Grand­par­ents’ claims don’t match re­al­ity

Fort McMurray Today - - COFFEE BREAK - AMY DICK­IN­SON

DEAR AMY: My par­ents and my wife’s par­ents both live 20 min­utes from us. Both sets of par­ents pur­posely moved to be close to us.

Both sets of par­ents tell peo­ple how of­ten they see their grand­kids, which is sim­ply not true.

My mom speaks as if she sees them mul­ti­ple times a week, but she gen­er­ally only sees them about once a month.

She does watch my niece three days a week, but speaks as if all of her grand­kids fall into that cat­e­gory.

My wife’s par­ents see me, my wife and our two kids about twice a month, but they have told oth­ers it is “all the time,” and when we meet, they ba­si­cally ig­nore the kids.

The rea­son I am both­ered by this is twofold: They’re all get­ting credit for “help­ing us out” and I am sick of hear­ing how lucky I am to have such won­der­ful grand­par­ents for the past 12 years. This has ac­tu­ally caused us to lose help from ex­tended fam­ily when they visit, since they think we are given so much help from our folks.

Is there a nice way to tell them that the story they are sell­ing is fic­tion? We re­ally do love our par­ents. We sim­ply want them to help out the way they claim to al­ready. — SAD DAD

Dear Dad: Your prob­lem is pred­i­cated on the no­tion that your par­ents and in-laws are sup­posed to help you. You claim that their ex­ag­ger­a­tion dis­cour­ages other fam­ily mem­bers from help­ing you dur­ing their vis­its.

How much help do you and your wife re­quire with your two chil­dren?

Your mother is al­ready pro­vid­ing reg­u­lar child­care with one of her grand­chil­dren. If you would like for her to in­crease her ef­forts, per­haps you could ask her out­right if she could dou­ble up on those days and watch your kids, too. Or maybe they would be will­ing to host your chil­dren for an oc­ca­sional overnight. Have you asked?

I’m sug­gest­ing that if you aren’t get­ting what you want, then you should ask for it, nicely. Have you done this, or are you ex­pect­ing them to in­tuit that this is what you want from them?

The way to cor­rect their ex­ag­ger­a­tion of the role in your kids’ lives is to have a pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion, and tell them that you love them, but this both­ers you.

You could try harder to fold th­ese grand­par­ents into your fam­ily by invit­ing them to spend time with you, to at­tend school events and to ba­si­cally be with you when you don’t re­ally want any­thing from them.

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