Sunday, March 16, 2008

Grandchild relations -- should she remain friends with all the parties, old, new, and ex?

Dear Dr. Jim

My only child and his first wife moved into a townhome two doors from us the day after they got married.

I stayed completely out of their lives. I NEVER called, came over, or invited them over because I felt my son and daughter-in-law needed to establish themselves as their own family and that too close an involvement with my son would keep him tied to the ways of our family and interfere with my daughter-in-law's intentions for them.

If ever they invited my husband (my son's father) and I out with them, I never walked beside my son, and I talked with her instead of him so that she would know that I'm not competing for him.

I feel that I did the right thing and earned her trust because one day, after a year of her living close by, she told me that when they have children, she wants to move next door to me so I can help her raise them.

Here's my problem: My son has remarried. He and his new wife are much older now than when he first married. Is it still a good idea to keep so distant? I will gladly do so if it's best for their marriage. But since they are now older and more mature, must I still be so cautious? How should I treat my son and daughter-in-law?

Worried and Sleepless in Seaside

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Dear Worried and Sleepless

Yes, this has presented you with a very real dilemma. And hundreds of thousands across our land are experiencing these pangs too, or already have been.

The best advice for sure would be from a consensus of those prior participants but that is impossible for our purposes.

So my advice from personal experiences is to ENJOY YOUR GRANDKIDS the best you can! If your ex-daughter-in-law wants to make better friends, go for that also. For the sake of grandchild relations with you.

Most of my grandchildren are grown now and we have very good relationships. But it cannot rival the times when they were younger and we would go for rides or vacations and the like.

The more involved you are with the grandkids the fuller lives the all of you can have!

I hope this has helped,

Dr. Jim

Oh yes, as always, I advise professional guidance in areas like this should you feel your efforts are not right for the situations.

So, keep on keep'n on, and till then,
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