Hey all...so 5 1/2 yo DS will be leaving at the end of this month to visit his dad (16 hours and four states away) for five weeks. He visits his dad in CO every couple of months and this will be the first long trip. His paternal grandmother, who lives six hours away from his dad, always comes out and stays with them when DS is there. This trip, DS has informed me, his dad is sending him to Kansas (grandmother's house), six hours away, for a week of the five weeks he'll have him. She is 75ish, lives completely alone, and doesn't have ANY family closer than six hours from her. Ex has said (for attention, I know, but still) on a few occasions that his mother's health is not great, yet he's still sending DS with her for a week without him. I mentioned in an e-mail my serious concerns regarding this setup and he responded back that her health and age should be of no concern to me. What would you do? He leaves in 23 days and I feel like at this point I don't have ANY recourse or ability to stop this from happening. He loves his paternal grandmother but he'll be in a completely new environment for a WEEK with an elderly woman ALONE. *sigh* My heart is SICK right now.
This sounds less than ideal. But there is not much you can do about it. You may want to talk to a lawyer about weather or not he can actually do this if you are willing to provide transportation back and forth so your son can spend that week with you. Mine could not but I live in town I know long distance visitation is different.
ugh, my concern is that he does not know anyone and this woman is old and frail. It seems like it would be a lot more fun if dad stayed with them. Perhaps you could focus on ways your xh could help your son get the most of this visit (like stay with him). My kids love spending time with their grandparents and great grandparents. But not alone for a week. I am sure he will be fine. But it sounds like it will get boring fast. Does she drive? safely? Is there anyway to check?
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
Depending on how worried you are, I would consider talking to a lawyer or telling your X that you are going to contact CPS to let them know that your child is going to be placed in the home of an unsafe caregiver due to her age/health (again only if you really feel this way.) CPS would very likely do nothing, but at least he might think twice. Also, if it ends up being inevitable, I would work with your son on some "what if" questions....like "Here's what you would do if grandma got sick and wasn't answering when you tried to get her to talk to you." I would be super uncomfortable with a 75 year old caring for my child. Anything could happen at any time. I hope things work out okay for you OP.
it's unfortunate that ex is giving up 20% of this visit. i mean, that is weird and i would be annoyed. however, a woman in her 70s who is well enough to live independently is probably a suitable person for him to spend time with. you say ex claims her health isn't great for attention, not because she actually has health issues that would be concerning. as for "anything could happen at any time" this is true with parents or grandparents at any age. i'm not dismissing the concern, but i don't think it sounds unsafe. it is less than ideal, as he could end up bored and lonely, but he could also have a fabulous time. i know i did, as a small child with my (old) grandparents. since she visits every time your son visits his dad, she must be well enough to travel, and it's someone your son knows well. how does he feel about the idea of visiting his grandma's house?
my main concern would be communication, since you said she currently has no contact with you. you need to be able to reach ds by phone, and he needs to be allowed to call you.
If it was me and this was the first time that my child was going to the grandparents place I'd ring them and say 'Hi, just wanted to touch base etc' I'd make sure that my child had the means to contact me as well. Not the same as your situation, but my daughter was upset after her father refused to let her phone me while she was away so I rang the phone company to discuss what options there were for 'Phone Home' calls and they were very helpful - I taught her how to phone me from anyone's phone and I would be charged for the call. She now has a mobile and I taught her how to get more credit on it for that reason too.
I agree that the grandmother may be quite able to look after a young child,some 75 yo's are awesome. And young children do seem to bond with their older relatives. As long as your son is able to use a phone if it is needed then I would try and relax about it. Ali
Will you be able to contact your son by phone every day? If it were me, I would also call the grandmother before the visitation occurred, just to touch base. There is NO reason that you cannot talk to the person who will be keeping your son for a week, and there is no reason that you can't talk to him on the phone daily while he is there. That way, if something doesn't seem right or if your son says that Grandma isn't doing so well, you will know ASAP and can contact the local sheriff for a well check.
Great thoughts and suggestions, thanks everyone. I do think that I will be contacting her if, in fact, he does end up traveling to Kansas with her. I don't know for sure if it will happen but I'm going to request that ex inform me as soon as he makes those plans. Yes, it annoys the living hell out of me that he's giving up DS for 20% of his time with him. This is the first summer that he will have him for 7 weeks of the summer, DS has not been away from me for more than ten days up until now. My family travels to NJ each year in July to have a family dinner and vacation with my DH's entire family. It's the only time each year that we can plan a full family vacation and that DS has the opportunity to see some (step) family members who have been a part of his life since he was two. It's also the only time each year he gets to play in the ocean. EX spent TWO months arguing with me to have DS for seven consecutive weeks that overlap that vacation and tried to refuse to let DS take that trip with us. Mind you DS is homeschooled so he could have ANY seven weeks he wants at all...but he was insisting he wanted to have the time that overlapped OUR already existing annual family vacation. After telling him I'd see him in court over it and letting him know that under no uncertain circumstances would DS know that it was his father who did not allow him to take the trip he talks about all year long...he finally gave in. He gets him for five weeks from the end of May to the end of June, then for two more weeks at the end of July/beginning of August. And he still is planning to send DS to Kansas for a week of that? Ugh. So yeah...it's all for attention and to make my life difficult.
I know that DS loves his grandmother and enjoys her company. I think she actually interacts with him more than his dad on some levels so I guess I should stop worrying so much.
My son was being watched by his grandfather in a public place, and Grandpa fell asleep. I went back to pick him up and saw it myself. I quietly decided never to ask him to watch him again. (Grandma was there too but had gone to the ladies room.)
I always made sure to send the grandparents, and an aunt yearly photos because that keeps them all in touch with each other when they don't see them often and the kids are still quite young. I think it makes the kids feel more at home too when they see their photos displayed along with other grandchildren. And I used to get the kids to wrap any presents in their artwork and make cards for the grandparents. Even though it's not really your job to keep your son in touch with the inlaws I found my ex was useless at it - the photos would still be in a drawer not given out etc. And he never let anyone know what the kids were interested in. The aunt loves to buy books and my daughter loves to read so I got my daughter to email her what stories she liked each year and her aunt loved to give her the books, and to hear how much she enjoyed them afterwards.
Just something that might be nice and bonding for your son, in high school my two teen boys had to choose an older person to do an autobiography on. They each chose one of their grandparents. I spent a good deal of time trying to get my father to tell stories of his childhood and early adulthood (before I came along) and my aunt provided old photos for him. My other son emailed with his aunt about her father and received photos. They made a scrapbook of it all and then gave it to each of the grandparents - they were very touched by the gift and we all learned a lot about our own history (and how the world has changed in 80 or so years) so it was great fun, interesting, and useful. And although I don't really want to have much to do with the 'other side' of the family I think kids often do want to know more about their history as they grow up and this provides a means of doing it through the older relatives who might not be around to ask later. Alison