Occasional Visitor
jbfjersey
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-02-2013
Problem with grandparents

My parents were supposed to attend an event my 10-year-old son's school was having.  They were substituting for my in-laws, who are definitely the more involved set of grandparents, but who were unavailable because they are dealing with the death of my father-in-law's sister on the other side of the country.  The event was in 2 parts--a presentation put on by my son and his classmates and then a reception in the cafeteria afterwards.  I had explained to my parents as much as I knew and definitely told them they would be having refreshments with my son after the show.  I figured details would be explained to my parents once they got there.

 

I come to find out that my parents left straight after the presentation and my son was left as the only child at the reception with no guests to host.  He said he would look up excited every time the cafeteria doors would open and didn't understand where my parents went.  When I spoke to my parents--and scolded them for abandoning their grandson--they said all they were told was that the children were going back to their classrooms and that there was a reception for the guests, so they figured what was the point in staying.  What they didn't know was that during the reception my son would be doing an activity with them that would become a little book that the school would mail to the grandparents as a "souvenir" of the event.  I didn't know this until the night before the event, but I didn't think I had to tell my parents about it since I assumed they would go to this reception and find out when they got there.

 

I have always felt guilty that we involve my husband's parents in our children's activities much more than mine, but mine are so high maintenance--they don't like driving anywhere, they don't like to socialize, and even though they are only 72 and in relatively good health, they act like they're 90 and about to drop dead at any moment.  I thought attending this event would be a wonderful chance for them to be involved for once, but it seems it would have been better if my son had just had nobody--then at least he wouldn't have had his hopes up.

 

I am so angry with my parents right now and heartbroken for my son.  He seems to have gotten over his disappointment now, but it's the weekend, and I don't know if hurt feelings will resurface come Monday when he's back in school.  My parents say they feel bad, but I get the impression they don't feel they are really to blame--that it was miscommunication on the part of the school that's at fault.  My 12-year-old daughter was at the assembly and said there was no mistake that an announcement had been made that the 5th graders would be going back to the cafeteria with their guests for a reception in their honor.  My parents insist they never heard it.

 

I really just don't know how to handle this situation, other than knowing in the future I am not going to even bother making an effort to involve my parents in any of my children's activities if they find it such a burden.  I tried looking on the internet for some advice--like what things I can say to my son that will help ease his sadness about what happened--and all I find are things about grandparents' rights to spoil their grandchildren and how parents shouldn't be so hard on them.  Which only upset me more.

 

I hope there are others out there who have had similar situations and can let me know how they handled it.  I want to be able to lessen this horrible sick feeling in the bottom of my stomach every time I think about it.

 

Thank you.

Regular Contributor
cassie186
Posts: 198
Registered: ‎08-20-2013
Re: Problem with grandparents
I'm a young mom and don't have issues with my parents, but I do have issues with my grandparents when it comes to my parenting/ children. Especially my grandmother, who most people think is senile but if you have known her for a long time you know that is how she is all the time and had always been. It is really hard to involve them because I often feel like my parenting is being judged. My grandmother has no censor button and even asked me if I was pregnant again already last Thanksgiving when my baby wasn't even ten days old, and when I pointed that out she said I was just caryring all the extra weight then :/

It's really hard to try to involve someone when they don't really treat you right in the first place. I've found that the grandparents really do want to be involved much more than they are. My grandmother lives too far away for us to see often, and we only see her at Thanksgiving and maybe one other time a year which is pretty much all I can stand. But my grandparents who are close we make sure to invite to things like birthdays, etc as often as possible. I do need to make sure they have all the details, like times, if anything else is going on right after, they'd need to stay late, etc ahead of time. If an announcement is made that my grandparents don't know about ahead of time, I just double check to see if staying because there are times they don't catch an announcement right away, especially my grandpa needs things repeated more often if someone isn't looking right at him when they say something.

I hope this at least helps a little.
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New Member
cwenger
Posts: 1
Registered: a week ago
Re: Problem with grandparents

You answered your own question in part of what you said...first off they might not have heard that annoucement and since you didn't explain fully what was going on what did you want them to do...second they already probably felt like second fiddle since you stated it's your in-laws that are included in everything and the only reason you invited your parents was simply because they had a death to deal with...How would you feel if that was you???? Sounds like you neglect them in including them on things and when you do expect them to be doting all over your son WHY they didnt give birth to him YOU did.....have a sit down with them and express your feelings dont just talk about them behind their back and in front of your child....

New Member
aduley1
Posts: 1
Registered: a week ago
Re: Problem with grandparents
My heart breaks for your son but I know exactly how you feel. My parents are very involved with everything about my sons aged 3 & 4, but my husbands parents are almost non existent. They live less than 10 min down the road. My mother in law has her favorite grandchild she's with on almost a daily basis, but would never see my kids unless we take them over to her house. They did not show up at my sons 3rd bday party and we waited over an hour for them to show up. My kids get the raw end of the deal but I'm really glad right now they're too young to notice. I decided to stop taking them over there and if my in laws want to see them they can come do so. My parents will call after not seeing them for 2 days to say they want to come get them and they miss them, a month goes by before my mother in law says a word. So you know, your not alone.
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New Member
pattisutton2
Posts: 1
Registered: a week ago
Re: Problem with grandparents
Oh have I walked in your shoes! My side if the family are an incredible stick-in-the-mud bunch. Started at our daughter's first birthday when my whole side of the family left before even singing Happy Birthday to her, they just sat there glumly even though my niece (hubby's side) was trying hard to help me hostess. Ever since, we just tell then when cake is being served and then if they bolt, at least everyone was there to celebrate. My in-laws always end up staying for our barbecue (birthday is on Fourth of July). This year none of my side could make it and my daughter, now 10, asked if we could go to Grandma & Papa since she has more fun with them anyway. She's noticed how quick the others leave, even though I've tried my best.

All I can suggest is to keep trying to include them. I know it's hard. But I lost my dad 2 years ago and at least my daughter talks about Grandpa with good memories. And now my mom has dementia and can be very mean. It's heartbreaking to see my girl hug her and say 'I love you Gramma, I know that's just your dementia talking.' Please enjoy them while you still can. Hope this helps
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Occasional Visitor
sweetie7725
Posts: 1
Registered: a week ago
Re: Problem with grandparents
This sounds just like our families! I say "their loss"! I know they will regret it one day, but even if they don't, it's still their loss. My sons are terrific and adorable, but they'll never realize just how great they are because they choose not to see them.
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New Member
jodioliver51989
Posts: 1
Registered: a week ago
Re: Problem with grandparents
We're there too. Both sets, although my inlaws are a wee bit more interested. It's heartbreaking - we all live within a 10 minute drive of each other. My son is almost 2 and wants to call them now on the phone - we've decided to let him take the lead, call and invite them places and if they are willing to disappoint him directly then we are there to help him with his feelings. He SO wants to see more of them but that's all we can do. We try to provide other caring folks as "family" - he calls the babysitter's parents nan and pop and sees them more often. It's sad, but at least I know he has others (cousins, aunts, babysitters) who love him. I think that's key.