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Why do grandparents play favorites?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by kingcreole, May 7, 2012.

  1. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    I'm in a situation that I don't know how to handle, and I really need some advice.

    I've always had a great relationship with my parents, but I'm really starting to get irritated with them. They blatantly favor my brothers' kids over mine.

    Some background to paint the picture - my parents and brother's family live about 10 minutes apart. We live more than three hours away. My brother lived in Japan for a few years and married a great Japanese girl. And she chose to live her life over here, which was not an easy decision. And when all of us went over to Japan for the wedding, her parents talked to my dad and wanted assurances that they would watch out for her.

    My folks are great people. I understand that because my brothers' kids see their other grandparents a for a few months every other year, they probably feel they have to fill a void.

    Having said that, my in-laws, while great people also, don't come around often. It's just not in them to travel a couple hours to see us. My parents do come to see us 3-4 times a year, and even my wife admits that my parents do more for our kids than her parents do.

    Me and my parents have clashed a couple times through the years, mainly about religion. Born and raised Catholic, I now attend a Christian church and rarely attend Catholic services. My sister-in-law joined the Catholic church, and my nieces attend Catholic schools. I don't need to explain more.

    OK, now for the situation that has me on edge ... we're a big soccer family. My youngest daughter plays for a premier team, and she's pretty darn good. My brother coaches his two oldest daughters. They play at a rec level, but both are pretty good players too.

    Last weekend, we traveled near where my parents live for a tournament (about an hour's drive for them). It's the only time we REALLY travel to a tournament (hotel stay), so it's a pretty big deal to the girls. My folks assured me they would be there for both Saturday games. Our first game Sunday was a bit past dawn, so I told them not to worry about coming to that game. I told them if we made the semifinals, I would let them know ASAP so they could drive over and watch, if they could.

    Day before the tournament, I called to let them know what field we would be on. My mother then explained that they wouldn't be there Saturday. Why? My dad helps my brother coach one team. He felt he had to be there to help my brother out. They also wanted to be at another one of my niece's games, just in case my brother needed help.

    I help coach my daughter's team too. A couple times, the regular coach couldn't make it and I had to do it on my own. Easy? No. Manageable? Yes.

    I was pretty upset they chose to go to my nieces games, since they only miss them when there are conflicts with another game. They still had not seen my daughter play.

    Sunday comes, and they did show up for the after-dawn game. We played a team from a big club near where the rest of my family lives. My dad later informed me that my brother was thinking of getting one of his daughter's into that same club. She had a free trial practice with the same team we played. We lost the game, but played very well, and we still made it to the semifinals.

    Our semifinal was played right next to the field where the other team that previously beat us was on. My wife informs me that my dad said early in the game that he was going "to scout the other game." A few times, I looked over and they were not watching my daughter's game. They were watching the other field.

    They knew my daughter played that big club team, and I'm starting to think that they came Sunday to watch them and let my brother know what they thought of the big club.

    When the semifinal game ended, they called out to me and said they had to go. Why? One of my niece's was having a birthday party. They never said "goodbye" to any of my kids or my wife. My soccer daughter was especially upset with that, and she also was upset that they didn't come on Saturday to watch her play.

    I often shake off when I see what I feel is perceived favortism. Like I said, I know they kind of have to take on the roll of two sets of grandparents. But they had a chance to spend an entire Saturday with us, and they chose to not to in favor of their other grandkids. Then they came to an abbreviated Sunday because of a birthday party for the other grandkids, and I'm not convinced they came up on Sunday to see my daughter play, but rather to see this big club my brother is thinking about joining.

    My daughter asked Saturday night why they went to her cousins' games when they go all the time and didn't come to watch her play. She's only 9 but she's already picking it up.

    My dad often says he thought his parents favored my cousins over brother and I, but my cousins' parents split and they had financial difficulties. I knew that growing up, and it didn't bother me. But there is nothing wrong with my brother's family. They certainly are better off than my family is, but we are far from in the shitter.

    I know this is a common occurrence - grandparents favoring one set of grandkids over another. But this really pisses me off and I am close to snapping.
  2. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Make a reasonable excuse to your daughters and let it go.
  3. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    If this was a one-time deal, it would be very, very easy to let it go. But my daughter knows why her grandparents weren't there Saturday. Whatever my parents told me why, that's what I'll tell her. I'm not going to lie to her. I told her, "They went to watch your cousins play." Nothing more, nothing less.

    Is it unfair to expect them to live up to their word? They said they would be there Saturday. If someone gets called into work, that's fine. If someone is sick, that's fine. To change plans to watch the other kids, whom they see every week play? Having a harder time grasping that one.
  4. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Start sending them the smaller school pictures.
    Announce on facebook everything your other grandparents are doing with your kid.

    My father-in-law lives in Charlottesville and sees Lil 93 about four times a year, each time in 3-4 hour blocks. Never stays the night and is always a pain in the ass.

    My mom will see Lil 93 every chance she can and lives in Ft. Myers.

    It's an early lesson in life. Not all people will treat you equally.
  5. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Next time they hem and haw, remind them they have two sets of grandkids; one they can see pretty much anytime they want, one they can't. Then hang up.
    Hell, I got pissed reading it...
  6. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    It's natural that they would be closer to your brother's kids with the everyday involvement. Not fair, maybe, but to be expected.

    I would also explore the possibility that they and your wife don't get along very well.
  7. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    93 - Great point about people treating them differently. They don't shun my kids. But they definitely take the backseat. For example, my dad took us to Disney one year. Tremendous trip for which we are eternally grateful. But one night at dinner, because of the large number of people we had, we had to sit at two tables. My table was me, my wife and our three kids. The other table? Everyone else. My folks never said a word to us at dinner, never asked how the food was, never asked our kids what they ordered, etc.

    Slappy - I might have the chance to say just that this week.

    LTL - There have been disagreements between my wife and folks. We weren't married in a Catholic church, which my parents have admitted upset them. We didn't baptize our kids as babies (the two princesses made that choice on their own, and the prince is asking about it), which my parents admitted upset them. My wife believes this is the core of the way things are. Possibly.

    Creosote - I am tempted to tell my folks that the princess was upset that they weren't there Saturday or didn't say bye on Sunday.
  8. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Your parents are adults and can do what they want. Note that they don't care as much about your kids and you'd like and move on.

    Then again, I'm the favorite kid, so that's easy for me to say.
  9. cyclingwriter

    cyclingwriter Active Member


    ask yourself these questions?
    Do you love your kids?
    Do they know that it without a doubt?
    Do they love you?

    If the answer is yes to all three, then you are golden. Don't worry about grandparents. My daughter is lucky enough to be ignored by three sets of grandparents and it doesn't seem to harm her in the least.
  10. copperpot

    copperpot Well-Known Member

    Do you have the kind of relationship that you could bring this up with one of your parents? Could be it's not even on their radar, and if it were, they'd want to do something about it.

    Of course, they might just get defensive, too.

    It's not an easy situation and I'm sorry you, and especially your kids, have to deal with it.
  11. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    I ask this of parents who have more than one child: Do you seriously not like one more? Because my mom swears she likes us both the same, but my brother's always been the favorite. Maybe because he was the popular one who was funny and I just kind of got by on my own.

    I don't have kids, obvs. But I definitely like my pets in a certain order, and it's never been close. NOT SAYING PETS AND KIDS ARE THE SAME. It's just the only experience I have.

    So do you REALLY love them equally? Or do you favor the one who's easier, or maybe the one who needs you more?
  12. Iron_chet

    Iron_chet Well-Known Member

    Right now I love my kids equally although one is 7 months and the other 4 years old. I think that it is possible to maybe not like one as much as the other but can't imagine not loving them the same.

    I am an only child and work for an airline, my parents have unlimited discount flight benefits, are both retired, and have not come out to see their grandson. They only met him as I re-arranged some vacation travel to connect in the city they live for a 3 hour visit.

    My father in law meanwhile has seen him twice and has to fly from Florida to Western Canada to do it.

    I have long since given up hope that my folks will have much of a relationship with my parents which hurts them more than me (doesn't hurt me at all actually as my parents are miserable, bitter, people). Sorry for the threadjack and wish I had a better answer than disengagement on how tto deal with your parents.
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