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Problem Solving => Grandchildren => Topic started by: Grieving on July 17, 2012, 06:52:01 am

Title: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grieving on July 17, 2012, 06:52:01 am
Wow, I am not the only one ;) I have been 'lurking' here for several months, and have realized that more people than I thought have problems with their DILs, etc. but have never quite figured out what to post. My story re: DIL is similar to many, just details different. To summarize, loved her until she got pregnant and she turned into a "pain", tried to give her benefit of doubt(hormones),but she blew up at Christmas over something I considered trivial, and certainly unintentioned. I apologized, but she never did ( I felt we both were at fault), it has tainted the relationship with DS, and GS ever since. Prior to birth, DS/DIL kept saying how much they wanted us in GC life, I was excited about being GM.....to an extent. I always had some reservations, such as I did not want to be like most of my friends who thought their lives were so much richer, better, exciting, fulfilled, yada yada , now that they were GPs. Even before holiday blowup, I did not feel that close to GS , who was born in fall. Some of that could have been lack of bonding due to inability to help with the care after birth. We were asked and expected by DS/DIL to be there, changed our schedules to do so, then were pretty much ignored.(We live several hours a way) Keep in mind, I told them I thought it was their time, but we would do what they wanted, glad to help if they wanted/needed us. The few times I was allowed to hold GS by DS, DIL swooped in and took him away,so very little bonding or warm fuzzy feelings during that visit.  Oops, just realized I was in danger of posting more about DIL problem than keeping on thread. We just a nice visit with DS family recently, but not the warm, happy kind we had pre-preg/birth, more the stiff, formal, polite kind of casual friends--every one careful not to step on toes. Playing with GS was fun, entertaining, but I still do not feel a real connection to him. He is adorable, looks so much like DS, but I am content to see pictures. I am sure some of it is my self-protection kicking in. I am afraid to get to attached, as never know what DIL might do, don't feel like they really want us in his life---he has teeth we were never told about, if I ask how much he weighs/height, it is viewed as national secret. But some of it, is the ugly fact that being with him is not worth the effort of being with DIL. I realize that it is their right and duty to raise him--I certainly don't want to do it--but her ideas are so far-fetched IMHO, that being with GS is not worth putting up with them.Since I can't be the fun loving, doting GM that I wanted to be(ie. grieving), I am content to maintain my distance both literally and figuratively, so it is nice to know that there are others out there, and I am not the cold unfeeling soul that I feel like when I am among those goosy GMs.
Title: Re: Re: What's wrong with me...not thrilled being a grandma
Post by: Doe on July 17, 2012, 07:02:33 am
Hi Grieving-

I hear you loud and clear.  And isn't it annoying that you started out not really wanting your GK to be the only fulfilling thing in your life but here you are grieving over the lost opportunity.  I know the feeling but I think I've come full circle so that I don't feel the need to know about my DIL/DS's secret weapon, aka GC.  Today, anyway.

I hope you'll stick around.  Sometimes people come in with a name like yours and then after awhile they change it to something like "insouciant" since it reflects the changes they go through.  I hope you'll find some relief and camaraderie here.
Title: Re: Re: What's wrong with me...not thrilled being a grandma
Post by: Lillycache on July 17, 2012, 07:19:18 am
Welcome Grieving.  I fully understand your post.  I think most of us have a whole different notion of what being a GM is before we actually become one.  Especially if the GC is your son's child.. not your daughter.  Many of us are completely unaware that it will be different... that is until our DILs let us know how it will be.  Yes.. our Grandmothering experience is totally at the descretion of DIL.. make no mistake about that.    I also understand your feelings on not really being that head over heals about becoming a GM to begin with... but then being hurt that we are not really allowed to anyway.  It's probabley just an innate sense of what is fair, and anger when it isn't quite fair.  It's difficult to deal with these conflicting feelings.  However, it certainly helped me when DIL decided to try to use the GKs as a weapon to hurt me.  I was able to tell her to stuff it.  After not really ever being allowed to bond with the GKs, it wasn't such a difficult thing to do.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Pooh on July 17, 2012, 10:31:30 am
Welcome Grieving.  I split your post and the replies to it into it's own topic so people could find it easier and welcome you.  Take a minute to read the topics under open me first for our history, forum rules and to get a feel for the way the forum runs.  Nothing wrong with your post, we just ask all new members to do this.

I'm sorry for what you are going through and I can totally relate.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Footloose on July 17, 2012, 11:53:34 am
Welcome, G and I'm glad u posted.  I hope our sisterhood brings comfort.  it has for me in a great way.

hugs!
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Karenna on July 17, 2012, 11:58:26 am
With respect to your DIL's unusual parenting practices - if she's not actually abusive or neglectful, just let it slide.  She's figuring out this parenting thing just as we all did.  Let her find her way.

Someone once told me, "There are many roads to Dublin." The kid will likely turn out all right, no matter what sort of quirky ideas your DIL has.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Pen on July 17, 2012, 01:42:52 pm
...and they'll probably complain about how awful it was, lol. Ah, the circle of life  ;D

But seriously, welcome G. I know you'll find support and comfort here as you progress through the maze that is grandparenthood. So glad you found us!
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: pam1 on July 17, 2012, 02:53:43 pm
Welcome Grieving :)

Grieving, can I ask you what happened at Christmas? 

Lilly, I would be cautious in trying to find blame on anyone for a grandparenting experience. 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grieving on July 18, 2012, 07:54:31 am
@ Karenna , I can accept that she (DS seems to be following his DF---and most men's--footsteps and letting DIL determine childrearing practices) may do things her way, but I cannot accept that I am made to feel like I am 'having supervised visitation' because I am incompetent( after all, she loves DS, thinks he is good guy). She can do what she wants, but if she wants me in GS life, she needs to back off, realize that if I change a diaper or wipe a face a bit differently, it is not going to cause irrepable harm. In addition to our backstory, this is another reason I am having trouble bonding with GS. While my own DM and wonderful MIL did things differently than I did, I would never have dreamed of criticizing or correcting them....just secretly laughed at how old fashioned they were, and went back to doing it my way.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Lillycache on July 18, 2012, 08:03:53 am
Quote from: pam1 on July 17, 2012, 02:53:43 pm
Welcome Grieving :)

Grieving, can I ask you what happened at Christmas? 

Lilly, I would be cautious in trying to find blame on anyone for a grandparenting experience.


Sorry.... I should have clarified that MY grandparenting experience was totally dependant on MY DIL.  That is a fact... and I certainly blame her. 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grieving on July 18, 2012, 08:14:07 am
Thanks to all for the welcome, and the knowledge that I am not an awful, cold hearted person for not being completely gaga over GC. I am so tired of hearing " aren't you just thrilled now that you are GM, being a GM is the most wonderful thing in the world, yada yada" that it is nice to be able to say "no, not so much", and not have mouths drop open. As I said, I know a good deal  of it is self-protection, especially after reading all that some of you have and are going through,but I never did anxiously await GC as so many of my friends did.

@pam1  Details of holiday event are not that important, someday I might tell whole story, but, at this point, I don't think it is something that can be fixed.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Karenna on July 18, 2012, 10:35:25 am
Grieving, I understand your frustration with being corrected about child care.  But the experts' recommendations have changed a lot since we had our children.  My own DS/DIL were quite dogmatic about sleep and feeding.  (The new rules forbid having the baby sleep on his stomach, because of cot death, keep somehat more flexible sleep schedules, and set a strict schedule for introducing foods, because of allergies.)

I was hurt by the way DS informed me I was doing it wrong.  But ultimately it was his right as the parent to do so.  And after a while I was able to accept that he was legitimately trying to do right for his child.  We have other issues, of course, but with respect to his parenting, I can't fault him.

So which parts of her parenting do you find "far-fetched", per your original post?  There are some kind and sensitive young parents on this forum who might have some input on the way things are done now.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grieving on July 18, 2012, 11:15:36 am
Karenna, Maybe my wording was wrong. I am well aware of changes in parenting norms, re: allergies, sleeping, etc. It is the manner in which she goes about them, as well as expectations I had as to family participation, involvement. Everything is timed--to point of looking at clock multiple times while wondering if it is meal time, bedtime, etc. Not being a very regimented person myself, this is very strange to me.

I feel if I am invited to visit with GC and am expected to bond, some accomodation should be made. I do not spend that much time there, so what harm is a slight change in schedule, or a bottle feeding instead of breast feeding while disappearing into the inner realms of house so we can spend more time together. I really don't enjoy being left without a 'by your leave'(explanation) for hours at a time. GC is not expected to fall asleep on own,or even sleep in own crib. My expectation vs reality, I know.

In addition, while norms have changed as to sleeping, baby's still need their tummy time for upper body development. GC did not like tummy time, so was not given it. No frustration is allowed.

There is certainly no abuse or neglect, in fact, I think GC might benefit from some 'neglect' so to speak. There is absolutely no flexibility. I believe I mentioned diaper changing, DIL watches over my shoulder whenever I changed GC----I mean really how much danger could GC be in--it's not like pins are involved. I can be trusted with sharp objects--my keepers haven't taken those away yet!! LOL I have quit changing or even offering to do so---just say Oh, think we need a new diaper. No point if she is going to stand there and watch....let her do it all.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Karenna on July 18, 2012, 12:01:14 pm
I understand where you're coming from - I kind of suspected that it was an issue with "attachment parenting."

My DS once launched himself bodily across the kitchen table to stop almost-6-month-old GS from tasting applesauce on my spoon, then lectured me about choking, allergies, and caries-causing germ transmission.  Then he brought out pamphlets from the pediatrician spelling out what's allowed and what isn't.

A simple, "Hey, mom, please don't let him eat that!" would have sufficed.

If you read the attachment parenting baby books, several do make it seem like the consequences for deviating from the plan are serious and irreversible.  For example, one of DIL's books said that a single bottle could cause "nipple confusion," leading to inefficient nursing, a drop in milk supply, and early weaning, then childhood obesity and diabetes.  I'm not saying that I believe this 100%, but if your DS/DIL are being warned about all sorts of dire consequences by their doctor, books, friends and the internet.... then they are going to ignore alternative perspectives.

Keep in mind, too, that they may become more flexible as the kid gets older and more independent.  They will also get more confident in their parenting decisions, and more willing to discard practices that don't work for their family.   (For DiL, this point came when her gently-disciplined 4-year-old had a tantrum in a store, and she realized that he could handle stricter rules.)

Just keep in mind that all of these kids turn out fine, too.  Late crawlers end up climbing the monkey bars at school.  Teenagers prefer their own rooms. Nobody FedExes frozen milk to college.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Karenna on July 18, 2012, 12:40:37 pm
And please let me add that I'm not criticising attachment parents - the quotes around it were meant to show that I was referring to the formal philosophy with that name.  And I know that other parenting styles are promoted with scare tactics as well, and it's probably been that way since the dawn of time.

Different philosophies work for different families, of course. :-)
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: pam1 on July 18, 2012, 12:41:48 pm
No problem, Lilly :) 

Grieving, whenever you want to share (or not share,) we are here.  I have a clearer understanding of what you're saying now and understand.  I'm not a grandparent yet, but I've told the story about my BIL/SIL not allowing their child to feed themselves until she was over 3, yet wanted me to babysit a lot.  Nope, not going to do it, I just couldn't.  It may sound small and petty, but at least by 2 that child could fed itself.  BIL/SIL were also hyper-vigilant of her clothes so if she had a drop of food on them, they would get very upset and huffy.  So I turned down all requests to babysit....and yes, I didn't develop a bond with her until later.  I still think my niece likes me though :)

So, I understand frustration with how a parent will chose to parent their child.  I think the first one is always a bit nerve-wracking for most and they can tend to act this way, then eventually loosen up. 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Pooh on July 18, 2012, 12:59:45 pm
Pssshhh....should have heard my Ex-MIL when we bought our boys a trampoline.....
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: lancaster lady on July 18, 2012, 01:43:59 pm
Hello Grieving and Welcome :

If you have the time to read my history here , you will see my experience mirrors yours .
I wasn't even allowed to change my GD , so no chance of getting it wrong .
There is nothing wrong with attachment parenting and they as parents have every right to chose it , but please
inform all concerned relatives so as not to hurt and alienate them .
Not saying that this is the situation with your Ds Grieving .
However now my GD is 2 years old and my DIL is only too pleased to hand her over .
I know you want that fuzzy closeness of a new baby , but patience is a virtue and perhaps eventually
the newness will wear off and they will be glad of another pair of hands .
So cuddle that baby when you get the chance , and if the baby  steals your heart , it's worth it .... :)
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grieving on July 18, 2012, 01:50:49 pm
ROFL, Karenna---almost the same thing happened to me recently. DIL thought I was feeding GC something from DH plate, received chiding about how it would lead to diabetes---give me a break, really this super-smart woman cannot believe that a 1/4in. size bite of something is going to cause diabetes! Lucky for me, I was feeding GC a piece of fruit that she had been giving him all morning. Whew!!  I had also heard the nipple lecture, but I know that DS does feed bottles when DIL is away, so why not when we are there.BTW, only 24 hrs. give or take every 3-4mons. I did not know it had a name, though. Will have to prepare myself so I can annoy DIL by knowing what/why she is doing things. LOL

Pooh, again LOL---I would be the one giving the trampoline. I don't give anything anymore because I have been lectured about toys, never see GC in clothes I buy, several things I bought because they were on their registry were no longer wanted after I bought them, so I satisfy my need to buy baby stuff by donating to charity.

pam1 Thanks, maybe there is hope that I can bond with GC in time. Not sure how I ended up with this thread, when I started out just to say I was glad I was not the only one who was not warming up to GC. In typing these replies, I do realize that it has not so much to do with GC, much to do with DIL.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grieving on July 18, 2012, 03:49:42 pm
LL---wow, your story does mirror mine to a great extent. My problems with DIL started during pregnancy, prior to that we were great, so not sure if the parenting is an issue as much as we seem to be at odds. I know what she has done to me to cause my feelings, but have no idea why/what I did to change hers. In any case, it just goes to show what one friend often says---we are not nearly as unique an individual as we like to think we are.

Hopefully, my story will continue to follow yours, and have a happy ending. I don't want or expect to be in DS, DIL or GC life on daily basis, but would like to enjoy a visit every couple of months without feeling like I am walking on eggshells, afraid to say anything , or buy anything for GC for fear it is 'wrong'.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Pen on July 18, 2012, 05:59:26 pm
There are polite, positive ways to involve GPs and other family members in a decision to do attachment-style parenting if the will is there. I would imagine that any decent book on the subject would have some suggestions on how to lovingly get the message across w/o alienating anyone. There may be those who would choose to use their choice of parenting methods to keep ILs & others out of their lives. I think that would be sad.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: DivaGirlDIL on July 18, 2012, 06:09:07 pm
Grieving hello I am a mom of a DD who is 4.  Im sorry you are having a rough time.  My sister just had a baby and is on a strict schedule for her DD.  At first I thought she was crazy and to uptight.  But it's working for her and it's going to make her transition back to work much easier.  Plus my dn just three months old is sleeping though the night. 

I know it doesn't seem like a big deal at the moment but sometimes a change even small can make a big deal.  DD is 4 and changes still can sometimes effect her.  We just got back from a trip.  Getting her back on her sleeping schedule the first week was crazy.  Nursing wise I was never one to give a bottle for someone to feed.  DD bonded with people other ways.  May I ask how old he is? 

I hope things get better for you.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Karenna on July 18, 2012, 07:31:35 pm
Grieving, you mentioned that your DIL watched when you changed diapers.

Is your GC an uncircumcised boy?  If so, she may be watching to make sure that you don't retract his foreskin when you clean him.  This apparently can be quite painful for babies, and can lead to infections or scarring.

I only ask because this was an issue I was genuinely unaware of before GS was born.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Pen on July 18, 2012, 10:16:57 pm
Would it be possible for new Ps to kindly & lovingly educate the GPs regarding these or other issues?
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Karenna on July 18, 2012, 11:59:55 pm
It absolutely is possible for new parents to kindly inform the grandparents about their childreqring choices.  However, I can think of a few reasons why it doesn't always happen.

(1) The parents may assume that some of this information is common knowledge, and that the grandparents already know.  Then, when the grandparent unwittingly violates the rule, the parent may assume that they're being careless or stubborn.

(2) The parents may fear that grandparents will view any choices that differ from their own as a personal attack.  Conflict-avoidant parents avoid bringing up these issues so as not to hurt the grandparents' feelings.

(3) The parents may anticipate that bringing up a childrearing decision will invite debate and discussion.  The grandparents might try to talk them out of it, which would feel like a vote of no confidence.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: lancaster lady on July 19, 2012, 12:41:20 am
In my case , I just want to be part of my gd life . My child rearing days are over and its up to the parents how they bring up their child . I just wanted to be a considered part of her life , the fun side  :)
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: NewMama on July 19, 2012, 05:36:21 am
Here's my take from being in those new mom shoes lately:

My son is 14 mo - when he was very small, I let my MIL do a lot of things for him because she was the faraway grandma and I was trying to be sensitive to the fact that she was feeling a little jealous of my mom (her words). I loathe pumping, but I did it so she could feed him bottles. We left her alone with him for short periods while visiting her. We let her feed him solids once he started them. When my son got big enough to move around and play, she didn't know what to do with that. She didn't know how to play with him, and frequently restricted his movements for fear of him hurting himself. She's actually the hovering anxious grandma, and no matter how much we tell her he's fine, let him explore, she won't. She wants to sit and cuddle him, and he doesn't want to do that. He's too busy. She insisted on getting in his face every visit, which scared the daylights out of him. It took months to get her to stop that. All that 'hands on' care he got from her didn't matter one bit. He was scared of her.

My mother never fed my son a bottle til he was 7 months old, and probably has fed him two in his lifetime, and changed one bum about a month and a half ago. Maybe spoon fed him once. And they are very, very bonded. He lights up when he sees her and squeals. She bonded with him by talking to him, holding him, and especially by getting down on the floor and playing with him. She play with his toys, reads him stories, take him for walks etc. Again, the lack of 'hands on' care in the beginning doesn't matter. He has not one sweet clue who did or didn't change his bum when he was a newborn. Or who fed him bottles. But he sure knows Nanny is super fun to be around.

I had expectations about the way my baby would be, and my mother and MIL had expectations of how their grandmothering experience would go. My mom has now settled into the role wonderfully, and has a great bond with my son. She had a bigger adjustment in the beginning, and we did butt heads a bit. My MIL was ok in the beginning, but things haven't played out the way she expected and has spent a lot of time the last several months trying to literally force us and my son into the way she thought it would be. And it totally backfired in terms of her relationship with my DS. Even after the last visit my DH said he's worn, and doesn't want to go visit anymore.

My advice is to just let the other stuff go about bottles and changing and all that. Play with him. Let the parents do the nitty gritty stuff if they want to. I tried to 'kindly and gently' say what our plans were - and I got met with a laundry list of why they were wrong. And zero desire to learn about why we made the choices we did. So I just stopped discussing certain topics. When they were brought up, I changed them. My mother and I were much happier when those topics were off the table.

I've mentioned in other posts about my attempts to mend things with my MIL, and it's still sort of hit and miss. Some of DILs aren't so bad :) 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grieving on July 19, 2012, 06:08:27 am
Newmama--boy, would I like you for my DIL  ;)  I fully understand and agree with all you have said.
I certainly don't want to change diapers, but fully thought we were there to help after the birth---not much help if someone is going to hang over your shoulder at every move, breastfeed, so cannot help. The one bottle that was pumped, DS gave me to feed so DIL could rest, she came and took both away. I think with her it is all a control/jealousy issue as much as a parenting issue.

GC is a bit older now, and I do get on the floor, play, read----not yet trusted to take for a walk  :P

Everytime I post something it does come back to DIL issues--rather than my orginal intent which was solidarity in finding other women who were not gaga to be GM. Several here put it well---I was not gaga to GM, but am now hurt that I can't be the fun one I wanted to be.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Karenna on July 19, 2012, 09:17:02 am
Grieving,

I was in such a similar position to you a few years back.  I wanted to help a lot, and it seemed like everything I did for GS was wrong.  I thought it was about control/territoriality at first, too.

One thing that helped me understand DS/DIL better was reading the parenting books they had, so I could tell where they were coming from.  Two I remember were:  "The Baby Book" by Sears and "Gentle Baby Care" by Pantley.

A lot of the things that are bothering you - parents holding the baby all the time, forgoing bottles, nursing to sleep,  sleeping with the baby, keeping a schedule, and overseeing diaper changes for uncircumcised boys - are all spelled out in those manuals.  They are presented as what's best for the baby, not as a clever ploy to exclude grandparents.

It's always possible that there are some control or jealousy issues.  But based on your description, it sounds like they're also trying to be the best parents they can be.

It's okay to feel a little disappointed about not having as big a role in the childcare as you'd hoped.  But think really hard before you write off a relationship with your infant GS entirely.  As he gets older, there will be more opportunities to spend time with him.

It really will get better.  Best of luck!
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Scoop on July 19, 2012, 10:14:40 am
Grieving, perhaps when you were invited to "help", they meant help around the house so they could do the baby-work, not for you to help with the baby?

I can see that as being a very basic mis-communication that could easily be the root of the problem.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: pam1 on July 19, 2012, 12:06:53 pm
Good point, Scoop.  That's a common complaint I've heard amongst my friends, and not just about their in laws.  Even their own parents would assume that "help" meant for the actual baby, not around the house.

I do think things like the first bottle (or first anything) should be reserved for the parents and I can easily see many people expecting it only for parents.  I'm not sure why your DS would go to give it to you?  That seems a little out there.  So, maybe there was also some mis-communication between DS and DIL?  Not that that is your fault in anyway, it just might explain some more of their reactions right now.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Smilesback@u on July 19, 2012, 01:50:53 pm
Hi Grieving, you are brave to acknowledge a sense of not bonding like you thought it would feel.  I had a weird feeling when I saw my first baby too -- he was soooo fat cheeked his eyes looked like they were lost in the folds of his face.  I wasn't sure he was mine!!  Have to laugh about it now, but then I was feeling confused that I wasn't feeling *in love* with this baby.  That feeling went away after I spent time caring for him.  I feel that way with my GC  too although I did do a lot with them as newborns and babies.  I think for me it is because they are not my babies, and so I am a bit removed.  Maybe it is respectful to not be all that bonded?  Kahil Gibran says children aren't ours anyways.  Being a GM feels different than when I mothered my own babies.  I love the GC, have fun with them as GM, am happy to play with them, and I am rewarded with their hugs, kisses, and sing-alongs.  They are not afraid of me, but do not particularly seek me out when we are visiting, as they prefer GP.  I had boys and these are girls so that might be part of it too, I don't know?  They seem to like to join in when I come up with nursery rhymes, preschool songs, games, cooking etc. It is different feelings overall and I was surprised that I didn't feel a deep connection.  I just love them anyways I can for however long I can.  Hope that helps somehow. 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Beth 2011 on July 19, 2012, 06:40:55 pm
Hi Grieving,

Welcome to WWU.  It is a great place.  I just want to comment on being a GM.  I am one but have not even seen my GC yet.  I have received pictures but that is it.  Now DS and DIL have moved out of town and I don't know if it will ever happen. 

You know everyone that writes a book now a days is an expert and they know more than us parents even if they are single and have never changed a diaper.  They have an education and all the answers straight out of books..... not life experience.

Wait until they call you asking about the something like continuous crying because everything that the book said does not work....just give them a chance to see the light and realize that they survived childhood with us at the helm.  What a concept!  :) 

Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: herbalescapes on July 20, 2012, 05:39:11 am
Ain't nuttin wrong with not being gaga over your GKs.  Or even over your own Ks.  We have an image of "falling in love" with the baby as soon as it's born and then feel like something is wrong with us if that doesn't happen.  Many parents don't feel an instant bond with their children.  I know I've read some articles about mom's getting depressed because they didn't feel this instant bond and the medical community trying to educate parents that it is ok not to feel gaga over their kids.  If it's ok for parents not to feel gaga, it's gotta be ok for GPs not to feel gaga. 

I think kids are better off when they are not the center of the universe to everyone around them.  I think it's healthier if the parents and grandparents have interests outside of their GKs.  You have to find that balance between not neglecting and not smothering.  That balance will be different for each kid and each parent and each GP. 

I'm not a GP, but I remember when my kids were smaller, some parents would consider it a failure not to chaperone every class trip or miss a baseball game.  Not me.  That doesn't make me better or worse than those other parents, just different. 


Grieving, throw the guilt in the trash.  Good luck finding a way to be involved but not belittled.  I'll keep my fingers crossed for ya. 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: SCW on July 20, 2012, 08:17:19 am
Welcome G!
I just want to add two things
#1.  I have never been close to any of my 14 GC, don't see them often, have never "babysat" for any of them, really, I do not know why, I have had loads of foster children and have been close with most of them.  My own parents are closer with my Biological GC then I, or DH.

#2 Maybe she was watching over your shoulder during a diaper change to find out how a "pro" does it.   :P
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Purple Eyes on July 20, 2012, 09:58:46 am
Hi Grieving :).  I hope you aren't grieving so much after all the wonderful support you have received here at WWU.  I believe your first post was in response to MY first post, about not being gaga over GC.   And I have to say that after I posted about my sadness and not bonding with GD, the wisdom that was shared with me made me feel immediately better, and I hope that you feel better now, also.  We are not alone!

The attachment parenting thing is interesting...I hadn't put the two issues together.  It appears that it has become the modern way to parent in one form or another.  I have been told more than once that if I didn't play by DD's rules I wouldn't be allowed to be alone with GD...I am beginning to see that this is not unusual... 

I remember having to insist that my parents and PIL would have to use a car-seat and then the seat belt.  And I told them they wouldn't be allowed to take their GC anywhere unless they promised to always use it.  I remember my in-laws rolling their eyes at that, but they did comply and of course now wouldn't think of not buckling.  But I wonder how they felt about my demands?

No wonder it's hard to bond, with all of these rules that we don't know about.  But thanks to the wisdom gained here, I am going to try to just go with the flow, just like OUR parents probably had to.  My son and DIL are trying to get preggo, so it will be interesting to see the dynamics of having a GC with a DIL.  :).

Good luck, Grandma Grieving, I hope you are feeling better and please share if you've come up with any good answers to "aren't you thrilled to be a grandparent?"  xoxoxo
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Monroe on September 11, 2012, 12:45:46 am
Grieving -- you said:
" I am afraid to get to attached, as never know what DIL might do, don't feel like they really want us in his life---. . . . . . . But some of it, is the ugly fact that being with him is not worth the effort of being with DIL. . . . . . , that being with GS is not worth putting up with them"

I do not have GC, and frankly dread it.  I loved being a mother, but DS married a DIL who is very possessive of him.  She is so territorial of DS (who was MY baby) I would expect her to be even more possessive of HER baby.   I've lost my son, essentially, because he belongs 1,000% to her.  I would not have any opportunity to connect with any future GC.  So I really don't want any.  I'd rather not have GC than have them and not be allowed a real relationship with them. 
 

Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grammie on September 11, 2012, 09:32:23 am
Quote from: Monroe on September 11, 2012, 12:45:46 am
I would not have any opportunity to connect with any future GC.  So I really don't want any.  I'd rather not have GC than have them and not be allowed a real relationship with them. 



Monroe you hit the nail on the head with that statement.  So true!  It is the worst pain in the world to be denied the love of your AC and worse yet you GC.  When DS and his family lived with us for 3+ months we couldn't figure out what child rearing technique was being used.  OGC spent a lot of time in "time out" sitting on the steps alone and crying.  He had no idea what "no" meant or so it seemed.  He would play with light switches, the TV remote and the TV on/off switch at will and was never told no.  He was redirected only to repeat the same action over and over again.  One time DS told GS to give me a hug and he said"no" and ran away. DIL followed behind him saying "that's okay you don't have to do anything you don't want to do".  Gee I can see that statement sticking.  Wouldn't it be nice if they would say this is the book we're reading for advice or at least discuss ideas with GPs rather than expect us to be mind readers then get mad and ignore us when we make a mistake?
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Monroe on September 12, 2012, 08:58:08 am
Quote from: Scoop on July 19, 2012, 10:14:40 am
Grieving, perhaps when you were invited to "help", they meant help around the house so they could do the baby-work, not for you to help with the baby?

I can see that as being a very basic mis-communication that could easily be the root of the problem.


Excellent point, Scoop.  Should my AC ever have children and I be invited to come help after the baby is born, I will certainly clarify what their needs and wishes are. 

If they truly want help with the baby, I'll go.  I can understand they might want help with laundry, cooking, cleaning, errands, etc. while THEY have all the baby interaction, and that would be fine.  However, I would not want to do the household work that can easily be hired out to a service.  I'd probably be willing to pay someone to go there several hours a day for a week or two, so that they could tend to the baby without the laundry and dirty dishes piling up.  But I would not want to take my time, trouble and $$$ to travel to a far-away (or even near-by) city (or even the next block over) to simply be a maid and scrub toilets.  I don't like scrubbing my OWN toilets, so I'm not going to do it for somebody else.  I'll take what I would have spent on airfare, and let them use that $$$ to hire their own maid.  I'm not looking for that. 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Scoop on September 12, 2012, 10:05:16 am
Monroe - I think this is why the maternal Gma gets invited to help more often than the paternal Gma.  I know that I wouldn't like the idea of my MIL changing my bed or washing my gitch.  However, my Mom came and helped with all of that.  She cooked, she cleaned, she held the baby while I showered / napped.  It was heaven and I really appreciated it.  You should have seen how we both cried and cried when it was time for her to leave.

I think it's a fair boundary though, for you to say that you're not willing to do this for DIL.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: NewMama on September 12, 2012, 10:10:06 am
Helping with household stuff doesn't mean no baby interaction ever. It just means helping out a couple of sleep deprived new parents. We were so overwhelmed with looking after our son that the household stuff just fell to the wayside. We ate take out for weeks. I would've been eternally grateful to anyone that came over to help us with any of that.

And I'm sorry, but to say 'I'll only give helps if it meets my needs' means it isn't help. I could barely meet my own needs to eat, shower or sleep, so for someone to turn around and say you're not doing enough for me would've just made me blow a gasket.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: lancaster lady on September 12, 2012, 10:21:44 am
Hello everyone , coming in here , my favourite subject ...... ;)

I have to say that most MIL's would jump at the chance to be invited over period !

Whether to do laundry of make dinner , just being part of the fun of having a new baby home
would have been wonderful .
I don't think my DIL would have wanted me to do her smalls either , but cook the odd meal or shop ,
whatever , it would have been nice just to be asked .
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Monroe on September 12, 2012, 10:55:49 am
Quote from: Scoop on September 12, 2012, 10:05:16 am
Monroe - I think this is why the maternal Gma gets invited to help more often than the paternal Gma.  I know that I wouldn't like the idea of my MIL changing my bed or washing my gitch.  However, my Mom came and helped with all of that.  She cooked, she cleaned, she held the baby while I showered / napped.  It was heaven and I really appreciated it.  You should have seen how we both cried and cried when it was time for her to leave.

I think it's a fair boundary though, for you to say that you're not willing to do this for DIL.


I think it is just fine that the maternal GM is invited to come after the baby is born more than the MIL/PaternalGM is.  I don't fault the young mothers for that one bit - they would naturally be more comfortable with their own mother than a MIL. 

I would be willing to go help (even if that meant cleaning the house) a DIL that was friendly, caring and considerate of me as a person.  But I am not willing to be a scullery maid for a DIL who is aloof and uncaring towards her husband's family.  I would also not want to "get in the way" - which I see as a high risk for a MIL who doesn't have a wonderful relationship with the DIL.  (If relationship is strained in normal times, add the new mother's roller-coaster hormones, put the MIL under the same roof, and I think you have a recipe for disaster). 

Quote from: NewMama on September 12, 2012, 10:10:06 am

And I'm sorry, but to say 'I'll only give helps if it meets my needs' means it isn't help. I could barely meet my own needs to eat, shower or sleep, so for someone to turn around and say you're not doing enough for me would've just made me blow a gasket.


Not sure who would be saying "you're not doing enough for me".  If a DIL asked for my help, asked me to take my vacation time from work, fly myself to her city to help - and then complained I wasn't doing enough, yes, I agree, I certainly might blow a gasket.  But I would try not to!  :)  I, however, would not ever say "you're not doing enough for me" because the whole purpose of the trip would be for me to help them, not for them to do anything for me. 

I would not want to get in the way of new parents bonding with baby - so it would not make sense for GM/MIL to take charge of baby - but this is one potential GM who doesn't want to go be a servant and scullery maid to a DIL who has always been disinterested in us.  I can help in other ways - like paying a night nurse for a couple of weeks so the new parents can get some sleep.  Or hiring a cleaning service to come in and clean for them.  Or have some meals delivered.  I would not want to get in the way, but I also have no desire to travel across the country at significant expense to do household labor.  Paying someone else to do it is an easy solution. 

I very much disagree that  And I'm sorry, but to say 'I'll only give helps if it meets my needs' means it isn't help.


I think the new mother is entitled to specify the kind of help she wants and needs - and the MIL/GM is entitled to help in a way that is satisfying to the MIL/GM.  I think if the new mother wants help with cooking and scrubbing toilets, it shouldn't matter who scrubs those toilets -- the cleaning service hired by the MIL or the MIL herself.  I'll be happy to pay for that cleaning service - that would be a way to help that would fit my needs, and also help that new mother who naturally wants to be totally in charge of the little one, but doesn't want the housework to pile up.  I don't think that sort of an offer "isn't help."
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Elise on September 12, 2012, 06:26:51 pm
Reading this thread has been very helpful in making me begin to think about/consider what may be expected of me when I travel at the end of the year to 'help' with my first granddaughter, as has been requested by ds and dil. This is my first grandchild and their first child.  I feel better prepared now to be forthright and will nicely ask closer to that time or when I get there, what my dil would like me to do.  I am ok with cleaning and cooking and errand running and just being supportive if that is what she would like. Although they are clear they want me to stay with them, I will also be ready to find other arrangements near them should it seem tensions are increasing during the anticipated week long stay, so they may have time without me around in the evening or when they wish or if I need some space myself. As always, the threads here give me lots to think about I might not otherwise consider, so thanks to all.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Pen on September 12, 2012, 07:02:59 pm
Wow, I remember doing all that stuff myself after the kids were born since we had no FsOO nearby. I was supposed to stay flat on my back for a week according to the midwives, but DH had to go back to work (no family leave act in those days.) When my second child was born, same thing but with a disabled toddler in tow as well. BTW, no diaper service either - did those myself too. DH did what he could after a long day of work, for sure. Somehow we made it!  Boy, were we tired!  ;)
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grammie on September 12, 2012, 07:22:44 pm
In the olden days you got a nice long stay in the hospital if you had a boy.  I think I stayed 4 days with both my DC.  No more!  They want you out ASAP.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Karenna on September 12, 2012, 09:37:26 pm
Quote from: Grammie on September 11, 2012, 09:32:23 am
. DIL followed behind him saying "that's okay you don't have to do anything you don't want to do".  Gee I can see that statement sticking.  Wouldn't it be nice if they would say this is the book we're reading for advice or at least discuss ideas with GPs rather than expect us to be mind readers then get mad and ignore us when we make a mistake?


I feel a little bit like a quiz show contestant while reading this thread.  I'd bet that DIL allowing him to refuse to hug you came directly from Gavin de Becker's book, "Protecting the Gift," which my DIL also read.

It's about protecting kids from violence and particularly sexual exploitation.  De Becker says that it should always be ok for young kids to set physical boundaries.  The compliant child who hugs on command can easily become the kid too shy to say no or too afraid of disobeying to run away when the creepy neighbor touches him inappropriately.

Anyone baffled by other seemingly strange parenting practices?  I'll guess the source if I can.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grammie on September 13, 2012, 03:13:40 am
Thanks for the info Karenna.  Funny how DIL seems perfectly comfortable with GS hugging his preschool teacher but doesn't encourage him to hug GM.  I'm not dangerous.  Heck I've driven a school bus for 17 years have child abuse clearance.   I think DIL is more afraid the GC will love me more than her DM. So much for that now that she destroyed my family. 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Scoop on September 13, 2012, 06:07:12 am
Grammie, I don't think you understand.  It's about letting the child determine who s/he wants to hug and not forcing them to hug someone just because that other person wanted it.  That forcing them to hug when they don't want to  basically sets them up to be easier targets for sexual abuse from others.  I.E. I'm not allowed to say 'no' when Grammie wants a hug, so I can't say 'no' when xxxxx wants an extra long hug ... and a kiss ... and .....  It's just not a path that you want to start your kids down.

And it's NOT personal Grammie.  It's not that DIL wants GS to like his teacher and NOT like you.

Honestly, my Mom has NEVER forced a hug from my DD (DD is not always 'huggy', she's allowed to say 'no') and they're VERY close.  Hugging is not the ONLY way to foster a relationship with your GS.  In fact, you would probably get more mileage by playing Lego's.

Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grammie on September 13, 2012, 06:22:06 am
Well Scoop the next time DS told GS to give me a hug he replied yuck, so yes I did take it personally since no one corrected that behavior! 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Pen on September 13, 2012, 06:48:50 am
Grammie, I understand how painful that must have been. I think that behavior should have been corrected because it's rude and hurtful to tell another human being they're yucky. I agree that children shouldn't be forced to hug anyone, but they should be shown how to treat others with kindness.

As with most things we can go a bit too far putting some of these childrearing theories into practice. IMO a child can quickly learn the difference between a GM & a creepy person who means to harm them. GM = good hug, Creepy/Stranger = no hug. I have a feeling that in some cases adherence to a particular theory is used to keep ILs away. Not in all cases, but in some. Of course the Ps have every right to do so, but it's very hurtful to the "other" GPs. Grammie, it sounds as if you understand what's happening in your situation.

How about some middle ground? When my toddler DD met her GGM (my DH's GM) for the first time, she was too shy to hug her. GGM was a stranger, was in a wheel chair & had a scratchy voice. She desperately wanted a hug from her first GGD. I didn't force DD to hug GGM, but I tried to make her feel comfortable so she'd choose to do so later, perhaps when we said our goodbyes. I encouraged DD to take a chance & she went for it. It made GGM very happy & DD, although disabled, grasped the concept that GGM was OK to hug & that she didn't have to also hug everyone who asked.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: pam1 on September 13, 2012, 07:17:12 am
I heard too much from DHs FOO about how wrong I was in my child-rearing practices.  And I don't prescribe to any particular theory, just common sense and a little free range.  DHs parents were/are helicopter parents.  So, we are pretty different as parents.  But anyway, I became really tired and jaded from their comments and their insistence that DD hurt them because she didn't like being crowded.  I'm not a perfect parent, my kid isn't perfect.  But, I think I've done a good job so far. 

So, when they did make a big deal or acted hurt (over what I considered minor) and wanted a big deal made over them, I quickly got tired of their antics.  No, I don't punish my child in front of people.  We usually talk it out in private.  We don't make big scenes.  I also would not have her be embarrassed for acting like a child.  DH talks a lot about the shaming his parents did and I will not do it. 

At the end of the day, it would be me irritated and DD wanting nothing to do with them due to their insistence of getting their grandparent experience.  It didn't work out so well in the long run.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grammie on September 13, 2012, 07:35:25 am
Pen, the hug isn't the problem at this point. Can't try something new without communication.  DS has refused to talk to us for nearly 8 months.  The hug incident happened at a family gathering 4 months ago.  When we were with DS he was pleasant and friendly to our face but it was over the minute we left the party.  There is no longer a relationship to work on and seeing the GC anytime soon is unlikely.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grammie on September 13, 2012, 08:15:12 am
Pam1, I'm sure your comment was a general comment but I would like to clarify for the record that I never interfered with DSs child rearing and did not act hurt.  With the hug incident I laughed and said "well I'm going to take a hug anyway".  I picked GS up and he squealed and giggled. Then I put him down and DH repeated the action.  We had a minor incident with DS and DIL last year over holiday plans.  They made a mountain out of a mole hill and the dispute took on a life of it's own.  They refuse to let go of the past and their displeasure with us keeps growing.  We patiently addressed each incident they complained about.  Then they proceeded to twist our explanations and read things into our words.  We apologized, explained and justified until we were sick of it and we refused to discuss it any further.  I'm sorry but when someone comes into your home to stay for 3 months then complains to you later that you did things to upset them like leaving clothes in the dryer or napping in the TV room or giving the children a small amount of candy at Easter you start to wonder if there isn't some sort of a problem that has nothing to do with you.  We were very good Ps but DS is portraying us as evil. DIL insisted that we needed counseling and basically told us we would not see our DS or GC if we did not go.  I'm not the one who needs counseling.  We spoke to a counselor who confirmed that they are not being rational.  YS and 2 other family members have tried to reason with OS and are frustrated and baffled by his sudden hatred for the Ps he adored and admired until recently.  There are concerns over his emotional well being.  His DW gave her parents the same treatment for over a year because of perceived interfering from them.  We have backed out of the situation hoping that he will see the issue more clearly.  Right now all we can do is wait and pray for the best.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Karenna on September 13, 2012, 09:44:03 am
Sorry, Grammie - I was not trying to suggest that you were a danger to kids.  I was just sharing my best guess as to the origin of the idea that "you don't have to hug anyone you don't want to."

Pen, in the book De Becker suggests this rule because young children CANNOT reliably determine who is creepy and means to harm them.  Yes, they probably will avoid the weird guy watching them play while sitting in a panel van.  But most sexual violence doesn't come from strangers.

What about the overly involved youth pastor who keeps inviting them out for ice cream?  Or The famous football coach who generously runs a camp for underprivileged kids (Sandusky)?  Or their best friend's dad, who keeps issuing invitations for slumber parties?  Maybe they're good people with innocent intentions, maybe not.  But they are EXACTLY the sort of respectable people that parents often force small children to show affection to.

Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grieving on September 13, 2012, 10:12:44 am
While I don't feel qualified to give anyone advice since I can't solve my own problems, I would like to interject my opinion. As an elementary teacher, I have seen my share of these children who are not forced to do anything they don't want, 'talked to'  as if they were equals, not allowed to 'fail' or be wrong(everyone is a winner)---and it isn't pretty. 

First, I don't care how you approach it, everyone is not a winner......and children are the first to realize it. Praise becomes meaningless when it is given for every little thing.  I think we are just beginning to see the results of young adults who were raised in this fashion---entitled, unable to deal with life, no manners or empathy for others, its my way or the highway attitudes.  Yes, I realize that all generations have similar thoughts, and these are hard times. However, I don't think Depression babies would have behaved as young adults today do.  I have heard Boomers called the ME generation, yet they(we) have nothing one this new one. Yes, I realize that not all turn out to be this way.  Neither my DD nor DS feels or acts entitled, both are in 'giving' professions, but even they seem to find the things that DH and I dealt with at their ages difficult. Balancing work, household chores , life just seems to be so dramatic for them and their friends, whereas we (like Nike)just did it. Never thought of getting a sitter so I could go to grocery store because it was easier. I just expected them to behave. I even took a toddler to school with me, sat her in back of class with toys.

DS is very smart, always took advanced classes, was far ahead of classmates in any grade, subject, etc. for K forward. He was not athletically or socially as gifted, so we tried very hard to keep him with his peers while at the same time, challenging him. During a meeting with school officials, he was asked 'What he thought he should do' regarding his placement. His reply was 'Isn't that your job?"  Children want and need guidance.

While I agree that some GPs(and people ) can come on too strong (not saying you did, Grammie. I watched my Ps overwhelm DBs children who were not used to them,when they visited.), I disagree that GC should be allowed to chose whether to hug GM or not. I think you and DH handled it perfectly, although DIL could have and should have made it easier by a gentle reminder that we love Grammie, and she needs a hug because she is leaving. She certainly should have addressed the 'yuck' . Waiting until later does not usually work, although a discussion later about hurting feelings, etc. might reinforce the teachable moment.  Waiting does not always work, as they will have forgotten what it is they did.
A hug from a GP while in DMs company is a far cry from a hug from a coach in the shower. Have to really disagree on that one. Anything can be taken too far. Are we banning all hugs from fathers/mothers as well, since there are many cases of abuse from parents?

My own children delight in telling me how, when they were young and put in time out to "think about what they had done" that they just agreed with everything I said because they had no idea what they had done.  ;D A hug from a GP while in DMs company is a far cry from a hug from a coach in the shower. Have to really disagree on that one. Anything can be taken too far. Are we banning all hugs from fathers/mothers as well, since there are many cases of abuse from parents?

I am really surprised that teacher hugs child. Touching children has become such an issue. One that I have struggled with, because with young children who are crying or hurt, your first inclination is too hug, or touch comfortingly. Young children also want to hug and touch me---especially during reading time--just as I had to learn to use gloves when child was bleeding, I have had to overcome that inclination as well.

As I said, these are just my opinions and observations. I seemed to have gotten carried away, sorry.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grammie on September 13, 2012, 11:13:42 am
Grieving, great response!  I used to back off when bus kids tried to hug but no more.  If they initiate a hug I usually let them hug and I pat on the back and thank them then gently back away and redirect their attention.  OS an YS were raised together in the same house with the same values. OS was a wonderful DS until a few years after he married.  YS is divorced and went through some difficult times but never once stopped communicating with us.  He is the one who relates to our life struggles just as your DC seem to relate to yours.  OS seems lost and confused.  Everyone who knows our family attributes his change in behavior to DIL and it breaks my heart.  Not only because it has cost me my DS and GC but it could cost him so much more if he crosses his DW.  Not a good position to be in IMO.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Smilesback@u on September 13, 2012, 11:27:02 am
Just want to chime in about hugs.  I was surprised because my 7th grader was so mad if he was going to be late to his CCD class, which is a Catholic class for students attending public school if you didn't know.  He would really hurry me along so as not to be late.  One day I walked him to class, and saw that his grandmotherly type teacher would hug each student as they arrived.  I saw my son be so very receptive to this warm gesture, that I saw a different side to him, a need that someone was helping meet.  We did not have any GPs visiting us as we raised our sons mainly because they lived out of state.  Anyways,  I also experienced an adult male friend tell me that he did not like hugs, did not want hugs and it would be nice if I would not assume that everybody wants one.  I learned something there too.  So everybody has a history and is an individual to be respected.  So it really depends doesn't it, whether to hug or not?  Just asking first, Can I give you a hug?  has been working for me.  I usually get hugs too -- love them, give big warm hugs, like my handshake -- I mean it to be friendly  :) 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grieving on September 13, 2012, 11:29:18 am
Oops, sorry. I did edit my response, but I guess I didn't save it, so it is a bit muddled in places :-[  Fine example I am  ::)  Yes, Grammie, it is a fine line people who work with children have to walk.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grieving on September 13, 2012, 11:48:07 am
Smiles, I thoroughly understand what you are saying. I still struggle with hugs with adults. No problem with children, but, as a dear friend who is a hugger, said, She can feel me tense up when she hugs me. I am just a bit reserved, and it doesn't come naturally to me. I don't hug everyone I meet, but now, I can hug those I know are receptive.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: pam1 on September 13, 2012, 12:04:21 pm
I think it's fine for everyone to have opinions on child-rearing.  However, I'm not fond of generalizations of what other parents do with their children.  If it's not abuse, then their way is the best way they know how at the time.  (IME, the constant nit-picking did DHs parents no favors)

I also think what works for one child doesn't necessarily work for another.  Just because my kid can remember and converse about an incident later, doesn't mean all kids can.  I get that, but just because not all kids can doesn't mean my kid can't.  No one is made the same.

And again, this is JMHO, whatever the case may be...as long as it is not abusive, the parents wishes should be followed.  If the parent said the kid doesn't have to hug, I would just follow it.  Why rock the boat? That's my mantra.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grieving on September 13, 2012, 12:46:12 pm
pam1, I think we all agree that most parents do the best that they can at any given time. I,also, thought that I was clear that I was making generalizations, but based on limited experiences, and with some attempt at humor. One has to resort to genealizations in a forum such as this,as well as in most discussions because to only talk in specifics would be prohibitive.

Both of my children were very intelligent, according to tests, genius even. However, they were still children, and as such, made  mistakes, needed guidance, and were not perfect. Today, I see far more parents willing and expecting schools to do what should be done at home, yet never believing that their children should be held responsible for their actions. Oddly, this is just as prevalent in the "better" neighborhoods as in "poorer" ones.

We can disagree on whether child should have been forced to hug GM or not, but fundamentally I think it is showing disrespect for GM. IMHO, unless there has been some sort of violence, out right hostility, or abuse, parents and grandparents are due respect by virtue of age and experience. By teaching child that he doesn't need to respect elders, you(collective pronoun, not specific) are going to reap what you sow.  We would not be here if someone in our lives were not causing stress, so perhaps your issues with your Ils cloud your perspective, just as my issues with DIL cloud my perspective.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: pam1 on September 13, 2012, 01:02:15 pm
Grieving, thanks for your input.  However, WWU does discourage generalizations.  The moderators here know from experience that generalizations tend to polarize posters and threads devolve.  I understand your concern about discouraging generalizations leading to a small field of conversation, but that's WWU. 

Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Smilesback@u on September 13, 2012, 02:03:49 pm
One more thing I want to say, is that this is such a good reminder to me -- that is, to not be so quick to judge how my DS/DIL parent or relate to each other.  I remember all too well how I had to deal with this DS who was such a live-wire, so smart, and needed a lot of attention growing up.  I was kept busy teaching him right from wrong as well as finding educational activities to occupy him.  There were so many teachable moments!  I know my parents thought I was too child-focused - but I knew if I didn't put in the time in a constructive way, he would get negative attention from me.  He was not going to sit still so by all means I had to find ways to involve his mind (ie building Lego sets etc).  I just kept trying to learn how to be a good parent to him and to be a good wife.  I was expected to teach DS, give him natural consequences, as well as keep a good marriage going.  We had different upbringings and did not see eye to eye on discipline and a lot of things - so raising kids was hard on our marriage.    I think people do not realize until they are walking in your shoes how draining it all is sometimes.  And that it takes a lot more time than a typical visit for family to get what is going on.  No one is perfect and I forget that, because not everyone is as gifted, smart, resourceful, understanding, capable and resilient as I am.   ;D  Seriously, I forget sometimes how hard it is to raise a family, and I really am grateful that I am not raising kids now, cuz at 60 years old, I get stressed with the energy level and needs of my GD as well as DS/DIL.   I can only do so much.  So thanks for the reminder, very humbling to remember not to judge. 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grammie on September 13, 2012, 02:51:08 pm
Pam1...understand that on one occasion DS told the child to hug me and when he said no DIL told him he didn't have to do anything he didn't want to do.  On the yuck occasion DS told GS to hug and he responded with Yuck.  I did not initiate a hug on either occasion and both occasions resulted in the child disobeying his DF and getting his own way.  That may not qualify as abuse but certainly is not the best lesson to teach a small child.  I too have had an occasion where I instructed a child to sit and keep his hands to himself on the bus.  His response to me was "I don't have to do anything I don't want to do".  He was sent to the Principal the next day and learned very quickly that he most certainly does have to do what he's told whether he wants to or not.  You do a serious injustice to the child if he is allowed to have that kind of attitude without reasonable correction.  It may be the choice of the parent but it is the responsibility of educators to undo the damage done by parents who go too far in any method of teaching.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Smilesback@u on September 13, 2012, 03:11:51 pm
I really feel for teachers so I always supported the school when it came to doing what was best for my sons.  I wanted my sons to succeed in school and we needed teachers' help year after year.  I knew my sons needed consistent teaching from school and parents to grow up responsible adults.   I had some kooky ideas at first, like there were certain ways to talk with my son which I got from one of the latest child rearing books.  One day I realized other adults do not have the time to have so much dialogue with him, so he better learn to listen to adults and do what they ask of him the first time, within reason.  In relationship to my GD, if DS/DIL want me to do something that I don't agree with, well, then I don't do it, quite honestly.  They can't make me, so there's the rub, which affects our relationships, which is no secret.  Otherwise, I only visit a couple times a year, and  maintain my right to say No, I won't be doing that.  I try not to get in their face about their parenting cuz they already know where I stand.  So that probably explains why we are not so close, huh?   :-[           
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: pam1 on September 13, 2012, 03:33:40 pm
Grammie, I tend to think every parent is going to see it different, especially concerning what lessons are best for each child.  I really think a lot of parents try their best, they may not be the best, but they try.  With more information, it sounds to me that you got caught in the middle between the parents and the child.  Not an easy place to be, I'm sure. 

My only point is that from my experience, it's a road I'm going to refuse to go on.  DD and I were nit-picked for so long that natural consequences set in. (and I'm not saying you're doing this at all, just want you to know where I'm coming from)  DD heard from Grandma about how much she hurt Grandma for not holding hands, nit-picked over how she ate, what she ate and when she ate, complete with how the parents allowing her to be this way was foretelling doom and gloom for her.  As she got older, DD became more and more uncomfortable in that she clearly understood Grandma really didn't approve of how her mother parents and it was totally obvious to DD.  (without DH or I saying anything to DD, she picked this up loud and clear)

It's just in my experience these types of things fall on *my* personal minor list.  From the fall out it helped create in my own situation and from situations I've read over the years here, it's just not worth it for me to go back to that place where we had to justify our parenting decisions.  All of it was clearly avoidable, but the insistence of hurt feelings and airing their opinions over what I consider minor got Grandma an unfavorable impression with DD.  It wasn't my poor parenting that lead DD to think that way. 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Smilesback@u on September 13, 2012, 05:15:52 pm
again Pam, words of wisdom for me to pay attention to. 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grammie on September 13, 2012, 05:26:07 pm
Pam1,  No we are not caught between parent and child.  We are caught in the middle between DSs perception of reality and reality itself.  My posts were very clear on what the issues are.  Our issue with our GC is that we are not allowed to see them because DS and DIL are using them as a means of punishment.  Their reason for estrangement made no sense to anyone.  After 3 months of trying to make sense of it all the trip to the past began and DS began criticizing my parenting skills going back 25 years.  We decided that we had had enough and were not going to be sucked into the tornado they were creating.  So we stopped trying to fix something that can only be fixed by them.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Pen on September 13, 2012, 09:29:33 pm
How true, Grammie - it can only be fixed by them if they so choose. Sadly, all we can do is take care of ourselves & our reactions to their treatment of us. I sincerely hope you find some peace with all of this. You're worth so much more than how you're being treated! You deserve an anger-free life. IMO, as far as we know for sure, it's the only go-round we get. Live it up!
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Footloose on September 14, 2012, 08:49:38 am
OK,  the whole hugging and abuse thing has gone on long enough on this thread so here's my 2 cents:

Dear son, did we ever sexually abuse YOU?  No we did NOT so why the heck not let the kids know it's OK to hug GPs?  really?!  I think this is just another excuse to disrespect the FOO.  Another CONTROL issue of "my way or the highway".  This granny chose the highway!

Just remember, your children are learning how to treat you as you become the elder and GP.  Hope it doesn't get u where so many of us good GPs are;  Used UP, EXCLUDED, disrespected and unwanted!

Helicopter parenting is neglectful to the child and inhibits their confidence and independence.  I can see why so many grown adults at over age 30 still rely on the family for FINANCIAL support.  In my opinion, this is reversed!  The adult children should be helping out their older parents and lightening their loads but nope, not today!  So many continue to suck from the tit of the FOO until they no longer need them then they are discarded like a worn out sock.  My son continues to compare his upbringing with his friends who got so much more.  They had few rules and all the support they could take for way longer than needed.  These people are still not on their own, living independent lives.


One of the politicians says "It takes a village to raise children".  Nope!  It takes GOOD FAMILY to raise children.  At least one person who is committed and devoted to the child's success and future.  If that child has more than one positive adult influence, all the better!  No one loves your children like you do or your parents.  It is a FACT in any close to normal family out there.  The human heart has endless capacity to love and just because your kids can get very close to other supporters, does not mean less love for you.  It benefits the child so please do NOT be selfish in these petty disagreements.  Keep the peace for the far outreaching benefits of having support for your child with as many adult, positive role models available to them.  This applies ESPECIALLY for MIL/ DILs and the rest of the extended families. 

I never thought I would be divorced from my only child.  The disappointment is bitter and so am I.  I will remain available should he ever want to reconcile but I will be sure to make my expectations crystal clear and if he cannot respect me in my few wishes, all having to do with common courtesy, than we shall be apart forever.

I will be no ones doormat and that includes relatives!
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grammie on September 14, 2012, 09:21:46 am
Footloose you make some excellent points.   My heart breaks for you.  Being rejected by your only child is so very unfair.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Footloose on September 14, 2012, 09:58:04 am
Thanks Grammie,  U dont deserve it either.  The whole "yuck" comment thingy makes me think that it most likely came from prior comments about you and your visit.  Kids suck up any info they can get and if emotions are tied by tone or volume, they will especially tune in.  Kids hear the discussions and banter and will borrow the opinions of the parents.  Mommy says yuck about ganny so granny must be yuck.  Makes me sick to see so many children deprived of their families and the wealth of love and perspective they can benefit from. 

Wow! talk about throwing he baby out with the wash water, HUH!?
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Pooh on September 14, 2012, 01:35:16 pm
Let's remember that no one wants to be told that their way of parenting is wrong.  You may not like another parent's concept of what type of parenting they choose, but the bottom line is that it is their right to parent how they choose.  It is your right to accept it or not and move on.  There are many parenting styles that I love and many that I don't like, but it's still not my place to tell any parent what to do with their child or their parenting is wrong.   

The concept here is to share our experiences and opinions, offer suggestions, ideas and sometimes just a shoulder to cry on.  The concept here is not to force your beliefs on someone else and tell them they are wrong if they don't go along with it.  Having that happen to us is the very thing that has brought many of us here.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Smilesback@u on September 14, 2012, 01:49:35 pm
I agree Pooh wholeheartedly.  I would not want anyone to criticize my parenting, but when I reach out for help, a shoulder would be awfully nice.  Having a sad time lately trying to let go of my expectations  :(
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Karenna on September 14, 2012, 02:27:54 pm
For me, personally, extracting hugs and kisses from unwilling kids has never been the "hill I want to die on." 

For me, it heightens the rejection if the parent is chivvying the kid, and the kid is protesting. And then the parent is making a huge production about it, and the kid is kind of cringing away  or stiffening or ducking away from the kiss.  And then the parent is apologizing, and everyone else is looking on, of course.  Very uncomfortable all around.

On the whole, I'd rather get a high five or a blown kiss.

I do think that it's good for parents to insist that kids greet adults and make eye contact.  Part of it is showing respect to others, but it's mostly about instilling self-confidence in the kid.
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: Grammie on September 14, 2012, 02:36:17 pm
My understanding too is that this is a place to vent.  Just because a person vents about a situation does not mean that they voiced an opinion to the person they disagreed with.  I know myself that I may have complained to DH or on this thread about DSs parenting styles but I did not tell DS that I disagreed.  I did however tell my GS to leave the TV and light switches alone.  They were living in my home and DS was switching them off and on repeatedly.  If the parents won't stop the activity then I will say something.  The only other time was in regard to GDs bangs.  DIL refused to cut them or clip them back.  She claimed the child pulled out hair clips.  They were so long that they hung straight down over her eyes below her mouth.  Granted her hair is fine and thin but she looked like Cousin It. I fed her a PB&J sandwich and she got PB in her hair when she bit the sandwich as she pushed the ends of her bangs in her mouth.  She was 20 months old.  I told DS that she really needed her hair cut and he said that DW refused.  DS would not challenge DWs decisions no matter how ridiculous they were.  The next time I babysat I bought soft hair clips and pulled her hair back away from her face.  She never touched the clips and they stayed in all day. When she went home that evening she was still wearing the clips.  A few days later DIL told me that the child pulled the clips out as soon as she got home.  Now can anyone honestly say that I'm the unreasonable person in this family? 
Title: Re: Not bonding with GC
Post by: pam1 on September 14, 2012, 03:05:19 pm
WWU can be used to vent in small doses, but it's not it's sole purpose.  It is a place to encourage healing, stop the blame game and take back our lives.  That is the real purpose of WWU.

With that said, I think this thread has run its course.