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Parents/Grandparents Held Hostage

(111 Posts)
ValerieF Fri 04-Sep-20 16:13:12

I see on this site, grandparents who love their grandchildren/children unconditionally and those who don't get to see their grandchildren, are estranged from their children...all of which hurt.

What about those who see TOO MUCH of their grandchildren; are expected to be there at their children's whim to look after grandchildren? Quite apart from what they envisaged retirement to be? The emotional threats?

How may actually resent being held hostage like this? How many people would love to just decide what they want without having to consider their families, once they are retired? Do they do it anyway? or do they feel guilty?

Not actually speaking from experience but know lots of elderly people who can't make arrangements because they have to see what their children/grandchildren are doing.

My thoughts have done your lot! Now is YOUR time. Do what you want and help when you can but don't feel obliged. If your kids don't like it...then tough!

Grandmabatty Fri 04-Sep-20 16:22:06

Actually your point about 'not speaking from experience' says it all. You cannot speak for grandparents who enjoy helping their children and seeing and caring for their grandchildren. If it is too much, then the individual can say so.

Pantglas2 Fri 04-Sep-20 16:23:27

I know grandparents from all sides of the spectrum regarding seeing their grandchildren.

The saddest ones for me by far are the ones who had their retirement stolen from them by adult children who not only expected childcare during school holidays but school runs, evenings and weekends as well, while the parents pursued outward bound hobbies etc.

You wonder why they became parents if they never wanted to be with their children and I know the grandparents look back and say they didn’t realise it was going to be so full on and that their other grandchildren didn’t get a look in!

MawB2 Fri 04-Sep-20 16:24:01

Not actually speaking from experience but know lots of elderly people who can't make arrangements because they have to see what their children/grandchildren are doing

It bothers me that you have rushed to this assumption but claim it doesn’t apply to you.
It may be the case but again, it might not. .
I should be interested to see how many do actually identify with the “held hostage” scenario and how many say ?what on Earth are you talking about?

Chewbacca Fri 04-Sep-20 16:25:57

I have no personal experience of this because I see my GC only as much as I want but my closest friend has come under quite a lot of pressure from her son to have her GC more often, and for longer, than she really wants. She's only recently taken retirement and, due to COVID, hasn't been able to explore any interesting clubs or hobbies to join but, as she's been expected to have her GC 4 days and 3 nights a week whilst the parents work, that's just as well. I know that she isn't happy about it but feels guilty that she should be helping them as much as possible so that they can work. Feast or famine......

Greenfinch Fri 04-Sep-20 16:32:08

I agree with Grandmabatty. There is nothing more special than being involved in the life of grandchildren but surely you can say if you think it is too much.

Lucca Fri 04-Sep-20 16:35:52

This thread is the converse of the” pressure to leave your child with the bans” one.....

Doodledog Fri 04-Sep-20 16:45:01


This thread is the converse of the” pressure to leave your child with the bans” one.....

Yes, I was thinking that. hmm

As with so many family dynamics, there is no right or wrong. It is impossible to know if people are being 'pressured' as what constitutes pressure to some would just be 'asking' to others.

Some grandparents want nothing more than to be around their grandchildren, and others feel that they have done their bit. Both points of view are valid, and the only problem is when their expectations and those of their children or in-laws differ.

JenniferEccles Fri 04-Sep-20 16:54:25

I am sure you are right in some cases. I do think there is a tendency with some young parents to feel that it is almost their own parents’ duty to be on permanent call for childcare.

Obviously we all do what we can to help our families but there is a limit.

I have a friend who, in her own words, is run ragged staying at her daughter’s house three days a week to look after her small grandchildren.

Much as she loves the grandchildren she feels too much is expected of her, and is beginning to resent the fact that she can’t plan anything in case she is needed.

Sometimes I think there is the assumption that retired parents have nothing else to do with their time !

There is no way I would have expected my parents to provide unlimited childcare. They had their own lives in retirement as we do now.

AGAA4 Fri 04-Sep-20 16:54:44

I was happy to look after my grandchildren while their parents were working but I know some people thought I was being put upon and said that they wouldn't do it. They wanted to go out and about with other pensioners and I could understand their point of view but I wouldn't have missed those years with my GCs for anything.

Toadinthehole Fri 04-Sep-20 17:12:35

I’ve said this on many occasions ValerieF, but that’s usually been in connection with the grandparents themselves wanting to be too involved. You’re right though....sometimes seeing how other people experience things can be almost the same as experiencing it yourself, if you’re close. We try to get a good balance. We absolutely love our grandchildren, but also cherish our time together.

Illte Fri 04-Sep-20 17:17:01

Held hostage?

We're adults. We're responsible for our own decisions and our own lives.I'm not fond of the victim attitude.

Repeat after me:

"I'm sorry. I can't manage that"

Kim19 Sat 05-Sep-20 09:20:52

When my son occasionally seeks my help with childminding, I simply say whether or not I'm free. No recriminations. No pressure. Why on earth would there be? I have sometimes altered an arrangement to accommodate his request but that would be because it suited me. Perhaps I hadn't seen them for a while? In emergency, drop everything, of course. No question.

Gingergirl Sat 05-Sep-20 09:22:42

Well each to their own. We see our grandchildren, on the whole, when it suits us, and unless it’s an emergency, only look after them if it’s convenient to us. We feel we’ve done all of that, ringing up our own children and now want time for ourselves. I don’t feel anything is wrong with this. We love all of our family dearly but don’t feel we have to continually sacrifice ourselves..If you don’t want to give up so much time caring for grandchildren, it’s possible to say that....but then actually I don’t think that kind of child care should be taken for granted anyway, by the adult children.

Gingergirl Sat 05-Sep-20 09:23:23

*bringing up our own children

jenpax Sat 05-Sep-20 09:33:13

It’s not always easy to say no though is it? My own AC expect a very very high level of child care and I am still working! I am often guilt tripped with other grandparents would jump at the chance to do whatever it is,or reminded that we didn’t have the easiest life when they were small and so I owe them! There is always the fear of estrangement and so I comply but I don’t have any free time

vickymeldrew Sat 05-Sep-20 09:33:41

Correct me if I’m wrong Valerie, but this topic has a whiff of being fake. Are you a journalist looking for Gransnet views to generate debate ?

Mumben Sat 05-Sep-20 09:37:39

I am very involved in the care of my grandsons aged 7 and 11, and enjoy every moment. I feel very privileged to be in my position and I have a very special relationship with them, which I’m sure will continue into adulthood.

red1 Sat 05-Sep-20 09:48:06

never understand why valerief is being criticised for the post, its a fair point,the dynamics are complicated to say the least between in laws, yes we can say no, but using grandkids as a buffer is all too frequent, grandparents can be walking on eggshells around difficult inlaws ,who can control in many ways, so i would say if yes there are times when it feels like you are being kept hostage

Dee1012 Sat 05-Sep-20 09:54:20

I actually know someone going through a very difficult situation with this.
Her daughter has had involvement from Social Services for some time, all linked to domestic violence.
The situation sadly escalated and the children were placed with my friend by the L.A with the underlying pressure of 'if you don't care for them, they'll be taken into care'.
Its a total tragedy.

jocork Sat 05-Sep-20 09:56:40

So much also depends on how close we live to our grandchildren. My first grandchild is due this month but the parents are moving abroad soon after the birth as my son has a new job starting in October. Thankfully it isn't forever and when his contract finishes they will return to the UK, but may still be living hundreds of miles from me. I want to be involved and help with childcare, and as I'm retiring soon my plan is to downsize and move somewhere cheaper, hopefully nearer to them. I've had to put some of my plans on hold to be able to do this, but having brought up my own children with grandparents not being local, I'd like to be able to give more help than I had myself. I shall certainly make sure I have a life for myself too though!

CrazyGrandma2 Sat 05-Sep-20 10:09:54

Definitely not being held hostage here. We are fortunate that both AC live locally. We have 3 GC whom we love dearly and are very hands on GPs. However, AC also know that we have our own lives to lead. Methinks that it is s all about striking the balance which is acceptable to all parties.

crazyH Sat 05-Sep-20 10:13:07

Illte - exactly that.!!
I did all I could for my daughter's children, because both parents were working. But that was 16 years ago. My sons have now got toddlers. When one of them put forward the idea that I look after his baby, a couple of days a week, I explained that I could not commit to that, but would do the odd babysitting, if they needed it. Perhaps they didn't expect that answer from me but I'm glad I did. They may have been miffed for a while and probably still are, but my health is important to me.

Roxie62 Sat 05-Sep-20 10:28:07

I am the same as you. If my daughter asks me to look after my GD and I am busy I say no. Before lockdown I was looking after my two GC one day a week. I have a very close relationship with them which is so lovely. My daughter knows I have a busy life and I am still working at 62 albeit 4 days a week.

TerriBull Sat 05-Sep-20 10:34:07

The other side of the coin to the thread about the grandmother demanding time with grandchildren. I sympathise with both points of view completely, both need to respect each others parameters. I love our grandchildren dearly but there have been occasions when we've been asked to babysit and we haven't been able to, or actually depending on the duration, wanted to do it. I do remember when our granddaughter was a baby and her mother was berating the mother of one of her friends, who wouldn't have her very young grandchild at the drop of a hat, our son's partner came out with, "the woman's a bitch, that's a grandparent's job to look after grandchildren" she was very young at the time and has matured since, but I think we commented "it's not the grandmother's job it wasn't her choice to have that baby"