Loved by one side of family and not by other - how to explain? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 05-22-2008, 06:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What do you do when one side of the family is highly interested in your dc and the other side isn't at all - no phone calls, doesn't want to speak when there is a phone call blah blah blah. My parents who live in the UK take holidays to visit, help pay for air fares so we can visit and do everything they can - phone everyday etc to keep in contact with our kids, dh's mum - his dad died last year, she has never tried to contact us since I knew dh which is 16 years, does nothing even when we just tell her to beep and we'll call back or if we call she never has time to speak, she doen't want to speak to them or me, has this ever happened, I feel like my kids don't have the North African side to their culture. DD has been asking why her grandmere doesn't want to have anything to do with her. ANy insight would be greatly apreciated - I have my own thoughts but wanted to know what you guys think - I can give more details if you lot think it's necessary though

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#2 of 13 Old 05-22-2008, 08:15 AM
 
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Some people just aren't very good at loving/showing love. My parents NEVER extend themselves to have contact with me or the kids. It's not even a cultural/racial issue. They just can't put any effort into anyone outside there immediate circle.
I don't know what else to say. I'm sorry DD is old enough to notice. Give her an extra hug!

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#3 of 13 Old 05-22-2008, 08:57 AM
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Let DD know what she means to you. Then let her know that some people have trouble expressing their feelings and love for other, even family.

Help DD make an effort to show her Grandmere love and respect, even if you feel it is unwarranted. While it may or may not have an effect, it will help DD learn about showing love and respect when a situation may be difficult.

Try to send cards for the holiday's, birthday's, etc. If they make ANY effort to start contacting, send a gift, card, etc., help DD send a thank you.

Also try to explain that people can only make changes with in themselves, and that all they can do for others is show the respect, concern, and love that they would want. That DD Grandmere actions are Grandmere's actions and do not reflect on DD, and do not say any thing about how unique and special DD is to your family and DD other Grandparents.

While these are only my point of view on this, they are based on a personal situation with my own father, one that has lasted from when I was 16 and continues to this day. We visited my Grandmother and Aunt at Christmas time, I called to see if he'd like to come over and see his 2 month old Granddaughter - response NO and hung up. It not been hard, as he has always been that way, so nothing new. But we will make every effort to show him her life and perhaps he will soften up, as I can't think of anyones heart being so hard that our little DD wouldn't be able to soften that heart.

Good luck and best to you in this hard time and with this hard issue.

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#4 of 13 Old 05-23-2008, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your replies - that means alot and I know it's not necessarily a cultural thing - this happens the world over like many other things, I guess it's difficult when she dotes on all her other nieces and not our kids - but then we're in different circumstances and need to try and facilitate things a little more, I'm going to see if we can get her an old laptop which we can use with skype so that at least they'd be able to see each other - it's another way of 'getting to know' you type thing.

KSD - I'm sorry for you and your family - it's so sad and to boot it sounds as if your dad is hurting too, hugs to you and your sweet dd.

mntnmom - it must be hard especially when it's your own parents, I came from a very close family and even although we all (my brother, sister and I) travelled alot we kept in touch no matter what - I have never encountered someone who could not be interested in their own child, other than of course the money that he used to send to her every month and everything else he does for her, it seems as if she's willing to take but certainly not to give. The only reason I thought it may be a cultural thing is that she once mentioned to dh that he could marry and nice algerian girl and I need never know and he could have a proper family with her too - needless to say he was shocked and lost for words, it's never been mentioned since!

Anyway thank you both for your kind words - I'm off to give my dc some extra special mummy time!!

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#5 of 13 Old 05-23-2008, 01:24 PM
 
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I don't have advice, but we are in the same situation. My MIL in particular is completely incapable of showing any real emotional connection to DD. It's not a racial thing either. The sad thing is the only family on my side is my 86 year old grandmother so really my DD will have no extended family. It's really heartbreaking in a lot of ways.

Oh, but I should add something else. My parents divorced when I was 2 and my dad pretty much disappeared from my life (this was a good thing) and so did that entire side of the family. While I can say I really had some issues w/ not having my dad in my life, my mom's side of the family adored me. I really grew up feeling loved by them and I think that's what matters most. As a downside, things were probably harder than they had to be b/c I am biracial. Not having my dad's side of the family really kept me somewhat naive and confused. But these are things that I have really worked on as an adult. Also, my mom was never one to not answer questions or talk about difficult things in terms of race.

I know it must be painful for you and your DD to know that her grandma is not that interested. I dread the day when my own DD has that same realization. Just be there for her. That's really all you can do. I look back at my own childhood and am beyond grateful that I had the type of mom I did. Your actions as her mother really will mean more to her than any other relationship she has.
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#6 of 13 Old 05-23-2008, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by earthgirl View Post
I don't have advice, but we are in the same situation. My MIL in particular is completely incapable of showing any real emotional connection to DD. It's not a racial thing either. The sad thing is the only family on my side is my 86 year old grandmother so really my DD will have no extended family. It's really heartbreaking in a lot of ways.

Oh, but I should add something else. My parents divorced when I was 2 and my dad pretty much disappeared from my life (this was a good thing) and so did that entire side of the family. While I can say I really had some issues w/ not having my dad in my life, my mom's side of the family adored me. I really grew up feeling loved by them and I think that's what matters most. As a downside, things were probably harder than they had to be b/c I am biracial. Not having my dad's side of the family really kept me somewhat naive and confused. But these are things that I have really worked on as an adult. Also, my mom was never one to not answer questions or talk about difficult things in terms of race.

I know it must be painful for you and your DD to know that her grandma is not that interested. I dread the day when my own DD has that same realization. Just be there for her. That's really all you can do. I look back at my own childhood and am beyond grateful that I had the type of mom I did. Your actions as her mother really will mean more to her than any other relationship she has.
Oh goodness your post brought me to tears - thank you so much, what you wrote means SO much and it's wonderful to have the opportunity to see it in a 'grown up's eyes' rather than my child's - so reassuring - thank you so much.

ewe + dh = our little lambs + we and have many just : and : life .
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#7 of 13 Old 05-23-2008, 01:59 PM
 
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Parts of my family were also pretty uncaring. I think it's not a bad thing to grow up with; your child will learn that some things have to be accepted the way they are and that it has nothing to do with him or his actions. And also to learn that there is no equality in treatment: There might be other children in the family that are close to them and are really loved. That's life and the sooner children cope with this, the better IMO.

You can't change others, only your expectations.

If my daughter ever asks me why she sees so little of her maternal grandpa, I'll tell her that she is welcome to contact him and see if there can be more. If it doesn't work then at least she knows it's not because she didn't give it a try.
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#8 of 13 Old 05-23-2008, 02:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earthgirl View Post
I don't have advice, but we are in the same situation. My MIL in particular is completely incapable of showing any real emotional connection to DD. It's not a racial thing either. The sad thing is the only family on my side is my 86 year old grandmother so really my DD will have no extended family. It's really heartbreaking in a lot of ways.

Oh, but I should add something else. My parents divorced when I was 2 and my dad pretty much disappeared from my life (this was a good thing) and so did that entire side of the family. While I can say I really had some issues w/ not having my dad in my life, my mom's side of the family adored me. I really grew up feeling loved by them and I think that's what matters most. As a downside, things were probably harder than they had to be b/c I am biracial. Not having my dad's side of the family really kept me somewhat naive and confused. But these are things that I have really worked on as an adult. Also, my mom was never one to not answer questions or talk about difficult things in terms of race.

I know it must be painful for you and your DD to know that her grandma is not that interested. I dread the day when my own DD has that same realization. Just be there for her. That's really all you can do. I look back at my own childhood and am beyond grateful that I had the type of mom I did. Your actions as her mother really will mean more to her than any other relationship she has.
It brought tears to my eyes too.

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#9 of 13 Old 05-23-2008, 04:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ewe+lamb View Post
Oh goodness your post brought me to tears - thank you so much, what you wrote means SO much and it's wonderful to have the opportunity to see it in a 'grown up's eyes' rather than my child's - so reassuring - thank you so much.
You are welcome.
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#10 of 13 Old 05-23-2008, 04:05 PM
 
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It brought tears to my eyes too.
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#11 of 13 Old 05-23-2008, 04:25 PM
 
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Are there language barriers? My MIL teaches in English (because medical school in Egypt is in English), yet she's totally not comfortable talking with me on the phone. If I didn't send photos to her, she'd never see the kids. I hear what she thinks second hand. I don't think she's not interested, it's just that she's uncomfortable communicating with me.

She's also withdrawn a lot since her husband died.

One thing I did do that sort of improved our relationship was to send her some roses a few times. DH said, "My mom doesn't need flowers" (man)... and I said, "Every woman likes getting flowers!" She was very thrilled to receive them.

Our problem is that my parents are so involved with our kids...always sending gifts... we go to visit, etc... that DH's family pales in comparison. I've started including gifts for the kids on their behalf which seems to have helped.

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#12 of 13 Old 05-26-2008, 04:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's not a language barrier dd is bilingual english/french grandmere speaks to all her grandchildren in french so it's not that. We send film clips and photos through an uncle of my husband's and he makes sure that they get to her, she and her daughters love making clothes and so we went to the market and bought lots of material for them all - over 100euros worth - which we don't really have to spare, we never got a thank you or anything, dd was upset because she wanted to know what they had made - she loves dresses etc - girly girl, she chose alot of the material herself - so it seems as if we keep trying and the more we try and more we give the less it's appreciated - maybe I'm being moany!

and yes my parents always make an effort to be very present in the kids lives even though they are far away and yes I guess that is a bit of a hard act to follow - but just a hello, how are you? on the phone wouldn't hurt - no?

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#13 of 13 Old 05-27-2008, 11:52 PM
 
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if my dd is to ask, i will honestly tell her i cannot speak for other people. i try to make up for it by giving her all the love that i can. i have already expressed to the other folks that i will not be dragging her around them because my job is to raise her not to make sure that they all take interest in her.

they never call. i hear nothing on holidays or her birthday, so i do not concern myself with those who do not care whether my dd is dead or alive. we focus on those who care about us. just don't have energy for everything else.

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