General Etiquette > Family and Children

When parents say no

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Queen of Clubs:
Background: I have a relative (I'll call her Flora) who has a son, DIL, and very young grandkids.  Both the son and DIL work, so have limited spare time.  Flora and her DIL don't get along well.  Flora's father is elderly and is in poor health.  End background.

I recently spoke to Flora, and she mentioned that she wanted to take her grandkids up to see her father.  She was hoping to take them the next time she has them for a weekend visit, but Son and DIL said no.  They said the children are too much hard work and Flora wouldn't be able to enjoy her visit with her father.  Flora thinks this is an excuse but that's all they said.

Flora's rather annoyed, and told me that the next time she's looking after her grandchildren, she plans to taking them to visit her father anyway.  I said I wouldn't do that, as her Son/DIL will find out.

Flora: "Oh, I'll tell them as soon as we get back."

Me: "And that'll show them that you can't be trusted with your grandchildren."

Flora: "They don't trust us now!"

Me: "And they'll trust you so little that you'll end up only having supervised visits."

At that point, she went quiet, then changed the subject.

I think I was fine in what I said.  I couldn't not say anything, and I'm hoping Flora will think it over and decide against doing this.

My question: if this comes up again, is there anything more I can say?

I would never do something my Sister or cousins had said no to. We do have a running joke about snakes, because I let them pet the snakes the docents have out at the Zoo. When they are with Sis, they don't get to because she is phobic about snakes. 

It doesn't matter whether or not it's an excuse.  The children's parents don't want her taking the children up to see her father.  I'd probably say no as well.  You say the children are "very" young.  Do they even know Flora's father or care?  I'm imagining not.  I'm not saying they should never meet him but if I were the children's parent I would want to be included in the visit so that I could make sure the children were taken care of while Flora visited with her father.

And I agree with you, if she does this after being told no, she will likely lose ALL unsupervised access to these children.  I think you were wise to warn her of this outcome that she apparently hasn't considered.

Hmm.  Interesting.  Do you know (or have a suspicion) MIL is not allowed to take the children?  I don't think I'd want someone else taking my DD on a trip to a strange, non-child friendly venue where they'd be likely to be distracted.

You could try pointing out to her that it's not about "winning" the visit in the short-term, but working towards building a solid long-term relationship with her grandkids.

Aside from making sure her son and DIL won't trust her alone with the kids again, I agree that she wouldn't get to visit with her father very much.   When my grandpa was in the nursing home after a stroke, I went up with my father and my older two to see him and grandma.  The boys were 3 and 18 months and took one look at my grandfather, said hi, and then decided they wanted to roam up and down the hallway.  They didn't know him very well and had more fun walking around and saying hello to the other more aware residents.


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