Grandparents raising the grandkid...advice?????

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by judi, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. judi

    judi Active Member

    Okay - difficult child's x-girldfirned has fight with her mother end of June and moves out and into the apartment of a man. At this tiny apartment, there is difficult child's x-girlfriend, her boyfriend, 3 of his 5 children (from three different relationships) and my grandson and his sister. My grandchildren don't have beds! The little girl who is 4 sleeps with the 16 y/o daughter, the baby sleeps in a playpen. He doesn't have his walker or his high chair.

    It is clean and I know they have the baby cared for because we take care of everything for him. There is no abuse involved.

    So...what I want to know is this: husband and I are willing to keep our grandson and grand-daughter too until their Mom can get herself a place. I doubt that she would go for anything legal. We would just like to make sure our grandson is taken care of. How would you phrase this to the x-girlfriend? We have not told difficult child our proposed plans whatsoever - we rarely see him and he has not paid any support for this child.

    Advice??
     
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Whatever you decide, I wish you good luck. There is no doubt that it is difficult watching from the outside. Equally there are many difficulties when you are involved daily. Sending hugs.
    DDD
     
  3. TYLERFAN

    TYLERFAN New Member

    See an attorney.
    Listen to DDD.
    I am so glad my grandson now resides with me.
    Best wishes.

    Blessings,
    Melissa :angel:
     
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Do you have a good relationship with the mother? Maybe you could just let her know that if there is space issues where she's living at now, you'd be happy to let the grandkids stay with you til they find a bigger place.

    It can be rough when you're right in the middle of it, yet really have no power to do anything. Wishing you tons of luck however you decide to jump.

    Hugs
     
  5. judi

    judi Active Member

    Thanks guys. Yes, I do have a pretty good relationship with the Mom. She is a nice girl, just a little mixed up. No drugs or alcohol or anything like that. She just doesn't always make the best decisions.

    Of course, like you all have pointed out I'm on the outside picking things to pieces. I like the idea of just offeering a place for the kids to stay.

    As to an attorney, this poor baby doesn't even have our last name - my son left her the day before she gave birth, doesn't sent support or even see the baby much. I am hoping this changes.
     
  6. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I think offering to take the kids if space is an issue is a good thing to do. I would not think the mother would take you up on your offer, unless you are willing to host her too, until she can get on her feet again. We have learned that, however much they love us and however much more stable our own home may be, the kids want to be with their mother.

    It seems more chaotic, looking in, than it feels to the children living in the chaotic situation, I think.

    We have taken our grandchildren from time to time. We were good to them, and we all got through it, but the relationship a child has with a young mother (or father) is very different than the relationship established with grandparents.

    And, once you are raising the child, your role as a grandparent changes from something very special to the day to day responsibilities of raising the children. husband and I found that going back to the nurturing parent role affected our relationship adversely, too. At a time in our lives when we should have been exploring ourselves, our relationship, new friends and interests, we were back to raising children, again. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime snacks, special time for friends and carpooling and everything that comes with parenting children were overwhelming to us after having been on our own for a few years. We needed to homeschool too, because we did not have legal guardianship and the local school would not allow us to enroll the kids there. (Crazy, huh? Especially with the taxes we pay, here! Legally, the school system can do that, apparently ~ at least they can, here.)

    What we do is keep ourselves mentally prepared to take the kids again if we need to. We all get it though, that the best place for the kids to be is with their mother ~ however crazy it looks to us from the outside. (The kids had abandonment issues when they came to live with us ~ however kind we were, however much more stable our household seemed than the chaos the kids had come out of...kids want to be with their mothers. They do not understand what feels to them like having been sent away.)

    We help the family financially, so they can stay together, and so the kids will have what they need. We pay for lessons, we sometimes pay car insurance, we help with school clothes, and we are a back up source of funding in emergencies.

    We also functioned as emotional anchors for the kids during the time their worlds were so horribly unstable.

    Your role in this child's life can be that of an unwavering source of loving acceptance. Your home can be a place for him or her to go and be welcomed and cherished whatever is happening in the primary residence.

    A safe, loving place somewhere in the world where people you trust wait for you and remember you and cherish you.

    Our grandchildren are remarkable stable, considering all they have been through. They are wonderful children, growing well and doing well. We are very important to them, and we talk to them almost daily.

    But there is no question that the kids want to live with their mother.

    Another thing we do to remind the kids that we are out here, loving and thinking about them, even if we haven't seen them lately, is to send little things in the mail frequently.

    Sometimes, just a card with a stick or two of chewing gum inside.

    So, my take on this is that grandparents can function as irreplaceable sources of safety, love, and encouragement BETTER when the kids do not live with us.

    The role of grandparent can sometimes carry more influence than the parenting role we are sometimes required to take on.

    Buying clothing, shoes, toys, celebrating the child's birthday with everything special ~ and Christmas, too ~ these are all times a grandparent can function as that warm, safe place a child COULD go, if he needed to.

    We can be safe and strong and loving from a distance and still affect the lives of our grandchildren in such positive ways.

    That is my advice to you and your husband.

    Commit to the child's welfare. Commit yourselves to functioning as the second circle of support for the child, whenever and however it is needed.

    We are starting college funds, too.

    There are so many things we can do for our grandchildren to make their lives better than they would be if it were only the young parents raising them.

    Wishing well.

    Barbara

     
  7. judi

    judi Active Member

    Barbara - thanks so much for your words of wisdom! I really truly do agree with you. We don't necessarily WANT to have the kids live with us 24/7, it just may happen unfortunately.

    We have offered for the Mom to come live with us too in addition to the kids. However, have recently found out that she has been with several other guys. She apparently likes choas too - lol.

    We want to provide a safe haven for the grandkids - that is what is important - you are so right. I guess for now that will have to do. The Mom knows that she can count on us and we won't judge her. We bite our tongues a lot!

    I just so wish that she wasn't letting these other kids watch the baby. They are the children of her current boyfriend - he has 5 kids, 3 of which live with him and then Mom with her 2 kids - 5 kids in one apartment! The girls are ages 16, 7, 4 with the 4 y/o seeming to be the most interested in the baby. Ugh!!!!

    Anyway...thanks so much for your time and advice - I will certainly take it to heart as someone who has been there done that.

    You know just when I thought things were getting better....whew!
     
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Barbara, your response was completely on target. I don't think I
    have ever read a more thoughtful, complete sharing on the subject
    of grandchildren. You are absolutely right. Kids do want to live with their Mother and feel short-changed when they can not do so. The major exception is when substance abuse or child abuse are involved........and even then, I discoverd as a Court
    representative Guardian Ad Litem for abused/neglected children,
    the kids still want to be with the bio parent.

    It boils down to the kids eithr losing a parent or losing the grandparents because you can't fill both roles no matter how hard
    you try. You are right as rain! I never want to encourage someone to emulate my choices because it is very difficult and
    can have ramifications that you never expect. When someone is
    younger, like Melissa, and dealing with a drug abusing single
    parent...then I tend to say "go for it" because then at least
    the child will have safety and security in those formative years.
    Scientists are confident that futures are built before entry at
    kindergarden. DDD
     
  9. judi

    judi Active Member

    DDD - thanks for your answer and advice. I do agree that unless abuse/neglect or drugs or addiction are a problem then staying as the grandparent is better. My only problem is that Mom is letting virtual strangers who are themselves children watch my 8 month old grandson.
     
  10. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Sorry you have to make these choices about what to do with grandkids....would mom be open to daytime care for your grandkids? Or would you? It's not an easy choice for you either, I can't imagine trying to chase a toddler around at my age.....

    Some families blend easily, others are minor wars....hope the older kids genuinely care for younger ones....

    Sending strength and peace your way.....
     
  11. judi

    judi Active Member

    Thanks WMM! I would still have to work fulltime but I make enough to be able to afford excellent daycare and in fact know two stay at home mom who take care of a few kids. They would welcome the grandson. Since the grand-daughter is actually a step-grand-daughter, am unsure how her father would feel. I've never met him as his lives 3 hours away.

    The other thing is that I have not spoken to my son (difficult child) who is the grandson's father. He has little to no contact with his son even though he lives less than 2 miles away!

    Its such a mess when kids have kids and then more kids.
     
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is a topic that is near and dear to me because of Keyana. Would we take her in and raise her? In a New York minute. However, I dont think we will ever be given the chance to do so legally unless the mom just gets bored with her completely. Then she may do it for money because I would be able to add the baby to my social security case. Believe me, I have thought about offering that option.

    Right now, Keyana is ok the way things go. She stays with her mother and grandmother during the week and we get her every weekend. If the mother leaves the grandmothers house, Keyana stays with her grandmother along with Keyanas brother.

    We are doting grandparents. We spoil her rotten and love doing it. Right now, I think that is the best thing for her.
     
  13. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    I know how you feel, Kaleb is only 3. since birth, his mom has let him with anyone at all. sigh. most of the time she sleeps and 3 small kids under age 11 who live in the projects with her are the only people observing kaleb.

    no matter how often I have asked her to let only adults watch him. no matter I have called CYS three times since he was born worrying over that.

    so, I go get Kaleb and have him 1/2 the time. His last visit I potty trained him. By the time he is ready for school, I do believe he will live with me. his mom is glad to have to keep him any time for long times but she will not give up permanent custody as he is her ticket to welfare services.

    If I were you, I would offer to keep the kids telling mom it would give her a break and you would enjoy them.
     
  14. judi

    judi Active Member

    Dammit Janet - thanks for the insight. At this point, our grandson is no ticket to any kind of aid - the Mom receives only WIC not even food stamps.

    Ant'sMom - I too would take our grandson with no questions asked. I just worry for his and his sister's safety. The parade of men in and out of these kids' lives is so sad.

    When we took the kids back last night, our grand-daughter was crying that she wanted to live with us. I think she was just tired (I hope that is what it is).
     
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