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What to tell grandchildren about estrangement?

(12 Posts)
Ironflower Sun 19-Apr-20 02:28:13

So my husband and I have made the painful decision to estrange from my parents. Many things led to this decision and we have tried so many times to reconcile (see my very long post).

The question is, what do I tell / write to the kids?

Quick summary:
-parents favoured one gc over another
-parents were constantly nasty, called us names
-parents refused to acknowledge my sons disabilites

Quick Update from last post:
-Met them in the park after bubba girl was born. Went okay
-Mum regularly calls to complain about her life
-They completely ignored Son2s 4th birthday (didn't even call or message). He's the non favourite.

So what is the best way to deal with this in regards to the children. I can't talk to the boys about it as their severe speech delays mean that they don't understand anything that isn't right in front of them (Look a ball).

I regularly write the boys letters but so far have not written anything negative about my parents at all.

What do the grandparents / parents here think? Should I write them a letter and explain why things have happened this way. My parents might not be alive when my kids finally read it, although if something happened to us, my parents could try to poison their minds.

Note - Our wills state that my in-laws get custody of our kids if anything happens to us but wills can be contested.

Ironflower Sun 19-Apr-20 02:33:50

I should've added (but I was trying to keep it short), I don't like the idea of tarnishing my boys image of their grandparents, especially with their special needs, but worry that one day they will hate me because of what happened and not having the full story

Hetty58 Sun 19-Apr-20 03:04:40

I don't think an explanation is necessary. Some kids see grandparents, others don't. Some see one set but not the other.

My paternal grandparents died before I was born. My maternal granny died when I was five.

My eldest grandson has five grannies (divorces and remarriages in his father's family) - so all families are different, there are no rules.

Why make a big deal of it? Your problems with your parents are your concern and you've reached a sensible conclusion. There is no need to involve your boys with it.

Coolgran65 Sun 19-Apr-20 03:37:29

If you do fear that your parents would contest your Will you should consider adding a paragraph to your Will or add a Codicil to state that .....under no circumstances do you wish your parents e and x to have care of your children named x and y. The reason for this being ...........
Solicitor will
Do this for yoump.

Coolgran65 Sun 19-Apr-20 03:38:04

Do this for you..

sodapop Sun 19-Apr-20 08:39:42

I agree with Hetty58 there is no need to make a big issue out of this. Be careful that you are not using this as a way of getting back at your parents however unintentional.

M0nica Sun 19-Apr-20 09:13:41

If the children ask (and I doubt they will), just casually say something like 'It is difficult to see them at the moment', and leave it at that.

As for your children 'hating' you over it. That is you overthinking. As Hetty says, families have all kinds of family arrangements. After her father died, my mother never saw any of his family again, including her grandmother. It bothered her not at all. She was 6 at the time. My DH had a grandfather living in the same village that he never met and another who he saw very occasionally but who had no interest in any of his grandchildren as he had a new wife and young children of his own. Both grandmothers died before he was born. He is equally unaffected.

Ellianne Sun 19-Apr-20 09:31:19

There's no point over thinking it, just let the relationship, or non relationship, drift and fizzle out. Our grown up children now say they knew they had grandparents but they never knew who they were, (because the GPs couldn't be bothered). No hard feelings.

3nanny6 Sun 19-Apr-20 15:27:14

IronFlower : I answer your post as an "Off /On" Estranged GP.
You may think that something like that does not happen but with my daughter I can assure you it does. At times my situation can be like a rollercoaster but whatever happens I would never turn my back on my grand-children. Things
have improved with my daughter once again and I hope they continue that way.
I would say do not make a big thing out of it and as you say your boys do not understand so why try to force an issue about it.
The line in your post shouts out a message to me where you have written "my parents could try to poison their minds" it says so much and it does seem that you have fully made up your mind about your parents so just estrange it may be for the best.

Hithere Sun 19-Apr-20 15:56:04


This is a great and sad opportunity to teach kids that some people, regardless of dna link or friendship, are not always a good fit in life.

It will teach your kids to trust their instincts instead of normalizing dysfunction.

I have told my kids, who are daycare age- your mother's parents are tricky people. I dont want them to hurt you.
They said: " ok mommy"
Never to be asked again in months.

When they get older and if they ask, I will adapt my explanation to a more age appropriate approach.

Google tricky people.

Smileless2012 Sun 19-Apr-20 19:44:02

I agree with Hetty, there's no need to tell your children anything, just answer any questions they may have about the GP's they don't see if and when they arise.

Hetty58 Sun 19-Apr-20 20:08:43

Hithere, I don't agree with your choice of words at all. 'I don't want them to hurt you' just plants that idea in their heads. They could have nightmares.

I just told my four, who rarely saw my mother, that she was 'Ill in her head' so not to take any notice when she said mean things - as she really couldn't help it.

Just once, my youngest did retaliate with 'I don't care what you say. I'm young and beautiful - and you're old and ugly!'