Navigating the roller coaster with difficult child son and impending grandbaby


Active Member catch up.

difficult child son sent me a text the Monday before Xmas to let me know he and the girlfriend were pregnant.

Fast forward to now.

From August until December- I had probably talked with difficult child no more than 5 times. And of those times, I had to repeat my mantra (that you all here empowered me with)...."you are an adult, your choices are yours".

Now there's a baby coming. My first grandbaby.

Met the girlfriend in January when I was invited to go to their first ultrasound.

Since then- I'm torn between wanting to warn HER to what she has gotten herself into with my son (I haven't and won't- that's on them)...and just being an excited grandmother to be.

Last friday, the two of them showed up at my job crying. Both of them. Lights about to get cutoff, can I help- what am I going to do. I caved. First time I've caved in 6 months. I don't regret doing it- I charged the light bill - no cash. I talked crazy stupid to both of them. I mean- I talked EXTRA crazy.

I told them both that that they both need to find fulltime STEADY work- damn all this temp job mess. That this was the ONE and ONLY time I would do this. And, don't get confused- if they don't get their act together, and I end up having to provide basics for this baby- then that baby will be with ME. Neither of them said a word. Now, if I were HER and someone had said that to ME- I'd have certainly spoken up and said that wouldn't be a concern.

She also has a 4 year old- that she has every other weekend.

difficult child is what he is- a liar, thief, all that. But he's MY son. And this baby is part of ME.

I can't walk away.

Yesterday he went to the Dr at my insistence to tell him that he was a) stopping smoking weed, and needed help with depression. He actually went.

They gave him Lexapro which made him violently ill. They ended up in ER last night. He's better today. Has two job interviews tomorrow.

Will this baby change him? I don't know.

He will not drag me back into his drama. There's more to this story. I just don't have it in me to type it all out right now.



Well-Known Member
Hi. I don't know whether to say congrats or feel bad about this. It is so wrong when unstable young adults don't utilize birth control. Will your son change because of the baby?

Not likely. Your son and obviously this young woman are what they are and a baby doesn't change people unless they are ready to grow up and it doesn't sound like either of them are if they came to you crying (these are potential parents). Beware also that if you ever refuse to do something your son wants, he may withhold the grandchild from you. I have one son and he hasn't seen us for eight years. He has two children. I thank my lucky stars I never met those kids because I don't know them and although he is withholding them from really doesn't matter. I don't know them. I am not involved. I would rather be unattached than heartbroken.

You can certainly make certain plans to maybe get custody of the baby if both of them lose their parental rights.

I would take a sit-back-and-wait laid back attitude. Mother could be drinking and doing drugs which can damage the developing baby, causing problems even before he/she is born. Most likely neither will quit the drugs, be able to get gainful employment or treat you any better than they did before she got pregnant. Usually our rather differently wired darlings only come to us when they need something. Did he even once ask you how YOU are doing? THey tend not to care about us. We are their ATM that they can and often do disregard if we don't stay their ATM. Then they punish us for not supporting them financially, even though they are too old to expect that. But they do.

I am reminding you of this because, unfortunately, we should all be joyful when a baby is on the way, but this situation is not the norm. This isn't two well-adjusted, sober, hardworking young people bringing a child into the world who will have unconditional love, stability and parents who are capable of taking care of their needs. They can't even take care of their own needs. Is either going to go back to school to get some career? Do they have any job skills?Any motivation?

This is a very touchy situation. It is not that easy to get custody of your grandchild unless both parents sign custody over to you. They would have to be very neglectful, criminal or abusive for a very long period of time otherwise before parental rights would be removed...or they'd both have to be in jail.

Be mindful. Take it one day at a time. Try not to get too involved. Stay detached and see what happens. I wouldn't go to doctor's appointments anymore. You don't even know if they will stay together. She could bolt with kid and take off to parts unknown. If your son has traits of antisocial personality disorder, this relationship is unlikely to last and mom will probably leave him and take the baby. She will likely run to HER mother, who may or may not shelter her. That's what happens with difficult adult can't count on them.

If you have other children who are grown, I'd count my blessings and enjoy them as well as continuing to be good to yourself, your other loved ones, your friends, and anything e lse you enjoy. In my opinion, it is best not to put too much focus here on a situation you can't control.

I don't think you said ANYTHING wrong. I think you were actually a bit lenient. This is a man and woman about to have a baby and they came running to you for help, like kids themselves. They need to grow up or perhaps consider adoption for the baby or signing custody directly over to you. The latter would be best. But you can't control either of them.

Hugs and wishing you the best and hoping it all works out! :)
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Active Member
Thanks- now, as for the girlfriend- she's not on drugs. Actually had a really good job up until December. That's why I feel for her- because I can tell that in many ways she is weak minded- probably lonely when she met him- and wasn't taught any real standards. I've talked one on one with her a few times and she's even mentioned how different I am than her own mom- because I shoot from the hip.

I know my son. I won't have to fight for anything- that's why I'm trying to build a relationship with HER because let's be honest- she holds the cards. She shares her daughter with her exhusband (she's much older than my son) - she doesn't want to share another baby (from what she's told me). She has my son going to church (which, from about 15, I couldn't do).

I've told her that I *will* be involved. To please, no matter what happens with my son- never deny me that. So far, she seems to go with that.

This is what I don't get about her- she's actually sane- own place, own car, good job, nice things, all that. What the hell is she doing with MY crazy son?


Well-Known Member
The day is young. It is unlikely she WILL stay with your son. She already left one babydaddy. Although it's a good idea to try to stay on her good side to keep in touch with your grandchild, she may not decide to keep in touch if/after t hey break up. She does have a family, apparently, and they will come first. There is no way to enforce grandparents rights if you live in the U.S. Neither parent has to allow the child to see his grandparents. I just don't want you to get your hopes up and get hurt. You'll have a better shot with your older child when she finally has a child than you will with this one. Something has to be "off" about this woman to want a younger man who is on drugs so I can't personally trust HER stability either.

Remember, actions speak louder than words. People make promises all the time and don't keep them. See what she does, not just what she says.

If she has her own place, her own car, a good job and nice things, why did both of them, her included, come to work crying? If she makes good money, why were the lights turned off?

Don't overlook those red flags. That's a big one. Where is her money going? Are you sure she isn't using drugs too? She may not tell you. Or she could be funding son's drug habit. If not, she should be able to take care of the electric bill. Something doesn't add up and it is unlikely she is going to be honest about where her money went if it was not spent in a good way.

Going to church means nothing. Many people go to church and don't really live it or believe it. Manipulators are very good at using church to try to look good. It doesn't change who they are. Don't put too much emphasis on that unless he is talking the talk and walking the walk and you see him develop a code of morals.

Again, I don't want you to get overly excited, then devestated. Remember who you are dealing with and I hope everything works out for you, but be prepared for surprises, bumps, manipulation (son) and lots and lots of unknowns.

by the way, every time my difficult honeybun has a new girlfriend (they always leave because he can't hide who he is forever), I always want to tell them to head for the hills so I know how that feels. Of course, I don''s none of my business, but I think my son is better off alone.

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Well-Known Member
Staff member
Sweetmama, this has to be tough on you, I'm sorry for that. Hugs for your probably confused heart.

It's hard with babies. I know that first hand. On a positive note, there are at least 2 members here who have very good relationships with the mothers of their grand babies and with their grand babies and limited relationships with their own sons. One in particular has remained very connected to her sons ex girlfriend and the children and looks on those babies as blessings. So it can be done, it can happen.

Why people hook up is the age old question isn't it? Whatever it is, the union has produced a child, your grandchild.... and you want to be a part of that child's life. There will likely be bumps and issues, you seem alert to that fact, you seem to know your boundaries well. So, step back and wait, wait and see how it unfolds. We don't know the future, we can't predict it, there are a thousand seem to be clear on what you want, you want a relationship with this child......and you are aware of your sons behaviors.......

When the time arrives it will likely be more clear for you at that point, and for them as well. Stay well supported, keep posting, keep your boundaries intact and remember to take good care of yourself......we're here......hang in there......


Active Member
I'm cautiously encouraged that difficult child has made and kept the Dr appointment and has an appointment with an actual psychiatrist next week. He needs help. I've tried to tell him that the game has changed. That he can either do right and have access to his baby- or he can NOT do right, and see his baby four days a month and get tangled up in child support. He didn't have his dad growing up- and I've told him that he can break the cycle right now- this is how he fixes his own hurt from that on his side. He may not change. He may change. He may do wrong. He may not.

I can get through to this girl - because I know her parents aren't 'around' (they live about 25 miles outside of town)- and I know how hard it is to have a newborn and a baby in general. I've met the four year old - she's a cutie. I'm not "working" her, I'm getting her to understand that where difficult child may be crazytown - his mama is not. I'm a better advocate than I am an adversary.


Well-Known Member
Please...don't come on too strong. My son went through a tiresome custody battle last year and I learned the shocking legalities of custody. Grandparents have no rights. It's up to the parent to decide who the child sees. Going to court won't help you. This is one battle you can't win unless both she and your son sign their rights to you (which is a worthwhile goal). She DOES have a mother. 25 miles would never keep me from my grandchild. That's maybe a half hour away. I regularly drive four hours to see my sweet granddaughter. If you come across as threatening or trying to control this girl, she could rebel and you would not have recourse. The only people the court take into account for custody are the mother and father and the father, if not married to Mom, needs to take a DNA test to prove he's the father. If he doesn't, legally the baby could belong to anybody. And your son will be on the hook for child support, whether he can afford it or not. If he has a police record, he may not even be allowed to see the baby every other weekend without supervision.

Emotional reasoning usually does not work with our troubled darlings. If an adult child is doing drugs, unemployable, struggling...the drug usually is hard for them to kick and a baby doesn't usually do the trick. We've all been trying to set our difficult children straight all thier life and it hasn't worked. We can no control them, only how we react to them. You will not be able to take control of your grandchild either. As a grandma with a child who once used drugs, but hasn't for ten years and who I am on very good terms with, her and her SO are still the ones in charge of my grandbaby. When I'm there it's her house/her rules. Babydaddy's mom is also in the picture and is my ex. You will not be this girl's everything. It is foolish to think 25 miles will keep the other grandmother from her daughter and grandchild. Life is what it is and letting go of trying to control it is a lot easier and more realistic.

Having said all that, I do hope you can be a part of your grandchild's life and that things get better for your son over the long haul. A few days is never long enough to get excited when it comes to addiction. Until my daughter was clean for over a year, we kept waiting for the other shoe to fall. She had relapsed many times. However, she was ten years from drug use before she had her baby...she has done very well since those days, but she really wanted to quit. Desperately. That's what it takes.
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Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Last friday, the two of them showed up at my job crying.

For them ~ and I am assuming she is obviously pregnant ~ to show up where you work with their hands out and tears in their eyes was calculated to shame you into taking responsibility. A cold, chillingly manipulative move.

I would rather be unattached than heartbroken.

I feel really badly for you, for your grandparenting introduction to have happened in this way. I felt the same way when it happened to me.
That whole crummy reality of losing a child to the streets and then, the living nightmare of learning there would be a baby.

My first grandchild.

I am big into naming, not only what we did get, but also all the wonderful things we will never, ever have from our difficult child kids.

Simple things, like being respected enough to have actually met our child's mate prior to a pregnancy. Or, like being listened to and cherished enough that we could actually veto an inappropriate mate for our child. Or the joy it must be to anticipate a grandchild coming, and then, to learn of a pregnancy, and then, to hold the cherished, well cared for grandchild.

That never happened for me, of course.

But I am being cynical.

I was horrified that my daughter was pregnant, at all. That she was pregnant by the person who impregnated her made me want to vomit.

I mean that.

I never was able to consider the baby she was pregnant with, if you know what I mean. But then, the baby was born...and oh, man, we fell so in love with her. I have wished, in the rest of my life, that I had known how I was going to come to love that little girl.

It really had nothing much to do with my daughter.

The relationship you will have with your grandchild will have very little to do with your son.

Be mindful. Take it one day at a time. Try not to get too involved. Stay detached and see what happens.


Reserve your feelings for the innocent party in all this. Yourself, and your grandchild.

Don't overlook those red flags. That's a big one. Where is her money going?

If she was working until December, there should be another job by now, and there should be money, by now.

I agree with MWM on this one.

Big, big red flag.

Good for you for speaking from the hip.

I'm a better advocate than I am an adversary.

I love this.



Well-Known Member
Staff member
I remember all too well my feelings when Youngest got pregnant - both times (sigh). A mixture of fear, sadness, anger, and anxiety. I felt a bit "ripped off" - I didn't get to experience the joy that I was "supposed" to feel when I heard I was going to be a grandmother. I didn't know how to feel - especially when baby shower time came around. I wanted to be supportive, and of course I knew I would love my grandchild, but I was really ticked off and NOT happy that she was pregnant. Celebrating it seemed hypocritical. Talk about conflicted feelings.

I'd encourage you to just take this one day at a time and not let your mind wander too far ahead with the "what ifs." Decide what you're willing to do, and not willing to do, and stick to it as best you can. Grandkids do make it harder not to "cave in" -- it's much more complicated.



Well-Known Member
I'm usually over on the general parenting side because of my difficult grandson. Welcome to the world of being a grandparent! It's the very best thing ever. Your heart will stretch with love more than you ever thought possible. You'll worry more, love bigger and harder than ever. Congratulations!!!


Well-Known Member
I agree - becoming a grandmother was the highlight of my life!! We love him SOOO much - he is our universe. And now he is starting to really talk so he will tap my thigh and say "Nana, Nana". :) The best is when I go to pick him up, my daughter will open the door to let him outside and he comes running to me with a big grin and open arms - sigh - he is my LOVE!!!!! I am going to be picking him and my daughter up on Friday for the weekend - I am SO excited I can't stand it! :D

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
How wonderful to have your first grandchild. Thanks for sharing with us.
There is nothing like snuggling a grandbaby!!



Active Member
Thanks for the well wishes. This has been, in the last four days- a roller coaster like no other. I know many times I have been told "you have no idea how big your heart is until you have a grandbaby" and it was unimaginable to me- so I always thought I knew. I didn't know. I had no idea. I can't even TELL you all how in LOVE I am with this baby.

When it comes to my son- while he is who he is inside- there are many strides he has made. I'm choosing, at this point, to look for the good and not always wait on the other shoe to drop- I have to be positive and have that be the energy I put out. He's doing a great job. Has been there every step of the way with his girlfriend- has cried like a baby more than a few times over all this- because he also had no idea what this would feel like.

He has a long way to go. He has alot of growing up to do. But he's not using drugs (just got another job - that's his biggest issue- no job stability) and passed that drug test. He's not stealing (that I know of). He has asked for money, and a few times through the months has pulled the "well, you are going to want to see **********, and if you are going treat me this way then you can't" card - which I called that bluff early on and I've not heard that since.

They recently moved into a 3 bedroom rent house, he's working, she's working, baby is now here (had some minor breathing issues and is still in hospital- likely not going to be released until this weekend)- he has a new goal. And this might, just might, be the catalyst for long sustained change.

I know him- have known him every bit of his 22 years on earth. I've become very in tune (thanks to this forum) in reading him and becoming more aware of when he is bull$***ing me and when he's playing on my emotions. I've learned (and he's learned) to say no and not second guess myself.

My new grandson is going to change me too. Already has. Years of dealing with my son hardened me - a lot. This sweet sweet baby will soften me. I can't control it. I wish I could share a photo (but won't on the forum)- I'm so proud.

NOTHING prepares you for this. Nothing.

Y'all have a great night!


one day at a time
SM so glad to hear this great news. This baby could be THE catalyst for your son's turnaround and I am hoping that is the case. Fingers crossed and prayers going up! I am so very glad that you have a lot of experience and recovery under your belt already and also that this baby is already such a joy. I hope the manipulation about the baby is already stopped before it started good and that you all can enjoy each other as a family as they move forward in their lives. There is no such thing as perfect and they won't be and that is okay...perfectly normal. I am praying that you can Maintain both a soft heart and very strong boundaries with them as the days go by. Please keep us posted. We care.