My daughter-in-law and I have never really gotten along. She has recently given birth to our first grandchild and I am desperate to spend time with him but she keeps finding excuses to avoid visits. I’m thinking of saying something to my son, but my husband says it will seem like I’m being critical and just make things worse!
You need to start with the reality that your relationship with your daughter-in-law isn’t a good one. What is the underlying reason? Have you interfered or had an argument that you should apologise for?
If you go separately to your son, before trying to resolve any underlying issues, there is a good chance it will only push your daughter-in-law further away.
A better starting point is figuring out how to mend and build a relationship with your daughter-in-law and, in turn, your grandchild. You need to discover the reasons for your daughter-in law’s behaviour. Meet and talk with her, don’t be hostile or angry, be open, without being defensive. Being vulnerable and letting her know that both the relationship with her and your grandchild means a great deal to you and your husband and tell her you want to do whatever is needed to make it work.
Before meeting it is very important to take a long hard look at yourself, have you been overly critical and/or interfering in the past? There may have been things you saw as helpful suggestions, but your daughter-in-law might feel very differently and may fear you will interfere in a similar way with your grandchild.
The age-old advice of putting yourself in the other person’s shoes is always a good starting point!
It is more than likely that she is keeping your grandchild away from you because of an unresolved issue, possibly one that you are not even aware of. It might have been a small misunderstanding that, over time, has grown into a bigger issue. It is tempting, of course, to be stubborn but by doing this everyone misses out on the love and support that happy extended family can provide for each other.
In your chat, you need to be clear that this isn’t about butting in, but simply wanting to resolve any problems and to spend precious time with your grandchild. It would be beneficial to mention all the things she is doing well, be positive, and make sure your mind is focussed on what you can do to build a better relationship, rather than pointing out what you think she should be doing.
If trying to communicate with your daughter-in-law fails, then it might be time to talk with your son, but this really depends on your relationship with him. You have to ensure that you’re not attacking your daughter-in-law. You must remember she is his wife and his happy marriage is his priority.
Proceed with utmost caution, but if you feel that he can gently express your feelings to his wife then this might be the solution.
The good news is your grandson might just be the person that finally brings you all closer together.