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Raising Grandchildren

(19 Posts)
GLoriaT Sat 29-Aug-20 00:58:00

I understand raising your grandchildren is becoming more and more frequent. My daughter passed away 5 years ago and she had at that time a 6 and 3 year old. There was no one else to raise the kids, and we certainly weren’t going to have them go to an orphanage, so we began raising them.

My husband and I have had children separately, 3 his and 2 mine, and are all grown and living their life. It certainly was not our plan to get back to raising young children but here we are.
I semi-retired, do work at home in our company business. My husband works at our business, which is 2 hrs away, so he leaves on Monday morning and returns on Friday afternoons. Difficult timing of all these things...
The challenge is, 1. My husband wants the children to be respectful & obedient, which I agree with, however whenever he’s home, he yells at them for everything and anything it seems. Sometimes the silliest things in my opinion. Yells at them for literally reading a book at the kitchen table. He also yells at them when they are being fresh or talking back. But his form of discipline is yelling and hurtful.
He also feels that we do not have “Us” anymore, although I try to go out of my way when he comes home to make things special for him. But I cant have the kids leave when he comes home!
Rather than embracing the children as ours, he makes It a point that they are ‘interrupting’ our life. And during arguments, I know he makes the kids feel this way.

We’ve been married for 20 yrs, have had our share, but through it all have been good, through working things our.. But this is different. There’s no way of ‘working out our grandchildren’. And I feel sadly that although it’s a lot of work on me mostly, and that I do feel loved by the kids, he says he doesn’t, and doesn’t feel there’s anything good about this whole situation.

Not sure what to do or how to address his concerns. They are kids, our grandkids (from my daughter), and maybe that’s the issue, but I’m certainly not going to abandon them.

Any ideas on how to help my husband trailhead this?

Bibbity Sat 29-Aug-20 01:21:25

This is a truly awful story.
You’ve lost your child and I bet you didn’t even have time to grieve before you had to step up for those children.

However. By the sounds of it. They are very much your grandchildren.
He doesn’t see them as ‘his’
He didn’t sign up for this and he feels no obligation to step up like you did.

Being honest I don’t think I could’ve done what you did for anyone other than my own children or grandchildren. His time with children is done. Now is his time to wind down and begin reaping what he had sowed.

At the bottom of all of this are two children who will already have lost their world.
They will know he doesn’t like them. They will grow up damaged from his abuse of them. Add that to the trauma of losing their mother and that doesn’t bode well.

What resources do you have around you?
Do you have your own finances?
Could the children’s aunts or uncles help while you get settled?

Unless he is willing to do a 360. You can’t have them and him.

Starblaze Sat 29-Aug-20 01:48:14

I agree that his behaviour is abusive and will harm the children who have already lost more than any child should.

You agreed to raise these children and he obviously doesn't want to start over again but that's no excuse for his behaviour. There is never an excuse for his behaviour.

You will need to step up to your responsibility and protect them from what will be a very unhappy life in this situation.

They have to come first.

Oopsadaisy4 Sat 29-Aug-20 07:47:18

When our DDs were small DH worked away all week and came home for weekends, let’s just say that the weekends were not happy times, he couldn’t adjust to the noise of our family and was grouchy and bad tempered, we couldn’t wait for him to go on a Monday morning.
When he took holidays and readjusted everything was fine, but it was a rough 2 years.
So, if you cant move the business closer to you, can you move closer to the Business, so that DH can live at home ? , if you suggest this to him , watch for his reaction, if he is against it, then I think you might have to choose, DH or your GCs. If he can live with you all , hopefully he will grow to, if not love them, then see that they are good kids.
Your GCs have been through so much, as have you, I hope that you can work it out.

sodapop Sat 29-Aug-20 08:55:10

I am so sorry you have lost your daughter GLoriaT that is hard to bear without the added difficulties you have now.
You don't mention the father of your grandchildren so I take it he is not in the picture.
Did your husband agree with you when you took the children to live with you ?

I think Oopsadaisy4 has some good points, but if this has been going on for five years it seems unlikely things will change much. The children must be very unhappy at weekends if they are subjected to this unpleasantness. I hope you can resolve this but in the end it may come down to a direct choice.

Luckygirl Sat 29-Aug-20 09:23:27

I do not think I could love a man who was unkind to my orphaned grandchildren; I really don't.

Whilst I sympathise with him as far as recognising that this was not how he wanted things to turn out, it is wholly unacceptable for him to take this out on the children. He is presumably a grown adult who can see that choices were limited and you have to do the right thing by these children.

He should not be taking his disgruntlement out on anyone at all; but should be discussing it with you in an adult way, whilst making sure that the children receive the support and love that is so vital for their development.

Personally I would ditch him - his attitude is so unpleasant that I would not want to be around him, either now or when the children have grown up and left.

timetogo2016 Sat 29-Aug-20 09:38:08

Firstly i want to say how awful and sorry i feel for your loss.secondly he is only home at weekends and makes the childrens life a misery.
What an ar..h..e
You should in my opinion take them out for hours a day when possible,they deserve better than that as if they haven`t suffered enough.
I`m glad he isn`t at home all week.
They come first for sure.

TwiceAsNice Sat 29-Aug-20 09:55:20

Taking them out may be a short time solution but they already know they are not loved by him which is awful considering they have no mother. As someone who has also lost a child my heart goes out to you over the loss of your daughter.

However I don’t think I could stay with someone who is so mean to my grandchildren. I would seriously think about how I could arrange to live apart completely.

Are there any other family at all that could help you?

Joyfulnanna Sat 29-Aug-20 10:05:14

That's abuse for sure. God! I don't know how you cope. They are innocent children who need the love of both of you. Perhaps as a start, he needs to know the definition of abuse and HE needs parenting lessons, get in touch with social services to see if there is a local class running for you both. If you don't take practical action NOW, the damage will be permanent. I agree with others.. The children come first.

DiscoDancer1975 Sat 29-Aug-20 11:31:45

Firstly, can I say how sorry I am that you lost your daughter, and commend you on how you’ve stepped in to bring up your grandchildren. It can’t be easy.
Is there any way you could live closer to your business, or could you move it closer to you? Unfortunately, second and subsequent marriages will always come with baggage, and this is his. Sorry to sound blunt. He doesn’t sound abusive, just tired from a long working week away from his wife, which he probably would rather not do. When he gets in, I expect he just wants to relax, and enjoy the weekend. It would be hard for a father, but for a grandfather, and when they’re actually not his grandchildren, it’s probably breeding contempt. Is there any way the children could stay with someone else perhaps on the occasional weekend, and then you could have some space? Where is their father? Paternal grandparents?
It sounds like you’re very loving and supportive of everyone, it must be exhausting. Maybe you need to talk to the children during the week. They are 11 and 8 now ,is that right? I’m sure they would understand that grandad is just tired, and doesn’t mean to take it out on them.
Why not make Saturday night your ‘date’ night? They would surely be close to going to bed anyway, or at least in their rooms. Sunday, you could have a family time with them, doesn’t have to be all day. Perhaps a morning somewhere.
Of course, only you know how bad things really are, and if you think it is worse than I’ve implied by what I’ve said, maybe you need to rethink the relationship. The children should come first with their parents, and ultimately you if there is no one else.
All the best to you💐

PetitFromage Sat 29-Aug-20 12:58:58

Where are the father and the other grandparents? I totally understand why you are taking care of the children, but it seems at some cost to your health and your marriage. You need some help and understanding or you will run yourself ragged.

luluaugust Sat 29-Aug-20 14:47:49

This is such a difficult situation I am so sorry. Presumably before the GC arrived to live with you, you and your husband got on well. Is there anybody, maybe your AC or any of his AC who could take the GC for the odd weekend, OH sounds tired and short tempered after working all week. Life has not turned out as he planned it in his head. I do hope you don't have to make a choice as really I can see you don't have one.

Septimia Sat 29-Aug-20 15:33:28

I can understand your husband's problem. Members of our family have worked away from home and, on their return, expected the children to behave differently from how their mother had being doing things. It is difficult and understandable that your husband wants a 'home' weekend with you. It doesn't make it right for him to be so unpleasant with the children but he's maybe struggling, too.

My DH was often badtempered with out DS - DH had spent all day teaching children of much the same age and didn't want more of it when he got home. As DS got older and into adulthood, the relationship changed completely.

So I agree with others. It's worth trying having some weekends to yourselves before you feel you have to give up. You probably need a break as well!

welbeck Sat 29-Aug-20 17:00:41

did you not have to have a social services assessment before the adoption/legal guardianship was approved.
it sounds like this was a unilateral decision on your part to take the children.
while understandable in the terrible circumstances of loss, this example shews why social services input is so vital. they have to consider the whole picture, and what is the best environment for the children overall.
maybe this is not it. they should not be yelled at; that is not a form of discipline. they obviously do not feel welcome when he is around. and they are right. and he feels snookered.
something's got to give. the situation is untenable.

Joyfulnanna Sat 29-Aug-20 22:13:49

If you are effectively bringing them up singlehandedly during the week, he needs to cut you some slack. He obviously has his weekday evenings to himself whilst you don't. You have all the organizing, homework, cooking cleaning washing, and supporting them through their own grief, as well as dealing with yours. Yes he works but so do you. Why do these men think they can come home and expect everything to suit them. Maybe see if hell discuss things from your point of view and the childrens. Kids grow so quickly, ask him if he wants to be thought of as a grumpy old git. He might need their support one day.

Curlywhirly Sun 30-Aug-20 09:46:37

I would ask him if he would feel differently if the grandchildren were his biological GC? Those children have been through enough and for him to snap and yell at them and begrudge them living with you is just awful. He is being unreasonable and childish. You have lost your daughter for goodness sake, where is his compassion? My husband worked away 4/5 days a week for years and I do understand that when they come home at weekends they just want to chill; whereas I just wanted some help! However, he never took it out on the children, he just didn't help much. It did cause a few rows, but things got better the older the children became. I would sit him down for a long conversation about your concerns: the possibility that his behaviour is damaging those already fragile children; his lack of compassion; his desire for you two to be enjoying life on your own when that just isn't a possibility at the moment; would he treat his own biological GC in this harsh way if they lived with you? You are between a rock and a hard place because of his behaviour and he needs to realise this. You are an amazing grandmother, he should be so very proud of you and be supporting you and those poor children. Shame on him.

Joyfulnanna Mon 31-Aug-20 13:25:08

Echo your comments Curly

greengreengrass Mon 31-Aug-20 13:43:14

I'm so sorry about your child.

I can see this is a difficult balance. I have a couple of things to offer. As you may have gathered I am a mother and a single parent older in my fifties and maybe near your age...

It sounds as if you have many similarities in effect at the moment you are being a lone parent to the kids whilst having the additional burden of having to deal with an uncooperative partner. My empathy it is tough enough doing this without a cooperative and empathic parnter's support, let alone doing it when the partner in question is not cooperative. A different kind of loneliness that would feel that way to me.

I don't know how you are going to do it, but what may help both is reframing the situation. Suddently being thrust into situations with young people in your fifties or older can be seen as a gift.

And in amongst all the toil and work involved when people say they 'keep you young' I kind of try to value that.

Sometimes I don't want to change and learn and sometimes I too just want a 'quiet life' whatever that is.

However I know that my DD with her vibrancy and inner beauty of youth drags me sometimes kicking and screaming into the future and sometimes even when I feel I can't go on, I do it for her even though I don't feel able to do it for myself. Whatever works...

Yes, quality time for you and DP.

I hope something of all that may be of assitance. Your DP has accumulated wisdom as you have. Maybe try to highlight to him how important and useful that might be to younger ones.

I'm sure you do that already, but some things need spelling out. If there is anything that Covid has highlighted for me it is to value what is right in front of me, rather than what I would wish for. Which is after all, not my destiny.

There is a Quaker saying which may help

'Do what love requires of you, which may not be great busyness'.

You are already doing this, it seems this is your path, with or without your DP. For your sake I hope it is together if this is what you hope for. But if need be, I'm sure you will find the strenght to go it alone.

greengreengrass Mon 31-Aug-20 13:45:16

all that of course and the practical
robot vacuum

and anything and anybody at at all which helps