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  1. #1

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    Question regarding grandkids

    My oldest sister, who is twelve years older than I am, became a grandmother for the first time, over a year ago. I swear, this has brought out something in her that has made the whole family miserable. (By the way, my sister has always seemed to be a reasonable and stable person--until now.)

    Of course, we all love the new baby, but my sister's love for her grandchild has gotten way out of control. For one, she's horribly jealous of the other grandmother. Also, my sister goes ballistic if she doesn't see the baby for even four or five days. She spent months talking about how she was going to have Christmas Eve "for the baby," putting up hundreds of dollars of decorations (she told her daughter nothing about these plans). Well, my niece (her daughter) ended up not coming to her house for Christmas Eve, because the baby was crying so much at home she dared not take him out. My sister went crazy over this, and basically ruined everyone's Christmas because of it, bitching and sulking about it for days. Didn't matter that she got to spend all of Christmas Day with daughter and baby, there was no pleasing her.

    My sister has said that her life is crap, but that the new grandchild is "the one bright spot that makes living worthwhile." The fact is, she has a good marriage, a good job, loyal friends and a beautiful home. 80% of conversations with her are about the baby. Now she's convinced that her son-in-law is trying to keep her from seeing the baby (he isn't), and she's constantly saying, "I have a right to see my own grandson!"

    Obviously, she has issues! But I have two questions.

    1) Does she have a right to see her grandson? I mean, she's not his mother. She already sees him a minimum of once a week, sometimes more--we all live in the same area. It's not as if she needs visitation rights...

    2) Have any of you dealt with anyone like this? I love my sister, but she's become such a mess over this, and she's become a total drag to be around. Frankly, I don't know why she even has a problem, but she obviously has a big one, that should be dealt with through psychiatric care (although I know she would never go).

    Thanks in advance for any insights.

  2. #2

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    I don't think she has any rights to her grandchild, not legally.

    It just sounds like she is a proud grandmother who has gone a little, or a lot, over the edge. It happens! Maybe it will wear off as the child gets older or if other grandchildren come into the picture?
    -Brian
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  3. #3
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    Ah, Grannie Lust!

    Obviously something is missing from her life for her to have such a rabid desire to be with her grandchild.
    Without fear you cannot find courage

  4. #4

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    I knew a family once were there was lots of competition over the first grandson/nephew, who could outspend who on Christmas presents, whose outfit the kid would wear first, etc. But then again I would have to say the whole family struggled in the intellectual department and they were at least all of the same mind about it so it "worked" for them.

    Your sister is obviously not in that category. This is going to eat her up and poison her family relationships forever is she doesn't see the light. Could it really make things any worse for you in the long run if you bluntly tell her that? She is going to lose all of you - sounds like she is starting to lose your respect and can only be alienating her daughter and eventually grandchild too. Someone needs to try to make her see sense.

    Okay that is definitely a lot easier for me to say than for you to do, but please think about it seriously for everyone's sake. Are there other members of the family you can enlist for an intervention? This should be a happy time for everyone and it makes me so sad to hear.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MOIJTO View Post
    Obviously something is missing from her life for her to have such a rabid desire to be with her grandchild.

    Agree.

    Edit, oh never mind. The story is too long. Deep deep crazy family issues in the dark recesses of my cousins, there are.
    Last edited by arena_gal; 05-12-2010 at 04:47 PM.

  6. #6
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    You know what? Leave her alone. It will settle as the kid gets older or gets siblings and cousins. And at least she wants to love her grandchild. My cousin's wife is still heartbroken over her mother refusing to come and see them when their daughter was born. She even said no when they offered to pay her expenses (and she didn't work, so it wasn't a time off issue--she simply had no desire to see her new grandchild). The little girl is nearly 8, and barely has a relationship with this grandmother who didn't see her until she was 2 1/2 and didn't care then.

    And who has to stay home because a baby is crying? That's what they do. Part of me doesn't blame grandma for being upset at that excuse. If baby wasn't sick and just fussing or crying...you go because it's Christmas eve. And if you need to go home early or take the baby into another room, you do that. We've had many a crying baby at family events and no one ever got bent out of shape or felt they had to stay home.

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    How about an adult conversation that starts like this "I know you're really happy to finally have a grandchild to fuss over. Unfortunately, everyone else feels the same. There's only so much of the little guy to go around. Can we talk about a way to manage visits so that everyone can see him regularly?"
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    And who has to stay home because a baby is crying?
    That's the parents' call, and they made it. Some parents find it extremely stressful to have to pack up a baby to go out for a social event when the baby is fussing a lot. The parents are there to care for the baby, and if they believe staying home is in the baby's best interests, that decision should be respected.

    I think MOIJTO had it right--if the baby is the only good thing grandma has going on, then there is some real lack of fulfillment in her life. Her marriage may not be as good as it appears, and she may be not happy at work either. If she says the baby is the only bright spot in her life, I think skateboy could ask why? What is happening in her life that she takes no joy in anything?

  9. #9
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    If my sister were acting like that, I would tell her "you're being a crazy B*$CH!" But that's just the way I handle things

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    And who has to stay home because a baby is crying? That's what they do. Part of me doesn't blame grandma for being upset at that excuse. If baby wasn't sick and just fussing or crying...you go because it's Christmas eve. And if you need to go home early or take the baby into another room, you do that. We've had many a crying baby at family events and no one ever got bent out of shape or felt they had to stay home.
    She never told her daughter that she had spent lots of money on decorations and that she was planning this as a big event for the baby. I can't stand a crying baby. I say the mother has good manners.

  11. #11

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    I think the mother thought she was doing a nice thing by keeping the crying baby at home. If she had known how much trouble the grandmother had gone through, and how much money had been spent, perhaps she wouldn't have canceled. As it is, they spent Christmas day together so what's the big deal? So they saw your hard work 12 hours later than planned, not a big problem!!
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

  12. #12
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    So, your sister spent alot of money on decorations for the BABY? He doesn't know or care about that right now!

  13. #13
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    Just a thought . . . . has menopause hit big time perhaps?

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    I have a friend whose family had a similar happening. first grand child was treated like a little princess by the paternal grandparents and Aunt, always wanting to be with her, stopping by unannounced to see her, etc. Major presents at her first Christmas and birthday.

    Baby's father finally had to sit his family down and say "No more" to the unannounced visits, over the top presents, etc. It caused some hard feelings but eventually everyone worked things out.

    So unless your sister gets a sit down from her daughter, I don't see things changing.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigB08822 View Post
    I don't think she has any rights to her grandchild, not legally.
    Assuming that Skateboy is in the US, the Supreme Court struck down automatic "grandparents' rights" in 2000 with Troxel v. Granville. It's now very difficult in most states for a grandparent to argue for visitation "rights", especially if the biological parents are living, still married to each other, and if the child never lived with the grandparent in question.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patsy View Post
    Just a thought . . . . has menopause hit big time perhaps?
    I second that emotion...

    that said, it sounds like boundaries are an issue in this family and a new baby has manifested that fact. Dr. Henry Cloud has a great book on that subject.
    "awwww....shades of Janet Lynn" - Dick Button on anyone who makes more than one mistake in their program.

  17. #17
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    I suspect that there are a lot of things happening here. Menopause might be one of them.

    As a new grandma myself, it is really, really hard not to overspend or overdo. Grandparents are excited about the new baby. But grandparents also have to remember that the baby is not yours, but is your child's baby.

    I have had to step back and not overpower the new parents. even tonight (we were all together), I realize that I am trying to parent. This makes the parents feel like I don't think they are doing a good job.

    So I would guess, the son-in-law is helping his wife take a stand by saying enough. His wife might not be able to stand up to mom.

    Unfortunately, your sister doesn't realize that she will be pushing them away by trying to control the situation. I am not sure that she will be able to see that.

  18. #18

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    Thank you so much everyone, for your insights. You all came up with some very important truths, and I appreciate it.

    Daughter (my niece) won't stand up to mom (my sister), and in fact, the whole family kind of tiptoes around her, as she's a strong personality and very opinionated. I do know that my niece has been miserable over this whole thing, which is rough. But I'll keep my eye on the situation and if things don't improve (or get worse), I've decided that I'm talking to my sister because I think someone has to. (Wish me luck...)

  19. #19

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    Oh this is a tough one.

    For new parents having a baby is stressful enough. There needs to be consideration given to how much space they need to adjust and when is the right time for people to be calling in, visiting and helping out. Something my family actually has been considerate of when either of my sisters have had their kids. My mum is pretty good in that regard. However my youngest sister's mother in law is another case.

    I definately think your sister has got the whole thing out of perspective and there is a real lack of balance. A new baby is exciting, but when it comes to point of obsession, that really isn't right. And if it is stressing out her daughter that is not good.

    I think you are doing the right thing by trying to talk to your sister. I wish you luck. You are a good uncle.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  20. #20

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    Thank you.

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