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Grandparent worries about grandchild

(45 Posts)
SuzyC Wed 06-Jan-21 15:03:09

I feel like crying and it's not about covid-19. A couple of years ago my DD starting dating a guy who she told me was better than being on her own. He is selfish and rude and none of the family like him; as far as we can see he is using her as a friend with benefits. Worse still my DD has become more selfish since being with him. If this was all I would just let her get on with it and hope that before long she would wake up and smell the coffee, but it's not. DD has a daughter that we have responsibility for part of the week so that she can work. Before the relationship DD and DGD were very close but now DGD is pretty much told to just get on with playing 'happy families'. It breaks my heart though when DGD opens up to me about how unhappy she is but Mummy won't listen to her or gets angry. How do I cope with this and move forward.
PS I also had a close and loving relationship with DD before this but not anymore.

EllanVannin Wed 06-Jan-21 15:38:05

A difficult one. Unless you can prove that your DGD is being neglected or deprived in any way, there's nothing you can do.
Your DD is an adult so therefore you can't interfere.
Just keep the ongoing contact with your DGD and hope that things improve.

eazybee Wed 06-Jan-21 16:33:18

Listen to your granddaughter but try not to pass comment and appear as supportive of your daughter as possible. Your granddaughter is able to see you regularly and you are her constant in a troubled time; she feels safe and secure with you and you must do everything to preserve that, even if it means avoiding antagonising your daughter.
She is probably glad that you take her child as it means more time with her new partner; don't do anything to rock the boat. Very sad.

Toadinthehole Wed 06-Jan-21 16:35:32

How old is your granddaughter? It’s really hard...but as EllanVannin says, there’s not much you can do. She is your daughter’s child. Have you told your daughter that your granddaughter opens up to you? Or could it potentially cause more problems for your granddaughter? You have her for part of the week, so make that the best you can. Depending on her age, she could possibly understand that you have no authority, but you’re always there for her. Hopefully this relationship will fizzle out. In fact, if it’s destined to happen, the less you say, the quicker the relationship could fizzle out. Where is your granddaughter’s father? Could he help? Is he happy with his little girl having this man in her life? Do they all live together? I think it’s a case of waiting. At least she’s with you for some of the time. So sorry... I do hope it changes soon💐

sodapop Wed 06-Jan-21 17:15:16

You are in a difficult position SuzyC your daughter has her own life to lead but if this relationship is impacting negatively on your granddaughter then you are right to be concerned. As Toadinthehole said does the child's father have much input in her life may be he would support her a bit more. Don't make a big issue out of this yet things may settle down or fizzle out. Let your granddaughter know you will be there for her without criticising. I hope things improve for you soon.

polnan Thu 07-Jan-21 09:50:04

yes, how old is GD?

sunnybean60 Thu 07-Jan-21 09:51:51

I also agree with the above to take care that you continue being the constant in your grandchild's life and also a support for your daughter. Many of us have been in similar situations where life seems dire with no way out. Keep calm, show compassion and off load here. Life can change again so have hope. Sending 💐

TillyWhiz Thu 07-Jan-21 09:53:36

As someone from a difficult home who needed the refuge of my grandparents home at times, I would suggest you concentrate on your granddaughter and make sure you give her a safe place for her to come to if needed. She needs someone to unload to so do not tell her mother what you are told, it would just cause more problems between you all.

Natasha76 Thu 07-Jan-21 10:01:42

Firstly don't say it "breaks your heart when your GD opens..." that is the most important job you have to listen to her and let her feel she can talk to you. She doesn't need your sympathy she needs your help and support. If this is something you feel unable to do perhaps you could explore with your GD in conversation who else she is close to that could fill that role. She must not feel she is upsetting you otherwise she will avoid sharing her feelings with you in respect of this issue and will become more isolated.
Its also important to remain impartial and not criticise her mother or this other chap to her as she has to have a continuing day to day relationship with both of them which will get better and worse throughout time and it will only make things more difficult if she remembers anything derogatory that you have said.
You don't mention her age but teenagers can have something major one day that is the end of the world for them that's all OK the next day.
Just listen and keep an eye open - keeping channels open for her is a huge job.

BridgetW Thu 07-Jan-21 10:02:10

I understand your heartbreak BUT remember that you are doing the most important job you've ever had to do and you're doing it well. Not only has DGD a trusted loving adult she can confide in, you are also providing an alternative role model so when she is a mother herself - if that's her choice - then she will consciously or unconsciously think about how you do it. What you are doing right now, the love you're showing and the consistent day in day out reliability you offer will allow her to develop into the adult she is capable of being. Whatever happens keep that contact going. Be her emotional shelter. Never bad mouth her mother but be the person you are. You are doing a wonderful job.

nipsmum Thu 07-Jan-21 10:11:56

I'm sorry you have to cope with this but try to remember we have all complained at sometime about our mum not listening to us and not allowing us to do anything. You don't say how old your granddaughter is. Please try not to interfere in a family , it rarely helps.

Riggie Thu 07-Jan-21 10:16:36

I'd be there to listen but keep comments as neutral as possible - acknowledging your GDs feelings eg "I'm sorry to hear you feel like that" but without passing judgement

I will also stick my neck out here. Its possible that your GD is just going through a "normal" phase moaning about her Mum, or that her nose is out of joint because she no longer has Mum's full attention: and that your feelings about the man are colouring your own response.
Be there for your GD (and your DD if it all goes wrong) but keep an open mind.

crazygranny Thu 07-Jan-21 10:22:23

Very sorry to hear all this. You have a close and loving relationship with your DGD, keep that going and focus only on that. Remember, they don't stay children forever and there may come a time when DGD decides she has had enough and wants to live elsewhere. She will need someone she trusts to support and advise her. DD is an adult and free to wreck her own life which she seems to be doing pretty successfully. Don't put pressure on her - just be there as you always have in case she needs you.

Grandchildren2 Thu 07-Jan-21 10:28:30

This can be a grandparents nightmare. I have had a very sad experience of this. Support your grandchild as much as possible be vigilant and very attentive to what she says as there could be more going on. It's easy for complaints to become "normalised" in families. I don't mean to alarm you and I am not suggesting that there is any protection concerns but you are an important ear. " the voice of the child" is important. If you are concerned speak to the NSPCC anonymously to discuss your concerns with a professional. Sometimes the feelings of responsibility and disempowerment can take their toll on a grandparent. I hope this helps.

Gingster Thu 07-Jan-21 10:31:52

I had a similar situation with my DD and GD.
MUM had another man and then had twins so 3 yr old GD was very unhappy living there. Her dad was very supportive and had her with him as much as he could. I had her a lot as well. At the age of 11 she decided she wanted to live permanently with her dad. He moved heaven and earth to get this to happen and she was like a different child. Happy and settled. She refused to see her mum for over 2 years but I looked after her and made sure she saw her siblings with mums approval. My DD was heartbroken and subsequently broke away from the partner who was nasty. GD is now 18 and at University. She sees her mum but it’s more like an auntie/ niece relationship. Her dad is her rock! We still have a very strong bond with her and she sends me beautiful cards and gifts saying ‘what would I do without you’? She gave me an angel with the message ‘who needs a fairy godmother, when I’ve got my nanna’ 😢.
You will always have a strong bond with your GD and as she gets older, things will improve. 🙏

4allweknow Thu 07-Jan-21 10:33:45

Your prime concern is your GD and you are doing all you can by supporting her. As frustrating as it must be that's all you can do, a safe haven with no judgement of your DD being passed on. Does your GD have contact with any other family members eg Aunts, cousins who nay also be aware of GDs home life. Sometimes a sister/brother can pass comment more easily than a parent. As mentioned in other posts, does GDs father play a part in her life. He would be best placed to raise any concerns.

Newatthis Thu 07-Jan-21 10:35:38

This is a situation that none of us would ever want so my heart goes out to you. He seems very controlling and therefore he will probably be trying to turn her against family members. I have not had experience personally of this so cannot offer advice but I have had friends who have been with controlling men. I think the new expression is 'Gaslighting'. I would seek professional advice from an organisation who might be able to help. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

kwest Thu 07-Jan-21 10:44:04

Dear SuzyC you are already doing a brilliant job of holding things together and following your gut feeling of non-intervention. I wonder if you could offer to have your GD for an extra night or day id it would help. It could be phrased as it would give your daughter a bit more quality time with ..........(the man) and she would know that you would take good care of her daughter. You could infer that GD is good company for you. Keep it light and upbeat, perhaps they would like to have the odd weekend away by themselves. If she is amenable to the idea, very slowly and gently the balance could tip so that GD spends more time with you.
When GD is with you, keeping an atmosphere of peace, love and harmony will give her confidence and will 'ground' her so that she has a model in her head of what a happy home means. This is invaluable for her development. Things might settle down eventually with your daughter and GD will be in a better space emotionally to re-integrate with her mother. At the same time always be aware that your daughter could be slightly jealous and resentful of the amount of attention that her daughter is receiving from you and may see that as robbing her of your attention. Emotions are not always in tune with practicality. So even if you don't 'like' your daughter very much at the moment, she still needs to know how much you love her. She may be under the influence of this partner of hers and she needs to know that 'Mum' will always be there for her, even if she messes up at times. I'm sure you know all of this anyway but when we are stressed a reminder can help.

Rutheleanor Thu 07-Jan-21 10:44:27

Just to say I’m so sorry for your heart break.

Ellie666 Thu 07-Jan-21 10:45:31

Am I the only one putting the child first here, WHY is everyone saying ''There is nothing you can do'', for Gods sake the child is unhappy and her mother gets angry when the child tells her so. Very BAD parenting and the grandmother just stands back and lets that happen and the person who actually said ''Don't make a big issue out of this'' is more pathetic than the grandmother. Do something about it woman your grand-daughter is unhappy and nobody id listening to her. Just what is this going to do to her as she gets older, a miserable teenager, an angry grown-up. Talk to your daughter the next time she wants you to look after the child when she has to work, tell her how worried you are about the child and how unhappy the child really is, then give her the ultimatum, sort it out or you will take it to higher authorities. It is the only way to ensure this child has a happy childhood not a miserable one and as the grandmother who looks after her it is your responsibility to ensure this happens. Too many people these days turn a blind eye when a child is not being listened to. So do what you are there for, to look out for your grandchildren.

Seefah Thu 07-Jan-21 10:45:44

If it was me I would be offering to have GD spend even more time with me while your DD works through her stuff with this man. If she’s besotted with the guy let her have him to herself. Takes a village to bring up a child and our nuclear family view is not always that healthy.

Juicylucy Thu 07-Jan-21 10:50:52

Good advise already given. Ginster your post made me well up and smile at the same time, very touching.

Luckygirl Thu 07-Jan-21 10:52:22

I think you have had all the right advice here - let her lean on you but do not take sides. The prime aim here is for your DGD to maintain access to your support. If you say too much then DD could cut off contact with you, which would leave DGD unsupported.

One of my DDs had a friend whose mother moved around from partner to partner, and this poor child was required to fall in and out of love with the succession of men as dictated by her mother. She used our place as a bolthole, as did her brother - we said nothing about the situation she was in but just concentrated on making sure she had positive input from all of us - she used to holiday with us. She was a sort of "honorary daughter" and we loved her, and indeed still do.

When my OH died last year she cancelled her holiday to be at the funeral, as she wished to pay her respects to someone who had shared in supporting her in difficult times.

I am sure that you can be this person for your DGD. And I wish you good luck and strength in playing this important role.

Franbern Thu 07-Jan-21 10:55:18

I went through a similar scenario some years back. My Daughter was in relationship with a man who was so jealous of everything she did and everyone she saw (including me), and would have bouts of violence when he thought she was doing something.

She had a young daughter and all I could do was to be there for them both. Listen to my g.daughter and be there for her. Also to be there for my daughter - and eventually it did all work out. She got rid of him, loads of problems he caused then, but eventually she actually had to get the Police to warn him off for harrassment of both herself and me.

Both my daughter and g.daughter are well past this now and it has had no long-lasting effect on either of them or on my relationship with them both.

Just be there to be the safety net at all times to both of them.


ajswan Thu 07-Jan-21 11:04:20

Oh absolutely right Ellie 666, I sometimes get exasperated with some of the namby pamby answers on here. Too many children suffer because someone near to them does not take action. I have rattled a few feathers before when I have said that some Social Workers for example in the most horrific abuse cases should be charged with neglect and misconduct, when there may be parents who have know idea and are cruel to the child and the Social Worker is the child’s only source of support. I am not saying this abuse is happening in this case, but this child is unhappy and needs help, she is confiding in her Grandmother and the Grandmother should seek advice from someone on how to help this child and quickly. The main danger is that the Daughter May stop the Grandmother from seeing the child, so softly softly and try to find out more about the Daughters partner, is he a safe person to be around the child, worse is that the child may not be telling everything that is happening to her.