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In-laws show favoritism with grandchildren

DEAR AMY: My new daughter is almost 4 months old, and I feel as though my in-laws don't love her as much as they do her male cousin, who is 2. They take the boy for sleepovers and are always buying him toys but don't do these things for my daughter. When everyone is together, not nearly as much attention is focused on my baby, compared with her little cousin. They are Middle Eastern, so I know it's common for them to place higher value on boys as opposed to girls, but I always thought this wouldn't be the case in my situation. This breaks my heart. Our baby is young now, but once she is older, she will definitely be aware of the favoritism, which I won't be able to tolerate. Am I overreacting? My husband says it's because she is so young right now and that they will be showing her the same love once she's older.

-- Upset Mom

DEAR MOM: You are overreacting, but it is understandable. Your in-laws have had two years to get to know their grandson, and if he is their first grandchild, they might have a powerful attachment to him. You should assume that as your daughter grows, she will coo, smile and toddle her way into their hearts, too.

What you must not do is continue to project your hurt feelings onto your young daughter. If this favoritism continues, your insecurity and anger about it will only highlight the imbalance for your child.

Good grandparents, like good parents, learn they have ample room in their hearts for all of the children in their lives. They might not love each child in the exact same way, but they love them individually and abundantly.

Give your in-laws opportunities to hold and enjoy her. See if they want to have her with them for two or three hours one afternoon while you run an errand or two. This will give them a chance to get to know her gradually.

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