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One day soon my DS's are going to ask why they only have 1 set of grandparents

(14 Posts)
sameagain Mon 27-Oct-08 20:31:37

DH's parents decided it was "too painful" to see us 5 years ago and we haven't seen them since. I never did get to the bottom of what exactly was so awful about us and TBH, suspect they couldn't define it either, but things had always been strained (in the 12 years beforehand) and they were pretty toxic people. Whilst I am sad that my Ds's don't know their grandparents, our marriage has been much happier without that source of stress. Dh took the view "good riddance to them." It was always me who patched things up when we fell out previously, if it had been left to DH and his parents, the break would have come much earlier.

My boys were 6 months and 2.6 y, so don't remember their GP's, but surely they will soon notice that their friends & cousins have 4 GP's. Can't believe DS1 hasn't asked already TBH. DH says just tell them IL's decided they didn't want to see us anymore, but I hate the thought that that is possible in a family. I have huge rows with my sister (and mum to lesser extent) but the idea that one day things could be so bad we'd never speak again is preposterous. We always sort it out and imo that is how it should be in a family. I really don't want to give them the message that if you fall out with a family member, you give up on them. What would you tell them?

RubyRioja Mon 27-Oct-08 20:38:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chapeloffearstickchick Mon 27-Oct-08 20:41:26

my children only have 1 grandad no nannas and i think it was when they were about 6-7 they asked why? (i hve no parents and mil died in 95)we just said that families come in all different sizes and this is what we have and thats it .....i dont think if i were you id say what your dh has suggested your dc might think the grandparents dont like them -maybe just say a long time ago daddies mummy and daddy decided that they didnt want to be a mummy and daddy any more so we have to love daddy a bit more and all try v hrd to be friends with each other all the time because all our hearts fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and if a piece is broken or missing the puzzle is spoilt.

chapeloffearstickchick Mon 27-Oct-08 20:43:02

ruby my ds1 announced that he was fed up cos he had the same mummy and daddy as his 2 brothers bcos lots of his friends have 3-4 nannas and he hadnt even got 1.

ranting Mon 27-Oct-08 20:45:49

Tbh I don't think most people do have 4 GPs, do they? It might not even occur to them to ask, I only had 3 GPs (my paternal GM died during the war) and I don't think it occured to me to ask about it until I was much older.

Fwiw, I would probably just tell them a basic version of the truth if they do ask.

Reallytired Mon 27-Oct-08 20:46:19

My son's cousins only have one set of granparents. Sadly one of them died of cancer and the other died of alzimers.

Lots of children only have one set of granparents for one reason or another. Its increasingly common with single parent families. Your children's friends and cousins are extremely lucky.

RubyRioja Mon 27-Oct-08 20:56:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 27-Oct-08 20:58:34

"We always sort it out and imo that is how it should be in a family. I really don't want to give them the message that if you fall out with a family member, you give up on them. What would you tell them?"

In normal healthy functioning families yes, you could talk to them but toxic parents are a different kettle of fish entirely. Your children would not gain anything from having these peoples' prescence in their lives either as such problems can also become generational in nature as well.

I can see why you feel this way - it is hard to comprehend for people who have come from normal functioning healthy families to see how toxic families operate at close hand. But as mentioned before toxic parents are not healthy emotionally functional parents. Your children and you would also gain nothing from any sort of a relationship with such people.

I would suggest you read "Toxic Parents" written by Susan Forward as a starting point. Your DH should certainly read this book. You may also want to look at the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread - this is about people and their own experiences at the hands of their toxic parents.

Toxic people like your husband's parents are, are not open to any kind of reason and will not listen. Such people never take any responsibility for their actions and will quite happily give you all a laundry list of your own supposed shortcomings. They can also come out with stock answers to questions.

cuttingmeownthroatdibblaaaargh Mon 27-Oct-08 21:01:21

I agree on the woolly sort of 'oh, we just don't see them very much' sort of reply as and when they ask.

FWIW, my grandmother wouldn't speak to my dad/us for months and months at a time when I was growing up - I never noticed as my parents just brushed over it (no lies, just nothing said about the subject unless asked and then a very casual reply).

Snippety Mon 27-Oct-08 21:50:28

I don't have contact with any of my family. My father (violent and self-centred) ran off with another woman shortly after I left home at the age of 18, never to be heard from again. A huge sigh of relief from all. My brother slid further and further into drug addiction until I could bear his craziness no more and ceased talking to him nearly 6 years ago.

My toxic mother married probably the only man other than my father who is control freak enough to control her; a real manipulator. I attempted to continue relationships with them and a step sister and brother but it became too much and I ceased all contact 2 and a half years ago. Part of what gave me the courage to do this was the fact that I was planning to start a family of my own, and didn't want their negative influence, or my constant humiliation and anxiety to impact on my kids.

I remember well how my mother hated my father's mum and the confusion and mistrust that it caused me to witness that duplicity as a child. I think it's better to have no grandparents than a sham of deceit and hatred. Luckily I have lovely in-laws who make a great Nan and Taidy, and 2 Great Nanas as well smileI'm hoping to gloss over it until DS is old enough to understand and then tell him the truth - they aren't very nice people to be around.

Alexa808 Tue 28-Oct-08 05:31:54

Very sad to read the stories here. I'll have to cross that bridge when it comes, too.

My Dh's Dad and his GF are very toxic, too and esp. the GF has made nasty comments before: racial slurs, insults reg. my job, my language, my upbringing, etc. Since she called me a Paki and when I lost the first pregnancy and she referred to the baby as a half Paki I think she has forfeited her right to see my lovely daughter. Dh's Dad never defended us, s happy to laugh with her and tries to brush it under the carpet as a big joke...teehee...NOT.

TBH, I will just say that we never have time to see them, they never have time to see us and that my parents make great grandparents and that's it. More is not always better and I agree with Snip when she says it's better to have no grandparents than a sham of deceit and hatred.

I think your dc will be just fine. Kids are inquisitive but I think if you keep your answers vague and stick to your plan to keep those people out of your life, then they'll be content with your answer.

geordieminx Tue 28-Oct-08 07:10:00

I think you just need to go down the whole "families come in all different sizes route"

My parents were divorced when I was teeny - when I was at school it was quite unusual - maybe 2 or 3 single parent familes, nowadays it is sadly certainly more the "norm"

My ds is only 18 months - he has one great-grandad, one great grandad and a stepgreat grandad (my grandparent are divorced), 3 grannies - my mum her partner and my MIL and no grandads - both dp's and my dad have mnothing to do with us.

Nowt as strange as families grin

fruitstick Tue 28-Oct-08 07:17:24

Both my parents and DH mum died before DS was born so he only has one grandparent. I'm prepared (although not looking forward to) explaining why he as no grannies as he has wonderful aunts and uncles instead who essentially do the same job wink.

I'm less prepared for how to deal with my toxic sister who hasn't spoken to anyone in the family practically since my mother died (there was an issue with a dining room table!). I can't see a time when she'll come up in conversation but I also don't want him to get to 14 and find out he's got another aunt he never knew about.

Doesn't help that I can't explain to anyone what her problem is as I never really understood it myself!

HappyWoman Tue 28-Oct-08 07:44:29

I think all you can do is be trueful. My dc have only one set of grandparents they still see - and unfortunately my mother is very ill and now has dementia(?sp), which is actually harder to explainsad.
I have tried to explain that we dont always get on with everyone and just because someone is family does not mean you will get on.
We have lots of great friends and still have lots of my family that we get on with so i hope i am showing my children how relationships work.

Having said that i would hate to think my children didnt get on later in life.

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