Gransnet forums


Parents/Grandparents Held Hostage

(112 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!

songstress60 Sat 05-Sep-20 17:17:40

My cousin was married at 16, divorced at 19, and dumped her kids on her parents fulltime, so could go back to college. As if that were not enough she also parked them on her parents in the evenings and during school holidays. My mother always said she would not look after her grandchildren fulltime. I think too many selfish adult children see their parents as cheap childminders!

Illte Sat 05-Sep-20 17:26:10

Can't pay the mortgage? Buy a cheaper house. That's what my daughter did. Lived within budget. Took responsibility for their own lives like adults should.

If you keep on treating them like children, they'll behave like children.

Actually I think, for all the "being held hostage" it's what the grandparents really want - to go on being needed.

Oh dear. I'm a tough mother😬

Sugarpufffairy Sat 05-Sep-20 18:15:47

Starblaze - I found that I was only even spoken to about the DGC times of arrival and times of pick and what has to be done while they were with me i.e. homework baths etc.
My ADC never spoke to me generally it was always about baby/child minding. I did not seem to have any choice other than put up with this and other unpleasant conduct from DCs or never see the DGC again.
Because I said NO once time through ill health the choice was made for me. I don't see any of them now.

Grandmabatty Sat 05-Sep-20 18:16:07

It annoys me when an OP doesn't come back to their thread, even if just to acknowledge the diverse views. Like some of you, I think this poster had an agenda and is searching for information or a 'story'. Frankly, it's rude and discourteous.

Smileless2012 Sat 05-Sep-20 18:19:51

That's very sad Sugarpuffairy. What an awful thing to do to you and the children.

Starblaze Sat 05-Sep-20 18:35:46

Sorry to hear that sugarpufffairy always sad when family relationships break down

Hithere Sat 05-Sep-20 18:44:17


Fully agree.

They can rent too.

Or the GP can call the AC's bluff and stop coming to their rescue. They can tell them to learn to live within their means.

The AC will manage. They will find a way to make it work.

It is not possible to want your cake and eat it too.

MissAdventure Sat 05-Sep-20 18:46:02

I do think some grandparents enjoy being indispensable.
They're always rushing from place to place to pick up and drop off, then rushing home to cook dinner for 15, and delivering everyone's ironing on the way.

Chewbacca Sat 05-Sep-20 18:49:33

You've described my domestic prowess to a T MissA! grin

Sugarpufffairy Sat 05-Sep-20 18:57:34

Smileless and Starblaze. Thank you both

I do wonder what the children have been told and if they think Gran does not love them anymore or even worse if they are being told that they are the cause of Gran disappearing.

I know that the ADC and DGC are repeating word for word what my ex h used to say to me. He was refused any access at all but reappeared after the youngest was over 18. Needless to say he did not pay maintenance but is not telling the ADC that he was paying so much that he could not buy birthday or Christmas gifts.

ADC should have been wise enough to deal with his lies but apparently not. I could never get to see my ADC without the ex h also being there even being brought to my house along with ADC!

I now have a quiet life without constant criticism and ridicule. I miss the DGC and I miss the people my DCs would have been without ex h influencing them

Hithere Sat 05-Sep-20 19:05:30

I am sorry, sugarpuff

sparklingsilver28 Sat 05-Sep-20 20:39:53

I have known plenty of women who lived live through their children and grandchildren. Personally, I cannot think of any more boring. Children should live their own life and proved for themselves including arranging childcare when needed. And certainly not expecting grandparents to be on call 24/7. Parents are responsible for their own children and should understand that before having them.

Caligrandma Sat 05-Sep-20 20:47:22

We teach people how to treat us. I would start with making your own plans and then just letting them know you are going to busy on these days. This will give them a chance to make other arrangements and will show them that you are planning on managing your time more for yourself. If you have committed to looking after grandchildren for years, then you can say you are going to change your schedule in 6 months ( or some reasonable flexible time) and no longer able to watch them monday to friday or whatever fixed period you have. Understand you do not have to defend your actions. Your actions are just factual, not emotional. Therefore if emotion is thrown back you just say the same thing. You are adjusting your life schedule and as of x date you are only available once a week, or once a month, or whatever YOU have decided. Every time they throw it back (guilt) you just repeat the same thing. If you change what you say, it means you are negotiable so its extremely important you just factually state what you are able to do. As a 6o year old grandma, I can only do one half day a week. No overnights. It's just too difficult for me. So, it is okay to say what you can do, and what you can no longer do. Try practicing your dialog before you speak with them. Keep it very short. Say, i have so enjoyed watching the grandchildren. (no buts) I love them dearly. I am going to have to change our arrangements. I'm getting older and I need more rest time. This is what I am suggesting. Then you tell them what you are willing to do, and when it will change. - It's a positive way of speaking to them without being defensive (you shouldn't have to be) and they are grown ups, they can figure it out. Good luck and let us know how it goes. Make some plans! You earned it!

Madgran77 Sun 06-Sep-20 06:41:43

Very good post Calligrandma

Hawera1 Sun 06-Sep-20 06:42:21

Well we haven't been allowed time on our own with our grandson because of our sons partner and her mother who.moved in with them. How I wish we had the problem of being needed often. However I have a friend whose daughter bullies her to.have her two granddaughters.

Smileless2012 Sun 06-Sep-20 08:47:05

Excellent advice Calligrandma.

sazz1 Sun 06-Sep-20 10:10:30

I sat my daughter down and made an arrangement of how often I would have DGD which stopped her taking advantage of me.
My late MIL informed me she was there for emergency use only when I was pregnant. People need to talk and discuss what they are prepared to do before resentment builds up.

Hetty58 Sun 06-Sep-20 10:19:24

It seems to me that the only people 'held hostage' are doormats that find it hard to defend themselves.

If you make yourself too available, others will take advantage. I'm here for emergencies and occasional babysitting. I'll have some grandchildren in the holidays too.

Otherwise, I'm happily busy doing my own stuff - they're not my kids!

Katyj Sun 06-Sep-20 12:59:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ValerieF Mon 07-Sep-20 19:42:13

Apologies for not coming back sooner. Have been busy working.

I am neither a journalist or looking to upset anyone. My question was purely because some of my dear friends seem to be in fact 'held hostage' by their children to look after their children! They tell me, they just have to do it or their children will sulk! All of them love their grandchildren to bits but also want a life of their own, which is what their adult children don't seem to appreciate.

I was just wondering if it was the norm?

Obviously not for many of you here, which is great. It is not a situation I would ever see myself in either.

What got me thinking...was just HOW many grandparents were being asked to look after grandchildren when it affected their own lives and plans now they have retired? And if they felt 'obliged' more than wanting to do it!

Interesting reading though.

GagaJo Mon 07-Sep-20 19:52:29

No such thing as too much of my grandson. I would happily care for him full-time if his mum was at work. That boy is the joy of my life.

GagaJo Mon 07-Sep-20 19:55:15


I have known plenty of women who lived live through their children and grandchildren. Personally, I cannot think of any more boring. Children should live their own life and proved for themselves including arranging childcare when needed. And certainly not expecting grandparents to be on call 24/7. Parents are responsible for their own children and should understand that before having them.

That may be your experience. I DO live for my grandson, despite having an international career and working in a range of countries (5 to date). I would give anything to be able to see him daily.

You may think it's sad. I think family are what life is about. Great Wall of China, Swiss Alps, White House. They are just places. I'd rather read a book to my grandson or play Lego with him.

Marydoll Mon 07-Sep-20 20:01:02

We feel the same, Gagajo.

However, we do not allow my DS and DIL to use us and will say if we can't manage and have plans.

ValerieF Mon 07-Sep-20 20:13:28

GagaJo Obviously my initial question wasn't directed to you. All credit to you. I was more aiming at people who felt obliged to look after their grandchildren when they wanted a life of their own. The ones who's children expected the grandparents there to be an extension of themselves no matter what the grandparents had planned. Who seem to think grandparents have finished their lives and all they are there for is to look after the second generation?

Gransnet is apparently full of the 'perfect' grandparents, who devote all their time to grandchildren. (yeah right lol)

52bright Mon 07-Sep-20 20:18:56

This is one of those issue where there is no diffinitive answer. Like the op, we too have heard complaints from gps who have found themselves giving more care than they originally planned. Not always because their dc are intentionally using them but because lives change. The dd who only worked 2 days a week but is now working full time because husband left her. The grandparents happily doing 3 days a week for one dc when the other becomes pregnant and asks for the same. The grandparents who eagerly offer full time child care at the start then 3 dgc down the line realize that this is for a longer period than anticipated and that their anticipated retirement plans are now indefinitely on hold ect ect.

We and most of our friends are grandparents and these issues are discussed from time to time. From what I have seen amongst my own aquaintances, it is the grandparents who do childcare part time who are most content in their role. Time with dgc, helping out their children, but having time for their own interests. My own sister and her husband was quite happy doing childcare 3 days a week. When their dd decided to go back to work full time they were honest about where they stood. They would continue to do their 3 days but no more. They needed the other days for rest, recuperation and doing their own thing. This was accepted and I think they are more appreciated than if they were 'on tap'. As ds said, it is easier to draw a proper line in the beginning than withdraw the help later if it all becomes too much. They are devoted to their dgc but have left some space for time as a couple and for individual interests as well.