When Grandparents get Angry with difficult child Autism Behaviors

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by WearyWoman, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    Hi everyone. I hope you all are hanging in there well this weekend with your families. Do most of you feel well supported emotionally outside of this forum in your lives?

    We seldom rely on our families to help with childcare or anything like that, but things do come up from time to time, when we really need the help. This past week, I needed to go out of town overnight to take a professional licensing exam and really wanted my hubby along, since it was scheduled in a large city of which I'm not familiar. So we asked my parents (difficult child's grandparents) to watch our 9-year-old difficult child with autism spectrum disorder. Keep in mind, again, that they only babysit once or twice a year for any time at all.

    I have tried to talk to them about difficult child's difficulties with auditory processing and flexibility. He doesn't respond well to directions a lot of times, either because it just takes him longer to process or because he isn't able to modify what he's doing very easily. This is really hard, I know, as we struggle with this on a daily basis. However, in new or more stimulating situations, the problem tends to be much worse.

    So, they agreed to watch our son for one overnight. Afterward they dropped him off when we returned, and my mom tried to ask me about the exam (I've been relentlessly studying over the past two months). But, my dad had his own agenda to talk about, so I didn't get to say much. They said difficult child did alright, and I thought everything went reasonably well, at least.

    They left very quickly, and I spoke with my mom today on the phone and learned that difficult child had a lot of trouble following directions (no big surprise). My dad has an anger management problem, and it sounds like he was getting excessively angry about it. My mom didn't give me the details, but she tried to get my dad to calm down. Another family member who was there visiting was upset (presumably at my dad for his behavior) and left abruptly.

    I grew up with my dad's unhealthy anger, and I know how destructive it is for relationships. I wish so much that he could just be patient for 24 hours. I know difficult child's behaviors are difficult at times, but couldn't he just help us without the rage once in a blue moon?

    So, this is great to find out today. We go somewhere overnight once in a whole year (not for fun either!), and I get to feel bad that difficult child didn't behave perfectly enough - again!

    My sister's son (easy child), spends much more time over at my parents', and I know my dad wouldn't dare lose his temper like that with him. Why is it okay to go off the deep end with my kids who have disabilities? Maybe I'm sensitive because we adopted our children, and my sister's son is biological.

    My mom is understanding and educated to some degree about autism, but I'm sure my dad just doesn't get it - probably doesn't want to get it either. difficult child will never be a perfect little angel in the way that some kids are. I have tried to explain autism spectrum disorder to my dad. He's not a good listener, so I'm not sure he really understands at all. Maybe it's expecting too much that they help at all - ever.

    I keep forgetting why we never ask anybody for help. When will I learn?

    On top of this, I just found out I probably have skin cancer (waiting for biopsy results) and will need surgery for that. Again, if I need my husband to come along for the surgery, we will likely need help with childcare again. Maybe we can schedule it so that difficult child can go to daycare for a little while that day.

    Both of my parents are retired and in good health. They spend time and money traveling and doing the things they like to do. Then, they bring the photos of their great adventures for us to see and talk for hours about everything they did. All the while, I'm dying inside, and they (my dad, especially) don't know or care. My idea of a fantastic time is to have some lemonade on the porch peacefully, without disturbance from our kids' behavior problems.

    All I can say is that the exhaustion is a killer. I don't ever feel able to relax. Other people ask what my plans are for the weekend, the holiday, etc. Good grief! Survival . . . that's my plan.

  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hugs Weary,
    I understand that exhausted feeling, just to want to survive. I'm sorry your parents don't get it. It's so hard when families don't get it.
  3. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    I'm sorry you had so much negativity to come home to. Kind of makes a quick trip less fun.

    Skin cancer is highly treatable with great success rates. I know it doesn't ease worries but I wanted you to have something positive on that front. I wish you the best with your treatment.

    I bet you are pretty worn out from just the stress over your test and time spent studying. I hope you did well and can relax a little now that it's over.

    The only real support with difficult child is my husband. Hubby is a trooper but we are pretty much an island, you know? We get passing interest from family or difficult child's care providers but no one really can grasp the magnitude of how hard it is to raise him. Of course difficult child is a classic charmer away from us so we just look crazy anyhow. This forum has truly been a blessing. Sometimes just sharing struggles, getting empathy or good advice makes a world of difference. I can come here lost and dazed, ready to rant about difficult child and then I relax. Usually another parent is posting almost exactly what I was going to say so it almost seems funny or sadly someone posts about a bigger problem and I feel thankful for what "little" drama I had.

    Family, whoo weee that is a tough one. We have occasional overnights for difficult child but only because he is older now and handles his own stuff and because he has improved on his behavior. There was a time not so long ago that he was pretty much not especially welcome. Not unwelcome as much as not too encouraged to come around. This is with our only family near by, my husband's folks who are steps to difficult child. They of course dote over my baby who is bio related so I did feel a bit offended about that. In the end they are super nice to difficult child and any negativity he gets is pretty much his own doing anyhow. My mother in law, his step Grandma cried when she heard he may have to move away due to outbursts so I know he is loved.

    My mother is a problem though. She is the opposite of your dad. She is too nice. That usually includes tons of spoiling him like royalty. It usually takes him 3 months to readjust after she comes for a visit from out of state. If we take a couple nights away there is heck to pay for it. His sense of entitlement gets out of control so her "help" with teen sitting is hardly worth it.

    I too have a difficult relationship with My Mom. I love her but her influence is not healthy. Our interactions are not functional in a mature adult fashion. She has major control issues and does a lot of very juvenile attention seeking. This has caused me a lot of issues when I deal with her. I did some reading and realized she and I have a toxic relationship. I just come away from interaction with her feeling drained and upset, it really is no good for me. When she doesn't get her way she also leaves some negative impact on my difficult child. So, although it is different from your relationship with your Dad I can sort of relate to parent/child relationships that aren't healthy, how they trickle down to the grandkids sometimes and how we all really deserve to be surrounded by people who treat us in a sane and respectful manner.

    Just food for thought...I'm just going on what little bit you posted and can be waaay off base.
  4. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    Wiped Out - Thanks for posting. I don't like to complain or feel sorry for myself, but if I get real honest, I do feel bad sometimes. I'm still recovering from the exam, as I didn't sleep well the night before. That's probably not helping with my mood right now.

    Update: My dad called to smooth things over (he knows my mom told me about his anger eruption), saying that he's proud of difficult child, that he only had one problem following directions (not true, according to my mom), that he enjoyed having him over, etc., etc. He's probably feeling at least somewhat guilty about his behavior. He didn't acknowledge anything about this or apologize, though. He never does. Then, he stated that he's glad we were able to "get away" for a while. Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed stressing about this exam, studying steady the whole day we drove down there and not sleeping most of the night, taking the exam and heading back as fast as possible before all hell broke loose. I'm glad he called, but I still feel bad, and I doubt I'll feel comfortable asking them to watch difficult child for even a day in the future. They guilt us about why we don't come to visit . . . I can't imagine why. We pack everybody up and drive all the way there only to have my dad's fuse blow within 15 minutes of arriving.

    Farmwife - It sounds like you can relate, and I appreciate your post a lot. You're right that others couldn't imagine the challenges of raising a child with behavioral issues. It is isolating. That's one of the reasons I love this place. It is truly a "place for us". You're also right about the toxicity of dysfunctional relationships. Somehow, we need to distance ourselves emotionally from the damage. I wish I could take things less personally. I'm a sensitive person by nature, and I know I take on too much of what others are dishing out around me. It's made me a people-pleasing, perfectionistic wreck. How do you handle things with your mom, since it's distressing you to interact with her? It is hard to distance from family members - moreso than other acquaintances. The hard part for me right now is that I literally have no friends or social life/activities. This equals no support. We don't have people over to our home or go to visit others' often, for obvious reasons. It's just too hard most of the time because we're consumed with dealing with behavior issues ALL the time. There's no relief. What does everyone do to stay sane? I'm just spread so thin, I am completely exhausted and depressed.
  5. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    I know it is so hard to leave a difficult child with a friend or family member. Wouldn't it be wonderful if some of us lived closer and we could help one another without fear or guilt? In a perfect world maybe.... LOL I can only fully relax and enjoy myself if difficult child is with husband. husband and I are in this together and know difficult child the best. My parents send me emails all the time about ADHD and video games , etc.... I just chuckle and shake my head. Poor people have no clue and are too set in their ways to fully understand or be open minded. They also flat out tell me they will take easy child for a week in the summer but not difficult child. They sad part is I really don't want difficult child to go anyway because it would be more trouble than it is worth !
  6. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    shelly - Yes, it would be great if we could somehow help one another out with childcare now and then. It must be very hard to hear your parents say they'll take your younger easy child and not your difficult child. He's still their grandson. It would help so much if more people could take a disability perspective, rather than a bad kid perspective. You're right, though - that it ends up being more trouble than it's worth anyway. My hubby and I take the attitude that our difficult child is our responsibility and that we can do this together. Sometimes my heart breaks, though, for the way I wish things could be for all of us.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    When my kids were little my mom would only help with my oldest son, she flat hated my two youngest and called them all kinds of nasty names and refused to help a bit with them. My Dad respected every thing I did for the boys but he lived a good distance away so he could only offer emotional support.

    Now that I am the grandparent, I can understand the way we feel a bit different about each kid. Not that we love them anymore or any less but in different ways. Keyana is my first and she is my princess. She will probably always have that special place in my heart as the first. (Unless she turns into a difficult child!) Hailie is her momma and Cory wrapped up in one little firecracker package! The mental health gene didnt miss that one! She is doomed. Michael I think is Jamie up one side and down the other except he seems a bit more laid back. I dont see the hyperactivity in him yet but then Jamie didnt start with his ADHD symptoms until around 18 months so there is time...lol.

    In a perfect world, I would have all my grandkids living 2 doors down from me and I could take over and help their parents every time they needed help. Its not a perfect world. I get to do that help with my oldest but two youngest live about 320 miles away. If I win the lottery.....
  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Haven't read any of the other posts, but wanted to let you know that I completely understand your frustration. My mother is the ONLY person out of our entire extended family who has ever been willing to stay with our kids for an extended period -- I feel very blessed to have that ONE person who can do it. My difficult child dad has never watched my kids, not even for an afternoon. My in-laws tried to help with the kids two years ago when my husband had surgery, but my mother in law ended up losing it with my difficult child 2 and slapped him, hard enough to make him hysterical and want them to leave and not come back (can't say I blame him). Only ONE of my three sister in law's have ever offered to watch my kids overnight. And it happened once, and only once. My difficult child brother, never.

    So I understand how hard it is to find people, even in your own family, who are patient enough and willing to help. That said, would it work out better if your mom came to watch the kids without your dad? It works better for us. Just a thought.

    I'm sorry to hear about the possible skin cancer diagnosis. I hope it's a less invasive variety that can be dealt with surgically... My brother had melanoma on his forearm in his early 20's. That was 20 years ago, and the surgery got it all so he only goes in for regular dermo checkups now. I will keep you in my prayers.
  9. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    Janet - Thanks for sharing about your situation. I'm glad to not be alone in my extended family situation. I wouldn't do well with the name calling that you mentioned. It's so inappropriate and hurtful.

    gcvmom - You are VERY fortunate to have that one person who is willing and able to help. It sounds like you know that already. I would definitely consider having my mom watch the kids on her own, but she doesn't drive, and we live an hour away. So my dad usually drives her everywhere. I did have her over for one day where my dad dropped her off at our house, and that worked out okay. He is a controlling person, though, and he always shows up early to pick her up, which means he's hanging around waiting for us to get back (opportunity to get angry with kids).

    The sad thing is that my parents wanted to spend time with difficult child. They said they wanted to have him overnight several times this summer to spend time with him. This is the first time he's been over to their house this year without me, for heaven's sake. That's what upsets me so much - that my dad cannot be patient for just an afternoon even. We don't go up there to visit often, because we know he gets angry about EVERYTHING (he swears under his breath if difficult child says "Grandpa" too many times - it's ridiculous, and I'm sick of it, quite frankly). The last thing we need is having angry behavior modeled for difficult child when we already have difficulty with meltdowns at home. I've tried to talk to my dad about this, and he always laughs and pretends that he's not that angry. He just doesn't get how upsetting this is to me. There's no way I'll let difficult child over there without us any more.

    I do have one sister who is certainly capable of watching difficult child, but she seldom ever offers (though she babysits for all of her neighbor kids and in-laws, etc.). She has watched a neice who is in a wheelchair and needs significant care, as well as a number of ADHD neices/nephews, but not my difficult child. When I try to talk to my mom and sister about my dad's behavior - why we don't come to visit often, etc., they say, "Well, that's just the way he is.", as though I should just accept his behavior. No wonder he continues with it. It works for him, and no one holds him accountable.

    The skin cancer thing looming in my mind is not good. I know it's not going to kill me, but it's another stressor in the mix, and as I mentioned, it's so hard to schedule appointments/surgery without childcare assistance.

    I've been praying a lot lately. I know God is with me through all of this and that he never fails.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'd like to post in more detail, but I'm actually exhausted right now from a combination of issues very similar to yours!

    My advice - either bring the kids and your own babysitter, or use a professional service. Don't rely on family, especially family who are not equipped for the job.

    What really gripes me is when someone says, "Well, that's just the way he is" to excuse an abusive adult family member, when the same statement is never accepted when you ask them to stop that abusive adult from "disciplining" a child with a disability. Frankly, the abusive adult is less the problem, than the enabler.

    I'll post later when I get my breath back, but let me just say this - right now life is not fun and is too stressful, all because of a combination of my health issues (including recovering from breast cancer treatment, plus my very new eye problems) and family involvement/interference from a number of different directions. mother in law is getting increasingly needy and anxiously dependent, while difficult child 3 is getting aggressive and loud in his objections to being patronised and disciplined by family members who get it wrong. I suddenly have too much on my plate again, and I didn't put it there.

    But I do know to not add to my troubles by putting in even more random elements such as asking inexperienced and incapable family or friends, to mind a child they don't understand and can't handle. Frankly, it is probably better for that child to be babysat in his own home by a family member of friend ho understands him (or even to be left home alone) than to be put in a different environment with someone untrained and unmotivated to change.

    Seriously - home alone (familiar turf) is probably preferable and less damaging. And I know that is saying something.

    OK, gotta get to bed. Sleep...

  11. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    Marg - Sorry to hear that you are having trouble come your way over which you have no control. I hope you feel better after resting for awhile. You're right that we shouldn't ask family and friends who aren't equipped to handle difficult child. We don't have a lot of other options (actually no other options) for an overnighter, and at 9 years old, we wouldn't leave him home alone, especially overnight. I wonder if there are professional services available to help families in this situation.

    Update: Unfortunately, the skin test came back positive for cancer. I'll be having surgery in 7 weeks or so. It feels better to at least finally know one way or the other. The waiting is worse.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I understand the skin cancer concern having recently faced that issue. It sound encouraging that they are waiting seven weeks.....chances are that they would not do so if they felt it was likely to be invasive. Sending hugs.

    Regarding the babysitting issue I have lived through that with my first difficult child and I still remember how frustrating it
    was for all of us. My suggestion is to start looking now for a babysitter who is fun, energetic and even tempered.
    I found a late teen who was a perfect match for my difficult child. That babysitter (who actually became friends with my
    difficult child) would sit at my home for short bonding periods and later would go with difficult child when she spent the night so
    relatives would not be overwhelmed. In these economic times it should be possible to find a suitable young person eager to make a few bucks. Fingers crossed.

    by the way after raising a difficult child (now in her forties), a easy child/difficult child who was not a problem until the teens and a difficult child with Aspergers for over seven years AND ;) being considered "a saint" by many...yesterday my difficult child daughter brought her very very hyper difficult child to my house unexpectedly and I literally was counting the minutes until the two of them left!!!!!!!! That does not make me a bad grandparent. It just shows that sometimes you just do not have
    what it takes to cope with difficult child behaviors...especiallly when you are older. Good luck. DDD
  13. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    I am sorry to hear about the test results. Will keep my fingers crossed for you. Try to reduce stress as best you can. I know that seems like a ridiculous thing to say, all things considered but it really matters. So many health issues are impacted by the level of stress the body and mind are under. After I left my ex and his drama my health improved tons. My cholesterol dropped and I didn't get a cold for two years. I didn't do anything except add a smile to my routine...

    You asked how I deal with my Mom. :redface: I don't in a mature way. lol I have such a hard time making boundaries. My mom can be a total basket case, pain in my rear but she also has a good side, a kind side and she has suffered a LOT of things in life. I try too take a step back and forgive her for her weaknesses and mistakes while still standing my own ground too. There are just certain things I won't put up with, things I shouldn't have to put up with. (I think she is an undiagnosed bi polar)

    There are times we get along and times she makes me insane and I spend days in a state of agitation and complete shock over how she can act such a fool. (total waste of energy I am trying to outgrow) During those times I have learned to assert my status as an adult and have to remind her that I don't respond well to being told what to do or talked to like I am a child. I also do my best not to feed into the complex scenarios and head trips. I refuse to nibble her bait or fall for her tactics and walk away. I just shrug it off and let her complete her tantrum without me just like I do with my almost toddler or my difficult child.

    I don't take certain behaviors from her and have learned to defend that instead of tolerate it and let it slide just to be nice or avoid confrontation. Confrontation isn't so bad as long as you are civil and express yourself in a healthy way. Sometimes parents who are used to telling you how to live or who are used to being the one in charge have a real hard adjustment time when a grown child steps up and says "hey wait a minute here, I'm not a kid anymore and you won't talk to me like that." The relationhsip dynamic has to get rewired after decades of habit.

    It took me time and I was scared to speak my piece. In the end I am glad I did. It felt good to get it off my chest. Now Mom and I know we can only have certain length visits and then we need space. It can still be awkward but it has improved because she really wants to try. If she was not willing she would not be allowed in my life. Occasionally I want to strangle her all over again and I just distance myself. I just have to keep a small wall up with her like I do my difficult child. I love them unconditonally which means I accept them for who they are. That doesn't mean I shouldn't have a unique way of dealing with them that protects my feelings by not getting too deeply personal or involved, just in case. It's about trust they have violated over and over by letting me down so I don't let myself be in a place where they can let me down anymore.:peaceful:

    When it comes to my kids though, my boundaries between Mom's issues and them are very strict. She can be in our lives all she wants but if she ever jeopordizes their feelings or happiness she has to go permanently. She did a fine job of causing me permanent issues and I cannot allow that to trickle down. The garbage stops here in my generation. I refuse to let my bad parents or the bad parents who raised them touch the future, my kids. too many generations of ill equiped folks raising broken kids in my family tree. I'm the end of that line, that legacy, that dysfunction. Maybe due to my hard work my grand kids will be raised by happy, whole, well adjusted people...my kids who I protect fiercely from other peoples static.

    Not sure how that may apply with your Dad but I hope it helps.
  14. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would like to know what difficult child had to say about the visit with Gma and Gpa. Did he enjoy it? Has he mentioned the anger outbursts from Gpa?

    It really is all about him, so what he thinks about it should factor in to determine if you let this happen again.
  15. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    DDD put it so well. I wanted to reply to this thread but didn't dare, and then DDD said it for me. Having coped with two difficult children of my own (one now aged 40, the other 23 and still at home) as well as six other children (all married and out of the house), I have made it quite clear to my children that I am not the type to babysit their children, my grandchildren. Of course in an emergency I have told them that I will be there for them, but I see that my nerves are not what they were and I find it difficult to be responsible for the grandchildren. Maybe it's because I have my own quite serious health problems. But I think it's simply that I am now 65 and don't have either the emotional strength or the physical strength I used to have. It doesn't mean that I don't love the grandchildren or that they don't love me.

    Love, Esther
  16. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    farmwife - You've really got it together in dealing with your mom. I'm especially impressed with how you balance unconditional love and boundaries. Your kids and grandkids will certainly benefit from your smart choices. I give you a ton of credit for having the courage to step up and speak up. That's really hard for me, because my "job" in the family has historically been to perform perfectly and without question. I am not a very assertive person.

    However, I am finding more strength to speak up when it comes to my kids. I don't think he would ever hit my kids, but the extreme anger, swearing, and inappropriate rage behavior is still very upsetting. Once, when viisting my parents, I noticed my dad was swearing under his breath (loud enough, though, as he definitely wants everyone around him to know he's upset - he's justified, after all) at my youngest difficult child because difficult child was repeating himself, and I guess my dad was irritated by it. I can't tell you how hurt I felt. We hadn't seen my parents in months, precisely because of the anxiety I feel when visiting, and within a matter of 30 minutes, my dad is already swearing at my child. It is abusive. We left rather quickly, and when my mom called afterward, I told her how upset I felt. And her reply was that I should just understand that that's just how my dad is - that he really does love my kids - and to just focus on the good aspects of his personality. Well, I'm sorry, but I wouldn't let anyone else swear at my kids, so why is it okay for him to swear at them? It comes across as pure hate. My anxiety level is always extremely high when we go to viist, I guess, because I somehow feel responsible for his anger (if I can just get my kids to behave well enough, he won't get mad). Going back to my childhood, I think I tried to be more perfect so that he wouldn't get so angry.

    I should note that my dad's anger is not limited to my kids. He is chronically angry. Over the years, he has ruined vacations, perfect summer days, friendships, and relationships with his angry outbursts and behaviors. It was so bad that if my mother couldn't read his mind, i.e. know that he expected her to pass the butter at a certain time, he'd flip out. While he never laid a hand on me or my sister, his anger destroyed my sense of peace at home, as well as my self esteem. I wondered why he didn't love me enough to control his anger. The constant door slamming, things breaking, screaming, and swearing took its toll on me over the years, not to mention his scary driving rage. My dad doesn't drink or use any drugs of any kind. He is a Vietnam vet. I don't know how my mother handled it. Obviously, he has a problem. But neither my mother nor my sister ever hold him seriously accountable. In fact, if I set a boundary in this situation, I will be the one ostracized in this family - how dare I treat my father that way, right?

    Anyway, do you have thoughts about setting boundaries in this situation? Am I just being overly sensitive?
  17. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    busywend - I haven't spoken to difficult child about it yet, but plan to discuss it with him tomorrow (been too busy with skin cancer appointment scheduling). I will let you know what he says.

    Esther - Thanks for posting, and I can definitely understand that you do not wish to babysit your grandchildren, especially if they have behavior problems. I would like to say that I think there is a difference between "babysitting" and spending time with one's own grandchildren and helping out in an urgent situation. Babysitting implies childcare of a routine nature. I have NEVER asked anyone in my family to babysit my kids. I would not take advantage of family members this way. My parents offered to have difficult child come over. Also, it is July, and this is the first time they have spent any time during this entire year with my difficult child without me there. Both of my parents are in excellent health and retired. I was going out of town overnight for a professional licensing exam when this occurred with my dad (remember that they volunteered). I don't consider taking an exam to be a fun getaway, but more of an urgent need for overnight childcare one time. I also scheduled skin cancer surgery for next month. I think that qualifies as urgent as well, and it would sure be nice if family could step up and help out. They are certainly capable for just a day. And, while I agree that grandparents should not be expected to babysit, I do think they should spend time with their grandchildren one-on-one. A grandchild's disability shouldn't negate this important relationship. In fact, kids with disabilities arguably need more love and support than typical kids, and so do their parents.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DDD and Esther are right on the money too. As we grandparents age, we dont have the stamina we used to. That is why parenting is for the young folks....lol. Every time my baby girl is here I remember why I had my kids so young...lol. I think if I had the three of them all at once I would go ape but yet I did it 20 years ago and somehow came out with few battle scars!
  19. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    One thing that has really helped us is respite services. Have you looked into that in your area?
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm still rushing. Sorry. But you are on my mind. Sorry about the positive cancer diagnosis, but you are strong and as you said, at least now you know. I can say I do know how it feels, to get such shattering news. I took my dressings off last night, no more wet dressings. Skin healing well at last, after radiation treatment.

    As for your issues with difficult child - you are aware of your father's temper issues. He should not be left alone with difficult child. By "alone" I include "with just grandma for support". They don't understand and Grandma is an enabler, she has had to become one in order to survive. So don't blame her, but when grandpa is around, don't trust grandma to be honest, either.

    You do need to maintain your contact with them both, however. But keep your visits short, and frequent. it will help, trust me. I speak form experience.

    Esther, I hear you on not relying on grandparents who have paid their dues in parenthood, but I get the vibe that these people are nagging to be allowed to babysit. My in-laws were the same - and too often, it backfired badly. We learnt to smile and say, "Thank you; we've got it under control."

    Gotta run again. Nag me if you haven't heard from me for a while.