Sunday, June 24, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Level with parents about grandchildren's visits

arents the truth about why grandchildren don't visit more

Q: My husband and I and our two young kids settled about equal distance from my and his parents, about two hours away in different directions. His parents are eager to get baby stuff for their house to make it easy for us to visit. My parents say, why should we get stuff for our house when you're not here very often?

Not that I expect either set to go out of the way for us, but the attitude extends to the visits themselves: His parents have kid-friendly food, wake up early to play with the kids, etc., while mine sleep in late, don't buy anything extra, don't do much playing. They are very different people, and honestly I have a fine, but distant relationship with my parents while my husband is very close with his.

My mom notices how much more time we spend with my in-laws, and I'm not sure what to say to her. I enjoy spending time with them a lot more than with my parents, and so do my kids. Any advice on how to handle my mom's increasing hostility over this?

Unequal

A: Tell her the truth. "Mom, I love you and want you to be closer to the kids, but this is a practical move on our part: The in-laws' home is very young-kid friendly, and yours is not. I respect your choice, and expect we'll correct any visiting imbalances as the kids get older. I'm taking the long view here."

Then: "If you're not okay with that, then I'm happy to talk about ways we can start shifting it now." Mention equipment, kid food, early wakeups, willingness to play. The only catch: You do need to visit equally if she makes these changes.

If she balks, then suggest they visit you more.

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