I didn’t know ‘the maternal grandparent advantage’ even existed until I read this article back in April. It makes sense on so many levels. However, a lot depends on your family dynamic, your relationship with your parents and in-laws, their relationship with each other, etc.
Before I share my thoughts, let’s review what this advantage is exactly…
According to the articles I read, the advantage stems from the fact that daughters tend to have a closer relationship with their own parents which leaders to a warmer relationship between the kids and their maternal grandparents. Paternal grandparents, on the other hand, have to tread carefully.
Another element to this is that women are still responsible for ‘kinkeeping.’ This includes planning, calls, visits, sharing news and updates, holidays, etc. The wife is the gatekeeper to not only her own family but her husband’s as well.
Like I said, a lot of variables are at play here.
So here’s what I can relate to…
I do have more frequent contact with my parents, specifically my mom (we talk 1-2x/day). She’s my emotional support, my advice giver, etc. My go-to on a day to day basis essentially! We also have a family chat between my mom, dad, sister and I making it easy to just check-in and say hi.
While I have the best in-laws in the whole world (no bias here!), the bond I have with my parents is just unique and can’t be replicated. For example, my in-laws have treated me like a daughter since before Vishnu and I were married. No daughter-in-law business. That said, I’m still there daughter-in-law, and there’s a level of formality that will always be there versus the comfort I have with my own family.
There’s also this element, I think, of Vishnu’s parents having two boys versus my parents who have two girls. It basically boils down to different expectations and relationship dynamics.
That said, I am also the gatekeeper/kinkeeper in our family. If you know Vishnu at all, this will make total sense! Ha!
So yes, I see how the maternal grandparent advantage exists in some ways.
But here’s what I can’t relate to…
Regardless of your relationship with your in-laws, keeping your kids from them is wrong. The only exception being if they don’t treat them well. The way I see it, Kaiden is as much my parents’ grandson as he is my in-laws, and he should have a strong relationship with everyone.
I know it’s easy for me to say because I myself have a great relationship with Vishnu’s parents, our parents are close, etc. But even if I didn’t, I would find a way to put my feelings aside for Kaiden’s sake. Grandparents are such special people, and I wouldn’t want to take that away from him.
I would love to hear other thoughts on this topic because, like I said, it totally depends on your family dynamic. Leave a comment or email me if you’re more comfortable (firstname.lastname@example.org).