My children are lucky enough to have five sets of aunts and uncles. Three of the sets are doting and come to see us, invite us over, call the kids and send them surprises. As a result, our children know and love them, even though they live far away.
But the remaining two rarely come to see the kids, even though they live nearby. They see us only at family functions and holidays. My youngest doesn't even recognize them by sight.
This disappoints us. It's sad to think that we may just not be important enough to them for them to care. I do not want this to perpetuate. But, I should not always have to be the one to initiate plans, or suggest getting together.
What can you suggest we do to help heal the potential rift their behavior has created?
Thanks, Family Minded
Dear Family Minded,
When you are far away from loved ones, it always gives one a warm heart to send little gifts - especially to little children. It is the only way to establish a loving relation. Do your little ones send "thank yous"? They endear them more.
When relatives live closer they sometimes feel that closeness is there even though they don't see you and your family much. I feel that is wrong because you can live next door and be distant not close. A family who lives close should spend time together. It gives you a warm feeling when you share your ups and downs together.
I experienced that. Two of my siblings lived close to our parents and it was always happy relations with the children. The children were at home in their grandparent's house whereas we lived far away and our children always felt strange with their grandparents. In other words - they had to be on their best behavior because they were visiting. Their cousins were completely relaxed.
I think you should invite your relatives who live close to you out to lunch or just a visit to talk and bring these points to their attention. You should be closer and it is very important for the children. Do you enjoy the same recreations or are they in a different echelon? None of this should make a difference within a family. Friends are one thing - family is another. And when all is said and done - it is the family who is still there.
I hope this is of some help to you. I've been there.
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