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alienating a grandchild

(15 Posts)
amma Fri 09-Nov-12 11:50:39

I am watching my son's agony as he senses he is being rejected by his two and a half year old child. The child was born after a bitter and acrimonious separation that has not healed. My son sees his child only after court intervention and the limited access periods are often cancelled on the whim of a vindictive ex-partner. Recently, his child has reacted hysterically to the prospect of being taken out by his father, so hysterically that the mother has stepped in and forbidden the contact. Previous visits have been peaceful and happy.
My question is - and I can hardly believe I am asking this - is it possible that a determinedly spiteful ex-partner can poison the mind of a 2.5 year old and drive a wedge between the child and his father? Has anybody experienced this? Any advice? It is so hard to know what to say to my son when he turns to us for help.

absentgrana Fri 09-Nov-12 11:55:21

"Daddy doesn't love you. He just wants to take you away from me and we'll never see each other again" should do the trick amma. Sadly, there are plenty of instances of one separated parent using their children to "punish" the other parent. I wish I could offer some helpful advice. However, there are grannies here who have been in this situation and in some cases successfully resolved it. I am sure that they will be more than willing to share their experiences. flowers

Mishap Fri 09-Nov-12 12:02:51

I hope that you will find forum members who can help you here. I am sure it is only to easy to poison a child's mind against a parent - what to do about it is another matter. Good luck. Hope some reasonable solution can be found.

glammanana Fri 09-Nov-12 12:41:59

ammaHow awful for your boy and how sad for this little boy to be feeling as he does,it only takes a little word from x-partner to upset the child and things go bad can your son not have mediation with his x-partner to over come the problem ?maybe having someone else talk with the two of them may help resolve the upset as I'm sure the x-partner would be glad of some quality time on her own does she have a new partner she has to consider maybe if she has he does not like the contact with your son and his boy.I would certainly look for mediation on this matter before the little one gets much older,it can be arranged through the family courts.Good luck keep us up to date as to how things go.

Maniac Fri 09-Nov-12 12:44:52

amma so sorry to hear of your son's agony.-and inevitably of your concern.
I'm afraid it is only too easy at any age for a resident parent to alienate a child against the non-resident parent (usually the father).My son and I have experienced this with my grandson.-Now age 13.
I can only advise keeping calm and keeping record of every communication -phone call email,conversation etc.
There is the faintest glimmer of hope in the ‘Shared Parenting’ legislation currently being discussed in parliament.Your son needs urgent help and support which he may be able to get from ‘Families need Fathers’ or local Mediation gp.
There are many GN members who have experienced this heartbreaking situation.Our thoughts are with you.

jO5 Fri 09-Nov-12 12:58:33

The little boy has got half of his gene pool from his father. I feel sure this will always mean a certain empathy between them. Your son should insist on the visits being maintained in accordance with the court's ruling.

Could you, and perhaps grandad, be present at some of the visits and try to make them happy and loving events.

Do not try to retaliate through the child. - that would only backfire.

Best wishes.

JessM Fri 09-Nov-12 13:49:40

Don't assume she has poisoned him. Children of this age have tantrums. Maybe he just wanted to watch Octonauts on TV at that precise moment. Maybe he just wanted to see what would happen if he threw a temper tantrum. I assume you were not a witness to the lead up to the hysterics. Your son needs to challenge his ex's decision through official channels if she will not co-operate.

whenim64 Fri 09-Nov-12 14:00:59

Yes, it is possible to alienate but less likely at this young age. The child could just be clingy. More creative ways to have access could perhaps be explored. If you do suspect parental alienation, though, keep a record of all evidence. It might be needed at some point if things don't improve.

If you look on Google for a parent alienation checklist of the sort of things that can occur, perhaps that will help you decide.

vampirequeen Fri 09-Nov-12 16:23:25

We're going through this atm with our four year old son. It's so painful especially for my husband. Our plan is to be consistant. We phone every evening as usual whether he will talk or not and he comes here every weekend whether he wants to or not. When he's here he's absolutely's just the leaving mummy who 'misses him sooooooooooo much' (we also have a daughter who tells us why he doesn't want to come...she's only trying ot help bless her). We're working on the theory that he will grow out of it.

My neice did this to her father when she was three or four even though there was no nastiness from my sister. It was just a phase and eventually she started to talk to him and go with him happily again.

janeainsworth Fri 09-Nov-12 17:06:02

amma I agree with jess and when that it is not necessarily your son's partner who is to blame here, in fact you said yourself that your son feels alienated by the child.
My almost 3 year-old DGD can have an almighty tantrum and refuse to do anything, even when it's something she likes doing, like going to the park.
If you assume that the partner is being vindictive , the danger is that she will pick up on that and you could actually make things worse.
Obviously I don't know what has gone on but you have said that previous visits have been happy - can your son or you approach his ex-partner in a sort of 'how can we all sort this out together' way?
Sorry if that sounds inappropriate advice but I think you have to try to keep communication lines open and avoid getting into a position that will be difficult to recover from.

Deedaa Fri 09-Nov-12 17:28:09

If there is only limited access he is probably reaching an age where it just feels like going off with someone he hardly knows for no apparent reason. However vindictive his mother may be I think most 2 1/2 yr olds are not very keen to to go anywhere without Mummy - watch any group of under threes being delivered to a pre school. When he is older he may begin to notice that most other children have daddies and want more contact with his own, but that won't really have impinged yet.

angiebaby Fri 09-Nov-12 18:39:41

amma......i know what your ging through,,,,,we are on the other side,,,,one father sees his child every other weekend and has never missed. my daughter used to cry when she let her son go but now he is older its not so bad,,,,but the fqather did abduct him for 3 months and we had to get the police to find him and go to court to get him back,,,,,the other father he comes and goes and doesnt care a toss really if he sees his kids or not always making exscuses,,,,,,,my kids lives are ruled by these fathers and i cant wait for the day when it all ends, the rights of the father. some fathers gets rights they shouldnt have ...your right they just want to get back at the mother ,,,,,,,,but get your son to go back to court if he is paying maintenance he has every right to see the son. make a note of everything calls texts,,,visits words everything....let us all know what happens, thinking of you,,,heres a hug, and finally,,,,,,when the son is grown he will want to know who his dad is,,,,so write him a letter now how your feeling and how his dad is feeling too. and you will be able to give it to him in a few years time.

FlicketyB Fri 09-Nov-12 20:09:32

Amma, two ideas
1)Could your son make arrangements to see his child in a supervised setting so that there are others present who can confirm that he reacts well with the child and acts in an appropriate manner with him? This will protect him if his ex suggests his sons rejection is because of what he does with him or tries to accuse him of some sort of abuse.

2) As other respondants have commented children of his age can go through a stage of not wanting to go to any one but Mummy. I know my son went through a stage of refusing to go to anyone other than mummy and daddy. After a few months he grew out of it and reverted to being his previous friendly self.

harrigran Sat 10-Nov-12 10:18:32

I know of a child who was fed untruths about their father, the child grew up into an adult with their own children and has now cut themselves off from the bad-mouthing mother. The mother has never even met her GC.

Nanadog Sat 10-Nov-12 11:23:24

amma it's hard to work this one out without being a fly on the wall. It could be what you fear or it could simply be the age he's at. My eldest grandson is now 6. He went though a stage of not wanting to come to our house and then it reversed to not wanting to go back to his own house.
He was about the same age as your grandson when it started. He would cling to his mother or if going home time, cling to me and break his heart. I even began to wonder what was going on at home and doubtless his parents wondered what was happening at my house. It was just a form of separation anxiety and he grew out if it.
Think some mediation is called for here. His mother might be just as worried by his reaction to your son. Please try to get help and mediation as both patents need to put the child before themselves.