Estrangement: outcome or solution?

allandaleJuly 16, 2009

My daughter, her husband, and 3 & 4-year old daughters moved in with me a few months ago to access better medical care for the older special-needs child. I offered free rent & utilities to help them get established only asking that they pay for groceries and help out around the yard. I also help out by babysitting. My SIL is working full-time, as am I, and my daughter is a stay-at-home mom.

The biggest problem has been the lack of effective and consistent discipline for a badly behaved and spoiled 3-year old. There are no negative consequences. Just idle threats and giving in to the demands. They don't tell her what to do...they give her options, and they don't believe in spanking (which I have respected). My daughter constantly orders her husband to deal with the resulting "problems" then criticizes and interferes with his attempts. I should add that this child does not misbehave when her parents are not around. She knows I won't put up with any nonsense.

In addition to the screaming temper tantrums, insolence, and whining demands, my newly renovated home has suffered $thousands in damage and is always a pigsty. I haven't had more than a handful of undisturbed sleeps and I'm going to work exhausted or relying on sleeping pills. There is no place to go for solitude I gave up my bedroom and bathroom so they could have privacy.

I've discussed these matters with my daughter but she is not receptive to my suggestions. She thinks my expectations are unreasonable, the damage to the house is normal wear and tear, and that I have no right to lay down any ground rules, or to say anything when their so-called methods arenÂt working. IÂm just trying to protect my property and my healthÂmy stress levels are through the roof!

Matters came to a head, we had a really ugly argument and they have decided to move out. We are barely on speaking terms. I've lost interest in "helping" out or spending time with my granddaughter even though itÂs not her fault. My daughter is verbally and openly poisoning the children against me and all I want right now is estrangement so I no longer have to deal with this. The biggest loss will be access to the special needs daughter. She is such a joy and even though she needs constant care, she is much easier to look after than her sister.

Have I really been unreasonable here or overstepped my boundaries? I think 24/7 exposure to these problems while bearing the costs, should earn me at least some respect. I know this rant is rather long but I wanted to try and paint the bigger picture.

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allandale, for what it's worth, from the way you've described the situation, which is all I have to go on, I feel that you are well within your rights. It sounds like a horror situation and your daughter sounds like a real beaut. Whether the loss/estrangement is worth it down the line, only you can decide.

Best wishes to you.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 8:55PM
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