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Playing Favorites?

Question Posted by Anonymous:

Sometimes I feel like my MIL favors her grandkids from her daughter.  My husband is clueless, but it really bothers me.  Am I just being overly sensitive?

Answer by Dr. Laviage:

When someone describes feeling “bothered,” rarely do I recommend pushing those feelings aside.  All feelings are important, but I am going to ask you to consider the following.  Comparing your children’s relationship with their grandmother to your sister-in-law’s children is starting down a slippery slope that I warn you is wrought with danger.  First, because you mention that your husband is unaware, and I assume, thus, unbothered by any discrepancy, then a stage is being set for conflict between you and your husband about his mother.  Second, a similar stage is being set for discord between you and your sister-in-law should any of your even subconscious resentment be exposed.  Third, sibling comparisons are often considered a family of origin issue that may be hitting closer to home for you and your own history rather than any actual behavior exhibited by your MIL.  Consider your own relationship with your siblings (if you have any) and parents and contemplate if sibling preference is an issue you have had to deal with growing up.  Regardless, don’t create a problem if it doesn’t exist.  Your children will develop their own relationship with their grandmother that will be unique and special in its own way.


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