Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Carolyn: My mother-in-law treats the son from my husbands first marriage like a king, while pretty much ignoring our daughter from our marriage. I have tried ignoring the behavior, but when his mother expects us to fund trips for her to take with the son that she wont even invite our daughter to, I believe its getting out of hand. My husband says he is through with her, but I think he needs to articulate what will happen when my daughter gets old enough to realize she is not Grandmoms favorite.
Also, she treats all of the other female grandchildren completely differently than she treats the lone male grandchild. Is there anything I can or should do?
I dont suppose the grandson is significantly older than the granddaughters? If so, then the girls might grow into Grandmoms affection.
Otherwise you need to protect both kids: Deny her access to them, except in carefully measured and monitored doses, and say why.
Her request that you fund cruises is so easy to deny that it hardly warrants advance planning. No, Betty, you cant take just one of your grandkids on a cruise, not even at your expense. Id add, unless you plan to offer each of them the same opportunity.
Carolyn: I live 500 miles away from my only brother, his wife and their new son. I really want to be a part of his life growing up, but were never going to live near each other. Do you know of good ways to be involved with a kid far away? Regular Skype time when the kid is older comes to mind, but my brother and I have never been chatty.
Other ways to stay involved are to send things that the son can associate with you. Books, for example, or a special stuffed animal, or little photo albums of you and other family members, and of your visits. Memories are born of repetition, and if you remain even tangentially in this childs life through the early years, youll have the foundation upon which to build when its his choice, not your brothers, to stay in touch.
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