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V grateful for advice from social work, child p, law types - weird grandparents

61 replies

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool · 15/07/2017 20:12

So, it's a long story, I'll keep it as short as I can. DS made an accidental baby with a girl he knew, just friends wb. He's now 21 she's 20 baby 18mnth. I was perhaps understandably quite angry with him (and her) at first for having unprotected drunken sex but I have tried to be as supportive and helpful as I can. I have good relationship with both and see DGS as often as I can (i do a busy professional job). Mother of DGS is lovely but quite vulnerable. I have got to know her fairly well. Second time I met her was at the birth so...
Anyway, one of the reasons I was upset when I found out about this was because I could see that the family she came from might be trouble. I've often tried to talk to DS about the company he kept, explaining that life is hard work as it is without getting mixed up with people who are chaotic, nuts or whatever. He ignored me and called me a snob. To be fair, the girl is really nice, intelligent, good company and doing the best she can under the circumstances. My DGS is well cared for thanks to her. DS was present at the birth (whole other post about the conversations we had that night, suffice to say he did not listen in biology) and he is more help to them both now that she has finally been housed in a small council house. She had been staying at her parents, then at her grandparents and he was not allowed to visit because her father threaten to beat him up, run him over or kill him if he came near. her parents are, to be blunt, just weird. Her grandparents not much better. Now I am however remotely tied to these people for life, not just for my DGS but for my DS and now for DGS mother, because I am worried about her too. I feel I need to take some responsibility even though I don't have much time or headspace because they are both so young.

Why weird? I hear you ask, that's a bit judgmental.
Well maybe, if you think the death threats are at all normal.I can only go on what I've seen and what I've heard but what I've heard from both the young woman and my DS is that the young woman has been on the receiving end of behaviour I would call abusive, name calling, manipulation, also getting physical. She moved into her grandparents for a while and things calmed down but then the grandparents got angry and weird and physical again. The other GP fairly often turn up unannounced at their own parents house and also at the young woman's new house to start an argument or even a fight. They drag other people into it. It's all high drama. The main problem seems to be that they don't want her or GS near my DS, which is unfair I think. He is also doing his best and DGS's mother wants him around and wants him at the house helping her. She says things have been much easier for her since he has been allowed to spend time with them and he says he is enjoying getting to know his son.

Thankfully they have only turned up at our house once, right at the start when she was pregnant. She didn't realise she was pregnant until quite late, 2nd trimester. At first she was going to have the baby adopted because she was in shock, too young and a little traumatised at the suddenness of it all. This is what I heard and saw at that first encounter with other GPS. Firstly, they turned up out of the blue. They were polite and explained the situation saying they only came to see us to find out if we had any family history of illness, for the adoption, and to let us know the name of the adoption social worker. However, they father also said that he would love a baby and didn't want the adoption. She agreed but said she was not in good health. They left. The next morning I got a text to say the girl had changed her mind and was keeping the baby. Well, that's her choice I said, but I did wonder if they had changed her mind. It turned out later that they wanted, but can't have, another child for health reasons. They are at least 15 years younger than us.

Now, this is what I saw today, which has me very worried.
I had arranged a visit today with my DS2 for lunch and to see DGS. I arrived with groceries and toys and lunch and we sat down for a chat in the kitchen. Young mother is worried about other GPS behaviour and has contacted a solicitor for advice. Been told maybe non molestation order and I think residency order. She does seem to think her parents want to take her baby away from her. There is a knock on the door. I am cutting up pizza. I hear a silence, no words at all, then a strange growling sound, not a pleasant one. It is the other GP (father) hugging DGS in the hallway, sort of on the doorstep. DGS is not distressed. Young woman comes into kitchen and whispers it's her dad. No words have been spoken. I finish cutting pizza and walk into the hall, being as normal as I can, say hi, friendly, we are just about to have lunch do you want some? Answers no. I carry on as I would normally, deliver pizza to DS2. He won't let me near DGS. Very strange body language. He gets him in the high chair, talking all the time to the child but not acknowledgeing anyone else. I introduce my DS to him and offer strawberries. I work my way past his obstructing arm to the high chair and act normal. Eventually he relaxes a tiny bit and we dress the baby together (the allows me to help with the trousers) young woman stays mostly in kitchen. When she enters room he won't look at her. I say that we are going out. He will not release the child from a very tight embrace. Child is not distressed though. He carries him out to my car. Will not let him go. Eventually young mother takes him and puts him in car seat. Child starts crying because he wants his Grandad back. But instead of moving out of sight so the child settles GP stands close to the open car door, behind his daughter, who is doing the car seat.
Afterwards, I ask if he often comes round unannounced and she tells me yes, and usually just stands holding the child on the doorstep while she stands there awkwardly. Grandmother doesn't come anymore since they fell out. Grandmother hit the daughter and so the daughter doesn't want her to come.

The really worrying thing for me, and please tell me if his is a misinterpretation, but I had a violent ex and when I finally left him he once tracked me down at a restaurant and sat opposite me, not speaking, holding very tightly to our DS. I found it quite terrifying. He seemed to only see our DS as a possession of his, not as a person. He seemed to be trying to hurt me by hugging our son. My ex was dangerous. I am free of him now. I do still feel lucky to have escaped. I do wonder if he would have killed me or us if I hadn't gone into a refuge. Obviously I am more alarmed by this weird behaviour than someone who hasn't had this experience. AIBU?

OP posts:
Wallahibillahitallahi · 15/07/2017 20:19

What was your sons impression?

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool · 15/07/2017 20:23

Son is at music festival this weekend but he told me of a similar incident last week when the GP came round and held the child very tightly. DS told him to leave and Gp said he would stick a knife in my DS face. This has been reported to police. DS have a statement the other day.

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Borninatrap · 15/07/2017 20:28

Hmm, has the granddad ever physically assaulted his DD?

Does she feel threatened? Domestic abuse is categorised as feeling threatened, fearful or experiencing emotional or physical abuse and/or control from a close romantic or familial relationship so if the DD feels this the new social care would assess her ax being in a DA situation and that is a safeguarding for the child.

Borninatrap · 15/07/2017 20:30

Sorry for typos, I am exhausted.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool · 15/07/2017 20:35

Thank you born. I know he has tripped her up deliberately. Does she feel threatened, I don't know. Is that something I should ask her do you think? If she is assessed as being in a DA situation, would that mean she could move house to somewhere a bit further away from them? Would that be a matter of safeguarding for the child as well? I know there re hardly any spaces in refuges these days no I don't think she'd want that.

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wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool · 15/07/2017 20:36

Born, at the moment they are within easy walking distance. Also, sorry to hear you are exhausted, have a nice cup of tea or a glass of wine xxx

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ludothedog · 15/07/2017 20:41

I assume your son's name is on the birth certificate and so has parental rights? Is there a contact order in place? How often does he see his child? He needs to make sure that he is able to separate his relationship with the mother with his relationship with his child. Having contact at mum's house is a sure way to confuse the issue, especially when they are both so young.

In law grandparents have no legal rights over their grandchildren.

What your son needs to figure out, with the mother of his child, what is best for this child. If mum is not able to protect the child from abusive grandparents then perhaps he needs to be living with his father and have regular contact with mum.

This however should be sorted out through the courts and between the parents rather than through social work.

Borninatrap · 15/07/2017 20:44

It would be a good idea if you asked if she felt safe around her dad and if she ever felt scared, but DA victims (and especially parental/child abuse) usually find it very difficult to disclose because of FOG.

If she did disclose and he has physically abused her (deliberately tripping would be classed as that) you could make a referral yourself to duty team at social care or you could encourage her to disclose to a professional she's involved with (health visitor or children's centre staff etc) and they would refer.

Social care would definitely see this as a safeguarding issue because children whose parent is in a DA situation are physically at risk (they could be caught up in an assault e.g. If she was carrying your DGS and was deliberately tripped and there's also the emotional abuse factor of seeing his mum being abused.

If his mum refuses to acknowledge she is being abused social care would perhaps be even more concerned because they would question her capacity to safeguard her child if she can't recognise the harm her situation could cause him.

Re refuges, it's not impossible but places are severely restricted. What social care would work to do is look at protective factors (the main one being probs you and your son) and how to keep them both safe by removing her dad as the risk.

ohfourfoxache · 15/07/2017 20:45

She sounds very, very vulnerable.

I really think you need to concentrate on forming a really good relationship with her asap (you may have done this already) and gain her trust in you. You may well be the key to ensuring she and dgs are truly safe.

Sorry, I know that's a lot to put on your shoulders, but something doesn't sound right and you sound really, really caring. She's lucky to have you in her life Thanks

Outnotdown · 15/07/2017 20:45

I'm afraid I have no experience that is helpful but I would definitely be worried by that behavior and contact social services for guidance in how to proceed. They sound so sinister! Good luck to you and your family, hope you get some support

Justhadmyhaircut · 15/07/2017 20:47

Is your ds on the birth certificate?

missiondecision · 15/07/2017 20:49

What does the young mum think, (ds exgf)
Does she speak to you about family dynamics? Would she?
It's very very difficult to do anything with only a gut feeling. Although I do believe gut feelings exist for a reason.
I'd be tempted to keep them (odd gp) on side for now, if possible.
Keep a diary.

Borninatrap · 15/07/2017 20:53

I do not agree this is a contact issue but a risk/safety issue.

Somebody who makes regular threats to kill/physical abuses his DD/threatens to knife someone in the face etc is definitely a risk to a child and should not have contact with a baby.

ludothedog · 15/07/2017 20:53

Social services are not a cure all and when an issue can be resolved within a family, without social services involvement, then it should be. This child has TWO parents. In law fathers have the same parental rights and RESPONSIBILITIES as mothers have.

Why doesn't your son have shared care of your DGS? This would give the mother a bit of a break and would put a bit of distance between your DGS and alleged abusive grandparents. This can be done through the Courts and a contact order. He needs to do this ASAP before this child ends up full time with grandparents. You say they have talked about going for a residence order? To do this they would need to serve papers on the mother and the father for them to agree to this.

Your son needs to step up.

Chapterandverse · 15/07/2017 20:53

What was the growling sound?

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool · 15/07/2017 20:58

Thanks to you all for your input. You've been really helpful. I was worrried that I was over reacting because of my own experience but it seems I'm probably not. I do have a good relationship with her and she has begun telling me things, so I don't have to hear them from my son, who has his own agenda with the father especially, hardly surprising under the circumstances, but DS is well meaning but obv biased.

I am a little reluctant to call in social services because I know that for a family like this that is a big deal and a big shame, and also I don't particularly want to have my own massive confrontations with them. But I do want to protect the child, my son and my new sort of daughter in law, though they are still just friends rather than a couple.

DS is not on birth certificate because of other GPS hatred of him but they were talking last week about getting this done now that he can be involved. She has only been in her new house for a few weeks so it's all quite new. Previously I have picked up DS in the car and driven him to a soft play so that DS could see him, but only maybe once a month. Also we have fairly regular outings together, me DS and child's mother.

OP posts:
wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool · 15/07/2017 20:59

*Edit obviously it's the baby I pick up in the car for access with his dad!

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Justhadmyhaircut · 15/07/2017 21:02

Getting ds on that bc is critical op. .
And maybe they could attend mediation to draw up a proper contact order - which you could be written into. . As obviously the dm wants you involved. .

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool · 15/07/2017 21:03

Chapter the growling sound was the grandad. Very strange. I think it is his way of showing how important it is for him to see and hug his grandson but it came across as quite weird, manipulative and a bit aggressive. Like he was saying "you wont keep this baby from me!" And "i love this baby so much I have to make this growling noise when I hug him" the noise went on for about 5 minutes. Longer than was natural. He stopped when I started talking to him and asked him if he wanted some lunch.

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wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool · 15/07/2017 21:04

Just - what is mediation? How do I get that?

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wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool · 15/07/2017 21:06

Ludo I agree the child has two parents but it's not been possible until recently for this to be a practical reality, because of the obstructive GPS. My DS is now spending as much time as he can with the child so DGS gets to know him and also so that DS can feel more confident in charge of a baby.

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ludothedog · 15/07/2017 21:12

Ludo I agree the child has two parents but it's not been possible until recently for this to be a practical reality, because of the obstructive GPS

sorry OP. I don't buy that. Your son may not have legal responsibilities to his son but he sure hell does have a moral one. Why hasn't he been to see a lawyer before now to have his name placed on the birth certificate and to sort out contact and residency? I'm sure hell and high water wouldn't stop you from seeing your children. Your son needs to have this attitude too.

He is a grown man of 21 not a child himself. Again, he needs to step up.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool · 15/07/2017 21:14

Born - thanks again for your longer answer. I think she does acknowledge that there is a problem. What I'm unclear about is how would social care remove the grandad as a risk when he only lives round the corner? I feel it's inevitable she will end up having to move house.

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Justhadmyhaircut · 15/07/2017 21:18

Google mediation services in - - - - - area. Your ds will need to be the primary applicant but you can be on the paperwork.
You do him no favours by making so many allowances for his attitude I must say. But I do hope it works out for you all as that baby needs you. And the dm.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool · 15/07/2017 21:19

Oh for goodness sakes Ludo I think everyone is doing their best in extremely difficult circumstances. Don't be so harsh. 21 is very young to be dealing with all of this. They have sorted out contact between them, cooperated in the face of all this weird hostilely and I'm proud of how they've handled themselves. Neither of them wanted a baby. Both of them have been waiting 18 months for DM to be rehoused. DS has seen DGS when he can and has helped where possible. I don't particularly want DS to get into confrontations with a family that keep threatening him either. I'd rather he stayed out of their way.

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