Tired of favoritism among grandkids

My son had his pre-k program this week and we invited the grandparents for dinner beforehand. My in laws brought my son’s younger cousin who my kids love dearly. However, the cousin is the favorite grandkid who the in laws see daily. The in laws hadn’t seen my son in a month and were only giving my son negative attention. They made him cry 2x over how he was acting towards his cousin (he wasn’t sharing his power wheel motorcycle and didn’t want to take off a mask the cousin was scared of). this was kid stuff the in laws were exacerbating instead of defusing. My husband got in a fight with his parents over the blatant unfairness of their behavior. His parents were going to leave but I convinced them to stay b/c I knew it would crush my son if they left. This alone pisses me off b/c it shows they were not thinking of my son’s feelings when this was a special day for him. The next day my husband called to apologize for using strong language during the fight (not for the reason they argued). the in laws were still mad at him b/c he and my 4 y/o were being mean to the cousin. Really?! I mean, really?! Does this seem absurd to anyone else?! I am at my wit’s end!!

  • Anonymous
    May 13

    Thank you for the response. This has been eating at me and my husband. What stinks is that mothers day was right after and my son has a birthday this week. We are seriously thinking about not inviting the in laws to the birthday party because we want to focus on our son, not cause more drama.

  • Anonymous
    May 13

    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’s horrible!

  • Jess
    May 16

    I feel your frustration, my MIL only has step grandchildren. My son is her only step grandchild , but my MIL boyfriend has a grandchild as well whom she calls her step grandchild. She post photos of her boyfriends grandchild and brags about her and how much she loves her etc , with my son he’s unacknowledged and never mentioned. She has even gone so far to saying two days prior to his birthday she’s so excited then completely ignoring it , my son even had to ask dad where his grandma was! She never even apologized or said happy birthday later. It’s hurtful I’ve tried to fix it and so has my SO but sometimes you just need to separate your child for the sake of them not being hurt as much. Much love hope it gets better

  • Anonymous
    May 17

    I think that this is a difficult situation. It is important to remember that you cannot change other people. I start out by saying that because there is a chance the grandparents will always be like this, and you need to be prepared for that. I think your husband (it's his parents, right?) needs to attempt a calm, open dialogue, stating your feelings and the issues. Then, you give them a chance to modify their behavior. By "give them a chance" I mainly mean one visit to see if they make any clear attempts to be better. If they give no indication that they will change, or if they even shut down your husband while he tries to discuss the issue with them, then I think you need to prioritize your child's needs and protect your child. This may mean limiting visits, but I think an absentee grandparent may not be as bad as a mean grandparent.

  • Fuzzyjelbud
    May 19

    Don’t invite them to your son’s birthday party. Have the party be HIS FREAKING DAY! My dad is a control freak and an asshole to me, as long as I can remember, but he loves the shit out of my daughter, his only grandchild. We got into a heated argument in Target (she was starting to have a fit about not getting a toy, as it was the night before her Chuckie Cheese birthday party, where she would be receiving gifts from her friends, duh!), and I banned him from her party. My mom came without him. The first time she has ever done something like that. He got the freaking picture. Sometimes, you have to do a hard thing to get your point across. Your husband needs to tell them in the plainest of terms that their behavior is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. It may sound harsh, but don’t invite them. I don’t want your son to have an inferiority complex from his grandparents; my husband definitely got one from his maternal grandma and mom ( adopted, long story, but his mom had a surprise biological son after adopting my husband, so we know about favoritism). Hugs and kisses to you and your family. Extra hugs for your son too!