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Woman Considers Confronting Her Mother-In-Law Because She's 'Sick' Of Her Showing More Love To Her Sister-In-Law's Kids

Photo: Gustavo Fring / Pexels
Woman and grandmother sitting on couch with children

A woman is seeking advice after noticing how her mother-in-law treats her children compared to her sister-in-law's children.

According to Slate's parenting advice column "Care and Feeding," she shared the specific instances in which she notices that her children's grandmother doesn't show them quite the same affection as she does her other grandkids.

She is considering confronting her mother-in-law after seeing how she shows more love to her sister-in-law's children.

She explained that she and her husband have two children together, ages 6 and 3, while her husband's sister also has two children, ages 4 and 2.

"The cousins love each other and get along well. My husband and I are close with his sister and her husband, and we all really enjoy each other’s company," she wrote.

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However, she noticed how her children's grandmother clearly prefers spending time and showering all the love on her daughter's children.

She pointed out that she understands the preference since her mother-in-law has always been close to her daughter, as she is the youngest child and only girl.

"Her daughter also lives closer by and sees and talks to her mother more often than my husband does, so over the years I’ve just accepted this as a fact of the family and tried my best not to take it personally."

As time went on, however, she started noticing her mother-in-law's favoritism "is getting worse," so much so that her oldest child has begun seeing it too.

She explained that her 6-year-old son has started becoming "a bit fearful and uncomfortable" around his grandmother.

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Her mother-in-law acts 'deliberately cold' toward her son's children.

During a recent holiday party, when she arrived with her husband and children, she immediately noticed how her mother-in-law went straight to her daughter and children.

"Grandma jumped up and showered them with affection while my two children stood there waiting. She didn’t even bother saying hello," adding that her mother-in-law shook hands with her 6-year-old son, which she found "odd and deliberately cold."

She also shared that her mother-in-law will usually "leap" at any chance to babysit her daughter's children, but will make an excuse when asked to watch her son's children.

"She made a point of telling us — multiple times — that we would not get a Christmas present because she had agreed to babysit."

"This disparity, and the increasing emphasis she seems to be placing on [babysitting] (including in front of our children), seems mean-spirited and potentially damaging to our kids," she continued, adding that her children aren't "particularly difficult."

While she has avoided confronting her mother-in-law about her behavior in the past, the situation has continued to bother her "more and more."

It has now gotten to the point where she has started to consider having a conversation but is unsure if it would be a good solution.

"It seems unlikely to us that she’ll change her behavior, but part of me wants to have the direct conversation for the sake of our children," she concluded.

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She was discouraged from speaking with her mother-in-law by the advice columnist, who admitted that it wouldn't be 'helpful.'

In response to her advice question on if she should confront her mother-in-law, the advice columnist, Michelle Herman voted against the idea.

"To be perfectly honest with you, it’s not at all clear to me that taking this up with Grandma would be in the least helpful," Herman admitted.

She explained that her mother-in-law's behavior might not change the way she feels about her two sets of grandchildren.

Instead, Herman suggested talking to her husband, but only if his solution were to "break down the distance between his mother and him, to help clear a path toward his and your children."

"If I were you, I’d consider Grandma a lost cause. I’d strictly limit time spent with her, I would never ask her to babysit," Herman advised. "I’d spend time with your sister-in-law and her husband and kids without Grandma."

"On the occasions when you have no choice but to have your children in Grandma’s presence, be prepared to talk to them about her behavior toward them, why it’s wrong, and how it’s not their fault."

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.

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