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DIL is using grandchildren as a weapon to hurt us

Started by byrdg605, June 27, 2010, 10:00:22 am

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My DIL refuses to let our grandchildren come over and visit because she and I don't get along and my only child (son) is caught in the middle of this. She doesn't want anything to do with his family. Her mother is deceased and she doesn't have anything to do with her father, so therefore we are the only grandparents to the children. Doesn't she realize that she is only hurting the children by withholding them from us? Every child should have a relationship with their grandparents. I cherished my grandparents, and still miss having them around today. How can I make her understand this? They never come spend the day with us on holidays, they spend it with her aunt and cousins instead. I really don't know why she doesn't like me, I have tried to talk to her and ask her if I have done anything to offend her and she will say no. When they do come over she just sits and plays on her phone and doesn't talk to us, if we go over there she does the same thing or gets up and goes into the bedroom. If our son comes over to visit us, she will constantly text or call him complaining about something or another to the point that he doesn't stay long. I am at my wits end with her, I am a very outgoing person and get along well with everyone, I just don't understand it. I have got to the point that I don't hold back anymore, I tell her what I think because I bitten my tongue way to long to try and keep the peace for my son and grandchildrens sake. How do I just back off and not see my son or grandchildren any more? Any advice would be greatly appreciated...


You have found the right place to talk. I dont have grandchildren as yet but I have the same situation with my future daughter-in-law who does not like me.
I am glad I found this site because talking about it helps and it has also prepared me for how worse it can get when my son and she marry.
Nevertheless I am sure there are a number of Wise women who will be able to help you.


I would say nothing and try not to let things my dil said or did bother me. I wanted to see my grandchild and that meant more to me. But...that is me.
Your son must know how you feel...you need to go to him sometimes when you have a problem with your dil. Let him handle it...if he can.
One thing my son did when she would call him non-stop while he was here was NEVER answer those calls.
Before he would leave with my grandson to visit me he would tell her what time he would be home.

She wanted control of him constantly...one of the reasons they are no longer together.


You could be looking at one of a number of things.  She could be nuts....in which case without her getting counseling your just out of luck.  Or, she could feel threatened by you, in which case, "telling her like it is" isn't going to improve the situation.  Being kind and complimenting her so she develops the confidence in that area may help the situation.  Or she may be hurt by something.  It may not have even registered to you, but something may have offended her deeply.  Or maybe only slightly, but when she discussed it with your son he argued for you instead of agreeing to talk about it or do something about it, making her resent both of you (and the the anger from that gets directed to you).  Or being around you reminds her that her parents aren't around, which depresses her.  Not your fault, but it could still create this situation. 

Whatever it is, your DIL doesn't feel comfortable leaving her kids with you.  And as much as it hurts, it's her choice as a mom who she takes the kids to see.  Your son does visit you, which is good, but I know you'd like to see them both and have a relationship that's more "familial". 

I think you already know what I'm going to say, but it isn't what you want to hear.  There's no magic pill to fix things and make your DIL do what you want.  Just like losing weight, quick fixes and fads rarely work.  What does is consistent steady work.  The first part would be getting to talk to your DIL, but you've mentioned she won't.  I'd refrain from telling her off.  As my mom used to say, no matter what someone else does, you're better than that.  Try to see if your son can set up a meeting and express how much you regret that you and she aren't closer .  Build your relationship with her and the relationship with the GKs will come.  And even if there weren't GKs in the mix. a good relationship with her makes for a happier family in general.


When my step-daughter had her child, she would not even bring her to our house because it wasn't clean enough. Basically, I wasn't OCD like her and her mother. Really, it was just an excuse. She had loyalty issues with her Mom. It is a long story and goes back to when she was 13 and her mom left DH and her here in the Midwest so she could move back to the West Coast to be with her lover. Since her Mom and other Blood Grandmas couldn't be here, then I couldn't be there either even though I just lived a couple of blocks down the road. This wasn't the only thing SD went insane about regarding my GD. It was like she wen temporarily insane and all the issues she ever had, and she had a lot, dictated her behavior.

It was tough not to take it all personally, and it hurt like hell. When GD was three month old, they had tons and tons of pictures of her with people who had seen her only once or twice, some of who have never seen her since, and none with DH. After I pointed this out they made sure to get some. It was when she was nine months old that SD realized she had none of me and GD and it was only after GD was a year old that she took some with my DD.

We were patient. We did anything they asked of us, their requests were always reasonable, we took every opportunity we could get to see GD, we did not show our hurt or our resentment and we not only were accepting, but also supportive of their parenting choices even if we did not agree. Mostly, we kept our mouths shut and let them find their own way.

When she finally came around, it was like the previous months had not happened. They were at our house at least once a week for dinner, when SD was ready to be away from GD, she let us babysit and that usually happened at least once a week, and if we weren't available, they called DD. We all were able to develop a very close relationship with GD.

I guess my point is that you really cannot change this situation except through patience. She has made it pretty clear that she doesn't want a relationship with you, so don't push one. Be unfailingly polite and kind to her, but don't push her to allow you the access that you feel you deserve. The painful truth is that we grandparents don't have any rights except those given to us by the parents. We should be thankful for what we can get and make the best of what time we have with our grandchildren. Otherwise, we only make ourselves miserable and poison the time we do get with our grandchildren.


I can't add anything here. She is how she is and if there is change, she will have to see the need for it and take it on. You're stuck with the fall-out for now. And all you can protect is your own dignity, as far as I know.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I agree with all the Wise Women here.  I have nothing to add except sorrow that these problems are so wide-spread (epidemic?) and all I can do is offer you my empathy and support.



Byrdg615 You just stay and vent here.

Sometimes we answer our own questions by just talking to others

I am so glad I found this site.It has helped me to prepare myself for relationship problems that can arise.
Going over it in our own minds without expressing it is not good.



Hang in there byrdg605. I have a similar situation, only its with my daughter.  I found this site about two weeks ago and was hesitant to tell my feelings to strangers. But after coming back here often and reading about others, I see its not just me. 
Im so sorry for the pain you are going through. I know first hand that it is very painful, and I cant imagine what our children tell their children about why we are not around!!! It breaks my heart everyday to think about it. 
My thoughts and prayers go out to you and all of us who have been denied by our kids (or inlaw kids). Mostly I pray for the grandkids who are left wondering why grandma or grandpa dont come to see them anymore. 


byrdg605 ,
I knew you would find a lot of support here!
I love what justus had to say.   That's pretty much what we are attempting to do and I hope we can do as well with our upcoming gc as they have done......especially keeping my mouth shut when there's things I don't agree with.   ;)
Wishing you all the best.
Hugs, Hope


July 03, 2010, 12:53:59 pm #10 Last Edit: July 03, 2010, 02:28:17 pm by luise.volta
I have to imagine invisible masking tape over my mother sometimes! I really do! Or I get off by myself and put both hands over my mouth and try to speak. It's an art form...silence. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Thanks everyone,
I am learning to give them their space, but it is really hard to have my son call and ask to borrow the truck, lawnmower, or something and when they come to get whatever he has borrowed, we have to go out to the vehicle to even see our grandchildren. She won't come in our house. I work with my son and I get to see him at least once a week. He said that he wasn't going to let her keep the kids from us but it is happening and he hasn't been able to convince her otherwise. I think she just doesn't want our son to have anything to do with us. She gets upset when I go by work and see him. I have told my husband, that we shouldn't go over to their house unless we are invited. I spoke to her the other night when I went out to the vehicle to see the kids, and she answered me. She tells my son that we don't love our granddaughter as much as we do our grandson. She also tells my son that he doesn't love her as much either. I telling you I think she needs professional help. When our grandson was born she wouldn't let us keep him until he was probably 9 months old and then she didn't want us to take him to town, we had to bring him straight home from their house and not leave the house with him. When our granddaughter was born she would not let us take any photos of her at the hospital. I haven't even asked about keep our granddaughter, because I know how  she was about concerning our grandson. There are other children involved as well, she has a 10 yr. old son from another guy and she is raising her neice and nephew. My son told me that we need to treat them all the same but it is really hard because they did not grow up around us, I have opened my home to them and they have come over and spent the night with us, but it is just not the same as when our grandson comes over. I love them all, I just can't keep them all at one time. She says that they need there space, but her family members are always over at their house or moving in with them. I just wish my son could open his eyes and see what is going on around him.  We have always been ther for him and it just seems like he isn't there for us now and  it really hurts.


July 03, 2010, 06:30:27 pm #12 Last Edit: July 03, 2010, 06:34:43 pm by stilltrying2010
Hi Byrdg605.  I want to tell you about my situation. First let me say I am a DIL who has "issues" with the MIL.  I am trying to get some insight into how to handle things, from other MILs perspectives and any other DILs who are here as well.   That being said I want to tell you more about myself...

My mom was widowed when my sister & I were almost 2 & 4 yrs old. She remarried when we were almost 5 & 7.  My real father's parents, siblings came to her 2nd wedding.  My "step"Dad and his family have never treated us differently.  We received all the same gifts, time etc all while my bio dads family continued to be in our lives.  My GPs took us out for our birthday - we got to pick a toy or clothing and go to lunch.  For each summer my  Gma would take my sister & I alone for a wk, just like all the other grandkids.  They loved us and accepted us.   To this day of the children in my family ( a his, her & theirs situation) my sister & I (the non-bios) are the ones who keep in contact with them - they thank me every time we talk.  I cannot imagine making a family tree without including these people in it as they helped shape my life.  She is the one who told me of the angels wings when making a bed & how to set a table.  Grandpa had his love of birds and flowers - I even have "my rosebush" planted in the garden (a plant each time a child was born).

I can completely relate to the fact that since these other children were not raised within your family that the connection doesn't run as deep for you but your son must have love in his heart for them.  What giving people your son & wife must be to open their hearts and home.

I don't think it is fair of your DIL to not allow you to see her children but I cannot imagine how she must feel when you pick only some of them.  They are your son's children too - all of them.  He is raising them.  He is instilling his beliefs, helping to shape their lives.  Think of all you could offer them (since you obviously raised a loving son).   3 of these kids come from not ideal situations you could be another "normal" adult in their lives. That doesn't mean they all have to come at once or you have to do the same things that you do with a young boy -but they  could make their own traditions with you and be trusted friends - after all they do live with your son's bio children and will be influenceing them as well.

I hope I have not offended, just wanted to give a different perspective.  As you can tell I am DEFINITELY still working on the keeping my mouth shut :)


Hi stilltrying2010,
Thank you for your reply, and no you haven't offended me. I would like to clear some things up though. I have been there for these other children too. I just took all 4 of them to the beach back in May of this year. I know that the children have had a difficult time adjusting but they are doing good. I problem with my dil is, she tells my son that we need to treat the children the same but she doesn't follow her own advice. She is very mean and hateful to the nephew. She shows particallity to her children as well as the neice. I would take the nephew and raise him if they would let me, Iwe love him that much. He reminds me of my son when he was a little boy. He is very hyper and gets into everything but so is our grandson. Before she and my son had any children, she complained to my son at Christmas the first year that they got them because she said that we bought more gifts for them than we did for her oldest son. Mind you that her oldest son had grandparents from two previous relationships that she was in buying for him also, we did go a little over board with the gifts but we wanted them to feel welcomed. We didn't spend anymore money on them than we did on her son. We just bought him video games that cost alot more that the gifts that we bought them. So now we just try to get clothes for all of them. I bought them all a swing set that I found at a yard sale and she told my son that she didn't need my hand outs. This past Easter I bought the little gc a basket and all three of the older gc a solid chocolate bunny, and she had something to say about that. I am darn if I do and darn if I don't. There is just no satisfying her. Let me assure you that I have been there for all of these children and am close to them all. I love all of thes kids.


I sat on the sofa and worried over what I had written & actually logged on to delete it - I am sorry B... I sounded like some person who tell me in my own situation (issues with MIL) to just ignore it or to think of her needs (when clearly mine are no consideration to her). 

I applaud all that you have done for your son's extended family & hope that you find the strength to deal with the situation - it seems as though you have 2 things going for you - your son recognizes your love (but doesnt yet act) and you are still trying.