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help me figure out how to say this the best way, please


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OK, some quick background. My kids still have both sets of grandparents. We don't live close to either set. My parents (even when I was a child) have never been overly involved parents. What I mean by that is that they just don't relate to kids very well. They aren't very active people, they are home bodies and not very adventurous. My in-laws on the other hand, are just the opposite. They are VERY good with kids, they love to camp, go on hikes, go to the zoo, play outside (you get the picture). Obviously my kids know the difference. And of course, they sort of prefer one set over the other. I am not hurt by that, because I totally understand. The other HUGE difference is that my in-laws have money and my parents don't. My father is a retired Pastor and was never paid much money and my FIL is a retired college professor who not only got a decent salary, but also is good with investments and such. So, where is this going?

 

My in-laws are funding our trip to Disney in a month and I haven't told my parents yet becasue I know my mom espeically will be hurt that not only are they paying for the entire trip (they will know that we, personally, can't afford this trip) but that my in-laws will be going with us. (Not that my parents would want to go...but it's the idea that my in laws will have yet another cool grandparent expereince with our kids and that will make our kids "love" them more than my folks.)...dumb? yes. They are grown-ups and they have choosen this way, I know that and I have even told them that...but that doesn't stop them from being envious of the situation.

 

SO....what would you do as far as telling my parents about this trip. Oh, by the way, my in-laws DO NOT rub it in that they have more money, they don't buy expensive gifts for the kids or normally take us places that cost a lot of money....but they do take us places and they do pay for a lot of it (more than I tell my folks...although they may know anyway.).

 

SO, we are planning on calling them this afternoon....I don't know if I should tell them, or let the kids tell them...and I don't know what to say.

 

Please give me a few things to consider and think about. THANKS!!!

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You tell them -- don't let the kids do it, because they'll be very excited about it, and may unintentionally make your parents feel worse.

 

I don't think there's anything you can do to soften the blow. Grandparenting isn't supposed to be a competition, and your parents should be pleased that your kids are going to have such a great vacation.

 

It would be different if your parents were the "fun ones" and the others were kind of cold but doled out a lot of cash, gifts, and vacations, because it would be sad if the kids preferred the $$$ parents to the ones who spent the most time with them, but in this case, it seems like your in-laws are both the fun ones and the ones who can provide things like vacations, so I'm not really sure why your parents would be in much of a position to feel resentful.

 

I hope that didn't sound mean toward your parents.

 

I just mean that if your parents want to be on equal footing with your in-laws, they need to work for it -- not financially, but by paying more attention to your kids and having fun with them. That's what will matter most to your kids, but if your parents aren't particularly hands-on, they can't complain too much if your kids seem to favor your in-laws. I'm sure they love your kids just as much as your in-laws do, but children need outward demonstration of that love, and I know it's hard for some people to provide that. Some people are just awkward or uncomfortable when it comes to showing a lot of affection, even when they feel it inside.

 

The only thing I can think of, if your parents are envious of your in-laws' relationship with your kids, is to try to find some common ground, where your parents can do things with your kids that will be fun for the kids, yet not require a ton of active participation from your parents. Can they sit and watch movies with the kids and share some popcorn? Would they take them to a park and watch them from the bench? Could they take them to a museum or a fair or anyplace where the kids could be busy and active, yet your parents would mostly be observing them, rather than having to take part in the activities? Are your parents into any kind of art or craft that they could teach the kids? Do they love to garden and could they teach the kids about plants? Maybe they could even just send your kids silly little cards in the mail with goofy little gifts inside them -- little things like a few stickers or something like that -- and the kids would start looking forward to surprises from them. (I'm just trying to come up with some ideas, but I'm sure you've already thought of all of this, and probably a lot more!)

 

I wish I could have phrased that more gracefully.

Edited by Catwoman
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Do you have to tell them? I mean that probably sounds ridiculous but I don't know how much you talk to them. I talk to my parents enough that it would be pretty impossible to not.

 

I would just say it lilke it is. "We are going to Disneyland." I'm not great with words and tend to just get to the point.

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you summed up my family very well. All of the things you have said are true and have been stated by myself, my husband and my brothers and their wives. We all feel the same way. My one brother is in exactly the same boat we are in...his in laws are very hands on and their kids prefer that set of grandparents over my parents too. It is a fact and I don't like it, but there is really nothing I can do. I just don't want to make it worse, know what I mean??

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Well that's kind of rough. Maybe your kids could make them cards once in a while or something. My inlaws live out of the country and we only see them once a year. I sort of have to coax them but they make cards or write a little letter sometimes. I like to tell them it's nice to show others you think about them, even if you don't see them often. Though my inlaws would be more involved if they could.

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you summed up my family very well. All of the things you have said are true and have been stated by myself, my husband and my brothers and their wives. We all feel the same way. My one brother is in exactly the same boat we are in...his in laws are very hands on and their kids prefer that set of grandparents over my parents too. It is a fact and I don't like it, but there is really nothing I can do. I just don't want to make it worse, know what I mean??

 

I know it will be very awkward, because it sounds like your parents are good people who just aren't good at interacting with children, and you don't want to hurt their feelings.

 

I wish I knew how you could soften it for them, but almost everything I can think of would involve them having more special time alone with your kids, and I don't think that's necessarily what your parents want.

 

I suspect that your parents wish your in-laws were similar to themselves in terms of their relationship with your kids, rather than your parents wishing they were more touchy-feely like your in-laws, so you're in a tough spot.

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I'm a bit boggled.

 

B/c YOUR parents aren't interested/involved w/your kids, they get jealous of the other gpa?

 

They're being jealous, childish, and petty. Just b/c they don't bother doesn't mean the kids shouldn't have ppl in their lives that do.

 

Tell them, and however they feel is their responsibility, not yours. It's not YOU that's created this situation, it's them. They don't have to have $ to be involved w/the kids, to spend time w/them, to enjoy them.

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But do you have to tell them who is paying for it? Or the portion being paid by the in-laws?

 

 

my parents know we don't make enough money to pay for even part of the trip and because the other grandparents are coming along they will figure that out. We couldn't even afford to fly all 5 of us down there, much less pay for the trip. They will know.

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I'm a bit boggled.

 

B/c YOUR parents aren't interested/involved w/your kids, they get jealous of the other gpa?

 

They're being jealous, childish, and petty. Just b/c they don't bother doesn't mean the kids shouldn't have ppl in their lives that do.

 

Tell them, and however they feel is their responsibility, not yours. It's not YOU that's created this situation, it's them. They don't have to have $ to be involved w/the kids, to spend time w/them, to enjoy them.

 

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

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Well that's kind of rough. Maybe your kids could make them cards once in a while or something. My inlaws live out of the country and we only see them once a year. I sort of have to coax them but they make cards or write a little letter sometimes. I like to tell them it's nice to show others you think about them, even if you don't see them often. Though my inlaws would be more involved if they could.

 

these are all great ideas...I need to make more of an effort to do those types of things. thanks.

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Tell them matter of fact. Without apologies. "Just wanted to let you know we are going to Disney , and IL-grandparents are coming as well."

No discussion who paid what. No hemming and hawingthat you don't want them to feel bad about it.

 

You have no reason to feel bad, and they don't either. Your parents choose not to be involved with your children - so this is not about money. If they wanted, they could do plenty of free stuff with the kids. So, maybe they are not as interested in being actively involved ; that is their choice.

 

I come from a very similar situation, only ours is reverse. It is my parents who are financially better off and who are more active and involved; my ILs have always had health issues and less money and less energy. I do not think, however, that they were feeling bad or being jealous of the other grandparents. I certainly never felt I had to apologize to the inlaws.

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my parents know we don't make enough money to pay for even part of the trip and because the other grandparents are coming along they will figure that out. We couldn't even afford to fly all 5 of us down there, much less pay for the trip. They will know.

 

 

They are adults. They should, by now, have accepted the fact that some people have more money. They should be glad FOR YOU that your inlaws are this generous.

If they have no desire to do similar things with you, I really don't see why you would feel bad - it's not as if they so wished they could go to Disney with you and just can't afford it. They don't want to.

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I know it will be very awkward, because it sounds like your parents are good people who just aren't good at interacting with children, and you don't want to hurt their feelings.

 

I wish I knew how you could soften it for them, but almost everything I can think of would involve them having more special time alone with your kids, and I don't think that's necessarily what your parents want.

 

I suspect that your parents wish your in-laws were similar to themselves in terms of their relationship with your kids, rather than your parents wishing they were more touchy-feely like your in-laws, so you're in a tough spot.

 

this is all true. My parents are good people. They love our kids very much. They honestly just don't know how to relate to our kids. I have given them suggestions and they sometimes do them....but not like they really are enjoying themselves while doing the activity...like tellling grandma that our dd loves to bake....bake cookies with her. To be fair, my mom's parents were exactly the same (I remember from being a kid) and I never knew my dad's parents, so I don't know what kind of enviroment he grew up in...and if I had to use his brother's and sister as a gauge, I couldn't becasue some of them are really involved with their grandkids and some aren't.

 

Yes, I think they wish others were more like them...you hit that correctly. My parents want to be more involved, they just don't know how and it's too late to teach "an old dog new tricks". It just is.

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They are adults. They should, by now, have accepted the fact that some people have more money. They should be glad FOR YOU that your inlaws are this generous.

If they have no desire to do similar things with you, I really don't see why you would feel bad - it's not as if they so wished they could go to Disney with you and just can't afford it. They don't want to.

:iagree:

Honestly, I think you need to drop the feeling of being responsible for their reaction. Not saying it's easy, but I do think that you're taking on something that doesn't belong to you.

 

The idea that they'd resent a wonderful opportunity for your family, be jealous b/c of WHO is providing it just makes me want to kick something. What, they'd prefer you stay home, b/c they're not the ones providing the opportunity?

 

They should just be darn glad for you and your kids that it's happening, not sulky.

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I'm a bit boggled.

 

B/c YOUR parents aren't interested/involved w/your kids, they get jealous of the other gpa?

 

They're being jealous, childish, and petty. Just b/c they don't bother doesn't mean the kids shouldn't have ppl in their lives that do.

 

Tell them, and however they feel is their responsibility, not yours. It's not YOU that's created this situation, it's them. They don't have to have $ to be involved w/the kids, to spend time w/them, to enjoy them.

 

 

this is all true....I don't deny a word of it. What is really hard is that they wish they were different but they don't know how to be different and now they really don't have the energy to try to be different. My in-laws are getting older too and have less energy, but their involvement come naturally whereas for my parents they would actually have to put forth effort.

 

But back to the issue at hand...I just was hoping that maybe there would be some way to make the announcement in a gentle way.

 

But I guess maybe there isn't. They will be happy for the kids. They won't tell them that they are upset or anything like that. they are not mean, vindictive people in that manner. My mom might mope around me (on the phone...not in person), but never to the kids. So I guess, I just need to be the adult and deal with her mopiness and move on.

 

thanks for your honest responses....I really appreciate it.

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this is all true....I don't deny a word of it. What is really hard is that they wish they were different but they don't know how to be different and now they really don't have the energy to try to be different. My in-laws are getting older too and have less energy, but their involvement come naturally whereas for my parents they would actually have to put forth effort.

 

But back to the issue at hand...I just was hoping that maybe there would be some way to make the announcement in a gentle way.

 

But I guess maybe there isn't. They will be happy for the kids. They won't tell them that they are upset or anything like that. they are not mean, vindictive people in that manner. My mom might mope around me (on the phone...not in person), but never to the kids. So I guess, I just need to be the adult and deal with her mopiness and move on.

 

thanks for your honest responses....I really appreciate it.

 

I think it's nice you are concerned for their feelings though. I would feel the same in your shoes. It's hard for me to just say too bad so sad, because I have been on the other end. I try not to dwell, just say what you need, listen a bit, and then be happy for your opportunity to vacation!:grouphug:

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and also to be clear, they get a long very well with my in-laws too. It's not a personal thing about them...it is a private competition with my mom....that has been that way for as long as we have been married...more so since we have had kids. I mean...they (more so my mom) has been jealous of the fact that my in-laws can take cruises, go on trips, do neat things (just the 2 of them) and that they don't have the ambition to do the same thing.

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I would mention the trip, send pictures and avoid the subject of payment...If they bring it up, redirect with laughter and honesty...I generally now ask...WHY DO YOU ASK???:confused: Laugh and change the subject.

 

Imo...If they really wanted to be different they would make an effort. It's easy to justify their actions by quilting you into feeling bad.

 

this is all true....I don't deny a word of it. What is really hard is that they wish they were different but they don't know how to be different and now they really don't have the energy to try to be different. My in-laws are getting older too and have less energy, but their involvement come naturally whereas for my parents they would actually have to put forth effort.

 

But back to the issue at hand...I just was hoping that maybe there would be some way to make the announcement in a gentle way.

 

But I guess maybe there isn't. They will be happy for the kids. They won't tell them that they are upset or anything like that. they are not mean, vindictive people in that manner. My mom might mope around me (on the phone...not in person), but never to the kids. So I guess, I just need to be the adult and deal with her mopiness and move on.

 

thanks for your honest responses....I really appreciate it.

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this is all true....I don't deny a word of it. What is really hard is that they wish they were different but they don't know how to be different and now they really don't have the energy to try to be different. My in-laws are getting older too and have less energy, but their involvement come naturally whereas for my parents they would actually have to put forth effort.

 

But back to the issue at hand...I just was hoping that maybe there would be some way to make the announcement in a gentle way.

 

But I guess maybe there isn't. They will be happy for the kids. They won't tell them that they are upset or anything like that. they are not mean, vindictive people in that manner. My mom might mope around me (on the phone...not in person), but never to the kids. So I guess, I just need to be the adult and deal with her mopiness and move on.

 

thanks for your honest responses....I really appreciate it.

I'm gonna call bull doody.

 

Ppl are capable of learning, no matter how old they are. Ppl are capable of making effort, no matter how old they are.

 

If they REALLY want a relationship w/the kids, they'd have one. Not resent others for having one, or wishing that the other gpa didn't bother w/them either.

 

If they WANT the relationship that the other gpa have, they can make the effort. Instead, it seems they want to pull the other gpa down to their level, b/c then they wouldn't look 'bad' to the kids.

 

I really, truly, honestly loathe the whole competition mindset.

 

From what you've posted, you've given opps for your parents to connect w/the kids, they haven't followed through. That's on them. They have no right to be jealous of what the other gpa have worked for.

 

It has ZERO to do w/money. Really.

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I mean...they (more so my mom) has been jealous of the fact that my in-laws can take cruises, go on trips, do neat things (just the 2 of them) and that they don't have the ambition to do the same thing.

 

But that makes absolutely no sense. I could see being jealous that the others have the money to afford it - but being jealous because the others have the ambition? That is completely your mom's problem; she could develop ambition. Being jealous because somebody does something you could do as well if you just got yourself together makes no sense to me.

And I don't buy the "too old to change". If people want to, they can change. It is more a "not wanting hard enough to make the effort".

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this is all true....I don't deny a word of it. What is really hard is that they wish they were different but they don't know how to be different and now they really don't have the energy to try to be different. My in-laws are getting older too and have less energy, but their involvement come naturally whereas for my parents they would actually have to put forth effort.

 

But back to the issue at hand...I just was hoping that maybe there would be some way to make the announcement in a gentle way.

 

But I guess maybe there isn't. They will be happy for the kids. They won't tell them that they are upset or anything like that. they are not mean, vindictive people in that manner. My mom might mope around me (on the phone...not in person), but never to the kids. So I guess, I just need to be the adult and deal with her mopiness and move on.

 

thanks for your honest responses....I really appreciate it.

:grouphug: No, I don't think there is any way to avoid that type of response because it seems to me it is more like they are disappointed in themselves rather than upset at the other grandparents. Maybe you could work some ways YOU love them and appreciate them into the conversation (as naturally as possible--not like you are trying to make her feel better. Maybe ask her first about what she's been up to and then say something in response like, "That's something I love about you--the way you are always willing to make dinner for someone who has just had a baby." )

 

You might consider having the kids write her letters occasionally,too.

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But that makes absolutely no sense. I could see being jealous that the others have the money to afford it - but being jealous because the others have the ambition? That is completely your mom's problem; she could develop ambition. Being jealous because somebody does something you could do as well if you just got yourself together makes no sense to me.

And I don't buy the "too old to change". If people want to, they can change. It is more a "not wanting hard enough to make the effort".

:iagree: Could she be depressed?

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I have to say that I think some of us are being a bit harsh toward kfeusse's parents. I'm not getting the impression that they are bad people or that they don't love their grandchildren.

 

My feeling is that they're just not great at interacting with children. If the kids were teenagers or young adults, the grandparents might have an entirely different relationship with them, because they would be dealing with them at an adult level.

 

I think many people assume that it's somehow natural to be good with kids, just because you have kids of your own. I don't think that's necessarily the case, and I don't think one person is better than another just because one of them happens to be the "fun" grandma or the mom in the neighborhood that all of the kids adore.

 

And the resentment over the money thing? OK, maybe it's not the most mature thing in the world, but hey, we all have our moments where we think someone else has it better than we do and we're not crazy about it. It's not like kfeusse's parents throw it in anyone's face or anything; it seems to be something her mom feels and sometimes mentions it privately. It would be easier if she didn't feel that way, but I don't think it's a big deal. Kfeusse already said that her parents would be happy that the kids would be getting to go on the vacation, so I'm not getting the impression that there is any real competition between the two sets of grandparents, but that there are a few things about the in-laws about which kfeusse's parents are a bit envious.

 

Anyway, I could be completely off-base with this, but I keep coming back to the conclusion that kfeusse's parents are nice people who aren't good with kids, and who love their grandchildren very much, yet aren't great at relating to them on a "kid-friendly" level.

 

I think it's just a personality thing, not a "deliberate behavior" thing.

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I have to say that I think some of us are being a bit harsh toward kfeusse's parents. I'm not getting the impression that they are bad people or that they don't love their grandchildren.

 

My feeling is that they're just not great at interacting with children. If the kids were teenagers or young adults, the grandparents might have an entirely different relationship with them, because they would be dealing with them at an adult level.

 

I think many people assume that it's somehow natural to be good with kids, just because you have kids of your own. I don't think that's necessarily the case, and I don't think one person is better than another just because one of them happens to be the "fun" grandma or the mom in the neighborhood that all of the kids adore.

 

And the resentment over the money thing? OK, maybe it's not the most mature thing in the world, but hey, we all have our moments where we think someone else has it better than we do and we're not crazy about it. It's not like kfeusse's parents throw it in anyone's face or anything; it seems to be something her mom feels and sometimes mentions it privately. It would be easier if she didn't feel that way, but I don't think it's a big deal. Kfeusse already said that her parents would be happy that the kids would be getting to go on the vacation, so I'm not getting the impression that there is any real competition between the two sets of grandparents, but that there are a few things about the in-laws about which kfeusse's parents are a bit envious.

 

Anyway, I could be completely off-base with this, but I keep coming back to the conclusion that kfeusse's parents are nice people who aren't good with kids, and who love their grandchildren very much, yet aren't great at relating to them on a "kid-friendly" level.

 

I think it's just a personality thing, not a "deliberate behavior" thing.

What I'm reacting to is the seeming resentment that others are doing things w/the gkids that they aren't. They're not stepping up to have the relationship w/the kids that the other gpa do, instead they're seeming to be jealous and resentful of it.

 

To me, that's just plain wrong.

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I agree with Cat on this and have seen similar things in my life and my friends' lives. I would agree too that not everyone is as good with kids, or certain age kids -- I've seen the grandmothers who loved babies but didn't know how to relate to teens, and the grandfathers who didn't like/ feel comfortable with littles but loved older kids.

 

I wonder too whether there's a bit of a relationship thing going on with the parents. If mom/grandma is mopey and sad that they don't have the ambition to do things, I wonder whether in their relationship or generation, she couldn't/can't branch out and do what she wants to separate from her husband's preferences. I've seen a lot of widows lately taking a different tack than they look during their husband's lives.

 

Finally, I know it is a lot of work, but I'd try to meet the "well-meaning but don't know how to be involved" grandparents at their level -- find ways they can interact or be together even if you (the parent) does most of the work. If they are good people, it is important for your kids to know them as much as possible.

 

I see the OP's situation as very different from some of the mean grandparents who play favorites and the like. Those folks, I'd avoid.

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If your parents mention something about wanting to do more or be more involved, then you can respond with ideas. But, they have to want to do something. I would say something like, "Of course the kids are thrilled to go to Disney. But they are thrilled with a trip to the park or an art project or watching a movie too. Why don't you come over and just hang out with them."

 

 

 

 

It does frustrate me when folks don't at least try to get to know the children before saying they can't relate. Kids can talk. ;)

 

Have they involved themselves in the children's spiritual development? That could be an area where they excel given the background.

 

 

Edited by MomatHWTK
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Just tell them. And then try not to obsess about their reaction. Their reaction belongs to them. It doesn't need to belong to you.

 

My kids prefer my mom and dh's stepmom over dh's mother, simply because she doesn't relate to them well, either. There's nothing you can do about it, except enjoy the benefits of having cool in-laws who do nice things for your family. :grouphug:

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Just tell them but then make sure you buy them a souvenir and send them a post card.

 

"Dear Ganns and Pop, We love Magic Mountain! Disney is a blast! We're think of you and look forward to seeing you at Christmas (whenever you'll see them next). Love, dc.

 

By doing so you're letting them know you're thinking about them and remembering them as part of your family.

 

There's very little you can do if they feel resentful. I wouldn't dwell on the conversation. Down-play it a bit.

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Neither of our parents now have much money. We now live 28hrs. from dh's family, so we don't see them as often, but they do make the attempt. I actually wish they were more "homebody-ish," because when they are here we have to figure out something "big" to do...which requires 2 vehicles, and long, tiring days.

 

I'd much rather make cookies, bake an apple crisp and make homemade ice cream, play games at home, all sorts of things. My kids can have fun with my folks cleaning house...

 

I would say there are ways for your parents to be more involved with them, if they really wanted to. Does your mom have a hobby she enjoys? My dd really enjoyed planning, designing and helping to make a doll dress with her Nana...she enjoys talking about the Bible with her Grandma. My oldest son will go out and help my dad in the garden (all of my kids will), they get involved in what their grandparents are doing... be it boats or blueberries. Time together is what makes the memories, not trips to Disney (although, they are great!)

 

So, I'd be direct with your folks, and tell them what you're doing...and if people got mopey about it, I'd make some suggestions...but beyond that, they are choosing what they will and will not do.

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It's kind of you to be concerned about your parents' feelings in this situation, even though it seems largely self-created, by them. At the same time, are they worried about YOUR feelings or the KIDS' feelings that they are not more involved? I'm guessing they think "that's just the way it is," no matter how anyone feels about it.

 

Likewise here, "That's just the way it is."

 

Sorry you're dealing with this! But you kids should LOVE Disney.

 

:grouphug:

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Gosh, I could have written your post a few years ago! The difference is that my inlaws (the ones that weren't involved) lived next door. My mil made it to ONE, exactly ONE horse show of dd's and complained the entire time because I couldn't tell her exactly when dd would ride. Let's see, we're on event 2 and she rides #3, so it's next and there are 4 kids in front of her, but I can't tell to the second when she'll go in the arena. And no, dd is not going to wave at you or come over, um, she's on a HORSE!

 

My mil couldn't even be bothered to come to dd's senior recital because there were free cookies at the bank the next day and she didn't want "to be tired".

 

 

:001_huh:

 

This is one of those horrible yet hilarious things. Just...wow...

 

:grouphug:

 

Yup. Sounds just like my MIL. She couldn't be bothered to come to the county fair (15 minutes form her house) this summer to watch Dd win just about every class with her dog. She just had to have her hair done on that very morning. I suspect she doesn't like it that my mom bought Dd her dog in the first place.

 

I agree with the posts that say you have to tell them and let them feel however they'r going to feel. If they want to change their relationship with your kids they can do it, even without money. If you think suggestions from you would be helpful, great. If it would really be more like you pulling the weight of the relationship for your parents (as in you spending your energy and time designing moments for your kids and parents) then you are probably going to exhaust yourself to no purpose. I really don't know if Cat is reading the situation better or not. I could be reading through the cloud of my own experience.

 

Like Margaret's kids, my kids know which grandparents care enough to actually involve themselves with them on a meaningful level.

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Kids don't require much from grandparents. All you have to do is show up, listen, tell them they are clever and buy ice cream. If your parents can't do that, they mustn't want to. I get not feeling a natural bond with certain ages, but if you want to do your best, you will at least buy ice cream.

 

Rosie

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I don't get why it's any of their business who pays for the trip. Will they really ask?? I would mention - "oh, did we tell you we're going to Disney next month?" And if they're brash enough to ask about where the money's coming from, you could either say "Why do ask?" as somebody already mentioned, or, if you WANT to tell them, just say in passing "DH's parents are helping us out."

 

Any hurt feelings are not your fault. I had two very different grandmothers. One of them had more money & would take me shopping. The other made cookies. I adored them both. They lived in the same city, and when I would visit, the cookie-baker was never jealous of the clothes & dinner the other one would take me out for.

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Kids don't require much from grandparents. All you have to do is show up, listen, tell them they are clever and buy ice cream. If your parents can't do that, they mustn't want to. I get not feeling a natural bond with certain ages, but if you want to do your best, you will at least buy ice cream.

 

Rosie

 

:iagree: My step dad is not naturally good with kids, and never has been. But he tries, he shows up, he listens and nods, he buys the occasional low budget treat, and ds loves him just as much as his other grandparents.

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One of my beefs with the notion of only liking certain age kids is that if a g'parent expects to have a relationship with an older child, they have to have a connection earlier. You can't just trot out your "closeness" with a child when someone is looking or once they get to the age that makes YOU look good! Mil pulled this over and over--it was great to gush at orchestra concerts when YOU could claim you'd passed on the music genes but when you didn't want anything to do with the child unless someone was watching or when you screamed at them during a piano recital that they were playing the wrong piece (only it was grandma who was not playing what was on the page) well, lets just say, the kid doesn't want anything to do with YOU!

 

Oh, I hear you. And I'm not sure it isn't "liking" -- I always felt all the grandparents loved my kids more than anything, but men of a certain age may not feel that comfortable with babies. And I've known a fair amount of grandmothers who felt very comfortable with babies and littles (and of course they were younger then) but found it harder to care for older kids or know what to do with them as their interests diverged from the older generation's. I think what happened in your family is way beyond what I'm describing based on what I have seen with my friends and extended family, and is totally unacceptable. I'm sure we are all seeing this one with the prism of our own experiences.

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I just find it quite odd that the OP has to inform her parent who pays for the vacation. Like it is any of the parent's beeswax? I never shared how much my in-laws (they were wealthy) spent on us to my poor single parent. That would make it a competition and make her feel horrible. Why would I wish to do that?? Just leave it as you're going on vacation, period.

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Kids don't require much from grandparents. All you have to do is show up, listen, tell them they are clever and buy ice cream. If your parents can't do that, they mustn't want to. I get not feeling a natural bond with certain ages, but if you want to do your best, you will at least buy ice cream.

 

Rosie

 

:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::iagree:

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I would just let the topic come up naturally in conversation and not make a big deal about it when it does, whether that's before the trip or after. Their reactions are their responsibility, not yours. It's not as if you're going to be bragging about how awesome the kids' other grandparents are and trying to shame your parents for having a less active relationship.

 

If sharing happy news makes other people feel resentful and unhappy, it's their problem. You shouldn't be obligated to shield your parents from the positive relationship your family has with your in-laws or to allow them to steal your kids' joy.

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it's not that I HAVE to tell them who is paying for the trip...they will naturally assume becasue they know we don't have money and they know that my in-laws do. It's not a secret...

 

Anyway....we told them yesterday and they were pretty quiet on the phone afterward...sort of awkward, but I love the idea of buying them something and sending a post card...we will for sure be doing that.

 

and you guys are right (as always) I should not own their hurt feelings....it is for them to own and deal with. That is a hard thing for me...but something I need to work on. THANKS!!!!

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Same situation her except my parents have just as much money but live farther away. We've just never made a fuss over it. They can choose to step up in other ways if they choose to. My parents should get it - we all preferred the "fun" grandparents when we were kids too. My parents have mentioned going with us sometime to Disney which is awkward. Plus we stay in really expensive places that my parents probably wouldn't want to pay for - they just spend money different ways. My in-laws don't spend any money on themselves and never have. Like I said, we just don't make a big deal out of it. We mention it like it's any other vacation and don't dwell on it.

 

Brownie

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:grouphug: i hope the conversation goes as well as it can. i think you're right that you have to tell them. maybe practice one or two simple sentences until you get it just the way you want it and can deliver it without too much unintended emotion behind it?

 

re your parents. i agree with catwoman; they sound sweet, and human. i reckon we all have those moments when we wish we were different than we are, and we all only have so much energy to put into changes.

 

maybe we could all brainstorm things that our "less involved" grandparents have done that make the difference?

 

for us, very simple things like phone calls and facebook posts from grandma make the kids glow. we post short videos of them playing the violin or dancing, and grandma comments glowingly. she feels included and they feel praised. win-win. but it is from our initiative, not hers. she mails cards for holidays and birthdays, with a little money in them. they are thrilled. for christmas, she asks for suggestions and we find something the kids will love and send her a link and she gets it for them. we skype. when we visit, she gets them favourite "forbidden" foods. fudge is the current favourite. and maybe the best thing we did was suggest that she teach them card games. then, whenever we play those games, i'll make a comment about how it reminds me of grandma, and they have some delightful reminiscing. and puzzles. when we visit, or she does, i get a puzzle and set it up on a card table. she likes puzzles. we've found that when there is a table set up, she will go and sit and do it, and the dc will just spontaneously sit down for a few minutes and they can chat over puzzle pieces. its very sweet and builds relationship. little of that costs money, or requires much time or energy. and its built a magical relationship.

 

hth,

ann

 

ps. i think for many of us this touches a chord, and speaks to a deep longing for our parents to have good relationships with our children, and with us.

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maybe we could all brainstorm things that our "less involved" grandparents have done that make the difference?

 

for us, very simple things like phone calls and facebook posts from grandma make the kids glow. we post short videos of them playing the violin or dancing, and grandma comments glowingly. she feels included and they feel praised. win-win. but it is from our initiative, not hers. she mails cards for holidays and birthdays, with a little money in them. they are thrilled. for christmas, she asks for suggestions and we find something the kids will love and send her a link and she gets it for them. we skype. when we visit, she gets them favourite "forbidden" foods. fudge is the current favourite. and maybe the best thing we did was suggest that she teach them card games. then, whenever we play those games, i'll make a comment about how it reminds me of grandma, and they have some delightful reminiscing. and puzzles. when we visit, or she does, i get a puzzle and set it up on a card table. she likes puzzles. we've found that when there is a table set up, she will go and sit and do it, and the dc will just spontaneously sit down for a few minutes and they can chat over puzzle pieces. its very sweet and builds relationship. little of that costs money, or requires much time or energy. and its built a magical relationship.

 

hth,

ann

 

ps. i think for many of us this touches a chord, and speaks to a deep longing for our parents to have good relationships with our children, and with us.

 

Great points. I wouldn't say that any of my kids' grandparents have been really uninvolved (I've seen this more in friends' families) but poor health and distance have been challenges, and I've put in more effort as my kids have gotten older.

 

Ideas:

 

-- my dad was in really poor health before he died, but always loved coin collecting. I gathered supplies and saved change and they did that together. We planned to do that with stamps but ran out of time.

 

-- I asked my mom to teach my kids to knit and do needlework. There may be more talking than working, but that's fine. Maybe I'll ask her to teach them bridge. I never really learned, and my parents loved it.

 

-- I got the boys a microphone to use with a laptop and they interviewed my father about his childhood and military experiences. Since he died, they've been turning it into a book.

 

-- Interviewing grandparents about pictures and scanning them into the computer (I bought a photoscanner for this purpose). They then help me put them on facebook with comments, and are using them for the book they are working on.

 

-- When we visit my in-laws, or we meet them somewhere, I plan the museum visits or other sightseeing and figure out the logistics beforehand. They are very happy to go along but are getting up there in age and would find it hard to plan it all out.

 

-- Now that my kids are older, they are visiting grandparents solo or staying there overnight. We talk before they go about how they should help with projects that the grandparents are getting too old to do. My kids come home and are so proud about how they fixed something for grandma. They would not be so helpful at home!

 

-- Great idea about puzzles, board games or card games. There are things we don't get around to here but would be great to be working on over there.

 

-- My kids love calls or facebook posts. I've asked my mom to comment on FB everything my older son posts because no one else does, and he loves it. That has worked well when her energy is low.

 

-- My kids are excited about their postcrossing.com activities and don't know anyone else in real life who does it, so they can call their grandparents when they want to talk about a cool card they got.

 

None of this will work with grandparents who are uninterested, but if it is health or distance or low energy that's the problem, as kids get older I think it can work. Hard when they are little.

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To the OP, I feel your pain. I am in a similar family situation, though playing a different role. My advice would be to not talk about it any more than necessary. There is no reason why you need to send them postcards from Disney or bring them back souvenirs as that would only serve to remind them that they are not in a position to take your kids on expensive trips like that.

 

I have family that is in a different financial position than us and I just clam up when they talk about all the fancy things they do all the time. I am very happy with our life and our situation, but they all do things that look a lot better on Facebook than anything we do. I really would rather not hear about it, personally. If they want to go on fancy trips and do things that cost lots of money, that's fine, but I would rather not have it rubbed in my face all the time.

 

I think it is important to relate to people based on what you have in common and focus on that. Going to Disney is not something you have in common with your parents, so other than telling them so they don't expect to hear from you while you're there (since you'll be out of your usual routine), they don't really need to know. Be kind.

 

I think you, too, may be disappointed that your family is not able to do things like that. Enjoy what you do with your inlaws, and enjoy the time you spend with your family. They do not have to be the same in order to be equal. Focus on what you enjoy most, and they will both be important. For you and your family.

 

Hugs!

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