When Grandma Plays Favorites
I know a surprising number of people whose parents or parents-in-law play favorites with the grandkids. It is extremely hard to wrap my head around this concept but I know it happens. My parents were not as bad as some, but they definitely had preferences.
Giving one child preferential treatment over another can definitely cause long term hurt and even split families. I always tried to do damage control, but I know parents who have severely limited their kids’ contact with grandparents because of this issue.
If your parent or in-law is playing favorites, try to stay open minded. More than likely it isn’t intentional at all. Schedule a lunch or coffee date and sit down to talk about what is going on. Don’t get angry, even if the grandparent gets defensive. Be compassionate and encouraging, but be ready to cite specific examples, too.
Encourage grandparents to spend time with all of the kids, in groups and individually. Help them find areas of similar interest where they can connect.
Maybe one of your children is interested in stamp collecting and your father-in-law has a collection up in the attic that he hasn’t thought about in years. Maybe you have a child interested in family history. Look for clues to interests that might bring them together.
Remember that a lot of this may be about perceptions. Everyone has a different way of looking at things. The best thing you can do is to talk, ask questions, stay open, and try to get to the bottom of the problem without alienating anyone.
Good luck with that.
Have you experienced this in your own or your children’s lives?