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My daughter in law and son

(58 Posts)
msmac Wed 20-Aug-14 19:05:39

I am new here and have been looking on the internet for some guidance. My DIL, is a not a nice person and my son backs her up. She is 8 months pregnant with the second child. My first grandson is 5. She has repeatedly "taken him away" from us by not allowing us to see or talk to him. Usually the reasons are silly (the first one, 3 years ago) after I watched him everyday since he was 3 months, was because I was angry that she and my son would not help move some very heavy furniture. For that she took our grandson away for three months. That was the first of many. The latest one that happened two days ago, I was watching the 5 year old and he told me his maternal grandfather taught him to call me a "bitch". Then the little one said, I know that is a bad word and I won't call you that anymore. It was like someone plunged a hot dagger in my heart. Well, anyhow, for some unknown reason, (my husband did call our son and ask why a 5 year old child was being taught to call his grandmother that), and then the 37 year son came up and started a fight with me. My husband had to ask him to leave. Now we "are not permitted to see the child" and we are not going to be told when the new one comes. She is close to delivery per OB/GYN on Monday. What are we doing wrong? Just a side note, no on my son's side (our side), talks to either of them because of her antics. My grandson has never meat his aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews or great grandmother of 79.
Where do we go from here, I am very tired of this emotional roller coaster. Are we the wrong ones? Any ideas would be helpful.
We do help them, financially, watching the 5 year old, etc. I am cordial to her and him, but given all the problems, hard to be over joyed.

mrsbluesky Sun 24-Aug-14 15:02:17

I agree. Her problem not mine. I was also very close to my son, still am really when we talk when are alone or on the phone. I'm sure she doesn't like this. But he'll always be my son. Am afraid have stopped being too friendly as finding it quite difficult. Been gritting teeth for too long.
Thanks for your comments!

papaoscar Sun 24-Aug-14 15:20:50

Very sad, msmac, you are not alone. Perhaps father should take son to one side again and whisper a few things in his the meantime, the best of luck for a solution to all this!

mrsbluesky Mon 25-Aug-14 21:07:27

Would be grateful for any advice on a new DiL dilemma.
Have received an invite to my DGD birthday party, which she hand wrote herself and gave to me on my last visit. Have spoken to my son, before accepting, to feel the water re DiL, as I know she wouldn't want me and OH to attend. How can I deal with this without my DGD thinking we're letting her down?

louisamay Tue 26-Aug-14 13:21:27

I am not completely alienated from my baby grandson but I feel that one wrong word from myself or DH would make it a reality. We have already been on the receiving end of an unprovoked outburst from DIL and if we hadn't acted in a very restrained manner, I just don't know what the outcome would have been. We have made allowances for sleep deprivation, hormones and just about every other situation but have come to the conclusion that DIL has very low self esteem and seems, in some odd way, to resent us. DS told us that she hates the fact that we live locally but her parents live an hour and half away (so that's OUR problem??). Quite ridiculous, as we draw no benefit at all living in the same area! They spend most weekends with her parents, and her mum makes the journey over here at least twice a week to spend the whole day with DIL and baby. Recently my son has been bringing baby to us one evening a week after he comes home from work. Unfortunately DGS is starting to have separation anxiety and last time cried most of the time he was at our house, which was really heartbreaking and certainly not good for baby himself. What is upsetting is that DIL rarely communicates with me now and all 'arrangements' are done through my son. This mainly involves babysitting on a Saturday night. Yes DIL is quite happy for us to turn up an hour early to'play with baby before he goes to bed' but we are obviously not welcome to pop round in the week for an hour as we have done in the past (when invited). I know other grans are going to think I'm lucky that I do actually see my baby grandson but it's so stressful to worry constantly that it could change in an instant. DH and I are late sixties and recently retired from work - we just want a settled happy family relationship. Why are some of these young women determined to cause problems?

mrsbluesky Tue 26-Aug-14 15:06:38

How sad that at the time in our lives when we think things should be relaxed and easy, a whole load of other problems come up.
But, as life experience is on our side, we know that we just have to accept these situations.

Aka Tue 26-Aug-14 15:31:59

msmac I think you need to withdraw completely from this situation. You are being controlled / manipulated by your DiL. She is going to need your help and support very soon when the new baby arrives.

I know it's not easy, but just get on with your own life. Go out with your husband, take a short holiday or a weekend break, go shopping, visit friends, invite friends for a meal, do the garden.....anything that keeps you busy and gives you pleasures.

Don't contact your son or DiL but be pleasant if they contact you. Act as if your heart isn't broken. Pin a smile on your face and be strong. Don't offer any help, but be prepared to help if asked, but not too eagerly. She's playing power games and needs to learn she can't manipulate you like this.

Linda1952 Tue 02-Sep-14 22:51:33

Hi You have been on my mind. I agree with the previous message, especially the bit about getting on with your own life. I had (have) a similar situation but with step-daughters and their children. Sadly, several years ago I let their controlling nature get the better of me and almost had a breakdown. Thankfully I was persuaded by a good family friend to have some counselling, along with my husband ( the father of the young women) and it was the best thing that could have happened.
It helped me to distance myself from the power-struggle that was building-up, and deal with my feelings and emotions in a reasonable and sensible way. I learned that i was only responsible for the way I acted and reacted,not for the way they behaved and that really was the beginning of being able to be free from it all.
Both my husband and I now have a healthier relationship with all concerned and although the women are still controlling and rather aloof, we are not restricted in keeping in touch with our grandchildren and as they are all now growing up, they contact us from time to time of their own accord via new tech (they all live far away from us).
It was hard to let go of the hurts but I am sure that i have learned some valuable life-lessons and vital concepts from the counselling that help me not only in this family situation, but in other relationships too.
I wish you all the best, and much joy in the future with your grandchildren and son and daughter-in-law once the heat goes out of the situation. You only have one life after all, and only you can make it the best that it can be.

Scooter58 Wed 03-Sep-14 09:38:38

Marmark1,In my case it's my daughter who is acting in this totally unreasonable,controlling way,and in answer to your question I most certainly don't condone it.

lizzyr Sat 07-Feb-15 21:01:59

Reading all the posts on this subjet has helped me come to th e desion to walk away from them. I will not go see them or contact them The daughter in law will never change. I won't hurt my son by causing issues between them so the closer I get to my Grandson the worse it will be for me. Far better not to get close.

I will give her one last chance. Offer to look after him for a couple of hours so they can go out together. I expect the answer will be no and if it is then I will not contact them again.

Sugarpufffairy Sun 08-Feb-15 20:45:35

I have walked away too. Just had enough after 15 years in being a grandmother. It is my daughter who is doing this to me. I am not sure how much comes from Son in law but she also did the same with the previous partner. She might be getting bullied, certainly the previous partner was a violent bully. If she does not tell me she is being bullied I cant do anything about it. She also treats my other daughter the same way as she treats me, but my other daughter is not the soft mark I was. Been through all the authorites. I am too tired to put up with any more. She has not even collected the warm clothes and boots I bought her children for the winter. She knows they are here. It might be her loss but what worries me more is the children losing out.
One day these nasty young women will be grandmothers and heaven only knows what kind of treatment they will get. Chin up and if you cant smile dont cry.

Smileless2012 Tue 10-Feb-15 15:13:45

Hello Sugarpufffairy having found your post on here I was wondering how the visit with your GP went, hope you don't mind my asking and that all is well.

Sugarpufffairy Wed 11-Feb-15 19:03:59

Hi Smileless2012
I still have not been to the Dr. I am so disorganised. I dont get through what I should. I will put it to the forefront and try to get an appointment. Thanks for asking after me - grateful that you care enough to ask about me. Doing Ok really - just the usual.

claireseptember Fri 20-Feb-15 12:00:09

Haven't posted on here before as I'm a new member but other people's wise words made me feel I could add to this thread.
I'm widowed, semi retired (from teaching) and also having probs with daughter in law and access to grandkids.
I set aside this week just for doing things with my little grandsons (they go to their maternal grandmother every weekend and stay the night and as both are now at school/ nursery it's harder for me to see them although I used to do a lot of childcare in the early days.) Talked to daughter in law about this and told her I'd researched kids' things to do over half term in our region and/or offered to take them to the park. She seemed interested, but..
I've seen them precisely once this week.
On all other days she's 'busy' or one of them has a party that will apparently take all day to prepare for or one of them is under the weather . My offer to take the one who is well was met with 'No I want to keep them together and x is always cheered up by having his brother around.'
What they actually do is sit on the sofa in their pyjamas ( their mum included) and watch DVDs or play computer games. I'm not against a bit of chill-out time but every day...??
Son says he doesn't want to play piggy in the middle. He's at work all week. DIL doesn't work.
Do I give up? Take her to task and risk a row?
I should add that they have very little money. I've given them the deposit for their house and also buy them a shopping trolley full of groceries each week. I don't expect them to grovel in gratitude as I do these things happily but it would just be nice to see my grandsons. I feel I'm losing them and to a culture that I'm not overkeen on.

harrigran Fri 20-Feb-15 12:39:55

Claire, you have seen your GC once this week, more than most people get. Setting a time and expecting to have GC is setting yourself up for disappointment, being pushy on the phone will make DIL back off further.
Could it be that you are holding DC's hand a little too much ? if you are paying for the house and groceries perhaps they feel as if they are not trusted to manage. DIL may be telling you in her way that she can look after sick child and older one just fine.

janeainsworth Fri 20-Feb-15 12:40:12

Claire Could it be that your DiL feels too indebted to you - it is certainly very generous to give them the deposit for a house, and to buy a trolley full of groceries each week, but perhaps that is making her feel bad that they apparently can't manage without your assistance? Does she feel guilty in some way about being a SAHM?
Not sure what the answer is, just trying to see things from her point of view. Could you offer to pick them up from school/nursery, and take them to your house for tea, perhaps?

harrigran Fri 20-Feb-15 12:40:38

Sorry I missed out the welcome Claire flowers

janeainsworth Fri 20-Feb-15 12:40:58

crossed posts harri

claireseptember Fri 20-Feb-15 13:22:17

Wow, thanks for responding so quickly. Yes, I'll take your advice and have already offered to have them to mine for tea when they go back to school next week.
I think some of my problem stems from the fact that they are SO close to the maternal granny and her two grown up sons who live with her and play 'cool' computer games with my grandsons when they go to stay there - which is every weekend. To be honest I'm a bit jealous! Also there's the fact that DIL and I had actually made arrangements this week which she changed her mind about at the last minute so I was left in limbo.
The other difficulty is mine. My late husband , whose advice I miss so much, used to say that my problem was I built up fantasy scenarios and then was disappointed when the reality didn't match up. Other people hadn't read my script!
Anyway, thanks for the welcome and the advice. I need to back off a bit. Looking forward to returning to work next week!!

Anya Fri 20-Feb-15 13:37:11

Claire your late husband sounds like a very wise man. You must miss him so much.

You are so very honest about yourself too, admitting to jealousy, not an easy thing to do. I can see exactly where you are coming from, as the bond they are building with their other grandparents is so strong. So you mustn't try to compete but perhaps take on a different role. Perhaps that of the Special Granny, who they don't see as often but does Really Fun Things.

I know you don't like the culture of sitting round in PJs watching TV, and who can blame you, but best say nothing. Are the children of an age where they can perhaps take up a sport or a hobby? Mine attend a Playbox Theatre group once a week. I pick them up from school, feed them, take them to the session and drop them home afterwards. It also means I pay (!) but now that 3 out of four of them are at school it means I do get to see them where otherwise I wouldn't.

Do you drop the groceries off at your DiLs house? If so why not choose a time when the children are there. Include a couple of cakes for you, DiL and her Mum and stay for a little bonding session over a cup of tea.

Whatever happens keep on the part-time teaching as long as you can.

harrigran Fri 20-Feb-15 13:52:06

Claire don't be jealous of other GPs it will destroy you, just find your own thing that works with GC. I take mine to the cinema when they stay with me, their mum works so doesn't really have the time. My GC don't see their maternal GPs very often because they live at the other end of the country and when they do visit I stay away.
Early on I made the decision to leave the ball in their court and told DIL if she needed me to help to just let me know " where possible I would help". It worked she asked for help during school holidays, overnight care so they could have a night's break. Can't guarantee that it would work for everyone but if you appear needy it doesn't work in your favour.

glammanana Fri 20-Feb-15 14:06:55

I would certainly cut out the shopping basket every week claire surely they can manage their finances to feed their family with out such a bit input from you, you could certainly do what Anya suggests and drop in with treats for everyone that would make for extra visits to see DGSs.Does your DIL intend on returning to work if she did would she rely on you for help with child care ?
I know how you feel about arrangements being made then broken this happened alot to me when my DGCs where little if one of them was poorly DD would change arrangements to suit the children and as for PJs all day (not my style) but it saves her a lot of work with regard to her washing doesn't it.Can you not confide in your son with your thoughts and tell him how much you miss the children he may be able to sort things a wee bit for you,or invite DIL for coffee etc on an afternoon you both have free.

claireseptember Fri 20-Feb-15 15:26:41

What lovely people you all are.
Alas, DIL won't be going 'back to work' as she has never worked and nor has her mother, the other gran. DIL has trained as a beautician and occasionally takes in 'clients' , her friends, and does their nails or hair for a small fee but there is no way they could pay bills and shop on what my son earns (he works very hard but is dyslexic, failed at school and has a badly paid job). If I didn't shop for them they would live on junk food, which I couldn't bear for the little boys. At least this way I make sure the grandchildren have fresh fruit and veg.
I would love the kids to have activities after school and have offered to pay for and take them to swimming lessons but this is rejected. My daughter, who lives far away and rarely sees the boys, bought them lovely scooters for Xmas but so far these have not been taken out of their boxes (this was one thing I had offered to do this week, help them learn to scoot). They are pale indoor kids and I do worry about them but I guess all I can do is keep offering but not get too pushy.
Sorry, new friends, a bit of a can of worms here. It's as much about culture clash as time spent with the grandchildren.
Thanks for your support. I will certainly take your advice and try to build bridges when things settle down again. I think I've gone about things in rather the wrong way this week.

GillT57 Fri 20-Feb-15 15:49:02

Now that you have explained the situation more claireseptember I fully understand your reason for doing the shopping, at least you know the DGs are well fed. As to exercise, it is tricky to impose what you feel is right, after all their Mother may have spend her childhood sitting watching TV and so thinks this is ok. Just keep in providing good food, pop in and maybe offer to walk the children to the park for half an hour?

Anya Fri 20-Feb-15 16:10:35

Perhaps they need to appreciate what you do for them a bit more, and stop taking your support for granted. Without wishing to sound Machiavellian could you perhaps give less in food handouts this month, and hint that you are finding money not stretching as far as it once did and you only working part-time.

Without wishing to sound cynical, there are some people who will just take, take and take without giving anything in return. And they can see people who are in a position to help out financially as a soft touch or, worse, as Lady Bountiful. I know your concern is only for your grandsons but it won't hurt them to eat junk for a couple of weeks. And it might shake DiL and her mother to think you're not a bottomless source of funding.

If indeed I've misjudged this pair I apologise. It may be that your DiL is too proud to accept any more handouts and that is why she is refusing other offers of assistance such as the swimming lessons. Perhaps football with one of those junior weekend clubs might be more acceptable, and then your son could take the boys when he's not working?

claireseptember Fri 20-Feb-15 18:12:45

Thanks for your advice.
Ironically one of the things they often ask me to do is to give them a lift to take the kids either to or from the other grandma's house at the weekends as they don't have a car themselves and the other gran doesn't drive. Maybe that's something I could be too busy to do. They could get public transport after all.
It's been good to talk it over with you. Others who live alone will appreciate how sometimes you get more and more wound up over things if there's no one around to sound off to. Also you get more dependent on your kids and grandkids when there is no partner to do things with.
But anyway, I'll see how it goes now I've had all your good advice.
Thanks again.