S.P.A.R.C.

Separated Parenting Access & Resource Center
crazy gamesriddles and jokesfunny picturesdeath psychic!mad triviafunny & odd!pregnancy testshape testwin custodyrecipes

Author Topic: Child having difficult time dealing with Absent Grandparent  (Read 9189 times)

Fatherforever

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 54
  • Karma: -1
    • View Profile
Hello there,

Many of you know my back story... if you read through my old posts you will get a clear picture of the situation at hand.

To sum it all up, I am a custodial father of my two sons, age 5 & 7. Their mother died in May 2011 from metastatic sarcoma. She had left the family when the children  were 1 & 3 years old, and since then it had been a terrible ordeal anytime our family had dealings with her. She was hardly in their lives during her life... she abused her body and in the end refused to have the life saving surgery to remove the tumor that had been growing in her foot.

When she did have visitation with the children she would often pawn them off on her mother, the children's grandmother. She was an older version of their mother and talked negatively about myself and the children's step mother in the children's presence. She would spoil them rotten. Ultimately, the children loved going over to her house, because it meant no rules, junk food and video games all day. They would come home saying they "didn't like daddy" or that "grandma said you're a bad man" or that they wanted to live with her instead of me. They were often witness to domestic violence when they were at their grandmother's house, as she often fought with her boyfriend and the children's mother, when she was around.

When the children's mother died in May, their grandmother refused to let either myself or my wife (the children's stepmother) to come to the memorial service. She said she would pick the children up from me and return them to me after the service. I refused. Weeks went by, their grandmother pleaded with me to let her to continue to see her grandchildren. She would call constantly, leave text messages and voice mails demanding to see her grandchildren. She sent a relative to our house to talk to us about "the rules" of letting them see the children.

The children don't see that side of the family anymore. Neither of us parents, can see it in the best interests of the children. Recently, however, our 7 year old has been commenting to teachers at school that he misses his grandmother very much, but he won't speak of it at home. We have explained to him before, why his grandmother isn't around anymore, but he is taking it very hard. We don't quite know what to tell him beyond what we have already. . The children were not close to their mother, and therefore no tears were shed at her passing, but the fact that they don't see their grandmother seems to trouble them. If anyone has any thoughts or ideas, or have been in similar situations please let me know.

Thanks as always,
FF


tigger

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 7923
  • Karma: 591
    • View Profile
Re: Child having difficult time dealing with Absent Grandparent
« Reply #1 on: Nov 04, 2011, 11:25:51 AM »
It sounds like the child(ren) need to be in counseling to help them sort it out.  They may not have felt the loss of their mom but they are definitely feeling the loss of the "mother figure"/grandmother. 

This is a tough one for me as the NCP left when my brother and I were young but the CP made sure we maintained a relationship with the family.  Neither party spoke poorly of the other. 

In my case, when the father left, I made sure the boys maintained their relationship with his parents.  Again, we don't speak poorly about one another and in fact, I have a relationship with them independent of the kids.  (It has gotten back to me that they have told others that I take better care of them than their son or DIL do.  I call and check to make sure they have what they need if a storm is approaching, bring them food, etc.)

A healthy relationship with grandparents can be crucial when they hit their teen years.  For both of my boys, even when they've rebelled against their father and me, they've respected their grandparents and valued what they thought.  The key here though is that it has to be healthy.  An unhealthy one will encourage them to rebel against you and they might wind up engaging in dangerous activities.  Even if a relationship with her isn't possible, you need to get him into counseling.  Otherwise, he'll resent you for the loss and it'll make her words ring true "grandma said you're a bad man".
The wonderful thing about tiggers is I'm the only one!

mdegol

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 88
  • Karma: -8
    • View Profile
Re: Child having difficult time dealing with Absent Grandparent
« Reply #2 on: Nov 04, 2011, 01:22:44 PM »
I know you had a lot of trouble with them-it is a good reason for ex-in-laws to maintain a good relationship with their children't ex-spouses.  But....you need to be very careful here.  Just a question-did the children attend their mother's memorial then?  These types of things can end up causing you trouble in the future.  Like-when child is 20 or so might be pretty upset since they wouldn't understand were it came from.  Try to find a way for children to still have a relationship with their relatives from the mother's side of their family.  Maybe you could invite grandmother over a few times to visit them at your house?  Maybe you could mend the relationship enough so that children can still know their grandmother?  All you can do is try.  PS. At some level that's what grandparents do-spoil their grandchildren...just saying...

ocean

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 5052
  • Karma: 172
    • View Profile
Re: Child having difficult time dealing with Absent Grandparent
« Reply #3 on: Nov 04, 2011, 01:56:09 PM »
I think that the grandma was "mom" to them, and they were dealing with the loss of her in their life. Two choices I think.
1. Give her supervised time first to prove herself, she can probably get court ordered time since mom died so maybe keep it on your terms. Maybe email her that you would like the kids to see her a few times a year but that things need to change about how she talks about you/family. Offer to meet at a public place, (chuck-e-cheese?) where you can stay in the building. Is there other family on that side that you do trust that they can keep in contact with? If Grandma behaves then she can slowly have more time and unsupervised... She is not their parent, so some spoiling will occur on her time but at no point do you put up with name calling. Child can send grandma a miss you card in mail...

or

2. Keep them away for now and have them see your parents and SM parents more often. Maybe they can sleep at their other grandparents house once a month to fill the void or maybe an aunt's house? This will start new memories and they were probably used to going somewhere overnight and they lost that too.

As for the funeral, that is a parental decision and they were/are young. Maybe you can make a special weekend and explain to them that they can say goodbye to her (at cemetery? beach with balloons with note?) and give them closure. As they get older, just say that they were too young to attend without you but that you did your own special thing later. This will be good if/when grandma gets to them, they can say they did something special with you.

Fatherforever

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 54
  • Karma: -1
    • View Profile
Re: Child having difficult time dealing with Absent Grandparent
« Reply #4 on: Nov 04, 2011, 03:48:34 PM »
Thank you all the the advice.

The children did not attend the memorial service. The grandmother would not allow me to come, even to be there for the children. And I would never forgive myself if they had gone with her and came back distraught or with questions I was unable to answer. I was married to their mother for 7 years, and whatever happened in the aftermath, their grandmother would not even respect my need for closure, let alone the need for the children to have their parent with them. The memorial service was all about the grandmother, she wanted to control the situation as always. She desperately tried to step in and be their other parent.

As for any chance of them seeing her... through everything I have had to deal with in this long battle with the other family I have maintained that the choices I make for my children are based on "the best interests of the children". After their mother's passing, my wife and I deliberated on the outcome of the years of abuse the children had to endure on behalf of their grandmother and her family. We originally settled for a time of healing followed by a slow introduction back into contact with their grandmother. She refused to leave us alone and give the healing time the children needed, let alone threatened us with court action, if we did not give her one weekend a month with her. When all was said and done, we felt that this was not what the children needed in their lives.

Two weeks after the memorial service, we asked the family if she had a memorial stone at the local cemetery, but they explained they would only tell us if they could have the children for the weekend. They treated this as a game of give and take, and cared nothing for what the children felt.

As for Grandparent Right's in Washington State... there are none. She has no legal right to them, although she has tried every other tactic to get what she wants, the state would not accept any claim she has. Not to mention the 3 years of documentation we have, many of which show her parental alienation, child endangerment and child abuse in full color. She's only after what she wants, not what is best for the children, as has shown over the years of dealing with her.

They have two sets of grandparents in their lives, my parents and my wife's parents. Both treat them with respect and as grandparents should, with a little bit of spoiling on the side. The only time that my 7 year old seems to express missing his grandmother is at school. I really want to be able to sit down with him and let him ask the questions he needs to ask and get answers that will ease his mind. But I don't know how to go about this.


ocean

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 5052
  • Karma: 172
    • View Profile
Re: Child having difficult time dealing with Absent Grandparent
« Reply #5 on: Nov 04, 2011, 04:12:40 PM »
If it is just the one child with questions, take him out for dinner alone and talk to him. Ask him if he has any questions about mom or grandma, that his teacher told you that he was talking about her and that is OKAY to talk to you too. Without too much details, you can come up with a reason he is not seeing his grandma anymore. Did she take you to court or just threaten? You could say a judge says you guys need to stay with us for a while but you still have two other grandparents and xx wants you to sleepover sometimes too...
Ask him where this came from, did teacher read a book about grandparents? Maybe at a school party a grandparent came in and reminded child? Is teacher asking him? Do not grill him but have a conversation.

Is the child in school counseling? I am not a big fan of in school counseling. They bring things up, listen to other kids issues in the group, then have to go back and focus.

Fatherforever

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 54
  • Karma: -1
    • View Profile
Re: Child having difficult time dealing with Absent Grandparent
« Reply #6 on: Nov 04, 2011, 04:22:22 PM »
If it is just the one child with questions, take him out for dinner alone and talk to him. Ask him if he has any questions about mom or grandma, that his teacher told you that he was talking about her and that is OKAY to talk to you too. Without too much details, you can come up with a reason he is not seeing his grandma anymore. Did she take you to court or just threaten? You could say a judge says you guys need to stay with us for a while but you still have two other grandparents and xx wants you to sleepover sometimes too...
Ask him where this came from, did teacher read a book about grandparents? Maybe at a school party a grandparent came in and reminded child? Is teacher asking him? Do not grill him but have a conversation.

Is the child in school counseling? I am not a big fan of in school counseling. They bring things up, listen to other kids issues in the group, then have to go back and focus.


We had actually received a phone call from the school social worker. He had mentioned that he had spoken to our son a few times before his mother's death to help him confront it. And he passes him in the hall every day on his way to class. He mentioned on the phone that our son had told a couple different instructors that he misses his grandmother. He then said we should try and start a line of communication for him with his grandmother.After asking what brought this about, the social worker said he knew things had been tough since all the problems with the memorial service. I stopped him at that moment and asked where he had heard that from. We have not told anyone about the drama of the memorial service. We soon realized that the grandmother had also called the school. We reiterated to the school that under no circumstances should their grandmother be allowed to show up at their school or ask to see either of them. He confided that the school would never allow such things.

We asked him if he had continued to see our son for counseling, he denied, but says his door is always opened if a child needs him. He made us sound like we were terrible parents for keeping our son from his grandmother.

ocean

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 5052
  • Karma: 172
    • View Profile
Re: Child having difficult time dealing with Absent Grandparent
« Reply #7 on: Nov 04, 2011, 05:56:34 PM »
I was going to ask that too...about Grandma contacting school.

I would ask for an appointment with Principal and bring a typed/signed letter stating the same thing. That the school talked to a non-parent and then directly to child. That you do not want this social worker involved with child at all. If there is an issue any day, they are to call you directly. Have them put him on the "watch" list for pick-ups and watch list for school trips (look out for grandma). My building has a list right in office of all custodial issues so at dismissal they are very good about watching for those children. Make it clear that you have many issues with Grandma and the courts agreed that you have full custody. (not really their business but if Principal seems to be listening you can give her some info). Tell also, how you were made to feel about not allowing child at funeral and that the social worker has no business dealing with this without consent from you.

If after that meeting, it does not go well, pay a lawyer to write a stronger letter to the district office.

Ask child if he has played with social worker in his room lately. Casually..."hey, has Mr. XX talked to you lately at school?"

I am sure the social worker was trying to help child but at the same time the custodial parent should of been in the loop. We are not allowed to talk to grandparents at all. They can show up for parties though so ...you need to get that in writing. Also, talk directly to classroom teacher. It sounds like grandma has a few spies at school. 

MixedBag

  • Global Moderator
  • SuperHero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3049
  • Karma: 155
  • That's Me...MixedBag
    • View Profile
    • http://www.doilyboutique.com
Re: Child having difficult time dealing with Absent Grandparent
« Reply #8 on: Nov 05, 2011, 12:57:33 PM »
I am having a real hard time agreeing with this approach.... 

Particularly when I read how the step moms family are there and that there fore the children still have grandparents...
On my phone so I can't quote you exactly.

If grandma has been a pain......then do something supervised.


Fatherforever

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 54
  • Karma: -1
    • View Profile
Re: Child having difficult time dealing with Absent Grandparent
« Reply #9 on: Nov 09, 2011, 07:40:11 PM »
I am having a real hard time agreeing with this approach.... 

Particularly when I read how the step moms family are there and that there fore the children still have grandparents...
On my phone so I can't quote you exactly.

If grandma has been a pain......then do something supervised.



There is no situation involving this woman that will end well for the children.

Parental Alienation - we tell her to stop, she does it through other family members.

Buys my son a gun, I say I don't want him near a weapon, she tells my son to keep it a secret and not tell me.

Picks my son up from school, when they mistakenly call her for parent pick up when he was supposed to go to YMCA after school care. I call her to tell her to bring him home, she refuses and drops him off at 9:25pm when I finally threaten to call the cops.

Has the children call her boyfriend, "father" when they are with her.

BTW, this woman doesn't let the children call her grandma, they have to call her Mema. She doesn't want people to think she is old enough to be a grandma.

Best interests of the child... not right now.

 

Copyright © SPARC - A Parenting Advocacy Group
Use of this website does not constitute a client/attorney relationship and this site does not provide legal advice.
If you need legal assistance for divorce, child custody, or child support issues, seek advice from a divorce lawyer.