Dear Readers – The following is Part Two of a question and response in my Saturday July 13 column:
My stepdaughter is a single mom of our grandson, age eight. She’s currently fighting with her ex over the lack of child support she’s receiving.
She’s tried to stop her son’s contact with his father. Also, he has mental health issues and reportedly gives no parental guidance.
She blames her ex for her son’s poor behaviour. We’ve learned that our grandson’s school behaviour is also declining.
His primary caregiver is my husband’s ex-wife. Although she was always a remarkable mother in my opinion, she’s been accused by others of favouring this boy, our grandson, over her other grandchildren.
I’ve heard that she’s considering funding the legal steps required in order to stop all visitations with his father.
I’ve known my stepdaughter to be a liar and a storyteller. I once confronted her on the accuracy of a horrible story she told about me. She was adamant that her version was truthful. It hurt.
I often wonder if she’s shared distorted tales of me and/or her father that our grandson has overheard. Perhaps that would explain why he treats us so poorly. I believe that true colours always shine through, and I always act naturally with him.
I do find it hard to be playful with him, but I always try to chat with him about things that should interest him.
I recently inherited some money and we decided to bring my stepdaughter and grandson on a winter getaway with us to a sunny location, hoping to spend some time bonding with him.
He mostly ignored us, spent as much time as he could with his mother and away from us. When my husband finally lost patience with his rude behaviour towards his mother and said something to him about it, it brought my stepdaughter to tears and made everyone edgy for the rest of the trip.
I asked my husband’s ex-wife what our grandson had told her about our trip. She said he’d said nothing at all about it, other than it was summertime there. Nothing about the beautiful beach, the resort’s great pool, their experience swimming with the dolphins? Or the friends he met there? I was heartbroken.
We only see my stepdaughter and grandson on special occasions and very briefly at his hockey, which we attend now.
It’s so hard for us to watch my husband’s ex-wife’s second husband have a respectful, loving rapport with our grandson as he helps him in the dressing room after his games.
We’re considering giving up on trying to have any kind of loving relationship with our grandson.
While I understand that this post-divorce family situation feels hurtful to you and your husband, I stand with my advice from Part One: Don’t give up on this youngster.
Yes, you’re both a step removed by your husband’s divorce from playing the major support role that his ex-wife (the boy’s other grandmother) plays, but you seem to respect her maternal instincts.
There’s still a chance to have a positive influence on this child, as he grows to be more aware of your genuine interest in him.
Developing a better rapport with his mother would help. She already has several stresses – a difficult ex with mental health issues and financial strain.
She’s the access point to this boy. If you’re sympathetic to her situation and helpful where possible, she’ll better appreciate your desire to be loving grandparents.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who’s been delaying marrying his fiancée of five years because his ex-wife/sons want only his sons to inherit from him, not the woman he marries (June 15):
Reader – “This man will lose his fiancée because he can't stand up to his selfish, money-grubbing children.
“I’d never demand anything of my parents nor prevent them from giving their money to other people in their lives.
All I need to know is where their wills are and how they wish to execute them.
“He should tell his sons: "The more you demand, the less you’ll receive. If you even think about asking about my fiancée's stake and our future plans regarding MY money, you’ll not receive anything."
“He should also make sure that the executor of his Will is an attorney or someone else who cannot be swayed by his children or ex-wife. He should do this quickly.”
Tip of the day:
A young grandchild with family and behaviour problems especially needs loving encouragement, not distance.