Another girl? 5 ways to deal with in-laws’ disappointment

By Dr Richard C. Woolfson   — February 13, 2017
  • 1 / 6

    Although you were delighted that your baby arrived safe and sound, your in-laws are disappointed that you now have another girl. They desperately wanted a grandson and are unable to hide their feelings.

    For instance, they show little interest in the newborn, compare you to other mums who have boys as well as girls, and have started to make disparaging remarks about girls. Don’t let these get to you. Instead, take a positive approach. Here are five things to say to your in-laws to help turn the situation around.

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  • “Each of my kids is wonderful. Once you get to know them, you won’t care if they are boys or girls.”
    2 / 6 “Each of my kids is wonderful. Once you get to know them, you won’t care if they are boys or girls.”

    It’s true that every child is unique, with her special characteristics, skills and talents – that’s what makes her so interesting. Of course, gender is a crucial factor in development, but there are other elements that are at least equally important, such as thinking skills, personality and sociability.

    Encourage the grandparents to think about your kids as complete individuals, not simply as boys or girls. This will help them recognise that there is more to life than gender.

    Related: 7 FAQs about introducing solids to your baby 

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  • “Every child needs to feel loved and valued.”
    3 / 6 “Every child needs to feel loved and valued.”

    Every newborn has the same deep-rooted, psychological need to feel loved, cared for and valued by those around them. If a child feels unwelcome and rejected, the consequences on her development can be devastating. For example, she could become withdrawn, sullen, moody, aggressive and perhaps even start to make negative self-comments.

    While your in-laws may be genuinely disappointed that you have three girls and no boys, they would surely not like to think that their mindset might disrupt their grandchildren’s progress.

    Related: 4 ways to help your toddler avoid a meltdown 

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  • “If you continue to have gender preferences, that’s up to you. But don’t let it show.”
    4 / 6 “If you continue to have gender preferences, that’s up to you. But don’t let it show.”

    Your in-laws may say that they can’t help how they feel about wishing to have a grandson instead of another granddaughter. In response, suggest that while you accept they can’t change their emotions, they can, however, change their behaviour. In other words, even if they feel negatively, they don’t have to show it in their attitudes. And even if that means they have to pretend for the sake of the grandchildren, that’s much better than acting on their negative mindset.

    Related: Going out with Baby: 7 problems and solutions 

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  • “Instead of focusing on what you haven’t got, be pleased that you do have lovely, talented granddaughters who love you.”
    5 / 6 “Instead of focusing on what you haven’t got, be pleased that you do have lovely, talented granddaughters who love you.”

    You shouldn’t have to point out that there are many people their age who don’t have any grandchildren at all – never mind a grandson – or don’t even have children of their own. Yet it may help them take a more positive approach if you casually mention that fact during a conversation with them.

    Becoming a grandparent means joining one of the most exclusive clubs in the world – it’s quite different from becoming a parent. And receiving love back from the new generation is something money can’t buy.

    Related: 5 questions to ask before you buy a stroller 

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  • “To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t mind having a boy, too. But I’m not going to moan about something I don’t have any control over.”
    6 / 6 “To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t mind having a boy, too. But I’m not going to moan about something I don’t have any control over.”

    Maybe deep down, you also would like to have a boy. There’s nothing wrong in discussing that honestly and openly with your inlaws, confiding in them that you share their sentiment. That should encourage them to be more positive and to stop complaining to you, as they would know their comments disturb you. In the end, whether you have a boy or girl is down to chance, so they should put aside gender concerns and get on with the joy of being a grandparent.

    Related: Baby prefers maid: 8 things working mum should do 

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

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