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MILs favorites

Started by stilltrying2010, February 23, 2015, 07:36:41 PM

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Our daughter is 9. Obviously as her parents we think she rocks! Great in school, kind, awesome big sister, involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. That all being said....
MIL (my husband-father of my kids-mom) favors her daughters children. They are older than our kids. SiL is favorite child. MIL sees her kids way more- we live far away. My MIL is an excellent grandmother to those kids.

My problem: our daughter has noticed. MIL talks to my kids incessantly about their cousins. My child is now avoiding speaking to her grandmother because "all she does is brag about the other kids". I have tried to talk to our dd about how grandma sees them more but frankly, it is the most annoying thing on earth! On the rare occassions we talk she sometimes doesnt even inquire about our kids before launching into the greatness of Sis inlaws children. And dont get me wrong, they ARE great kids. However, any topic is just a launching pad back to the cousins.

Not sure what to do. What do I tell my child? We have an upcoming visit where MIL will be staying w us for a wk or 2 (in the past mil has spent more time on the phone w sis & her kids when visiting us then interacting w our kids).

As you can see I have my own issues w MIL and have played w the idea of telling her how my daughter feels.  But wonder if she would really hear my childs feelings or just put it on me, given our lack of a relationship. I feelnas I have tried but given up due to this situation.

My husband wants to stick his head in the sand even though I told him what our dd said. Is this the best course of action? How could anything possibly change if we dont tell her? What happens if our dd tells ber directly- I fear she will deny it to our dd. 

Sorry to be rambling. Just spinning my wheels.


February 23, 2015, 08:49:26 PM #1 Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 10:20:26 AM by luise.volta
Not rambling, sharing...ST. I think I would be careful not to expect change in another. MIL is who and what she is. My hope is that I would talk with my young daughter (I have never had one, remember) regarding the fact that that we can't interfere with the points of view of others...and expect them to be otherwise. I would hope I could tell her that MIL's preferences are very clear and she has the right to them...but/and that does not make them correct or kind. You can't put words in your daughter's mouth and tell her to ask MIL if she brags about her to them in the same way. I think would suggest that my daughter make herself scarce and know that it is opinion and not fact...and that you do not respect it. If she were my MIL I hope I would be able to tell her the same thing. Unless your husband wants to keep her from abusing your daughter, because that's how I see it, avoidance and support is the best you can do. It isn't about talking about MIL in an unkind it acknowledging her unkindness without stooping to being unkind in return. A very sticky wicket! Sending hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


ST I agree with Luise, you cannot change the way your MIL acts but you can change the way both you and your DD react
We are taught from a very early age to treat a visitor with respect and deference but if your visitor breaks with the code I do not think you should be held to it.  Quite frankly a visitor who spends more time talking on the phone to whoever than speaking to you  is just being rude.  With that said my strategy would be this:

First I would have a sit down with my DD and tell her that you are pretty sure her GM does not mean for things to come across the way they do, she just sees the other children more.  Then I would tell my DD that she has my permission to leave the room whenever it gets to be too much.  I would follow my DD if she left.  Just make any excuse and leave.  Your DS can sit there and listen if he chooses.  If we went out I would let both my MIL and my DD know where to meet if we get separated then if she got involved in a phone conversation I would sneak off with my DD. Tell your DD that you will catch up with GM after her phone call.   Have some fun!  You can catch up with MIL later and say "We just turned around and you were gone!  Sure am glad we knew where to meet up!"

Try to look at this as a good opportunity to teach your DD that someone else can only make you unhappy if you let them.  We are, after all, in charge of our own happiness and we can control it by where we turn our thoughts.  Help your DD turn her thoughts to things that make her happy and away from the possible negative thoughts that surround her GM.  Your DD is a little young for this lesson but learning it improved my life a hundred fold and if I had learned it earlier then peer pressure would have never existed for me. 

Good luck!!

Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


ST,  I can feel for you on this one!  I too had a simiolar experience.  What I finally realized is that all the comments about the SIL and her brood were, in my case, about the lack of closeness between the blood family. In your case  your hubby and his sister or the cousins who "don't even know eachother.  No matter what the driver, your MIL is not bahaving in a way we would want our kids to model.

In my case, it was about control.  Using the iothers as a way to say I dont get enough time with you or your kids and I think it's terrible that the cousins do not even knoew each other. And u should include your mother and your sister in your life more.  Mine was a no win because even after I tried getting these famikly bonds started, I was too late and I was still disapoting the disapointed. 

You've already gotten the best advise here from my perspective. Talk to your daughter and explain how grandma is and that we love her but not the behavior.  Maybe give her coaching on politely turning the converation arouns to a common subject? or Politely say, Gmom, u must really miss the other grandkids cuz u talk about them all thje time.  Do you brag about me/ us that way too?  Are u proud of me? I dunno, that would be my direct approach but I can be too direct at times.....

Hugs and your daughter is lucky to have you as her mom:)


Thanm you all for your responses.  I cannot tell you how much your reassurances mean to me... sometimes I know the "right" course of action but it isnt always the one I want to take. Thank you for reminding me that often times what is right isnt what is easy.  Or only easy if the detachment is there.