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Old 08-22-2017, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,579 posts, read 17,553,447 times
Reputation: 27650

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When we think of grandparents and grandchildren, we'll often think of a doting grandparent spoiling a kid rotten. Sometimes the grandparents would do the things for us our parents wouldn't, and would be a bit less strict.

People often don't think of the grandparent as being dysfunctional. This is something I've personally struggled with.

My paternal grandparents were never available when I was a kid. Available may not be the best reflection of the situation - he was a bad alcoholic, she antagonized him, and they fed off each other. He has numerous felonies - over a dozen DUIs, assault charges, a felony theft when he worked as a federal contractor, it goes on and on. She doesn't drink, but has also been violent with him in the past and has been arrested several times.

My parents never felt safe leaving me over there alone as a kid. We went to holidays for awhile, but there was an instance at Christmas where he was drunk when the family came over, went into his garage and threatened to kill himself. The police were called that day. He ended up going to jail on Christmas day. I don't think we went back to a holiday for years.

They seldom remembered birthdays, attended graduations, etc. They were just never really there.

I'd go over there once every couple of months as a child, at most. I was never close with them. He had a massive heart attack in 2010 and went through full blown alcohol withdrawals and a detox program. He pulled out of it and hasn't had a drink since. He's 82 now, relatively healthy and still has a small appliance repair business (how he supported himself over the years, would not be hirable most places) that he does on the side. She seems to be having some symptoms of dementia and gets my name mixed up with the other grandkids. She'll take incessantly about herself, repeat the story multiple times. You can't get a word in edgewise with her.

I don't think I've been over there in a couple months. The last time I went was back in June or July and she told me I was coming by too irregularly and asked if it would be a year before I came by again (I went over Memorial Day weekend). She had burned whatever she was cooking in the oven (he was gone) and set the smoke alarm off three times. I had to get out for it and throw it away. It was just frustrating.

They've calmed down as they've aged, but it's hard to build a relationship with your grandchildren when you weren't there for them as kids. You can't get those years back. Even today, going over there just feels forced. I don't really feel a "family bond" with them, probably because I was never around them much. It feels like an obligation I have to meet, rather than something I want to do.

Have you tried to make yourselves as available to the grandchildren as is reasonable? Do you have a good relationship with them? What's in the way of having a better relationship?
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Old 08-22-2017, 09:43 AM
 
8,195 posts, read 11,908,623 times
Reputation: 17969
Don't you ever get tired of creating threads to gossip about the negative attributes of your elderly relatives?
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Old 08-22-2017, 09:49 AM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,699 posts, read 23,658,574 times
Reputation: 35449
Quote:
When we think of grandparents and grandchildren, we'll often think of a doting grandparent spoiling a kid rotten. Sometimes the grandparents would do the things for us our parents wouldn't, and would be a bit less strict.

People often don't think of the grandparent as being dysfunctional. This is something I've personally struggled with.
Well no, not everyone. Although it may be true in some cases, I think you are describing a kind of stereotype. Grandparents are people too. They have their faults like everyone else.

I only had one set of grandparents. The other passed away before I was born. My grandmother was a sweet loving person but never one to spoil her grand kids. My grandfather was an old curmudgeon who came to live with my family after my grandmother died. He was very difficult to live with and we were happy to see him go when he finally remarried.
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Old 08-22-2017, 10:10 AM
 
506 posts, read 261,004 times
Reputation: 816
My parents, especially my Dad, were better grandparents than parents. My in-laws are horrible grandparents and were ****ty parents too.


Sometimes it's just who they are.
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Old 08-22-2017, 10:19 AM
 
575 posts, read 637,895 times
Reputation: 1725
No offense OP, but I'm still trying to figure out why a thirty-something young man is so obsessively curious about the lives of senior citizens. My kids are your age and, honestly, have much more age-appropriate things to do with their time. I'm not trying to be snarky here, just wondering why you're so chronically focused on this?

I know others have asked this before. Are you writing a book? Working on your graduate thesis? Studying to become a geriatric therapist? You certainly ask relevant questions, just wondering what's in it for you?
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Old 08-22-2017, 10:23 AM
 
16,720 posts, read 14,692,102 times
Reputation: 41122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
Have you tried to make yourselves as available to the grandchildren as is reasonable? Do you have a good relationship with them? What's in the way of having a better relationship?
My grandmother was a horrible person. She was always screaming at my grandfather and she was a constant burr, always saying terrible things about my looks. She never had a positive thing to say. I'm not sure how old I was when I decided to stop contact, but I was in my teens.

When she died, the only people who were at her funeral were my father and I, and I was only there for his benefit.

There is no way to get past that kind of thing, and it's best not to, for the sake of your future children.
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Old 08-22-2017, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,394 posts, read 9,139,362 times
Reputation: 13031
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaylaM View Post
No offense OP, but I'm still trying to figure out why a thirty-something young man is so obsessively curious about the lives of senior citizens. My kids are your age and, honestly, have much more age-appropriate things to do with their time. I'm not trying to be snarky here, just wondering why you're so chronically focused on this?

I know others have asked this before. Are you writing a book? Working on your graduate thesis? Studying to become a geriatric therapist? You certainly ask relevant questions, just wondering what's in it for you?
That same thought passed thru my mind as I read the first post
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Old 08-22-2017, 12:25 PM
 
Location: SoCal
13,225 posts, read 6,320,879 times
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What does this have anything with retirement?
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Old 08-22-2017, 01:24 PM
 
1,562 posts, read 775,725 times
Reputation: 6799
I think people's relationship with their grandchildren is often a reflection of the relationship they have with their kids. If that is wrought with tension or distant, there won't be much closeness with the grands either. I know of several cases where the grandchildren are used as blackmail material to make the grandparents act according to the parent's wishes because if they don't, no time with the grandkids. And people who don't particularly like children but became (reluctant) parents because of family or societal pressure, or because abortion was not available, probably won't enjoy their grandchildren either.
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Old 08-22-2017, 01:32 PM
 
12,825 posts, read 20,135,648 times
Reputation: 10910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
When we think of grandparents and grandchildren, we'll often think of a doting grandparent spoiling a kid rotten. Sometimes the grandparents would do the things for us our parents wouldn't, and would be a bit less strict.

People often don't think of the grandparent as being dysfunctional. This is something I've personally struggled with.

My paternal grandparents were never available when I was a kid. Available may not be the best reflection of the situation - he was a bad alcoholic, she antagonized him, and they fed off each other. He has numerous felonies - over a dozen DUIs, assault charges, a felony theft when he worked as a federal contractor, it goes on and on. She doesn't drink, but has also been violent with him in the past and has been arrested several times.

My parents never felt safe leaving me over there alone as a kid. We went to holidays for awhile, but there was an instance at Christmas where he was drunk when the family came over, went into his garage and threatened to kill himself. The police were called that day. He ended up going to jail on Christmas day. I don't think we went back to a holiday for years.

They seldom remembered birthdays, attended graduations, etc. They were just never really there.

I'd go over there once every couple of months as a child, at most. I was never close with them. He had a massive heart attack in 2010 and went through full blown alcohol withdrawals and a detox program. He pulled out of it and hasn't had a drink since. He's 82 now, relatively healthy and still has a small appliance repair business (how he supported himself over the years, would not be hirable most places) that he does on the side. She seems to be having some symptoms of dementia and gets my name mixed up with the other grandkids. She'll take incessantly about herself, repeat the story multiple times. You can't get a word in edgewise with her.

I don't think I've been over there in a couple months. The last time I went was back in June or July and she told me I was coming by too irregularly and asked if it would be a year before I came by again (I went over Memorial Day weekend). She had burned whatever she was cooking in the oven (he was gone) and set the smoke alarm off three times. I had to get out for it and throw it away. It was just frustrating.

They've calmed down as they've aged, but it's hard to build a relationship with your grandchildren when you weren't there for them as kids. You can't get those years back. Even today, going over there just feels forced. I don't really feel a "family bond" with them, probably because I was never around them much. It feels like an obligation I have to meet, rather than something I want to do.

Have you tried to make yourselves as available to the grandchildren as is reasonable? Do you have a good relationship with them? What's in the way of having a better relationship?
I can barely remember my own grandparents. One set, Lost Gen, had kids a bit late versus the norms of the time ... and my Mom was the second kid to boot. The other set, GI Gen, lived fast and died young. One thing I do remember in both cases was, they did not spoil me, but they also were good to me.

I'm now reaching an age where some of my Xer peers are grand parents. Ones who got married right after undergrad, and started making babies quickly. I also have worked with many people who are older than me. Those folks, Boomers, are, sadly, in some cases having to fulfill more of a parent role. Their kids were not really in proper positions to be parents, and in many cases, not in proper positions to get married / have un protected sex with unmarried partners. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Boomer grandparent / Trailing Edge Millennial-Leading Edge Homelander grandchild dynamic.
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