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Dear Webby
Mother- in-law Plays Favorites

Dear Webby,

My mother- in-law plays favorites. She favors our adopted son over our adopted daughter.

While I am glad she loves him so much, my daughter is being left out a lot. For example Christmas she spent over one hundred dollars on him and only forty on her. My daughter is only three but in a year or two she will be able to notice the differences that are made. My mother-in-law's sister does the same thing. She also favors him.

I feel this is driving a wedge between my husband and me, because he doesn't want to hurt her feelings. I feel she is a grown woman and I'm more concerned about my daughter's feelings. If Granny's feeling are hurt so be it - she brought it on herself.

We have confronted her on this issue before but she still does it. She will even make rude comments about my daughter like when I asked my son to put up their puppy and he ignored me. I finally warned him that he would get a spanking if he didn't obey. Granny commented that I guess Sissy doesn't have to help with the puppy. Truth is she does but this time I asked him to do it.

I am ready to cut my ties with her and the kids will not be a part of her life, but this just makes it harder on my husband. I am afraid that if we don't do something her actions will drive a wedge between my son and daughter.

Please Help!

Caring Mother

Dear Caring Mother,

Webby suspects you and your mother-in-law might have other issues besides this one. If so they should all be addressed. Maybe a round table discussion with her and your husband might work.

If not your husband has to step up to the uncomfortable plate and explain in a calm, nice way that perhaps she does not realize how her actions and comments affect the family. Yes, the whole family because it is not healthy for your son to believe he is superior to his sister.

Snide remarks cannot be tolerated. If she and auntie want to be an active part of the family they have to act as adults. Sure she will arch her back a little but there is no room for discussion. Your husband must be firm and not argue with her; just tell it like it is.

Give her a little leeway on the gift issue because you both realize your daughter is too young to realize the difference the special gifts her brother receives. But from now on she is old enough to realize and partiality will not be tolerated.

Perhaps he can explain that as Sissy gets older she and grandmother will probably have a lot more in common; you know all that girl stuff.

Webby has to believe that you are not so elated at having a daughter that you are neglecting your son and she and auntie are trying to compensate for it.

Children need extended family, especially grandparents, and she hopes this can be worked out without hard feelings. Your husband is the key and like most husbands he hates to see his mother and wife at opposite ends.

Webby also wishes to congratulate you on teaching your 3 and 7 year old to help with the dog. Many parents of teens would like your secret.

Good luck to the whole family and Happy New Year


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