What are your teens like with their grandparents?

(17 Posts)
scouseontheinside Tue 06-May-14 11:10:56

My DM is struggling a bit my DC growing up. I have DS1 (16), DS2 (14), DS3 (12), DS4 (7) and DD (6).

They all love their Nan, and since we recently moved back to where she lives they see a lot more of each other which she loves. However, she struggles with the fact that my oldest boys are no longer the cuddly little kids they once were.

For clarification, my mother is young, only 65 so very able to be involved the our lives, which is awesome. However, she wants the DC to see her several times a week, spend entire sunday's together, have special outings, etc. Which would be fine in moderation, but her expectation is for a weekly basis, and she doesn't understand that my teens don't want to have sleepovers at her house anymore!

She's started to make the DC feel really uncomfortable, saying lots of passive aggressive things, suggesting that they no longer love her. DS1 came back from her house tonight, and said she'd got a right face on when he said he didn't want to sleepover on the weekend as it was a friend's party.

I've now got to say something to her, but it's not going to go down well. I think she's just forgotten that children grown up. I'd love for the older DC to manage their own relationship with her now that they're old enough, but think she needs to alter her expectations a bit!

So Mumsnetters, what are your DC like with their grandparents, and how would you navigate this awkward situation?

My teens only have one grandparent now my DF, my DD is 17 and happy to go and stay there by herself for a week of so in the holidays as she has always done, she organises this with my Dad herself and the communicate by text and email, but we do live a couple of hours away, My D is rubbish about staying in touch unless I tell him to text/call his grandfather. My dad accepts they are gown up now ,nearly, and they are more interested in their friends than family at the moment. I think you need to tell your mum to back off a bit, if you are near enough that they can pop in for a quick chat once a week, that would be better than forcing overnight stays for the eldest ones.

that should be DS not D

Dumpylump Tue 06-May-14 11:23:06

Mil lives in same city as us, ds's see her every 3 or 4 weeks (13 and 16). They all seem happy with this - she is a lot older though (84), and doesn't drive, so I either drop them off or they make their own way to her house after they've been in town, say, on a Saturday afternoon - she lives nearer to the city centre, in the opposite side to where we are. They have never stayed overnight at hers, and she has never asked them to!
My parents live about a 3hour journey away, so we go and see them every couple of months for a few nights at a time. Older ds is fine with this as long as he can take his iPad, but younger complains of being bored after the first day. My parents are older too, 75 and 84, and my dad has Alzheimer's, so I do appreciate its not a whirlwind of excitement at their house. Having said that, ds2 and my mum are very close, and they text and email each other regularly. The boys did often stay at my mum and dads for nights in holidays and stuff when they were all a good bit younger.
I would find your mums attitude quite difficult to deal with, and I'm not surprised that your dcs are getting fed up with the pressure to spend time with her so often. I think you need to have a chat with her about it.....maybe explaining that they don't spend so much time with you either, so that she realises it is just them growing up and not that they don't love their grandma any more.

chocoluvva Tue 06-May-14 11:36:08

Oh dear - that sounds tricky.

How do you think she'll react to your proposed chat? Is she likely to understand or will she feel rejected or offended? You obviously know your DM better than us.

You could just let your older DC do their own thing and breezily explain that they are 'busy'.

You could attempt cunning grin Inflict your DC, 'habits' and all, on her for the whole weekend so she can experience too much of a good thing.

Is your DM lonely? -apologies if irrelevant.

FuckyNell Tue 06-May-14 11:52:12

My kids find it almost impossible to communicate with me let alone grandparents !

My teens only have one grandparent left, my DM who is 79 (My DH is 64 grin).
DS18 and DS16 both kind and considerate towards grandmother though don't see her often. Maybe once every 6 weeks or so for an hour. They will give her a hug and make an effort to chat. DS1 always remembers to wear the t shirt she gave him for Christmas which I think is very sweet.
They wouldn't want to, nor would she or I expect them to spend the entire day with her, let alone sleep over. I think they last slept over about aged 7.

The difference is that my mum is elderly and yours is young. I think she should really take a step back with the older 3 and concentrate on enjoying the little ones. She surely wouldn't want grudge visits?

500smiles Tue 06-May-14 12:48:47

We live about 20 mins away from my parents (in their 70s), and usually pop in for a cuppa one day at the weekend for an hour or so.

DS 15 is probably closer to them than 10yo DD, who is more of a social butterfly and wants to be out with her friends.

My parents understand that they may not always want to visit and there is no expectation or obligation - they are just happy to see the DCs if they want to visit, and I think they are doing quite well that a teen would still want to visit regularly, as I found my GPs incredibly boring after the age of 10.

PILs live abroad and none of DHs family are close so we rarely see any of them.

bigTillyMint Tue 06-May-14 13:43:58

We only see my DM a few times a year as she lives 200 miles away so it is a big trek for us to go up there with all the other commitments we have and she will now not come down to us (despite going on a few holidays each year) She is 83, but has always been out of touch with them, so although they are fine with her, they aren't bothered about seeing her. She obviously finds having us all to stay a bit of a trial as she is so used to being on her own.

We see the PIL more frequently as they are only a couple of hours away and they will come down. The DC love them (especially DS and FIL) and are still happy to go and stay with them on their own, although DD is increasingly wanting to spend more time at home with her friends.

My aunty and uncle have GC of all ages and are quite accepting that teens have their own lives and they don't see them so much.

Have you been able to have a chat with her about how hard it is with the teens wanting to do their own thing?

scouseontheinside Tue 06-May-14 13:57:54

Thanks everyone. I do know her expectations are unrealistic, but it's going to be hard (yet necessary, I know) to bring it up. I think even if she accepts and takes on board what I have to say, she is still going to be very hurt.

She retired last year, so I think she's going through a period of adjustment - finding her groove so to speak. She's welcome to the younger DC any time she likes though! grin My DF is still around, so they keep each other company, I just think she wants things as they were and has forgotten what a mardy bitch I was as a teen teenagers are like.

Will have a word, and present it as me struggling with them never wanting to hang out, which should soften the blow.

Claybury Tue 06-May-14 14:39:43

It is awkward. I don't make DS16 come for lunch at my parents anymore, although it means he hasn't seen his gp's for nearly a year. They do sort of understand but I know they would like to see him sometimes . Genuinely he may be revising but they don't understand why he can't take a day off studying to visit. But really when you are 16 your ideal break from revision won't be to visit family, he'd rather meet his mates. Forcing him to come created so much conflict we now let him stay home, which makes the day more pleasant for us, but the grandparents do feel sad. Of course not sad enough for them to bother visiting us - 90 mins on public transport.....

FernieB Tue 06-May-14 20:11:06

I think your DM is being unreasonable TBH. Even expecting the younger ones to spend that amount of time with her. They (and you) have their own lives which they should be allowed to get on with. By trying to guilt them into seeing her she will push them away and make them resent her. However saying anything to her will be difficult. Can you just be busy - dentist/hair appointments, clubs, parties etc - and gradually reduce the amount of times they see her each week so that she gets used to it? If she complains that DS1/2 haven't been to see her, just laugh it off and say 'tell me about it, we live in the same house and I barely see them either'. Then make some general comments about teens having their own lives with their friends as well as tonnes of homework.

My DDs see my parents maybe once a month and we live 10 minutes away. They do phone them sometimes. Luckily my parents don't expect to see them much as they understand teens.

alita7 Tue 06-May-14 20:33:11

I agree that you DM is being unreasonable, especially as your older ones are boys- I don't want to sound mean but she is lucky she sees them at all. My little brother is 14 and getting him to visit my dads parents, a mear 5 minute walk away from my parents house, is like drawing blood from a stone...
None of your children should be visiting more than once a week unless they want to see her more often, it's not fair to force anyone to see someone if they don't want to.

I'm close to my Nan and try to visit her every 2 weeks, and saw her once a week- fortnight before that when I still lived with my parents. At 16 your son is trying to juggle exams, a social life and whatever chores he has to do... seeing his nan more than once a week must be a massive struggle, even if he wants to do it!

You're totally right that she needs to understand that her teenage grandchildren want to go to parties etc and that they can't spend so much free time with her, she is maybe forgetting that while now that she is retired she has tonnes of free time so one night for a sleepover, or one evening for dinner may not seem like much to her, they still have school, then revision and homework as well as chores- at 16 I struggled to see my friends at all!
Maybe explain it like that, making sure she's aware that it's not that they don't want to see her, but that they have lots going on like school work and that when they're invited to social events it's rude to turn them down if they have the time to go and they need to go to keep up their social circle.

Your younger ones can of course continue going to see her whenever they like!

alita7 Tue 06-May-14 20:34:48

Just to be clear- my reference to them being boys was because normally it's grand daughters that have close relationships with nans in my experience, though that may not be the case in other families!

empra Wed 07-May-14 21:02:15

My 15 year old DS is very close to my DM. He regularly stays with her for 2-3 days a week during school holidays. Since my DF died 3 years ago he's good company for her and he's tall & strong enough to be useful! Does far more for her than he does for me!!

BackforGood Wed 07-May-14 21:09:49

Your Mum needs reminding that teens have other things to do - doesn't mean they don't love her or anything, but, how about she comes along to some things they do ?
My dd plays football, and a few of the grandparents come and watch for example.

scouseontheinside Thu 08-May-14 09:49:28

BackforGood that's a good idea! Thanks for the reassurance everyone, we usually go round over the weekend for a cuppa so will have a word then.

She still gets a lot of milage out of the younger DC though! They love going to their Nan's because she spoils them rotten grin

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