My husband and I are kind, thoughtful, loving people… yet ignored by our married children who have children of their own.
We haven’t been critical of them, we’ve always been helpful.
The other relatives in our married children’s family whom I know, have been belittling, contrary, and demanding.
However, they’re met with co-operation to keep the peace.
We - the rational, understanding ones – are given short shrift.
Our phone calls are met with cursory replies, our emails go unanswered.
Opportunities to see our grandkids arise when their parents have babysitting needs – e.g. sick or off-days from school.
I get to see the family on whatever important get-together dates are left available for us, at Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter, if lucky.
We’ve taken whatever’s given to us, without complaint, but feel shunned and hurt for no reason that we know.
We’re also fearful of losing even the little contact we have if we confront them with our feelings of neglect.
I love my children and my grandchildren. I long for more contact and have no idea how to achieve it.
I don’t have a smart phone for texting, I’m not rich and cannot arrange family getaways. I don’t ask for assistance with anything, I’m not demanding, we’re just left wanting.
We cannot afford family counselling and are unlikely to get co-operation for it anyway. Any advice?
The smartest grandparents I know did not own all the bells and whistles of technology when their first grandchild was born an ocean away from their home.
But they did have a computer. And they learned about affordable Skype.
Every Sunday, for 12 years, they’ve been in visual contact with their grandkids.
They learned through talking, asking, and showing each other things, such as what music and books the kids liked.
They know their clothing sizes and send holiday pajamas and sweaters that always fit.
Visits together at one of their two countries or in between, are rare, due to distance and costs.
But those children truly know and love their Granny and Granddad.
So here’s some practical advice to start: Get a smart phone and text your married children.
That’s the fast and sure way to communicate with busy, working parents. They don’t have time for long conversations, not at work and especially not when they’re home busy with the kids, meals, homework, bedtimes.
Text is their go-to for quick news, important messages, and making arrangements.
Don’t keep yourself out of the loop – research a reasonable-priced phone plan.
Also, recognize that the couple have demanding jobs, can’t miss work even when a child is sick, and have pressure from their other, difficult side of family. That’s their reality.
It’s not an excuse for outright rudeness, but your “neglect” can feel far less if you take steps towards connecting more.
While you’re not alone feeling “ignored,” many grandparents I hear from are cut off entirely from their children and grandkids.
You do have access, though more limited than you desire. So reach out to the kids.
When asked to babysit, create a rapport - bring a special book you can talk about each time. Draw together. Sing with them.
When they’re allowed to use computers and phones, text and email them to stay in touch with what’s happening in their immediate world of friends, school, sports, and special interests.
When you grow your relationship with the children, their parents will be drawn into it more.
It’s certainly worth a positive effort.
I lost Rex, my beautiful German Shepherd dog, last June.
It was very sudden - we had a normal walk in the morning, he was obviously in trouble in the afternoon, and gone that evening.
He suffered heavy internal bleeding from a growth on his side.
Surgery would’ve been extreme and very hard on a dog his age, 12 years, especially in his weakened condition.
It was a difficult, heartbreaking decision, but relief from his suffering was the only thing I could give him.
I was devastated. Rex was a rescue dog when he was one-year-old, and my constant companion, especially after I retired seven years ago.
I’m still very sad… however, time does heal, it’s gradually getting better.
My message to your readers is that many people experience this kind of grief over a pet.
Not everyone “gets” this.
Still, it’s a completely normal reaction. To get better, you must grieve.
Tip of the day:
Connecting with grandkids through face-time, email, reading together, etc, strengthens overall family ties.