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I am looking for a bit of help

(31 Posts)
Jadey Tue 05-Mar-13 13:40:55

Hi My Son and partner have been seperated for two years and they have a little boy aged four.

Recently my grandson has been asking my Son to go and live with him, he gets quite upset when asking and does cry. His Mum has had to call my son a few times as grandson is crying for his Dad.

It is extremly heartbraking, My son has considered going back with his x for his son's sake but they argue consistently on a daily basis and just bring out the absolute worst in eachother.

I feel so lost with this and feel my heart literally breaking.

LullyDully Tue 05-Mar-13 13:50:26

Do they live nearby to one another and do they share time with him?

I don't think there is likely to be a fairy tale reconciliation so the little boy needs to be gently helped to get used to the situation.

He needs a lot of positive talking to and to be reassured that Daddy loves him as does Mummy but that they can not live together as they argue.

He needs time to live with Daddy and to continue his relationship with both parents, although not living together.

You need NOT to take sides but to be there for ma and pa. He must not hear conversations from anyone running the other one down. Good Luck [ I have been there}

HildaW Tue 05-Mar-13 14:03:25

Jadey, such a sad story - must be truely horrid for you to watch those you love suffering.

I dont think you can have much influence with how the couple sort themselves out - thats up to them but you can support your Son in being the best father he can be and be a warm loving Grandma where your little GS can perhaps let of steam a bit as he gets older. Children need to have a listening ear when such events happen, and he will appreciate a place were he can have a good cry or moan without feeling he is upsetting his parents.

I suspect your little grandson is now old enough to begin to understand a little more about his life and thats why he is now getting upset. It will take a little time, but your son will need to see his boy as often as he can to spend time with him and let him know he loves him. As he gets older I am sure your little GS will begin to understand that although his Mummy and Daddy dont live together they do think the world of him. For what its worth I, personally, would be against them getting together if they really are not a happy couple, but thats just me.
As with complex family arrangement - we've all had them - it can all seem pretty bleak but they are usually just stages that have to be endured - and they will pass. I wish you all the best.

Flowerofthewest Tue 05-Mar-13 14:34:49

My little grandson, then 4, sobbed every time it was time to go home - because he cried so much for his daddy his mother stopped all contact for him and his sister and the boy was punished for wanting to see his daddy. When my son went for his usual Wed to pick the children up the maternal grandmother was holding my grandson back at the top of the stairs while he was screaming for his father. She shouted 'You will never see your children again' Extreme I know but he hasn't although he fought through the courts, 4 times the judge told the mother that my son should have contact she never allowed it. Sorry to go off on a tangent but it brought it all up for me. We haven't seen the little ones for 5 years plus now. My son was in the local town just before Christmas when he saw his ex-wife coming towards him with the little boy -she shouted at the child to FACE THE WALL - which he did, this so he wouldn't look at his dad. There is no answer to this at all for us and we really miss them.

soop Tue 05-Mar-13 14:39:24

I'm in tears. sad

nanaej Tue 05-Mar-13 14:45:20

How terribly sad Flowerofthewest..and what an unkind woman to keep her child from his father.

Flowerofthewest Tue 05-Mar-13 14:45:30

Sorry to have changed the tone of the first post. It just brought up so much for me. We were very involved in the childrens' lives. The girl is now 13 (she was 8 when we last saw her) she has stated that she hates her father, he writes to them every two weeks but receives no reply at all. The mother tried to bend the rules in court by saying that my son was a class A drug user, alcoholic and had mental health problems - the judge told her she was playing games and making my son jump through hoops and applied for my son the have a drug and alcohol test plus a mental health assessment. The test came back 100% clear and his mental health was fine apart from depression (surprising) She still went against the judge. I have resigned myself to the fact that we won't see them, at least until they are older, I have told the mother that they will know the truth about how their daddy fought so hard for them when they are adults.

Flowerofthewest Tue 05-Mar-13 14:46:16

The ALIENATION OF CHILDREN is against the law in America, its a pity its not the same for so many British children

nanapug Tue 05-Mar-13 15:29:35

I know from experience how hard it is for the children as my DD left her OH when her son was two and a half. He frequently used to cry for his Daddy when with her and vice versa, but at no time did the person he was with call the other parent to come round as they realised that however hard it was he needed to realise that it was how things were. I must say, as hard as this was, I supported them in this as otherwise he was calling the shots and in control. It went on for about a year and each time he did it they explained carefully that it wasn't going to happen and distracted him. He also asked frequently for them to move back together, but they just explained that every one would be happier as it was as they didn't love each other any more, but they both loved him. He gradually adjusted and is fine now. I know it was the right thing to do as I know of another family who go and collect the child whenever things go wrong and the child shouts for the other parent and it is dreadful. The child calls all the shots and plays each parent off against each other. None of them are happy and the child certainly isn't as he is confused. It is hard to watch as a grand parent Jadey but as long as he is loved, and you are there for him, that is all you can do. It will get better I promise xx

j08 Tue 05-Mar-13 15:38:30

Jadey is your son living with you now? If so, how far is it from the mum's house? Is it possible that the little boy could spend some time living with you and your son? It sounds as though the mother has not cut off the boy from seiing his dad. I can't help feeling that something could be worked out.

Flowerofthewest Tue 05-Mar-13 15:42:05

my middle son also wanted us to be together - this lasted from 7 years until he was 14 - he only told me in a temper when he was 14. All my children are grown now, some in second relationships and understand more about the way split families work. In fact one of my sons (the one mentioned) has his children week about and has since they were babies. Its worked really well and they are very well adjusted and fantastic teenagers.

My son always took his little ones home even when the boy was frantic not to go. He was very firm and said that mummy loved him and would miss him and that he would see him the next week. The problem in this family is that the mother continually used the children as weapons and has poisened their minds against their father telling them that he wants to kidnap them and they will never see her again. She is vindictive and spoiled. A very very cruel person.

HildaW Tue 05-Mar-13 15:43:02

If I have read the original posting right, I don't think the Mum is stopping contact, in fact she seems to be enabling it.
What JO8 suggests seems a good idea - the little boy just needs reassurance that everytime he says goodbye to his Dad after a visit, there will be another. Its all about building up the little chap's trust in grown-ups now that he is getting a bit older and developing his own view on the world.

nanapug Tue 05-Mar-13 15:46:30

I forgot to say Jaydey that my DD and her ex also made a pact to NEVER say any thing negative about the other one and are always pleasant and polite to each other in front of the child. It will get better and your GS, and yourself, will adjust and hoefully they will all find happiness xx

j08 Tue 05-Mar-13 15:49:31

Yes. I think Jaydey's situation is very different to FloweroftheWest's very sad situation.

We do need a little more information re distances and living arrangements, if possible though.

Jadey Tue 05-Mar-13 16:21:05

I think its all about damage limitation, and that, is not easy because children in this situation are like sitting ducks there is not much they can do about the whole disatrous sitiuation

For my family it was about choosing the worst of 2 evils, do they stay together for my grandson's sake and have him put up with the constant screaming and shouting at eachother or does this little boy loose the security of having his Dad in the same house.

It is a very tough decision and my son took it very bad when my GS kept asking him to go home, but all the advise he received was that going back would be the wrong decision and then obviously he made his own mind up.

They don't live too close to eachother but thats not an issues because even if he lived 100 miles away it would not mean the end or less frequent visits.

I take comfort in all your posts and have learn't from them that it will get better and having rules for the boy will help him to cope.

I thank you for your help and advise and will be looking out for any more advise.

Thank you

Eloethan Tue 05-Mar-13 19:37:57

Jadey I'm so sorry this is causing you so much anguish. It must be a very upsetting time for all of you.

I've been thinking about it all afternoon and have read what other people say and agree with all that they've said - particularly about a "listening ear", explaining situations properly and remaining calm, positive and reassuring, etc.

However, one or two things did occur to me, though I don't know if they are relevant/helpful or not.

Would it be helpful to establish a set routine whereby on a particular day and at a particular time each week (or more if possible and if mum and dad think it appropriate) daddy rings your grandson, so it is not just when he is anxious and upset that he speaks to his daddy on the phone? Children seem to find set routines reassuring and comforting.

You say this behaviour has only started "recently". Has anything happened lately that may have unsettled him - if he goes to nursery school, has there been any change in staff or children attending? Has there been any other change of circumstances that might have unsettled him? Sometimes small and seemingly insignificant things can worry young children - when I was about 5, I wouldn't go to school because I had made a small mistake in my arithmetic book and was worried the teacher would be annoyed.

As others have mentioned, children feel anxious when their parents argue and, even if your grandson doesn't hear arguments, is there an underlying feeling of anger and resentment between the parents? This is natural if there has been an acrimonious break up but I wondered if it would help if the parents sought counselling - either separately or together - to assist them in gaining insight into what triggers arguments and how to deal with disagreements in a less confrontational way. (I hope you don't feel I'm overstepping the mark here, but several years ago I found it very calming to talk to a neutral, non-judgmental counsellor who helped just by listening).

Is it possible that your grandson is worried that his daddy is alone or lonely? I'm not suggesting that this is the case, but, now that he's older, your grandson may be imagining this and possibly feeling guilty. Maybe he needs reassurance that daddy is safe and happy. Also, do your son and his ex respond to your grandson's distress by becoming panicky and distressed themselves. It's probably better to remain firm, calm and reassuring, and try to distract him with a task - like "let's draw a picture for daddy and send it in the post to him" - so that he feels connected even when you son isn't physically present.

Most children go through periods of "clinginess" and crying. When our granddaughter stays with us, she cries terribly when her parents leave (and vice versa) but after a very short while, and with a little distraction, she's happy again.

You are obviously a very caring grandma and mum, and, with your love and support, I'm sure this difficult phase will pass.

HildaW Tue 05-Mar-13 19:41:18

Yes Jadey, I think you are so right to think that what your GS needs is a bit of consistency in his life. Perhaps he old enough to have his own calendar - you can buy some lovely fabric ones with velcro numbers on - but even just a big colourfull one that he can use to put stickers on for the days he gets to see his Daddy. He will be old enough to be told its 2 or 3 sleeps before Daddy comes etc. Yes, its so very sad but once he knows that the grown-ups in his life are dependable and also that they are happy themselves (not coping with relationship breakdowns) he will settle down.

Mishap Tue 05-Mar-13 22:41:36

The rational behaviours that are needed to safeguard children in these situations can be so difficult to achieve as emotions run high when relationships break down.

What a difficult situation for grandparents caught up in this and wanting to do the best they can for their GC. They have a crucial role as a rock in stormy waters.

Just one other thought. Childen do need to know that arguing can be OK; that people can have a heated argument and still love each other.

Flowerofthewest Wed 06-Mar-13 09:00:56

I understand that the mother is wanting contact and agree I just got carried away because it brought up so much for me. I do apologise for taking anything away from original post. hugs to all

Flowerofthewest Wed 06-Mar-13 09:01:50

Very different indeed. agreed x

Jadey Wed 06-Mar-13 11:56:30

Hi flowerofthewest no need to apologise its good that you were able to speak about it and get a bit of support. I was extremly grateful of all the advise I received and it has dramatically changed things for me, I went from feeling despair about it al to feeling there is actually thinhs that I can do to help. smile

Flowerofthewest Wed 13-Mar-13 22:37:02

I really miss the children and hope that one day we will be in contact again. I dread bumping into either of them in the street as they live in the next town. The girl I think would blank me but the little boy who is younger would not know what to do. When we took presents round Christmas before last I saw him through the bay window. I knocked the door and he looked up and gave me this lovely sad smile. Then looked back at his toys on the floor. My GD came to the door and must have seen me through the glass. There was a lot of shouting and slamming of doors and the mother opened the door glaring daggers at me. (Remember we were assigned by the courts and with her recommendation to deliver any gifts etc to the children) She snatched the gifts from our family and the childrens' father and screamed at me as I walked away I AM SUCH A TERRIBLE MOTHER then slammed the door. I swore never to put myself or my husband in that position again so we now post vouchers etc and cards but never go to her house. Those poor poor children. If it was myself and it was my son acting this way I would seriously talk to him but her parents encourage the behaviour.

gillybob Wed 13-Mar-13 22:59:24

How can anyone be so cruel as to deny a child the love of their daddy, grandma or grandad? There is a saying that is something like " it takes a whole village to raise a child" . Well I strongly believe it takes a whole family to raise a child and within that family everyone has a very important role.

I am so sorry for anyone who for whatever reason has lost contact with their child or grandchild and I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you must be going through. sad

soop Thu 14-Mar-13 11:49:44

Flowerofthewest Never give up hoping. Hold dear the love you have for your family. I believe that goodwill always triumphs over practises rooted in hatred. flowers

Wiz Fri 14-Jun-13 17:17:57

My son's ex partner has denied my son and my husband and myself any contact with our grandson. I e-mailed her asking why she was stopping her son from seeing his daddy and just got an abusive answer telling me it was none of my business and not to contact her again. I think my son and grandson's welfare is my business but I have not contacted her. My son has gone to a solicitor and is waiting for a date for a court hearing for a contact order. My son has not seen his son for 4 months. He is only 1 year old so he is missing all his development. He has parental responsibility but his ex is not keeping in touch about his son's development. She sent a solicitor's letter saying that she would view it as harassment if he contacted her. How can anyone be so cruel? All this started because my son told her he was seeing someone else. This was 6 months after they broke up! All this is done out of malice. We can only hope we can regain contact through he courts.