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to ask 'stoner' grandad to sort out his life?

(27 Posts)
TwinklePants Fri 10-Dec-10 10:29:52

I have a very big dilemma which I need to handle carefully. Here it is:

My Dad is a lovely bloke and has been a good Dad overall to me and my brother. He is funny, very loyal and lives for his family. We both love him very much.

Now, the downside - he has an absolutely foul mouth (in particular, he can't seem to help but litter every conversation liberally with the word fuck), his flat is absolutely disgusting (filthy carpeting, nicotine stained walls, grim health hazard bathroom and rank kitchen normally with a weeks worth of rotten food encrusted plates in the sink). He also smokes a lot of dope - i'm talking probably about 10 'spliffs' a day - and as a consequence is normally very lazy and lethargic (might explain the state of the flat). If left to his own devices he would just sleep all day on his sofa and would never go out.

I have to say that lots of these reasons are why he and my mum got divorced about 15 years ago, and he has been like this for as long as I can remember. Although my brother and I both don't smoke, or swear much but we both have some unpleasant memories from growing up due to the way he is. We never seemed to have any money (he spent a lot on dope and on booze), our parents divorce was very messy and when we were with him we went without things like clean clothes and good food. Overall though we have turned out OK and don't resent him for the past as he had a difficult upbringing himself and never seemed to know how to be a parent - now we are both grown up he is more like a friend and we all get on well.

Now though, my brother has a brand new baby and I am pregnant with my first child and we are both worried about how he is going to be as a grandad.

The last thing my Bro and I want to do is to cut him out of our childrens' lives, but I honestly can't see how I could have my children around him, and in his flat, with things as they are now.

AIBU to not want my child in his flat as it is? And do you think it is BU to ask him to try and sort himself out for the sake of his grandchildren or is that unreasonable?

He is 50, and luckily is in pretty good health so far despite a poor diet, very heavy smoking and years of alcoholism (he has been sober for 10 years, so I know he has some willpower!)I would like him around for many, many years to come.

Please help!

TwinklePants Fri 10-Dec-10 10:32:39

Sorry for the length of the post, it really helped to get it all out. I could really do with some good honest MN advice - I feel sick every time I think about the situation and have no idea how to go about tackling the subject with him.

JodiesMummy Fri 10-Dec-10 10:35:17

YANBU! Your Dad needs to conform to your ideas if he wants to be in his grandchildrens lives - personally I dont know how you and your brother have turned out so well if this is how he thinks it is ok to behave!

If he has got any decency about him he will shape up or become a very lonely old man.

curlymama Fri 10-Dec-10 10:36:14

YANBU to not want your children to go to his flat. He may sort himself out through choice when he realises the effect his lifestyle will have on his relationship with his grandchildren.

You can tell him you don't want him to smoke or swear around your children, and if he wants to spend time aroung them then he will have to accept that.

But he is an adult, and if he is supporting himself financially, he can choose to live how he wants. You can't force him to live his life the way you want him to so that he is the Grandad you want him to be.

JodiesMummy Fri 10-Dec-10 10:36:45

I must add that my own father is a complete waste of air, but I dont pander to him AT ALL and he does occasionally pop round in a nicey nice way to see DD - I just dont set any expectations out with her otherwise she would be let down!

maktaitai Fri 10-Dec-10 10:37:41

Tough one. I think it's great that you have such a good and accepting relationship with him - I'm sure it helps him stay sober.

Could you start a conversation about 'not long til the baby's here'? and say 'do you think you'll be able to pop over to see them often?' and at some point 'Got to be honest Dad, I can't really see bringing a baby to your flat the way it is, what do you think?' Then if he really thinks his flat is OK for a baby, he has to justify it, rather than you pointing out all the things wrong with it. More likely tbh he will just agree and things will go on as they are - would you be OK with that?

maktaitai Fri 10-Dec-10 10:38:50

Whoops forgot about the swearing. I would hate that myself sad Maybe you could say something about hoping the baby's first word isn't 'fuck'?

truffleshuffle Fri 10-Dec-10 10:39:53

YANBU to not want to take your child to his flat - I don't take my DC to my Mums as she smokes in the house. But YABU to expect him to change. Sorry but if he hasn't changed for the sake of his own children he isn't going to change for the sake of yours.

Have him visit you at your house then you can ensure your children are in a clean safe environment.

GandalfyCarawak Fri 10-Dec-10 10:40:00

YANBU. It's a difficult situation because he sounds like a nice guy, but if I were you I'd say something like "I don't want to judge the way you live your life and I love you very much, but I don't want my children to grow up thinking that dope smoking and swearing are good life choices." You may also say something like you believe that he will get more out of his own life if he sorts himself out, will hve more cash and more enthusiasm for life without the dope. Say you don't want him to be a werther's granddad, just to sort out a few little things.!

GandalfyCarawak Fri 10-Dec-10 10:41:07

maktaitai, that's a great suggestion.

NordicPrincess Fri 10-Dec-10 10:43:05

why dont you just let him see your child at your house and let him get on with it at his own home?

just because you have had a baby dousnt mean he should have to change his life.

TwinklePants Fri 10-Dec-10 10:54:09

Some absolutely brilliant advice on here so far - thanks so much (I laughed at the idea of him as a Werther's grandad btw Gandalfy!)

I agree that it's probably unrealistic, and probably unreasonable of me to expect him to change completely - thanks Curlymama and Nordic Princess.

It would be brilliant though if he was willing to tone down the language, clean up his place and sort his health out. I am worried that he is going to start having serious health problems soon if he doesn't sort out the heavy smoking and crap diet (literally 5 takeaways per week). He is a young man (just gone 50) and I don't want him to kick the bucket long before his time.

I dunno if I am not just pushing my own expectations on to him though?

Maktaitai - I am surprised my own first wasn't fuck given the amount of times he uses the word per convo. My mum tells me it was 'chequebook' - perhaps she was stoned too? wink

TwinklePants Fri 10-Dec-10 11:00:16

Truffleshuffle , I have thought about not taking my DC to his house and only letting Dad come to our house to see him/ her but I think that might be tantamount to cutting him off tbh as he doesn't have a car, and usually can't motivate himself to go out of his flat unless its to work.

I think the dope has a lot to answer for - most days he smokes it before he goes to work (and he's a teacher at a college shock), then just comes home from work and gets hammered again. But its his choice - and I still can't figure out whether it would be U for me to try and encourage him to stop.

NordicPrincess Fri 10-Dec-10 11:03:54

I didnt mean to sound cross twinkle i just think that it is unreasonable to judge him by your own standards, his life is his own and if he likes living that way why try and stop him. For his own good...sounds very condascending.

You can expect he act appropriatly in your own home but you cant expect him to change his own life choices and thats what they are in his house because your life has changed (ie the baby)

My father smokes weed, always has, he is too old to change tha habit of a lifetime and a habit he thoroughly enjoys and i would never ask him too.

PinkElephantsOnParade Fri 10-Dec-10 11:05:48

Maybe the arrival of GCs will be the push he needs to sort himself out a bit.

Sometimes people are too immature to change for the sake of their own kids but by the time the GCs come along they are ready to make the change. They can see this as a second chance.

Maybe mention you are worried about his health and that you are upset to think that he may not live to see his GCs grow up?

My Dad has used the aim of being around to see his GCs grow up as a spur to help him fight his Parkinsons.

TwinklePants Fri 10-Dec-10 11:12:53

No worries NP - I asked whether I was being unreasonable, and more than happy to take people's various points of view on board.

I am sorry if I come across as condascending (not sure intention comes across so well when written down as opposed to face to face) but my Bro and I are genuinely worried for his health and don't want to see him seriously ill at such a young age. I am particularly worried about him getting lung or throat cancer as I have just recovered from cancer myself and it was a nightmarish experience that I wouldn't want him (or anyone) to have. When he was drinking previously it got to the point where a doctor advised him to quit or he would die and I don't want him to be in that situation again.

I am pretty sure that if I was doing similar, people would be crying out 'why haven't your parents stepped in to help you sort yourself out?' even though at 27 I am an adult - but when I express a genuine worry about my Dad's health it is seen as me sticking my nose in? But perhaps that's a subject for a whole different thread.

AbsofCroissant Fri 10-Dec-10 11:13:13

I think maybe say to him some of the things you've said here - that you're worried about his health, that you love him very much and you want him to be around for a long long time, to be there for you, your DB and his DGCs.

TwinklePants Fri 10-Dec-10 11:20:19

NP (out of interest, am genuinely interested to know, not trying to be antagonistic or anything) but you say your Dad smokes weed too - how much? Have you found that it has interfered with him being able to look after himself or live a normal life?

I think that's my problem. I would defo be able to live with it if I thought his consumption wasn't getting in the way of his life - but he seems not to do anything else. He also very often smokes strong skunk which makes him incapable of, well of doing anything really.

If he did it discretly and I thought that my child would not pick up on it, it would be ok (although obviously I couldn't leave him unsupervised with the child smashed out of his skull). But he does sometimes seem very stoned (when he's had the skunk) and I am sure once a child wasn't a baby any more they would be able to tell that grandad was acting funny.

TwinklePants Fri 10-Dec-10 11:25:15

Pink Elephants that is what I am hoping and he did make vague noises (unprompted) about stopping smoking the dope on his 50th birthday, but 3 months and one new gradchild later it still hasn't happened. Starting to wonder if it is ok for me to prompt and let him know what a big deal it all is for me?

Its lovely that your Dad is using his love for your DC to find the strength to fight parkinsons - I wish him lots of luck, he sounds like a great bloke smile

PinkElephantsOnParade Fri 10-Dec-10 11:33:37

Yes, Twinklepants, let him know how you feel, sounds like your dad is coming round to wanting to change, just needs a bit more of a push.

What better motivator than being around for his lovely GCs?

Thanks, Dad is doing really well so far, very optimistic and spending lots of fun time with my DCs smile

FindingAManger Fri 10-Dec-10 12:17:44

I don't think your Dad will change now just because you want him to, though clearly he has done really well do be dry for 10 years.

I'd tread softly softly. I don't think its U that you don't want babies hanging out at his place. I'd invite him to yours to spend time with the baby, insist he smokes outside when he comes, & washes hands/brushes teeth before breathing fumes all over the little one (OK that might be taking things too far but personally I don't think wee babies should have smokers breath all over them - YUK!) try & get him involved with the wee ones - you never know becoming a GD might spark some more change in him.

maktaitai's suggestions are great - as for the swearing, call him up on it each & every time, gently (think sense of humour combined with I'm a Mum now so watch out Mr Potty Mouth attitude)- get him thinking about the possible impact of his language on a shiny new person.

marine241 Sat 11-Dec-10 16:57:14

tough one,
try writing it all down what you feel ask him to read it and see what you can sort out.
can only help i am sure

moondog Sat 11-Dec-10 17:02:00

You say he's a 'lovely bloke' and has been a good dad overall.
Then you say
'... my brother and I ...both have some unpleasant memories from growing up due to the way he is. We never seemed to have any money (he spent a lot on dope and on booze), our parents divorce was very messy and when we were with him we went without things like clean clothes and good food.'

That's not my definition of a 'good dad'. He sounds like a useless father and person in general.

TwinklePants Mon 13-Dec-10 18:02:26

Moondog, I accept your opinion and yes, on the face of it a lot of what he did between getting divorced from my mum and stopping drinking would be considered 'bad parenting' - having said this, he really did struggle with the divorce and depression and as I have said had a problem with alcohol at the time which kind of mitigated things at the time. I guess you had to be there to understand it though.

Thanks everyone for your help. It has really helped.

atswimtwolengths Mon 13-Dec-10 19:04:18

Nothing to do with this, really, but all colleges are cutting back on staff. If he's smoking dope before college then everyone will know that. It's just a matter of time before it's used to get rid of him.

About the rest - I wouldn't let a child go to his home. It's an awful thing to say, but what could be gained from seeing how he lives? I would have found it very, very depressing and upsetting to see my grandad like that.

I would tell him that if he's on the skunk he can't see the children. No way. Just as if he was drunk.

And of course he did well to come off the booze, but really, he still had the dope anyway so not much of a big deal, is it?

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