids are bored. The grandparents don't play with them and yet wonder why the kids are bored. My kids are 5 and 6yr old little boys and a 2yr old little girl that is never allowed to spend the night. What really bothers me is when my six year old calls on friday to see if he can spend the night she always has some LAME ass excuse, well I have to clean my house or I'm too tired. The sad thing about all of this is my kids are little so they do not understand why their grandparents don't care about them, and they constantly tell my son hun, I raised my kids it's my time now. She's been saying this as long as I can remember to even her own children, when I met them her only daughter was 13 at the time. How do you tell your own child at the age of 13, it's my time now? How would you guys deal with this situation?

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Denikka - posted on 12/30/2011

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I know that when my grandfather had to retire, there was a HUGE change in our household (I was raised by my grandparents and was still living with them when he retired).
My grandma wasn't used to having him around all the time and could get quite irritable just having him sleeping in the chair in the living room.
I think a large portion of it is the change in routine. I know even with me, over the Christmas holidays, I just want to scream at hubby sometimes. He's messing with what I usually do!!! RAWRG!!! I normally have 8hr plus, 5 days a week, to do whatever I want. That means that if I'm having a lazy day, I can do nothing all day and then do a quick clean half an hour before he gets home. Where as if he's home, I feel guilty even just sitting down at the computer for half an hour or whatever.

So that probably does factor in to the change in behavior. I'm not saying that it excuses it or that is explains all of it, but it could contribute to the grandparents being less willing to take the kids overnight every week, or even often.

She does have the right to her own time, but I think she's going about it the wrong way. She shouldn't feel obligated to take the children overnight, ever. But she really needs to find a better way to say no.
I would sit her down and talk to her. Let her know that you realize that her life has changed, but that the children don't realize this. Explain that they are hurt that it feels like she doesn't want to spend time with them anymore and that they are too young to really understand why this is happening.
Try really hard not to come across as attacking. She does have the right to say that she's too tired to watch over your kids. Maybe suggest FAMILY outings or invite them over to your house to do arts and crafts or whatever, so the kids can spend time with the grandparents doing something fun, but you're still there to kind of take over if they start acting up.

Kay - posted on 12/30/2011

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Denikka gave an excellent answer. The most important clue to this is the change in your mil behavior after her husband lost his job. I would sit down over coffee with her and about this change. Ask her what you can do to help her now that her husband has lost his job. Talk about how different her life must be now that her husband is home all the time. She might be feeling overwhelmed by all this. See how she responds and ask her if having the kids sleep over is too much, then what activities would she enjoy doing them. Be sure to have your kids make pictures to send to them. Invite them over to dinner. This will provide the interaction that the kids need and more things can develop from it. Please don't speak badly about the grandparents to the kids. Try to foster the relationship, take the high road and let it go. I had the wicked witch of the west for a mil but I never told this to the kids.

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Melissa - posted on 01/10/2012

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I just wanted to let everybody know that I have resolved the grandparents issues and MIL and I talked everything out. Thanks for everybody that commented.

Melissa - posted on 12/30/2011

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Thank you Denikka, I'm going to try that with her tomorrow. If nothing still changes I think I'm going to have to be brutally honest with my children.

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