Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In-Laws Involvement with Grandkids or Lack of It

First, I want to let Sage know that I enjoyed his post on this topic tremendously. Which brings me to do a flip side post for the topic.

See, my family {meaning my hub, kids and myself} live in Hawaii which is practically a halfway point from each side of our family {his side of the family and my side of the family}. The only way either parents or grandparents in my kids' case can get involved with the kids is through air which we all know can be very costly. And of course, my hub and I like it just fine this way. I like having to do this parenting all on my own with the help of the hubby without any other interference from either parents. Oh don't get me wrong, I don't mind a few word of advice here and there but just the thought of my MIL or my mom undermining my authority when it comes to my kids is enough to drive me bonkers.

On the other hand, my MIL had taken this non-involvement to a whole new level. We've been living in our current place of residency for seventeen years and in all that time, she's only visited three times and each of those visits, the longest she ever stay was a total of one week. She had recently gained custody of her daughter's (my SIL's) two boys so basically her life is pretty much wrapped up around those boys. So the last time she came to visit, which was this past May for my daughter's high school graduation, she brought one of the grandson with her. That was a little on the hurtful side because her attention is not all focused on my kids, but on her other grandson who by the way lives with her and is therefore not deprived of her attention.

She used to be sooo good when it comes to Christmas and birthdays...she sends all of her grandchildren, not just the ones living here in Hawaii but all the other ones on the mainland, Birthday and Christmas gifts on time but since she had decided to play legal guardian to her other grandkids, she's totally slacked off. My kids would be lucky if MIL actually remember to give them a call on their birthdays.

I am grateful that my MIL is not too involved with my kids when it comes to parenting but I'm not too happy about the fact that she basically isn't playing her grandmotherly duty too well. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but in my opinion or from what I know, the grandparents are famous for doting and spoiling their grandchildrent...so yes, I feel cheated in a way that my In-Laws are not doing that to my kids.

Which brings me this question...do grandparents only tote on their grandchildren if they're allowed to take part in the discipline part?


Anonymous said...

I have a FIL who lives an hour away. He neglects his three children (who are all grown now but he's never given a crap about them) and all of his grandchildren (he has seven - my two kids are the closest in distance though).

He's never given a crap about any of them. And now, he has an "excuse". He has replaced his biological family with a new wife and her three grown children and a step grandson.

He called on my daughter's 3rd birthday. Three times. He didn't wish her a happy birthday. My husband TOLD HIM that it was her birthday and he STILL did not wish her a happy birthday.

There are a lot of issues involving this man and I for one have wiped my hands clean of him. He and his wife are not welcomed in my home nor do I wish them to be part of my children's lives.

Anonymous said...

Well I hope nobody mistook me as saying they were a net loss for me because they surely are not. The ONLY problem I have with hem is undermining the discipline.

I think you are in line with wanting your MIL to be more active in as much as she can be. But she is probably also overwhelmed with the kids she is raising.

Nanuni Kokoritu said...

As usual... great post!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I think that is kind of the worst situation!

I know a couple in my ward where all 8 of their children are pretty much raised. They only have two children left at home who are Seniors in High School. They had a decision last year to get custody of their three Grandchildren or let them go to the state because their daughter is into drugs and such.

They are older and admit it is tougher and harder this go around of raising their grandchildren.

They also have 3 grandchildren who don't live near them. I'm not sure if they neglect those grandchildren or not...but I do know they are tired and when visiting with them they admit fully their love for all of their grandchildren.

Like I said... Tough tough situation :(

Sulpicia said...

It's not a grand-parent's job to do anything. You might want them to behave a certain way... And by all means, behave whichever way you wish she/he might have when you are a grand-parent... But it's simply not a job description. By the same token, do NOT behave whichever way you wish they hadn't. Just cause you had kids doesn't mean your parents owe you anything by way of behaviour you think they should have. As with any relationship you choose to hae them in or out. But you actually do not get to choose their behaviour.

MommyLovesStilettos said...

My kids grandparents all live within an hour of my home. My parents are incredibly involved. But my son's grandparents never call or anything. They don't seem to care at all.

Kim Lehnhoff said...

There are no rules about what grandparents should and should not do.

I'm sorry you feel slighted by the lack of involvement - I hope you haven't passed that feeling onto your children. What is doting to one is smothering to another. Get over it, you sound selfish.

You have no way of knowing how complicated your MIL's life is with the new grandkids at home, especially at a time in her life when she thought she was done raising kids.

As a grandmother, I don't want my job description to include discipline.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

June freakin cleaver tell us how you really feel...sheeshn lol... The cool thing about Anjeny and why I love her to write on this site is she is open and honest how she feels. And like you have given her, she tends to pull from her writing honest reactions :)

First off I don't think your being selfish Anj... Just like June Cleaver said to one doting is smothering but...

Also not having MIL their for your children is neglectful to Anj and you have every right to feel that way, wanting her more in your children's lives and recognizing that to your kids she can be an influence for good! That is Good of you and shouldn't have to be "gotten over"

But MIL is now raising kids and it's tiring and time consuming as you well know ;)

I think talking to her about it she will recognize you like and love her enough to want her around...a compromise might soon follow... It might not, but at least you might get her perspective on it? I don't know :)

Missty said...

Great post. I kinda agree with June C. Disipline isn't a grandparents job. I hope I don't have to do it, I want to do the spoiling! lol And I agree Sage, no one wants to be underminded - not fun.

For the last several years my inlaws have lived across country from all their grandchildren. But come to visit once or twice a year. And ALWAYS have been here for graduations or other important events for each of the grandkids.

My parents - have never had a relationship with me or my kids or really any of their grandkids. I now figure their loss to not know some great kids.
And because of their non-involvment, I just say nothing to my kids. So they are pretty unaware they are being slighted, etc. And its easy as they live across the country as well.

The funny thing or really sad thing is when my inlaws call the boys will say mom grandma is on the phone. When my mom would call the once or twice a year its "mom your mom is on the phone."

Anjeny - I am wondering with the gifts etc - if there just isnt the same amount of money anymore? kwim? I am sure its hard on a fixed income to raise two kids. And her days have went from - to her own to two kids again - not fun. They are lucky she is there for them. And really so is the rest of the family, because if she couldn't take them, who would?

And if your parents are doing the gifts and the phone calls, etc. then good for your kids. They still have doting grandparents.

Great post.

Anjeny said...

Ahem...thanks everyone for commenting. I'm just now starting my day so responses from me are totally late.

I wanna respond to June Freakin Cleaver's comments first...I don't think wanting my MIL involved in her grandkids' lives selfish and you shouldn't be so judgemental just from reading one post. And I do have some pretty good idea about how my MIL's life is going for her right now but I will not get into it with you. I understand that being a grandmother you feel it's your duty or right to defend another grandmother but I think you need to read the post a little more...I never once in my post said that a grandmother's role is to be discplinarian...if you want to dish out meanness, I can take it and dish out just the right amount for you. I do however appreciate your comment.

Anjeny said...

Missty...no, my MIL is not on a fixed income...her hub actually make more money than they know what to do with. Maybe it might be overwhelming having to raise two boys at her age. And I don't expect her to send gifts for every single occassion but she does have a phone and she can call. Life can't really be that seriously busy for her to call her grandkids' special days if when we call her, she's just got home from visiting so and so or what have ya. I'm having my kids call her or facebook just so she can be involved in their lives somehow.

Anjeny said...

Alex...sorry about your FIL. I'd feel the same way you do.

Sage, your post yesterday was awesome. It's tough to trying to discipline kids when there other people undermining you all the time.

Shelle, thanks girl for both comments. Thanks for defending me, really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

ohhh I love this! Okay everyone gets a grandma, you get a grandma, you get a grandma, you get a grandma or grandpa.... (just like the way Oprah says it...)

I consider myself lucky because I don't have to contend with grandparents for both my children - no they are not deprived at all of anything grandmotherly.

I also believe that it is not the grandparents job to discipline their grandchildren, the ideal job of grandparents is to spoil their grandchildren (hehe) and the occasional childcare. As for the gma that is raising her grandchildren, kudos to her that is a tough job. Grandparents have done their job raising their children and just because the children decide to put a needle in their arm (hypothetically speaking) the grandparents should not have to clean up the collateral damage they leave behind because of the bad choices their children have made. Just sayin' :)

Anonymous said...

P.S. Where is David?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

A Martian‘s viewpoint -

Anjeny's MIL could be involve via the internet - especially with the mini cameras. So there is no excuse really.

"Which brings me this question...do grandparents only dote on their grandchildren if they're allowed to take part in the discipline part?"

I remember an old Scots saying - 'Mums know best but grandmas know everything' - which I think meant that the mum's wishes should be in control, but her decisions should be guided by her mum's experience and guidance, who should then feel involved, but restrained. (Grandpa, of course, should just keep out the way!) But this can be difficult if separation by distance is a problem.

June Freaking Cleaver
"There are no rules about what grandparents should and should not do"

And none for in-laws either, so perhaps a tolerant patient acceptance of what grandparents and in-laws are prepared and able to do is the most peaceful view. Expectations are often not met, so why have them, eh, eh? I have never had any expectations of my family (or women (or anyone)) ; and they have never disappointed me. : )

David Edward TC

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

LOL! WV, it sounds like David heard you!!!

David you never cease to surprise me... what a fantastic comment!

P.S. you are now winning I see by a huge margin on comments! *I bow down*

Anonymous said...

Shelly -

Yes - hence the David Edward TC (Top Commentator)

Rules for Grandparents - you'll have to think about those, Your two are growing up fast and the years flash by. I know.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

LOL I was wondering what TC meant!

You earned it for sure!

Anonymous said...

Yes, and it is no good you trying to catch up by slipping one line comments in - I am watching you like a Lion watching fast food.

Soooo how about Shelle's Rules and Guidence for Grandparents, coming soon? to be part of The Venus Handbook of Social Behaviour and Management. I'll start you off - Grandpa's are excuse all duties and expected to keep out of the way.

Anjeny said...


David and Shelle, I used to be up there on the top commentators list but oh well..that's what happen when one stops commenting for a while so I am going to latch on to David like an iritating itch til I catch up...LOL.

And David? I think Shelle's already had a "Guidance for Grandparents" post waiting to take wing, right Shelle? LOL

Anjeny said...

WannaBe...I agree with you. A grandparent's only duty should be to spoil their grandchildren. At least that is what I am so totally going to do when my time comes.

I've got a really mouthy teenage daughter who keeps telling me what things she is NOT going to be doing to her kids when she has kids esp. when she didn't like the way I discipline them so I tell her that I am actually looking forward to that day when she becomes a mom so I can spoil her kids and then when the kids misbehave, I send them packing back to her...LOL.

David..thank you. I think you got a great point. I should've thought about that...just don't expect anything at all from my MIL, that way I won't be disappointed. And no David, you are most definitely not excused from the granparent duty if you're a grandpa..who's going to sneak dollar bills and candy in the grandkids' pocket if the grandpas are excused? :P

Anonymous said...

“who's going to sneak dollar bills and candy in the grandkids' pocket if the grandpas are excused? “

Ock lass, in Scotland the grandpas sneak the pounds and sweeties out of the kids pockets, it’s a kindness, teaches them to be careful and thrifty, and suspicious, aye the best gifts a mon can give the bairns - thrift and suspicion - ‘nerr trrrust anyone‘.

Off line the noooo to mack ma supper. Pressure-cooker cooked chicken and saucepan heated tinned spaggy, with tea and chocolate to follow. Aye, we live well.

David Edward TC

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is a selfish thing for you to want parents and in-laws to be involved with your children. Speaking for myself, I really loved my relationships with my grandparents from an early age into adulthood. I still often reflect on the things I learned from them, especially now that they aren't around.

Our kid's grandparents are 5 & 6 hours away, so they don't get to see them in person frequently. Their grandparents stay in touch with a phone call, card, e-mail or a visit on major occasions if it can be worked out. That said, we don't have expectations in terms of gifts or visits, etc. Our kids know that they are important to their grandparents.

My FIL was a doting grandparent who passed away far too young at 55. Our daughter still misses him 8 years later.

....and I don't think having a hand in discipline has anything to do with doting.

Anjeny said...

Well written Mountain Girl..I too grew up with both sets of grandparents around and I miss them more than they know since they're been gone for years now. I grew up learning about my heritage and history from my grandparents and just other things that at the time I thought were insignifant but now found very important and memorable.

David? LOL on "Ock lass, in Scotland the grandpas sneak the pounds and sweeties out of the kids pockets, it’s a kindness, teaches them to be careful and thrifty, and suspicious, aye the best gifts a mon can give the bairns - thrift and suspicion - ‘nerr trrrust anyone‘." My bad gramps..I guess I must be thinking about an island grandpa. Love the Scottish accent by the way.

Just Jules said...

wow I am late to the party and the whole bowl of chips is gone I think. My first thought was the grandma is probably eye ball deep in issues with the take over of the kiddos and is having a hard time adapting - but you are right, we don't know the situation ... so I WON'T go there, I am not informed enough.

I do understand wanting the grans to be involved and it is sad when they can't or won't be. I like David's idea with the computer cam (he is amazing in many facets)

alright - I'm gone since the party is over.