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facilitating contact with grandparents

(17 Posts)
ladydeedy Wed 03-Aug-11 20:15:33

hi there
another issue ... my DH's lovely DSs are not allowed contact by their mother with the grandparents on her side (i.e. her own parents). One of his kids lives with us, the other with her. whilst we can obviously control/manage what "our one" does with his time, it is more difficult with the other boy who lives with his mum. He is a great kid btw.
However we feel it is wrong that their mum does not facilitate any kind of contact for them with her parents (she fell out with them a few years ago and does not speak to them at all). They live near us and have been wonderfully supportive and kind to both of us.
We have therefore been facilitating lunches/occasional overnights as feel it is important for the children to have contact with grandparents and vice versa.
The boy that lives with his mum has said it is a bit of a problem as he feels he has to hide this from his mum as she would go mental if she found out as he would be "betraying" her....
difficult to know what to say other than we are trying to do the right thing... any advice?? DS knows really, deep down, that it is the right thing too but is probably fearful of reaction if his mum found out...

cjbartlett Wed 03-Aug-11 20:17:22

How old are the boys?

Do you know why she fell out with her parents?

brdgrl Wed 03-Aug-11 20:46:05

I think this is really incredibly wrong. Several reasons. First, you are encouraging a child to keep secrets from and lie to his own mother. I can't fathom why you'd think this is a good thing.

Secondly, you may not know all the story between the mother and her parents. But for whatever reason, the mother has decided that she doesn't want her kids to have contact with her own parents. Surely you should respect this. Whatever you think of the grandparents, no one knows them better, or has more right to make that call, than the mother.

Worst case scenario - What if you were to find out later that the mother had been exposed to abuse by these people, and now you are BEHIND HER BACK sending her child off to overnight visits with them?

Even if it nothing like that, this seems to me like a hoirrible way to undermine a parent. I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but I am quite shocked.

ladydeedy Thu 04-Aug-11 08:21:34

she has fallen out with her mother in the same way she has fallen out with just about everyone she knows. She no longer speaks to her sister, her brother, has split up with every boyfriend she's had since splitting up with DH. Has left job after job. She no longer speaks to her mother and withholds access to spite her (blames mother for not giving her more financial support) in the same way that she has withheld access to the boys in the past from my DH.
It's spite. Obviously my DH knows his ex in-laws well. They have looked after "our" boy when we had to go a funeral and his mother would not allow him to spend the night at her house. Long and difficult story.

ladydeedy Thu 04-Aug-11 08:27:06

NB we are not asking him to lie to his mother. He decided to lie to her rather than risk annoying her. He spends time with other people in our circle (some of whom are families who were friends of my DH and his EXW when they were married). She doesnt speak to them either, but we dont stop socialising with them (and including the boys in that) because she choses to ostracise them.

brdgrl Thu 04-Aug-11 12:52:55

You are encouraging him to lie and keep secrets from her. And he feels conflicted enough that he has let you know he's uncomfortable with the situation. You're undermining her, and you're putting the kids in a terrible position. Sorry, but you posted and asked for advice. My advice is to stop this immediately; it won't end well for the kids. Obviously you don't want to hear that, but what you are doing seems so wrong that I had to say it. Said my piece and I'll stop now.

Sophye Thu 04-Aug-11 13:26:27

Have related problem in that my partner's mother only arranges to see his child through the ex. Including going and staying with her. Things very difficult between my partner and ex, so this feels impossible to live with. We've tried to arrange contact through us - but it's difficult since we only see the child once a fortnight anyway - and she still goes behind our backs anyway. Worst thing is that the time she arranges with the ex always impinges on my partner's time with his child. We've tried talking to her about it but no change. Anyone else have experience to share?

theredhen Thu 04-Aug-11 15:21:19

My DS doesn't see his paternal grandmother due to his Dad having a huge bust up with her years ago.

I have thought about resurrecting a relationship with her but decided it wasn't worth risking upsetting the relationship DS has with his Dad for the sake of what would be not a very good relationship with his Nan.

If I were you, I would keep out of it. When DSC are older, they can make their own decision. You risk stirring up all sorts of problems for DSC. If grandparents want to see kids, they need to go through their daughter.

ladydeedy Thu 04-Aug-11 15:50:02

The grandparents have tried going through her but she doesnt respond.
Thanks for your insights.
I should add that they love seeing their grandparents - they used to spend a lot of time with them, including holidays and so on until their mum decided to cut all ties in the last couple of years.
We have no hesitation in the younger one spending time with them and they sometimes come to visit us anyway and see him here as he lives with us and his mother has v little contact with him either (her choice).

lateatwork Thu 04-Aug-11 16:39:16

This is the ex's parents right? Not related to you or your DP in any way.

In which case, you should tread very very very carefully. The relationship between you DSS and his maternal grandparents has very little to do with you (in fact I would say nothing...). I might sound harsh, but its up to your DSS mother to facilitate the relationship- not you. If she doesnt want to, that's all very sad for the grandparents, but maybe you dont know everything you think you do.

ladydeedy Thu 04-Aug-11 18:56:33

not related to me but they were obviously in laws to my DH for many years and we are now jointly fairly close friends with them. They are grandparents to the boy that lives in my home.

Toobluntforboss Thu 04-Aug-11 19:09:57

I agree with brdgrl and lateatwork - you most likely dont know the full story and are undermining the mother in front of her children. I would question your motives tbh.

MojitoTime Fri 05-Aug-11 11:55:43

Hi ladydeedy smile

I haven't read the whole thread yet but having read the first few lines, and having seen your other threads, I just have to say that this woman sounds exactly like DSD's mum - it's uncanny!


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ladydeedy Fri 05-Aug-11 13:17:21

You have hit the nail on the head as usual MJ. It's because of her unreasonableness that we are in this situation. The boys want to see their grandparents but the mother is using access as a weapon to punish her own parents. Older boy often lies to his mother if he wants to pop down to visit us for a meal (we are in walking distance). He said if he told her he was coming to us/his brother she goes mad. however if he says he is going to see a friend, she's fine with that.
He's put in the awkward situation by his mother. I think the purpose of my original message was to see how others might deal with this. Deep down I know it is the right thing - for the kids, for the grandparents, and for our own sense of fairness. But I can see that the mother will never see it as "right". Not our fault though as she sees many things as working against her. Is difficult.

lateatwork Sat 06-Aug-11 05:23:51

yes, maybe. but isnt that her perogative?

my DP's ex thinks she knows best when it comes to DP's family too. Often citing that DSS needs a relationship with his paternal grandma.... ummm no he doesnt. if your parents refused to see one of your children for no reason, would you allow and facilitate the relationship with the other child? that is what happens with us. DP's ex fuels the fire by enouraging and allowing DP's mother to continue this behaviour on the basis that its best for DSS... but its NOT best for DD and our family, but that, once again, isnt taken into account. DP's ex thinks she knows best on every single issue. But it isnt fine for a grandparent to be allowed and encouraged to openly favour one sibling over another now is it?

This is just my experience. It is my MIL that is totally unreasonable. You may have different circumstances. But i am sure if DP ex was to relate the story 'ie 'my ex partner wont allow DS to see his OWN GRANDMOTHER'... shock horror.... but she doesnt see what impact that has on DD... and honestly, why should DP have to relate this back to DP ex continually? he should be in charge of the relationship between his family and his children. not his ex surely?


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