Son feels slighted by grandparents

posted 3 months ago in Parenting
Post # 16
810 posts
Busy bee

zzar45   said what I was going to say, as well. 

Your little guy is going to need to learn to share his grandparents. He’s dealing with jealousy, which many children go through when there’s a new sibling, or whoever takes any amount of attention away from them. I have no doubt he notices that they spend time with other little girl, and that it does bother him…but that’s a good thing, and can be used to teach him to be patient and content. It’s an important lesson he’ll need to learn sooner or later. 

I do think it’s worth asking your in-laws to be  more conscious of how much time and attention they give him when their other “grand-daughter” is around, though; because while he needs to understand to share and not be jealous, playing favorites isn’t fair to him, either. My suggestion would be asking them that when they’re all together, to only do activities that they can all do…no one-on-one times with either grandparent while there’s multiple grandkids in the house. 

Post # 17
278 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2018

Whenever there is a question about in laws on here, I wonder what the spouse (their child) is doing to help. What does your partner think? Could he be the one to discuss the situation with his parents?

Post # 20
1524 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

JFC you guys are fucking BRUTAL. So quick to blame everyone for their own problems, I’m curious to know which of you pointing the fingers actually has a kid four or older.

i absolutely believe that kids will notice when a loved one spends more time with another child than them, absolutely they will. My cousins one year old absolutely gets jealous when she holds my 9 week old daughter, so it’s only imaginable that the older kids get the more they will notice when they have less attention from those they want it from. 

The only advice I have is to redirect your son and do something to make sure he knows he is adequate and loved or else he will spend the rest of his life trying to measure up to someone else. Believe me I’ve been there. 

Post # 21
5429 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

ladyvk :  my daughter will be four next month 🤷🏻‍♀️ She picks up on everything that I feel. She picks up on my sadness, my happiness, my anger and she will actually get cranky when I’m cranky etc. She’s incredibly sensitive. I wasn’t blaming the op, I was just wondering if her son was picking up on her vibes like my daughter does.

It’s like my daughter absorbs the emotions in a room, either negative or positive. If op had a negative reaction to something or was upset, her son could have picked up on it

It’s all about talking to them and guiding them through what they are experiencing

Post # 22
8814 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

ladyvk :  My kids are well past 4 and I will bet the firstborn that OP’s son is picking this up directly from the OP. Kids are observant, and 99% of what they observe is from their parents.

throwawaybee2019 :  “what do you guys think My husband and I could do to help my son?” — Be realistic in your expectations. Stop telling your son about plans before they’ve been made. My husband and I both have unreliable loved ones, so we would never tell our kids “oh boy, grandma is coming with us!” or even “we’re going to ask grandma to come” before we already checked with grandma and were confident it was happening. If they keep showing obvious favoritism, your son is going to become less eager to spend time with them and will stop asking about it. It’s sad and I understand why you would rather see him have a close relationship with them, but it’s not within your control. Their relationship will be what forms between them. Not all grandparents are super-close with all grandkids. It’s a bit of a bummer but not a tragedy and imo not worth making a big deal over. Your son has other loved ones to form close bonds with.

Post # 24
906 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

Back way, way off the these people. They are hurting your son, he feels it, he mentions it, he’s totally aware of their favoritism. Favoritism is a poison; protect him from them. See them much less.

Post # 25
275 posts
Helper bee

cmsgirl :  

No comment as to the original post, but a comment on cousins teasing each other/one upping each other. My older cousins used to torment me by insisting my nana was younger than my mum. I just didn’t understand how they didn’t get it that because my nana was my mum’s mum she HAD to be older. 4 year old me spent days and days and days trying to explain this to two 7 year olds who were clearly riling me up for their own purposes.

Post # 26
1303 posts
Bumble bee

I think there must be more to it than this because I find it hard to believe a 4 year old can analyse a situation to this degree to assume someone is lying about being busy and is really spending time with someone else. Most 4 year olds are innocent and believe everything they’re told.

Do they show favouritism when they’re with both kids? I picked up on my nan treating my younger cousin differently when I was your son’s age, in that she allowed him to get away with things us other grandkids couldn’t and she made excuses for him when he was naughty, but would tell us off etc. Or maybe he’s overheard you discussing the situation with someone? 

Post # 27
704 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012 - Iowa

Not sure I have any advice to give but dealing with a similar situation. We live next to my in-laws, and my Brother-In-Law lives on the other side of them (in the country so not RIGHT next door, but close enough).

Anyways BIL’s 3 year old boy is always with grandma, and my kids, 4 and 2 see it/notice it. They attend the same daycare and Grandma picks up cousin a few times a week, but not my kids. Grandma will come visit my kids and 90% of the time has cousin with, she might take my kids back with her but their visits are short.

DS made the comment once he used to spend time with grandma but now she spends more time with cousin. It IS quite possible he overheard Darling Husband say that, but I don’t buy that he’s not old enough to see that on his own.

Darling Husband does make comments to his mom about how she needs to spend more time with our kids as well. MIL’s response is usually, I can’t make everyone happy so I just won’t spend time with anyone, which obviously doesn’t fix things.

It’s tough. I think I would have your Darling Husband mention that DS would like to spend more time with his grandparents, that he does see that they spend more time with Haley, and see where it goes. Maybe plan ahead special days for him and his grandparents to fix the problem instead of having to cover it up for him?

Post # 28
3907 posts
Honey bee

Is there another aunt or uncle who sees the dynamics here and is displeased by it? This hits home to me because my sister married a guy who was the world’s biggest schlub. No one liked this guy and then they had a son. Her twins from another one of her schlubby boyfriends were accepted and loved even though my sister can be the world’s biggest pita with the world’s most questionable taste in men.  But her marriage to this last guy took the cake. Of course they separated and divorced (that was marriage #4).

Then I started hearing from my sister about how my parents were ignoring this child in favor of other grandchildren and he was upset that he wasn’t getting to see his grandparents. I immediately scheduled a flight to see them and to read them the riot act. I am the only child they will take seriously, for various reasons. People in general tend to listen to what I say and do it. My parents immediately mended their ways and now youngest grandchild is the light of their lives. 

I would enlist the aid of someone close the grandparents to show them the error of their ways. It’s worth a try.

Post # 29
11963 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

Of course a child that age is old enough to understand and express jealousy. The idea that they could not possibly process something like this on their own is completely untrue. Not all children would be observant, or care, but plenty would, especially if they felt close to the grandparents and wanted their attention. 

It’s also possible he’s picking up on his mother’s frustration with the situation or that he might have overheard something between the OP and her husband. Kids have antennae and very good hearing. 

I’d have your husband speak tactfully, not accusingly,  to his parents, including about the “you are our favorite because you were first” comment. My guess is they did say something like that, for example “you are special because you were first” thinking it was harmless and would never get back to the OP’s son.

Post # 30
1050 posts
Bumble bee

Yeah…worked with lots of kids, and they absolutely can understand stuff like this. I think people here are seriously underestimating the intelligence and perception of children. I absolutely believe that this child is putting 2 and 2 together. 

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