difficult child living with Grandparents?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Bean, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. Bean

    Bean Member

    My daughter, or difficult child is living with her grandparents. This is after a long history of disrupt and disrespect in our home (with 4 younger sibs to witness).

    She was in jail, 4mo tx, and was with parents. Took her five weeks to screw up enough to be put in jail until her 18th birthday so she could be put in an adult 1/2way house for another 4mos. We could not let our daughter come back to live with us, as we have other children and our own mental health to look out for.

    My parents took her in.

    My parents are enablers. Always have been, still are. Lovely nice people, but enablers who like to head-bury. At any rate, it has been frustrating. Not only am I still mourning and frustrated over my daughter, but I feel like I've lost my mother as well. I can no longer call her to discuss my daughter's issues, because my parents are the ones supervising her and allowing her to run all over them (they paid her fare to take a weekend long vacation recently, only to have to drive 3 hours to go pick her up because she spent the return fare!!?).

    Anyway, I'm so happy to have found this site, so I'm babbling in relief. :)

    Anyone else have their difficult child live with their parents, and experienced the stress it puts on a relationship? Any tips or thoughts? I'm having a hard time.
  2. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    While I'm not in your particular sitch, I do understand helpless anger and frustration and worry. Welcome. You've come to the right place and others will be along later to offer advice. You might try searching this message board for messages with "grandparents" as the keyword. There are definitely people who post here who do have older kids living with grandparents. One of the words you'll see repeated, particularly on this board, is "detachment". You can still love your kid without them eating you alive. I'm just beginning this process with my oldest, who is 19. Her issues are differents from your kid's, but I am also suffering from chronic stress and worry over her, with a lot of passive anger accompanying it.

    Keep coming back.
  3. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Oh, I forgot to add: please go to your profile and add a signature, similar to the one at the bottom of my reply, that gives a bit more info in abbreviation so people don't have to ask you the same ?'s over and over. It's helpful to know if there has ever been a psychiatric diagnosis (diagnosis) or medications used and what your kid is doing now, school, work, etc.
  4. Bean

    Bean Member

    Hi recovering doormat. Thanks for the welcome and the tip on the signature. Makes sense. I'll definitely do some more reading/searching... yes, detachment - something I'm working on. Still transitioning from being the advocate, I think, but I'm getting there.
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the board. I know you'll get some good advice.

    FWIW, your parents have come into the game late, so they likely won't enable her for long. Your daughter is well fed, warm, and dry. She is still getting into trouble it seems, but she probably would be in trouble if she weren't with your parents, as well. Maybe you can view this as a "respite" for you, and not sweat the small stuff. Whatever else I know about older difficult child's, it won't always be this way forever.
  6. Bean

    Bean Member

    Witzend, you're right in that. I know where she is, or where she lays her head (most of the time), and she's on probation right now, so if she did run, she'd have a warrent on her. It seems like a strange comfort, but from where we've been, it's been worse. I have to not let myself fall into the trap of being bitter and angry and having that destroy my relationship with my parents.
  7. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    Welcome to the board.

    I don't know what help I can give, just that I've been there done that, doing it again. We are on our second child (difficult child 2) to go live with the enabling grandma (EG). When it happened with the first one (difficult child 1), it was devastating and I didn't think any of us would survive. But we did. Is difficult child 1 better off from the experience... no. Would things have gone differently for him if he had stayed with us, in all honesty, probably not. So, over time, we learned to detach.

    What I learned through the first experience that I'm using this time through is that it was EG's decision to take difficult child 2 in. Whatever consequences come from their situation is their problem. Not mine. If they have troubles or if they are taken advantage of...it's their problem.

    I know that difficult child 2 is making bad choices. I know that difficult child 2 is on a bad path. But the fall-out will be on EG, not me. And so, they live their lives and I live mine. I've got boundaries that I won't let them cross. I won't discuss difficult child 2 with anyone except husband. Anyone else starts, I say "I'm not interested". Even husband is getting better at this. He's told him Mom (EG) that he won't talk about difficult child 2....he's had to hang up on her a few times, but she's learning not to bring the subject up with him.

    All I can suggest is to take care of YOU and the kids that you have at home.
  8. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Welcome, Bean. I don't have a difficult child with grandparents but did cope with a super-enabling mother-in-law the whole time difficult child was growing up. It made it tough to be consistent when mother in law would convince husband there was nothing wrong with difficult child, and I was just a bad mother; also when mother in law would tell difficult child that he was wonderful and just needed to get away from me. It did severely strain and eventually ruin our relationship.

    Your situation is different though, and I can see you wanting to try to salvage your relationship with your parents. I think, if you just wait, your difficult child will show your parents what you've been coping with. You won't have to say anything. ;) In the meantime, enjoy the respite.
  9. aninom

    aninom New Member

    Our difficult child lived with grandma for a while. For us it didn't cause any friction between grandmother and parents, since the former knew first-hand what difficult child was like and didn't take her "side", but she's an enabler in the sense that she doesn't even try and set limits or say no.

    For what our experience is worth, difficult child didn't get neither better nor worse from it - but because the not-worse was still pretty bad it didn't work out.

    I think your difficult child might behave a little better at first while she's with them, and will probably never behave just as bad as she can around you, precisely because they are not you: with you, she knows she can do whatever and still count on your taking her back. If she's anything like our difficult child she'll also be a saint at first, so that she may manipulate grandparents with the idea that she is the good guy here.

    Her underlying issues are still there, though, and I'm guessing she'll inevitably go back to old habits 'ere long. Expect and prepare for that conversation with your parents - they haven't seen her the way you have and don't understand the full picture yet, but they will, and hopefully when they come to that point they'll be able to truly listen to you and figure out how to help you, rather than work against you.

    In the meanwhile, enjoy the break! And like others have said, there's really nothing you can do right now. Stressing about things you can't change will wear you down quickly. Take care of yourself first and foremost now that you have some difficult child-free breathing space. I'm trying to get into a detached headspace myself, and I already feel better, less anxious, like I have a better shot at dealing with things and see them actually work out.

    Big hugs your way. Hopefully this frission and limbo will last just long enough to recharge your batteries.
  10. Bean

    Bean Member

    Thanks guys. I think I need to hear the reiteration of detachment, and to continually remind myself that worry changes nothing, not in the past and not today.
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    As a Grandparent who is still raising a easy child/difficult child (now 22) and who raised a younger difficult child for a total (in and out) of eight years my perspective is not necessarily the same as others. GFGmom is not cut out to be a Mom which obviously is different from your situation. You did your best with your difficult child and you are successfuly parenting the other children.

    Often I read that Grandparents are severe enablers and I don't necessarily agree with that label. I am not saying in your case that is not true but I am saying I don't support the idea that enabling is the big difference. Here are some of the reasons why. (1) You were raised by the same couple and you turned out with fine values. (2) Each of us is "different" as we slide along the age scale. I, for example, as a young Mother wanted and also expected my children to be as close to perfect as I could imagine. By my thirties I had chilled quite a bit and was thankful for what was good and began to accept that each of the kids was different in nature from each other and different than their cousins and family friends. As I moved into my forties etc. my perceptions of them and of myself evolved to another place. (3) Some kids are more successful when they have less stress & don't have the chaos of siblings to cope with. (4) Most grandparents have learned alot about parenting as a result of having traveled the road before. (5) I have never met grandparents who eager to give up the perks of aging to retravel the old road. There is sacrafice involved...mostly the loss of peace of mind that comes from only worrying about what to wear for card night or when the early bird specials take place or which cruise might best suit them.

    on the other hand the parents of a difficult child out of the home naturally have some issues with "someone else" parenting their child or children. It is not how the Norman Rockwell pictures depict. The parents suffer two major losses. They "lose" their child and they "lose" the comfortable give and take that comes with having parents alive and well to share fun times with. My husband and I have, in many ways, "lost" our other children/grandchildren as a result of parenting the boys. We have "lost" our connection with peers as our life is not typical for seniors.

    From both sides of the equation there are important emotional loses that are endured. I may not be impartial on this subject :redface: but I really think there can only be one Captain. Ideally parents/grandparents have the same basic values and there is no reason for conflict. If you believe that a particular choice is not in the best interests of your child you will be able to share that with your parents in a non-confrontational way.

    I believe your feelings are understandable. I relate to your parents too. difficult child's are called difficult child's because they are difficult to raise for anyone. You and your husband are fortunate that you did not have to remain in chaos and you didn't have to seek an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that would mortgage your home to the max or turn your child over to "the system" which rarely helps in the long run.
    Hugs. DDD