I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old, both the only grandkids for my in laws. It was pretty obvious since the beginning that my 4 year old was my MIL’s favorite, the apple of her eye and her everything, lol. For almost two years there was very minimal acknowledgement and disregard from her towards my second, and it bothered us... a LOT. Kids can feel it so in turn, even with my second being so young, he grew to not like being around her as well. We could only leave my 4 year old with my in laws if we needed to because my 2 year old was not ok being left with someone he was unfamiliar with and could probably feel didn’t like him. My FIL would in a way overcompensate and give the 2 year old extra attention, but still, it was just ridiculous... (there’s a whole lot I could get into with the favoritism but I won’t - similar stories to yours with the negative attention/comments). Finally my husband on his own initiative decided to address the issue straight on with his mom (without anyone else present), asking her if she would please try harder to get to know our second. Surprisingly, since then, I’ve observed her making good effort to “befriend” my 2 year old. Whether or not it’s genuine and whether her feelings towards my 2 year old have actually changed, I don’t know. And frankly I don’t care... my priority is just to protect my child from feeling like someone as important as a grandparent doesn’t love him as much as his sibling. It’s so wrong, and YES IT IS ABSOLUTELY ABSURD! I don’t have much other advice besides that I’m sorry your child has to experience this kind of thing, but unfortunately you’re not alone. If he hasn’t already, maybe your husband can talk calmly to his parents under better circumstances... and really let them know how much it bothers him, you, and especially the possibly long-term impact it may have on your son. Who knew grandparents could be so immature...it’s horrible!
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