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Old 02-28-2012, 10:40 AM
 
12 posts, read 33,273 times
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I have two children 5 and 8 who have only one set of grandparents, my parents. My brother has 2 children (around same age as mine) who have 3 sets of grandparents due to a divorce. I have never really gotten along with my father, who is an alcoholic and has always been a very abusive man to my mother. However, my mother chooses to stay in this sick situation and that is her choice.
There is a common dialog my extended family all participates in within the dysfunction and I have slowly been, shall we say, not participating and therefore it has caused, once again (my life story) a riff within the family. This is some deep stuff that I would prefer not to get into. But as a result, my children have been under direct attack.
The situation that has transpired is this: This past Christmas, because of my disconnect with my folks, they have decided to not give my two, very innocent boys, their Christmas gifts after promising to their faces, $100 each. They never gave my kids their presents. Dropped off other gifts at my door (from uncles etc) but never one from them. My oldest thinks they are "playing tricks" on him. We have not involved our children in anything naturally. But my oldest asked his cousin if he got his Christmas present from Nana and Grandpa and of course cousin told him yes. I'm sure it hurts my son, but he doesn't say much. I had to tell him to just let it go and that sometimes Nana and Grandpa have problems. That's all I said. I have never bad mouthed them to my kids as I don't want this sickness that I endured all my life to be in their lives.
It makes me sick to my core to have to watch these issues unfold and then have to "cover" the sickness of these cruel people, for the sake of my children.
Now my oldest is turning 9 in a couple of weeks and I assumed there would be no gift from the grandparents, as there is very little to no contact. But taped to our front door yesterday was a card and some birthday money.
I am not sure what to do with this. I am not sure my children need these people in their lives. This is the way they operate. In and out. You have Grandparents around when they are of more sound mind, and then none when they go into their cyclical cycle.
What do you think. Let it go? Rip up the card? Don't know. Trying to lead a good path under such difficult circumstances.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:47 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
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Give him the card.

The explaination about the grandparents having problems is a good one. He's old enough to understand some specifics about their problems if you can handle telling him.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:49 AM
 
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I would give the card etc to the child and explain this was left on the door. . And simply leave it at that. No drama, etc.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:52 AM
 
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I would consider giving him the card and let him decide if he wants to open it, tell him it is from them and whatever he chooses is fine. What a dilemma this is and I do feel for you, it is hard to give a right or wrong answer here because honestly there is none. I commend you keeping your children out of the fray which is what my Mother did as well. That being said you know your child better than anyone and as parents you have to decide what you feel is the best for them. Maybe discuss with your husband and make a decision together as to how to handle the situation. Good luck and I hope all works out well for you. Many blessing to you and your family.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:52 AM
 
Location: here
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I wouldn't hide the good (the card) or the bad. The kids should know what is appropriate for their ages. Just be the best parents you can be, and let the kids make their own judgements about the grandparents. I know it is natural to want to shield them, but they'll figure it out anyway.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:31 AM
 
12 posts, read 33,273 times
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It's unanimous. I was leaning toward giving him the card to stay positive and healthy minded. Plus, it doesn't help matters since they are our next door neighbors.... I will not force a thank you on my son's behalf. He can do what he chooses.
Thank you all for your insight.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:33 PM
 
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Your story seems familiar to mine. I could write a thick book about the "drama" in my family alone.

But your story about the presents reminded me a bit about my grandmother (my father's mom). She has 13 grandkids and a whole bunch of great grandkids.
One Christmas a few years ago we went and my 2 1/2 year old received a shower gel/lotion mini bottles while some of the other great grandkids received kid-appopriate presents - a really big doll, a ball, etc. My daughter's reaction broke my heart seeing her really wanting the other kid's toys to play. Since then we have decided to spend Christmas here at home and go visit them some other time of the year. There is no need for my girl to receive an "afterthought" kind of present from her. I do want my girl to like great-grandma and remember good things about her, not the presents.

Now about alcoholism. Again my parent's situation is kind of like yours. My dad is the alcoholic one, and is always fuzzing and complaining whenever he doesn't get his way or there is a difference of opinion. I drew the line when one time my little one fell down in the house (nothing serious) and he started a fight blaming my mom (this doesn't make sense does it?). Then a day later picking a fight with DH about what happened (as if in modern days men are responsible for their wife's behavior). I don't do screaming in my house, and especially if I have a kid in front of me. My little one was physically impacted at what she was seeing in front of her. After trying other times to keep peace, we decided to stay away and try avoiding him. When we visit I visit my mom at a meeting place, not their house or have her come visit us (by herself!).

Sometimes certain stressors need to be removed. As much as it pains me to not talk about "grandpa" too much. She knows he's there but try no to bring him up because of how he is. Someday we will have the ability to talk more and explain more things as the child grows older.

I would say, try to talk to your kids about the good things, highlights about your parents. Don't bring up their problems unless you have to. I think you did well at telling your older one about them having "problems" and not explain much.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:43 PM
 
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Well handled Houston_2010. But sad still that you had to deal with something like that. Your father sounds like mine, with the narcissism and control. It's amazing how these personality disorders have such control over the entire family. No one dares to call him on anything. All his bad behaviors are constantly overlooked and ignored. I can guarantee it was his idea to leave out my kids on Christmas. And my mother has no voice, no backbone. She does as she is told. Oh, I know I'm not alone. But it sure feels crappy when still coping with such antics within my family and now in my fourties!!?? And now with my children?? It is so difficult to rise above family dysfunction as there is a very specific role carved out for each family member, and boy when you decide to get off the that train that just keeps going round and round, and you finally stop doing the same thing over and over again, it can really upset the so called "balance".
But when I am healthy enough (thank you therapy) and able to look at it more abstractly and watch as the dysfunction slowly creeps into the lives of my innocent children, the bear is awakened!
I do not want my kids living the same sort of drama and chaos dealt out by my inept parents. I will work hard to keep my kids well-rounded and on a path of healthy thinking. If that means keeping the grandparents at arms length, then so be it.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Geneva, IL
12,976 posts, read 11,623,376 times
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While your kids are so young I think it will be very difficult to maintain contact if your father is not in recovery. Your children will no doubt be hurt some time or the other as a result of the inconsistent behavior. Do your children understand about your father? If you wish to remain in contact with your parents have you considered the Al Anon Family Groups? They are geared towards children and families, and may offer coping skills for your children.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:54 AM
 
12 posts, read 33,273 times
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My father will never get help. He will go down with the sinking ship he creates. It's that self loathing. I have been the only one to seek therapy and therefore the only one singled out as problematic. I just want to work within my own family, with my children and keep them as safe as possible. I have told my oldest child that Nana and Grandpa have some problems and you have to be careful around them. It doesn't mean you can't love them anymore, but you can't always rely on them. That's where I've left it. He seems to accept that and so far it's working. The grandparents are supposed to make a retirement move in the near future, and this will alleviate many of the problems. There will be less of them and life will be much easier. Isn't that sad to say....
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