My mother-in-law keeps making promises to my son to take him out just the two of them for a fun outing. When Stephan was younger it did not matter that she failed to show up for thier outing. Now that he is 6, he anticipates going out with his grandmother. Today she was supposed to come and take him out for an activity and she never showed up. He was awake at 8AM this morning getting ready for grandma to come. It is now after 2PM and she has not shown up, no phone call or text as to why and Stephan is asking questions. We moved to Lancaster, Ohio a year ago so we would be near my wife's family and so far family relations have actually declined. We live about twenty minutes way from my inlaws, and most of the time we end up going to see them. In the past year, Stephan has been stood up more than twenty times. I am usually the one that has to explain why grandma did not pick him up. Lately, I have been using her being sick as an excuse, she is receiving cancer treatment, but her treatment has had little impact on her physical well being. A few weeks ago I ended up having a conversation with her and her husband about family relations, specifically about the children. I was promised that things would change, but as of yet there has been no change. It is tempting to just take the easy route and tell her not to make plans to take him out anymore so I don't have to deal with him getting upset about grandma not coming to see him. We will continue to let her make plans and promises for the time being, but we need to figure out what to say to her when she is making the next promise to have an outing so that Stephan isn't waiting by the window for hours waiting for grandma to show up. I have so far successfully planned an alternative activity either at home or we go somewhere and do something outside the house. today we watched his favorite airplane movie and made paper airplanes to fly outside.
That has to be hard! Cancer treatments can take a lot out of you- a couple people I know were wiped out for at least 2 days with every weekly treatment. But cancer treatments are different for each cancer and also each person. If she is able to get out and do other things then it probably isn't the treatments.
I would tell her that if she wants to make plans that she is to make them with you and not with your son. If your son does not know, he will not be disappointed. Then if she does show up, he will be surprised! I know cancer treatments can be rough but she should in no way keep breaking promises to her grandson. Don't make them if you don't know if you can keep it.
Also I would tell her that after she makes plans with you, if she is not there within an hour of said time and no phone call, you may make other plans and may not be home. I hope all works out for you and your family!
The treatments apparently drain her and she needs to nap, I understand her need for rest. She was not receiving treatment five weeks ago, this behavior has been going on for a year. She was at the grocery store the same time we were the other day, the kids did not see her I did not tell her on saw her. She is very good with manipulation and massive guilt trips. She is also very good at redirecting responsibility. Quick temper and instant tears and sobbing also frequent. I am empathetic about her cancer treatment, but this is pure behavior. Most of the time we wait a few days or even weeks to say something, this usually brings about a new promise and grandiose plan for the next time she stands him up.
I agree with Dawn. Cancer and Cancer treatments can become overwhelming. Maybe she doesn't realize how many times she actually made plans and/or canceled. Does grandma have a history of doing this in general; with other people, other children, or your wife? She must be physically and emotionally stressed. Speak with her again. If you're not comfortable with that; The next plan she makes, maybe go pick-up grandma and make it happen. I don't think Stephan would mind too much if you tagged along!
These kinds of "lessons" are always tough on little ones who don't understand.
If it were me, I would stop "accepting" just a plan from Grandma. From now on if she wants to do something, tell her to show up and then you'll have him get ready.
You're going to hate me for this part, but without meaning to, you're actually setting him for the disappointment as much as she is since you know how she can be. Let him go about his normal daily routine and if she shows, she shows.
As he gets older, he will soon figure out on his own that Grandma can't be trusted to keep plans.
I have to agree with KCC...I went through the same thing with my ex, promising our two young children he'd come get them, then he'd never show up. They would be just heartbroken, and I would be furious at him for hurting them.
It took him doing this about three times before I quit telling them anything about him coming. I would get their backpacks ready with their clothes for the visit, and hide them. If he showed up, they were so surprised and happy, and I was able to pull out their packs and they were ready to go. If he didn't, I just put their stuff back away, and never said a word to them.
No more tears and heartbreak for them, so it was worth that extra step...
I agree with KCC and TamCor. Making plans with you only, and making alternate plans in the event she may not show up is a good strategy. This is a behavior issue, not a cancer treatment side effect issue. So, as a parent, you seem to have sound judgment about what to do for your children about it....to try to limit the heartbreak.
Unfortunately, I know a bunch of people with Cancer (blessed to know them, unfortunate for the cancer), and they are all honest about their limitations. They do not make promises about doing any particular thing.
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