Question: Dear Luise, I get along very well with my in-laws, except for one thing. They make a big difference in the way they treat their grandkids. They have 2 daughter and 2 sons, the daughter’s kids are treated much better. They take them camping, church, over night visits, gifts, and so on and so forth. It really didn’t bother me when my kids were younger, but now they notice and it hurts their feelings. What should I do? W.
Answer: Dear W. This is a tough situation because anything you or the kids might say or do could make it worse.
The only thing I can think of is to tell them you don’t understand it either. Pretending it isn’t happening would confuse things further. Help them to understand that we can’t change other people. They are how they are.
Daughters are sometimes closer to their parents than sons are. When that happens, their children are often closer to their grandparents. Daughters and mothers often orchestrate the kinds of events you have described. If that is the case in your husband’s family, I don’t think there is anything you can do about it. However, since you have a good relationship with your mother-in-law, it wouldn’t hurt to try to arrange something similar with her and see what happens. It could work.
Unfairness and favoritism come to us all. We can’t protect our kids from it. At school, teachers do it and in groups cliques do it. When they reach adulthood, your children may find it in the workplace because it is often rampant there and almost always, it is rationalized and denied.
Fill in the gaps when and wherever you can. Your kids are learning some very valuable lessons. Blessings, Luise