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Old 08-02-2010, 10:31 PM
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I have witnessed this from both sides. My sister and mother have a bad relationship. I think a big part of it is they have similar personalities and they clash big time. So at times my sister would use her daughter as some sort of pawn. If they got into any sort of disagreement, my mother was cut off. My sister often talked badly about my mother to her daughter so my niece grew up knowing it was completely acceptable to be disrespectful to her grandmother (my mom). My niece is now in her 20's and very rude to my mother. The latest was my mom offered to take my niece out for her birthday. They were to meet at the restaurant. My mom set up something with the staff where they would bring out a cake and so forth. My niece stood her up. So my mom sat the restaurant waiting and dealing with the staff that kept checking on my mom and when she might want to order and such. My mom ate her meal alone and went home. So I feel if you want to cut someone off then do it and dont use your kids as some sort of revenge tactic.

On the flip side of this my in-laws are a pain in the arse. But not abusive and they treat my son like gold. My husband and I never spoke badly of his family in front of our son. But now that our son is a teenager he is starting to see a lot of the dysfunction that we have dealt with for years. So its pretty tough explaining why grandma is a B****. Of course we dont use those exact words but my MIL is something else. Never realized how tough it would be when my son started noticing things and asking questions.
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:47 PM
Location: West Coast USA
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Originally Posted by haggardhouseelf View Post
Just wanted to say, too, that if the problems with the parents or grandparents stem from abuse, then there shouldn't even be a question. If it's just nit-picky stuff, then there's more to be considered here.
I agree, but there is always hope. After all, the general tendency for grandparents to have relaxed and to be more loving toward grandchildren. We all need to give them a chance, and if they cross that one line that lets you know that they could abuse the grandchild, then we have to withdraw privileges.
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Old 08-03-2010, 04:33 AM
Location: The New England part of Ohio
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It is a bold and controversial step to disengage with toxic grandparents. They come in all shapes and sizes but as a parent you know when they are toxic.
I am not very into sentimentality or blood ties. Just because you share a common ancestor does mot mean that there is any thing in common.
Family can be created through a number of means - legal adoption close friendship are but two examples,
Grandparents are nice but NOT if they are not nice
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Old 08-03-2010, 06:44 AM
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Unless yuour parents treat them bad ;I see no reason for you to treat your children bad by not letting them know your parents.
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:45 AM
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My husband's family are terrible people who like to make me feel like my children are second class family members. But I never kept the children from them. I simply stayed away myself and sent the children with my husband. My being around seemed to bring out the worst in them, like they needed to make it clear to ME that they were NOT blood related. If I wasn't around, they kept their silly comments to themselves and treated the children fine. I didn't want to get into the game of keeping the children away. My sister played those games with her children, and I was determine to not be like my sister in that regard. I put my personal feelings aside and allowed my children to form relationships with relatives I despised. And I kept my mouth shut. I didn't want to influence my children's opinions one way or another. I thought it would be cruel for them to know what happened between my inlaws and me.
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:58 AM
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Like others have said, it depends on the situation. If they are munipulative, abusive, and mean then no.
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:01 AM
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VelcroQueen, I`ll have to disagree with you. People who have always been abusive never change. They get worse as the age, not better.
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:19 AM
Location: West Coast USA
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Originally Posted by cl723 View Post
VelcroQueen, I`ll have to disagree with you. People who have always been abusive never change. They get worse as the age, not better.
Oh, G-d bless you! I understand that this is possibly your experience, and I understand that according to statistics, this is true. However, I know someone who changed profoundly upon recognition and admission of what they had done. The change has lasted (from admission) several years now. While those who love this person do not allow a chance for them to abuse again, this person has profoundly changed. Admittedly, however, this is ONE person, but this person is an indicator that more must be out there.

But as a parent, while I would not let Mother be alone with my bears, I believed I needed to try to let her have a chance. I quit giving any chances when I saw her response to my daughter. At that point, without saying a word to my parents, I immediately packed up our things and went home, across two state lines.

Fortunately, my daughter had never been treated that way in our home. She thought Mother was playing around, but she was confused that it seemed to be cruel. I had to explain what happened to both children, in order to protect them in the future.

I gave them another chance 1.5 years later, and that didn't work out well either. So we just didn't go anymore.

This was terrible for Father. He didn't deserve all this.

My point is, though, that we must protect the children at all costs. They have no choices other than those we give them.
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:22 AM
Location: southern california
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unfortunately in the adult kid-with baby, and older parent relationship---"get along" often means taking responsibility for yourself in exchange for getting financial help from the old man.
too often- the grandchildren are used as pawns (dare i say hostages??) in this nasty game.
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:28 AM
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This is a tough one for me as my wife and I are going through something similar with my parents/family. My in-laws are a constant in our lives and they are very caring and selfless people. They would do anything for us and love each of our children unconditionally and equally. They get on our nerves and are annoying and my MIL likes a drama fest from time to time and goes off on tangents, but at the end of the day the love is always there and we don't question it.

My parents on the other hand we have some issues with. There was a big falling out in the family when my wife and I got married. We were originally married very quietly by ourselves with only our parents present. Later on we decided to have a large formal wedding (at the insistance of our parents) and have our marriage blessed in the church. This turned into a lot of arguments and issues that resulted in a major rift between my siblings and I.

My parents always tried to tow the line down the middle, but they did attempt to exert influence on everyone to reconcile. At this point, my wife and I have a relationship with my oldest sister and my one brother who we never really argued with. The other two are still estranged. My one brother has done and said some things about me and my wife that he won't own up to or apologize for. Those things are bad enough that we simply don't have a relationship and avoid being together, but he is also not taken to task by anyone else for what he did though everyone agrees he was 100% in the wrong. My other sister has always been the family loner, but she made some comments about my son and how he had to earn her love (he was 2 at the time) that we seperated ourselves from her. That was a quick background to set some context.

My parents have struggled with the family dynamic, but we have seemed to reach a point where it works. The issue we have with my parents is that they play favorites with the kids. My daughter is the first granddaughter born in the family in a long time. My mother and father treat her like an absolute princess. While they are good to my other kids, it's just not the same. The problem we have is that my son who is now 5 1/2 has started to notice and resents this a bit. Sometimes things are said, or he is ignored, or he is reprimanded for doing things only to "protect" my daughter who is 2.

We have talked to my parents about this several times and while they make a token effort, it quickly goes back to favoring one over the others. My parents will call repeatedly to ask to watch the 2 year old and do things with her, but leave the other kids out. They are older, so I understand them wanting to not take all three at once, but they should make an effort to spend time with each of them. At first my wife and I simply chalked it up to girl vs. boy and that they were delighted with a granddaughter, but now that we have a second daughter who is now 9 months old, they still show little interest in anyone but the 2 year old.

The other factor is that everyone seems to relish disciplining my son. At my 2 year olds birthday party (at my house) my son and his cousin who are both 5 were acting a little crazy as boys will do (it was over 100 outside and the kids simply couldn't play out back). When they ran through the living room multiple people from my sisters husband, to my father, to my neice (sisters daughter who is in her mid-20's) all started screaming and yelling at my son to stop. The kid literally did nothing wrong, but run through the living room. This pattern has been ongoing, everytime my son does something wrong it seems like everyone relishes getting in on the action of punishing him. Conversely my daughter could walk in the room and pee on the coffee table and they would all laugh.

It has gotten to the point where my wife and I are considering distancing ourselves from them and possible ending our relationship. We have tried multiple times to talk to these issues with my parents (although not forcefully and with the threat of cutting them off) and each time there has been a token change and not much else.

The last issue is a general disrespect of our rules for the kids. If this was the only issue we wouldn't care, but on top of the others it's incredibly annoying that they disregard basic things we've asked to them follow when it comes to the kids.

Now, my parents aren't all bad. They are very generous with what money they have. My son needed a new bedroom set when we moved and a mere mention ended with my mom driving my wife and son to the furniture store and she let him pick out a new complete bedroom set (bunkbed, new mattresses, dresser and mirror and a chest of drawers as well as all new linens) and even through in a new kitchen table and chairs for 8 and a server because my wife mentioned that they would match our cabinets (we didn't even know she did it, it just showed up with the bedroom set when we moved in). Twice a year my mom will take my wife on a shopping spree to get new clothes for all the kids. Birthdays and Christmas are also very generous. However, it is starting to feel like they use the gifts to excuse other behavior and actions. Whenever there is a disagreement, my mom will call within a couple days to take my wife shopping and "make it better".

They are also extremely reliable. When my wife was having health issues there were a couple days when my MIL couldn't make it to our house to help out and it was not a good time for me to take off from work (I had been taking a lot of days for doctors/tests). My mom had no issue taking a couple days off and coming to our house to help out.

So, the problem we have is the apparent disinterest in our son that he is starting to realize. It has even gone so far as for him to remark that he doesn't like his sister because "nana and pop pop love her more". The real issue for him is that up to a year or so ago, they were very focused on him and he really notices the change.

They would never hurt our kids in an abusive way and they would do anything they could to help us out, but it really pains us to see our son be hurt by them. Are we nuts for thinking that cutting them out of our lives would be a good idea? Does the good outweigh the bad? Is it right to take away people from my daughter who practically worship the ground she walks on, even if it is at the expense of our other children?

Sorry for the long post, but this has been something that my wife and I have been wrestling with for the past week or so.
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