Being a grandparent to a difficult child's children or having difficult child grandchildren can be a challenge and often change the "dream" of what we thought it would be to be grandparents. Gfgdom can complicate our relationships with these children we hold dear to the point that we often find we're forced to distance ourselves from the innocent children as well as their parents. Grandparenthood to me is the reward for surviving my own kids childhood. I have watched 4 out of 7 of my grandchildren come into the world. That by itself strengthened the bond between us. The bond I have with those 4 is slightly different than what I have with the other 3, not much but enough that I notice it. We're a very very tight knit family, gfgdom or not. Extended family is as much a part of a child's daily life as their own family unit. Extended family supports and reinforces the individual family units within.....as well as each individual, especially children. A grandparent's role in the life of a child is important. Usually they have the time to give a grandchild extra attention that a parent with busy schedules and siblings to care for don't have to give. Age and experience tends to give a grandparent vast amounts of patience. And let's face it, grandparents are gifted at seeking out and praising every little good thing about each of their grandchildren and lavishing praise for them when parents are so often caught up in the day to day parenting that sometimes they have to stop and think to praise a child. I am exceptionally close to my grandkids. I am very active in their lives. I love spoiling them. But I love watching them develop into their own personalities and giving them encouragement to learn and grow. Gfgdom can sure cramp my style. Aubrey will be having sleep overs this summer. She's going through mega nana withdrawal but with preschool can't stay during the year. Darrin and Brandon will be my yard sale buddies when Aubrey isn't sleeping over........it will be Aubrey and Darrin when she's here. I'd like to take katies kids as I know they'd enjoy it. But total lack of discipline makes it difficult to take them anywhere. However, I do plan to at least attempt it. If they can't behave I just won't take them again. I did the art show at the school with Darrin. Now we plan to attend an "adult" art show at the college, then I'll take him to the art museum in cincy, although aubrey will most likely join us as she's huge into art too. I'd like to take Kayla as she's also artistic.....but we'll have to wait and see. I could handle her alone, but I can't afford mult trips to the same places. Know what I mean?? I also have a "thing" where I tend to pick up things I spot that I know one of the grandkids like or would enjoy. Now this can be something bought at a store or yard sale or thrift store whatever. My grandkids are always somewhere in my thoughts....lol My kids too, and I do tend to do this for them as well, but it's not quite the same. Now these things I pick up may stay at nana's house for them to play with. Or I may put them back for a birthday or xmas. Or I may just surprise the child with it and let them enjoy it right away. Lots of times these things are just for fun. Many more times they're things to encourage their interest and help them learn and grow. At goodwill they had a complete Leapster set for 7.00. I was chomping at the bit. It worked. It looked like new. Aubrey popped into my mind, but she has her own set. Evan popped into mind and I picked it up. He rarely puts down the electronic toy that teaches him letters numbers and shapes.....drives katie nuts with the thing. I knew he'd go bonkers over the leapster, and let's face it the kid needs all the help he can get. So for a half hour I stewed over it. While images of Evan having fun kept running through my mind, images of kayla and Alex breaking it also kept running through my mind.......as well as how broken hearted the boy would be if they did. I put it back and didn't buy it. Instead I picked up a toy pet carrier I knew all the grands would enjoy for a dollar. Makes me both mad and frustrated. Kayla is very artistic, she has talent. I'd like to buy her art supplies. I can't because they would not last a minute. She needs encouragement to read as her skills are poor. She wants the Little House and Harry Potter books. If I bought them the boys would have them torn apart within a day. Evan needs help with simple preschool skills.....and he needs age development toys like the fisher price sets and the tool set he got for xmas. I've never seen a boy so thrilled over tools.......I could take that and run with it. I "could" but I can't. Alex is obsessed (literally) with batman and video games.......so severely that something needs to be found to encourage him to broaden his interests. But even Alex himself can't give me inspiration as his parents have spent years plopping him in front of video games to keep him quiet and from raging. And of course all 3 kids are in desperate need of individual attention. Poor Evan is latching on to husband and I every time he sees us, and he does not want to leave. Normally with a grandchild that is cute and endearing. But this is sort of desperate and heartbreaking. I want so badly to take that child for vast amounts of Nana one on one time......and yet his out of control have no clue whatsoever how to behave......makes me cringe. But I think I will try if I can think of something. Of course there is the whole entitlement issue with their parents as well. If I buy the kids something.....their money is used for something stupid. I'm big on if I find something cute clothes wise at yard sales......or especially coats, snow boots, halloween costumes, I pick them up for any of the grands. I've already had to stop with katie's kids because now katie thinks I'm going to just supply their wardrobes. She kept hitting me up telling me Alex wore his shoes out......I just told her guess you'll have to buy him new ones huh? ugh Makes me mad. Because they are children of 2 major difficult children......katie's kids actually need extended family and this type of spoiling more than the other grands......yet what we do and what we give them has to be guarded and thought through so much it takes all the fun out of it and you're left wondering why you even bother. And they wind up not getting anywhere near the amount of extended family attention, spoiling, ect as they need. And yes, it only makes it worse that I expect katie to up and vanish at any moment now that she has money again. I realized yesterday that since the grands have been in our shelter I've been emotionally distancing myself from them. With me that is not a good thing. It's a skill left over from my own past......and I can do it so well that I can totally cut myself off from a person emotionally, even if that person is a child. I will have to work on that. Because once it gets so far it's really really hard for me to turn those emotions back on again. All of this complicated junk........and it doesn't even touch the neglect and abuse we often see in varying degrees with our grandkids. Or having to watch all the horrible drama, trauma, and chaos they're forced to endure at the mercy of their difficult child parents. Having to watch it because other than calling in cps ect we're powerless to do much about it. Knowing that these children never asked for the lives they're forced to live each day Being grandparents when there is gfgdom involved puts a whole different spin on it. I know I'm not the only PEr who has had to deal with it. I thought a post to bring it out and vent some pent up feelings.....and to know others share the same sort of thoughts, doubts, ect about it might be a good thing.