Author Topic: Son and significant other has decided I can't see my three grandbabies  (Read 7081 times)

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cmyers2028

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My son met this girl while working out of state just after graduating from college.  She comes from a family where the women are completely dependent on men.  They are uneducated and believe that men are their only source of income, as they refuse to work.  She became pregnant not long after meeting my son, I will admit that I did not react positively about the news.  Still, I love my grandson.   They moved to Texas after he was born, a move she was not and still is not happy about.   During his first year of my grandson's life, she was hysterical, always threatening to leave my son, take the baby.  She would jump out of moving vehicles, hitchhike with strangers with the baby, pack her bags everytime they fought, and did not want my son spending time with me.  We had started a business together and she made it impossible to meet.  Eventually he could not come to my house to work.  Overtime, my son and I have became more estranged.  I guess he chose the lessor of two evils, appeasing her. 

I now have 3 beautiful grandchildren (age 5, 2, 11 mos)   All three have spent a great deal of time with me, overnight visits as well.  They are so attached to me that I rarely visit them at their home, because they will cry and want to leave with me when I go.  If they see me in public, they want to come with me.  Because my son has worked seasonal jobs since they moved to Texas, our family has supported them.  My parents bought them a new home when they moved here, and I bought her a new car just last year.  We financially support them by paying the house payment, house insurance, taxes, car insurances.  I often buy them diapers, formula, clothes and toys for the babies of which is complains about when I give them to her.  More often than not, my grandkids do not wear the clothes I bought them, she gives them away.

Last week my grandson spent the night, I took him to buy a toy as a reward for always helping me with his sisters.  When I took him home, she flipped out, yelling at my grandson (age 5) and myself over the toy.  She claims that he had asked her for the toy in front of me and that I had heard her say no.  Honestly, I never heard this conversation, and it's quite possible that she is lying, as she has lied about things before.  I tried to reason with my son over the toy, but he sided with her.  Claiming I don't respect their wishes and rules.  I understand that my grandchildren have an abundance of toys, but in my opinion she/he have no reason to mistreat me over a toy and the clothes I buy the kids. Honestly, why pick a fight over toys and clothes, why not be grateful, very grateful.  Note, she doesn't work and when she has it doesn't last long, she quits or gets fired because of her temperment.

I'm sad because my son has chosen such a horrible partner, I'm sad because he has allowed her to manipulate him and isolate him from his family.   Although she fights like "cats and dogs' with her family, she's all about them.  They are contribute absolutely nothing to their household, instead, her family expects my son and us to pay for their expenses when they visit.  She has insulted me, cursed me out in front of my grandkids and others, treated my son the same, taken the kids out-of-state to her family, ignoring my son's calls.  But when she returns, she expects everything to be as if nothing ever happen!  My son can never visit me alone, she has to tag along.  She takes off to see her family out-of-state every chance she gets, while my son could never do that. 

My son told me today that I can no longer see my grandkids, that until I abide by her wishes it's best I don't see them. My heart is broken and I worry about my grandchildren.  It's hard to believe that my well-educated son is so manipulated by this uneducated rude girl.  You can't even imagine all of the support I have provided to them and to my grandkids.  To be kicked to the curb hurts, especially by my son.  A son that used to be so kind, so thoughtful and now he's become this.

I would sue for grandparental rights, but under the circumstances I have no real legal rights, since they live together.

She has managed to convince my son that I am their problem, and she is using my grandchildren to hurt me.  I feel like I have just been kicked in the stomach, my heart aches more than you will ever know.  But I refuse to "bow" to her wishes.
A toy is just a toy, clothes are clothes, she is making this an issue to get her way.

I don't know what to do next.  Friends and family tell me to "lay low", that they need me, more than I need them.  But I fear this time around it's different.  He has never kept the kids from me.  I'm worried this will become permanent.  My grandkids will wonder what happened to me, they will think I abandoned them.

I don't know what to do?? need advice.


Offline jdtm

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I have lived what you are going through - except, we only had two grandchildren.  Every item you mentioned in your posting I have lived through - even to the toy issue.  Our elder son's wife was abusive - physically, emotionally and mentally to her children, as well as to our son's family, friends and neighbours.  After eleven years of marriage she stopped all communication with us (I was unable to babysit once) and so, our son (like yours) had to continue down the road alone - financially as well as in every other aspect.  It was very difficult especially since we lived across the street from them (literally).

But, after a year of no one to "blame" for all her ills, our son realized that his marriage was over.  Actually, she left him and abandoned her children - no one to help babysit or get meals or purchase clothes or give her money - she just did not want to be a wife or mother any longer.  Really, you don't have any other options except "lay low".  I was so hurt there was a time I did not know if I would "make it"; but once I accepted the fact that I could not "fix" it and could only help myself; things started to get better.  Take walks, join a gym, attend church, visit elders, garden, take up a new hobby, change shopping venues, attend theatre/movie productions, read, try new recipes, paint, etc. - whatever is different from what you now do.   I also required medication for depression and this helped a lot.

As for the grandchildren - I sent e-mails and my husband delivered gifts to their home (leaving them outside, of course).  I don't know if you could take things to your son or would having your husband be a better go-between (if was for us).  It has been three years since our DIL left and things will never be the same for our elder son and grandchildren as it is with our younger son's family.  But, things are getting better and we see our grandchildren some, but not as often as before - but some.

I so feel for you as I know what you are going through.  It will get better but never as it "should' be or "was".  I guess that is what we have to aceept - we do not get the "Norman Rockwell" family - not fair, but that is what it is.  So sorry ....

Offline Pen

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Welcome, CMyers. You'll find a lot of support here, as JDTM has shown. You are definitely not alone!

You've probably already done so, but if not, please take a moment to read the pink-highlighted items under Open Me First on the home page. We ask this of all new members to make sure the site is a good fit and to give an idea of the policies here.

Glad you're here :)
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline Scoop

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Cmyers, what exactly are her "wishes"?

If she says to NOT buy a toy, then you shouldn't.  You don't know what's going on when you're not there.  Maybe she made a deal that GK could have that toy if they did XX.  Maybe she doesn't like that kind of toy and doesn't want her kids to have it.  Maybe she doesn't want them to be spoiled with toys.  Maybe they don't take care of the toys they have, and she said 'no more' until they could.  And actually, it doesn't matter WHY, it just matters that she said 'NO' and you didn't respect that, because you don't respect her.  Yes, I know you said you didn't hear her, but I wonder, was this the FIRST time?

Same thing for clothes.  Let them buy their kids clothes (and NOT with your money).  If they have 'too much' that they don't wear the ones you've already bought, then stop buying them.

I also have to say that I think you've made a HUGE mistake in supporting them financially all of these years.  I'm sure your DS and DIL feel like you OWN them, because you've paid for everything they have.  Of course they're going to buck against that, no one wants to feel like they OWE anyone or that anyone OWNS them.

Unfortunately, I don't know how you can change the dynamic.  If you withdraw all of your financial support, they will hate you for it (you know, "the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed" and all that).  But I don't think you should continue paying for them.  I think the best you could do would be to take all that toy & clothes money and contact a financial advisor and see if you can help them stand on their own 2 feet.  It's time for them to grow up.

I've said it before, I'll say it again.  I've always found that when a person becomes independent from their parents as a teenager, it's MUCH easier in the long run.  In my experience, it's always WAY more traumatic when an adult person has to either force their own independence or have it forced on them.

PS - I can also see where if you're buying all the clothes and all the toys, it doesn't leave anything for her family to buy for the kids for their actual birthdays ect.  And really, people want to pick out their own kids clothes.  Although it's 'just' toys and clothes, this is something you're taking away from them.  I'm just trying to show you a different side to your story.

Offline pam1

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Welcome cymyers :)

I really liked Scoop's post and thought she made a lot of good points.  The only thing I really have to add is that I think they may possibly be picking up on your distaste in DIL, you've mentioned she is uneducated several times in your post and how you think your DS made a poor choice in wife and mother of his children.  This kind of attitude is a really hard thing to hide, I would think they pick up on it. 

The breaking point is obviously the toys and clothes like they said, but the root comes from somewhere else.  If you find DIL, the mother of your grandchildren and wife of your son, this "horrible" then why do you think they would choose to be around you?  Would you choose to be around someone who thinks your horrible?  No matter what they do for you, would you want to be in their presence?  Would you want your child in the presence of someone who thinks their mother is horrible?

Just some food for thought.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

Offline luise.volta

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Welcome - It looks to me like the User Name you have chosen would help identify you. I suggest that you change it. There are a lot of good reasons to be cautious. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline NewMama

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I'm sorry you're in such a situation. I think jdtm has some great advice there - you may not be able to 'fix' it, and you only have control over yourself. Find something new to focus on, take some time for yourself doing things you enjoy. Pushing them on the issue may make things worse. I'd also agree that you need to withdraw financial support - if they're refusing to have a respectful relationship with you, there's no way they should be getting any of your money. And even if they come around in time, they should still be supporting themselves.

I'm don't know your DIL and haven't had to deal with her, but something I commonly hear is that DS must have been brainwashed by DIL, because there's no other explanation for their behaviour. I think DSs get let off the hook a lot in situations where there's tension between a DIL/MIL. Saying that's it's hard to believe such a well educated man could be manipulated like that might be because he's not actually being manipulated at all, and you might have to face the fact that he's just siding with his significant other.

Offline luise.volta

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That's a good point, NM. I found it so hard not to blame my DIL when my eldest decided I was the wicked witch of the west. And yet, he sided with her in deciding the same was true regarding her mom…and they sang the "Somebody's Done Me Wrong Song" together. It seems sometimes like there is an club. Let's see: the IAOMACOIP - International Association of Maligned Adult Children of Imperfect Parents? You know what I dislike the most about that? I was a member for many years. >:( No, I didn't take it to the lengths it is being seen today but my covert contempt, impatience and imagined superiority must have been hard for them to take from a former fun-loving and affectionate daughter. Ah, hindsight...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline Pen

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I wouldn't think the ILs would be buying gifts and clothes for the GC if they expect DS & CMeyers to pay for their expenses when they visit, so that may be a moot point. And I can see where it would get frustrating to be financing the whole kit and kaboodle but be treated with little or no gratitude.

Scoop is correct, IMHO, about your bankrolling them. Stop paying their way immediately! Stop w/the gifts already! Keep a scrapbook for the GC to have when they are old enough to choose a relationship w/you so they can see how much you've loved them and thought about them through the years. Put money in a college fund if you must. Let DS & DIL figure out how to maintain the lifestyle they now enjoy.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline lancaster lady

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cmyers :

Could be she resents you for buying her life .
It does not however explain her bad behaviour .
You have to detach and create some space between you even though you help with the children , which she
probably resents as well .
They need to create their own life together , whether you approve or not I'm afraid .
You have to reverse the roles and think how you would feel if someone was buying your lifestyle .
This is your son's family and his responsibility .
We have to step back and wait to be invited back in , and hopefully we will be .
It's just how it is .
You have done more than enough to set them on the right road , leave the rest to them .
Most of us have to face these facts one time or another , some of our offspring do it in a kind way
some don't .
I think the toy episode was the tip of the iceberg , there's lots more beneath .
They are her children , and she's staking her claim .

I feel your heart is with those kids , but as their Mom , she comes first , we get to see them
when she says , tough but we have to go with it .

Offline tryingmybest

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Re: Son and significant other has decided I can't see my three grandbabies
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2012, 04:31:08 PM »
You know if the descriptions of this DIL's actions are accurate our poster doesn't like her, and seriously who would?  ??? My advice is don't get angry and don't feel you are at fault, you did the best you knew to do at the time. But unless you forced your financial support on them, they took it. Sounds like they want it all on their terms , and that's not the way it works. if they have decided to cut you off then that extends to the financial support too. I would tell them you are honoring their request for space, and tell them that extends to the financial support too, it's time for them both to grow up.

Doe

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Re: Son and significant other has decided I can't see my three grandbabies
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2012, 04:48:56 PM »
I think your DIL has bigger problems than you know if she is getting so mad about a toy for a 5yo.  When I see adults acting like 5yos are out to get them, I see stressed adults that need a break.  Children that young don't have the capacity to take down adults, imo.

I've also been told that I can't  be a part of my son's family unless I remake myself entirely and I decided that life is too short to play that game.  I can't advise you to do that - but I got fed up with trying to figure out how to please these people and continually falling short.  My integrity finally kicked in and said, "No More". 

I think it's pretty simple - you either do what they want you to do and what ever they want you to do in the future or you don't - but it isn't easy.  Weaning myself from this son has been one on the hardest things I've ever done.

Vasilisa

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Re: Son and significant other has decided I can't see my three grandbabies
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2012, 11:03:27 AM »
I'm brand new, so I hope nobody minds if I chime in.

I'm sorry for your family troubles. You may be right that your grandchildren are as attached to you as you say, but I want to point out that just because children cry when a visitor goes home or want to go with Grandma (or any other loved one) when they see her out in public, that does not necessarily mean what you think it means. I think a lot of children cry when fun time is over and either they have to go home or their guests have to go home. I did it when I was little. Now my young daughter does it. She doesn't see her extended family out in public because they don't live around here, but if we run into our neighbor at the grocery store, she sure wants to go with her, or at least get a promise that she can go visit after we get back home. She's a very social child and loves being around someone "new". I'm saying this not to denigrate your relationship with your grandchildren but so that you will know that this kind of behavior doesn't mean that the children aren't happy at home, aren't attached to their mother, or anything like that.

Also, as a mother I can get frustrated when people give my child things without asking me first. An example so all you grandmas can see what I mean: My daughter went through a period where she became addicted to watching videos. She'd get up in the morning and want to watch something immediately, she'd want to watch for hours, etc. If limited or told no, she'd throw a tantrum that would go on and on. I dealt with it by getting rid of the videos we had and putting a temporary moratorium on buying or renting any new ones, to help break both of us of our bad video habits. Soon after, her grandmother gave her a set of six children's DVDs. They were really nice, but one of the worst things she could have chosen to give at the time. I didn't get angry and yell at her, but she asked about them later and I had to admit I'd traded them for a gift card that I used to buy picture books.

There are a lot of little things well-meaning adults want to do for children that seem so small to them but can cause such problems. It may not be a big deal to get one toy or one piece of candy from Grandma, but does Grandma know how many other adults are giving that child toys and candy? Is there something else going on that she doesn't know about? I know if you're a mother trying to keep her child healthy and well-behaved and you are surrounded by adults whose actions (however lovingly meant) undermine your efforts, you can get frustrated and blow your top over very minor things, leaving some poor soul scratching her head wondering what the heck happened.

Sounds like your problem with your family runs deeper, but I thought I'd give my two cents for other grandparents who may be confused over how gifts and sweets can cause such tension.

Offline Pen

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Re: Son and significant other has decided I can't see my three grandbabies
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2012, 11:31:08 AM »
Welcome, Vasilisa  :)

All good points, and well spoken. Glad you've chimed in!

When my own DC were young I appreciated any expression of love towards them from either side of GPs. I didn't expect the GPs to check with me over seemingly inocuous gifts such as toys or DVDs. Rifles or motorcycles definitely, lol.

Vasalisa, I'm wondering why you didn't consider putting the DVDs aside for later rather than exchanging them for something else, perhaps saving them to be watched w/ GM during a special visit? Not judging, just curious and interested in avoiding future landmines w/my (future) GC.

As a P I would never have cut anyone off or thrown a childish tantrum over a toy as CMyers DIL did.

As an aside, perhaps we older folks have forgotten our childrearing years and the challenges therein, or things were just different back in the day. IDK, sometimes I feel that some younger folks forget that we already went through what they are dealing with now. We older ones have experience in both areas, whereas new parents only have one. We have a wider perspective? Just a thought.

Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Vasilisa

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Re: Son and significant other has decided I can't see my three grandbabies
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2012, 12:31:30 PM »
Pen:  I didn't keep the DVDs because the bad video habit was mine as well as my little girl's. I tended to use videos to babysit her so I could get things done. If I'd kept them, I'd have eventually broken down and gone to get them. Why didn't I just give them to a friend for a while, I hear you ask. Good question. Answer: I wasn't thinking. And it would not have occurred me to ask MIL to keep them for watching with the LO, mainly because I wanted to encourage them to spend time together actually doing things rather than watching things. That had been a problem already.

I have pondered the big issue of grandparents giving toys and parents getting upset about it. Lots of people have this issue! Here's my take on it: I'm 39, younger than most of you, probably. When I was a kid, there was definitely a busy market aimed at children, but nothing like it is now. There are so many more toys made now, so many toys with accessories and upgrades, so many toys and clothes and other things that are being used to market TV shows and movies -- in one generation, childhood has become very materialistic. Indeed, adult life is also more materialistic, but the materialism is even more of a problem for children because, as they are going through a strongly sensory phase and also tend to have a lot of natural greed that needs to be curbed, they very quickly develop wrong attitudes about objects. There are more objects for them to develop wrong attitudes about, more different kinds of objects, and more objectionable objects than ever existed before.

There are legitimate concerns about toys these days that are probably unprecedented. Some of them promote glitzy or trashy lifestyles (Bratz dolls come to mind), some promote bad habits, like video games. Not everyone is careful about buying things that are appropriate, perhaps assuming that all the kids have that sort of thing now.

Many parents now have safety concerns with most of the toys you can buy at the store being manufactured in China -- badly put together out of poor materials. Some parents are just concerned about all the recalls; some of us have more recherche concerns and get anxious about phthylates and offgassing. Life was less chemical-saturated in the past, and anyway most parents simply did not know about those things.

An occasional toy that doesn't meet a parent's standards isn't a problem unless it is completely beyond the pale. However, grandparents are different now from what I remember: My grandparents gave all their grandchildren two modest gifts at Christmas and two or three things for birthdays, and with the exception of a rare surprise, that was it. There were a few spoiled kids, but I remember gifts from extended family being pretty low-key with most of my friends. Our grandparents were present and loving, but they just didn't spend that much money on us. It's a big contrast to my MIL, who would bring a bagful of toys over once a month, on average. When you give more, one of the problems is that by default you are just going to give more that is problematic. Adding to the problem is the fact that aunts and uncles also seem to give a lot more than they used to. Maybe that is because so many people my age and younger are delaying childbearing and they have more money to spend on other people's kids; my aunts were married and raising families of their own, so they probably weren't even interested in shopping for me beyond a Christmas present. Toys from all the relatives add up even if Grandma wasn't giving that many to begin with.

As for the grandparents having more experience, well, that's true but people do tend to get resentful when that extra experience is waved around like a flag or used as an excuse to do things that the parent doesn't approve of. In a perfect world with well-adjusted generations and clearly defined roles, grandparents would always be gracious and gentle when offering their experience, which they would only do when necessary, and their children would be mature and confident enough to take it in that same gracious spirit, and use it when it would beneficial to do so. Most of us are just awkward, though, and can be jerks when we feel embarrassed and put on the spot.

Hope this doesn't derail the thread. I am planning to start a thread with my thoughts about why MILs and DILs might have such a hard time getting along these days.