Grandparents Don't Treat Stepgrandchild Equally

tlescakOctober 28, 2002

This post is rather ironic seeing as on the "Stepfamily" board I have a post called "Success Story" which describes my relationship with my stepdaughter. The relationship with MY parents is "Another Story".

I have an 8 yr old stepdaughter. I just had a child of my own 7 months ago. When my wife and I met and up until the baby was born, my Mom and Stepdad treated my stepdaughter like their own grandchild. Ever since the baby has been born this has all changed. When my mother calls on the phone she always asks "How's the baby" she NEVER even mentions my stepdaughter. When they come over (very seldom) they literally fight over who gets to hold the baby, and stepdaughter is all but ignored. Then to top it off, when it is time for the baby to be put down for a nap, they take that as their cue to leave.

It hurts me to see my stepdaughter who I love like my own get excited that my parents are coming to visit, and then stand there on the sidelines as the baby gets all of the attention and then have them go home without having spent any time with her. I know I can't MAKE them love her, and I don't want to. I just wish they would be a little more considerate of her feelings, and mine.

Is there anything I can say or do? Anything I should say or do?

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Jerri

Yes. You can tell them exactly what you just said here. Maybe you can't make them love them equally, but you absolutely have the right to insist they TREAT them equally. It is best to nip this in the bud right now. Your little daughters feelings should take priority over your parents in this instance----they are adults, and should be able to cope with 'insult' better than a wee child.

Be polite, be reasonable, but state your case NOW while it can be changed. Just my humble opinion.
j

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 2:48PM
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Vickey__MN

I have to agree with Jerri on this, similiar yet different situation at our house, Grandma Betty (step-grandma to oldest) seems to favor my oldest daughter over my other 2 (her biological), she has many pictures of my oldest out, the other 2 are in back rooms that people rarely go into. I don't know why. My husband (her son), won't mention this to her, but my 2 youngest (at 15 and 17) are really hurt by this.

This could be just a situation of new baby syndrom also. It seemed for a while like grandma Betty would favor the babies, and seem to forget the older ones were there. That changed as soon as they weren't babies anymore.

Vickey-MN

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 5:21PM
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LynnZee

Let's hope that in the excitement over this new baby they haven't really thought about what they are doing. Just because people get older doesn't mean they get wiser, I used to think they did but I've seen some boneheaded behavior in older folks who should know better. It seems they could see how they are hurting this girl, maybe they are blind to it. Throw out comments about how important it is to make sure the older child doesn't feel pushed aside, see if they get the point.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 5:27PM
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mariend

I agree with Jerri. Before they come over, let them know how disappointed you are with their behavior regarding the 8 year old. If this continues, you might suggest that until they change, they may not want to come over as much.
Marie

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 5:54PM
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SAG1

Why is this problem so common? Blood is not necessarily thicker than water. I remember a particularly evil stepgrandmother type who purposely ignored her stepgrandchildren because they weren't blood. She wouldn't even let them drink a glass of milk in her house.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2002 at 8:08PM
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aileen

I think this is fairly typical behavior for some gtandparents. The older child is ignored because the new baby is here. It doesn't always have a thing to do with whether or not the older child is blood or step kin. They may not be aware of what the older child may feel.

Perhaps you do need to say something like, "you don't seem to be paying as much attention to _______ as you once did. She is puzzled and can't understand it. Can you help make it easier for her?" Perhaps they would be willing to take her to a movie from time to time.

If they ignore your request, then you need to try to make things a little easier for her with a little extra attention when they come to visit. Explain that many adults go nuts over new babies.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2002 at 11:54AM
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mister_matthew

I have the same problem with my parents - well slightly different, as there's no new baby.
My parents virtually ignore my seven year old stepson and three year old stepdaughter, while they dote on my five year old son (they have no idea he's adopted).
I often wonder what would happen if they knew my son was adopted, but because of the delicate circumstances suurounding his adoption, none of my family or friends have been told he's adopted.
My advice is to show your parents how you feel about your SD by making sure that you treat her and the baby equally IN FRONT OF THEM. They might soon follow your example.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2002 at 11:44AM
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tlescak

Thank you all for the wonderful advice. I heeded most of it and talked to my mother. She of course denied everything, saying that she DOES treat them equally. She asked if this was something my wife put me up to. (You see her baby (me) can do no wrong, any criticism of them must certainly come from my wife through me). So what do ya do? I am giving a little extra attention to SD and certainly will in their presence from now on.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2002 at 4:22PM
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SAG1

Her reply? "Don't bother giving us any home-made garbage". That is exactly what she said! Home made garbage!!!! I know some people don't appreciate home crafting, so I am VERY careful when I give things away that I make. Either I make sure they want and need the item including colours, or make it consumable (cookies, wine, the like).

    Bookmark   November 8, 2002 at 12:05PM
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