My parents and I have been estranged for 8 years now. The reasons for this were when my first daughter was born they both verbally said that they were not going to help us at all, number 2 when she was baptized I chose my brother as the god father and he decided that a vacation was more important and my parents backed him up, then lastly when they helped him out with his new girlfriend by letting them live with them and hiding it from me when I confronted them on the issue my father proceeded to yell at me then tell me my wife was a bi#$ ch anyways. So at this point I hung up on him and haven’t seen or spoken to them ( my parents and my brother) in 8 years.since my kids are older now 10 and 11 respectively they have asked why they never see they’re grandparents? I also forgot to mention that I have a good relationship with my sister who has 3 children of her own and they see my parents on a very regular basis, since my parents help her out immensely with them that when we get together her kids talk about my parents and all the things they do for them. What do I do?? I’m still so very angry but don’t want to hurt my children in any way and if they want to see my parents then I’ll bite the bullet sort of sspeaking help:((
Claudio this seems very sad.
Your parents aren’t actually obliged to help with your children.
One hopes they would wish to and it was tactless if also honest that they indicated that you and your wife should stand on your own feet.
However it isn’t an automatic right that your parents should help.
Although you were understandably hurt by your parents honest declaration you may also have over-reacted.And you have allowed this anger and harm to go on and on for years. May God give the conversion of hearts and minds that is needed in you and in your family.
It can be scary as well as exciting when one’s children have their first child.
I was excited and I was nervous, as it appears your parents may have been .
I wasn’t sure I had the energy to help. There had been twenty years of child rearing. I wasn’t sure I could handle a lot of involvement for the next twenty.
I was tired, very tired. I worried about how much help would be needed, but I did have the tact to keep those worries to myself!
However my grandchildren needed more than usual help, right from the beginning, and as it happens I gladly gave it. My grandchildren mean so much to me and my adult child, who became custodial parent, could not have done it alone. If you had given your parents a little time instead of turning against them, they would most likely have become helpful grandparents, just as with your sister’s children. Even if they hadn’t, it’s not an automatic right to expect them to help with raising your child.
I lived in the same town as my parents in law and in all the years they only minded my children twice.
I had no right to expect that they should.
They didn’t draw a line in the sand with a specific statement, but they gave no help nonetheless.
Your father may partly blame your wife for the alienation. No he shouldn’t verbally abuse her, but there appears to be a lot of hurt and resentment on both sides, and when people are hurt they aren’t always at their best.
It wasn’t really your place to attack your father for helping your brother, and not surprising that your parents hid that from you as they know how angrily you would react.
If you could have accepted your parents initial statement about not helping, because they were new to grand-parenthood and may have had enough for the present of children rearing…parents do get tired. They possibly had seen other families where the adult children relied too much on their parents, which often occurs, and your parents wanted to make sure that wouldn’t happen. You can be sure, I believe, that after a while this would have balanced out and they would sometimes have helped anyway. You (and your wife) just responded with anger and cut your parents off completely, which wasn’t very charitable or christian. I don’t know how tactlessly your parents spoke, but you didn’t give them a chance to succumb later to their natural grandparent instincts.
You therefore punished your parents and your children.
You seem to see yourself as the victim, yet it is partly your fault that there is alienation.
Perhaps communication wasn’t a skill in your family and yet it was badly needed.
Now you even have abandoned your brother because you are hurt he had your parents aid.
For your own health and peace, hopefully you will begin to see things in a light that will help to bring reconciliation and forgiveness. I know there is now a long history of anger, hurt, and resentment on both sides, your self (and your wife?) and on the other, your parents and brother.
Whether the wounds are too deep, and much time, compassion, communication, can help bring about reconciliation…I certainly hope and pray that it will be possible.
God bless you and your family.
Yes, it does sound like overreaction on the OP’s part. Obviously his parents could have handled this better, but the only major offense was calling the OP’s wife a name, and that happened after the relationship had taken a turn for the worse. And as a previous poster mentioned, your parents may blame your wife for alienating you from them.
I don’t know that my parents have ever babysat my kids for any longer period than a bathroom visit on my part. They are perfectly nice people, it’s just that they don’t see it as their role to do much with their grandkids.
Talk to a counselor and a priest about whether and how to reestablish a relationship with your parents.
Ty so much for the replies. My parents have babysat my niece and nephews from the beginning, they seem to offer their help to both my sister and brother but not to me or my family. We did it all on our own and now after all these years they seem to be sorry for what happened. I love both my kids unconditional lyrics and would never let this happen in our relationship. I communicate openly with them at all times and treat them equally. My mother and father have a history of doing this to family like my mother’s own sister and my father’s 3 brothers. I have a very close relationship with my aunt as well and she support s me and my family at any cost as I do hers.
My issue is how do I introduce my kids to there estranged grandparents? You are all right on believe in I have a lot of built up anger cause I do. I expected to be treated equally but was not.
I think you should definately extend an olive branch here. Eight years is an aweful lot to not talk to a family member. WIthout the kids around you should talk to your parents. You should take care not to rehash the past or that you are hurt. Everyone is hurt. This should focus on moving forward.
The first time someone can not be civil to my children or my wife I would stop contact again. You have to be especially careful that the children to not get hurt as well.
Before you introduce your kids to their grandparents, YOU need to establish a relationship with them. You want to be sure these are people you want your kids around.
Maybe you could meet them for coffee or something and just have a nice visit catching up. Meet with them a few more times. See how it goes. Make sure they are willing to be respectful of your wife.
I hope it goes well for you.
As I say to my kids (and I’m sure you do to yours) “fair doesn’t mean equal.” People (children and adults) need different things at different times. One adult child might need financial help, another might need occasional babysitting.
I am very close to my family and I know that my mother has given my sisters and I varying degrees of help. And as she has grown older, we have all helped her in different ways and at different levels. I am sure the same is true in most families.
You don’t mention how much help you receive from your wife’s family,but do say an aunt has helped you out. So it seems like objectively you;ve received the help you need. Your parents just have been unwilling or unable to give you that help.
My advice would be to reach out to your parents. As others have said, not with your whole family, but first just to repair your own relationship with them. Be contrite about ways you have hurt them, but don’t demand apologies or ammends for how they have hurt you. See what develops.
If things go well and they are readfy to repair the relationship, then invite them out to dinner with just your wife. Make sure she is ready for this also, and will behave graciously. Then finally (and this may take some time) have them meet their grandchildren (I assume they’ve never met your younger children?)
Again, don’t excpect them to come in with years of missing gifts and treat your children as favored grandchildren. Ask your children to be respectful and polite and not ask for treats or whine. They are old enough to behave well and show your parents what they have missed.
We are told to heap kindness on our enemies heads. Even though your parents are not enemies, but ordinary people with short-comings like all of us, it is still good advice. If you enter this situation with a chip on your shoulder, it will not be resolved well. If you simply want a relationship with your children’s grandparents for their sake, than you should put past hurts behind you and be as gracisou as possible. You will probably never be as close to them as your brother or sister, but you can have a reasonable family bond with them nonetheless.
“I think you should definately extend an olive branch here. Eight years is an aweful lot to not talk to a family member. WIthout the kids around you should talk to your parents. You should take care not to rehash the past or that you are hurt. Everyone is hurt. This should focus on moving forward.”
The first time someone can not be civil to my children or my wife I would stop contact again. You have to be especially careful that the children to not get hurt as well.”
"Before you introduce your kids to their grandparents, YOU need to establish a relationship with them. You want to be sure these are people you want your kids around.
“Maybe you could meet them for coffee or something and just have a nice visit catching up. Meet with them a few more times. See how it goes. Make sure they are willing to be respectful of your wife.”
Yes to that, too!
To the OP–I think you need to relax your ideas about fairness. We treat different people differently because they’re different, and that’s OK, within certain parameters. With my little kids, for instance, they each have a different bedtime, and that’s fair. They eat different quantities and types of food, and that’s fair, too. Even with adult relatives, we don’t have to treat every single relative identically. Just because I’ve taken Aunt Jackie to lunch doesn’t mean that I am obligated to take Aunt Suzie out to the same place. Also, bear in mind that it is normal for an adult man to have a different relationship with parents than an adult woman does. So, it isn’t that weird that your parents would be closer to their daughter and their daughter’s children than their son and their son’s children. Your wife’s relationship with your parents affects their relationship with you and your kids.
Don’t expect, even under the best of circumstances, to be treated identically like your siblings by your parents. You aren’t identical widgets.
My wife’s parents and sisters are angels to us as we are to them.we all lend a hand no matter what it is all we have to do is ask each other for help. Weather it be baby sitting, gardening, home reno’s, or just a talk session…we are there for each other.
Well 2 out of four ain’t bad. It is more than I have.
I am so sorry to hear that. Thanks for your support:))
Boundaries are important, going both ways, your not overstepping your boundaries with them, and their not overstepping their boundaries with you.
Your father was overstepping his bounds when he called your wife a name. Name calling, yelling, is not acceptable. You would need to outline, at the outset, that you would both need to respect eachother. If you reestablished a relationship, you would need to say that you would listen to him, but that he’d need to stop yelling at you (or name calling).
If you father started yelling at you again, which he could, if he’s in that habit, you’d need to draw a line right then and there, saying he can express the issues but needs to lower his voice and respect you.
As to asking for help, it’s disappointing, but they actually have that right. It’s okay to ask for their help but not to actually expect it. They’re not obligated to help.
As to the accusation that your wife is a .b…, that wasn’t handled at all well. However, is there any truth to it? Is she somehow behaving poorly with you, or your father?
Since your father feels this way, if you want to reestablish ties, why not limit it to very short periods for starters, just you, not your wife or anybody else for the time being.
Are there any topics which cause fights? In my family, it was politics and religion. So, my sister acted as a mediator, arranged that we would not bring up these two subjects. When it got brought up, anyway, she’d gently remind people that we had already agreed not to bring up these topics.
I’d encourage you to speak to a counselor to help you set up good boundaries and keep them.
Sometimes, I’ve found it even helpful to meet in neutral places. When I am in someone else’s territory, their house, they have the right to “call the shots”. I prefer neutral places when there’s problems, a restaurant, etc.
Keep visits very short if you do go. Gradually increase with time if you are able. If you see there’s tension, go back to shorter visits, less often.
I have difficulties with my family, and I do brief visits only over Skype! Yeah, really. I also have a friend of mine I keep in contact with over e-mail. When we see eachother, though, we fight!
So, there are all kinds of ways to work on this. Skype would probably be the best way, briefly. based on my own personal experience. You get the best of visits without all the drawbacks. You can make an excuse to stop the call anytime.
If someone’s not good with a computer, the password can be eliminated, and it can be programmed to answer the call, automatically.
Those are some exampes of answers, but a counselor could probably help you come up with even more ways.
When I’ve visited with family, and the relationship has been strained, I’ve tried even harder to have really good boundaries.
For example…I remember flying out, staying at a hotel, renting a car, having a truce not to talk about x, y, and z, limiting time actually together, and having a “Plan B” in case all that still didn’t work out.
We’d have a truce to agree to disagree on certain issues. My brother would say, if these issues were raised, that they would rather talk about something else, because he wanted everybody to enjoy themselves and have a nice visit.
All these preparations generally helped.
I also agree you would need to establish the relationship before introducing other people.
Unlike others here I do believe that you had a right to expect equal treatment unless of course in years gone by you caused some alienation. If you broke your parent’s hearts or if your wife did then I the biggest thing here is that your wife was called a name. There is a person who married into our family whom we refer to as a snake but not to her or her husband.
To expect to be treated equally. Let that go. Seriously.
Bitterness, resentment, jealousy, and unforgiveness are things to be brought to confession, and as often as needs be.
Receive kindly what they wish to give you, even though you think it’s very little when they are generous to other family members. Be gracious. You may have disappointed others, not been generous to others. We all fall short of the mark.
I remember a Christmas some time back when all of us adult kids were grown and married. My side of the family would draw names and there was a limit on the spending. My dad, who was a generous man, didn’t care much about the limit if he knew he could spend a bit more and give the person something special. One year he got my brother, and he went over the limit, and the next year my brother’s wife got a lovely gift. On the third year he drew my husband’s name, and he got a lovely gift, again, a bit over the limit. My sis-in-law blew up. She got very angry that dad spent more on a gift for my husband, although the 2 years before they enjoyed lovely gifts. She went on how it wasn’t fair, that dad ruined Christmas. It’s like she forgot the last couple of years when they enjoyed something special. If I asked her today, she would feel like she was totally in the ‘right’ and he deserved to be yelled at. She really made that Christmas day sour by her jealousy, and you could say she was old enough to know better, but I guess not. My point in all this is to give you an outside example of how resentment, jealousy, etc, poisons relationships. Be kind, be gracious. If you can’t, keep your mouth shut and deal with it as your own sin to be wrestled with. Family members are free to be in your life, or not. If you can’t be friends with them, they won’t be in your life. The Lord says, bless and do not curse them.
If someone calls you a name, big deal. It’s more important to reflect, in quiet time, if what they said is true, because you will come before God and give an account for your life. It’s your chance for self reflection. If they are off the wall, it’s their problem before God. If there is some truth there, be humble and honest, and deal with it. There are people who have to live with you every day that may be thinking the same thing and not saying so. We have the sacraments to grow in holiness and to leave behind our sinful nature. As we wrestle with these things, we can help our children to do better than we did. A grace I wish for all of us.
I agree with this. Reach out to your parents, but get them on a good footing with you and then with your wife before introducing the children. You can’t have your kids around someone who will ever call your wife names like that again, not unless there are immediate apologies for doing something so rash and hurtful.