Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: My husband is the youngest of five kids and our two children are the youngest grandkids of six: 18, 17, 15, 13, 5, 4. Our childrens births and events arent similarly acknowledged as were their older cousins. For example: My sons birthday hit at the same time as his elder cousins graduation. Party and gifts for the latter, no acknowledgement of the former.
I understand the grandparents energy is much different at 75 than it was at 62 and the aunts and uncles are now raising teenagers, who have completely different needs. Should I just not be comparing the treatment of those grandkids who came first? Do I just accept the fact that were having a different experience?
Yes, exactly. The world is a big place, and your kids worlds are bigger than the limited world of their extended family. Where your husbands family isnt jumping in with the experiences you were hoping for, you can jump in to give your kids a different experience entirely.
If it helps, people with small or far-flung or deceased families do this all the time. The only difference is that your extended family is right there and therefore seems like an option, which then sets you up for this disappointment you describe. If instead you see family as just a different form of unavailable, then I think youll unlock more possibilities as well as pre-empt a lot of the hard feelings and teach your kids the joy of flexibility versus fixed expectations.
Re: Unequal: We have always turned to our friends and our own sense of festivity to forge traditions around our sons milestones, given both some mild unequal-response syndrome among hubs family, and the absence of extended family. My son notices nothing other than his own delight in our own rituals.
If you dont act like your kids are being deprived, theyll never know differently.
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