A post about grandparents choosing to prioritize the wedding of a friend who is “not close” instead of their grandchild’s age 6 birthday party has gone viral on Mumsnet, the U.K.-based online forum.
In a post shared on Mumsnet’s Am I Being Unreasonable subforum under the username BrocoliTrees, the child’s parent said: “Even if the wedding invite came first, knowing the date of your grandchild’s birthday, would you check to see what would be happening for their birthday?”
The poster asked, “What if you would also be moving to another part of the country from said grandchild the following week?”
In a later post, the user said the child is “close to these grandparents,” who are the original poster’s in-laws. “It’s sad that their grandchildren aren’t a priority. Not just this, lots of other things too…”
A stock image shows parents and grandparents surrounding a child blowing out candles at a birthday party. A post about grandparents choosing to prioritize a wedding over their grandchild’s birthday has gone viral on online forum Mumsnet.
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A September 2016 study in the peer-reviewed journal Families, Systems, and Health said grandparents are often “highly involved as secondary caregivers” for their grandkids and may influence children’s psychological and physical health.
The study also said the rates of grandparent involvement “seem to be consistent globally and may be even higher in non-Western societies,” such as Africa, Asia and Latin America. “In the U.S., grandparents from families of ethnically diverse backgrounds tend to take on greater responsibility for their grandchildren than White grandparents,” the study said.
A high level of involvement by grandparents can increase children’s well-being, according to an April 2010 study of more than 1,500 children conducted by professor Ann Buchanan at the University of Oxford and published in the peer-reviewed journal Children & Society.
The study found that “those with a high level of grandparental involvement had fewer emotional and behavioral problems,” according to the university’s website.
In a later post, the Mumsnet user said the grandparents will be on vacation for three weeks until the day before the birthday party, and “then they move 2 days after so it’s not easy.” The grandparents “haven’t confirmed when they’ll see” the grandchild. “Not much time…but hopefully they’ll squeeze him in.”
The original poster continued: “Their interest in the grandchildren has changed in the past few years. They were so enthusiastic to start with. Maybe that’s what’s confused us.”
The post led to some debate among Mumsnet users. Several sided with the grandparents, saying that “birthdays are less important than weddings.”
User DenholmElliot1 said: “Yes, weddings trump birthdays. Birthdays happen every year, weddings only happen once in a lifetime (mostly).”
BonjourBonheur said: “I’d prioritise the wedding and do something special with the child another day. Birthdays are less important than weddings – you literally get one every year.”
AdInfinitum12 agreed that the wedding should be prioritized, writing: “Lots of grandparents don’t go to kids birthday parties, they just spend time with them at another point.”
User EbbyEbs disagreed, saying, “My grandchild would always come first.”
Others were a bit more diplomatic, such as user SNWannabe, who said: “I think if I knew I’d be moving away and it would be the last birthday I’d be seeing them on, I’d prioritise the birthday. But in general a wedding would be prioritised and I’d see my grandchild near their birthday and not necessarily the day.”
The2Omicronnies said: “It would depend on the relationship. My own parents, I know, would absolutely check in and likely miss the wedding. My in laws wouldn’t even consider the child’s birthday.”
Newsweek was not able to verify the details of this case.
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