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When your child divorces

(30 Posts)
Gigi57 Wed 30-Dec-20 02:09:06

Our son split up with his wife in March during a lock down. He just packed his bags and moved into an air bnb for the duration. He has 2 children 7 & 5 His wife told him he she no longer loved him and asked him to leave. Sounds civilised well it’s far from it. She has had a revolving door of people living with her and our son now has a new girlfriend. We had their children for Xmas Eve Xmas Day and Boxing Day as neither of them wanted their children as they were with their respective new found lovers! The children are acting out in different ways the 7yr old has become extremely grown up and responsible. The younger one has gone from a very boisterous little boy to shy and quiet. They begged their father to stay longer with us but they had to go back to their Mother.
We are too old to have the children live with us permanently but we are starting to think is there a way for them to come and stay with us when there are holidays say for longer than 2 nights? We can’t interfere as they are not our children. Has anyone else been through this? If so we are all ears. Our darling grandchildren need stability we think. However our sons generation are pretty selfish as they think of themselves first before the happiness of their own children. We have tried talking to our son but he says it’s non of our business and his children are fine. We are very concerned that they are not.

CanadianGran Wed 30-Dec-20 02:27:37

Just be the best grandparents you can be when you do see the kids, and make the offer to your son and his ex, if you are in contact. Don't push for now, though.

My son and DIL went back and forth for a few years, it was very upsetting to us, but they had to sort things out in their own way. We kept the lines of communication open, especially with DIL, which was difficult at times when emotions are high and feelings are hurting.

Can you make an arrangement for Sunday visits, or meet at the park? Depending on how close or far away they live. Having a bit of stability for the kids is very important, and lets them know you will always be there for them. Any holidays are a long way off, and decisions don't need to be made now.

Summerlove Wed 30-Dec-20 02:30:15

I’m so sorry.

Those poor children. Their parents are failing them horribly

BlueBelle Wed 30-Dec-20 06:54:34

Is this the same daughter in law you wrote about at length two years ago ? It seems you have spent for ever having problems with her and her family

However our sons generation are pretty selfish as they think of themselves first before the happiness of their own children
Don’t blame a whole generation for your sons poor behaviour many many families work out very reasonable arrangements for their children after split ups / divorces

Do either of the parents work ? Could you perhaps have the children each weekend to give them some fun time to look forward to Presumably (when CoviD is dine) they will be at school during the week

All I would say is have them as much as you feel you can

nadateturbe Wed 30-Dec-20 07:11:09

My daughter is divorced. She and her exhusband spend every Christmas day together with their young children taking turns to make Christmas dinner and they share childcare equally.
So they aren't all selfish.

However I do sympathise. Your grandchildren aren't getting the care they should. Its important that children feel secure and loved even though parents are separating. Its good that they have caring GPs. I think you should offer to see them as much as you can manage, as being with you will provide some much needed stability.

Ohmother Wed 30-Dec-20 09:22:38

Try and give them as much stability as you can. Tell them the fact that their parent’s argument/fall out is nothing to do with them but a disagreement between their parents. Don’t outwardly criticise the parents in front of them, there will be loyalties that get hurt. Encourage both parents not to use the children to hurt the other or to ask them to spy on visits. I really feel for you OP but you will be the kids safe ‘go to’ and as they grow your relationship will pay it’s rewards. 💐

Gwyneth Wed 30-Dec-20 09:35:14

I really can’t imagine putting a new lover before my children especially at Christmas. Both parties are incredibly selfish and I feel very sad and sorry for the children. Thankfully they have you to offer them some stability in what must be a very upsetting and distressing situation for them.

Grammaretto Wed 30-Dec-20 09:41:53

I would also recommend a routine with you as an integral part. Don't be surprised if the DGC begin to take out their frustrations on you though. It could mean that they trust you. wink
I hope it works out for you all.
My DC are all still happily together (fingers crossed) but DGD aged 13 told me she was the only one of her school friends whose parents are still together.

My friend's brother who is nearly 80 and himself divorced and living alone, cares for his 2 DGS far more than he would like to. He takes them to nursery and school while his son works and ex dil is absent rolls eyes

Youcantchoosethem Wed 30-Dec-20 09:59:32

I wish you the very best for what is likely to be an unsettled couple of years. No good marriage ends in divorce and many find relief when it is over. I know when my XH finally left my son and I let out a huge sigh of relief. I couldn’t imagine though not seeing my children over Christmas. The most important thing, I believe, is to be supportive as much as you can, be there when they need and don’t judge. No one else but they know the full truth behind a split and the pressures leading upto it, and I have seen many who go off the rails for a bit after needing to find solace, and feel worthwhile again and find that on the arms of someone else who is giving them attention and love which they have been missing and it can at that time be all consuming. Things will undoubtedly settle down. Be there when they need, for your son too and be careful of accusations and judgement.

BusterTank Wed 30-Dec-20 10:06:02

If you don't stand up for grandchildren who will . You need to speak to there mother and father together . Asking them if they can't see what they are doing to there children . Explain to them it doesn't matter what is going on the children comes first . If you don't step in the next person to step in could be social services .

jaylucy Wed 30-Dec-20 10:43:28

You really don't have a window into what actually happened in your son's marriage.
As a divorcee myself, I can quite honestly say that in a couple, both contribute to a marriage breakdown, not just one of them!
I can only go by what my parents did after both my marriage and my brothers marriage broke down (brother's was similar situation to your DS)
My mum in particular put her feelings to one side and up until her death kept on good terms with the ex DiL.
To this end, she put the GC first by having them to stay at weekends and school holidays , in fact whenever they wanted to. She was always ready for a chat with them and up to today, they both talk about the time that Nanny and Pappy were the ones they could go to with their problems.
That's your job, no ifs, buts or maybes IMO.

4allweknow Wed 30-Dec-20 10:50:58

Your GC have had Covid restrictions to cope with and their family life torn apart too for the best part if this year. You can only try to have the children as often as possibly eg at weekends that's assuming your DS and DiL don't want them then either. Obviously don't know what their approach to parenthood was before the split but it certainly isn't good now. You can only try to hive your GC happy times when with you. Hopefully the parents will stop being so selfish and waken up to their responsibilities to these children.

4allweknow Wed 30-Dec-20 10:53:19

I've been sewing too much - should be of not if and give not hive.

GreyKnitter Wed 30-Dec-20 11:06:33

I think it’s difficult for the children in any relationship breakdown and it’s great that they have you nearby as their security. Sounds like you are doing a great job in being their for them. Well done.

Lesley60 Wed 30-Dec-20 11:12:16

Do you speak to DIL parents, I’m wondering if you could meet up with them to arrange having the children between you more often to give them love and stability

Skweek1 Wed 30-Dec-20 11:25:04

My first marriage was hell and I finally left after 10 years and married my current DH, who adored my 2 daughters. We did everything we could to stay friendly with my ex, but he wanted to keep them as a meal ticket and would not ever be civil. They made a fuss that they wanted to go back to their father, and we decided that if that was what they really wanted, we should not stand in their way. Sadly he poisoned their minds against us and we have only seen them once in over 30 years - their half-brother and I are heartbroken at the estrangement, but we still live in hope that they will eventually realise that we tried to do the best we could. In the end, my mother and I were pulled apart, despite her dislike of my ex, and my DH, MIL, DS and I have built our lives without them.

grannygranby Wed 30-Dec-20 11:26:04

Yes if there is anything I regret it is breaking up with my first husband when my children were 13 and 9. What i didn’t realise was that my husband would go completely off the rails. The children stayed with me but he abandoned everything his career, every responsibility and the children to whom he had been a very good dad. It can’t be undone but I wish I had stayed the course and not ended it. The children do come first and if you must leave wait till they are mature enough to take it. I can’t see how this helps with your immediate problem which is acute. I just hope they both see sense. They will regret it for a long time. My mum (widow) took in my brothers unwanted son by new wife, when he was 15. And he has turned out fine a loving dad to successful happy children all down to the love of his gran. Do all you can. And the more you can give them a safe loving home the better.
My mum was very supportive of me and my kids too though we lived over 200 miles away. She was a rock. So go gran - do your magic.

grandtanteJE65 Wed 30-Dec-20 11:46:21

Might the way forward be to contact the children's mother and ask her if you might have the children for a whole week at Easter or during the summer holidays?

Don't mention any problems, just say that you would love to have the children.

If she says yes, you are in the clear to have a week or so with the grandchildren.

Go on loving them and showing them that you do, as I am certain you are doing, but don't spoil them. You can't make up for their parents' attitude, you can only be the best grandparents.

If there are serious problems the older child's school should realise and do something.

eazybee Wed 30-Dec-20 11:46:39

You have expressed your concerns to your son and he isn't listening (at present) so I wouldn't say any more, just offer to help by having the children whenever possible. Providing a stable environment, with no judgement on either parent, is the very best best help you can give.

My adult children were talking separately at Christmas of recollections of time spent with my parents; I used to think that they resented spending time there when little, ( rules were strict) but they have nothing but fond memories of all the things they did together, and it certainly was a place of permanence in a topsy-turvy world.

icanhandthemback Wed 30-Dec-20 12:09:40

How sad for the children. I am afraid that you will probably find your hands tied if both parents are not open to discussion about the affects of the divorce upon the children. I would be inclined to be port in the storm and encourage them to talk to you. Don't be judgmental about the parents and if you have real concerns, encourage them to talk to somebody at school who may be able to get them some counselling and will have far more sway with the parents if they talk to them.
I don't understand your son or DIL about not wanting the children for Xmas, I really don't. However, it may be that they are in a really bad place at the moment too. Dealing with all the issues brought about lockdown has been really tough for parents, especially the resident parent. The behaviour of the children at home might (understandably) be challenging if they are upset about the breakup, and maybe the break they wanted was less to do with being with a new lover and more to do with having a break from what might seem like a relentless time for them. It doesn't make it ok but it might allow you to understand a little more.
Is the other grandmother in their lives? Do you get on? Can you talk to her non-judgmentally about how you can both give your DIL some breathing space?
I do feel for you. My DD and her husband are in the throws of a marriage break up. It is horrible for the children. I have started emailing my grand-daughter with little things so she knows I am thinking of her. I never say anything against either of her parents, I just want her to know I will always be there.

pamdixon Wed 30-Dec-20 12:16:00

Just make sure you are always there for the grandchildren. Give them as much love and support as you can when you see them.
Good luck.

Urmstongran Wed 30-Dec-20 12:44:57

I have no experience of this (very thankfully) and so I have no words of wisdom to offer. I just didn’t want to read & leave.

I do hope things work out for your family, all of them, going forward. I can only imagine your heartache. x

sodapop Wed 30-Dec-20 13:01:53

So sorry Gigi it must be a difficult time for you and the children. I can only echo what other posters have said about giving a stable base to your grandchildren. Continue to care for them as much as you are able to and let them talk to you about things at home without criticising. Their parents need to get their priorities straight, hopefully that will happen soon.

hulahoop Wed 30-Dec-20 13:29:45

Can't believe they didn't want their children for Christmas but without knowing the full story we shouldn't judge . Hope things can be sorted out for the children's sake ,you can only do what you are doing by being there for them.

GreenGran78 Wed 30-Dec-20 16:00:35

If the new partners were happy to see two young children abandoned by both parents at Christmas it doesn’t say much for the type of people they are.
I hope that your DD and DIL are just experiencing a bit of euphoria and excitement at being footloose and fancy-free, and will soon see sense. Hopefully they will very soon realise the damage that they are doing to their children.
You have made your feelings clear to them. All you can do now is be as supportive as possible to them all. Are the other GP involved at all? If so, perhaps you could encourage them to support the children too.
I hope that attitudes soon change, and the children can get back to feeling loved and wanted by their parents.