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granny again

(38 Posts)
Mamateur Sun 04-Sep-11 14:27:33

I put this in teenagers but I'm reposting it here because DP and I will be talking to granny in a minute and I really do want to know if I'm on the right track.

I've posted before about our situation. We've taken over care of DN (DP's son) who has been brought up by his granny after both his parents died when he was a baby. Granny is easily manipulated by DN and constantly interferes in our relationship, creating a sort of triangle which is very irritating.

DN is with granny for a few days at the moment and comes back to start term next week. He has a target setting day which is for children and parents to attend. He has got granny to ring DP today to say he doesn't want us both to go as it would be "too overwhelming" so he just wants to go with DP. This is not surprising, he grew up with DP and I'm just a nag . Our relationship is progressing ok, but we have ups and downs.

DN is a bit off me at the moment, due to some well-deserved but very fairly given tellings off. He has been with granny on and off all holiday and comes back being very rude, refusing to do the usual stuff like putting his plate in the dishwasher, saying thank you.

I am responsible for his homework and all dealings with the school. It's me they call.

I understand that he doesn't want me to go, and that he loves DP much more than me, but I can't have him telling granny telling us what to do.

DP has called her back and left a message to call us. He agreed over the phone without thinking but is of the same mind as me.

I don't know whether to leave it for this time with firm boundaries for this stuff in the future or stand my ground.

blackeyedsusan Sun 04-Sep-11 14:33:58

she at it again? recognised this straight away. I think you both go. maybe if dn had asked you himself you could have considered it but granny generally stirs things up and it would send a firm message to her/dn that you and dp aer in charge now.

Mamateur Sun 04-Sep-11 14:37:15

Thanks blackeyedsusan

I can't work out why I'm so angry. It's not as if his target setting day is a highlight of my calendar, it just smacks of her way of siding with DN against us, like, we don't understand so she has to stick up for him. How will he ever see us as being in charge while he has her to call us up and tell us what to do?

SHe is like a child, his friend in the fight against the horrible world of grownups.

ChippingIn Sun 04-Sep-11 14:38:39

You are the one who has to deal with the school - neither granny nor DN get any say in whether you go or not. Until your DP steps up to the mark and takes over this responsibility you have no choice but to go.

You are right - you cannot have him telling Granny what you will or wont be doing. He's being manipulative and she's enjoying it.

Stand your ground.

<based on several of your threads not just this one!>

Mamateur Sun 04-Sep-11 14:42:35

THe worst thing is (like the maybe mugging/stolen watch issue for those who remember, is that he never gets to see I am actually ok and sensitive to his needs. Granny backs him up and reinforces his belief that I am unreasonable!

SquongebobSparepants Sun 04-Sep-11 15:16:18

Oh fgs, she's still up to this? I remember the previous threads, and as I have said before she just seems threatened by you as the other female in his life. Your DP is one thing, but in her eyes their can only be one mother figure, and she clearly wants it to be her.
In a 'normal' family when the child argues with the parent they just have to suck it up and deal with it but she is causing simple little bickers into full blown events and it needs to be dealt with. God only knows how though, sorry.

If I was you I would go to the school anyway, he is still a minor and you are both responsible for him, sod whatever ideas she has put in his head right now.
I woudl also live in hope that when he gets older he will see how manipulative she is, but then I wouldn't bet everything on it. So sorry I can't be more help but lots of good advice already.

Mamateur Sun 04-Sep-11 15:23:13

Thanks Squonge it does help to hear it. It annoys me all the more because he has improved massively at school - they now describe him as intelligent, possibly very intelligent whereas at the start they had him in a 'nurture' group. Granny called me this week to say she took him to a family do and everyone said he was such a different boy, more confident and assured and it was all down to me. But still I must do it her way.

At least DP is making the call - I would find it hard to keep the annoyance out of my voice without a glass of wine.

Mamateur Sun 04-Sep-11 18:51:24

So now she has texted (phone still off) that if we make him go to the meeting on our terms he will not gain any benefit from it. Why must she always validate his fears? WHy not just say, oh, it'll be fine, and boost his confidence in some way? I just wish I could talk to her. I've sent a text saying DN needs to learn to trust us, and she must trust us too.

ChippingIn Sun 04-Sep-11 20:07:01

Just ignore her.

Can't you pay for her to go to Australia for a holiday - and only buy a one way ticket??

I honestly do not know how she's not under your veggie patch!

Mamateur Sun 04-Sep-11 20:22:06

Hooo, don't tempt me!

I've had frantic texts from her all evening. Basically she can't stomach my parenting technique - she doesn't think DN should be made to do anything he doesn't want to.

I'm a little bit more interventionist grin

DeWe Sun 04-Sep-11 20:30:59

Couldn't you pretend to meet him half way. Say "yes, maybe both of us will be a bit overwelming." But then have a discussion (in front of dn perhaps) between you and dh and come to the (obvious) conclusion that if only one of you is going then it ought to be you. That way, you've listened to his concerns (being overwelming), discussed it, and come to a reasonable solution that probably won't please him at all. wink

HerHissyness Sun 04-Sep-11 20:36:07

i think you have identified a classic bully/manipulator here.

She IS trying to pull the strings, but you just need to be really calm, and NOT listen to her, NOT reply and not react.

You see the panic she is in, her frantic texting? it's cos she is desperate for control, ignore her. It'll drive her BATSHIT, but it'll be somewhat amusing to spectate!

Basically, the boy is living with you full time, but visiting her for a few days, and you and DP are the day to day carers for the boy? Your house, your rules. You can take her opinion into account, but by no means will you just carry out orders. Tell her that, with a sweet smile... grin

Can you both (DP) apply for adoption of DN? is this an option?

In the meantime, try to detach as much as you can from her, spectate her attempts to manipulate you, don't allow yourselves to get sucked into her vortex of manipulation, question and challenge everything in your minds, and doubt her until you can prove it.

Say Oh yes, whatever granny, we'll think about it granny, hmm, yes we'll consider it etc blah, blah blah, Nod and smile chaps, nod and smile! ...but then do whatever you know is right.

she questions it? you tell her that she has an opinion in your lives, not a say.

Meanwhile. You say you are the 'nag'; you do the homework etc. that sounds like you are the bad cop and others are the fun cop. Can you make sure that you get to do silly, crazy, random dash to the cinema/fastfood thing or whatever too?

HerHissyness Sun 04-Sep-11 20:38:32

"I am responsible for his homework and all dealings with the school. It's me they call."

THIS is the reason YOU have to go. THIS is the reason you say whatever the heck you like to granny over the phone, but totally ignore when it actually comes down to it.

THIS is the reason that if there is ONE parent/guardian going, actually it OUGHT to be YOU!

Put that in your pipe and smoke it Granny!

Mamateur Sun 04-Sep-11 20:57:32

Thanks for your posts.

DeWe as I haven't spoken to her, only texts, I haven't managed to work out whether DN's objection is really about me going or actually that he finds the thought of both of us going overwhelming. Last parents evening he forged the slip saying we couldn't come! We knew about it anyway as we have so much contact with the school, but we didn't know these days you take the child with you, so turned up without him. One nil to DN!

HH yes, that might call his bluff! The problem with granny is she buys him stuff and keeps secrets that means sometimes we get circumvented. That's why I have stood my ground on this. I said to her that she is making a triangle that's not in DN's best interests. DN doesn't want to be in control, he has told me he doesn't mind me making him do as he's told (although apparently I could cut back a bit).

slavetofilofax Sun 04-Sep-11 21:04:59

I think if you go, even against his wishes, it's sending a ery positive message that you are an adult who cares about him and will always do what you think is best for him. That has got to be a good thing for his sense of security and self esteem, because when children realise that they can control adults it's actually quite scary for them. He sounds like he needs boundaries, this is a good opportuntiy to show him where they lie with you and your dp. It's also very good for him to know that you two are tight on the same team, and will stick together to do what is best for him.

Mamateur Sun 04-Sep-11 21:40:52

Thanks slave the holidays have been difficult because he has spent half of them with granny. It has been a welcome break for us but he always comes back reset to the old DN. He's been massively testing me, picking everything I say apart, refusing to say thank you, in rebellion because he doesn't have to do it with granny (even though I wasted breath asking her to apply our rules of picking up after himself, not eating in room etc.).

I'm standing firm, although if DN comes to me or us and talks about what he's worrying, I would find a way to make him feel listened to. But I think probably he has to learn that you worry about things that when they arrive are not so bad.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Sun 04-Sep-11 22:49:10

I responded on your earlier post about the watch etc.

Granny called me this week to say she took him to a family do and everyone said he was such a different boy, more confident and assured and it was all down to me

Granny's had a think about that and realised that, effectively, she has been unfavourably compared you when it comes to raising dn. Granny now wants to be able to attribute any flattering remarks about dn's behaviour to her son's parenting abilities rather than yours.

Tell Granny no problem, and that dp will accompany dn to the target setting day.

Once dn is home again, either dp can find reason why he won't be able to attend, or you can reconsider and decide that you should both be there with dn as it'll be you that the school contact in the event of any problem and you need to be up to speed with what's expected of him.

Looking to the future; are there any local weekend clubs/activities that you can sign dn up to? Martial arts, scouts, air/army cadets etc that will provide reason for dn to be unable to spend any Sats/Suns with granny?

Similarly, although the October half term may provide you with a welcome break, IMO the forward/back stage of dn's behaviour will be prolonged unless you get a clear few months without him being in granny's company for any length of time.

As you know, fair, firm and consistent is the way to go, coupled with lots of hugs and affection and reassurance that you have high expectations of him because you know that he has the ability to succeed and excel in life.

HerHissyness Mon 05-Sep-11 00:44:35

Thing is mamateur, the boy lives with YOU.

if she doesn't support you, does all she can to undermine you, then tbh, visits can become more sporadic.... No secrets, no making up calls, no demands, nothing!

Don't pander to her, let her sort her own life out. You and your DP need to put an end to this Cart before the horse situation. Everyone else seems to be dictating terms on your life and your home. That's mad!

Mamateur Mon 05-Sep-11 06:43:54

I'm always trying to organise a sit-down talk about the situation but it hasn't happened yet. I had a pretty strong conversation on the phone the other day when I told her that as I saw it DN was a normal teenager and she was the problem.

She has got herself a CAMHS appointment which she has asked me to be involved in (but not DN) to work on her difficulties in her relationship with him. She has zero clarity on what's good for DN - she is just petrified he will be 'damaged' or get depressed if he doesn't get his own way. She's forever telling me he's special and I can't treat him like other children. I've explained it's wrong for a child to feel different in that way and that normality is what he needs. I've been proven right too, as all year at school he's tried to get out of doing as he's told using the old methods and now they've failed he has improved all round.

She can't bear the thought of him facing difficulty. He knows this which is why he has worded it as 'overwhelming' when what he actually means is, I don't want Mamateur to go because she's already far too on my case grin.

HerHissyness Mon 05-Sep-11 14:56:36

I genuinely think you need to step back a bit from her.

She wants help in doing whatever the F she thinks she's doing, let her get help. You don't need to be involved, as you are doing a fine job, the school is happy with you, DN is happy with you - even though he naturally thinks you are hard sometimes, his comments show that he sees the need for discipline etc.

You need to slowly edge her into a peripheral position in DN's life. She is NOT the day to day care giver, so there is not urgent need for her to buck up her ideas, DN is not suffering, much to the contrary if the family comments are to be believed.

IMHO, you need to focus on DN and what is good for him. He's old enough and clued up enough to see what's going on and you can be frank with him. Tell him that while we would all like to get our own way all the time, do exactly as we pleased all the time, it doesn't help us grow into successful and contented adults. He needs his education to give him the best chance at adulthood, he will get no where being babied and molly-coddled.

Explain if you must that GM loves him very much, adores him, but she is not seeing that he needs to be a man - soon - and that babying him is going to damage his prospects long term.

I think you and DP need to stop listening and taking orders from a GP and a teenager. You both know more than enough to know that your decisions are sound and that you know amply what you are doing.

Put it this way, his laziness and his comment about you attending the meeting proves you are on him and appropriately too.

WRT the meeting, I can only draw experience from my previous professional career. As a consultant, it was my job to over see the project to successful delivery. I chose and united all the experts to do the relevant parts of the project. Everyone around my table had a deserved place and specific role, if one were missing, it could compromise the project.

YOU have the role of day to day education development director. your DP has the role of family support director. Both of you need to be at that meeting. grin

Thumbwitch Mon 05-Sep-11 15:09:23

God I remember the whole watch thread!

I agree with whoever has said that you should just go along anyway and * not* allow DN to dictate the way these things work, and definitely not through the medium of "Granny", who just enjoys the drama.

Sounds like the job you have been doing so far has paid enormous dividends but their value will be cut hugely by Granny's interventions - if you let them.
Don't let them smile

HerHissyness Mon 05-Sep-11 15:13:26

what was the watch thing? i don't recall

MadamDeathstare Mon 05-Sep-11 15:17:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Mon 05-Sep-11 15:26:33

Unfortunately, I haven't got time to trawl through the back pages - it was maybe 4-6 weeks ago, possibly longer HH.

As far as I recall, the dn spun a tale about being mugged for his watch days after the alleged event and it had to do with granny having bought him an expensive replacement without consulting the OP/her dp, or something along those lines.

In any event, it was to do with dn manipulating granny or vice versa and general duplicity (or, more properly, complicity) on the part of the pair of them.

Maybe the OP can link that post to this thread and provide the outcome of that particular incident?

LaWeasel Mon 05-Sep-11 15:37:24

I think you and your DP should definately be going together. I would warn DN when he gets back to yours that although granny suggested only one of you should go you're both really interested in what the school have to say and want to and will be going.

If he does really only want one of you he'll have to argue/convince you of it himself.

I like the idea of a weekend club, by the way - something that requires work and dedication might help build his confidence as well? Maybe a martial art where there is a lot of emphasis on proper behaviour?

I think the watch thread was in chat iirc.

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