heartsick over grandchildren

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by skittles, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. skittles

    skittles Member

    I havent posted here in years, but recently have felt the need to reach out for support again. My difficult child is now 26 years old in prison for armed robbery and is father to three kids. I have inherited resposibility for his kids and girlfreind. His girlfriend is another difficult child, she keeps getting pregnant on purpose, has no car, minimal parenting skills and is very difficult to deal with. My grandkids are 4, 3 and 1. None of them are toilet trained, teeth are not brushed and theres never a fresh fruit or vegetable in the house. Childrens aid society has been involved but recently closed the protection order and she is now without thier supervision and her family refuse to help.. So I am her only support. I am constantly oncall for everything. Every time she runs out of something, needs to see the doctor, go shopping etc. Meanwhile I have a full time job and my own family also. I could deal with this if I thought it was temporary, that it would improve as they got older, however, I know she fully intends on getting pregnant again as soon as my son gets out on parole. As i cant see any end in site to this i am at the point that I feel I have to tell both of them that if she gets pregnant again I will call childrens aid and tell them I am withdrawing my support. I feel horrible as that is abandoning my innocent grandchildren but I know their parents will never stop having kids as long as I am helping them and my life will never be my own.
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    you are wonderful to even do as much as you are doing! Imvho, you are wise to think ahead and set limits. I can't pretend to know how hard this is........ just wanted you to know I read and support you.
  3. skittles

    skittles Member

    Thankyou Buddy, knowing I have to set those limits but feeling ok with it are definately two different things, you'd think it would get easier with all the times ive had to set those limits before with my son. Having the grandkids in the picture makes a huge difference, I know their parents use them to manipulate me. It truly helps to strengthen my resolve to hear from others like yourself that it needs to be done.
  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    You have a full time job, a husband and another son at home - it is not selfish of you to want to have a fulfilling life of your own. It would be great to lend a hand now and then to your grandchildren and their mom, but it is not great to be used and manipulated. As always, the children end up being the ones who suffer the most.
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Skittles. Yes, grandkids do complicate all of it, I can completely understand your dilemma. No easy answers, that's for sure. My heart goes out to you having to even be in the situation you're in. At some point, you really will need to make strong boundaries, or you're right, your life will be about taking care of all of these little kids. Babies having babies. Sigh.

    Well, from one grammy to another, here's my unsolicited advice, get yourself as much support as you can. Find a good therapist. Find a group for grandparents. Get really good at saying NO. Grandparents parenting again is an epidemic now, so there are books and resources for you to get support. Figure out just how much you are willing to do and what you are NOT willing to do, make a plan and stick with it. Take care of you and your husband and your other son and put yourself FIRST. Get your needs met, do nurturing things for yourself. Have fun. Don't let your difficult child and his girlfriend and the babies take up all of your time and energy. I know it's hard, believe me, but you deserve to start winding down and having the life you want. They will overrun you with their needs and desires so set those boundaries and make sure you know what your needs and desires are, because you know what, YOURS are more important. Don't enable your son's girlfriend, she will stop having babies when you stop taking care of them. Get lots of support, really, that's the way to learn how to get ourselves out of these binds our adult kids put us in, it's so hard to detach and yet we have to find ways to allow them to be responsible for their own actions. Keep posting, it helps a lot. We're here. You're not alone..........Lots of hugs to you..............
  6. jisduit

    jisduit New Member

    Glad your back - this site is an awesome place to get support and feedback. I am not a gandma yet so I dont understand all that your going through but I can say from my experience with my children - if i keep doing for them, why would they even want to do for themselves ? I can honesty say that I trained my difficult child to get away with doing as little as possible because I always did everything for him. My other two children - I trained them to do for me - my 21 year old makes me coffee every morning and checks every 10 minutes to see if I need more - and I never even ask - Yes I do nice things for him but I dont try to control or fix any issues or difficulties that he has - Hope that made some sense - Best of luck to you
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Welcome back skittles, I'm sorry it was necessary.

    Grandchildren do complicate matters, however, as you've seen through experience......we can only do so much as our hands are tied in many respects. Sadly, you're mostly likely correct that the girlfriend probably won't stop popping out babies as long as you're there to help.....but going to guess she's not going to stop regardless. So it's best to set your limits now. We all have our lines in the sand. You can't be expected to uphold their responsibilities and yours at the same time forever. You're not superhuman, just a loving grandparent.

    Glad that when you needed us, you were able to find us again.
  8. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Hello again Skittles, Your life sounds out of control. Actually that isn't the right way to put it. Your life is being controled by your difficult child and his girlfriend. I can totally understand your concern for your grandkids. It really stinks that they are being raised in such a neglectful home.

    You say that IF she has another child you will tell CPS you are out of the picture and they need to step back in. But I am going to suggest that you not wait till then. If you stop doing the everyday things mom will either have to do them herself or will fail and be put back into the system. It stinks that there is no premptive controls within the system and that the kids reap the fallout but that is the way it is set up. CPS only can act when the kids are being neglected. If they can find someone they can put all the responsibility on that is reliable that is what they wll do and then witdraw services. The only way they will come back in is if yu stop doing what you are doing and the mother fails to pick up the responsibilities.

    When CPS steps back in then tell them that you want only to be a grandma and not a caregiver. Tell them that you are willing to take the children on outings and how often and for how long tell them what other things you are willing to do but keep them down to your minimum.

    I know many grandmas that have been put in your situation. One gained custody of three of her grands and is raising them up. She is exhausted and her husband will never be able to retire but the kids are doing well. The others take care of the kids partime and seem to be happier because they still have time to live their own life. I think you are in a situation where you need to really think about what you want and need in all this and then set clearly defined boundries and maintain them. It won't be easy but if you don't your difficult child and his girlfriend will run you into the ground. I am so very sorry for your pain and worry. -RM
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im so sorry you are being put in this position. I have 4 grandchildren by 2 different sons. I can see myself in this position especially by one of them...and by my youngest it could happen quite soon with his youngest daughter. I am not looking forward to it at all. She is a 1 and a half year old handful. He is working out of town and her mother may not last as a basically single mom while he is gone for 3 weeks at a time. We will do what we need to do though.

    I do think you have to decide exactly what you can handle. Can you take on raising 3 small kids all over again? If so, tell CPS that you are willing to take them on but no others. If you can only handle this 3 but the parents have to deal with their future behaviors...then put that to them. You can even talk about how often you want contact - supervised- with the parents. I would immediately stop helping your daughter in law and only help the grandchildren with items you know they can use. Buy them clothes, take them to the park, buy school supplies, Xmas, have them every other weekend and a couple of weeks in the summer. I wouldnt give the mother money unless you really want to and will have no feelings of resentment over it.

    As far as them having more children, well that is totally irresponsible and something you should never have to endorse in anyway. I would never have anything to do with these future children. At sometime in the future you will have to explain to the first 3 grandchildren why this is happening so do be prepared for this conversation. Hopefully by then either cps will have removed all the kids or the parents will have gotten their act together and this will no longer be an issue.
  10. skittles

    skittles Member

    Wow, I have to say thankyou to all of you for your great advice. I am feeling more in control than I have in awhile. I talked to my difficult child last time he called to put him on notice as to my limits. I havent sat down with his girlfriend yet though i told her last week i would take her out for her grocery shopping on the 20th when her cheque comes in but i would not be avaiable til then as i am busy. I have refused to answer my phone all week. I have kept it on in case of true emergencies but havent found a reason to answer. Shes texted or called four days in a row for various things, she wanted me to come change her furnace filter (a very obvious ploy just to get me over there-I dont think she even knows what a furnace filter is), then she asked for lice shampoo, says all the kids have lice, then shes out of milk and babywipes. I think she got the message as after that I havent heard from her in several days now. Its been a whole weeek since ive seen the kids, missing them terribly and a little worried but I have really enjoyed some downtime and a chance to reconnect with myself. I know I still have to have a serious discussion with her which I plan to do before we go shopping, and I know I may have to to bring cas back in the picture. I also know she will test my resolve and push the limits I set and probably force me to bring in cas, but so be it. Again thankyou all for the support and advice.
  11. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Good job, skittles! I know how impossibly hard this must have been. The reason I am posting is that they say a blow dryer is actually the best way to get rid of lice. In many cases, the shampoo isn't working, anymore. You still need to wash all bedding and so on. Does the mom have a hair dryer?

  12. skittles

    skittles Member

    My God this is just crazy. Well my difficult child's girlfriend did it, shes pregnant and due in December, but hes in jail. I cant beleive this but they do not have conjugal visits but he tells me it could be his and shes telling the world its his. Is this even possible??? So they are trying to tell me that they had sex in a public prison visiting room in the presence of guards, cameras, and other families with children. I find it hard to beleive and i think it more likely im getting this line of bs because they think im more likely to keep helping and less likely to ask childrens aid to step in if i think this is my grandchild. I am apparently now no longer allowed to see my grandchildren as she can't trust me not to call childrens aid. That will only last til she needs something and her family bails on her. Meanwhile my difficult child has at least another year in jail, just enough time for another immaculate conception after this one is born! Sorry for the sarcasm but im just venting right now!
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    wow is girlfriend a number! I guess this child is going to be the second coming...lol. If you can at all possibly convince your son to get a dna test then do it but I was not successful in pushing this command. Now it may be that your son's girlfriend will be forced to get one if she wants any state services because of the fact that your son is in prison. I dont think too many officials will believe their story.

    I am so sorry you cant see your grandchildren right now but you are right in not allowing to be blackmailed into anything. I adore my grandchildren but when my youngest got his current girlfriend pregnant we made it very clear that we wouldnt do nearly as much for this baby as we have done and still do for his first child. Well that was easier said than done let me tell you! I dont buy as much or watch her as much but we still help out from time to time. In fact my difficult child is back living with us now and he has his youngest with him about 80% of the time. We do make him do for her when he is here though. I havent changed a diaper in ages. I did backslide and just ordered her a pretty nice birthday present though...lol. It doesnt help that she is a cute little thing!

    We can see us having to be the stable home for her in the future. husband and I talked just the other night about when she goes to school where she will go from. I will not be surprised if it isnt from my home. Hopefully by then she will be easier to handle than she is as a toddler. We will cross that bridge when we get to it though and not borrow trouble now. She has a little while.

    It is very hard to say no to the kids but I still say you can help out your grandchildren without providing financial aid.