“My Kids Want More Time With Their Grandparents, But My In-Laws Won’t Come To Our House!”

Dear Dr. Bill,

How do I help my husband’s parents understand the hardships we face in driving 45 minutes one-way to visit them?  We are a low-income family with two kids under the age of 5.  My in-laws are in their mid-40’s, but they routinely tell us they are “just too tired” to drive the extra miles to see their only grandkids.

We don’t always have the gas money to drive to their house, so we don’t see them at all or we have to beg them to come our way.  I’m getting tired of trying to explain to my kids why Grandma and Grandpa never come to visit.  What do you suggest?

Dear Amanda,

It would seem that your mother and father-in-law need to re-examine their priorities.  The explanation that they’re simply “too tired” to drive 45 minutes to see their grandkids just doesn’t cut it.  Your children obviously love their grandparents and miss them—but it sounds like your in-laws aren’t willing to put in the minimal effort it takes to visit them.

I’d encourage you and your husband to write a loving, but firm letter to your mother and father in law, expressing your feelings about their failure to spend more time with their grandchildren.   Be honest about the obstacles that prevent you from visiting them.  Explain that you’re barely making ends meet, and that the high price of gas prevents you from coming to see them.   Your husband should take the lead in writing this letter, since they are his parents.

If your in-laws are caring, thoughtful people, hopefully they will respond to your concerns and make more of an effort to visit.  If they are in a better position financially, perhaps they could even offer to help you cover the cost of gas when you visit them.

On the other hand, if they respond defensively or blame you for the problem, then there are obviously deeper issues that need to be dealt with.

Thanks for writing Amanda.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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Shine Family Expert