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RoseRed135

Do you find yourselves reverting back to past roles?

31 posts in this topic

Drawing again on the Judith Viorst book I've been talking about. Another topic that comes up in it is that of parents and/or AC reverting back to past roles. When Alexander first moves back in, for example (his wife and kids are away and will join him a bit later) Viorst finds herself "reverting back to the mommy of his boyhood," expecting him to let her know where he's going and when he'll be back, etc. In response, he informs her that he doesn't want to "hear how (she's) worried all the time" when he's out on his own and he "can;t be thinking I need to call my mommy." OTOH, another mom tells her how her adult DD was only too happy to return a her childhood role again when she came home, letting mom "cook, clean, do the laundry," etc for everyone, including herself (the DD) and her kids.

How about you? If your AC has (ever) returned home to live - or if you've ever done so - do/did you find the roles shifting back to that of parent and minor child? If so, in what ways? And what do/did you do to "fix" that, if anything?

Edited by RoseRed135
missing word

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Thought I'd try pulling this one up further again, in case you (general refilled nester) missed it.

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So both my DDs have returned home with their children.  One is more independent that then other.  She'll do for herself and son.  The other is a mix between reverting and 'stop meddling mom!'   It's hard to figure out where I am in the mix so I just do the best I can.  At this point the one who is a mix doesn't have much support at all from the father so DH & I kind of have to take a partial parenting role.  The biggest downside of it is not being able to be 'Grandma' as much as I'd like with her two children. 

Big news though one DD is moving out within the month....sad and excited all at the same time. 

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18 hours ago, Mdgrandma said:

So both my DDs have returned home with their children.  One is more independent that then other.  She'll do for herself and son.  The other is a mix between reverting and 'stop meddling mom!'   It's hard to figure out where I am in the mix so I just do the best I can.  I hear you! Would it help, do you think, if you pointed out to her that she's sending you mixed messages/if you asked for clarification?  At this point the one who is a mix doesn't have much support at all from the father so DH & I kind of have to take a partial parenting role.  The biggest downside of it is not being able to be 'Grandma' as much as I'd like with her two children. I hear you there, too. In fact, it's not unusual to find that on these boards when GPs have to be heavily involved w/ the GC.

Big news though one DD is moving out within the month....sad and excited all at the same time. 

Cool! - and not - I get it. You'll miss her and the GC, no doubt, and there will be some adjusting. But it goes w/o saying, I think, that life will get easier in many ways. Hopefully, she's not moving too far away, so you'll still be able to see her and the GC.

Let me guess though... is this the one who's more independent?

 

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Would it help, do you think, if you pointed out to her that she's sending you mixed messages/if you asked for clarification? (we've tried but it's still a vague area.  We'll try again though.  I doubt that she'll be moving out.  Frankly with her job she needs all the help she can get with the kids.  Also with her sister moving out there will be one less alpha female in the home so that may help...until the 2 granddaughters hit puberty that is.)

Cool! - and not - I get it. You'll miss her and the GC, no doubt, and there will be some adjusting. But it goes w/o saying, I think, that life will get easier in many ways. Hopefully, she's not moving too far away, so you'll still be able to see her and the GC. (They're moving about 30 minutes away which isn't bad at all and she's getting a place with a lovely man she's been dating since last July.  This is the same DD that was involved with a real jerk for too long.  We're all very happy for her)

Let me guess though... is this the one who's more independent? (and YES it's the independent one.  LOL.  We are really glad for her though.  She's so very excited about setting up a home.  After all she's been through she and her son deserve to be happy.)

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I find myself resisting the temptation to revert back to past roles, reminding myself that I'm dealing with an adult, not a child- What I might have said to this adult when young would have come across as guidance but to say it again, at this age, would come across as micro-managing-

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On 2/23/2017 at 7:50 AM, Komorebi said:

I find myself resisting the temptation to revert back to past roles, reminding myself that I'm dealing with an adult, not a child- What I might have said to this adult when young would have come across as guidance but to say it again, at this age, would come across as micro-managing-

IMO, you've just hit on the place where many parent/AC relationships begin to go wrong - when the parent can't/doesn't know how or when to make that shift. How did you know/figure out when to do that?

And how much harder must it be, people, to make that shift or avoid slipping back if your AC is/are living w/ you?

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If they need anything they can ask- That's pretty much where it seems I've settled- No matter if they live here or they don't-

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My go to line with the AC is "have you considered....?" And I don't expect an answer, just providing alternatives. So often issues need real thought before deciding on a solution so I provide additional food for thought. 

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I'm new and going to jump in here. My daughter moved back home with one year old twins after a domestic abuse situation and filed for divorce. It has been smooth going in our large and rambling home, especially given that she is mature and wise and attentive to her children. We adore them all. It's heartbreaking what she is going through. We lived close to her anyway. We also lived close, however to our son and DIL who have our 3 other grands who are older. This has been the issue. They are furious that she is getting divorced. They gave her other advice that is rooted in their faith and they are completely dismissive of our attempts to help -- and jealous of our time with her. They have said this changes everything for them and their children and that they have lost their free babysitting when they needed it during the week and whenever they wanted it over the weekend. We have tried to change things, actually, as little as possible. My daughter was an adored aunt and is devastated they feel this way. They hardly ever come by and they don't want her to attend family events and no longer want to come over on Sundays for family dinner because they feel like our attention is focused on "the babies." Much of this was at play before she moved in, even, but it has intensified since then. We have always attended the children's concerts, ball games and school events, when invited. This year we are lucky to find out when things are even happening. I'm devastated at how my son feels and how he yells at his sister. I still take the other children out places and have them over at the house, but I feel like I have to practically beg for them to come other or to let us be involved. My husband is also devastated because the other children are older and were their grandfather's favorites. Now they treat our house as if we are inhabited by aliens. These children are precious grandchildren of ours, her first children; just as all of the others were given special attention by us as well when they were babies. Any advice is welcome.

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1 hour ago, GrandFive said:

I'm new and going to jump in here. My daughter moved back home with one year old twins after a domestic abuse situation and filed for divorce. It has been smooth going in our large and rambling home, especially given that she is mature and wise and attentive to her children. We adore them all. It's heartbreaking what she is going through. We lived close to her anyway. We also lived close, however to our son and DIL who have our 3 other grands who are older. This has been the issue. They are furious that she is getting divorced. They gave her other advice that is rooted in their faith and they are completely dismissive of our attempts to help -- and jealous of our time with her. They have said this changes everything for them and their children and that they have lost their free babysitting when they needed it during the week and whenever they wanted it over the weekend. We have tried to change things, actually, as little as possible. My daughter was an adored aunt and is devastated they feel this way. They hardly ever come by and they don't want her to attend family events and no longer want to come over on Sundays for family dinner because they feel like our attention is focused on "the babies." Much of this was at play before she moved in, even, but it has intensified since then. We have always attended the children's concerts, ball games and school events, when invited. This year we are lucky to find out when things are even happening. I'm devastated at how my son feels and how he yells at his sister. I still take the other children out places and have them over at the house, but I feel like I have to practically beg for them to come other or to let us be involved. My husband is also devastated because the other children are older and were their grandfather's favorites. Now they treat our house as if we are inhabited by aliens. These children are precious grandchildren of ours, her first children; just as all of the others were given special attention by us as well when they were babies. Any advice is welcome.

Welcome, GrandFive! I'm so sorry you and yours are facing these issues, but I'm glad you decided to reach out to us!

There's a lot to take in here, and I, for one, would like to give it some more thought. For now... bless you and DH (dear husband) for being there for DD (dear daughter) and her children! No matter what DS (dear son) and DIL (daughter-in-law) think, IMO (in my opinion), you are doing a beautiful thing. Kudos to her for getting herself and her kids out of an abusive situation and to all of ou for getting along so well.

It must be very hard to feel caught in the middle between DS/DIL and DD., and to have some of the fallout land on you and DH, as I suspect is happening. (((Hugs!))) As difficult as it may be, IMO, it's best to let DS and DIL have as much "space" as they feel they need. I know you may sense a void if they're not there for Sunday dinner, etc. But if you pressure them to come (not saying you do), it may just backfire and push them further away. TG, you and DH (dear husband) still get to see DS' kids and even have them in your house, despite the fact that their parents, apparently, don't want to come there w/ them.

...they don't want her to attend family events...

I don'[t know if this ^^^^ means at their home or elsewhere. Obviously, they have a right to choose whom to invite to their home. As painful as it may be to accept, it if they don't invite DD, I'm afraid that's up to them. But at your house or anywhere else, they have no say, IMO, unless, perhaps, if they are among the hosts.  They're going to have to learn to accept that you ( and others) are going to invite her and her kids. And everyone else is going to have to accept, I'm afraid, that if she's included, they are likely to choose not to attend.

No doubt, it hurts terribly to see your 2 AC (adult children) at odds this way. It has bothered  me whenever my DDs had a falling out, and they've never been in quite as bad place w/ each other as your DS and DD seem to be at the moment. But, sorry to say, I don't see that there's much you can do. Maybe other posters will have some ideas. More (((hugs!)))

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P.S. When you take DS's/the older kids out, do you ever do so w/o "the babies?" This might help to stem any charges of "favoritism" (not saying that you show any favoritism)/

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Welcome GrandFive. Sorry for family issues....and so good of you to provide a stable home for them all...however, my real question is why is your DD's divorce your DS's business? I'd be asking him why he thinks it's ok for her to be abused by her spouse? His level of judgement boggles my mind. Standing up for herself  to get out of an abusive situation to protect herself AND her children is a great thing, certainly nothing to be shunned/shamed over. 

I could go on....

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I want repeat what Rose and Mame have already said, but is it possible that the "older grandchildren" are at an age where they would cut back on visits naturally due to being involved in more activities as the grow?

I have a son and a daughter in the later 30's and they have barely spoken to each other in the last four years.  DD was separated and did herself a lot of damage with her gripping and complaining and then taking SIL back.  While I never even took their family pictures off the wall, things just aren't the same anymore either.

For a couple of years our son and DIL lived an 8 hours drive away.  DD was jealous when they moved back closer to home and we would see them about ever six weeks instead of every six months.

Is sibling rivalry a thing of the past in your family and it is just now rearing its ugly head as they are adults?

(((Hugs))) also, if I knew of a solution, I could fix my own two.  Good luck.

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39 minutes ago, SueSTx said:

I want repeat what Rose and Mame have already said, but is it possible that the "older grandchildren" are at an age where they would cut back on visits naturally due to being involved in more activities as the grow?

I have a son and a daughter in the later 30's and they have barely spoken to each other in the last four years.  DD was separated and did herself a lot of damage with her gripping and complaining and then taking SIL back.  While I never even took their family pictures off the wall, things just aren't the same anymore either.

For a couple of years our son and DIL lived an 8 hours drive away.  DD was jealous when they moved back closer to home and we would see them about ever six weeks instead of every six months.

Is sibling rivalry a thing of the past in your family and it is just now rearing its ugly head as they are adults?

(((Hugs))) also, if I knew of a solution, I could fix my own two.  Good luck.

Yes, and yes. The older grandchildren are very involved in school and their own activities and so naturally, they are not around as much. Even then, my husband still takes my grandson to practice and we all attend his ball games. 

Apparently, that was what caused a flare up this past week when after nearly a month of being ill and busy and staying home for the most part -- we all ventured to the ball field. After spending time with EACH of the grands playing and watching the game, I ended up standing with the adults and the babies near the fence watching our grandson. My SON told my daughter today that my DH and I neglected our grandson who was playing ball to spend time holding the babies. That was ridiculous. 

Which leads to the other YES. We have only the two children who are now adults. They are only 15 mos apart and have always been competitive. He is younger but started in marriage 9 years earlier. He already has a 10 year old and then the younger ones. She waited until she was older to marry and have children. Now she is divorcing. His wife struggles with self esteem and my daughter is very organized and put together. She was also more mature when she had the twins. They are actually good friends at times, but then this stuff happens. He has been up and down in business and now that we are helping out our daughter by providing her a place to live it seems he is simply jealous. I'm embarrassed and ashamed by the way he and his wife are acting towards her. She has always been generous and graceful to them, helping with their children and with encouraging them. 

I try and encourage him, take him to lunch and his father does the same. We also have helped him out financially and we think this is too much now, and that he feels entitled and doesn't understand that he needs to be entirely self sufficient at this point. They are both in their thirties. So, yes and yes!

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1 hour ago, Mame925 said:

Welcome GrandFive. Sorry for family issues....and so good of you to provide a stable home for them all...however, my real question is why is your DD's divorce your DS's business? I'd be asking him why he thinks it's ok for her to be abused by her spouse? His level of judgement boggles my mind. Standing up for herself  to get out of an abusive situation to protect herself AND her children is a great thing, certainly nothing to be shunned/shamed over. 

I could go on....

I agree. And I have asked. Apparently there are many in our enlightened world who believe that unless someone shoots you through the temple that you could not possibly be abused. The judgement grieves me. Ironically, I thought of the situation as her being shunned as well. The idea that her own brother and wife would shun her is incredible to me. We all share the same faith. I am not dogmatic, however, although this came as a surprise for all of them I think. When it came to abuse, I drew the line. No way, no how. God does not desire that we allow that to continue. She tried counseling. She tried everything. He was unwilling and dangerous. She left for the babies primarily. I thank God that she left for them, and for herself.

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2 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

P.S. When you take DS's/the older kids out, do you ever do so w/o "the babies?" This might help to stem any charges of "favoritism" (not saying that you show any favoritism)/

Oh, yes. A few weeks ago for President's Day I took the older children out for an entire day to our MOSH, lunch and a movie. Just the three of us. Even with the younger, I try and take them separately places, even if it's just to the store or park by themselves. Just today I had my younger grand over and spent nearly two hours alone with her while the twins were asleep. And my son and DIL both know that when they drop their kids off, as they have even just last Friday night, I spend time with just them while the babies are asleep or my daughter watches them. Ironically, when they bring their kids by, they don't stay, unless it was for Sunday dinner. On the other hand, my daughter is HERE with her children, taking care of them and the house. She actually does most of the cooking and cleaning while I work. That's vastly different from the others who drop them off and leave. 

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3 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

Welcome, GrandFive! I'm so sorry you and yours are facing these issues, but I'm glad you decided to reach out to us!

There's a lot to take in here, and I, for one, would like to give it some more thought. For now... bless you and DH (dear husband) for being there for DD (dear daughter) and her children! No matter what DS (dear son) and DIL (daughter-in-law) think, IMO (in my opinion), you are doing a beautiful thing. Kudos to her for getting herself and her kids out of an abusive situation and to all of ou for getting along so well.

It must be very hard to feel caught in the middle between DS/DIL and DD., and to have some of the fallout land on you and DH, as I suspect is happening. (((Hugs!))) As difficult as it may be, IMO, it's best to let DS and DIL have as much "space" as they feel they need. I know you may sense a void if they're not there for Sunday dinner, etc. But if you pressure them to come (not saying you do), it may just backfire and push them further away. TG, you and DH (dear husband) still get to see DS' kids and even have them in your house, despite the fact that their parents, apparently, don't want to come there w/ them.

...they don't want her to attend family events...

I don'[t know if this ^^^^ means at their home or elsewhere. Obviously, they have a right to choose whom to invite to their home. As painful as it may be to accept, it if they don't invite DD, I'm afraid that's up to them. But at your house or anywhere else, they have no say, IMO, unless, perhaps, if they are among the hosts.  They're going to have to learn to accept that you ( and others) are going to invite her and her kids. And everyone else is going to have to accept, I'm afraid, that if she's included, they are likely to choose not to attend.

No doubt, it hurts terribly to see your 2 AC (adult children) at odds this way. It has bothered  me whenever my DDs had a falling out, and they've never been in quite as bad place w/ each other as your DS and DD seem to be at the moment. But, sorry to say, I don't see that there's much you can do. Maybe other posters will have some ideas. More (((hugs!)))

Thank you. And I do give them space as far as Sunday dinner. I don't beg about that because frankly, I'm too exhausted. And I know that's part of it, that they see my exhaustion. I'm also taking care of an elderly aunt who I am guardian for and life is busy. But this is a season, like everything and I'm just baffled as to why they are so mad at my daughter, and more importantly, treat the little twins as pariahs. The other grands, BTW, love playing with them. Even my DIL who loved to hold and snuggle them when they were younger, doesn't even reach out and hug or hold them anymore. It's just so weird and uncomfortable.

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This is DS/DIL's problem, not your daughter's and certainly not yours. I think he/they are jealous that your time is not free to cater to them. 

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, GrandFive said:

Thank you. And I do give them space as far as Sunday dinner. I don't beg about that because frankly, I'm too exhausted. And I know that's part of it, that they see my exhaustion. I'm also taking care of an elderly aunt who I am guardian for and life is busy. But this is a season, like everything and I'm just baffled as to why they are so mad at my daughter, and more importantly, treat the little twins as pariahs. The other grands, BTW, love playing with them. Even my DIL who loved to hold and snuggle them when they were younger, doesn't even reach out and hug or hold them anymore. It's just so weird and uncomfortable.

Thanks for taking time to answer our questions, GrandFive!  You certainly have a lot on your plate! No wonder you're "exhausted!"  IMO, you have a good attitude about it - yes! - but can you cut back anywhere?

TG, your DD does " most of the cooking and cleaning" while you're at work, as you say in an earlier post! We don't always hear that where multigenerational households are concerned. Good for her!

It's unfortunate that your son and DIL are reacting the way they are. Given the differences in their lives and the fact that, as you say in another post, DS and DD " have always been competitive," I think this may be an extension of long term sibling rivalry, unfortunately. And DIL's "self esteem issues" would make it easy for her to slip right into that pattern...sigh...

I know it's hard not to blame our AC's (adult children's) failing on ourselves. But please try to let go of any feelings of "shame" as to DS' behavior. As Mame says, IMO, "This is DS/DIL's problem..." and they need time to work it out in their own heads. I'm glad you give DS and DIL their space, no matter what the reason.

Also, regardless of jealousy or religious belief, I'm deeply sorry that they criticized  DD's decision to divorce her abusive H. No doubt, she has been going through a very hard time, and she doesn't need that right now.  Space from them may be good for her, too, for a while.

Here's hoping things get better over time!

 

 

5 hours ago, Mame925 said:

This is DS/DIL's problem, not your daughter's and certainly not yours. I think he/they are jealous that your time is not free to cater to them. 

 

Edited by RoseRed135

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I find my daughter reverting back to HER role as dependent child..it's like having THREE kids instead of 2

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6 minutes ago, Sn0wluvr said:

I find my daughter reverting back to HER role as dependent child..it's like having THREE kids instead of 2

Welcome Sn0wluvr....your issue is far too common. You'll need to put a stop to her behavior. Remember to treat her like a competent adult, refrain from stepping into her issues with her kids even when she wants you to.

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easier said than done. My daughter is mentally ill. she refuses to get help or take meds. I have tried exhaustingly to coach her toward adult competency for the last 8 years. when she lived on her own, the twins lived in filthy conditions. If I kick her out and she takes them, I have no doubt that social services will take them. they were the product of a one night stand, so their dad doesn't want them either. If only you could see their beautiful little faces, you might understand.

I WISH I was dealing with a person capable of growing up and becoming an adult, but I have now lost all hope and just try to focus on the twins

 

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12 hours ago, Sn0wluvr said:

easier said than done. My daughter is mentally ill. she refuses to get help or take meds. I have tried exhaustingly to coach her toward adult competency for the last 8 years. when she lived on her own, the twins lived in filthy conditions. If I kick her out and she takes them, I have no doubt that social services will take them. they were the product of a one night stand, so their dad doesn't want them either. If only you could see their beautiful little faces, you might understand.

I WISH I was dealing with a person capable of growing up and becoming an adult, but I have now lost all hope and just try to focus on the twins

 

Oh, Snowlovr, what a difficult situation! I'm so sorry!

Elsewhere you told us more about your relationship w/ the kids. Altogether, it sounds as if you're doing a great job w/ them and dealing w/ DD (dear daughter) as best you can. It's unfortunate that she won't go for help.

Some people go to counseling for (further) guidance on how to cope w/ the mentally ill person in their lives. Have you thought of doing that?

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@GrandFive & @Sn0wluvr - Just checking in to see how things are going...

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