what does family support look like to you?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Jena, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. Jena

    Jena New Member

    i was just wondering........

    i've heard countless times from sooo many doctor's we've seen when they ask the infamous so, how about family support? my answer is always umm what family support, minimal.

    so i just wanted to ask, what does that look liike or is it like for you guys? does grandma and grandpa make trips over, watch kids? go out of their way to help out?

    i know some of you have the type of family i have and yes it is a struggle. yet i was wondering with other ppl what is that like? do you ask, do they just offer?

    for those of us who do it with-o good for us but quite frankly too bad we dont' have it.

    i text my brother today from the er. kinda kidding yet said we're back in a e.r. again difficult child slipped on ice outside our home, broke bone in wrist on growth plate, gotta head to ortho guy in two days.

    his response...... oh the ongoing drama filled life. that's what i get. i get for years from my mom up till recently well your doing this wrong that wrong. there is never just the offer to drive over spend the day, let me get a break go buy food, go to gym take a walk.

    i gotta practically beg them to come visit for difficult child's birthday this coming monday. i'm just so tired of it. the phone calls are mostly about HER life, HER struggles, what she's up to. so yup i sit give advice listen to her talk with-o a breath for umm twenty min. sometimes i set the phone down go do something and return and she's still rambling.

    so self serving is how i feel about them.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I didnt have much support from anyone. My mom certainly didnt give any and my Dad while he was very verbally supportive, he would never have opened his home. He did come down a few times to see the kids do a few things. One time they visited Cory at his wilderness camp. They saw the boys show their goats at the county fair. I think that happened more because the timing happened to be right because they were passing through with a friend on the way to Hilton Head..lol.

    Now I think I am more of an involved Grandma. Or I try to be. I am much more involved with Keyana we all know. Now I would be with the other two if it wasnt for the parents and the way I am treated when up there. Of course, if anything big happened and they needed us, we would be there in no time. Family is family.
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    My Dad and step-mom are very supportive, I can call and cry about things if I need to, etc. We don't live near them so obviously visiting isn't something we get to do much. Her grandparents on his side will listen, and sometimes give good advice and sometimes are critical. They're more of the "spank some sense into the kids" type.

    We're so far from everyone that we're pretty much on our own. I get most of my support right here, from this virtual family and a few other friends I've met online.
    Lasted edited by : Feb 22, 2011
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    A roll of duct tape and an XL spanx? (I'm on my own here)
  5. 4timmy

    4timmy New Member

    I have no support nearby and neighbor kids have told my difficult child that their parents think he's weird, so needless to say, I don't depend on our neighbors for anything. Sadly, our community is very to-them-selves and the parents tend to form cliches all centered around the extracurricular activities that my difficult child has no interest in.

    We live a little over an hour away from my family. husband's family has all passed except his sister who he really doesn't 'bond' with so we rarely see her. She and her husband have never offered to come get difficult child and do something with him, but they were always offering to pick up my husband's easy child's (from previous marriage) and letting them spend the summer with them or take them on vacation when they were young. My sis, b in law, Mom and Dad all live on 5 acres - their houses next door to each other. My sis has a difficult child with "Cats Cry Syndrome", a very rare chromosomal disorder that left him severely mentally disabled. He lives at a group home and is in his late 20's. My parents are almost 80 and their health isn't real good. My mom is in early stages of dementia and it takes all my Dad has to take care of her. My Dad had colon cancer surgery 2 years ago and so far he's clean. My sis wants to be close and be able to help each other out, but her health is also very bad. She has Lupus and within the last 2 years has had her knee replaced and her spine rebuilt (pins put in to straighten it out). She tends to plan things for US to do for our parents like clean, etc, and then I'm the one who ends up doing it. I've had a lot of pressure to go up and help out at least once a month. My difficult child hates going there because there isn't a lot to do and my husband can't get along with my Mom. My parents don't understand difficult child's condition. My Dad tries hard and he is always telling me "oh he'll grow out of it".... :) God love 'em ALL!!
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Unreliable support is as bad as no support. Possibly worse. If you have a sprained ankle and use a walking stick, but that walking stick occasionally bends, then you risk further injury. You would do better to rely on nothing and struggle, than to rely on something that risks letting go unexpectedly.

    Family support - I live too far from most of my family. However, we support one another as best we can, mostly long-distance. One sister who was critically ill a year ago, suddenly had us family turning up to visit her even though she was unable to remember we were there (sedated on medazolam for several weeks). It was difficult for me at the time because I was right at the beginning of my cancer treatment, but we did what we could. It wasn't easy, we had to tiptoe around her control-freak husband. I felt like I was constantly hosing down potential family squabbles, but it is what you do when you give family support. I did not expect support in return - my sister is still recovering, still weak. I can't expect this form her when she has to focus on herself.

    My mother spent time with each of her daughters when we had babies. All except me. Because by the time I had my kids, she was too old and frail. She felt bad about it, but because I had been there with her with the oldest ones, I knew what to do anyway. I managed.

    Family support - my in-laws used to sometimes step in and mind the kids. Such as when I was in hospital having another baby and husband needed to work, the kids would stay with grandma and grandad. It wasn't brilliant and they found it a strain.
    Family support can go beyond family - when difficult child 3 was born, I farmed out difficult child 1 to church friends for the week I was in hospital. They all had a wonderful time because difficult child 1 always did well in a 1:1 situation. It meant grandma & grandad had the two girls only, and they coped much better. We now return the family support because mother in law needs a lot of contact, needs to be ferried around a lot and we are down there every night having dinner with her to make sure she is eating right.

    When you receive family support, you at some stage re expected to reciprocate. Even though such support is generally unconditional, if you do not reciprocate, the support dries up.

    If you are managing without any family support, then carry on. it is a pity, but there it is.

    My father always had a major hang-up about being beholden to anybody. If someone did a favour for him, he would worry about it until he had the chance to reciprocate. He tended to store up favours, often preferring people to NOT reciprocate, because that way he felt he stayed ahead. Even when he was dying of TB and emphysema, was struggling on oxygen, he walked over to his friend's house (his friend had ALS) and put in a hand rail for his friend. He dragged his oxygen bottle behind him on a trolley. Then he and his friend would sit and talk about mortality, as only two dying people can do together. They were not family, but this still is family support.

  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Considering... I am blessed, really.

    My parents are there when I need to talk. In fact I'll call my Mom (or Dad, too) every so often and just announce that I need to vent. They listen. Occasionally, they'll drive up and watch the kids when we need them, or take one or both of the kids for a day. And for the most part, both kids are angels with them.

    Financially, my parents are wonderful. On and on with the lawyer, and there is a trust set up for mh issues for the kids. This came from Mom's parents when they passed, and I am grateful for it.

    Then there are the in-laws. Oh, they're willing to help. But father in law, God love him, knows everything about everything and will talk to you for hours and hours. Lecture, mostly. It's awful. Interestingly, he will talk to me, but he doesn't lecture. At Christmas, I finally had to pull my Dad and husband aside and say, look, you guys have GOT to quit paying attention to him, it's encouraging him, this is CHRISTMAS, for the FAMILY. father in law needs to be the center of attention, at all times. But if we need someone to be there for BM picking up Jett - he will come.

    We used to have Jett go to mother in law's two days a week after school. Well... It was a pain having to pick him up, because I was expected to sit and talk to her. And mother in law had this thing about putting people down. She would tell me how lazy husband was, and how he was lucky to have me to do everything for him, and how it was father in law's fault, yadda yadda yadda. And she would say horrible things about BM in front of Jett. And then I found out she was badmouthing me to husband - huh? The final straw was one day when Onyxx went over there. mother in law called her a sl** (due to clothing) and a druggie, criticized her all around, and then started in on how horrible of parents me and husband were. Now, normally I wouldn't believe Onyxx on this - but she recorded it on her cell phone. husband and I have been rather cool toward mother in law since then. As Marg said, sometimes family support is not supportive.

    sister in law - bless her heart, she has 2 difficult children of her own - and she lives with father in law. She is his clear favorite, so it's a tad easier for her to deal with him. But she does help when she can. And her son (who is 20) is really a easy child/difficult child - no ambition, no nothing (no job, nada), but a good kid otherwise and loves to hang out with Onyxx and Jett and husband.

    I also have a couple of really good friends and this board... All are family of one sort or another.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Family support is an interesting topic. in my humble opinion most families don't understand the daily trauma of raising difficult child's and therefore can't grasp that there can be good parenting in place even though the kids aren't ideal. I opted to not share the gory details and limit visits to what I thought was workable.

    on the other hand, I have the unenviable position of not being the Grandmother I would like to be for all the other families. Sadly I barely "know" the grandchildren who all live in other places. Working full time and raising easy child/difficult child and difficult child has not allowed me the opportunity to visit the other kids. They all say they "understand" but I am positive that most of them really resent that I have not been available to bond with their easy child's. I am sorry about that but raising difficult child's is a full time job in and of itself. Only one son has had a crisis that required my hands on help and I was able to come through with flying colors. It was tragic. With the others it is limited to visits to our home once a year or so and frequent emails/phone calls with others. Not how it should be. DDD
  9. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    I'm beyond blessed with my parents. They are there anytime, anyplace, and under every circumstance. They support every decision we've ever made with our kids. Occassionally they will ask "Why are you doing xyz?" to understand the purpose behind a decision.

    My Mom is the best Mom. She understands how important the marriage bond is so when the kids were little, she'd volunteer to take the kids for a night or weekend so that husband and I got alone time.

    My parents backed us up on every action we had with the kids. When they complained about a chore or a punishment - they were told one of two things:

    (punishment) You are so lucky to have parents that love you enough to help you become the best you can be.

    (chore) Quit complaining - it builds character. Be glad they love you that much.

    It was/is so much different with the in-laws. They did everything in their power to undermind us, to tell the kids we were wrong. Having the two extremes, I would rather of had my in-laws not involved at all then to have their distructive actions.
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I had none, zero, nada, nothing.

    Actually, my family rarely knew what was going on with my kids because I'd be harassed ect for having them in treatment.
  11. jal

    jal Member

    We are fortunate. We live in a small town and 3 years ago my parents moved 3 min away from us up the street. Haha, not a big move as they lived in the next town over where I grew up (7min away). They are supportive in terms of watching difficult child (which we rarely ask since, well since he's a difficult child), helping us in any way they can if needed and are there for me to call to vent, cry, whatever. Both my parents are great. I couldn't ask for better support. husband's father has never really been in his life. He stepped in a bit after difficult child was born. He has a whole other family, but he has his demons and we haven't had contact with him for about 5 years. husband's mom and her H have their issues too, but have always been very supportive to us. They have watched difficult child and helped in so many other ways. Right now they've been leaning on us as both have just suffered major health issues.

    I have my cousin who is the same age as me and has a easy child a year younger than difficult child, but she doesn't live close. We are as close as sisters since we are the only 2 females out of 7 cousins. We talk as much as 5 times a week and we are each others support as she doesn't have a lot.

    My brother and his wife live on the west coast (we are on the east) so we don't get to see him as often as we would like to, but I can always pick up the phone to talk and vice versa.

    We're blessed to have such supports.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Family support:

    Phone calls of concern and humor.

    Flowers, cards, candy, funny magnets, whatever, that show up spontaneously in the mail.

    Babysitting, house sitting.

    Links to news articles on your issues (usually things you've already read, and mindless, but at least showing they care and are trying).

    Help with-contacts for YMCA, church, mental health svcs, etc.

    Occasional offer of money for dr appts if necessary and reasonable.

    Obviously, you're not getting any of this.
    I'd give it up. Don't just lower your expectations--erase them. Completely.
    I haven't read all the responses but wanted this response to be spontaneous. I'll go back and read them now.
  13. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Family support ~ a topic we've discussed here (or rather lack thereof). I've been able to vent & cry to my family yet I do it less & less. The daily traumas & dramas became too much for me to discuss.

    I'd talk anything but the tweedles ~ recipes, golf, art, gardening, books...anything but the antics of kt & wm. It made me sick to even talk about the chaos. When I backed off on the daily stuff with the tweedles I enjoyed the phone call "respites".

    I have no one reliable close by (my niece is here in town as is my sister in law); I'd like to sell my much beloved little house & move closer to my dad & siblings. I know that they would (& do) step in & give a hand when necessary.

    Families are funny things. When husband & I lived out in the Pacific NW we created a family of friends (course we didn't have difficult children).
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes! A family of friends! That is a MUST do.
  15. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Family support? what a concept.

    My parents moved 3000 miles away when they became grandparents. I found out my father had died when my aunt called to tell me. I found out on February 6 this year that my mom had died when my sister's girlfriend called H and told him my mom died on "february 7" LAST YEAR! Needless to say, the family bond is not close with us.

    My mother in law was a blessing in the early days of parenting. However, when she turned 80, she began to have health problems and could no longer drive. This coincided with all of the problems in my marriage so I have sort of pulled away from her rather than run the risk of having to discuss her son with her. My sister in law is useless and a bigger difficult child than my own kids.

    I have very little support from friends, primarily because I won't ask for any. I do not believe in asking for help. I have pulled back from many friends rather than let them know what is going on in my life and the new friends I make are all kept at an emotional distance.

    My only support is me.
  16. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No family in the area except a niece and her husband. They are young and always busy; we go out with them sometime and if we really needed help I think they would.

    husband's family is great when we go to visit! They kind of step right in and help out.

    My family-sister gets it but we rarely have the chance to see one another, brother doesn't really get it, Mom tries, so does Dad and his wife but never any offers to watch difficult child.
  17. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    I too, come from a family that cannot offer much support. I am the oldest of four siblings and none of us live in the same state. My mother hasn't spoken to me in approximately 15 years -- but that is a long story. My Dad does the best he can to be supportive by at least keeping communciation lines open (we talk about once a week). He also dotes on my two kids (since my mother does not acknowledge them - they are divorced and my Dad has remarried the most wonderful stepmother).

    I've noticed that I tend to have "surrogates" when it comes to family support. I've received support from Church (I know - not for everybody), book clubs, kids school activities. I try to provide support to those people too.

    It's so hard when you feel that you are all alone in difficult child-world. ((HUGS))
  18. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Interesting question.

    husband and I tend to be the "go to" people for our family members needing support, and they just tend to fall apart and/or not come through when it's time to reciprocate. sister in law often promises, but then finds herself "too busy" when the time comes. She seems to equate saying she'll do something with actually doing it, so I've learned not to rely on her for anything. Step-D is getting much better, esp since she and her fiance are thinking about having children. And fiance is very supportive (I think he's a good influence on her) They're happy to babysit the twins to get in some practice dealing with babies, and they spend quite a bit of time with Little easy child and difficult child.

    My extended family (I'm estranged from my parents) are wonderful and very supportive, but they all live out of the country so it's not really possible for them to do anything other than be there to listen, send e-mail, phone etc.
  19. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    ...Like you, Trinity, we tend to be the go-to people.

    Last summer/fall? When my IVF failed? Thank heavens for Mom, 'cause my besties? The ones that I'm always helping? Went poof... Said later it was due to thinking maybe I needed some time, but it really strained the friendship. REALLY strained it. 'Cause I needed them.
  20. Jena

    Jena New Member

    wow alot of responses and alot of experiences. going to read later when difficult child is off me. it's all so interesting to see what we do, what works, how we compensate and get by. great for all of you who have parents who get it. awesome. for those of you in a similar boat to mine. my heart goes out.

    question: for those of you who have that family piece support? how'd it come to be? was it just automatically given, did you have a "talk" was there that ah-ha moments with grandparents where they said wow we get it now? just wondering. not for me, yet just another question in this ongoing interesting thread.