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Old August 6th, 2011, 05:40 PM
emma emma is offline
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Seeking advice from grandparents

My husband and I had an extremely unpleasant situation this week and I need some advice from any kind hearted people who respond.
We invited my step son, his wife and three grandchildren to visit us. They live in Israel and we agreed to pay for all their flights. We've never flown direct because it cost more but they insisted because of the children. So we agreed and forked out an additional 3K for that. We are not wealthy and do not have a pension to rely on but hopefully, we are still employable even though we are both 65 and plus.
The problem occurred almost immediately when the baby (2 1/2 yr old) cried in the car seat and the mom wanted to pick her up. After several discussions about the safety and legal issue of using the car seat over the next 2-3 days, it was agreed that the best situation would be to have the son and his family in one car and we would lead them around in another.
After a trip of 1 1/2 hours to view the Falls and then come home 1 1/2 hours, we saw that not only the baby but the 7 year old and the mother were not using seat belts. My husband, the grandfather went ballistic when we got home and blasted them for not protecting their children and breaking the law here. His son's response was that the baby cries and in Israel they do not use the car seat.
My husband said if they want to stay here they must protect the children.
After digesting everything for an hour or so, I convinced them that my husband got very emotional because he loves them very much and is concerned about their safety. I asked them to give it another chance.
A few minutes later when all reconvened, my husband tries to break the ice at which point the son says he must apologize to his wife for yelling at her. This triggered my husband into an unleashed passion...yelling screaming and swearing. He basically told them to leave. This is after being here only 4 nights.
Ten minutes later they were standing outside with a ton of luggage waiting for a cab to take them to a hotel. The next day they rented a car and went to US to stay at their sister's place.
In the meantime, we are confused about the lack of respect we got asking them to use the car seat and seat belts.
My husband and I have come to the conclusion that the children want us to be observers in life only and to be there for them only at their beck and call. Our opinions, advice, ideas are not needed and not wanted. We plan on running away from home and not leave a forwarding address. All their inheritance is going to our dog who gives us unconditional love.
Seriously folks, were we wrong in 'demanding' that they use the car seat for the baby and to use the car seat for the middle child and the mom? Did we cross the line with them?
Thanks in advance.
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Old August 6th, 2011, 06:09 PM
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KayKay KayKay is offline
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Re: Seeking advice from grandparents

It is up to the parents of the children to make decisions about the safety of their children. I agree wholeheartedly with you that they were 100% wrong not to obey the laws and buckle themselves and their children in, but it is their decision.

When it affected you (i.e. your husband being the driver would be held accountable for the passengers not wearing seatbelts) you wisely solved the problem by splitting into two cars.

After that, not so good. It was not your husbands place to blast them for not protecting their children and breaking the law. If he had taken them to task gently, that's one thing. But blasting them? No. He did owe your daughter-in-law an apology for yelling at her. Then to yell, scream, and swear, and tell them to leave when he was asked to apologize? Oh my goodness. I can only imagine what that 7 year old thinks of his grandfather now.

I don't think that they only want you to be observers, but I don't think your husband showed them any respect at all. You can't demand respect unless you are willing to give it. Your step-son is not a child... he and his wife are allowed to make decisions for their family, even if those decisions are wrong. Your husband may not bully them into making "right" decisions; he may only remove himself from the fallout of the bad decisions.

I don't think you need to run away from home, because frankly I don't think your stepson will be seeking you out again. I doubt the inheritance means much to him and I don't blame him. It would mean nothing to me either, if it was being held over my head.

Best of luck to you. I applaud you for seeking out objective viewpoints, and I hope that you are open to them.
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Old August 7th, 2011, 11:06 AM
emma emma is offline
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Re: Seeking advice from grandparents

Thank you for your prompt reply. It is very difficult NOTto disagree with your comments. I will share them with my husband and hopefully he will see things from your perspective too.
I'm really finding it hard to know when to keep my mouth shut when I'm around my children.
Again, many thanks.
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Old August 7th, 2011, 12:15 PM
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Re: Seeking advice from grandparents

It's not so much a question of keeping your mouth shut as it is a question of presentation. You were definitely in the right about the seatbelts; what I'm saying is that it was not right to blast them and kick them out of your home.

ETA: I guess I can't really understand that your DH would be willing to throw his son and grandchildren out of his life because they disagreed about a child-rearing issue. That just seems unnecessary in my opinion; complete overkill. You mentioned that your husband was mad that they didn't respect him, which is probably the larger issue, but do you think he was behaving in a way which earned respect?
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Last edited by KayKay; August 7th, 2011 at 12:24 PM.
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Old August 7th, 2011, 06:23 PM
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Re: Seeking advice from grandparents

Emma, I understand the tough stance on the child seats and seat belts. A few weeks ago, a one year old died in a head-on car accident. The father was holding the child in his lap. He ALWAYS held the child in his lap and no one argued with him about it because they didn't want to loose touch with the child. Had the child been in a rear facing car seat in the back of the van, she would be alive today. Had the parents had on seat belts, their injuries would not have been extensive and the baby's head would not have taken the full impact of her father's body into the dash board. The baby's extended family is not only dealing with grief, but also their guilt at not being able to save the child.


That being said, your story starts with the suggestion that you were not really happy to help them visit, that perhaps they are willing to take advantage of your generosity but they won't accept the strings that come with it. They are naming the terms for the relationship. The only leverage you have now is an inheritance, which can't be great if you have no money for a pension.

Focus on taking care of yourself and your husband. Let your husband manage his relationship with his son.
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Old August 8th, 2011, 12:30 PM
emma emma is offline
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Re: Seeking advice from grandparents

Yes, you are absolutely correct that the delivery was dreadful and that ended up to be the only thing that the focus was on and not on the safety topic.
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Old August 8th, 2011, 12:42 PM
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Re: Seeking advice from grandparents

Maybe there's a deeper issue that sort of pushed your DH's buttons. I know that happens with me... a seemingly innocent occurance will touch something deep in my psyche and I overreact to it.
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