Frequency of Grandparent visits? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 01-12-2004, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi There. I have an annoying situation, and would like your stories and advice.

My dad has a terrible temper, and is very controlling. Not physically abusive, but goes into temper tantrums with yelling etc. He tells my mom to shut up, and she acts like a mouse when he gets this way. He also acts as though his way is the right way, and anybody who does not follow his way is wrong. I haven't had any problems with my father since I was in my early twenties, as I refused to take his behavior and explained to him that he must treat me properly or I will leave.

My dh grew up with an abusive father. He has a very strong sense of self and refuses to allow folks to walk all over him. With me and my daughter he is gentle, loving, and the best father/husband a woman could ask for. BUT...he doesn't take much crap from others.

Last spring, while I was pregnant, they had a terrible argument while we were visiting my parents, they had a terrible blow out. When my dad started having his fit, he was expecting my dh to shrink into the corner, which is his usual result with folks. Not the case...dh went to to toe with him and stood his ground. The next day, early in the morning my father came to our house, yelling and screaming. Dh told him to get off our property. My mom actually believes that he came over the next day to make peace. When he called to 'talk' about it, I told him that I do not plan to allow my daughter to be exposed to these temper tantrums and his manner of behavior towards my mom.

Any how...nothing has been resolved. When we were in the hospital to have the baby, DH was very polite, and made sure to tell both my parents they were welcome to come over. My dad, on the other hand, kept making angry, irritated faces behind dh's back. DH is a champ...he know this was happening but ignored it for my sake and that of my baby.

My dad did not come to visit the baby in her first month of life. When I invited him over by the phone, he proceeded to demand I go over there without my baby so he could talk to me "eyeball to eyeball". When I told him that would not happen, he started to yell at me over the phone. Mind you....I was already emotional because breastfeeding started out to be difficult and painful. baby is 6 months old, and he never visits. My mom comes once in a while, and dh is not welcome at their home. This is their first long awaited grandbaby, and they did not spend any holidays with her! I have taken her to their house to visit or met my mom half way for lunch/shopping-but frankly I am tired of it. He still insists I come over without dd. I know what he wants to do...he wants to yell at me, and I won't allow it. Because I have refused to meet his demand for so long, he has given me a preview of what he plans to say. He has said that I have treated them poorly, that if dh does that again he will tan his behind...on and on.

When I do take her to visit, she gets fussy, which is unusual for her. As soon as he walks into the room, even if he is being 'nice' she gets upset and cries! They keep buying her gaudy loud toys which are scary and over stimulating. I think she is able to see through his facade and senses his hostility.

I can ignore his constant comments that are meant to bait me....but I draw the line on what he did on a recent visit. When dd got upset, he actually started laughing! When I took her to offer my comfort he said she was spoiled.

Please give me your stories!

How often do you take kids to visit their grandparents?....How often do they come to visit?

I am fed up, and ready to just stay at home until he gets over it and starts visiting.

Am I being unreasonable?
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#2 of 5 Old 01-12-2004, 01:39 PM
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You are being totally reasonable.
No one deserves to be treated with disrespect and it's great that you feel strong to stand your ground.

I believe that children are very sensitive beings, especially when they are babies. They pick up on people's energy & it can affect them. It is important for you to surround your child with as much love & positive energy as you possibly can.

If he chooses not to be involved with your daughter, that's his loss. The way he's acting, I would say she's not missing out on much. No matter what anyone, what society or anything else says, you have to do what feels best for yourself & your child. It's important to listen to your heart.

It is difficult dealing with angry people. My experience of people like your dad is that they are not willing or able to hear reason -- they want to be right at any cost. They tend to lose a lot in the mean time.

I hope you can find some peace in the situation. You cannot change him so all you can do is what's best for your family.
Peace to you -- I'm sure it must be a difficult situation.
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#3 of 5 Old 01-12-2004, 02:10 PM
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Hi Suzetta,
It sounds like you are priorizing your DD's emotional health, and I applaud you for that! You may already be aware that recent early brain research indicates that emotional health is a big part of what children learn in the first, early years. (You can read more about this at (I just searched and found this link - there may be better sites out there if you are interested)).

It can be a difficult dilemna when we try to balance our relationships with our parents and our responsibilitites to our children, especially when there is emotional abuse going on. You really are your child's first protector and educator. I get the impression that you and your husband have made a thoughful decision about how to deal with your father's behaviour. It sounds like you have the right kind of support from your husband and that you also have a strong inner locus of control - your DD sure is fortunate to have two such emotionally mature parents.

As to how often grandkids should see their grandparents...well, I don't think that there is a rule about that! I beleive that I would establish very similar boundaries to you with my in-laws or parents if we had the same situation.

All the best to you and your family. I hope that there is lots of positive growth for everyone from this!

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#4 of 5 Old 01-12-2004, 02:19 PM
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It sounds to me like you've made a difficult but correct decision to put your daughter's needs first. If you're concerned about your parents not developing any kind of relationship with DD, perhaps you could write a letter to your father explaining what needs to change and why you've made the decisions you have. Maybe he'll feel less defensive about a letter and be less inclined to yell (I don't know this, though; you know him best!) Good luck dealing with this. It sounds very difficult, but for the record I think you're doing the right thing .

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#5 of 5 Old 01-12-2004, 03:01 PM
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I think you're doing the right thing. No relationship is better than a bad relationship in this case, I think. If your dad isn't enough of a grown up to know better and act right, he doesn't deserve to be part of your dd's life. He needs to respect your dh and recognize that having temper tantrums is not appropriate.

My parents see my kids 2-3 time a year b/c they live in IL and we live in AZ- they come to visit b/c we haven't been able to afford it. If we lived closer, they would probably see them once a week or every couple weeks (that's how often they see my nephew who lives about 40 miles from them.) My MIL sees the kids about 1-3 times a week- she lives about 3 miles from us- sometimes more, sometimes less, but that's about the average. My FIL has seen dd once, when she was 6 mos old and has never seen ds. He lives in IL, has never come to visit us- and the few times we're able to go to IL- he's too busy to see us. Every year, he says he's coming to visit, but never does. DH is the youngest of 5 and his dad doesn't see any of them. My BIL got married in CA last November and FIL didn't even make it to that. They're not close at all- don't seem to be bothered by it, so I'm not going to get in the middle and certainly won't go out of my way to help him see the kids. Even if we were closer, I don't think he'd see them except for the holidays, if that.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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