Grandmother that goes too far

TawnaDecember 21, 2001

Well this issue has soo many sides, basically my boyfriend has a 3 year old son (him and the mother of the child have joint custody). Because my boyfriend was so young when his son was born his mother took on a lot of the responsibility when it was his weekend, too much if you ask me, which is of course the fault of my boyfriend. But now its to the point where my boyfriends mother is going through a divorce and has latched on to her grandson and the grandson has latched on to her. She has turned this child into a little boy that doesn't want really anything to do with anyone else but his "nanny" the worst part is no matter what the situation is she can never say no to him which causes him to throw a fit everytime he doesn't get his way when she is not around, which then turns into an hour of screaming and crying that he wants his nanny. The biggest thing is whenever plans change with Parker (the grandson) she tries to make my boyfriend feel guilty because now she'll be all alone and Parker is the only thing that keeps her going etc. I can't take this drama anymore, but I love my boyfriend and want to spend my life with him, its just causing so many problems. Not to mention in the long run I think things are going to be worse with the child growing up being so attached to his grandmother. I just don't see how she can't see what she is doing is wrong. Do any of ya'll have advice on how to make this any better??? I hope that wasn't too confusing...

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Not to be too blunt, but you are not clear as to whether you live with the boyfriend or not. If you don't, then who is helping your boyfriend with Parker when you are not around? Is it the grandmother? I'm sorry, but as the "girlfriend" I really don't think you have any opinion in this matter. Your boyfriend's mother obviously stepped up to the plate when he made the mistake of creating a baby with a woman when he was too young to take on the responsibility and needed help with the child's care, and she shouldn't just be pushed aside because you have come into the picture. Sounds as though you want a relationship with the boyfriend, but not the grandmother and/or Parker. You are the outsider at this point, and of course the child is going to be bonded to his grandmother, who has been a real mother figure to him all along. Sorry, I don't see the problem here, unless it is giving the child everything he wants. But I would have to guess that is how YOU see it. BTW - do you have any children? 3 year olds can be demanding, clinging, selfish, all of the above, at different times - me thinks you may just have a problem with the grandmother, and if your boyfriend doesn't see any problem with his son's and mother's relationship, then I think you need to back off. Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2001 at 2:46PM
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Well, I do see a problem. It sounds like he's being spoiled by a well-meaning grandmother! It is always easier for people on the outside to see family dynamics. Maybe you can hope that when the dust settles from the divorce, she will pick up and take an interest in other things and not focus so much on the little boy. His father should speak to his mother about being more disciplinary and not spoiling him so much. It will only get more difficult for him in life if he thinks the world revolves around him. If your relationship with her is cordial and close, maybe you could talk to her. Where is the mother of the little boy?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2001 at 3:26PM
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Ok I see your point as a person just reading the part that I wrote. No we don't live together or have children, but are talking about marriage (Matt has firm beliefs about not living together until we are married because it takes away from the best part about being married). The whole issue with ME personally is the problems my boyfriend has with his mother and her making him feel guilty when she doesn't get to spend the entire weekend with her grandson ie. when Matt, my boyfriend wants to spend time with him, he confids in me on the situation and is very upsetting to him which is causing him resentment towards his mother. The whole thing about stepping up to the plate well my boyfriend did step up to the plate in the fact that his sons mother didn't even inform him of the child until after he was three months old and Matt was a sophmore in college and was completely thrown for a loop, he adjusted his life so he could be apart of Parkers life incuding forgiving Parkers mom for not being honest with him, basically she was wanting to have a baby but the guy whome she loved at the time wasn't able to have children so she used matt and then immediately got back and married to her ex. Thats what i ment about there are soo many issues to the story .. i basically was asking for advice on how to help Matt and his mother have a better relationship by helping her see that making matt feel guilty over Parker isn't going to help either one of them AND help Matt show her that she has to set guidelines for Parker so that it helps Matt and Parkers mom out in the long run. Matt has tried to talk to her about it and it goes in one ear and out the other. Matt asks my advice and its always so hard to give advice being that I don't want to step on any toes. I Love Matt and I love Parker very much and to be quite honest I really like spending time with Matts mom WHEN she isn't telling me what i should be telling matt to do and how to act with Parker (Matts a wonderful father) she really is a very sweet person going through a hard time and just needs some guidence to help her find another way to deal with her pain of abadonment when her husband (Matts dad) of 30 years just up and left, other than just Parker. I aggree that its wonderful that Parker and her have such a good relationship it's just the other issues that add to the whole problem. I am very aware of the way 3 year olds are I have siblings, nieces and have spent more time than you could imagine volunteering for programs with children, have taken MANY child guidence and development classes for my degree in early childhood education. But beleive me there is a problem with the whole situation. Anyway thanks for your reply.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2001 at 3:28PM
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Maybe it's time for the Father to put a little distance between the Grandmother and child. Sounds like they could use a little bonding time away from Grandma. Grandparents are great, but not a substitute for a Parents' love. This dad needs to be a parent and do what's best for his son, even if that means stepping on his mother's toes. As parents, we all have to do that sometimes. It isn't easy, but hopefully the grandmother will realize that the boy needs more people in his life than her. A little advice maybe for you is that these problems don't go away once you two are married. It is true that you marry the WHOLE family. Just think about it long and hard before you make the commitment. She may be a real stinker of a MIL. Try to work out the problems BEFORE the alter. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2001 at 12:34AM
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I don't know if this would work, but perhaps one of you could get the grandma involved in other things--going out with other people, even going out with one of you (without Parker) doing shopping or something. That way it would get her out of the house and around adults. Maybe she could get interested in a new hobby.

Also, I agree with Paula, I think your boyfriend needs to get some distance between her and her grandson. Just for a while. It's not going to do Parker any good having a grandma who dotes on him way too much. Everyone here is right, 3 year olds are demanding, but they need boundaries, not everything that grandma wants to give him. It may upset her when Matt does this, but HE needs to do it. If you try to, I'd say it would make things worse.

Hope this helps and I hope the situation clears up a little.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2001 at 10:51AM
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I agree with the distance thing. I think the grandmother kind of needed someone or something to busy herself so she took it upon herself to take care of the grandson. The truth is that your boyfriend was quite capable of being a father when the baby came. Gosh, I was 19 and my fiance'e 22 when our son was born and we've raised him on our own and he's fine (he'll be 3 in April). Now the grandmother kind of feels that the grandson is her own child instead of grandchild. She has no right to make your boyfriend feel bad because he's spending quality time with his son. She should be happy that she raised her son to be a responsible parent. He's just going to have to put his foot down and distance himself for a bit. It will be hard but I think it's the only way she'll get over this.

When our son was born, we stayed with my Mom for about 2 weeks. During that time, she took it upon herself to do everything. It drove me crazy. I got to the point where I just told her that he's my son and I have to raise him for the rest of his life and she won't be there all the time to help so I have to do it. When we moved into our apartment she called and went on a tirade because I said we had plans and she couldn't come pick him up and take him to her house. She said I was an unfit mother and I had no right to take her grandbaby from her! It was two days since she'd seen him and the last I checked the parents had a right to spend time with their baby without having a grandmother ticked and throwing fits. She whined a lot about not seeing him all the time and stuff like that and then we got closer again and she accepted he was our son and not hers. Now she really doesn't see him much and that's her choice. She works and when she's off, she would rather do other things than have him up to stay like she always said she would do with him. That's not my fault.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2001 at 1:47PM
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One of the hardest things a grandparent has to face is, your grandchild isn't YOUR child. When they are tiny, and you are providing a mother's care, as Matt's mom did with Parker, the problem is only worsened. As Matt's girlfriend, you need to learn to listen but "stay out of it." It's between Matt and his mother. He's the one who has to find the courage to set limits. You have taken on the responsibility of one day being the child's stepMom. But until the two of you are married, you shouldn't try to be much more than a nice lady who's friends with Dad. You'll save yourself a lot of grief down the road if you can assume that position.

Here is a link that might be useful: Welcome to Gram's Pantry

    Bookmark   December 31, 2001 at 10:14AM
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