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Dealing with a difficult teenaged DIL??

Started by Nana120108, October 23, 2010, 10:04:39 am

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Hi All!

This is my first post, and I am new to this forum. I am so glad to have found it and I have been reading through all the posts to try and figure out what to do about the relationship with my DIL or rather, lack of. This will be a long post because it is important to hear the history behind all of this in order to be clear, so please bare with me...

My DS was living on his own at 19 (that's another story), 2 months later, he meets a girl that, unbeknown to us, would become our DIL. She was 16. Her parents allowed her to spend the night and weekends at our DS place. When she got pregnant, her parents actually were surprised, and then threatened to throw our DS in jail, which, they had every right too. But, they didn't. Everytime our DIL wanted something and our DS wasn't willing to give it to her, she would threaten to tell her dad to call the authorites or she would threaten to not let our DS see the baby when it was born. Even her parents did this. They don't have alot of money and are on every govm't support you can possibly think of. So when they asked our DS for money and he told them he didn't have it to give, they asked him if he wanted to go to jail! Well he found a way to get them the money. Our DIL repeatedly threatened me to not allow me to see the baby when it was born and how she was going to throw our DS in jail. We finally went to a lawyer and he told our DS no matter how he had to do, MARRY THE GIRL!

When our grandson was born, we lavished them with everything they needed because we knew they couldnt afford it, and neither could her parents. Carseat, stroller, swing, even the collection and storage of the cord blood! As long as we were giving to them (or rather, to HER) she was all smiles and sweetness. They did finally get married, and my DS is now in the military (with the cohersion of her family) - her brother took our DS down to sign the papers!! Her family encouraged him NOT to talk to us about it because parents of boys tend to try to talk them out of joining and he really needed to do this, blah blah blah. Anyway, he's in now. At the graduation, DIL threw a temper tantrum because our DS wanted to spend time with us and his 3 little brothers. DH told her if it was a problem we would drive back home. But of course, since he was the one who talked to her, there was no problem and 'I want you to spend time with your son and him with his brothers'. So we stayed, as miserable as it was, we stayed for our son and grandson. Our son has repeatedly told us that he just can't be with her, that all she does is whine if she doesn't get her way and threatens to leave and take their son with her and that DS will never get custody because he is in the military and she will make sure he never sees him again and he can just pay child support! I have told my DH many times, that she and her family have had a long term agenda from the get go. Her family is military, as well as mine, so they know how it works and have filled her head with all kinds of ideas. I know this for a fact, because, when we are on good terms, she complains about them, and how they are constantly asking them for money and making threats if they don't give it to them. I don't say ANYTHING!! I'm not stupid!! I simply tell her, 'I'm sorry you are going through this if there is anything we can do let us know'! I NEVER bash her family, EVER!! I now better!! The threats have been constant throughout their time together, towards DS and me. Never to his brothers or DH. No matter what I do or how nice I am. When she writes bad things on Myspace or FB or sends me threatening emails, I simply reply with, I'm sorry you feel that way. I call her, she doesnt answer the phone or my DS answers and says she is laying down or in the shower, ALWAYS those two excuses, I mean, am I that tuned into her radar that I can only possibly call when she is doing one of those two thnigs?? I don't know what else to do!

They have moved out of town, last winter they announced baby #2 was on the way, God help us! So, I called her up and offered to throw her a big baby shower since she didn't have one with the first (she wouldn't let me, I don't remember why). Well, she said yes, and for the next 4 months I planned for this event. Everything was going fine, DIL and I talked almost everyday, and not just about the shower. This was the breakthrough I was praying for! Needless to say the shower cost me a small fortune, but it was WELL worth it to finally have some kind of good relationship with DIL. I thought, maybe, now that she is 18, she has grown up some! Although, I did do something bad, I bet my DH (in private) $50 bucks that as soon as the shower was over, and she had gotten what she wanted out of me, that she would go back to avoiding my phone calls and only communicating through FB. Well, I won the bet!  Last year I started a childrens website and made a banner with my GS baby pic in it and sent it to my DIL to look at it first. She loved it and was so excited and asked if I had a spot for the new baby. I told her of course I did. So I put the banner on my site, no complaints from the two of them. Out of the blue I get an email from her requesting me to take off the pic. I wrote her back, no problem, I said, I'll remove it immediately. She writes me back about how she's sorry it p'd me off (I wont spell it, family site and all), and I replied and told her I wasn't mad that they were her kids and I completely understood and that it wasn't a big deal. So she gets on FB and calls me a 'B'. I emailed her right away (she doesnt answer my calls) and asked her why she felt she had to do that on a public forum? And, I did tell her that we were tired of her games. She threatened us last year, and my DH and I sat them both down and told them that if she tries to use our GS to hurt us that we would walk away, from everything, and with that goes all support we have been giving them. She suddenly was fine, for about 2 weeks. We have had several talks with her about her attitude, behavior and unkind words. But she will always write us and tell us that she will never keep our DS or GS away from us even after threatening just the opposite! This last time, I just couldnt take it anymore! Neither could DH! He told me to write to her and tell her that that was it, we were done, we were not going to play her games, that she WINS! And that was that, so we thought. She sent an email and tells me how I never liked her and how ppl told her this and that, but she never actually heard me say those things. It was all about her, her, her! Never once did she validate how we were feeling or how we were hurt by her words! We are at such a loss. At what point do you just say enough is enough?? At what point do you accept that, no, you probably won't have a relationship with any children that DS has created with this girl?? And she doesn't seem to have a problem with DH, even though he has talked to her several times, it's just me!! I don't know what else to do other than to distant myself from her, but that means being distant from DS and grandkids. As much as we want to see them, and as many times that DIL says she won't keep them from us, her presence in the family will keep us away. It has become to difficult. I feel sorry for my DS because he is raising 3 children, not 2, because he married one. Is it just the fact that she is 19 and still a child/childish herself? Do we just 'wait' until she grows up or until DS takes a stand? If so, how long will that be? Will our grandkids be grown? It's hard enough not seeing them because they are out of state, and will be moving alot being in the military. But at this point, we are just exhausted from trying to be nice and compliant to see DS and kids!! Should I give her what she wants and just go grovel to her to make her happy? It's hard enough having a difficult DIL, but a difficult DIL who is a teenager and the mother of your only 2 grandchildren....well, that is in a league all it's own....


Nana120108, welcome. I'm so glad you found this site. Luise has created a safe, supportive place for us. You are really going through it, and I'm sorry to hear it. Many of us have been or are in a similar situation. There are many Wise Women here.  My DIL was a teen when she married DS as well, and although I do believe she loves him, she needed him, and us, to get her out of a jam. Once we helped her she was done with us. They don't have children yet so I can't speak to the GP issues, but I do feel for you and hope you'll stick around to hear from others.

BTW, we have another "Nana" here, so perhaps you can come up with a nickname so we don't get confused?
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Well, I wish I had a way to help but creating a place for you to be heard and understood is all I can offer. Our "kids" often take on the adult role long before they have grown into it. They choose a mate and establish a separate family unit when hey have no idea what they are doing and we are suddenly on the outside looking in. They make the rules and then they learn...or they don't. It's excruciating to watch and be at the effect of. Our job, is to pick up the pieces of who we are (or were) and let go. It's nearly impossible but that's what's next. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Welcome to this wonderful site (thanks Luise).

Dil is defenitely using you and your son as well. 

Enough is enough....when you start asking yourself this question.  We all know how much we can take so it all depends. 

I am sorry that you are going through all this mess. 

Other wise ladies will be able to give you great advice.

Good luck!

Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:


October 23, 2010, 09:05:07 pm #4 Last Edit: October 23, 2010, 09:06:50 pm by justdontunderstand
What a sad story. What grieves me so about it is that little ones (your grandkids) seem to become the pawns in a terrible game! I simply do not know how someone can threaten to deny their own children  grandparent's love.

I think we all have a breaking point. It is up to you to decide if you have reached it. At the very least, perhaps, taking an extended break from the hostilities would help. Why not "be in the shower or lying down" from now on when they call? Treat yourself to some serious downtime.


Thank you Ladies!
Pen - TY & I pray u won't hav to go thru the 'bad' GP issues when/if the time comes :)

luise - TY for starting this site! I came upon it by 'accident' searching for something else. God works in mysterious ways!

nana - hopefully we won't confuse everyone! lol but you did hav it first, so I can just be NANA120! :) now that I think about it, if DS had been living at home, would she have even gone out with him? I guess she was just tired of going to school and having rules at home, so she found someone (our DS) to get her out. But of course it isn't one sided, our DS made a life changing decision... Although, we would have never thought that our DS would have gotten involved with someone like her, we 'thought' we raised him better than that! but yes, we hav had quite enough, but do miss our babies :(

justdontunderstand - a break from the emotional stess sounds like a wonderful idea! I recently had some old friends find me on my FB business page, I have been trying to catch up with them as much as possible, perhaps now would be a good time to focus on that.

If we weren't GPs it would be a little easier, our granddaughter, the first girl in 23 years, is already 2 months old and we havent even gotten to see her yet! The saddest, my grandmother is still alive, and these are her first great-great grandchildren! My mother has not seen them yet either, DIL has issues with her also! I really wanted my grandmother to see them, she is quite old and starting to have health problems. but I don't know if that will ever happen.  :(

At least our other three boys have been paying attention, and they have voiced to us that they do not want to get themselves in the same situation that their brother has gottem himself into. Our 19 year old abstains, and we have heard hime talking to our 15 year old and his friends about it and why it's important. We are proud of his decisions so far,  but we'll see.


Nana120, I'm sorry you are going through this.  I read your post the other day and I can honestly say as a mom to young ones, I can't EVER imagine what I would do if my kids made those kind of decisions at such a young age.  It really made me think b/c most of the time as a poster with her DIL hat on, I can virtually say on every single post (barring abuse) that the parents need to step out.  In your situation, I can clearly see that I would have a tough, tough, tough time doing that.  They are so very young! 

The only piece of advice I can say is that they BOTH made those decisions.  DIL maybe made those decisions b/c she was young, who knows?  But your DS is a full and active participant in his life and decisions.  I think it would be way too much emotional stress to be your DS's sounding board, he is making his own decisions, he needs to live with them.  I often think people get a boost to stay in their own problems and not fixing them by sounding out on close family.  Your emotional health is not worth it, imho.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Yes, I think it's often very hard to know when to intervene and when to step back and painfully watch the "lesson" play out. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Everyone is right Nana120.  As painful and unfair as it is to you as a parent and grandparent, you have to step back and let your DS deal with it. 

I had an almost identical situation, except mine was 17 and she was 16 when the pregnancy occurred.  Only difference between yours and mine is that he wouldn't marry her just because of the pregnancy and her Mother pushing for it.  She carried out her threats and we fought for 15 months in court to see his daughter.  When we finally won visitation rights, he decided to join the military so he could support her better.  I am proud of his decision, but we have not seen her since last December, because her Mother refuses to let me and my DH see her while he is in training.  She doesn't have a problem cashing the checks every month though.

Long story short, be prepared to not see the GC as heartbreaking as that is.  But that is on her and your DS, not you.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


QuoteI feel sorry for my DS because he is raising 3 children, not 2, because he married one.

Welcome Nana120108 - You hit the nail on the head right there, partially.  He is "raising," if you'll call it that, 3 children.  Such a shame because really he is still a child himself.  Can everyone remember what life was like at 19?  I myself didn't have a clue what to do with myself, let alone someone else, even less what to do with three!

Poor dear.  I think you've already gone above and beyond "helping out" the young couple as responsible parents yourselves.  I do think it's time to step back and let him lie in the bed he made for himself.  Being a punching bag or a doormat, as history has already shown you, is going to bring very little "fruit" back to your table.  Don't get wrapped up in their situation to the point that it destroys your spirit.

Not to play the "devil's advocate," but I can only imagine how scared this girl is.  Her background doesn't help, but pregnant at 16, and married with two kids at  Fear makes us all do some pretty irrational things sometimes.   

Time to step out of the triangle (DS, Father, and You) and into the "circle of supporters."  That's really about all you can do I think.  The more you push, the more you will be pushed out...and "pushing" is a relative term.   


Pam, Pooh and MissPriss

Thanks so much! Our DS was never a bad kid, just not a really good judge character, much less a good decision maker! Started nursing school right out of HS, but, a girl came into the pic, and of course, he dropped out to chase her, it didn't last 2 months!! Actually, I think that one of his best decisions was to join the military! As much as we were afraid for him, he did join for his son! He talked about all the benefits our GS would receive from DS being in there and he does have a great job in the hospital in is working towards his PA, but he is still a kid himself, and I think if it hadn't been for the military training and infliction of discipline he received, I honestly don't know where he would be right now!

As much as we know it's time to just let go, although DH is having more trouble than I am, believe it or not, it is just so hard! If it were just the two of them, and no GC, it would be so much easier, but when those babies come along, they take your heart and hold them much firmer than your children ever could! As far as the marriage, that was our lawyer's suggestion, as it nulls any type of 'charges' they could bring upon DS. Where we live, it doesn't matter if her parents knew or even allowed the behavior, if there is 2 years difference with a minor it is still SR! So, for the sake of staying out of jail, he married the girl. Why he allowed a 2nd pregnancy, I have know idea!! But we wouldn't trade our GCs for anything!! The most sad part is going to be not seeing them, especially since our GS stayed with us 3 to 4 nights per week since he was 2 weeks old!! And when DS was in basic, she couldn't get enough of us babysitting, for days at a time!! When she got tired of a crying baby, she would call on us!! Her mother, REFUSED to help DIL out b'cuz she had a 2 yr old and 4 yr old of her own!! I can't say that DS made a mistake, b'cuz what would that say about our GC? So, I guess you could say he made a bad decision, and everytime he calls my DH to complain, DH tells him, 'you did it, you have to live with it, we're sorry you are going thru it, but we didn't make the decision to get with a 16 year old, YOU did'! Plus, I do remind him of the leave and cleave lesson in Genesis!

But yes, I think it is time, and with the holidays coming up, it's going to be alot harder. However, we do have 3 more boys at home, and we are happy for that, but the two youngest ones just really miss their brother, its hard for them, and we are sad for that :(


My take is that you are handling the impossible very well. You are wonderful role models and your son has stepped up to the plate. That doesn't make it any easier, I know. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama