Sunday, January 29, 2006

Don't Call Me Grandma

Does anyone want to stay with the kids anymore? In this Newsweek article, there is mention that 40% of boys are being raised without their father. Now, this MSN article says that not only do grandmothers not want to be called Grandma but they are making their grandkids pencil in appointments to see them! The father issue is very important and one that needs to be addressed. But, in addition to fathers being absent, it seems that no one in the extended family wants to hang out with kids anymore--including grandmothers:

Look, I'd love to nip over and whisper secrets into 1-month-old Maggie's ears, or to dress 2-year-old Ryan in the black leather jacket I bought her recently and take her to look for late blackberries in Golden Gate Park on my bike (with its deluxe new kid seat). But I have a job. I'm a reporter, I have two books to write, a husband who wants to go to France, and I just bought an investment property in Portland, Oregon. I love my grandchildren, but being a grandmother got added to my to-do list.


Wow, this woman puts her grandkids in the same category as buying an investment property in Oregon. It's no wonder that kids don't know how to deal with simple human relationships. Here is another grandmother from the same MSN article discussing her feelings about her grandkids, "I love those little kids and I do want to have a relationship with them," she said. "But I'm not willing to give up my writing or my traveling. I'll be the best grandmother I can from a distance."

Yep, better not get to close to the grandkids--they might actually want to see you. As extended families become less influential in children's lives, I can't help but think this must affect their ability to learn about the closeness of human interactions. Perhaps the only lesson they take away is that they are just one more chore added to a too-do list and even there, they come up short. Add to this the guilt parents feel about not spending enough time with kids themselves and the never ending material goods being lavished on the little darlings and it's no wonder kids can be confused and unclear about the importance of human interactions. Extended family also gives kids examples of how other people behave outside of the daycare, school or their immediate family. Grandparents don't have to go overboard but perhaps not adding the grandkids to the to-do list but rather to the I-would-love-to see-them list would be a start.

Update: Just for the record, for my extended family, particularly the grandparents--please disregard the above--all of you are terrific grandparents who are generous with your time and love for your grandkids, despite your busy schedules.

106 Comments:

Anonymous Boudica said...

Ah, the 60's boomer generation. Don't they make you so proud.

10:05 AM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger AmericanWoman said...

I can see both sides. Until recently, women had little life outside the home. Grandchildren were welcome to take up the time that these women had on their hands now that their own kids were gone. Women today have careers and many outside interests. I'm not saying they shouldn't make time for the grandkids, but there should not be an obligation to do so. How about Grandma being a role model as an active senior and professional woman? Isn't that valuable as well?

11:06 AM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder how much time those grandchildren will have for her when she's old, alone, and sick.

I believe that we are able to MAKE time for those things (and people) that are important to us.

My family has responsibility for my elderly mother-in-law who suffers from Parkinson's with dementia. We set aside many things that we enjoy doing to care for her. I won't go so far as to say that we always do it uncomplainingly, it's darned hard and we give up a lot. She's sick, cranky, lives in her own reality (i.e. a lot of what she says isn't the truth), and is completely self-centered. But that's the disease. I'm always mindful of the example we're setting for our children because I believe that we do reap what we sow.

How sad for children whose grandparents don't have even the excuse of organic brain disease.

11:32 AM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Americanwoman,

Yes, I can also see both sides--I can understand someone wanting to have their own life--and being a role model for an active life is a good thing for a child to see. But can't the kids be seen as important also? I guess it is the tone that the grandmothers have--e.g. "I must distance myself or the kids need to make an appointment lest they make me feel guilty for not seeing them." It is all about the grandmother's needs and nothing about the grandkids. These thoughts and feelings--even if not spoken--are often apparent to the kids who only know that grandma is not available--she is too busy. What kind of modeling is that? Can there be a balance where the kids are told they are important to her also? What about a set day a week for a few hours to show the kid they are important but the rest of the time the grandparents do their own thing? What is the child learning about spending time with grandma in her later years in the nursing home etc.? How will she feel when little Johnny and Nancy--now grown--are too busy to bother to visit? What example has she set?

11:32 AM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anjali said...

I didn't grow up around family. It's just two cousins, my parents, my brother, and me here in the US. Everyone else is back in India.

I don't think I'm particularly worse off for it.

11:35 AM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anjali, I grew up in an Army family. We saw grandparents maybe a week out of every three years, but got letters, birthday cards, and telephone calls. I think we turned out fairly well balanced as well.

We had the comfort of knowing, however, that it was physical circumstances that kept them from spending time with us. We knew that we were still in their hearts. It's an entirely different thing, however, when the grandparents just aren't intererested enough.

11:41 AM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anjali said...

That's a good point. I guess it depends on how good these grandparents are at making the grandchildren feel valued whenever they can squeeze them in.

11:44 AM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Vexare said...

I saw the article referenced when I first logged on today and it beaked me as well. A classic case of the 'me' generation growing into the 'still me' generation. If they had done their jobs properly in the first place, they would have the freedom without guilt.

I told my kids when they were growing up (still do), the same thing my Dad told me: There were only three 'most important' things they might ever do in their life, and one of them was raising their children to be healthy, independent, happy, and productive members of society. The rationale behind this is even there is a chance of doing you something positive in your life and the world, that chance is multiplied many tmes over by ensuring your children, and hopefully their children, are set up to do the same. My Grandfather, my Father, and now I have been what most would call very successful financially towards the end of our careers. But we each left home with little more than the clothes on our back and the years of preparation good parenting provides.
The challenges these days for families are surely no harder and possibly not easier, but they are certainly different. My rule of thumb for this generation has been nobody has to leave home until they can stand on their own two feet well enough that they never have to come back or that they don't NEED daily help. If the G-mother in the article had done a little better job of parenting, she might have a much easier job grandparenting

12:05 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Cathy said...

My parents both worked when I was a child and they still do now. However, we knew then just as my children do now, that family is more important than work. My parents are very involved in their grandchildren's lives. They even have Friday night reserved for time alone with my special needs child. I wouldn't want the "my life" lifestyle of the women in the article, but that is what works for them. If they couldn't make the choice they have made, they would be unhappy and feel unfulfilled. What's important is that everyone is happy and healthy. Forcing someone to live in a way that they don't like would not be good for anyone.

12:17 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

What an interesting article and I especially benefited from reading your perspective, Dr. Helen.

How can these grandmothers be so selfish with their own children, let alone their grandchildren? I especially disliked how one grandmother was upset for being made to feel guilty. She wants things done her way and on her terms - in other words, she wants the world to revolve around her - but she doesn't want the consequences. Everyone should still love her and tell her how wonderful she is. It's a PC version of grandmotherly self-esteem, baby boomer-style.

I take back everything I ever believed about women's strong maternal instincts when it comes to some of the baby boomer generation.

12:20 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger gs said...

Adair Lara, the hip G-Mother author of the MSN article, is not willing to pass on to a subsequent generation the nurturing she received from a previous generation. Well...times change...and it's appropriate to establish personal boundaries. But Lara mocks that previous generation: ""Grandma" is my mother's mother, with her white braid wrapped around her head, smelling of Black Jack gum as she knitted our Christmas sweaters, one blue arm growing out of her purse as if she had somebody in there." In trying to justify her own grandparenting, she speaks disrespectfully of her own grandmother, and in a 'look-at-me-I'm-so-clever' way. Tacky.

I'm with Bodica. Another boomer breakthrough: the sophomore grandparent.

1:33 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have two older sisters who have a lot of problems (divorce, financial, etc.), and my parents spend a lot of time with the sisters' children. Those grandkids get to stay with granma & grandpa on a regular basis, get taken on trips, enrolled in fun summer camps, etc. My kids are lucky to see their grandparents 3 times a year (we live 20 minutes away from them).

I don't think it is because my parents dislike us or our kids, I think after dealing with my sisters, their kids, and all their problems, my parents are just worn out. The squeaky wheels get the grease, the non-squeaky wheels get ignored.

Either in our case, or in the case of the author of that article, it is not that the grandkids will suffer any particular harm, it is just sad that the grandparents are losing that opportunity to be a part of these kids' lives. Little kids who would love to spend the night at nanna's house very quickly become teenagers or adults with other priorities. Just a bit sad.

2:12 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very intersting article and important ideas to reflect on! I remember when my grandmother died when I was 21 years old. I had 3 roommates at the time, and they couldn't believe how upset I was about it. Obviously, they did not have close relations with their grandparents, and I wondered why. I thought it was there choice, but perhaps it was their grandparents' choice.

We do live in a narcisistic age and many people have children (and grandchildren) as accessories. Something to be proud of like a nice purse while deep relations are secondary. For these grandma's, traveling comes first, and they can still pull out the beautiful pictures of their grandkids to show their friends and feel status. Shallow relations are acceptable. It is no wonder that so many women are aborting 4 month old fetuses with possible defects. These kids aren't so chic to own. I live in the east coast (very narcisistic here!), and when it comes to family values, I honestly look towards the midwest.

"Allicent"

3:37 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My parents begged me to maximize their facetime with their grandchildren.

If I live long enough, I fully expect to beg my children for facetime with their kids.

I honestly pity folks related to people who put "investment property in Oregon" before their own flesh-and-blood.

3:41 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Vicki said...

In my volunteer work, I've learned that children of poverty learn this lesson very early: "You aren't important; you just don't matter. Things will never be any different, and there's nothing you can do about it."

While most kids in our culture have many advantages that children in developing areas of the world don't have, I think too much of that horrible message is being transmitted, anyway, across socioeconomic lines. Parents, and now, some grandparents, don't want the inconvenience that children bring.

Granted, grandparents have, presumably, done their job and deserve a break. But grandparenthood used to be seen as that time to enjoy the grandchildren without so much of the immediate responsibilities. You know, enjoy them and send them home?

Of course, there are those grandparents who have stepped up to the plate to raise their grandchild(ren) in place of deceased, imprisoned or otherwise unavailable parents. My hat's off to 'em.

3:42 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous denise said...

I am a 'boomer' and there is nothing more important to me than my husband, children and granddaughter. I love spending time with my precious 2 1/2 year old. I wouldn't trade a minute of our time together. I see her nearly every day. Their family moved away for a short time and I was very sad not to be able to be a 'day to day' Grandma. I was the happiest one around when they returned. There is a joy in grandchildren that all the famous people, places, ideas and activities can't match.

3:48 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of mind from India couldn't understand how Americans in his view "neglect" their parents. I tried to explain to him that its hard to maintain an extended family when the kids are expected to leave home the day after their 18'th birthday. Kids see this coming because for the first 18 years of their life the kids hear about all the plans their parents make for when they are "free" of their kids.

4:01 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Kim said...

I am nearly 50 and STILL have a grandfather alive. You see, before I was born, there was a divorce and remarriage so I actually had SIX grandparents and thought I was the luckiest kid on the block.

How odd to see this now - I just blogged on how badly I better either HAVE a baby or GET a grandchild! LOL!

I'm afraid I'll spoil 'em.

I always grew up thinking I was the favorite of them all and found out my two sisters always felt the same way.

Best relationship in the world = grandparents

4:07 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of my grandparents died before I was born (I am the child of older parents who were the children of older parents).

However, because of that I was 'adopted' by all of my friends grandparents who were warm and loving to me even just as the friend of their grandchildren. Their warmth and kindnesses to me have helped make me who I am today... because they were willing to spend time with their grandchildren and their friends.

They made me love and appreciate history and the WWII generation. I am now an amateur historian in no small part because of the stories told by my friends grandparents.

Just when I think I can't get more disgusted with baby boomers something like this comes along.

4:25 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Brian said...

These people are a disgrace. My baby's grandparents see nearly her every single day! Her grandma works 2 jobs and still finds the time to love and care for not only my daughter, but her other 2 grandchildren as well. As a result, my daughter oftens prefers her grandmother over me, her Dad. And you know what, I wouldn't have it any other way. Thank God for my in-laws, who would sell their last possession and live in a tent if their grandchildren needed them to.

4:28 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you expect from a Boomer living in SF? San Francisco is anti-children. They look at "breeders" with contempt.

Who cares? These people didn't stay home to raise their own children, why should they do so as grandparents?

I think it teaches a good lesson: you don't owe anything but politeness to people whose values are utterly different than your own. Those who value families will form their own communities, and inthose communities, people will care for the elderly. The boomers don't want to be old, don't want to care for the young, and so no one is going to care for the boomers--that's why they want the state to raise taxes for them.

4:29 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous JABBER said...

Wow. This is a perfect article to illustrate the narcissism of our age.

Everyone has read those letters to Dear Abby from seniors in the nursing home that rail at their kids and grandkids who never come to see them. I'd bet good money that most of them had attitudes like the grandparents in that article. Relationships are like personal mail. If you like to get personal mail, you've got to send it. If you want to have a relationship, you've got to "put in the facetime" to get it. But that's too cynical. Yes, spending time with kids is frequently hard, but, good God, what kind of generation are we raising when we implicitly (and even explicitly, as in this article) tell them that they are low on our list of priorities?! It makes my skin crawl. No wonder kids today are so shallow and hedonistic; they're learning their (grand)parental lessons well.

4:32 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A sad article, but I've noticed that media articles skew towards or go out of their way to present examples that are laughably unrepresentative of the subject group (see the interview with the soldier/Iraq war critic in last Friday's USA Today for a glaring example). No doubt people who are selfish jerks remain selfish jerks when they become grandparents, but I would guess (and my observation has been) that most people do their best as grandparents and view grandchildren as more important than vacation home speculation.

I was also surprised at the asserion that "40% of boys grow up without a father". Is there data to back that up?

Re the investment property statement, as native of the SF area, I've noticed a lot of folks out here seem to think a 7 figure (or more) net worth solely due to real estate appreciation magically confers some sort of worldliness and sophistication - an attitude that pretty much oozes from the MSN article (paragraphs 5,6 and 7 in particular).

4:32 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Teresa said...

Lots of things come to mind on reading this. First of all - the people they chose are definitely of the "Me" generation. Of course if they had wanted to write a different type of article, they could have found people like Denise above who love being with their grandkids. There are all kinds in the world.

I grew up basically without grandparents. Both grandfathers had died well before I was born. One grandmother I only saw 2 or 3 times in my life because of distance. The other I saw on some holidays. On both sides there were so many grandkids - that I didn't really get too much attention from them. But, grandma was grandma and it didn't bother me.

I wonder if some of these grandparents are afraid of becoming a "kid drop". In other words - the parents taking every advantage of having free child care. Dropping the kids off without even asking if they had any plans for the day... that kind of thing. Because we all know there are parents who will do this too.

For instance, Grandma has plans to go out with her friends to maybe see a show. Then about an hour before she's ready to leave - mom shows up with grandkid and says - I'm off to shop with my friend Sally, I know you won't mind watching your grandkid... This happens often enough - it can annoy the most devoted grandma and grandpa. Because while you may love to spend time with the grandkids - to have them thrust at you with no consideration is a very bad thing. It sounds like the parents in that article have taken things a step too far in trying to avoid this.

4:46 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Jason said...

Some day that grandmother will be in a nursing home. When her too busy children and grandchildren don't visit her, hopefully she will find comfort in owning that investment property in Oregon.

4:47 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Julie B. said...

Ah yes, members of that most narcissistic of generations are now grandparents, and so vain that they can't tolerate a small child calling them Grandma. Deliver me.

Good to see their priorities haven't changed: when they were young, they cast off societal mores because they were too clever and important for them, when they were raising children they spawned the divorce culture, sacrificing their children's well-being for the own happiness and self-actualization, and now that they're grandparents, well -- their grandchildren are unfortunate reminders of their mortality, best dealt with by pretending to be much too busy and hip to be actual, you know, grandparents.

Americanwoman wrote, "How about Grandma being a role model as an active senior and professional woman? Isn't that valuable as well?"

Not to a child it's not valuable. All a child knows is if a person cares enough about them to be there for them.

5:01 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Lou Minatti said...

I think ya'll are being too kind. These women are pathetic beyond words. (I say "women" because the article doesn't discuss what the grandfathers are like, but I assume they are every bit as self-centered as the grandmothers.)

My sister and I were in the early wave of "latchkey" kids. As an added bonus our parents were divorced when we were young children. Our grandparents (and they were OLD grandparents for the time, in their mid-60s) were unfailinginly generous with my sister and I. They doted on us. Not necessarily money-wise, but with their time. As they became infirm, their grandkids were around to help them out, and it was never a chore for us. They were our grandparents and we loved them deeply.

These selfish Boomer grandparents will die lonely deaths, disconnected not only from their kids but their grandkids. They'll slowly rot in a nursing home with very infrequent visits from family. I hope they keep this in mind next time they go to Paris on a fun jaunt.

5:05 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

I'm not sure this is all that new, it just gets to be rationalized in public now. One of my grandmother's was devoted to us, the other was devoted to herself. But no one gave that latter grandmother an opportunity to write newspaper essays about how she had self-justified.

5:06 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

Way back when, our father of four left home when I was eight, and over forty years never spoke one word to us again. We had no grandparents to speak of... all dead on the maternal side, the only living one 3,000 miles away in California. We saw him exactly twice. Without explicitly suffering, this has affected my entire life and outlook. Forget finances... many an opportunity, never took up any of 'em. Can't think why.

BUT: Marrying late, at 42 to a cheerful, gentle soul fourteen years younger, I was bound and determined that this absence, this bereavement, this void, would not afflict our kids. Over twenty-five years now, we've stuck with it, and seem to have struck the proper balance with our three offspring: Available, but never hovering; never criticizing, but commenting as necessary; laughing all the time. Our beautiful daughter's majoring in biochemistry with a minor in French literature; the middle son's an Eagle Scout who sought Army ROTC on principle; the 14-year old is invariably cheerful, helpful, with a sense of humor that sees Big Dad for the bumbling oaf I've crafted for him.

We have had a good life, lived well. Laugh if you will, but solely from within, my major goal has been contributing to the happiness of others. Give-- give everything you have, find ways to give some more. Because the only things you keep are what you give away. Dunno what's set me off, but we have surfed these bleak, barren, modern breakers, seen 'em for what they are... important things don't change. Come to GIVING anyway you can, but living a selfish, materialist existence will get you nowhere.

As Churchill reminded Lady Astor, there are no negative virtues. The positive ones are simple and overflowing as ever. No child of mine will ever be able to say that Dad and Mom didn't know, didn't care, couldn't be found when crisis loomed. Most certainly, circumstances could have been vastly better. But now, as curtains begin to draw, I wake up sometimes thinking, "Wow! Maybe we've won through."

5:07 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous larry said...

I, a pre-boomer, born in '40 and my wife, born in '48, solidly a boomer, have full, permanent custody of four granddaughters, 16-years-old down to infant. All are precious to us. My wife went to court to take the older two away from her daughter three years before we married. She, naturally, resents the fact that she hasn't the life of her own she richly deserves, but she proudly slogs along, doing what is necessary out of love and sense of responsibility. I came into the marriage eyes wide-open. For my part, loving them all to pieces, moral and financial support, providing stable home and helping with things like homework are barely comparable to her sacrifice after a hard-scrabble life. I see a lot of G-P's taking G-Kids. If we are a minority, it's a considerable one. Thank you Vicki, 3:42 P. M., for the doff. We just keep hoping and praying their mother gets her stuff together, for her sake as well as her kids'.

PS: My parents' generation were close to all their family. My grandfathers were both deceased when I was born, but their legends were given me by all the rest. Both my grandmothers lived with us for years while I was growing up, mainly because Mom and Pop were in good position to take care of them, moreso Mom's Mom than Pop's, so she didn't live with us as long. I wouldn't trade those years for anything! Not without tne inherent problems, but much love more than compensated.

5:10 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Bezuhov said...

"Can there be a balance where the kids are told they are important to her also?"

The also is the problem. Drop that and you're there. It's that simple.

5:13 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger FOD said...

A classic case of the 'me' generation growing into the 'still me' generation

You hit the mark there.... at first I was upset at the selfishness displayed, but was comforted by the thought that maybe less time with such role models would not be a bad thing for the grandkids .

5:15 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger boinky said...

You have to make priorities...if you priority is self actualization, then this woman is the poster child...

5:29 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How about Grandma being a role model as an active senior and professional woman? Isn't that valuable as well?"



Ah, NO.

5:30 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Synova said...

My children have no relationship to speak of with their paternal grandparents. It used to bother me. Then I realized that I was spending way too much energy being upset about something I had no control over. My kids aren't losing out, their grandparents are losing out.

And what *will* happen when grandma and grandpa are old? When both sets of grandparents are beginning to need care... what are the kids going to do? Are they going to feel like they have a familial responsibility toward those old people who never visited or seemed interested? Will they remember the days and summers when their other grandparents were so happy to see them and even invited them to stay, who demonstrated the interest in knowing them?

These "grandmas" are clearly not thinking ahead to the day when they are too feeble to work, to ill to travel, and would like someone to be interested in *them*.

5:45 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a very successful female Manhattan corporate attorney, member of a larger top ten law firm. Of all my successes in life, my two children and now my grandson are by far the dearest to me. My husband and I (yes, I have managed to remain married to the same man for 40 years) love spending time with our little grandson and we are eagerly awaiting the birth of his brother in April.

Since our finances permit, we try once a year to take all our children and grandchildren on a vacation -- all expenses paid -- top of the line. Nothing but nothing could be better.

I adore my little grandson (he is turning four in two weeks) and he adores his grandma and grandpa (yes, that's what he calls us).

What a pity my fellow professionals have grown so sophisticated they have lost sight of the truly simple and priceless pleasures of life.

5:49 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger kathianne said...

Hi Dr. Helen, I conversed a bit with Glenn when he wrote about his grandmother not being well a while ago.

My children were very lucky, my parents always had time for them, then again, they had time for my brother and me many years ago. When divorce became a necessity, the kids and I ended up with my parents, a stabalizing force when I was falling apart.

After picking ourselves up again, my parents moved from Chicagoland to FL. The spring that my youngest was 'graduating' from 8th grade, they came to celebrate, just like they did for the others, not too mention 'state championships' and the like.

Well my mom fell and broke her hip. Rehabbed and had another serious stroke, then rehabbed and rebroke her hip. When hospice care became the only option, she and my dad moved in with me and the kids. She died two years ago and dad is still with me.

The youngest is now a sophomore in college, a resident assistant to help pay for school. He is more mature than most, which is why he 'lucked' into the position, when it's mostly given to jrs and srs. I'd like to take credit, but I think more goes to the 'empathy' he learned by helping my mom when no others were around, even with going to the bathroom. I was shocked when I found him doing that, the nurse had run for prescriptions.

Sure kids learn from the 'good times' but perhaps even more when the parents relationship with the grandparents, allows the children to observe the 'completion of the cycle of life.'

6:09 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Michael said...

There is no doubt young children will find difficulty dealing with traditional human interactions. Unfortunately, the world has changed. What was once a close knit family unit is now a disparate organization of loved ones. The economics of mobility necessitated it. But the latest generations are growing up with cell phones, email and self-published websites. What's to say this isn't the new paradigm for interaction with Grandma?

6:17 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Lou Minatti said...

Synova,
My children have no relationship to speak of with their paternal grandparents. It used to bother me. Then I realized that I was spending way too much energy being upset about something I had no control over. My kids aren't losing out, their grandparents are losing out.

Dittos for me. My dad has met his grandson (now 7) twice. He has never met his granddaughter, and she is 3 now. But he has a rich, fulfilling life. Summers at Lake Winnipesaukee on a nice boat, winters in Naples in a nice condo. It's a big expensive hassle to haul children halfway across the country on a plane to visit him, it's much easier for one adult to visit us.

I've hinted and mildly cajoled, but he always made excuses. Some of the excuses were downright absurd. Like you, I was very upset by this. It is inconceivable to me that someone is so disinterested about his grandchildren. So last year I quit being upset about it. My only contact with him now is the "grandma spam" we all receive from older relatives. Lame jokes that he forwards to me and the rest of the people on his AOL buddies list.

Do I sound bitter? I'd be lying if I wasn't, but I think the difference now is I don't think about it all the time. In fact, until I read Glenn's post linking to this I hadn't thought of my father for months.

6:30 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we will need more nursing homes soon.

6:32 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Kathy said...

I was grateful for my grandmother’s involvement in my life as a young child. She often took care of me and did many of the motherly things for me as my mother worked. Later, as a teenager, when my father died, I went to live with her and take care of her. I cooked, cleaned, helped her dress, and did the shopping, and so on. She was able to live independently outside of a nursing home for several years longer than she would have otherwise due do the fact that we cared for each other. She helped me deal with my dad’s early death, do homework, and become a good person. I helped her keep her dignity and independence. We had a deep love for each other and she gave me grounding in what was important – something I didn’t see in many of my high school friends who often became involved in dangerous things that I avoided.

They mocked me as being too serious and not willing to have a little fun when I told them I needed to get home to my grandmother instead of going wherever with them; but I didn’t get pregnant, involved in drugs, raped, killed while riding on the hood of a car, or any other laundry list of things that happened to some of the kids I went to school with that spent time partying instead of at home with family. I think I was better of to skip that fun and learn about my family history and playing family games instead.

As a happily married adult, my son spends every afternoon with my mother, who lives only two miles away, purposely close to her family. We pay her a small amount since she feeds him a snack and takes care of him so often. For us, it is cheaper than daycare, and for her, it is a little extra retirement income.

The money benefits, however, are not the primary reason. I want my son to know who he is, and part of that is knowing who you come from. While I certainly don’t agree with everything my mother says or does, I know she loves him, which is a lot more than I can say about a teenage daycare worker who has only been on he job a few months and works at a strip club at night (as one did at a primer daycare we had him in before mother moved down to be near us).

If we want her to watch him outside of the agreed upon schedule, we ask in advance, and find other care for him if she is not available. Sometimes she lets us know that she has doctor’s appointments, or other things she wants to do, and we find another place for him, but more often than not, she is available. We respect her schedule needs and recognize that as his parents, we are his primary care. She understands that it takes more than just mom and dad to raise a child. It works.

As a culture, I think we are in deep trouble. When we don’t spend time raising our kids and they must raise themselves, they will get into trouble. Moreover, they certainly won’t learn how a family takes care of itself and likely won’t be around to take care of their elderly. They won’t know how to build and maintain relationships. I think the selfish aging hippy generation will try to vote themselves the elderly care their families should provide, if they had taken the time to teach them how to provide it. This upsets me because I don’t like the idea of my tax dollars going to support a lifetime of selfish choices.

So many of these people run around doting on dogs as if they were grandchildren, perhaps in an effort to fill the void. They don’t have but one picture of their family in their house, and maybe ten of their dog. It is so sickening to me. They are unable to build real relationships and often claim the government should provide their care.

In contrast to my lifestyle (yes, family values is a lifestyle choice), my brother did the opposite. He is almost twenty years older than I am, and enjoyed a life of building his career, travel, going to concerts, clubs, international destinations and so on. He is not married and has no children. Late in life he met a lovely lady who had fully grown children, and he has become involved in their lives. He has often said that he wants children, but I really don’t see him choosing to make the sacrifice to raise them, and clearly, it hasn’t been enough of a priority for him to make it happen. He is now in his late 40’s, and I am 28 – in case you were wondering.

You have to make family a priority to have one. I quit my corporate job and work one that is more suitable to my family schedule. Some of my family look down on me for not doing more to raise my income earning potential. Money helps, and we would live more comfortably if I worked more, but it just isn’t worth the cost.

It is very hard for a young family to make it. We are under a lot of pressure and stress and the corporate world doesn’t help by demanding more of workers and leaving them with less family time. They do this for clear economic reasons that are extremely short sighted for their own welfare as experienced workers will move on to other jobs, but that is a soap box for another day.

I am personally glad to see the Hispanic culture taking stronger hold in my local since they often promote family values I feel my own European culture has lost.

6:36 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Lou Minatti said...

Dr. Helen,

I think this really touches a sore point with many of us "GenXers". So many of us are the products of divorced, I-Me-Mine parents. I know this isn't necessarily a political blog, but I think this issue is the key reasons why so many of us are more "conservative" than our 60s-era parents.

6:43 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Grandma" is my mother's mother, with her white braid wrapped around her head, smelling of Black Jack gum as she knitted our Christmas sweaters...

For years, baby boomers were terrified of turning into their parents. Now, they're terrified of turning into their grandparents.

7:16 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger gbarto said...

I think that all the emphasis we see on retirement planning, long-term care insurance and expanded Medicare programs - plus the increasing declarations of "I don't want to be a burden on my children" - indicates that the Baby Boomers have caught on: they want the government and society to take care of them because they suspect they haven't earned enough of a committment from their kids to be able to count on that.

Plus, there's a suspicion that their kids won't take time out to care for them if they, themselves, pawned off granny on the system.

Having watched what my own family went through when my grandparents were dying, I know it would be easier to wash your hands of the whole thing. Not how I was raised, so that's not the path I'll take. But if I were a parent who were too busy for the kids as they grew up and the grandkids as they, in turn, grew up, I, too, might consider a government bureaucrat who didn't know me a safer bet for helping me through my declining years.

7:20 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading this thread with interest. Many folks today look at "family" as an impediment to what they would like to do.

I am reminded on the old saying: no one is ever on their deathbed, wishing for more time at work.

We want more time with loved ones.

This thread is a good "reality check," folks. Call your parents, grandparents, and children (if you have any or all of these). Tell them how much they mean to you.

You never know how short life can be.

7:36 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Lou Minatti said...

My last post about this. The late Harry Chapin wrote a song about these types of people. It was a big hit. I wonder if they ever understood what he was writing about?

7:49 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is sad that they have no idea what they are missing.

7:52 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My children's grandparents have made it clear that our children are not a priority to them. Even when catastrophic illness has surfaced, we can expect to see them only on holidays - and that is only IF - WE are the ones to drive to see them. Large homes and vacations are what matters most. I am sad for my children, but we have a great group of friends who made them "adopted grandchildren" and have helped us through the unbelievable trauma of cancer.

Heidi

8:03 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

There is another part of this story not being told. In fact unless you check it out yourself you won't know about it.

Well, I do, because I'm living it.

I'm a over 65 grandfather who is raising my one and only GrandDaughter. I have three GrandSons that I try and see as much as their travel and mine (and my Sweet Sarah) will allow.

She will turn five in a couple of months.

My daughter who had her out of wedlock, helps some but she doesn't really have the time or inclination to be a mother.

So, I am not only the Dad, Grampa but most of the time the Mother.

And I am not the only one by a long shot. There are millions of Grandparents taking care of, raising and loving, their kids, kids.

That is the rest of the story.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

8:21 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous PapaDennis said...

I was an EXTREMELY self-centered boomer when I was younger but I eventually did marry. I adopted my wife's adult son and when he married and had kids I became a grandpa without ever having been a dad. To my amazement I absolutely LOVE being a grandparent and spend a lot of time with the boys. I still don't think I would have been a good parent as a young man but I have happily grown into the role of Papa. It's never too late to change.

8:43 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, we use to drive by the local orphanage on the way to the local mall. I always thought about how I could be there except for grandma, who was driving. Turns out my sister standing next to me (pre-strap em down while driving time) had the same thoughts.

Grandparents still step up these days, just not the self-centered ones interviewed for the article. These grandmas will become celebrities protesting that their grandkids were put down in a gunfight with police because they weren't socialized. No one will remember the grandkids name but grandma will get her fame. Her relationship will simply be a way for her aggrandizement.

I don't know what kids are to do today if their parents disappear. Turns out I was truly fortunate. Being orphaned at 6 weeks, I was taken by my paternal grandparents. When they passed away when I was 3, I was to raise taken by my maternal grandmother. I guess there is always foster care? All hail the state because they really, really love you, NOT!

It's not the missing father or grandparent that causes the problem. If they are deceased, you understand. If they are alive and don't to be bothered with you, that seems to be the problem. If a mother, father or grandparent doesn't have anything to do with a child, let's hope they are dead, not too busy to spare the time of day for the kid.

Unknown217

8:46 PM, January 29, 2006  
Blogger Merv said...

Grand children are such a joy it is a shame that some are missing the experience. One of my friend joked that if he had known grand kids were going to be so much fun he would have started with them. Of course to get to that point you had to do a pretty good job with your own kids.

The natural bonding with a grand child is one of the wonders of life.

8:49 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is probably best that the selfish grandparents are not available to pass on those traits to the grandkids.

I was so fortunate to have two grandmothers who were part of my life. I spent many hours with them through the years. One was born in 1895 and the other in 1900. The stories they shared about their lives gave me a picture of life in the south that no longer exists. They were good wives and mothers, and they made many sacrifices for their own children.

My parents have been wonderful grandparents for my children, and I hope someday to have grandchildren whom I can dote on also. Pouring yourself into the lives of your children and your grandchildren is one of life's greatest blessing.

9:01 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughters encouraged their mother to divorce me. One of them hardly lets me see my granddaughter, the other will probably not let me be at her wedding. I hope that they have unhappy marriages and that their children know the pain of divorced parents. Women deserve the society they have created. Anyone without a Y chromosome, including my daughters, can go to hell.

10:25 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I feel so much better reading this... simply because it means we are not alone. We live 1 block away from my parents, but we never see them. Well thats not totally true, sometimes they honk when they drive by.

They're always too busy. And thats exactly what they tell use 'sorry, but I'm too busy today'. They can't pick up sick grandkids from school, they can't pick up grandkids from the bus stop if there's a problem. Hell, last year their youngest grandchild went into the Emergency Room and was admitted. They couldn't stop by or watch the other kids because they where going on a trip the next morning. And they left... and we didn't hear from them for two weeks. Birthday parties? School plays? Sports games? Sorry, too many trips. We just don't rate in their lives.

But they do give us gifts. Very large and expensive gifts. I guess they think money is a suitable replacement for family.

The breaking point was just a few weeks ago (not long after christmas). My son asked 'why don't grammy and pop-pop like us?' I could have cried. All of my grandparents died when I was very young so I didn't get to know them very well but in my opinion, being ignored by your grandparents is far, far worse.

11:27 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In other news, people from happy families generally produce happy families, while people from unhappy families generally don't.

Your commentariat has a remarkably pro-children bias; nothing wrong with that, but it's still interesting. I'm glad others want to have children and grandchildren - it's our only source of new people - but I'd be terrible as a parent, and I'm smart enough to recognize that and choose it. For those who wish to attribute things to me, I had an unremarkable (but parentally distant) childhood and ceased interaction with my immediate family when they turned on my wife just before our marriage. Make of it what you will.

11:42 PM, January 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon at 11:42,

In your case, you've chosen not to have kids (as have I). That's ENTIRELY different than having them (for whatever selfish reasons), then putting them on the bottom of your "to-do" list.

If you don't think you'd be a good parent, then you made the right choice, and you deserve kudos. The narcissistic, selfish grandparents described above are beyond the pale.

TV (Harry)

12:10 AM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger Laura Lee Donoho said...

Both my grandmothers were working women but they had, no, they made time for their grandchildren. They weren't selfish like the writer of the article.

Some of the most precious memories I have are of my grandmothers and grandfathers. Even my great grandmothers played an important role in my life and the lives of my brothers and sisters.

I learned about values from my grandmothers and family history too.

When I was nine years old my paternal grandmother caught my cousin and I making fun of a developmentally disabled girl and you can bet we never did that again.

My grandmother took us over to the little girl's house to apologize not only to her but to her family.

Hopefully, this reporter is one of very few grandmothers who are this selfish. Hopefully.

12:35 AM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger Brian said...

I cannot understand any of these people. I grew up being raised by a single mother and I barely knew my grandparents before they died. So what? That doesn't affect me as a Dad. I spend every minute I can with my 2-year old. Past history is no excuse.

Her maternal grandparents are all about her and their 2 other grandchildren. For all 3 of their grandchildren, they were there when they born (yes, in the delivery room, both Grandma and Grandpa), their first haircuts, their first day of preschool, and in the classroom everytime it was their birthday and they had cupckaes with the other kids. Just yesterday, both grandparents sat with my 4-year old nephew (their grandson) and watched Sharkboy and Lavagirl with him, wearing their 3-D glasses the whole time. Obviously, they are top-notch grandparents.

Let me add this: They aren't rich, and only have a small sum left after paying the bills each much. Yet, they are VERY happy people. I guarantee you these other grandparents, no matter how many properties they own or Paris trips they take, are not nearly as happy with their lives, even if they think they are.

2:30 AM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger jw said...

It seems to me that newspapers publish articles from/about people who don't match too well to the majority.

I didn't have grandparents as a child: They were dead or nearly dead. I think I lost something there. I did have two grand-aunts, one of which lived with us. Mind you, she hated boys ... none of my friends would come to our house because of the crazy lady. Humph.

My wife and I do everything we can to spend time with our grandkids. She spends more time as I have a lot of trouble with the noise. Yet, even I get a few hours a week with them. It's good to take a sticky, overfed & hyper kid back to mom & dad! (JOKING! Just a joke...) Mind you, when my grand-daughter found out she was moving only a few blocks from our house she said "OHHH. Papa's cookies! Spaghetti, with REAL meatballs! Maybe that blueberry cake thing." Humph... It seems my grand-daughter things of me and all the thoughts are of food. Cupboard love ... LOL

Doesn't it seem that some people do not get it? That some people put themselves and their idea of life ahead of what is important? It seems that way to me.

Oh. As to the 40% of boys living without a father? I'm guessing here, but: If you take the number of kids living in mother custody homes where the father is absent (regardless of cause) and add in the homes where dad must work insane hours in order to support the family, you get 40%. The most important parent is the same sex parent, so they talk of the boys. I'd guess that's how the number came about.

4:23 AM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger Gil said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:03 AM, January 30, 2006  
Anonymous Gil Podcast said...

I wonder to what extent this is more the behavior of a certain type of grandmother. Namely the one who is so successful that she has a choice between a vacation in France or those damn grandkids. Most grandmothers who work at McDonald's or the post office see spending time with the kids as vacation.

5:07 AM, January 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These too busy grandparents ought to watch Mame. She took her grandson with her on her adventures.

Retread

7:23 AM, January 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gil, in our case (anon 11:27 comment), the Grandmother does not work. In fact, she never worked since marrying. Her life is all about shopping, dining out, books, television and travel.

7:43 AM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger centuri0n said...

This is a great post. Found you via instapundit.

I'd like to point out that it sure is important to travel and to be a writer (who no one has ever heard of) rather than to be a grandparent. While the point that it is developmentally important for kids to have extended family is well-made, maybe they'd be better off with someone who wants to take them on or adopt them as valuable than with role models like self-important twitterers like the ones in your example.

My kids gain so much from their grandparents because their grandparents think they are more valuable than money, property, hobbies and professional recognition. The shame is that not every child gets that kind of attention and nurturing.

9:50 AM, January 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read the article. What a self-obsessed twit! I'm so happy my grandmother wasn't worried what we called her. She didn't get upset if we messed her hair when we hugged her. She loved us - that's all that mattered.

10:47 AM, January 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why only grandmothers? The original article was written by a woman, yes, but a lot of the comments seem to be based on a negative comparison to the idealized [grand]mother. Where are the grandfathers in this? What are the societal expectations of them?

11:58 AM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger Ivan Lenin said...

They've grown up, they have grandkids, and they still want a pony. Miserable creatures, these geriatric brats.

12:09 PM, January 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lou,

While reading the comments, I too thought of "Cat's in the Cradle".

http://www.harrychapin.com/music/cats.shtml

12:10 PM, January 30, 2006  
Anonymous James said...

lucky my parents love to see their grandchild, and i was lucky enough to see my grandparents as a child.

If my parents said anything like the above "news" story i'd have to punch them.

Kids are the greatest, i don't see the point of living if you're not going to have(or adopt) children.

12:48 PM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger Somebody else said...

Reminds me of the Harry Chapin tune "Cat's in the Cradle"

"...And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me, He'd grown up just like me. My boy was just like me."

1:49 PM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger Ornithophobe said...

This so-called "Grandma" is to be pitied. When I think back on my own grandmother ("Mamau", I called her) there is nothing but love and gratitude in my heart. A million warm memories of her keep her alive to me, two years after she passed on. This is a woman who kissed my scraped knees, blew smoke on my earaches, sewed for me, cooked for me, and loved me absolutely to death. Because she loved and nurtured our family, we could do no less for her. When lingering disease took her mind, and eventually her body as well, no one ever talked about putting Mamau in a nursing home. It was an honour and a privelige to care for her ourselves, and every day was a blessing- even the hardest ones.

Those "Me Me Me!" Grandmas will grow old alone. And memories of their jobs and stock portfolios won't be much comfort to them then.

2:05 PM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger L.Austin Bernard said...

To the Anon whose kids gave him that really deep question.

I really feel for you there man

3:40 PM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger dadvocate said...

Finally read the article. Worse than I imagined. Due to myself and my oldest daughter being prolific, I've been a grandfather since 40. (I'm not 54.) Although 2 of my children are younger than my oldest grandchild, I don't mind being called "GrandDad." My kids get a kick out of it and so do I.

I generally enjoy spending time with my grandkids although they can be a handful at times. I've taken them camping, etc. It's nice to have grandkids when I'm younger, more able to enjoy and can be more active with them. Actually wish I could see them more but we live 250 miles apart.

As for the "old grandparent" image, get over it. If you still care about being "hip" or "cool" when you're in your 50's (or 40's for that matter) you need to schedule an appointment with DrHelen. Is it proper to tell a grandmother to grow up?

4:52 PM, January 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My grandson is so cool. He's 8 and we both like the same video games. He comes in, hunts for the cats and says, "Any new games, Grandma?"

He and my daughter live a few blocks away, and she's fine, too.

I'm busy and "successful," too, but it's also my job and my joy to keep the family together, so that we each have a family we belong in.

12:02 AM, February 01, 2006  
Blogger David said...

Grandma lives with us, and has for 8 years. It's interesting at times, but great to, especially since with 4 kids it's nice having an extra adult in the house.

11:53 AM, February 01, 2006  
Blogger Earnest Iconoclast said...

These grandparents are lying when they say that their grandchildren are important to them. They prove the lie by immediately listing other things that are more important. They may "love" their grandchildren in abstract and like the idea of having a grandchild to pass on wisdom to or whatever but they are not really interested in any of the real aspects of being an active grandparent.

I am saddened by this because my parents, who both work, make time for our kids but my wife's parents, who are retired, live too far away to be with our kids as much as they would like. To hear these grandparents squander their opportunity to spend time with their grandkids makes me sad and angry.

4:44 PM, February 01, 2006  
Blogger Banshee said...

Re: grandfathers

I loved both my grandpas, and they were immensely influential on me. But it's a bit painful to write about them, because they're both dead now. Whereas both my grandmas are still alive.

So I suspect that (and the focus of the article on women) is why we're mostly talking about grandmothers.

12:04 PM, February 04, 2006  
Blogger jess said...

i stumbled upon this post from googling "selfish" and "grandparents" in my search to cope with the way things have turned out between myself and my parents since i had a baby 5 months ago. here is my laundry list of complaints:

ignorance: they have no idea how to interact with an infant. turns out they didn't with me, just hired people and "managed" them to what they considered to be work that was beneath them.

selfishness: they will NOT do anything hands on with my son. except watch baby einstein holding him

self-deception: my son could watch baby einstein by himself and be just as happy as if he was sitting next to a grandparent who will kick and scream to avoid real human interaction. yet they think (nay, truly beleive) that this makes them deeply involved

manipulation: when any allusions to the disappointment i feel b/c of their behavior are made, they complain they have no money (they spend more in a year than i will make in 20) or offer to buy me things and then decide against it.

it is obvious this has been going on my entire life and i am just now realizing it. but it doesn't make it any more difficult.

10:48 PM, March 17, 2006  
Blogger Writer Chica said...

This article and the comments brought tears to my eyes. It is both sad and comforting that I am not alone in having self-centered parents who show little to no interest in their grandchildren. To my dad, I think my kids are merely photo props so he can look the "good grandpa" part and pretend that he is one. This just kills me and I am working so hard to deal with it, but I don't know how.

10:39 PM, March 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nice to see I'm not alone. My in-laws hardly spend time with our kids, though they do give birthday gifts and we do holidays together. Their house is totally non child-friendly, they never offer to help babysit, and spend all their free time on travel and "church" activities. Meanwhile their grandkids are growing up and they are missing out. There seems to be a lack of instinctive love which I can't fathom. I hope that when I'm a grandmother I will be able to "be there" in good times and in bad, always available to help out and to love. I hate to say it, but when these paternal grandparents are needy in their old age, I really don't want to get a phone call asking for help. When church, social activities, and travel take precedence over loving your grandkids, something is seriously wrong.

1:07 AM, May 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before the daggers are thrown let me just say that being a grandmother is a wonderful thing. But...I am not your built in baby sitter....dumping ground. I have a life, a life I love.

I am a creative and I can't create with others around, let alone try to discipline a child. And I don't have a child proof house anymore.

Quite simply, I don't want to anymore. I've been there done there wrote the book and starred in the movie.

If you plan to have children...plan to raise them. If you come from a close family, your children will still have a good relationship with the grandparents but don't try to put some kind of guilt/obligatory trip on them. I for one am not buying into it.

12:52 PM, June 28, 2006  
Blogger jess said...

see? that is the mentality that my kid's grandparents have too

it is not that i planned for them to parent my child, i wouldn't wish that on anyone including myself

it is that i wanted them to grandparent my child. get to know him. have him get to know you. spend time with him. know his likes, dislikes, games, noises, etcetera. i hoped that he could increase the meaning and value of his grandparents' own lives as he has mine.

like my parents, you (anonymous commenter) are a little too busy "creating" to enjoy the really important things you have already created.

my advice for you? if you plan to have children...plan that one day you will be a grandparent, a blessing to know the next generation, not a drag.

6:26 PM, October 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very unfortunate that SOME grandparents can be so cold hearted and not be involved in the grandchildren's life. Children are so innocent and want to be loved. My son's grandmother didnt even call him on his birthday, did not send a card or a gift. I think it probably hurts me more than it proabaly hurts my son. It's too bad that his grnadmother is so into her own life that she can't even pick up the phone to say she loves him.

10:09 AM, October 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a grandparent is stereotyped into this pampering beast then yes I agree the grandchildren should have some distance.... ahem...
i wish my grandmother would've taken free college classes in her liberal community, because that is what i plan on doing another 20 to 30 years down the road, grandkids or not....
to set an example of self-discipline is better than having these pampering abilities that make a scene for the growing latent ones who would hate that experience...
make your grandkids proud, join the education units once again where you left off and that will prepare an example that it is normal to experience the "no pain no gain attitude," that most of us loathe, but envy and appreciate...
this is a world where no one should be left behind... gotta' make it happen...

11:19 PM, February 07, 2007  
Blogger serket said...

I am lucky to have good, loving grandmothers. My maternal grandmother was a nurse and the breadwinner of her family and she still had time for her kids and later her grandkids. When she retired she was making around $50k per year. She is kind and loving to almost all people she meets. My paternal grandma didn't work for most of her life, but now has a part-time job. She, too, is loving towards her grandchildren. Both sides of my extended family are pretty close as far as everyone going to family parties and such. My mother seems to be a pretty good grandmother to my sister's kids. She babysits them while my sister is at work. I know they bug my mother sometimes and she is always glad when my sister gets off of work, but she plays with them and seems to really enjoy them. She is always bugging me to find a nice girl, marry and have kids of my own.

5:46 PM, February 09, 2007  
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7:11 AM, April 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read the post, a few above, from a Grandma who doesn't want to have kids "dumped" on her...

Which reminded me - In the 70s, my sister and I were "dumped" onto my Grandparents almost every weekend on Friday night so my working twenty-something parents could party.

Now that I have kids my mom lives in Europe and she graces us with her presence every few years. Sheesh! I guess my mom worked that out well...rarely parenting before and no grandparenting now. My poor selfless Grandma could've done the same thing and said, "Bye! I'm off to live in Europe." I guess she had different priorities.

6:46 PM, May 21, 2007  
Blogger Lotta said...

I grew up with 2 very narcissistic parents. My mother especially. Now as a grandmother it's so difficult to get her to spend time with the grandchildren. Work, crafting, hair apointments all take precedence. And when she does want to spend time with them she only wants the boy, not the girl. It's like pulling teeth to get her to spend time with my daughter. The only way to get her to do a sleepover or other extended visit is to let it drop into the conversation that the other grandparents are having one. She gets competitive and steps up. But then the whole time she treats me with disdain. Commenting on how spoiled I am to be getting a night off from the kids. It's making me nuts!

10:33 AM, July 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My in-laws are the worst!!!! I have no parents, they died when I was really young, so the only grandparents that my 2 kids have are my husband's parents.

My mother-in-law has never worked a day in her life and is spoiled and selfish. She doesn't do a damn thing she doesn't want to. My father-in-law is totally whipped by her, and has never took any interest in his own children, so he has the same attitude with his grandkids.

They are rich, while my husband and I barely make it. I went to work a year ago out of necessity, and all I asked was that one of them get my kids on the bus in the morning and get them off in the afternoon. They live 2 miles away and I was going to pay them $25 a week for the gas. It lasted two weeks and they stopped showing up in the morning. 8 a.m. was too early for one of them to get out of bed to come 2 miles and stay about 5 minutes until the kids got on the bus.

I had to quit my job. Now, I am trying to get a job working nights and my husband asked if they could keep the kids for 1 hour until he got home. I would take them over to their house and my husband would pick them up. The kids wouldn't be eating over there and they basically would just be watching TV. Nothing doing. It was too much to ask.

I hate them so much. They are the most selfish bastards I have ever seen.

10:10 PM, July 29, 2007  
Blogger Jeremiah Henderson said...

What really stinks is when grandparents do change their lifestyles and free up their time and form an attachment and the adults leave us hanging. It's happened to us. At eight months after our grandson was born, they decided to better themselves and stand on their own and move several states away. Now, 2 months after being there, her mom quit her job a few hours from them and moved in! So, our little grandson, who still ADORES us, gets to see us if and when his parents bother to call or connect via webcam. Even when they came home a few weeks ago for his first birthday, they stayed with friends and had his party at a public park. Needless to say, we are now not so busy professionals who have to invent new ways to fill our time and we are HEARTBROKEN over this turn of events.

3:45 PM, August 19, 2007  
Blogger Neglected said...

I shall never forgive my parents for neglecting my kids. How many times do they come to town - sneak in, sneak out - and never once do they tell me so I can arrange to meet them, never once do they drop in to see me or the kids. I only hear about it afterwards. And then they say: "I'd really love to spend a day with you really soon" or "Tell the kids I'll visit next week". Of course, all empty promises. They look for the cheapest presents to give my kids for Christmas and birthdays and don't even take the time to find out what the kids are interested in. I teach my kids to find the good in others but I am angry that they hurt my kids through their disinterest. No kid deserves to be treated badly by anyone, least of all by those who are supposed to be significant others in their lives. I get tired of hearing how busy they are (they're both retired and I can count the sum of all their friends on one hand) yet when pressed they can't specify what they're busy doing. I think this is a power thing with them - they want us to be falling all over them, they are bitter that they haven't got their own kids' full attention anymore and they are jealous of the many responsibilities I have as a wife and mother. They let me struggle through depression, 3 births and a miscarriage and lent not a jot of support or a helping hand. All I got was: "No one helped me when I had kids" like that made it right. They know they're in the wrong and they make no effort to make amends. I'm ashamed of their lack of interest, especially when my husband's parents make such a big effort to give my kids a lot of their time, by having them for sleep overs, taking them to the movies, taking them shopping and presenting them with little gifts, taking the time to find out what they're interested in, making them things, coming to their little concerts and special events and chatting with them on their level making them feel like they count. I don't expect my kids to love and respect my parents anymore. They've become strangers and they make my kids feel awkward on those rare occasions when they see them. They've caused so much hurt over the years that I shall never forgive them, nor will I find time for them in their hour of need.

11:41 AM, November 15, 2007  
Blogger goth_911 said...

Annonymous said:

Which reminded me - In the 70s, my sister and I were "dumped" onto my Grandparents almost every weekend on Friday night so my working twenty-something parents could party.

Now that I have kids my mom lives in Europe and she graces us with her presence every few years. Sheesh! I guess my mom worked that out well...rarely parenting before and no grandparenting now. My poor selfless Grandma could've done the same thing and said, "Bye! I'm off to live in Europe." I guess she had different priorities.


My parents were/are exactly the same. We rarely spent New Years Eve with them even...we were always 'dumped' at my grandparents house.

Don't get me wrong, I loved going to my grandma's house every weekend AND on New Year's Eve ~ they always made it a special time for me and I loved them dearly.

However, my parents have never been 'put out' by having kids. They've always done just as they wanted and WE had to fit in with THEIR plans. They are doing exactly the same thing now...except with their grandchildren. They would only babysit for our children when they were small, IF they hadn't anything better to do.

If I asked them half a dozen times to babysit, that was all *rolls eyes*

I would ask them if they could have the children for us to go to a function/party or something, and my mother would check the calender to see if they were 'busy' that day. If she had nothing written down, she would say "I think it's ok, but if something comes up I'll let you know...."

WTF? Either you're doing something on that day...or you're not. Simple.

My kids have noticed this behaviour over the years and have gradually stopped visiting them.

Now my parents are playing the 'poor me's' and can't understand it.

They haven't taken an interest in my youngest son and daughter at all...never asks how they are or anything.

My eldest two daughters are becoming a source of extreme interest to them all of a sudden however. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that one of my daughters has just started university and the other is expecting her second child?

They've finally found something to be proud of in my children I expect....

My dad gets all hurt if we haven't been down for a while, so I'll say "ok dad, we'll pop down on wednesday ok?" Wednesday comes, we go down and where's my dad? Not there. "Oh, he was asked to drive the car at a funeral" says my mum sheepishly.

This happened on at least a dozen occasions. He drives funeral cars as a favour to the local funeral directors for beer money. He doesn't HAVE to do it.

When he IS there, after an hour or so, he buggers off into the other room and either watches TV or goes to sleep.

And they wonder why we don't visit that often now...

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3:47 AM, April 14, 2009  
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12:06 AM, April 20, 2009  
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