Need some advice

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by emptyheart89, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. emptyheart89

    emptyheart89 New Member

    This is my first time here. My son is very angry with our whole family and I am at my wits end. I will put the situation in as much of a nutshell as I can. My son basically disowned his now 19-year-old daughter because of her behavior. Over the past 18 months I have tried to reunite them many times without success.

    My granddaughter was living in the streets with a man old enough to be her father. I finally decided that I could not let the situation go further and took action and help my granddaughter get off the streets into an apartment. I sent her, her SS number so she could get a job & I took her to get her money out of a trust fund she has. My son is furious with me because I have helped her and said that I am enabling her to stay away from home.

    This situation has been ongoing for at least 18 months. Without going into all the details he has been angry and not talked to us at least 3 times during this period. I continued to communicate through emails until he would respond.

    The latest anger was not only directed at me, he also wrote to his brother and attacked him. This was totally unexpected as they did not have any conversations for at least a month. Does anyone have any experiences similiar and been successful in dealing with this type of behavior? I believe he is very depressed and embarassed because of his daughter and her behavior.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    in my opinion, you got involved in a situation that is really not yours to get involved in. You raised your children, your son is trying to let his daughter hit rock bottom so that she will choose to come home and you are stopping that. Whether or not you agree with him or not, it is HIS daughter, not yours. I don't blame him for getting upset. Grandparents trying to "help" wayward grandchildren can put a big kink in how parents are trying to help their kids--and I believe he is trying to help her by not enabling her. I would back off.

    On the note of how you can fix it, you can't. You can not control your son's reaction to what you do. In fact, you can not control anybody except yourself--NOBODY. I had to learn this in therapy and it's made my life 100% easier. You can't change your granddaughter. You can not force you son to see it your way. You have no control over their feelings/behaviors/reactions. I like "let go and let God."

    Welcome to the board. I'm sure others will come along :)
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2008
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Hello and welcome~

    I will echo everything MWM posted to you. She's 100% correct.

    I will add, however, that without knowing the ENTIRE story and the reasons for the fallout bewteen your son and his daughter, it is difficult to say if he is doing the right thing. BUT, again, as MWM said, it's not your job to jump into the mix. Your son sounds like he is trying to give his daughter the opportunity to learn on her own the error of her ways and by stepping in on her behalf, no matter how guided by love you are, is wrong. This is between them and does not involve you. You need to send up a prayer and hold a positive thought that this will all work out for your granddaughter, but step aside. We know how difficult that can be (I struggle with it daily with my 18dd), but most of the time it's the right thing to do. Hugs~
  4. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If you read through some of the posts on this site, you will find many stories of parents having to practice "tough love" on their kids. It doesn't mean we have "disowned" them, it just means we have reached a point where we cannot be pulled into our kids' drama any more, and have to let them sink or swim on their own. It could be this is what your son has done .. you said it was due to her "behavior." As JoG said, without knowing the entire story, we can't really give opinions on much here. I have to agree, however, that this was not your call to make. What's done is done, though. If she now has a place to live and a job, step back and let it go (and get your name off the lease, if it's on there). I suspect that is the only way you will repair your relationship with your son.
  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I know it had to hurt to hear what MWM and Jo had to say but, in many ways, they are right. No matter why your son wanted his daughter to hit bottom, he wanted family members to respect his wishes. It is so very, very hard to do this to our kids. We love them, we want them to succeed, to fulfill all the dreams we had for them when they were little.

    Sadly, for some of our kids that's just not possible. They are mentally ill and refuse to stay on medications. They find drugs and steal from us, our friends, other family members. They think rules are for everyone but them. They are violent and willing to hurt us, their siblings, pets and anyone else who stands in their way. As parents, we've tried everything humanly possible to get these wayward children the help they need. Finally, it reaches a point where the only choice is to force them to help themselves. When someone else steps in and helps our child, we get angry -- at worst, they've defeated the only chance our child has to succeed; at best, they've delayed our child seeing the light. Yes, we do understand the dangers facing our child and they sicken us. We stay awake nights pacing and crying. We have to stop ourselves from finding our child and bringing him/her home right then and there regardless of the past. We pray for strength for us and for our child.

    I do believe you can make things right with your son. Let him know that you realize now what he was trying to do and how very sorry you are that you didn't see that earlier. Vow to not help your granddaughter again unless he says it is okay. Talk to him and ask how you can help. Would it be helpful if you left the door open for your granddaughter to have someone to talk to, to go to an occasional lunch and then relay info to him? Would it be better to cut all contact? Follow his wishes. By doing this, you'll be helping your granddaughter far more than you did by seeing she had money, etc.

    Also, try to find out if your son is seeing someone or attending meetings (Al-Anon, NA, whatever). It is hard to have your child on the streets without getting some support along the way. By sympathetic to what is going on in his life, see if you can gently steer him to talking to someone in a professional capacity if he is not doing so.

    Support him but don't interfere. Respect his wishes even when you don't agree wth them. He's trying to save his daughter from herself. It is a very hard, painful thing to do and even more so when your family refuses to stand by you.

    I'm sorry for you pain and I'm glad you're not willing to give up on maintaining contact with your son. I hope your granddaughter hits her bottom soon so that she can start fightng her way back up. My deepest sympathy to all of you.
  6. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    Hello emptyheart,

    I have to chime in with the others here... To all appearances from what you've written, you are not helping your granddaughter at all, but actually exacerbating the situation.

    I'm sorry to say that you cannot "make" your son and granddaughter reconcile. It sounds like from the terminology that your son used when he said you are "enabling" your granddaughter, that he is attending Al-anon meetings or otherwise practicing "tough love". Most of us here are advocates of this approach as we have all discovered, the hard way, that there is really no other way to help our children. "Enabling" in this context has a very specific meaning. It is also called co-dependency. It means that the self-destructive person -- your granddaughter -- is able to continue this behavior because the enabler -- you -- shields them from the consequences they would otherwise suffer. And experience has shown that suffering the consequences is the only form of teaching that really gets through.

    One thing you can be sure of is that we know how you feel and sympathize. I'm sending up a prayer for all three of you and your family.

    PS -- Our daughter's biological father's parents felt towards us the same way as you do towards your son and granddaughter. We had to actually let them take her in and try it their way before they saw how she manipulated others and turned their desire to help her into helping her continue in her illness.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2008