Author Topic: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?  (Read 15775 times)

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Tara

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I am a newbie on this forum and have learned a great deal and am very grateful for all the ww here.

But a question arise for me over the weekend about some of the posts and comments like:

"Grandparenting is a privledge  not a right"

and "Privledges are won"

I'm wondering if the ethics/family values of parenting and grandparenting have changed recently?  I am 66 so its been a long
time since I had a child.  But its hard for me to imaging thinking that seeing a grandchild should be a 'privledge" vs a normal
expectation.  Also, that "privledges should be won"  Is visiting your grandchild on a holiday or a bday or at all a "privledge that
must be won"  these days? 


Offline luise.volta

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2010, 05:52:47 PM »
We trip over expectations. What you espouse is what we all expected...but it's not necessarily what we got. :'(
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline Barbie

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2010, 08:03:57 PM »
Anna,

I couldn't agree with you more.

Tara,

I was shocked when I read that phrase and thought "I hope my DIL doesn't think that"!

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2010, 08:23:39 PM »
And there's always that awful thought that we can't expect others to respect us, if we don't respect ourselves. It's called "a rock and a hard place." Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Tara

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2010, 09:59:15 PM »
I learn so much from you Luisa.  Can you say more about what you mean in this context?

1Glitterati

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2010, 03:27:42 AM »
I am a newbie on this forum and have learned a great deal and am very grateful for all the ww here.

But a question arise for me over the weekend about some of the posts and comments like:

"Grandparenting is a privledge  not a right"

and "Privledges are won"

I'm wondering if the ethics/family values of parenting and grandparenting have changed recently?  I am 66 so its been a long
time since I had a child.  But its hard for me to imaging thinking that seeing a grandchild should be a 'privledge" vs a normal
expectation.  Also, that "privledges should be won"  Is visiting your grandchild on a holiday or a bday or at all a "privledge that
must be won"  these days?

Yes, I think many, many people now think it is a privilege.

Now...I think that some families, for so many reasons, are so very dysfunctional that it isn't an expectation in those families.  In others, I think it's about control.  Some people are very vested in having control of everything that goes on in their lives.

For those who get smacked with this and the family isn't dysfunctional...enmeshment is the buzzword of the day.  To so many people there is no delineation between enmeshment and closeness. 

kathleen

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2010, 04:37:05 AM »
Yes, but Tara, let's flip this for a moment:  What are the rights of the grandchildren?  Do we believe they have rights?  The courts have apparently shot that down. I did some research,  the courts where I live say the parents have absolute legal rights over their children to deny them any visitation with grandparents.   Luise, have you written about this?  Where does it appear on MIL'sU?  If not, what are your thoughts? 

Anna, yours was a wonderful post.

A man in Australia is working in that country to establish laws that denial of grandparents rights (when there is no reason other than what the parents think) is child abuse.  I am coming very close to that viewpoint as I consider my little granddaughter's mind and healthy future at stake.

Who is to decide what is "enmeshment" and what is a healthy relationship?  "Enmeshment" is a cultural, not a scientific, term.  What does a word like that mean to my five-year-old granddaughter who has been denied relationships with half her extended family, including her uncle, who is a teacher and skilled with and loves children?  What are they going to tell her someday, that she is lucky not to have been "enmeshed" with her grandparents and uncles whom she was never allowed to meet?  Who speaks for her?  What happens to a child's mind when she observes such hate in her family, and never has a voice as to what she sees, hears, experiences, and whom she is able to have relationships with?  The courts don't speak for her.  Those therapists with their words like "enmeshment" don't speak for her.  In this day and age, all too often no one does.

Tara, on Veterans Day I wrote a post (Gold Star Mothers) about the development of "Momism" in this country.  It came about after World War II.  There was a huge shift, from World War I soldiers carrying photos of their mothers into battle, and many songs about mothers, to World War II a and the Hollywood ideal of painting Betty Grable's behind on airplanes.  After WWII the shrinks took over, developed "Momism," and the anti-MIL stuff began in earnest.  The information came from a National Public Radio program on that day.

I just count myself so fortunate that my parents both were committed to allowing us unlimited time with our grandparents.  My relationships with them were absolutely irreplaceable.

I wonder how many parents can really parent well without involvement from grandparents. It's a rose-colored-glasses view of parenting we have today with the ideals of perfect parenting.  I wonder if insecurity and possessiveness and, in my case, a DIL who set up competition and fixed it so her "side" of the family will always "win."  I wonder if "expectation" is really the key word here; perhaps it's "responsibility," on the sides of the parents and grandparents to create a loving support system with many options for our young.  What freedom and choice love brings; what chains and destruction come with hate.  Here's a real life example:

One of my aunts brainwashed her only child against all family.  Now that cousin of mine is an adult.  She can't get along with anyone.  She has absolutely no interest in the family genealogy that has been such a wonderful resource for the rest of us.  Her mother died two years ago, and now she has no one---never married, probably because of her mother's rabid anti-family views and keeping her away from everyone---never accomplished anything in life.  She is one of the angriest people I know of, prone to ulcers, overweight, all kinds of things. She has transferred absolute negative criticism of her extended family to almost everyone she meets.  She's also dangerous, having twice accused others in the family of crimes they did not commit!!!!  Everyone gives up being around her because of her vicious temper and fearsome willingness to accuse others of what she should be looking at in herself.  Did she have the right as a child to know her extended family, and to make her own decisions about her grandparents? When I think of what she missed with my very loving grandparents, I have to say yes, she had that right. Her grandparents were as bewildered as any of us as to what went wrong.  I can't think of a more destructive way to teach a child about relationships than to simply cut them off from caring people who love them.  And obviously her mother never gave a single thought to what her daughter's future would be like raised in hate, even as my aunt spewed out her rabid, illiterate, self-centered poison.  And it is self-center-ism not to consider all sides of a child's needs and development.  It is self-centered-ism to think only of one's self:  "I don't like my MIL, therefore I'll keep her from my child."  What will life be for my awful cousin in old age, when she has no warm memories on a cold winter night? 

Interesting, in a horrid way, for a time my cousin turned her fury against the mother who had filled her with hate, and didn't speak to her for several years.  But then, since cousin had no job and never had a family, she had to come back to the trough for money.  There they were together for the next two decades, smoking and drinking away their anxieties.   Not a pretty picture.

Will this be my granddaughter's fate?

There's a song from "South Pacific:"  "You've got to be taught, to hate, and fear."

Grandchildren have rights that should be absolute. That is my firm belief.  I think some serious academic/scientific study should be given to adults like my cousin who were raised in hate, as to the effects on them and society.

Just my view, and it may be a harsh one, but this subject is harsh.  So many of these parents who cut off this ever seem to give a thought to the consequences for the children.  It's all about the parents.  I feel it should be the reverse: think first of the child's future, then about "feelings."

Kathleen


seasage

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2010, 05:44:11 AM »
That was a very thoughtful post, Kathleen. 

When one parent has been raised in a loving family, while the other parent was raised in a dysfunctional family full of hate or insecurity or something I don't yet understand, too often the fate of children will be to see only the dysfunctional side.  This doesn't bode well for the future of our nation's children, does it?  How did the human race evolve so successfully in the face of such regressive tendencies?  Is the answer that past generations were too busy securing food and shelter to waste time on hate?

My husband looks forward to being a grandfather.  One of the reasons his children are so amazingly accomplished and loving is the gift of bushel baskets full of fun and love he lavished on them.  Unfortunately, our son's children will be cut off from this side of the family just as we are.  I have printed your essay for my husband and set it next to his breakfast plate.  I doubt there is anything we can do to head off this catastrophe.

Thank you for your insight.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2010, 05:47:17 AM by seasage »

Sunny1

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2010, 06:17:02 AM »
I agree with the idea that it should be a natural expectation for grandparents to have a relationship with their grandchildren, but I am also one who is guarded against my husbands mother and sister and refuse to let my son spend any time with them. It's certainly not something that I take lightly, and I don't shelter him from everyone either, just the two of them. 

My ex-husband has a very large extended family, not all of them are the most agreeable types, but they are harmless. And as far as my parents go, my son has always had a great relationship with them. (my extended family is rather small.) But my husband whom I married just 2 1/2 years ago, well, that's another story. My DH's mom and sis very painfully, and repeatedly disrespected both DH and I unjustly. Why would I willingly subject my son to someone who has no respect for either me or her own son? I don't trust her. She's fake. She's caused so many problems in my marriage that DH and aren't remotely in a place to be able to think about having children together, and even if we did, I can guarantee that it would be over my dead body that I would allow his mom anywhere near them.

In my case, my MIL, who would be considered step-grandparents at this point has lost that simple expectation. But then again, I expected her to behave like a civil, human being towards me and her son...once that is lost, all is lost.

kathleen

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2010, 07:06:30 AM »
Sunny1,

Just a question:  I am a little confused over which grandparent and aunt you have cut off your son from seeing.  Are they biological relatives, or the mother and sister of your current husband?  (I am also always confused by some of the acronyms here, does DH mean Divorced Husband?)  Is the grandmother in question actively abusive of your child in some way, or is it just that she and you have had problems and don't get along?  I am not asking you to spell out details, but I am interested in whether or not she had in some way truly harmed your son, likewise his aunt.  Maybe they are alcoholics or child beaters.

If this grandmother now cut off is your son's biological grandmother, how does he feel about this?  Do you think that he would like to see her, just a as children of divorce still want to see the non-custodial parent? 

I am thinking of you in the future, and hope that your reaction against your MIL, however justified it may be, won't come back on you in the form of your son learning this behavior and turning it back on you.

I may have this all wrong, and if it's a stepgrandmother we're talking about that's another kettle of fish; I don't see why your son would need to establish a relationship with her, although in the interest of family harmony and role modeling it might be good to look at it and see if something could be worked out.  Your son would learn a lot from it, I think.  It sounds like your husband's mother is the one you are speaking of.

I am the child of divorced parents, and their bitterness caused many fractured relationships and will end many supportive relationships for generations to come.  I wish so much they had come to some kind of amicable terms so we could have had peaceful relations with them both, and that their children didn't feel the need to defensively scapegoat and take sides.

Good luck,

Kathleen

Tara

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2010, 07:24:10 AM »
Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on this.  I am learning as I read.

Blessings


Sunny1

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2010, 07:51:33 AM »
Sunny1,

Just a question:  I am a little confused over which grandparent and aunt you have cut off your son from seeing.  Are they biological relatives, or the mother and sister of your current husband?  (I am also always confused by some of the acronyms here, does DH mean Divorced Husband?)  Is the grandmother in question actively abusive of your child in some way, or is it just that she and you have had problems and don't get along?  I am not asking you to spell out details, but I am interested in whether or not she had in some way truly harmed your son, likewise his aunt.  Maybe they are alcoholics or child beaters.

If this grandmother now cut off is your son's biological grandmother, how does he feel about this?  Do you think that he would like to see her, just a as children of divorce still want to see the non-custodial parent? 

I am thinking of you in the future, and hope that your reaction against your MIL, however justified it may be, won't come back on you in the form of your son learning this behavior and turning it back on you.

I may have this all wrong, and if it's a stepgrandmother we're talking about that's another kettle of fish; I don't see why your son would need to establish a relationship with her, although in the interest of family harmony and role modeling it might be good to look at it and see if something could be worked out.  Your son would learn a lot from it, I think.  It sounds like your husband's mother is the one you are speaking of.

I am the child of divorced parents, and their bitterness caused many fractured relationships and will end many supportive relationships for generations to come.  I wish so much they had come to some kind of amicable terms so we could have had peaceful relations with them both, and that their children didn't feel the need to defensively scapegoat and take sides.

Good luck,

Kathleen

It is only a step-grandmother to my son. DH stands for Dear Husband. My son has strong relationships with his biological grandparents all around, and even though my ex (my son's father) was abusive towards me, he has never laid a hand on my son. That being said, I always give people the benifit of the doubt and multiple chances when wronged....so though she does not do drugs or alcohol, it would take a truly evil person for me to say I don't want my child around them. And sorry I don't feel like going into my story as I've done it multiple times here.

I'm only adding my two cents, because I can honestly say that if my DH and I did have children that would be the biological grandchildren of hers, I wouldn't let her near them.
Like I said, if she has no respect for her own son, how could I trust her with mine?  ???
« Last Edit: November 15, 2010, 07:55:50 AM by Sunny1 »

Sunny1

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2010, 08:01:52 AM »
FYI - if you go to the Home page, click on Helpful Resources, then click on the post titled: Abbreviations, Help! (I think it's something like that)
it gives an insight to some of the acronyms if you're still a little confused.  ;) They can be a little difficult to get used to at first.

Offline Scoop

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2010, 08:09:04 AM »
Wow - I have so many ideas in my head over this.

First off, I think part of the problem is in your (you - general, not you -specific poster) definition of grand-parenting, and how it matches your DIL's definition of grand-parenting.  You might think it's common place for GP's to take the GK's for overnights starting from very young.  If your DIL doesn't agree, who wins?

My IL's have limited contact with my DD.  We see them 2 or 3 times a year and they've never spent time alone with her.  The thing is, I couldn't tell you any one big or specific reason, except that I don't trust them with her.  Through a bunch of small things that have come up over the past 6 years, they've shown me that they don't consider her as a Person, with her own likes and dislikes.  It's like they see her as more of doll or a trained monkey. 

I couldn't tell MIL what she's doing wrong, because she doesn't accept criticism and she would argue with me over it, instead of listening, accepting and trying to change.  I've come to the realization that my MIL doesn't have it in her to be a good Gma.  I'm sure it puzzles her, but she won't accept responsibility for any of it, and she would never ask what she can do to make it better.

In our case, in order to make it 'better' MIL would have to:
- call our house to speak with DD, when DD is awake.  She would have to be interested in DD and what SHE is doing.  MIL would have to remember that DD is taking piano, gymnastics and swimming lessons.  This also means that MIL would have to ask us when important things are coming up, so she can call and ask how the first day of school went, or how her piano recital went.
- spend time with DD doing what SHE wants to do.  Yes, she will have to play dolls / Barbies, no, it's not actually fun for MIL, but DD LOVES it and LOVES when she has someone to play with. 
- PLAN fun things that MIL and DD both like to do, DD loves to bake, do crafts and go (fun) places, but she doesn't like to shop (for things that MIL wants).
- try and pick out different things for DD and SIL's DD (14 mos older than DD), they're different kids with different tastes and they don't feel special when they see that you buy them the EXACT same things
- cook some kid friendly foods when we visit, maybe even learn some of DD's favourites?
- stick around us when we're out doing fun things, it's not fun for us to go hunting MIL down, because she took off on us, because she thought it was 'boring'

Offline Barbie

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Re: Question: is grandparenting a privledge that must be won nowadays?
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2010, 08:33:06 AM »
Scoop, you and I would get along great, LOL. This are the kinds of things I'd love to do, now I have to wonder what my dil's idea of a grandmother is.