grandmother favors one child over the other - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 06-28-2010, 08:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mom clearly favors my dd.It really bothers me and I don't know what to do.Example:this weekend ds wanted to go downstairs(they live in the basement apartment,we live on the 2nd floor).My mom said he could.He went down,but then she called me saying if I went out to call her right away so I could take him with me.Ok that's fine.But then when we were getting ready to leave,dd decides she doesn't want to go.So my mother lets her stay with her.Ds wanted to stay with her and was a little upset.

She also gets mad at ds very easily.He is on the autism spectrum and gets upset when he is frustrated.She'll scream at him!That is not the way to handle him,and we've talked about that,but she just doesn't listen to me.

Dd's bday just passed.My mom offered to pay for a lot of it,but now ds's bday is coming up and I'm on my own.She took dd shopping and spent hundreds on her.I know ds will get nothing like that.She also has a pet name for dd,Peanut,but nothing for ds.

Right now dd is down there,she can go anytime she wants.Ds has to ask and is often told no for some reason or another.My mom will say it's the age difference(dd is 12,ds will be 9),or that ds doesn't behave well enough.He has autism,he's not trying to misbehave.You just have to keep redirecting him,explaining to him why he cannot behave that way.It's not like it's constant,it's only when he gets frustrated with something.

Dd will often eat dinner downstairs,and if my mom goes out to Dunkin Donuts she'll pick her up something for dd,but often nothing for ds.Occasionally she'll offer ds some of what they are having.

My mom will also take dd to the movies most weekends,and she never finds an alternate activity to do with ds since he doesn't like the movies.

I'm just so hurt that my mom is acting this way.I thought maybe in the beginning it was she didn't want to get attached due to his heart defects,but after the surgery I thought things would change,then he was diagnosed with autism at 6(finally after years of me knowing but no one would listen)but it's still the same.Ds is starting to notice now.I think my mom thinks that because he has autism he won't notice. Dd is just stuck in the middle.I don't want to hurt her by limiting her time with my mom,I just feel ds should be treated the same.My mom also will NOT take both kids together,and when asked to babysit,she will say well Peanut can stay with me,can't ds stay with his grandfather(my dad)?My dad does not play favorites.Both kids are allowed at his house anytime,and if he does for one,he'll do for the other.

Any advice on what I can do?What I can say to ds?Thanks for reading.

Student mama to one awesome,talented and unique dd,15 and one amazing, sweet and strong ds,12(born with heart defect Tetralogy of Fallot,also on the autism spectrum),9 cats,and 2 gerbils.
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#2 of 15 Old 06-28-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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Have you pointed it out to her? "Mum, I've noticed the difference in the way you treat DD and DS [add specifics]. That's not on"?

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#3 of 15 Old 06-28-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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{{HUGS}} I can't imagine how hard that must be. I would limit the time that both kids spend with your mom. Her behavior is not acceptable, IMHO. It hurts both of your children.
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#4 of 15 Old 06-28-2010, 11:53 PM
 
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I live with the same thing from ALL of DH's family It's HORRIBLE! My only advice is this- talk to her. Make sure SHE's aware she's behaving in a way that's impacting the kids. Also talk to the kids, make sure they understand it's NOT RIGHT, grandma's behavior. Also tell her around the holidays that "We need to even things up. So, please if you spend xyz on DD, then spend xyz for DS." I had to tell his family this- YES we had some hurt feelings, but then they got over it. It's gotten a tiny bit better, but it's still obvious It still hurts us (mom and dad) very badly- but we make sure the kids know it's not ok. They are aware of it, and they have learned to cope with it as well. I'm so sorry YOU have to deal with this too.

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#5 of 15 Old 06-29-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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My grandmother did this with my sister and I when we were little. In our case, I was the favored one (because I was the first grandchild) and my sister was not. My father did speak privately to her about it and let her know that if she did not start treating us equally, he would be forced to cut contact. I know it sounds drastic, but luckily it worked, and had he not addressed it with her, it might have affected my relationship with my sister. We actually laugh about it now, because for gifts we get the same exact amount, literally to the penny, and it has been almost 35 years since she and dad had the talk.
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#6 of 15 Old 06-29-2010, 01:33 PM
 
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My MIL favors my SIL DD over my DS. On one hand it hurts, but on the other hand I don't mind because, well, that means less contact for them (DS doesn't really like her either (he's 2). I just make sure that he gets lots of love from me and DH and that he knows his other gma and gpa (my parents) love him to pieces.

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#7 of 15 Old 06-29-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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do you all live together? I wouldn't worry so much if you only see each other once a month, but if this is a daily thing, I would nip it in the bud.

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#8 of 15 Old 06-30-2010, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've tried talking to her.She doesn't think she's doing anything wrong.She says she doesn't favor one over the other,but it is obvious to everyone that she does.It's hard since we all live in the same building.I'll try talking to her again.

Student mama to one awesome,talented and unique dd,15 and one amazing, sweet and strong ds,12(born with heart defect Tetralogy of Fallot,also on the autism spectrum),9 cats,and 2 gerbils.
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#9 of 15 Old 06-30-2010, 04:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by muldey View Post
I've tried talking to her.She doesn't think she's doing anything wrong.She says she doesn't favor one over the other,but it is obvious to everyone that she does.It's hard since we all live in the same building.I'll try talking to her again.
When she insists she doesn't favor one over the other, have you tried saying something like, "Mom, come on. We can talk about how being with DS is more difficult for you, or brainstorm ways to help you interact with him in a way that's comfortable for both of you, but please don't insult my intelligence by pretending that you don't favor DD."

Have you given her books on autism to read?

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#10 of 15 Old 06-30-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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Well you can only control so much of her behaviour, but can you make a few ground rules--

DD is only allowed downstairs if DS is welcome as well.
you will not accept gifts for DD unless equal gifts are given to DS. For example-- for DD's next birthday-- if you know your son is likely to get a small gift, than only accept a small gift for DD?

I know it might be much harder in practice, but it's really difficult to live with favoritism like this-- especially when it's in your son's face every day.

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#11 of 15 Old 06-30-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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If you were to see your mother once/twice a year, I'd say just suck it up and deal with it or ignore it. But you see her every week - well, that is a huge, ongoing impact on your children, and you.

I'd try talking with her gently, but with some concrete examples. If you just say she is favoring DD, she can easily deny it. But if you give several concrete examples, it might drive the message home. Tell her: taking DD to the movies every weekend, but not taking DS to X, Y or Z on any weekend. (And YOU find the X Y or Z alternate, since he does not like movies). Example: spending X dollars on DD, but only Y dollars on DS, each and every birthday/christmas....

But I'd also tell her that her favoring DD will harm DD very much. Because it will. Kids know if they are the favorite, or if they are unloved or less loved. They do. And the unloved kid may develop esteem/confidence/security... issues. But the "superior" child can develop guilt/shame issues. And there can develop a lot of anger, animosity and jealousy between your two children. More than there would be normally. It isn't healthy, for EITHER of them.

OK, I I'm not sure how to write this without it sounding harsh. Like the PP said, I'd also discuss the unhealthiness of their grandma's attitude with your DS and DD. And make it about your mother, about how the favoritism is her issue, not theirs. Because it is a reflection of her, not your children. And they should be clear about this. This might hurt to hear, after all it is your mom; but it's true, and sometimes the truth hurts. Hugs to you, and your DS and DD.
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#12 of 15 Old 06-30-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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I have no answer for you, but we are in the same boat. DD is 15, and is MIL's favorite. She is the only one who gets invited to spend the night or do anything. We also have DS 13, DD 6, and DS 3. I understand that 4 kids at once could be overwhelming for her, but none of the other kids ever get an invite separately either. She does recognize their birthdays, but I hate it when she calls and asks what to get them. Maybe if she spent even a tiny bit of time with them she might know what things they like. My mom died almost 4 years ago, so she is the only Grandma that they have. I am so sad for my kids that this is all they have.

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#13 of 15 Old 06-30-2010, 06:31 PM
 
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I can totally understand that your mom feels like she can only handle your daughter. But, that doesn't explain birthdays and gifts.

My mom probably would prefer to hang out with your daughter and find your son more than she can deal with. But, she'd never make it obvious in other ways. She's very careful to spend the same amount on each person in the family.
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#14 of 15 Old 06-30-2010, 07:22 PM
 
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Talk to her again and tell her that all contact will cease if she doesn't start to treat your children equally. You owe that to your DS (And DD).

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#15 of 15 Old 06-30-2010, 08:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by *bejeweled* View Post
Talk to her again and tell her that all contact will cease if she doesn't start to treat your children equally. You owe that to your DS (And DD).
This. Favoritism like this is incredibly damaging to sibling relationships, not to mention horribly unfair to both children. And by allowing this to continue, you're sending a message to your son that you tacitly approve of his grandmother's shunning of him.

I would tell your mother in no uncertain terms that if she can't treat both children equally, she won't be able to see either of them anymore. I would even go so far as to call it a form of emotional abuse. She's showing your children, through actions if not words, that your son is not as valuable as your daughter, that he's "less than", that he deserves to be treated with less love and kindness. Imagine what that will do to your children's relationship with each other, and your son's self-esteem.

Good luck, mama. I know it can't be an easy situation, especially if your mother is in total denial, but it's your job to cut through that denial and protect your children from this kind of cruelty.

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