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Reality Check: Grandma Snubs Our Kids

Q. My husband's mom spends much more time with her daughter's kids than with ours. How can I get her to pay more attention to her other grandkids and treat them equally?

A. Start by trying not to take it personally. Your sister-in-law's children probably get more time with Grandma because she likes to visit her daughter, not because she loves the kids more. Sure, your husband is her child, too, but you often can't top a mother-daughter bond. (And if your husband were that close to your mother-in-law, chances are you'd have a whole different set of problems on your hands.)

But you have every right to want your children to reap the benefits of some good Grandma loving. So be the bigger woman and create more opportunities for her to come around  -- invite her over for coffee on Saturday morning and let the kids help bake her some muffins, or call her to see if she'd like to go to the park for a multi-generational playdate. Then show her that you appreciate her attention by having your kids draw pictures or write notes to thank her when she does spend an afternoon with your family.

To help my girls get to better know their dad's relatives, we started having monthly Sunday dinners together. Everyone  -- grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and all the kids  -- sits and eats and laughs and enjoys one another's company. Sometimes gifts are exchanged, but mostly just hugs and kisses and lots of stories. We're all equals at our table on those days.