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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I stopped going on the 400 mile trips to the in-laws about 4 years ago due to our marital issues. The problem is now my kids despise going there because I'm not there and I'm the "fun parent" and they get bored to tears. Neither grandparent has wi-fi or even a computer that's less than 10 years old (2 different households). They go twice a year (summer and during the holidays) and the entire time they are there, they're texting me for conversation and telling me how much they want to come home.

My wife doesn't know how to have fun with the kdis. Her and her parents just sit there for days on end flipping magazines and talking. Literally. She seems to treat this as "her time" and tells the kids too bad, she wants to visit with her parents. It's like she doesn't have to be a mom when they're up there. Funny thing is when we first got married and would go visit (pre-kids) my wife would complain about how her mom never wanted to go do stuff. Now she's the same way. But our entire marriage, she never planned anything for us to do. It was always me.

They are 10 and 13. And given the choice, I know the 13 y/o would want to stay home every time. I think the 10 year old would be 50/50. The in-laws have all the time in the world to come to our house and visit but rarely do.

So how long do you make your kids go on trips like this when they don't want to? When I was a kid, we went 600 miles to see one set of grandparents and it was in a fun city and we did things. Then we'd drive another 400 miles to see my other grandparents and they lived in a one stop light town in the middle of Texas and I hated it. Boring...no tv, nothing.

Thanks.
 

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How long are they there? if it's a day or two, tell them to suck it up.

If it's longer, next time call in advance and ask what they have planned for the kids so they aren't bored. Maybe the in-laws will get the hint.
 

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How long are they there? if it's a day or two, tell them to suck it up.

If it's longer, next time call in advance and ask what they have planned for the kids so they aren't bored. Maybe the in-laws will get the hint.
This trip was only for a weekend. In the summer, they go for 7 days. I don't see it as the in-laws responsibility to entertain my kids (I think they should want to, but that's their call). I see it as my wife's responsibility to make sure there's a few things planned. But she takes the attitude of this is "her time". But then again, if you've read my history, every day is "her time".

When we go to my parents there is never a lack of entertainment. My mom keeps a toy-room, does things with the kids...we go to the beach, playground, movies, out to eat, etc.

This past summer she didn't do one single thing with the kids. They literally sat around the house all day for months. I planned a day at a theme park and they had an absolute blast. And I did stuff with them on the weekends but M-F they did nothing. And we live at the beach!!!
 

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It sounds like the bigger issue is that your wife doesn't plan fun stuff to do to spend time with the kids when not visiting with her parents. I would be more upset about that, than the visits to her parents' home being boring for your kids.

My mom was pretty active with us kids (fun trips to parks, outings, games with each other etc.) but visiting my grandmother's house was very "boring" and I survived. In fact, since there were no activities planned, toys, cable, definitely no computers, video games or kids movies, etc. - I learned how to relax and enjoy conversing with adults when I was a kid. Or my sister and I would go outside or make our own fun when visiting older relatives that weren't kid-friendly.

We are bombarded everywhere we go these days with entertainment, that we've almost lost the ability to entertain ourselves. Just think about how lost most of us feel when the power goes out and there is no access to the Internet, cable or video games! I think it's good for kids and adults to have to do without so we can figure out how to make our own fun out of nothing. Always having something planned or an activity to do robs us of our ability to come up with these things on our own.

Given that the visits are short, I would tell your kids to suck it up since it's only for a couple of days. However, I would get more on your wife's case about not being very engaging with the kids when at home because it does sound like she could/should be doing a lot more.
 

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Well they should probably still go, but maybe you can provide them with some stuff they can do on their own or with each other so the adults don't have to entertain them (since you probably can't make them do it).

I'd grab some portable video games, tons of books, comics, board games, and other things and just load them up with them, and have a talk with them about how you know its tough to go there since it't boring, but here are a bunch of things to hopefully make it better.
 

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I think that the kids should go. Kids should not need to be entertained constantly. The need for electronics is no good. there are plenty of things they can do.

Kaala listed some good ideas. There is nothing wrong with kids spending 2-7 days without modern technology to entertain them.
 

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Another take on it is that perhaps you can sort out the issue that is stopping you going and then all go as a family.
If you don't like the ILs much then use the time there and take the kids out and do things with them, win/win.

You are an adult, they are children, if you don't have to go then they are probably thinking why should they have to go.
 
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