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Jonsblond's avatar

Why would a grandmother not acknowledge her grandchild on his birthday?

Asked by Jonsblond (3872points) 1 month ago from iPhone

My husband and I are a bit estranged from his mother. She takes it out on our children by ignoring them. Our youngest son’s birthday was yesterday and she didn’t acknowledge him. This hurts me so much. I would never ignore my grandchildren. How can a person do this? She can’t even send a message saying happy birthday?

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20 Answers

cookieman's avatar

My mother once accused my then four year old daughter of being a “fucking liar” for saying that “Nana was smoking in the car”. My daughter had come home smelling like an ashtray.

My brother in law once referred to his two granddaughters (then 5 and 9) as “fucking little bitches” when asked why he didn’t spend more time with them.

The title of “grandparent” does not preclude you from being an asshole.

Jonsblond's avatar

This is so sad. I’m sorry Cookieman. You would think the adults would be adults.

cheebdragon's avatar

Did you send her something or acknowledge her birthday?

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yeah unfortunately people can be jerks at any age.

Response moderated
cheebdragon's avatar

I received a notification on Facebook a few days ago about my grandmas birthday and at the time I thought about calling her, but I didn’t and then I forgot about it completely until I read your question.

filmfann's avatar

If she is estranged from you, she may be respecting your wishes and staying out of family events.
My sister is estranged from her son, and she has no contact with his kids, by his choice. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t love and miss them.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Has she done this before?

JLeslie's avatar

Did you call to remind her? She might have forgotten. Not everyone is good at putting dates in their calendar or remembering these things. If you want your child to get the call, make sure you remind the people on the day. If they still don’t call then you have done everything you can.

She may not know what to do even if she did remember. Does she know you want no contact, but you want your children to have contact?

I just realized I forgot to call my SIL on her birthday last week, and I’m usually pretty good about that stuff.

Don’t use this as another thing she did to help you dislike her. Not without knowing her true intentions. If she’s truly a butch who doesn’t care about her grandchild and wanted to hurt him then that’s one thing, but if it’s all miscommunication and forgetfulness then maybe there is a solution so it doesn’t happen again.

If you expect perfection from people then you have to be perfect, and that is a stressful position to be in.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Who knows? My friend had the same problem with her mother in law only acknowledging two of her three kids.
She was angry for years but eventually stopped spending time in that state of mind.
Her kids are all doing fine in spite of gramma Goofball.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, take heart in the knowledge that most 16 year olds wouldn’t even notice the omission if they don’t have much to do with that person in the first place. If it was one of his friends, or a relative that he’s very close to, that’s different, but in this case it probably went right by him.

ucme's avatar

Unfortunately there are some people who will use close relatives as a stick to beat you with.
Incredibly sad & unbelievably crass, but true.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Could be because the daughter or son had a problem with the mother ( Grandmother) so she/he blocks all communication with the mother/grandmother as punishment.
Unfortunately the Grandchildren miss out on knowing the family history and that line of descendants.
In the future when the Grand kids are much older perhaps they would look further into that relationship again and discover the truth of the matter.

SEKA's avatar

Could it possibly be to punish the estranged parents?

JLeslie's avatar

I always tell parents if the child isn’t bothered by it or doesn’t notice don’t point it out or make them more upset by being very upset yourself. If the child is hurt by it, listen, show some understanding, and then explain that adults sometimes forget things, and that doesn’t mean they don’t love you.

As the parent you can still tell the grandma she forget and she can still call after the fact and apologize and have a very nice conversation. It’s not too late! Or, the parent can suggest calling grandma if the child wanted to hear from her. This can be a lesson in how imperfect people are, and to be forgiving and to realize one day we ourselves might need forgiveness. If my grandma forgot I would not even be upset, because she usually remembers, and I know she loves me, and I know she didn’t want to forget, and she was always happy to talk to me and see me.

Does the child always call the grandmother on the grandmother’s birthday? Not that I think it is as much a child’s job to do such a thing, obviously the adults have the responsibility for it. Is the child in touch with their grandparents other times of the year?

The grandma might be a bitch and I’m way off, but the majority of the time grandparents want to interact with their grandchildren.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There is no conclusion to be drawn without some determination that the behavior is deliberate. Grandma may need help!

Kardamom's avatar

My friend’s MIL doesn’t acknowledge her grandkids on holidays because it doesn’t occur to her. It’s not a priority for her. She was/is a recovering alcoholic (forced into it due to ending up in the hospital due to her drinking). She’s not in tune with anything other than what is happening “right now”.

In your case, though, because you said she is estranged from you and your husband, she is also estranged from your child, because your child is an extension of you two. If she doesn’t want to deal with you, it’s easier not to deal with your child, because your kid is a constant reminder of you, or she’s worried that she would have to discuss issues relating to you or your husband, even if that is not likely to happen. Doesn’t matter though, because it might happen, and she doesn’t want to chance it.

Also, I’m guessing that the woman doesn’t care for your child’s gender situation, because she has some type of objection to publicly acknowledging it, because that might equate, in her mind, to condoning something “bad” that she might not see as a fact, but rather a “bad choice” that your child, or you as the parents, have made, rather than just understanding “what is”.

One of my relatives and I got into it regarding gender, and he was angrily adamant that people are either male or female at birth, period, and that sex and gender are exactly the same thing. Any further discussion with this person lead to ugly, angry exchanges.

JLeslie's avatar

I will say that even when my SIL and I were not getting along, I still always gave her children their usual Christmas gifts and birthday gifts from me. Her brother (not my husband, the other brother) when he was estranged from his sister stopped gifting her kids and I found that really strange. It’s not their fault. But, now I realize from this Q maybe he wasn’t sure if she would welcome him gifting her kids. She thought it was crappy he stopped interacting with her kids, but then again if he had done it too much who knows how she would have reacted.

Still, to Johnsblond’s point, I’d do something if I remembered the birthday. I’d probably send a card if I thought my phone call would be upsetting.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Having 10 of them It’s hard to remember them all.
II can remember my oldest’s. July 4.
I remember the twins. Jan 24, because my birthday is July24th.
I can remember my youngest because my son says “Mayth.” May 8th.

I ask my kids to please give me a heads up.

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