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GRANDPARENTS - how much help do you get?

(58 Posts)
69bex69 Wed 08-May-13 10:50:16

Ok i have 4 children, 10, 7, 21mths and 5mths. I have a hard working hubby and live 20 miles from the nearest relative. I love being a sahm and all is dandy except for one thing; my 7yr old boy. He's very hard work not just for me but his teacher and when he used to go to a childminder.

One day i was at my wits end and we needed a break from each other so i called my dad and asked if he could just have him for one night. Never asked in 10yrs for any help. He said he couldnt as he was very unwell so i asked the other grandparent and he stayed there. Fair enough?

Then i get a call from my sis saying he lied coz he didnt want to, why the f**k should he!? Well i thought that was what family was for? I have my sisters kids now and again and its not a problem. Never ask anything in return. I do it because they are my family. Simple.

Have to say he hasnt bothered with them in the past, birthdays, christmas, school holidays so i guess it shouldnt of been much of a suprise but i dont think its normal. He had plenty of help when we were kids!

Think i may just cut him off.

Different families I guess. My parents and in laws would always have one or both of the girls if I asked (which I haven't...yet!) but then we're a close family and the grandparents are dotty about the children. I guess not everyone is like that. Given the lack of previous interest from your dad I'd be sad but not surprised by his response. I'd tell your sister to fuck the fuck off though.

Ra88 Wed 08-May-13 10:54:08

I think you have to accept people for how they are sometimes . at the end of the day , yes your kids are his family but he isn't the one who decided to have children, you are , when you had children I'm sure you did not think "it's ok cos ill get a break when df has him"
my mom helps with childcare if needed but my dps mom does not and that's her right IMO

Oh yes, you will get responses from the "you chose to have them" brigade...

And as if by magic...

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Wed 08-May-13 10:57:43

Your dad is perfectly within his rights not to look after his grandchildren if he doesn't want to - we sign up to raise one generation of children, not two.

Your sister sounds like a shit stirrer though. Why did she deem it necessary to ring you and tell you your dad was lying and ask you "why the fuck should he"? I mean really????? Is that the action of a loving supportive sister?

CoffeePleaseSir Wed 08-May-13 10:57:48

We get none.
It used to really upset me, not because I want them to always have my children, I didn't have children to palm them off, just that I would love my children to be able to have that close relationship with there grandparents like I did.

Walkacrossthesand Wed 08-May-13 10:59:45

Interesting dynamic going on there - the sis whose children you look after sometimes, criticising you swearily for asking DF to help you in the same way? What's that about? And why wasn't sis the one you approached for help as a 'favour called in'?

69bex69 Wed 08-May-13 11:02:14

Sorry i wasnt clear. My dad said to my sis why the f**k should he? Understand it was my choice and if it was a want rather than a need then fair play. If a friend asked you to stay the night because they had marriage problems, would you tell them to f**k off, you decided to be with that man? I guess you probably wouldnt.

If if doesn't want to look after them don't pressure him. But it's a two way street. I hope he doesn't expect you to help him when he has a problem.

turkeyboots Wed 08-May-13 11:05:06

We get none. Not a penny fiancically or a second of time in help. Which generally is fine.

But is annoying when we ask for help due to illnesses or massive unexpected bills and get told no - as they are supporting other siblings financially and with childcare. So we muddle through only to get slagged off by siblings for asking for help.

Disown the lot them is my advice. Certainly made my life easier to massively reduce contact and any expectation of help.

NotWilliamBoyd Wed 08-May-13 11:10:50

There's a difference surely between family helping out and the expectation that they should?

Plus if you needed a break from your DS because he was being difficult, perhaps your dad was anxious that he wouldn't be able to cope with him, as in effect you were saying that you couldn't?

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but you seem to feel that it is your right to have had his help.

69bex69 Wed 08-May-13 11:13:40

I cant ask my sister as she has a newborn. Understand "he done his time" but he also had a LOT of help from his mum, brother and sister. In fact, he didnt really bother as a father either. Grrr. Just see other families have these wonderful relationships and mine seem some what broken :-(

LtEveDallas Wed 08-May-13 11:21:23

We get none. My parents live over an hour from us, are in their 80's and whilst 'healthy-ish' I think they are too old to cope with DD. My PILs are in their 60's but both in very bad health and 6 hours away.

I am the youngest, have 2 sisters and 2 brothers all of whom have kids. When I was growing up I was expected to babysit for them, and did, happily. However the favour has not been returned.

I do have a neice who has been a star over the years and I know I can rely on, but unfortunately she is now in ill health so I don't feel right calling on her.

It just means that I don't get a 'break' or to go out without DD, but you know what, it's not hardship. I'll take my time off when she's grown.

69bex69 Wed 08-May-13 11:22:12

Your right, first time in 10 yrs i kind of expected a bit of help once. As a pp said, its a two way street. Guess i dont have to see him on his death bed but that kinda would be expected of me!

mrsSOAK Wed 08-May-13 11:33:00

we get no help.
My father lives in the next village along (so a few miles away) he comes over every weekend to see us. He love DD and enjoys spending time with her. He has never offered us and help and we have never asked. He is a good grand dad but as far as I am concerned he would not focus his attention on her enough. Hed play with her and then start to watch tv or read his paper, she is 3 1/2 and needs to be watched or gets into all kinds of naughtiness!
My in-laws live abroad and have only met DD twice, so thats a definite no.
I'm not sure I understand the idea that if you do something for someone it automatically means you get the same in return. I do a favour for someone because I can and want to help out not because of what I can expect in return... perhaps I am wrong

Bogeyface Wed 08-May-13 11:37:49

So your issue isnt the lack of help but the fact that your father doesnt, and it seems never has, given a toss about you?

I think that perhaps you should look into counselling to deal with that, and tell your sister to stop shit stirring.

NotWilliamBoyd Wed 08-May-13 11:39:05

Yes you expected help with a child who you have said is difficult for you and other adults - maybe your dad panicked? If he has not been very involved with your son, whould your dad have been able to deal with him? You're clearly disappointed and upset, I do understand that and I'm sorry that things are hard for you right now but would you have wanted your dad to feel obliged to have your DS and maybe resent him and not be able to manage him well anyway?

I feel that your focus here is in the wrong place, resenting your family is not going to help with anything. Are you having support from anyone else around managing your son?

There is no mention of your partner, could he not support you more?

69bex69 Wed 08-May-13 12:20:08

My hubby works 7-7 but when he is here he is 100% . People are forgetting that its also my son that needs help too. Grandparents play an important role in a childs life. Guess im going to throw this right back at ya and as a pp said, i chose to have my kids. So when do you stop being a parent? 18? 21? Coz if thats your attitude, dont have kids. If you stop helping/being there for your children once your legal responsibilities and obligations run out, that says a lot about the kind of person you are.

I cant do a lot about my dad, but i can teach my children about better family values which is what i will now be focusing on.

NotWilliamBoyd Wed 08-May-13 12:38:03

Is that aimed at me? confused

Some grandparents play an important role in a child's life, of course. And some don't. There is no law saying that they have to.

Have you looked elsewhere for help for your son, have school been able to suggest anything?

69bex69 Wed 08-May-13 12:49:43

No another poster. I wonder if some people would have the same attitude towards a mother suffering from pnd? Would they ba all like well you chose to have a kid, deal with it.

Already been to docs and had an assessment but was less than helpfull. He gets over excited around other children but is fine with one on one. Before anyone suggests i give him more one on one, i already do!

elQuintoConyo Wed 08-May-13 12:49:56

Mine are in UK (I'm not) but we get no help financially or physically when they come to visit - both refuse to even push 17mo in his pram! Both are healthy and bend over backwards to accommodate/play with/gush over my niece and nephew.
DFil, on he other hand, is ten years older than my parents, in ill health and was much more hands-off as a father. Hiwever, he often elbows me out if the way to push the pushchair, hold DS's hand etc, it's delightful. He is in no position to uelp financially or by babysitting - DS is 'spirited' if that's the right word? DFil has 8 grandkids and loves them all at his house - with parents and my single DSil and DBil (huge family!) to help out.

Dahlen Wed 08-May-13 12:56:46

It's one of those situations where there's no right or wrong answer.

No GP should be expected to provide help, and no child should feel they are entitled to it. However, in my world, it is decidedly odd that in a happy, healthy, functional family the GPs wouldn't want to help out - certainly in an emergency/difficult situation if not more often.

Longdistance Wed 08-May-13 12:59:14

None. We live in Oz, and they're all in the Uk.

Smartiepants79 Wed 08-May-13 13:03:15

We are very lucky. We live 20 mins from my Mum and Dad and they do a LOT for us. DM has my children for 2 days so I can work and they stay at their GP about once a week. It is a huge favour for us but they enjoy every second of their grandaughters.
My husbands family live much further away but could always be depended on in an emergency. They would love to be able to have them more!
I always think it is so sad that so many people seem to get so little help and such rubbish relationships with GP.
Mine were such a huge part of my life.

JaquelineHyde Wed 08-May-13 13:18:05

I also have 4 children, aged 8, 7, 6 and 7 days old.

I have a wonderfully close large family, many of whom live within 10 mins.

However, my children never go to them, in fact in the last 8 years their Grandparents have had them over night 3 times.

Once was on our wedding night from 9pm and we collected them at 11am the next day.

Then last week for two nights whilst I was in hospital giving birth.

I think you sound very entitled, and whilst yes you do have the right to feel hurt that your Dad doesn't want to help his own daughter out, to suggest you just cut him off because of it is a bit pathetic.

JaquelineHyde Wed 08-May-13 13:25:09

And actually the person I would be bloody furious at would be your sister.

She is being a shit stirring bitch, you didn't need to know about a private conversation she had with your Dad and has told you knowing how much it would hurt.

Not the action of someone trying to help at all!

themaltesecat Wed 08-May-13 15:39:01

Our kid has grandparents, neither of whom I can leave her with for as much as twenty minutes (both too scatty and not physically fit enough). You just have to get on with it.

Nanny0gg Wed 08-May-13 17:41:28

I am very involved with my DGC, which I am happy about. I have had one overnight once. I would do it in an emergency, or if DC needed a break, but I'll be honest, I don't want to. I'm not that kind of Grandma and I don't enjoy overnighters.
If your dad has never been involved, what on earth makes you think he would be able to cope and in fact, that your DS would have been happy about it.
I think you need to explore other options, but I actually don't think it's your father's fault in this instance.

lordleofric Wed 08-May-13 17:45:15

We get no help. My DM is too busy looking after my DB's children.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 08-May-13 18:18:36

No help here. Ilgp would have sil' s dc over for the entire summer, every summer. But I just had the feeling that wouldn't apply to me and my dc, and I was right.

Fragglewump Wed 08-May-13 18:23:44

Bugger all. Sometimes not even a birthday card. In fact my mum came to stay once and I had to pop to the corner shop for milk for her tea so asked her to keep an eye on kids for all of six minutes. The next time I saw her she gave me a bollocking for abandoning her with the children! Ho hum her loss. Sad though.

ivykaty44 Wed 08-May-13 18:28:41

with our family it is a two way street, I am there for my parent and them in return for me - which is lovely for both of us and it seems to work well. my dd also now looks out for her grandparent as she has had a lot of contact and the joy between them and there relationship is very good.

Op It will be interesting to know if your father will not be calling on you when he might be in need - is he very independent and self sufficient?

BabyHMummy Wed 08-May-13 18:57:09

I am sorry your df has made u feel that way and u really need to tell ur sister to get lost and stop stirring. I suggest asking why the fuck should you next time she wants u to have her kids.

You can't force your df to grow a.pair esp if he was a crappy dad i am afraid. Adjust your expectations and tell him to do one if he comes to u wanting help.

My dp's parents are Fab and will have my stepkids at the drop of a hat for us which os brilliant. They have offered to have dd when the is born too and to cover childcare if i go back to work. We have declined that as at 80+ i feel its unfair on them but i know if we needed it they would be there.

My parents both work but will be demanding childcare duties i am certain.

threesypeesy Wed 08-May-13 19:01:04

Reading this I find us to be very fortunate for our help we recieve from our families with our 3dds we have a large family and all grand parents on dh side both mil and his gps have them more twice a week overnight my parents have them all weekend once a month and take them on two holidays a year.

I am hoping not to sound smug as if I am honest we are very fortunate and I think I would be be very stressed and run down if I didnt recieve family help.

You sister sounded like she was trying to stir things op and I find it terrible that she never helps out even after you give her support, I would reconsider doing so in the future

stillenacht Wed 08-May-13 19:05:07

My mum and dad are my saviours. Without them I just couldn't keep going (and Dh too). Mum will take DS2 aged 9 who has severe autism if I can't cope. They have him when I have parents evenings or concerts. DS1 lives with them one week on and one off as he struggles to cope with DS2. They mean the world to us. I am v v v lucky.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Wed 08-May-13 19:06:13

YANBU. You've got your hands full. You asked him once in ten years. I think he could have been kinder, instead of being an arse. It's hardly taking the piss to ask once, for one child, in ten years.

You know not to ask him again. It's his loss. Grandchildren can be wonderful and life enhancing or they can be some kids you ignore and don't bother with.

I know which camp I hope to be in one day.

Smartieaddict Wed 08-May-13 19:09:44

These threads always make me sad. No, Grandparents don't have to look after their grandchildren, but surely most want to?

We are lucky in that Grandparents on both sides love having DS, and I can't wait until DS has children, if he chooses to, so I can do the same!

I don't think it is unreasonable to be sad if your parents won't have their grandchildren once in a while.

jasmineramsden Wed 08-May-13 20:10:18

I'm surprised that the majority on this thread seem to be saying well its tough if GP's don't help out and its their choice.
Well yes, it is their choice of course but in my opinion its bloody wrong, selfish and a bit cruel if healthy GPs who live near and have some free time don't help out at least occasionally. I personally have been very, very ill recently and unable to care for my baby which has been awful, I would have been lost without the support of my mother and my in laws, they are fantastic. We pull together and this goes both ways. I am very lucky, clearly. To me this is the way its meant to be. If I become a grandmother in the future I would also expect to help out if I was fit enough. Its really sad that this isn't the norm for some people.

Springforward Wed 08-May-13 20:27:17

My parents have both passed away sadly, but I do know that if they were still here and fit enough my DS would have had fabulous grandparents, as they were wonderful to all the grandchildren who came before. In fact although DM was perhaps not the, er, easiest mother, she was a lovely nanny.

The ILs? I have learned to expect very little, frankly, that way I am not disappointed.

DewDr0p Wed 08-May-13 20:38:39

My parents are great with the dcs but I have to say I don't think my Dad would feel confident about having them on his own overnight, even just one of them. Perhaps if he's never babysat before then immediately going to an overnight stay feels a big jump? Maybe a couple of hours one afternoon would be a gentler start?

Overall though we don't get much help from any family really.

louisianablue2000 Wed 08-May-13 20:39:20

None. MIL does offer to help sometimes but they live several hours away and FIL is in his 80s and in poor health so I don't really want her to leave him to help us out. She did help out BIL and SIL when their kids were little (they're >10 years older than our DC) and I do appreciate the offer.

Mum is far away so I'm not expecting her to be able to help out a lot but I've been disappointed this maternity leave. When the DDs were little my father was very ill and she always said 'If your DF wasn't ill I'd come down a lot to see you' which was fair enough (Dad needed her more than I did). But now she's a widow she still doesn't come to visit, she came when DS was born in September but hasn't been since and is not talking about coming to visit any time soon so I doubt I'll see her here before I return to work. I'm disappointed more than anything that she is missing out on my kids. She is such an active grandparent with my DB's kids, they live next door and she does the wrap around care for the eldest and has the youngest 1 day a week. Plus ad-hoc days. This weekend she had my niece and nephews for the whole weekend because SIL was at a henny night and DB is a farmer so was working. Mum said 'oh it was much easier to have them here' and of course DB got Mum to make all his meals... Not jealous at all.

Fleecyslippers Wed 08-May-13 20:40:13

On my side, a close, loving supportive family. As a single parent i rely on them a lot and it works both days - I do a lot of paperwork/online ordering/finding insurance etc for them.

My ex in laws are incredibly selfish and lack any sense of family. It will come round to bite them when they are old and perhaps need help. because they sure as hell won't get any from their son wink

looseleaf Wed 08-May-13 21:36:54

My parents do a huge amount to help me and DH eg have us to stay for literally weeks and are amazing. But they don't particularly want to look after their 2 grandchildren or talk to them apart my dad who'll read to them. my mum complains about how her sister ends up looking after her 5 and though they love our two v much it never occurs to her there might be joy in it. I think everyone is so different and it's lovely seeing they're enjoying their friends etc a lot and so busy.
At the same time, I'm very different/ have always loved children and would certainly be very hands on if that is welcome if/ when the time comes. Dd (6) has already said I can share her children!!

echt Wed 08-May-13 21:46:20

OP - your sister is the problem here, not your dad.

If he's not been involved for the last 10 years, then I'm surprised you thought he'd be up for it. If you and the school find your DS difficult, how would your dad cope? The help he had when you were children is not the point.

You don't seem to like him much so perhaps you should cut your losses.

mrscoleridge Wed 08-May-13 21:54:51

I cannot understand this not helping malarkey. In lots of European countries families help each other. This cuts both ways and means the older generation are also cared for.
obviously if health or distance is an issue then that's different. The attitude of only being responsible for one generation is why there are so many isolated lonely people in this country. It also partly explains our high divorce rate.
I used to live in Italy and their kindness and care to family was amazing

JustinBsMum Wed 08-May-13 22:00:05

Disappointing about GP but I would try to work out why DS is playing up.

My middle DD insists she is the ignored middle one whilst the others, by dint of being the first born and the baby of the family got more attention. This is probably true. Not deliberate of course.

Perhaps DS feels he is missing out with 2 littlies to compete with, doesn't matter if he is or not, it's whether he thinks he is that counts.

Perhaps there are some books that can give you advice. Perhaps DH could give him some one to one time? and don't include the 10 year old in this DH time.

WestieMamma Wed 08-May-13 22:01:56

My parents had my daughter to stay at least 1 night a week, more in school holidays, and always took her on holiday with them. Their lives revolve around their grandchildren.

Her paternal grandparents aren't really interested. They put in a token amount of effort to be involved at Christmas and birthdays. Now she's an adult she can't really be bothered with them either.

My son is only 2 weeks old and it's looks like his paternal grandparents came out of the same tin as my parents. In fact I think MIL may have moved in.

XBenedict Wed 08-May-13 22:04:16

A bit but all begrudgingly done sad, came home on promises of helping us out so I could go back to work etc

TheSecondComing Wed 08-May-13 22:06:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

golfyc Wed 08-May-13 22:09:21

Not much
Think its really difficult when you see other people getting lots help ie getting washing, housework etc done - would be fantastic luxury though!. - However you also see what you are expected to do in the way of a circus and performing kids when you parents and or in laws help out all the time.
I am from a very small family and basically its always been stand on your own two feet. It means I don't get day to day help but also means we don't have to spend every weekend somewhere I don't want to be.
My sons grandparents do get time with him and he does adore them but time is spent when we want to.
Think some grandparent think they've had their time and why should they start again?
Maybe look at getting a good network of friends that can help out and the kids can play together - winner all round

Jezabelle Wed 08-May-13 22:33:20

69 Bex, I'm sorry you've had such a tough time. I get no help with my DDs either. Dad lives 2.5 hours away and never has offered. PILs live 4 hours away. We don't see them much. When we do they dote on the DCs but don't give much practical help. DD1 just turned 7 and did not get a single present from family.

I think you've got a hard time from some of the posters here. It's not like you're complaining that your DCs GPs don't take them on holiday or help provide weekly childcare or something. You were low and needed some support. I don't think that's unreasonable and think that it is natural to feel hurt by the reaction you got.

My guess is that your dad did feel out of his depth and probably didn't feel he would be able to cope. He lied to you as he didn't know what else to say. What he said to your sis sounds like he was using attack as a form of defence.

I can't say whether or not you should maintain a relationship with him. Maybe leave things until you are feeling stronger and less angry and review the situation then.

What I do know is that, partly as a result of having no support, I feel so very close to my DDs. Didn't spend a whole day apart from them for the first 6 years. No one can say I did not bring them up. They are lovely people and I am proud of them.

Good luck getting through this tough period. Post in SN or behaviour forums for more advice about your DS.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Wed 08-May-13 22:38:54

Sorry you are having to put up with this. It's shite, isn't it.
My MiL wouldn't come and watch her 1 grandchild the day after we moved house and were all really ill. We were utterly desperate or DH wouldn't have asked. Her excuse? I've go a lot of ironing to do. A part of DH died that day. We haven't bothered with her much since then.

I will always be there for my kids. It's so hard with no support whatsoever.

thegreylady Wed 08-May-13 22:39:38

Different families different dynamics I guess. I have 9 grandchildren and would look after any of them whenever asked and for as long as needed. Last month I had three aged 15,13 and 9 for a couple of nights and next month I am having two aged 4 and 6 for a weekend. But you see I love doing it and if I didn't I would probably be less willing.

thezebrawearspurple Thu 09-May-13 00:21:57

Pil would move dd in with them if they could and have her a few times a week, my own take her for a few hours every couple of weeks, neither do it to help me out, they just want to spend time with her. They'd be running in the other direction if she was so difficult that even teachers and childminders found her hard to deal with tbh. Perhaps your father felt that he wouldn't be able to cope with him.

My mum will babysit when ever i ask, and stay overnight if needed and always has done.

My dad struggles to spend more than an hour with us cos he can't stand the noise lol, but he is always there if I really need him, and sometimes helps financially, like if my car is knackered etc.

Mimishimi Thu 09-May-13 00:32:52

My parents have had DD several times in school holidays. They live too far away (2 hours drive) to provide any other help. They've never offered to take our 6 year old special needs son overnight by himself either. I think it would be too much for my mum or she worries it would be. Last holidays was the first time he noticed it and I could see the hurt in his eyes as he asked why he couldn't go to Nanny and Poppy's too. I don't expect them to though and would never consider 'cutting them off' because they didn't want to. What would that achieve?

Oh my ex's parents don't see our kids btw. It's the only thing me and ex agree on.

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