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My kids grandparents suck!

Hey ladies...I've never really been on this board before, but it seems like a good place to get advice for the problem I have!

Here's my issue...a few months ago the ex and I split, we have 2 kids, and because of them we have maintained a good relationship. We actually get along better now than before. Anyway, his parents have never really done anything for our kids, unless it's convenient for them or they are using them to look good. (for instance, when family from out of the area come around, they take the kids with them to see the family and act like they are the best grandparents in the world.)  This has always been a sore subject for the X and I, no matter what they do he always feels the need to defend them and just can't admit they're wrong or have the balls to say something to them. He knows they are wrong, but refuses to do anything about it. I've always tried to bite my tongue so the X didn't get mad at me, because as soon as i bring it up, he loses it, but now I don't care who gets mad.

They come in and out of my kids lives so often...they live 2 minutes from me, and will go months without seeing them. I used to make sure we took the kids over there at least once every couple weeks, because I knew they wouldn't make the effort, but I refuse to do it anymore. The effort needs to work both ways. When we were going through a really hard time his dad even went as far as to say, "the kids can come over for a meal or two, but that's about all I'm gonna do for them." I'm disgusted by them and fed up. I don't want people with that kind of attitude around my kids, period.

How can I get their dad to finally put an end to this crap? I would love to call them out on it, but I don't think it's my place anymore. I hate the fact that they have the privilege of having my kids in their lives. How would you guys deal with this?? Would it be worth the fight, or should I just let it go?

Sorry this post is so long, I just had to get it out! TIA!

Re: My kids grandparents suck!

  • Stay out of it.   They are his parents.   If they want to see the kids, they can do so on his time.   I wouldn't make any effort to get them time with the kids, but I also wouldn't oppose it if they want to see the kids while they're with their father. 

    What if your ex decided to do something similar and oppose your parents spending time with the kids while they're with you.   I bet you'd resent that he is trying to determine what you do with your children in your own time.   If there were abuse, or some other worrisome element going on, that would be different, but you just sound resentful that they're not very attentive grandparents.

    I'd let it go.

  • I understand they're his parents, but they're OUR kids. My daughter asks all the time why grandma and grandpa didn't call to wish her a happy birthday, or why they never go to her sporting events. It is affecting and hurting her...that is the ONLY reason I even care. Luckily my son is too young to understand what is going on, but he will eventually be old enough to see it too. I'm sick of my kids being let down by them.
  • My advice- adjust your expectations. They aren't the picture book grandparents you want them to be. It's on YOU to accept this. You decided to have kids. They didn't decide to have grandkids. As much as we wish for it, the fact is they aren't required to "act" like grandparents.

    Honestly, I'm not really seeing anything they've done that requires a confrontation or fight.  All I see are examples of how they didn't do what YOU think they should do. 

    As far as your DD noticing, it's on you to damper it and help her adjust her expectations.

    It sucks. I'll give you that.  But there isn't much you can do about it.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Ditto PP ... as long as they're not abusing your kids or being outright mean to them, I would just let your ex handle this and do your best to stay out of it.

    As far as your daughter asking you why the grandparents don't get involved with her life that much, I might say something like, "There are all kinds of people in the world, and people act differently and do different things than other people. But it doesn't mean that they don't love you." Or something along those lines to show her that everyone won't always be her best buddy or act the way she wants them to.

    You're not wrong by being hurt that your ex-ILs don't spend a lot of time with your kids, but then again it's not really their obligation to do so. And I think it's important for your kids to realize that not everyone will always be fair to them. I also think it's important not to say/do anything to put their grandparents in a bad light ... they will realize that once they're old enough to see what's going on.

    Has your daughter said anything to your ex about his parents? Maybe that'll be a wake-up call for him.

    image
  • image EastCoastBride:

    My advice- adjust your expectations. They aren't the picture book grandparents you want them to be. It's on YOU to accept this. You decided to have kids. They didn't decide to have grandkids. As much as we wish for it, the fact is they aren't required to "act" like grandparents.

    Honestly, I'm not really seeing anything they've done that requires a confrontation or fight.  All I see are examples of how they didn't do what YOU think they should do. 

    As far as your DD noticing, it's on you to damper it and help her adjust her expectations.

    It sucks. I'll give you that.  But there isn't much you can do about it.

    I'll second ECB, word for word.  And frankly, you should not encourage any of your children's noticing of who does how much for them. If you were still married to your ex, his parents would still be like this, and you (and he) would be telling your children that different people do things differently and they should not be worried about how much anyone gives them. This is not a grandparent competition, this is how these people are, nothing more or less.

    You are really resentful of these people, and I'm not sure why. Did they treat you poorly when you were their DIL?

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • It sucks, and I understand why you're frustrated, but the PP is right, you really can't do anything about it.  My paternal grandmother is a real witch.  She's rude, bitter, and mean.  My parents stopped making a big effort to include them in our lives when I was much younger, and we see and talk to them very sporadically.  My sister just had a baby, yet my grandparents never call to see how she or my nephew are.  They were supposed to come out to visit and meet their great-grandson in November, but canceled because my grandmother doesn't "feel like" coming.  I'm pregnant with twins, and never hear from them.  They're just not great grandparents.

    Your kids will learn that that's just how their grandparents are.  It sucks, and it would be much better for all of you if they had supportive, interested grandparents, but they don't.  Don't go out of your way to take the kids to see them, but don't badmouth them in front of your kids either.  I don't have any kids yet, but I'm sure that as much as my instinct will be to try to protect and shelter them from any relationships/situations that might hurt them, I won't be able to do that all the time.  The ones who are really losing out are your kids grandparents, and as sad as it is, soon your kids will stop asking why they didn't call or show up because they'll get used to it.

    [IMG]http://i49.tinypic.com/ogmkjt.jpg[/IMG]
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  • Have you tried telling your ex how the kids feel. Sometime when we come at them with how we feel their gaurd automatically goes up, but then when they realize it's hurting the kids they seem to take more action...

    Sorry to hear that you all have to go through this.

  • I would suggest that you keep to the custody arrangement, and not go "the extra mile" for your stbxILS.

    If the ILS have family visiting and it's your x's weekend, there is nothing you can do.  If it's your weekend "sorry, we won't be available for your family reunion."  Ditto your children's dance recitals, grade school graduations, holiday events. 

    A lot of how your children react is going to be a reflection of your worries/actions.  My kids only see my parents, not my ILS (FIL and his wife have been cut from our lives).  My parents are (geographically) closer, but the ILS are only 20 minutes away.  We just say they live far away, grandpa isn't healthy for visits, etc.  They don't think it's "wierd" that we only see my family. 

  • You guys put it into perspective for me, I do need to suck it up and just adjust my expectations. I guess I should also quit trying to make them look good to my kids and making excuses for them, I'll just start to make sure my daughter comes to expect this type of behavior from them so she won't be let down anymore.

    I'll step back from now on and just let it be what it is, and be grateful for the few times they do come around. It could be a lot worse right?

    Thanks everyone for your advice!

  • image donnycornelius:

    Stay out of it.   They are his parents.   If they want to see the kids, they can do so on his time.   I wouldn't make any effort to get them time with the kids, but I also wouldn't oppose it if they want to see the kids while they're with their father. 

    What if your ex decided to do something similar and oppose your parents spending time with the kids while they're with you.   I bet you'd resent that he is trying to determine what you do with your children in your own time.   If there were abuse, or some other worrisome element going on, that would be different, but you just sound resentful that they're not very attentive grandparents.

    I'd let it go.

    This.

  • image junebug105:

    You guys put it into perspective for me, I do need to suck it up and just adjust my expectations. I guess I should also quit trying to make them look good to my kids and making excuses for them, I'll just start to make sure my daughter comes to expect this type of behavior from them so she won't be let down anymore.

    I'll step back from now on and just let it be what it is, and be grateful for the few times they do come around. It could be a lot worse right?

    Thanks everyone for your advice!

    Good on you, for knowing when adjust your own sails. I agree w/PP, if there isn't any form of abuse, then you will just have to accept them for who they are, as irritating as that may be. I know (very well) how frustrating "detached grandparenting" can be. It seems hollow, fake and superficial and it is annoying. But they are your children's grandparents, so they *do* have a right to be in your kids' lives.

    When your children ask about their paternal grandparents ("Why didn't they call me on my bday?", etc) just answer honestly by saying you don't know and say that maybe they can ask their dad or grandparents that question later if they think of it.

  • image EastCoastBride:

    ..You decided to have kids. They didn't decide to have grandkids. As much as we wish for it, the fact is they aren't required to "act" like grandparents.

    I disagree whole-heartedly with this statement. When we have a baby or babies, we're opening ourselves to the very likely possibility that our offspring will have offspring. It is natural for our children to grow up and have their own babies...to say that parents aren't eventually "required to act like grandparents" is a counterintuitive statement.

    If you don't want grandkids, the first step would be to NOT have kids. Unless there's a physical illness, I don't buy the whole, "I already raised my kids, I don't have energy to do much for grandkids" BS. People who possess that mentality shouldn't have had children to begin with.

    When I had my two children, I knew that I would someday help them with THEIR children too. It is an obligation of love and I'll revel in it. I get to be a mother all over again, of the Grand nature. :)

  • image BonnieBlue:
    image EastCoastBride:

    ..You decided to have kids. They didn't decide to have grandkids. As much as we wish for it, the fact is they aren't required to "act" like grandparents.

    I disagree whole-heartedly with this statement. When we have a baby or babies, we're opening ourselves to the very likely possibility that our offspring will have offspring. It is natural for our children to grow up and have their own babies...to say that parents aren't eventually "required to act like grandparents" is a counterintuitive statement.

    If you don't want grandkids, the first step would be to NOT have kids. Unless there's a physical illness, I don't buy the whole, "I already raised my kids, I don't have energy to do much for grandkids" BS. People who possess that mentality shouldn't have had children to begin with.

    When I had my two children, I knew that I would someday help them with THEIR children too. It is an obligation of love and I'll revel in it. I get to be a mother all over again, of the Grand nature. :)

    Step away from the crack pipe. This isn't the Circle of Life.

    A parents duty to a child is a great deal different than their duty to grandchildren. In making a family, I had choices around who my partner would be and the values by which we would live. When and if I become a grandparent, I will have none of those luxuries.

    Even if there were a moral obligation to act grandparently, it would have a different definition for different people. <See the post above about taking power away from a rabid grandmother>

    To the OP. Is it possible your STBXILs have distanced themselves from your children because of the unhappiness in your marriage. I know a few paternal grandparents who keep their sons' kids at a distance if they don't feel secure that the marriage is a stable one. It's their misguided attempt to buffer their own feelings in the event a family breaks up. I saw my MIL do this after her oldest son's marriage tanked. The XDIL used access to grandma as a bargaining chip and a way to piss off her XDH when he married his new sweetie. Losing those 3 kids nearly broke her. She was quite guarded with the kids in her son's second marriages. MIL was an elementary school teacher who adored all kids. My DS was born much later and she got very close to him but I think it was because she was dying had little to lose.

  • image -auntie-:
    image BonnieBlue:
    image EastCoastBride:

    ..You decided to have kids. They didn't decide to have grandkids. As much as we wish for it, the fact is they aren't required to "act" like grandparents.

    I disagree whole-heartedly with this statement. When we have a baby or babies, we're opening ourselves to the very likely possibility that our offspring will have offspring. It is natural for our children to grow up and have their own babies...to say that parents aren't eventually "required to act like grandparents" is a counterintuitive statement.

    If you don't want grandkids, the first step would be to NOT have kids. Unless there's a physical illness, I don't buy the whole, "I already raised my kids, I don't have energy to do much for grandkids" BS. People who possess that mentality shouldn't have had children to begin with.

    When I had my two children, I knew that I would someday help them with THEIR children too. It is an obligation of love and I'll revel in it. I get to be a mother all over again, of the Grand nature. :)

    Step away from the crack pipe. This isn't the Circle of Life.

    A parents duty to a child is a great deal different than their duty to grandchildren. In making a family, I had choices around who my partner would be and the values by which we would live. When and if I become a grandparent, I will have none of those luxuries.

    Even if there were a moral obligation to act grandparently, it would have a different definition for different people. <See the post above about taking power away from a rabid grandmother>

    Thank you.  I couldn't have said it any better. 
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • I'm sorry, I'm kind of new here so I don't know how to quote just the part I want to answer to yet, but...

    To the OP. Is it possible your STBXILs have distanced themselves from your children because of the unhappiness in your marriage. I know a few paternal grandparents who keep their sons' kids at a distance if they don't feel secure that the marriage is a stable one. It's their misguided attempt to buffer their own feelings in the event a family breaks up.

    I'm pretty sure this isn't the case, the ex and I (never actually married), never really had a bad situation or argument that caused a falling out, we just grew apart and decided to call it quits mutually and on good terms. I still get along with his parents really well, and I'm pretty sure they don't have any hard feelings towards me. I actually just saw his mom the other day at a store and we stopped and talked to each other for awhile. Plus, they know that I will always encourage a good relationship between the kids and them, I invite them to everything, tell them about school/sport activities, etc. I guess I just need to come to terms with the fact that my expectations have always been so high for them, and it's time to lower the bar.

  • image junebug105:

    I'm sorry, I'm kind of new here so I don't know how to quote just the part I want to answer to yet, but...

    Click on "quote" instead of "reply" and then you can go into the text window and delete the part of the response you don't want.  But be careful not to delete the opening or end "quote" tags.  OR if it's a quote w/in a quote, make sure you delete the right tags! ;)  (I've had someone quote me, for example, but as it was within another response, they deleted the wrong tag and it looked like the other person said what I said!)
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • I think you'd be better off, as would your kids, to realize that this has nothing to do with you, them or your Ex.  

    This behavior is owned by the ex-ILs.  I don't know what is behind it, but that behavior, believe it or not, is just not that uncommon.  My ILs are like that, I had a set of great grandparents (who were not all that old, the succeeding generations had their kids early) were like that, and I know quite a few people who have similar relations.  

    This may have been a difficulty in your marriage, and it sounds as if you are still allowing it to be a difficulty in your relationship with the ex now.  He can't do a darned thing to force them into acting differently.  Even if you gave him a script, he's not going to change anything core.  And honestly, if you are the one having the problem, it shouldn't be on him to address it.  I am a big believer in women stating their own cases and clearing the air themselves over issues that are bothering them.  So if you insist something must be said, it needs to be you who does the talking.  Truthfully, however, I think you need a better adjustment on how you are viewing this before you come near to approaching them.

    Instead, you are building up resentment for yourself, hurt for your children, and frustration for your ex when none of it, none of it, is in either of your control.  Let the ILs own their behaviors, teach your children than this is a character issue (without alienating their feelings more) and not something personal about themselves or a weakness in their father or lack of trying on your part...and be grateful for those in their lives who take an interest in them.

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