Author Topic: When parents say no  (Read 8409 times)

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Queen of Clubs

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When parents say no
« on: December 31, 2012, 10:14:52 AM »
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?

kherbert05

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2012, 10:33:29 AM »
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. 
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miranova

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2012, 10:46:11 AM »
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.

bonyk

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2012, 10:59:07 AM »
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.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2012, 11:06:32 AM »
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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Queen of Clubs

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2012, 11:27:52 AM »
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.

OP here.  I agree that it doesn't matter whether it's an excuse or not - the parents said no so it's 'no'.

The children have met their great-grandfather a few times, but the eldest child is two, and I don't know how well they know him or remember him.

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.

I know she's not allowed to take the children to visit her father because she flat out said so, and she expressed her annoyance at their decision.  I wonder if it's because it's a fairly long drive and it'd make for a very busy day (journey there and back, visit in the middle).  I know Flora is tired after visiting her father, so maybe that plays into their decision, but I haven't asked them so I don't know.  Nor would I ask them - I don't consider their decision to be any of my business.

Quote
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.

Flora complains that she doesn't get to babysit her grandkids much.  As she ignores their parents' instructions, I think they know that and that's why.  I know she ignores their instructions because she's told me about it!  She thinks she knows better.

Don't get me wrong, Flora has a lot of good qualities, but she has a bad habit of thinking she's right and others are wrong, and so she'll go ahead and do stuff and not even think about the consequences.  As she and her DIL don't get along (and didn't before children were added to the mix), I doubt her DIL would let her get away with it.

Edited to fix the name change.  Sorry!
« Last Edit: December 31, 2012, 06:32:09 PM by Queen of Clubs »

learningtofly

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2012, 11:40:46 AM »
You gave her good advice. Hopefully she follows it. And maybe she'll start to saline that breaking the rules is why she doesn't get to have them very often.

JenJay

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2012, 11:42:52 AM »
If it comes up again I'd say something like "I know it's important to you that your Dad get to see the babies, but I'm really worried what will happen if you go against your son and dil's wishes. I think you should talk to them again and ask if there is a time you can all get together and go visit your Dad." If she continues to insist that her way is best I'd just bean dip her in further discussions.  :-\

Sharnita

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2012, 12:03:58 PM »
Wild speculation - is it possible they have less than wonderful feelings/memories about grandpa/great-grandpa? 

Winterlight

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2012, 12:31:06 PM »
If my MIL did this it would be the last unsupervised visit ever. I can guess why she and DIL aren't best buddies.
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Queen of Clubs

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2012, 12:38:26 PM »
Wild speculation - is it possible they have less than wonderful feelings/memories about grandpa/great-grandpa?

Not so far as I'm aware, Sharnita.  Son seems happy to go visit his grandfather when he has the time but, as he and DIL work, they're short on spare time.  Going to visit his grandfather takes up pretty much the whole of a day, and (as I'm sure you know) when you've only got 2 days off a week, that's a big chunk to give up.  I think there's more of a problem with his relationship with Flora, from the things Flora has said.

Winterlight, I get the impression that MIL and DIL are a lot alike in a lot of ways, so I think that plays into the relationship problems.  But yeah, if Flora does this, it's going to cause a ton of problems (and no surprise).

Edited to fix the name change.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2012, 06:33:34 PM by Queen of Clubs »

Giggity

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2012, 12:54:35 PM »
My question: if this comes up again, is there anything more I can say?

I think you've gone as far as you legitimately can. Not your family, not your kids, not your issue.
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TootsNYC

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2012, 12:55:46 PM »
It doesn't matter that they used an excuse. Well, no, scratch that, it DOES matter, because if that's an excuse, then what other truth is it covering?
    Like, maybe they don't trust her driving? Maybe they think visiting a strange, extremely elderly relative will be upsetting for their kids?
   The fact that it IS an excuse is all the more reason for Flora to go along with it.

As for your question--is there anything more that you can do: I don't think so. I think you've said what you can say. I wouldn't start putting your own judgment on anything, but simply stick with reminding Flora about the consequences she might suffer. (Which is what you've done so well, so far.)
   Just be her "spare brain" and remind her of the consequences she might suffer if she goes ahead and does this.

I suppose you could encourage her to say to her son and DIL, "That sounds a lot like an excuse. I believe I'd be fine taking them, and though I might not enjoy my own visit w/ Dad, I can go again on another day--this visit would not BE about me spending time w/ Dad, it would be about the kids meeting him. I'm a grownup and can decide for myself how--and whether--I will "enjoy" my visit. Is there some other reason behind your refusal? If so, it would help me to know what it is."

But I don't get the impression that Flora could do that with any credibility.

And JenJay has another suggestion you could give her--in the spirit of being Flora's "spare brain" and "thinking of the things she hasn't thought of yet."

If it comes up again I'd say something like "I know it's important to you that your Dad get to see the babies, but I'm really worried what will happen if you go against your son and dil's wishes. I think you should talk to them again and ask if there is a time you can all get together and go visit your Dad."

(It may be simply that the parents don't want someone driving several hours away, with their children. I might not.)

NyaChan

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2012, 01:59:24 PM »
Do you think she might actually go through with it?  Do you have a relationship with the son & DIL where you could give them a heads up into how discontent Flora is with their decision without creating chaos?

Queen of Clubs

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Re: When parents say no
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2012, 03:43:31 PM »
Ack!  Apologies for the confusion, I've just realised I changed Flora's name halfway through the thread.  Flora is Fiona and vice versa.

Do you think she might actually go through with it?  Do you have a relationship with the son & DIL where you could give them a heads up into how discontent Flora is with their decision without creating chaos?

I think that would actually stir up more chaos than Flora going ahead and taking the kids to see her father.  I'm hoping that Flora's thought better of it now.  I spoke to her tonight, she mentioned going to see her father and didn't mention taking the kids too.  Either she's thought better of it or she's not going to tell me because I think it's a monumentally bad idea.

I suppose you could encourage her to say to her son and DIL, "That sounds a lot like an excuse. I believe I'd be fine taking them, and though I might not enjoy my own visit w/ Dad, I can go again on another day--this visit would not BE about me spending time w/ Dad, it would be about the kids meeting him. I'm a grownup and can decide for myself how--and whether--I will "enjoy" my visit. Is there some other reason behind your refusal? If so, it would help me to know what it is."

But I don't get the impression that Flora could do that with any credibility.

No, she couldn't.  Diplomacy is a foreign language to Flora, especially when she's right and you're wrong.

Quote
And JenJay has another suggestion you could give her--in the spirit of being Flora's "spare brain" and "thinking of the things she hasn't thought of yet."

If it comes up again I'd say something like "I know it's important to you that your Dad get to see the babies, but I'm really worried what will happen if you go against your son and dil's wishes. I think you should talk to them again and ask if there is a time you can all get together and go visit your Dad."

(It may be simply that the parents don't want someone driving several hours away, with their children. I might not.)

That could very well be all it is.  Hopefully, Son will arrange a time to go and see his grandfather.  They've all travelled down together before, I think it's just an issue of getting their schedules to line up.

Thanks for the advice, everyone!  I'm hoping Flora's thought better of it now.