Grandparents and a lack of thought!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by dstc_99, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    OK so as I am sure you are aware my difficult child got grounded big time for drinking under age. So this weekend my parents asked if they could come up on Sunday and return her contacts that she had left there. I thought it was stupid to drive 5 hours round trip to return contacts that cost $35 a box but I thought maybe they were going to talk to her about her behavior.

    So they arrived and brought dinner stuff and all that and everything was fine until I noticed the bag of stuff they gave difficult child. I noticed there was a brand new pair of Nike's still in a box. Now I knew they had ordered them before Christmas and that they had been delayed in shipping but the difficult child did not know they existed. What I didn't know was the price or that they had actually arrived. Why would you show up three days after your grandaughter gets busted by the cops and give her a gift? Seriously they paid $220 for these shoes which is ridiculous in the first place. They know she is grounded and they know how upset I am with her yet they show up with these shoes and act like nothing has happened.

    I didn't say anything because this is just the norm with them. My father actually laughed about the whole drinking thing and said well atleast she handed over her keys and wasn't driving. Thats a common thread throughout difficult child's life. She does something stupid and grandaddy makes it ok. I don't think he intentionally does it but he is always super supportive of her and doesn't get upset with her about things she does. It makes me out to be the enemy and the mean one at all times since I am the one punishing and he is the one blowing it all off. It's not like I want him to hate her or make her feel like $hit it is just that I would like for him and my mom to acknowledge that some things are not acceptable and that my consequences are real.

    I realize these were supposed to be a Christmas gift so they probably didn't think about it but they could have asked me first. I would have suggested they let her know they had them but that until she was over her grounding she was not allowed to have them.

    Any advice? I have never been able to get them to understand this before so it is unlikely I will get them to now but atleast I can say I tried.
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    You probably aren't going to like hearing this. I don't mean to offend you in any way but rather to offer a different perspective.

    They are her grandparents, not her parents. The shoes were a present she SHOULD have gotten at Christmas but she couldn't because they weren't there yet and it is only fair that she still receive them when they arrive regardless of the current circumstances. It was simply a fluke of timing. I fully agree with them on that one.

    As for the "joking" about the incident, well, they aren't her parents and it's not their job to come down on her. My mom acts toward my kids the way you want your parents to act with your difficult child and I can tell you, I quit talking to her for a long time. I mean I totally cut off all contact. It wasn't her job to disciplone my kids or even voice her negative opinions and my kids got to the point that they hated her because she was always throwing their mistakes back at them. It made them feel even more horrible than the punishment I had already doled out. Grandparents are supposed to accept their grandchildren no matter what. My grandmother may have been disappointed in me but I never knew it because she NEVER said anything to me. I LOVED my grandma and wish every day that my mother could be like her in regards to the grandkids. I wish my kids had grandparents like your difficult child does.

    Let your parents be her grandparents and you do the parenting.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont have time to reply now but will later. I fall somewhere in between.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a bit of a different perspective because I heard about this sort of dynamic all my life, since my childhood. I had a grandma who adored me and would never say I did anything wrong and made light of anything I did. I was a very big difficult child and needed discipline, but my mom couldn't discipline me...ever...because I'd run away to grandma's house. Grandma was always in my corner, even when I did things like shoplift or steal the car when I was told I couldn't use it. I actually understood my mom's point of view, although me and my mom never ever mended our relationship...she took her anger at me and her mother to the grave (among other things).

    I listen to my son regarding my grandson. I buy what he tells me to buy...usually I ask for suggestions. If I am visiting and his son gets into trouble, I don't undermine him. Before I'd bring an expensive present to him after he got into trouble, I would check with my son. $220 shoes say it all about the grandparents. Yes, we are here to spoil, but not to ruin their sense of right and wrong or go over-the-top buying the grand's love and approval.

    I think there is a severe lack of communication here and I think what they did was disrespectful to you, dstc_. Grandparents aren't parents, but I do think they are benevolent authority figures too and our kids learn or don't learn a lot from us. We are often their favorite people. You can strike a balance and be an understanding voice but one who still firmly sticks up for the parents, our children. I think my grandmother did the wrong thing. I clearly remember running away to her house every time my mother was angry at me. Since my dad was useless as a parent, my mother was fighting a losing battle with her own mother. I remember my mom lamenting, "I can't discipline her...she'll just go to my mother..."

    There are many things my mother did that I did not approve of, but I think she was right about my grandma. I'm not saying these grandparents are allowing difficult child to run away to their house every time she gets upset. But by pooh-poohing something her mother thinks is a serious matter, they are undermining her authority, much like many husbands or wives do to their spouses. Maybe talking to them privately would be a good idea. If everyone isn't on the same page, you can set up some serious leverage for difficult child...pitting parent against their parents. I see in parent emeritus way too often that a grandparent takes in a difficult child who is a criminal and I don't see how that helps the difficult child and I'm sure it causes bad feelings amongst the family members.

    I'm sorry they did this. I personally do not feel it was a good thing. It is up to you if you allow it or not. You can always tell them to visit your house after difficult child is done with her groundings in the future, if that's what you want to do. You can still make everyone happy in my opinion.
  5. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    In our case difficult child did run to my father on many occasions when we lived close and he always accepts her without question and never talks to her about the issues. Since we are military sometimes she would just run to them on the phone but still mentally she was escaping her parents and getting the approval of her grandparents.

    I do realize they are her grandparents and that they don't have to parent. I'm not asking them to come to town to yell at her. I just think that for once they need to sit her down and have a talk about her behavior. They have always seen me as the uncaring evil mother who punishes, what they don't see is the way difficult child treats me and how much worse all of it becomes when they validate her anger at me. What they aren't thinking about is the two girls who were with her and all the kids her actions are now affecting.

    I realize it was a Christmas gift however she didn't know about it and holding it would not have caused any drama. Honestly I feel like those shoes are the equivalent of giving a Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kid a cookie for killing the dog!!!
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    dstc... Maybe you're a bit like me. I had to get a grip on ME before I could help difficult child get a grip on anything. Except for adopted kids... (mine are not, don't know about yours)... your kids have 50% of your genes. Which means, if our kids have challenges, then likely we do too. Blowing things out of proportion doesn't help. Reacting doesn't help... we have to step back, think through, ACT but not react. Our kids need consistency. BIG TIME consistency. To the point that it means, to a large extent, that it makes a major hole in our wallets and in our social lives, for starters.

    Sometimes we have to get help for ourselves... parenting a difficult child (or more than one) is not for the weak, and needing help is not a sign of weakness, it's just the reality of what life has handed us.

    Just my two cents...
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You have gotten good advice. I cannot help but wonder how ths dynamic started and becam entrenched. It is your home, your rules, your kid. If you don't want her to have the shoes now, take them away. So what if you are the 'bad guy'? You are supposed to be. It is your JOB. If you work to be her 'friend', both of you but esp your daughter, lose out in a huge way. SHe NEEDS you to stand firm and hold that boundary as she does all she can think of to push past it. This is one way that she will learn to function in society.

    Your relationship with your parents sounds like you are still mostly their daughter rather than the mother of their grands. You are allowing them to set the rules in your home, even when they do not work for you or the rest of the family. That isn't healthy and you need to do some soul searching and figure out why you are not enforcing your boundaries. Your kids will have a tough time learning these fi you don't model them.

    I urge you to seek some counseling. It can be at a private office, through the community resources, your job may have an employee assistance program, through a church, etc... I also urge you to read Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I think you wiill find the book helpful.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Okay I am back. I am going to speak as a grandparent who has been in the picture of two of my grandchildren's lives for the most part of their lives. The other two, well I dont see them often.

    I have been both a parent and a grandparent to two of my grandchildren. I love them dearly. I spoil them to death. Believe me my oldest granddaughter has tried to triangulate us all. I will never forget one day when I had her in her car seat and wouldnt do something for her...I cant remember what, it was something little...and she said she was going to tell her mommy, her daddy, her grandma Linda, her papa, her uncle Billy, her uncle Jamie, her aunt Billie, etc. She went through every member of her family that she was going to tell and I just kept saying...go ahead after each one and telling her that they would agree with me. She got more and more irritated with me. She finally said...well...thats not fair that everyone will say the same thing. I said well honey, the rules are the same everywhere. We all back each other up with whatever one of us says goes. Im not gonna change what grandma linda tells you and she isnt gonna change what I tell you. so sorry. I asked her, would you want me to go over to grandma linda's house and tell her you cant watch TV after she said you could? Same works here, she isnt going to come to my house and change what I tell you. She got real quiet and said...well that sounds fair. LOL.

    I back up Cory with his kids but Im also allowed to spoil his kids to my hearts content. I would never walk into the middle of a time where they were being punished and attempt to take them anywhere. If I had been bringing those shoes over, I would have handed them to the mother/father out of sight of the child and the parent could give them to the child after the incident was over.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Janet, that is EXACTLY the way this issue should be handled in a healthy grandparent-parent-child relationship. in my opinion there is a very clear lack of boundaries and appropriate reinforcement of them, and until the parents decide to stand up and take control (and to get the help to do that because it will likely take a therapist to help), then there is no change that will be seen. sadly, the child (aka grandchild) is the one who is hurt by this in the long run.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Janet, BINGO! You nailed it 100%. They should back up their children. I probably would have taken the shoes myself and said, "She can't have them right now." If they got angry...oh, well. It isn't funny that she was caught underage drinking.
  11. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    No shoes, until you are ready to give them to her. And it wouldn't be anytime soon. She simply doesn't deserve them. Sorry for the timing but underage drinking is simply just not a good choice. Not that I never did it mind you, but I was punished accordingly. One of the times I remember it being three months to the house. They could have given them to me on Christmas morning, but because of my bad choices I lost them on the day after Christmas. Hate you for now, probably. It won't last. Hang in there.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im not entirely sure how I will handle that topic when it comes up because I am 100000000000000% sure it

    Or one of the other difficult child things the kids will do. Will I be able to keep my mouth shut in front of the kid when I turn to said parents and go "did you expect anything less?" or "Apple doesnt fall far from the tree huh?" LOL

    I am pretty sure the kid will figure out that I am not surprised in the least that they have screwed up. Now whether or not they take it that I condone it or not is another matter. I will definitely tell them I am disappointed in their choices. Same as I told my kids. I love unconditionally...I think grandchildren are even more special, or should be. However I can be extremely disappointed in what they do.
  13. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    How do you set boundaries with a grandmother who is a bipolar schizophrenic who is suicidal on a regular basis? I swear to god if I were to say anything to her about it she would just act like the thought never occured to her. As for my father I don't know what to say. I have told him multiple times how difficult my relationship is with difficult child when he validates her and dismisses her punishments. He doesn't care and thinks I am just overdramatic.

    If I did say something it would just start another long period of hatred between me and my mother and my dad would pretend none of it exists. Plus I am dealing with a nearly suicidal teen here I am trying my damndest to keep her alive and out of a mental hospital at this point.
  14. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    On the other side of the coin. I would love to find a therapist to work with but considering I have to miss work for her therapy and her sisters therapy plus any other medical issues that arise I have no time off. My husband is coming home after 8 months away and the only thing I could say was please let it be on a Saturday or Sunday or I wont be able to get to come and pick you up.

    Maybe I can find an online therapist or a phone therapist I can speak to because at this point I am losing my ever loving mind.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    SOME tdocs will do early-evening or Saturday appts. Might be worth asking about?
    (most I know of will do this only for people with multiple constraints on time plus an obvious need... you'd qualify!)
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ohhhhh, I didnt realize you were dealing with that too. Sigh, that does make it harder. My mom had schizoaffective and she did her utmost best to undermine me at ever turn. I do think you just are very stuck. You may just have to explain to the child that Grandma and Grandpa arent exactly right and that you are in the position of being her parent and that no matter what they do, you make the decisions. They may play Disney fun folks and if all is going well you dont mind her spending time with them but if you have made decisions for her then she, and them, have to abide by your decisions for the period of time you decide. When that time is over, she is free to have time with her grandparents again. If she attempts to triangulate you all against each other, the punishments will just get worse and worse for her.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    dstc_, your mother is not your responsibility. She is your father's. I would minimize contact with her. Your difficult child will only be confused if she gets mixed signals. Trust me, as much as I ran to grandma, I was puzzled as to why grandma hid me from my mom and I would have done better if everyone had been on the same page. My mother would have never told my grandma she couldn't see me because it was not in her to oppose her mother, even when her mother was wrong and she resented her. But it would have been better for me.

    To clarify, I had a serious mood disorder and was also suicidal a lot as a teen. So I understand the bind you are in. You can see your parents without seeing them at bad times or too often, Know what I mean??
  18. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    How? The same way you set boundaries with anyone else!

    Setting boundaries is not about controlling other people or getting them to agree with you. Setting boundaries is about controlling your personal space. And if you are dealing with people who have serious issues - then firm boundaries are a MUST.

    Also - if your teen is "nearly suicidal"....then you may WANT to get her into a mental hospital so that she can get stabilized. Suicide threats are nothing to mess with. My own daughter has been admitted to the psychiatric hospital several times over suicidal ideation. Yes - it was hard taking her there, but it was the right thing to do at the time. Given similar circumstances - I would do it again.
  19. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I really have tried but to be honest it just doesn't work. The only time we have been able to instill at least physicall boundaries is when the military sends us to another state. I think we are the only military family out there that begs to be assigned as far from home and possible and always gets stationed not far away. Of course even a 14 hour drive doesn't stop them. Nothing I have ever done has gotten them to stop with the validation of bad behaviours. They constantly call and or difficult child calls them.

    I am going to a new therapist today because we had a difficult last couple of days and I need somewhere safe to vent and get support.
  20. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I am just wondering... has she worn the shoes yet? Do you have the receipt? IF (and I mean IF) you have to hire an attorney to protect her rights at school, then I would tell her that the $200+ shoes has to be used for her paying an attorney. If not, I would put them up for the time she is grounded... JMO KSM