DEAR ABBY: I must comment on the letter you reprinted from "Your Son's Wife" about grandparents who don't buy gifts of equal value for their grandchildren. I am a grandfather who would like to treat each of my grandchildren equally, but I don't. Here's why:
One of my daughters-in-law is loving and respectful toward my wife and me as grandparents, has taught her children good manners and, in short, is a joy to all of us.
My other daughter-in-law has done exactly the opposite. Much as we might like to, we do not treat this granddaughter the same as her cousins. Of course, this granddaughter is not responsible for her mother's conduct, but she suffers the consequences in more ways than one. In short, she's spoiled, and it shows.
If a son's wife feels her children's paternal grandparents don't treat her children as well as they treat their cousins, I suggest the son's wife do some soul-searching. Perhaps she'll find the reason lies, at least in part, in the different relationship she and the other son's wife have established with their husbands' parents. -- H.C. IN TAMPA
DEAR H.C.: I hate to see children suffer for the sins of the parents. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: My grandmotherly reaction to the letter from "Your Son's Wife" is that many times -- but not in all cases -- sons' wives are the carpenters of their own crosses. Perhaps unintentionally, they don't encourage their children to treat their paternal grandmothers with as much attention and respect as is accorded maternal grandmothers. THIS grandmother finally decided to treat grandchildren as they treat her! -- TOUGH-LOVE GRANDMA, HOULTON, MAINE
DEAR TOUGH LOVE: Please read the reply to H.C. (above). Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I have a few questions for "Son's Wife":
-- Do you treat your mother-in-law the same as you treat your own mother?
-- Do your children write thank-you notes and show appreciation when they receive gifts?
-- Do you involve your mother-in-law in activities such as school programs?
-- Do your children take care of their toys and clothes, or do they lose pieces and break toys?
-- Do you buy so many things for your children that they cannnot appreciate what others give them?
Perhaps there's a reason for the favoritism. -- ALSO HURTING, MAYFIELD VILLAGE, OHIO
DEAR ALSO HURTING: A parent who has a bone to pick with a child or in-law should verbalize it rather than making the grandchildren bear the brunt of their passive-aggressive anger. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I had to laugh when I read the letter from "Your Son's Wife." For years, we have laughed with our children about not being their grandmother's favorites. We have accepted the fact that being a stepgrandchild brings with it consequences: fewer gifts, less attention and support at events, and less recognition of accomplishments.
Life is not always fair. Sometimes we have to realize that's the way it is and find humor in the situation. Parents will defend themselves and their actions to the end. What we can do is recognize something we don't appreciate in a parent -- AND BE SURE WE NEVER REPEAT IT. -- BEEN DOWN THAT ROAD, ST. GEORGE, UTAH
DEAR BEEN DOWN THAT ROAD: I admire you for your perspective. That's excellent advice.