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Trapped in an impossible situation...

(62 Posts)
Mamma66 Sun 21-Jul-19 06:26:58

I have posted about this before, so apologies for that, but we feel so trapped and can see no way out.

We have three grandchildren aged seven, five and almost three. Their parents very dysfunctional relationship broke down 18 months ago. Both are poor parents; each in their own way and until recently the children have been under Child Protection. The children live with their Mum and come to us every other weekend. It used to be 5pm Friday to 5pm Sunday, but we reduced this recently to 1pm Sunday.

We love the children dearly and told both parents a year or so ago that we would always put the children first even if this meant raising concerns with Social Services.

The children are lovely, love coming to us and really benefit from the stability and routine we give them. We love them so much but are shattered. We have to supervise contact with their father although this will end soon. Whilst he loves them in his own way the reality is that he isn’t prepared to actually parent. No matter how much we try to make him he doesn’t actually spend any time with them when they’re here. Last time he spent about three hours with them over the whole weekend which is more than usual.

The oldest child is really starting to clash with her Mother. She is a very bright little girl and whilst she has been fiercely loyal to her Mum I think she is beginning to recognise her shortcomings. She is starting to say regularly that she doesn’t want to live with Mum and actually means it.

We have always been petrified of them going into Care, mainly because we feared they would be split up and they love each other dearly. I can’t imagine there are too many foster parents who would be in a position to take on three small children together. Social Services are not currently involved but there is a risk they’re heading that way again.

I know this sounds selfish but we are absolutely shattered. We thought that we would be supporting our Stepson for a few months but he has moved away and comes to ours to see the children. He has never spoken to us about the future but obviously intends this situation will continue for the foreseeable future. He will be coming into a lot of money next year and will probably be able to buy a house, but I can’t see much else changing. When it comes down to it he doesn’t really want to put the effort in with parenting.

We feel so trapped. We love the kids dearly but are constantly shattered. We can’t walk away as they need the stability we provide. I don’t think there is a solution we can live with, I just don’t know what to do. My husband feels the same way.

MovingOn2018 Tue 23-Jul-19 03:40:43


I suggest you 'Moveon' as you obviously have no idea what it's like to live in a dysfunctional 'family'*

And how exactly does this post help the OP?

Peonyrose Tue 23-Jul-19 06:20:40

Mamma, I think it is a lot for you but you don't really have a choice. You are both young grandparents and every other weekend gives you a break, it's only until 1 on Sunday. I would make it as good as you can for them because those children didn't ask for this. You cant walk away. The mother must be worn out, imagine doing what you are 24/7, your ss sounds a waste of space. The eldest child is only saying what she is because her mother must be stretched to the limit in everything, unfortunately the one doing the graft gets it in the neck, she doesn't mean it. You are helping those children have something to look forward to in their hard little world.
Moving on, I wish you would.
Make use of Home start,M gave a conversation with their mother, she must be desperate, your ss needs to step up and grow up, they are his children too, yet he pops his head in and leaves the work to her, you must be so ashamed of him, I know I would. Too many men walk away leaving partners at breaking point emotionally and financially.
Good luck, it's a bit hard now but it will get better.

Starlady Tue 23-Jul-19 07:13:34

Bless you and DH, Mama for being there for your GC! Same to all the other GPs here who are in similar situations. You are the heroes in their lives.

I'm so sorry their mum isn't fully responsible even now after her CPS scare. TG you and DH provide the kids w/ as much stability as you do.

I feel especially for the oldest one. Clearly, she is being made to play a parental role in many respects. Is Social Care aware of this? As close as she is to you, I understand her wanting to live w/ her other GM since she, basically, raised her, according to your comments. Does she get to see/talk to that GM very much these days?

It seems as if SS (stepson) is SC's main concern. If they only want him to have supervised contact, for whatever reason, then it's probably not a good idea for him to have the kids alone too much when that restriction is first lifted. I think he would do better to ease into parenting gradually. But from what you tell us (sigh), he doesn't even seem interested in that, anyway.

IMO, it's beautiful that you have tried to influence him to be a better parent. But, it's not your job, really, and at this point, I think you would do better to just accept who he is. In time, you may have to help the GC come to terms w/ that.

My heart aches for you and DH - and your GC. And I totally hear your comments about feeling "shattered." I'm not sure, though, if that's b/c you are so disappointed in the parents, especially SS or b/c you are finding it increasingly difficult to take care of the kids for whole weekends and don't see an end in sight. Or... Can you clarify?

I agree w/ the poster who pointed out that these dynamics will change as the kids get older and more independent, etc. There is a light at the end of this tunnel. You will get through this and probably have many fond memories as a result. Still, I know you're stressed and hope you can arrange for some help, after all. Hugs!

petra Tue 23-Jul-19 08:11:41

I like to think that my post to you showed mamma66 that I don't support your demanding post.
You demanded ( didn't ask politely) what risk
Have you any idea what's involved when children are put under a protection order? Mamma66 stated this fact in the OP.

AnfieldNannie11 Tue 23-Jul-19 20:12:28

I was in a violent and very abusive relationship with my children’s dad and when I went to his parents numerous times begging for them to help me deal with him and trying to get him the mental health assessments etc that he clearly needed they basically turned their backs and if anything blamed me for his behaviour, even telling me that I’d made him like that as I liked to feel needed and it apparently made me feel better about myself and refused to believe it was as severe as it actually was.
As I had no real relationship with my family and he’d cut me off from friends etc I never felt like I could leave him as he had me over a barrel and due to numerous threats by him saying that if I ever left him he and his parents would take my kids away and they would be awarded custody over me as I would be a single mum.
So sometimes it’s not always as easy as it seems to an outsider to get out and away from the abuser and to keep them away as you will try and do anything to keep them happy so they don’t beat the crap out of you so what you saw may not have been her putting this boyfriend above her kids but protecting them by doing whatever he said.
My wake up call was when he attacked me with a meat cleaver and had me pinned on my couch with it to my throat saying he could kill me in my sleep and he’d get away with it as he was mentally unstable and all whilst his young children were in the front room only feet away from us. And then him giving the meat cleaver to our eldest who was barely 5 at the time and telling her to go stab mummy!!
And even after all of this and having to get the police to remove him from my house his parents still didn’t believe me and kept trying to talk me into taking him back.

So have you thought that maybe the mum may be suffering from some form of ptsd from this violent relationship although you don’t mention of this was your step son or how he treated her when they were together as trust me you don’t ever fully recover from being in a relationship like that and it can still traumatise you years later and majority of ‘addicts’ drink or take drugs, as you say she smokes cannabis, could be her way of self medicating as she feel so worthless and that’s also why she may by struggling to build a relationship with your grandchildren especially if the relationship between her and her mum and/or family is strained or non existent?

It can be extremely hard being a single parent as I’ve done it with 4 children under 5 and pregnant so also feeling like people are judging you makes you feel unable to reach out if you needed help or support from anyone especially if social services were involved as she’s probably scared witless that if she admits she’s struggling to cope and needs help that social services or even you will take her kids away from her. So she’s in a no win situation as whatever way she tries she’s feeling like she’s got no one and no help and is totally alone.

Also majority of kids that do chores act and feel like it’s the absolute end of the world and will happily say how horrible mum is as they ‘have to do everything’ even though it may only be a chore like picking up after herself so your grandchild saying she wants to live elsewhere and that she does everything could only be a child over dramatising things as children often do. I know mine have all moaned and groaned over silly things over the years and still So she may be playing into your hands by saying what she knows will get a reaction out of you. As most children do. Also being the eldest and helping mum out with the younger ones isn’t that uncommon either as again majority of kids help out playing and amusing their younger siblings and also moan and groan about that too. If my lot were to be believed over the years they were my slaves and had to run my house whilst I did absolutely nothing and the youngest one of them got away with everything and never did anything even as he got So not everything is as it seems as no one knows fully what happens behind closed doors esp if your grandchildren’s mum doesn’t want you to know.


MovingOn2018 Wed 24-Jul-19 19:58:52


I like to think that my post to you showed mamma66 that I don't support your demanding post. You demanded ( didn't ask politely) what risk

You can't tell me at my intent was and conclude that I "demanded," anything. You are however free to tell me at you "perceived," from my post. And you're perception is an individual concern, so how do you know that OP also perceived this as a "demand?" So you not only judged my intent, but also felt the need assume the manner in which OP would perceive it.

Have you any idea what's involved when children are put under a protection order? Mamma66 stated this *fact in the OP.*

Not even sure what you're asking here. Unless you've rephrased this statement, or are directly asking me a question, bottom line is this doesn't make any sense to me, or hold any relevance.

But to answer your question - yes, as a trial attorney I am well versed with what happens with children once put under protective order.

If you had simply read my post with an open mind, instead of making this all about you and how you perceived my tone, OP may have got some great advice from someone who actually knows wat they are doing. But people here are so judgmental and project their hurt and " personal feelings," on others, making it impossible for anyone to get real help.

Again, how has your post helped OP? For you saying that it showed support is (once again) all about you and what you think you've done for her. At times, its perfectly okay to exercise your right to remain silent. And if in doubt, ask if one has an undertone as opposed to playing telepathic and drawing biased judgments on others. Those questions were specifically asked for a reason, thahad nothing to do with you and how you feel.

Iam64 Wed 24-Jul-19 21:32:54

Moving on, is sounds as though you’re in America. Here in the U.K. we don’t have a Protective Order, we have various Orders under the Children Act. These children haven’t been the subject of care proceedings, they were found to be at risk of significant harm (Children Act term) and their names placed on the Child Protection register. No legal proceedings, more an attempt to formalise support for the children and their family. Their names are no longer on the register because things improved. Children will always be placed with relative carers, rather than foster care where possible.
It’s clear from the OPs comments she’s well aware of all this. She is doing her best, feeling tired and worried that if the parents continue to fail their children, she and her husband may have to have full time care,
Hope that clarifies if movingon. No need to get irritated.

MovingOn2018 Thu 25-Jul-19 23:56:54


Moving on, is sounds as though you’re in America. Here in the U.K. we don’t have a Protective Order, we have various Orders under the Children Act.

Think you should be addressing Petra with this. She's the initiator of that "protection order," statement.

Hope that clarifies if movingon. No need to get irritated.

There was no misunderstanding on my end. Not sure why you'd assume this, then conclude that I'm irritated over anything. Again, I know why I asked OP those specific questions - (which she does NOT have to answer) and if you've closely followed this posts, she's carefully made sure not to answer or touch on any of them. Social services doesn't just drive around peoples homes with the sole intent of being nosey for they have nothing else to do. Somebody has to call them, and I highly doubt that the school initiated that call.

GoodMama Sat 27-Jul-19 03:04:15

Mamma66, My heart goes out to all of you. What a tough situation. Bless you and your DH for doing what you can for these children. I can imagine it is hard on you and him. It's a constant roller coaster of emotion, I'm sure you never know the state of the children when you are about to receive them.

And they live in a constant state of uncertainty. Just truly heartbreaking.

You say your step son isn't interested (no judgement on him, it is what it is. You can't force someone to be something they are not). The children's moth doesn't sound stable and has been on the verge of having them removed. Her mother is at her whits end. This is truly a case of a village trying to raise these poor kiddos caught up in circumstances not of their making.

I ask this gently, but is there anyone else in the family who could take them full-time? The kids need stability and to be able to be kids. I understand wanting to keep them out of the system, especially if they are likely to be split up.

I know their mother hasn't given up rights, but if she were to lose them I wonder if there could be a plan in place to prevent the children being split up. They are awfully young and it's a long time left for her to be a mom. She doesn't sound anymore interested than your stepson.

Hugs to you.

starbird Sat 27-Jul-19 11:12:37

It cannot be assumed that the children would be split up if they went into foster care, however, they may be the only thing keeping their mother on the straight and narrow. It is a truly difficult situation requiring the wisdom of Soloman to solve, but I will say this: you said that your son is coming into some money next year - if they know this the court might decree that a good portion of that is put by for the children, either for when they are adults or to draw down as needed before then for education etc. The account should be handled by someone outside of the family. Also, if he is not already doing so, your son should be paying you something for having the children on his behalf. Again, if you are not already doing so, consider getting someone from a trustworthy agency to clean and do the ironing once a week for you on a day you are at work, so that you have less to do at weekends. The childrens’s mother should do the same. At least if not in person, your son must take responsibility in his pocket!
But looking on the positive side, not all men ( or even women) get on with small children, but as the children get older they find them more interesting. Perhaps this will happen with your son. Also, as he comes to you to see them, he may feel ashamed and/or embarrassed about the supervision order and what has happened in the past and/or that you are judging him as a parent - perhaps he is disguising his real feelings by pretending he doesn't care, when really he needs love and encouragement? I apologise if this is way off the mark, of course you should know your son best.
Even if, at the end of the day the children are split up, it is not necessarily such a disaster. How close are you to your sisters/brothers once you are married or before? Often friends become closer than family. What is bad is when people are split up and have no contact - they look back and imagine a rose tinted life of happiness if only they had known their long lost father/mother/sister/brother etc when in reality life may have been no better or possibly worse if they had been around. The main thing is to keep some contact which hopefully they could do by getting together occasionally with a parent and or grandparent.
Do you know how the other grandparent(s) cope? Do they also work?

paddyann Sat 27-Jul-19 11:29:09

Believe me starbird its a huge issue splitting siblings .My father and his 2 sisters and brother were all sent to seperate homes when their mother died during WW11 .They would all have told you how awful it was for them,they hated the homes they were in and worried about the others and how they were being treated .My aunts and uncle never lived together when they came out of care,they each in turn lived with us for a while until they were able to manage alone ...but they all longed for a family they lost all their lives.In my opinion these childrens FATHER needs to step up or to pay for help for his Parents...although 48 hours a fortnight doesn't seem much to me when the mother has them the other 12 DAYS its not the mothers place to pay for time her ex should have them , if the OP finds it hard work her SS must be made to care for HIS children