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Grandparenting

Worried about Granddaughter

(32 Posts)
Grannythree Thu 08-Oct-20 16:45:45

My DS and his family moved to America 2 years ago for a 4 year contract. I have visited twice but it’s a year since I last saw them. We have had regular contact via FaceTime and sometimes one to on chats with my eldest GD who is 7. Recently my DS has chatted when only the younger GD who is 4 is around. He texted me today to say the eldest GD is struggling with life and missing family in the UK. They want to keep her away from FaceTime for a while. While I respect their decisions regarding their children I don’t knoW how i can help. I’ve suggested I write to her or send her little parcels, which I have done in the past but my DS and DiL haven’t responded. If my GD is missing us i don’t see how removing contact with us will help but I won’t contact her without my DS approval. Any ideas?

MissAdventure Thu 08-Oct-20 17:08:26

I think the only idea really is to stay out of contact until you're told otherwise.
It must be difficult, though.

AGAA4 Thu 08-Oct-20 17:08:55

Grannythreewhat a sad situation. It sounds as though your GD is getting upset after facetime when you have suddenly gone and no hugs.
I know you have to respect the wishes of your son and DiL but I am not sure whether no contact with you is a good thing for her.
Are you able to contact your son and discuss how you can keep contact that wont cause more upset? I know you have asked if you can send letters and they haven't responded but are you able to talk to him and find out what is happening with your GD.

Smileless2012 Thu 08-Oct-20 17:12:41

Wont no contact with you just make it harder for your GD Grannythree? IMO it will. I think AGAA's advice is excellent.

Sending letters I would have thought was a good idea; I wonder why your son and d.i.l. haven't come back to you on that suggestion.

MissAdventure Thu 08-Oct-20 17:16:41

I can understand why no contact might be the best idea for a little while.
I would leave it, because it sounds as if they have a plan in place.

Whatdayisit Fri 09-Oct-20 10:13:03

That is really sad. My grandma kept letters that i had written to her when they visited Australia for 3 months in 1980 which felt like a lifetime apart for me then aged 8.
I can't understand why letters wouldnt be ok. So sad. I wouldn't go against your son's wishes. It seems quite harsh do you think they are maybe planning to stay longer now and are not ready to announce it yet.

oodles Fri 09-Oct-20 10:33:36

Wasn't that the reasoning behind parents not being able to visit children in hospital back in the day because the children were upset after seeing the parents so it was thought that if they didn't see them often they would be upset less. When it was realised that actually the children were upset all the time but it was most visible after their parents had visited, this changed and children felt less abandoned when they saw their parents more often, so were happier [although obviouisly not happy about being in hospital]
I'd personally worry that this was only masking the symptoms of your granddaughter's upset about not being home, and whether she will worry that you don't want to see her. Especially in this difficult time when everything is different and she may be upset about many things. But what to do. Well it's only facetime that has been stopped, and no one has said no letters so why not letters and a few little bits for both children you can send photos and let them know how you are thinking about them and how difficult it is here with coronavirus, and what is happening here with schools and how different halloween is going to be this year and what will be happening in your town instead. Obviously no promises that you'll see them again cos you don't know when, but stuff that she can look at later on and keep in her drawer and take out and look at at any time. Don't expect anything back, or put any pressure on her to get in contact with you. You could maybe put some little things in like stickers. Try and put pretty commemorative stamps on the letter,
Maybe send postcards too. She will be upset even with no facetime, and most children love getting something in the post.

trisher Fri 09-Oct-20 10:51:07

I don't understand how you not speaking to her will make her more settled or happier. It may of course mean she manages to be less upset but just because you don't see her unhappiness doesn't mean it has gone away. I think I would have found this easier to accept if it had happened in the first few weeks after they left, but 2 years seems an awful long time for things to be OK and then go wrong.
That said I'm not sure you can do anything about this. Her parents are the ones in control. Don't do anything to upset them. It might be a good idea to contact your son and say you are happy to go along with his rules but would it be possible for him to send you updates and photos, and could you send things to her through him, so he is happy and you know she is. If you do write to her keep everything light hearted and happy and don't keep saying you miss her. I would also drop big hints to your DS about her school and is she happy there? It may be that she has transfered her worries from one part of her life to another. Good luck and hope things are better soon.

cornergran Fri 09-Oct-20 10:59:50

It must be heartbreaking grannythree, I’m also in the camp that if your granddaughter is upset then whether she has contact with you or not then upset she will be. I also agree you must abide by her parents wishes. Leave it a few days and ask if there’s anything you can do to help with what must be a difficult situation for them. I imagine your son and daughter in law are having some difficult feelings of their own. Like trisher I’m wondering what else is going on, it is perhaps easier to explain being miserable as missing you than talk about the real cause - what she is really struggling with in life. It’s hard I know but try to stay quiet for now and then gently resume contact with the adults, checking on a good time for a chat with them. Let us know how it goes, wishing you well.

mariella22 Fri 09-Oct-20 11:04:51

Your story strikes a chord with me. My DS and DIL and 2 DGDs moved to the Middle East for work last year . Before they went the girls , aged 5 and 7 saw some fairy postcards on my ipad. I have a box of them .They loved them so I promised to send them postcards to let them know I was thinking about them . However where they live they not do home delivery post and but can get a PO box number . After messaging DS and DIL a fewtimes asking if they could let me know an address to send the cards , they said they weren't getting one as not needed, everything on email . They got an email for the older DGD So I have taken photos of 2 fairy cards , one each with a little message to keepin touch every month . But they have not encourage the girls to reply . We zoomed a few time and I asked if they liked the postcards . And maybe they could write a little note back to me but my DIL said .. Oh they are very busy with homeschooling and don't have the time .
I still send them and have got used to how it is but I was pretty gutted as I have written letters all my life and kept in touch with friendly postcards to friends , not from exotic places , just from home . It is so lovely to get a personal card or letter .It's hard but it is as it is and we are glad they are liking their new home abroad . No chance of a visit now in the near future but we are very fortunate compared to some I know

NemosMum Fri 09-Oct-20 11:17:51

Sorry, but I just think that sounds peculiar! How can keeping her away from FaceTime help her? Perhaps it is your son and DIL who are afraid of the emotion engendered. Are they getting some advice regarding her issues with 'settling'? Seven is the age at which children start to be able to ponder wider issues, and perhaps she is a particularly sensitive child. I would be consulting a professional is the distress levels are high. Hope things improve.

Urmstongran Fri 09-Oct-20 11:27:26

I think the parents are being mean.

JaneRn Fri 09-Oct-20 12:00:22

Something rather odd about this situation. Are the parents not telling you the whole story? Are there other issues which they do not want you to know about? From this distance there is not a lot you can do except to continue contact with the parents and hope that they will eventually be more forthcoming. What a desperately worrying time for you, as if we didn't have enough to cope with already.

crazygranny Fri 09-Oct-20 12:01:29

Stick with your idea of gifts and letters. There's nothing quite like a surprise to cheer someone up.

Toadinthehole Fri 09-Oct-20 12:56:18

It’s difficult, but you have to go along with their wishes for now. They are the parents, and most likely trying lots of different ways to deal with it.

Davida1968 Fri 09-Oct-20 13:13:50

I agree fully with oodles. I'd certainly send things by post; perhaps this is all that you can do in this situation, at the present time. I do hope that you are soon able to FaceTime again with your DGD.

mariella22 Fri 09-Oct-20 13:27:31

As I said I don't have an option to send by post sadly . Hard to keep in touch this end .

Jillybird Fri 09-Oct-20 13:43:18

I agree with others - I can understand why the parents think it's the right way forward and have enormous sympathy for their view, but they are wrong. I still feel resentful that my mum wouldn't let me go to my grandfather's funeral when I was 9. She said "It's no place for children" trying to spare me the pain, but I'm a person who needs symbolic rituals, so all I felt was left out and unable to close the door. Having said that, you cannot go against the parents' wishes. I'm guessing you may have to be very upbeat when you are allowed contact? It's no good saying you miss her, you'll need to put on a cheery face and ask what exciting things she's doing. Tell her a few silly jokes, that sort of thing. It looks as though you already have the right idea in sending stuff by post. I know it rips our hearts out but we have to act like mad. I had a sleepless night last night myself, worrying about my own granddaughter! I'm planning to post a question on here shortly. X

Caro57 Fri 09-Oct-20 13:47:21

That’s very hard for you - and GD - if your son is right I hope he is making sure GD knows it is they who are making her avoid FTime rather than you now wanting the contact........

Hithere Fri 09-Oct-20 14:02:35

There could be something else that is affecting your 7 y.o. gd and the facetime is exacerbating it.

Pandemic here in the US is getting worse and the way it is managed, I don't see the way out anytime soon.

Maybe your gd has issues with how school is going, unable to play with friends locally, etc.

Follow the parents' lead and support them. They are also going through a hard time as well, not just your gd.

Grancan Fri 09-Oct-20 14:09:41

It seems a harsh response by DS and makes me wonder if it’s for the parents’ benefit rather than GD. I’ve been told by my daughter that the modern way is to help the children express how they feel, acknowledge they’re upset and help them cope with their emotions not suppress them. For example, if GD is upset after FaceTime with you the parents help her put it into words and assure her it’s ok, that this feeling will pass and in the meantime she can turn to them for comfort. I think that’s healthier than cutting off contact but does put emotional pressure on parents too.
I live away from GC and love sending postcards and little gifts. I hope you’re allowed to do that, surely it’s good for GD to know you care no matter what.

icanhandthemback Fri 09-Oct-20 16:30:24

How do children learn resilience if they don't learn to face difficult moments. Unless you are talking about how much you miss them, how difficult it is, etc., I can't see how not talking will help. Support to cope with the difficulty would be much more suitable.

Callistemon Fri 09-Oct-20 17:10:20

Wasn't that the reasoning behind parents not being able to visit children in hospital back in the day because the children were upset after seeing the parents so it was thought that if they didn't see them often they would be upset less.
Yes, I think it was oodles and it seems a very old-fashioned view now.

It may be that your DGD does get upset after you've had a Facetime chat and they have to spend time calming her and reassuring her. However, I think it would be better to stay in contact rather than have her thinking you've forgotten her.
Have you been upbeat and positive when you've chatted to her or has she sensed that you feel unhappy too?

I wonder if something else is going on here as they've been there for two years already without a problem. Has she changed schools? Is she being bullied at school?

I would post little notelets, chatty news and perhaps little gifts to cheer her up, and to the younger child too.

sparklingsilver28 Fri 09-Oct-20 17:29:53

It is sad and regrettable your S and DIL have made such a decision.

My lovely GS' as little boys cried for days when they left me to go home 300 miles away. My D understood and encouraged them to telephone and talk to me as much as they liked, and within a few days they would settle to life at home until the next time.

Your dear little GD will feel she is being punished for missing her grandparents - how cruel.

Callistemon Fri 09-Oct-20 17:40:43

Poor child, she will be promising to try not to cry after speaking to her Granny and holding it all in.

I wonder if you could talk to your DS again about this, Grannythree?