Resentment through the roof!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-05-2012
Resentment through the roof!
7
Mon, 03-05-2012 - 8:49am

My husband and I have been married for 5 years. He has 2 adult children and 3 grandchildren (ages 15, 12, 7). I have 3 children (21, 16, 11). We have an age gap of 19 years. We love each other. We are a great, blended family with a few minor blips that can occur when blending. One issue that is driving me crazy is his double standard treatment of his grandchildren versus my children. His two oldest grandchildren stay with us often when their parents have plans or have work related issue,,,it is not simply a "spending time together" relationship...we are their child care. We have boundaries for my children (that I created and he agrees with) such as no cell phones at bed time, a 9 and 930 bedtime on school nights, internet access is closely monitored, not being wasteful with food, quick showers...just regular old rules/boundaries. When his grandchildren come over they bring all of their iphones, ipads, laptops and they enjoy unfettered access to the internet...they stay up very late, they take their phones to bed and text very late...they are very picky eaters so they have to eat out for every meal at Burger King and they only eat the burger, not the bun...they have to have the breading taken off of their chicken nuggets (keep in mind, they are 15 and 12). My husband claims to not notice that they both take 30/45 minute showers or that they take their electronic devices to bed...he doesn't notice that they waste constantly the food that is ordered for them....though, he always notices when his stepsons (my children) are in the shower past 7 minutes and when they remove the crust from their sandwiches. Yes, it all sounds petty but to me it feels large. His grandchildren are not just occasional visitors, they are at our house a few times most weekends and 3/4 days a week during the summer. I have refrained from complaining except for the internet/electronic device access the 12 year old grandson has because he spends most of his time with my 11 year old...as you can imagine the 12 year old has a lot of information about life that I do want shared/condoned in my home (as I understand my 11 year is exposed to things while at school/on the bus). Along with the above issues, my husband's daughter does not call her father unless she needs something...she never plans in advance for childcare and calls us last minute for extra care needed other than work issues. She constantly says "your grandson is bored he wants to come over" which my husband translates to "my grandson really wants to spend time with my stepson, isn't that sweet?" The grandson does not want to spend time with my son, he's forced to come over because his parents have something to do and he makes sure that we know it. My husband told me that he cannot draw boundaries for his grand children because they will not want to spend time with him. I am at a loss as to how to deal with my resentment. If they were occasional visitors, if they got into contact with their grandfather/father to ask him how he is or to spend time with him without having to provide daycare, it would be different...but, they are with us a lot. I understand wanting to spoil grandchildren, but there is little left that we can do to spoil them...they watch all movies that they want, they have all of the unsupervised internet access they want, they have very liberal social lives, they stay up as late as they want, dress as they want...I don't know what I am asking, just so resentful and feel used. I would never have treated my parents as though they were at my beck and call and I would have demanded that my children treat them and their home/rules/boundaries with respect...just don't know what to do or feel.

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Mon, 03-05-2012 - 1:31pm
Personally, since they are so close in age, I feel that the rules that apply to your kids should apply to the grandkids when they are over. They shouldn't receive special treatment, that's not fair at all. I can see making some concessions with food, but... at their age if they don't want to eat what you are making they are more than capable of fixing their own meals. He also needs to set some limits with his daughter, she's not showing any respect to either of you by not asking beforehand if you can watch the kids. It would probably be good to just say no once in a while! You are more than grandparents, you are putting a lot of time into raising them and should make them adhere to the rules of the house. He's not doing these kids any favors by giving them so much freedom. He's also jeopardizing the relationship he has with your kids, you know they notice that he favors them.

It might be time to either start putting your foot down or look into counseling for you both. Feeling this resentment is not good for your marriage, and he needs to understand that. Do you think he would be open to it?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-05-2012
Mon, 03-05-2012 - 3:21pm

I haven't really discussed it with him (I know, dysfunctional to the hilt) beyond telling him that I do not want internet devices in my 11 year old's bedroom when the 12 year GS "visits". He truly responds to any concern as though his grand children are coming over to spend time with him (they park themselves with their devices and ignore us until they are simply so bored that spending time with us is a good idea). When I asked why they "have" to eat out for every meal, he said "every one is courteous to their guests". Again, if they were over occasionally, I would make a huge deal out of it...we would all go to Burger King and stay up late; but they are with us a lot. I DO NOT want my children treated "equally" as I do not want my 16 and 11 year old to have adult privileges (IPHONES and lap tops with passwords that even their mother doesn't know...she jokes about it!). I am not hurt that he loves his grand children more or "spoils" them (how can you spoil a person that does exactly as they please when they please with whom they please???). I do, however, want him to acknowledge that they live over the top, inappropriate lives and he is contributing to it. He actually said to a friend (in front of me) "if I had known grand children were so fun, I would have had them first"....he tells people they are perfect. It is not hard to be perfect when there are no boundaries or rules to break. I did tell him that I did not appreciate the double standards, to which he answered..."then let the boy (my 16 year old) take his phone to bedroom then". When I suggested that he spend time with them at their house, we found out that his daughter and SIL like to return home from dinner or work and have "them time"...she likes to play games online and he likes to watch ESPN without having to deal with parenting on their time off. In a way, I feel bad for the grand children, daughter, and my husband...they have such surface relationships. I KNEW my grand parents. I KNEW what they stood for and why. They were demanding individuals who had boundaries and rule and yet, all of these years later I appreciate the lessons that I learned and love/miss them dearly. Thanks so much for listening and not blasting me. I've shared this with one friend who is a grandparent and she told me the "relationship is sacred, grand parents don't want to have to discipline their grand children, they want to let them get away with a little bit here and there"...short of allowing the grand kids to have their respective boy/girl friends over for sleep overs, I don't know how much more my husband can allow them to do that their parents do not.

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Mon, 03-05-2012 - 3:49pm

I understand that grandparents want to be able to give in more to their grandkids, I get that, but you are being put in the position to parent these kids because their parents are constantly pushing them off on you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-05-2012
Mon, 03-05-2012 - 4:20pm

My youngest son visits his father a weekend a month, my middle son plays baseball year round and isn't able to get away much. I would much rather have grand parents who discipline my children (their grand father is very much a disciplinarian and yet, they love to go fishing and binocular hunting with him). I think what bothers me the most is that my husband has a tendency to lump my children in with his grand children when he makes broad, sweeping statements such as "kids today can be so wasteful" or "kids today are wimps..all they do is sit inside and play video games." I agree that his grand children are indeed very wasteful and they do not go outside when it's too hot or too cold. When we first married, he was very free with his criticisms of my parenting..."they're too mouth" "they're spoiled" "they're wasteful". I recognized that I had slipped into a very lazy style of parenting while going to school, working, and being a single parent. We worked together to establish the rules that are in our home and we stand firm...the boys have flourished and are thriving in a very stable home. But, all of the things my husband claimed to stand for do not apply to his grand children...and, again...for anyone reading this, I would not be as concerned if they visited us occasiionally, but they are at my house regularly.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-05-2010
Tue, 03-06-2012 - 12:42pm

I used to have my granddaughter as regularly as you are talking about and my youngest son is only 14 months older than she is. If I only had her every now and then, I would spoil the heck out of both of them during those times. Because I had her so often (and wanted to), she didn't see me as a Disney grandma. She had to follow the rules and she knew them. She did throw the Mommy says in there but I just would come back with Grandma says. My DS and my DIL trusted me and respected me so they never, ever, ever told me what I could or couldn't do with my granddaughter.

The fact that we had rules here that she had to follow or that we actually expected her to try vegetables never stopped her from wanting to come over.

My

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-05-2010
Tue, 03-06-2012 - 12:48pm

I want to add that this is the second marriage for us. This DS is from my first marriage but

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-11-2012
Sun, 03-11-2012 - 7:28pm

Hi, I don't know if you are still reading the replies or not? If so, I am wondering if it would be possible for you to talk to the Mother of the Grandchild? Explain as one Mom to another if she can understand because of the close age of the children it makes the home upset when they visit because of the few things you mentioned. Don't attack, just try to appeal for help. In your shoes I would and I would only talk about the big issues. Not every thing that bugs you. Or she may get defensive? Good Luck!