View Full Version : Need advice on dealing with grandparents

04-17-14, 07:00 PM
Hi all! I am fairly new to the forum but have been reading many post and have gotten lots of great tips!!!! We have a difficult situation and i'm just at a lost at what to do!

Here is some background:

My step son (mom has been non existent in his life since she had him at 28 weeks due to fetal alcohol syndrome) has recently been diagnosed with autism and ADHD. It's been a long time coming but it took dad a long time to get out of denial. He is on the mild side if the spectrum, but still enough that we go to counseling and he's also in OT For his motor skills. He has bad bad meltdowns, mood swings, ODD, and if we vary from our normal schedule, it's disaster.

Until about a year ago, I was still working full time, so was dad. So my mother in law took care of him before and after school. I knew it was a problem, she babied him, to the point where she was getting him dressed, wiping his face, etc (he's 7, and is capable of doing these things with little assistance) she lets him run her, he shows no respect, etc etc. he was also failing all his classes in school. Along with the issues with him and how hard everything was with my 2 girls, we thought it was best for me to stay home full time. I have researched and researched strategies on how to help with his symptoms. What I found that works best for him is a strict routine in both morning and after school and bed time. As well as very strict structure. We don't tolerate the talking back, the arguing...from any if the kids. We've also noticed a HUGE change once grandma was out of the everyday picture. It's almost like when she's around, she over stimulates him and he can't take it. So things have gotten better, his grades are up, we only have an occasional meltdown (a few a week vs 5 or 6 a day) Our doctors and therapist's were impressed of our "system" and have expressed my concerns about what happens when grandma is around..

So now here's what my issue is. I'm pregnant, high risk due to high blood pressure. My MIL had always said she wants to take care of kids when it's time for delivery. Well Tuesday I was having contractions 2 minutes apart at 33 weeks, so I was in the hospital for most of the day. My brother was going to pick the kids up from school. But my MIL found out, and insisted she wanted to do it, so we let her (my first mistake, I know) well here is what happen....she did my SS's homework!!!!! He had to write his spelling words 3x's each, well apparently she told him he wasn't doing it right and re wrote half of it!!!! (He doesn't have the best handwriting, which is one of the reasons he is in OT.) So she did his homework, didn't even bother to help the girls with their homework. She told all the kids I was having the baby, which the girls new it was too early which had them all upset, he didn't know because, another symptom, doesn't understand time. So by the time I got home from the hospital at 10 pm the girls were still up and worried to death about me and the baby. I didn't look at homework until the next morning before school. Then since grandma was around, he was a different kid, he didn't know where he was when he woke up, he just couldn't do anything, it was like he was scatter brained 10x!! It normally takes about a week to get him back in schedule after grandma had been around.

I was furious for many reasons, but my top reason my husband won't say anything to his mother, he just ignores it and now is saying just have nothing to do with her. I don't think it's right, I think she needs to be included in his treatment and his life but she needs to realize she is hurting him with her actions. But my DH says it not worth it because she thinks we are too hard on him and that is their job as grandparents to spoil him.

Is my DH right about just cutting her out? Am I over reacting and her actions aren't really that bad?? I just feel lost and don't know what to do!!! I just feel bad for him, I hate to see him go through what he goes through after being around grandma.

Ms. Mango
04-17-14, 07:31 PM
Welcome to the forums!

Your DSS doesn't need a grandmother who can't follow the house rules. It's one thing to buy a kid an ice cream cone, another to upset the household and force you to work doubly hard for a week to get the kids under control after she spends a few hours with them.

Nothing is going to change until your DH sees what a problem this is and faces it instead of trying to ignore this and hopes it just goes away. Maybe if he spoke with her and let her know what works best with his son she'll comply--but I doubt it. If she refuses to play by your rules the best thing you can do is limit her contact with your DSS to times when you or your husband can supervise her. I know right now that might be difficult until your baby is born, but you and your husband need a plan so this doesn't keep happening--or you're going to be dealing with this upheaval in addition to everything that goes along with having a newborn.

You've seen for yourself how much better these kids do with structure--don't let her undo all your hard work and undermine your parenting. It's bad for your whole family.

04-18-14, 10:00 AM
Agree with Ms. Mango

Also want to say kudos to you, it really sounds like you're informed and doing a great job with your son. Go mama :)

04-18-14, 12:35 PM
I wold ask the therapist to intervene here and invite her to a session with you and your dh, to help her understand the system that needs to be in place in order to help your stepson. She hasn't done the research that you have, she only knows that she cares about this kid and thinks she's helping him by taking on some of his responsibilities. Give her a chance to understand. Then, if she doesn't get it, you can think about writing her off.

04-18-14, 12:40 PM
I agree with ccom, give her a chance to understand and realise that a little spoiling won't kill him either. You don't need the stress you can do damage control later.

04-18-14, 04:10 PM
thanks everyone. After thinking about the situation for a bit, my DH said he knows cutting her out isn't the answer, so we are supposed to sit down and talk to her, tell her what's expected, and invite her to the next counseling session. He said he's tired of the manipulation and he wont tolerate it anymore. We are just afraid it wont do any good, she will make herself the victim. I told him well give her the chance, what happens afterwards if up to her.

There is a huge difference between spoiling and what she does, that's the problem.