Grandmas Come in All Different Varieties: Stop Judging

Grandmas Come in All Different Varieties2014 seems to be the year of bashing in-law grandparents, and the year has just started.  In the Miami Herald, January 11, 2014, Carolyn Hax writes about in-law grandparents again in, “Disappointing Grandparents, Unrealistic Dreams.”  This Grandma completely agrees with the unrealistic dreams part of the title.

“Disillusioned Mama” writes:

DEAR CAROLYN: What should a mom do when her children feel rejected by their grandparents?

 My in-laws are divorced, yet each is disconnected from my children’s lives, despite living no more than 15 minutes from us. My own parents live an hour away yet visit frequently, help out and never miss a chance to see them in performances or sports competitions.

 I married into a highly dysfunctional family, and the result is my kids now suffer. As an only child, I had dreamed of marrying and creating a warm, extended family for my children with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. On my side of the family, my cousins, their kids and my aunts and uncles embrace and celebrate my children.

 How do I explain to my children that the relatives on their dad’s side are the losers here?

 Disillusioned Mama

Carolyn Hax responds:

You dreamed of a warm, extended family for your kids. Then you married into a dysfunctional family. And you didn’t adjust your dreams.

 So while your in-laws are fully responsible for their stunted excuse for grandparenting, you are responsible for continually setting them up to fail.

 Let go of the idea that your husband’s family will ever play their designated role in your dream.  Holding on to it perpetrates the cycle of failure and disappointment, and will drain away any good feeling these people can and do generate.

I am absolutely with Carolyn Hax regarding the disillusioned mama.  I doubt that these grandparents she complains of are any different people than they have always been.  Mama’s family culture was and is different and her parents reflect her family culture.  I doubt that Mama was not disappointed in them before there were grandchildren.

Mama should consider that possibly  the “disappointing” grandparents are probably disappointed too.  They are divorced and involved in their separate lives.  Did Mama ever consider that they are missing out and know it?  They do not have a partner grandparent, like your parents, to share the joy with.  They may have more on their plates than they are willing to share.  Your children may have come along when the grandparents are older, with more ailments, and  less stamina.  Or just maybe they are just not warm and fuzzy people—or dysfunctional.

Carolyn Hax never really answered your questions:

What should a mom do when her children feel rejected by their grandparents?

This Grandma says projecting your feeling of rejection onto the grandchildren has to be making things worse.  You feel rejected.   You feel disappointed.   Get over it or it will affect your relationship with the father of your children and affect your family.  Grandparents come in all different varieties: stop judging.

How do I explain to my children that the relatives on their dad’s side are the losers here?

This Grandma says you shouldn’t explain anything to the grandchildren.  Grandchildren are smart.  They know.  They have favorite grandparents.  It is easy to see who their favorite grandparents are here.

Some grandparents do not care to be in the running for favorite.  That’s okay.  It makes it easier for those of us grandmas who like visiting frequently, helping out and never missing  a chance to see grandchildren in performances or sports competitions.

This Grandma knows you reap what you  sow.









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