We haven’t seen them since before Christmas and it’s beginning to hurt. The longer it goes on, the worse it gets
I’m in a bit of a quandary at the moment regarding my relationship with my 29-year-old daughter because we are not speaking.
They usually come to ours for a day at Christmas, then they (my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren) go to his mother’s for a week or so.
The trouble is, when her mother-in-law says jump, they jump. She is 55 going on 21 and lives five minutes from them by car while we live 20 minutes away.
This year, however, they went to hers on Christmas Eve (my grandson’s fifth birthday) to have a bit of a party for him. That evening, I didn’t have to go to work until 8.30pm and my wife finished work at 6.30pm, so there was a gap of a couple of hours where they could have come to see us.
Now we haven’t seen them since before Christmas and it’s beginning to hurt. The longer it goes on, the worse it gets.
I am not saying that my daughter is to blame for all of this as I know I’ve played my part – I speak my mind. But I can admit when I’m wrong whereas my daughter can’t.
A lot of the trouble stems from using social media posts instead of talking face to face.
I know there is no quick-fix solution to this, but I would like to have your opinion on the situation.
First of all, social media is not the place to work this out. Stop engaging with your daughter or any of his family on it about what should be a private family matter.
If they post something, don’t respond. If it’s bothering you that much, delete your accounts.
Then I think you should swallow your pride and ask her to meet you for lunch or a drink (just the two of you) and talk it over.
Don’t get angry, don’t rant about the mother-in-law and lay the blame at her door, but just tell your daughter you feel hurt because of what happened at Christmas and want to find a way through it. And listen to her grievances, too.
She might have reasons for preferring to be at her mother-in-law’s – ask her what those are. One thing that comes across to me in your letter is that you sound pretty judgmental when it comes to the mother-in-law and perhaps they all feel that.
Be honest with yourself about your own behaviour and see what you can do to smooth things over.
It’s not fair of your daughter, though, to punish her kids by keeping them away from their grandparents – whatever grievances you have, you should keep the children out of it.
So extend the hand of friendship and show willing to make an effort. Sometimes in life it makes sense to bite your tongue and this sounds like one of those situations.
We can’t choose the families our kids marry into but you can choose not to let their behaviour affect you and spoil important relationships.
More of our agony aunt Coleen Nolan’s advice on your sex, family, health and relationship problems