Burned bridges

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Well, the time has finally come and home is no longer a dreaded place. The subject of many of the rants on this blog has now burned a bridge and there is no chance of home turning into a place of total turmoil again (well, there is a large caviat to that I guess. More on that later.) It’s tough to go all the way back in time and cover all the ground that could be covered to properly put this whole thing into perspective, but that would be a lot of work and I am not sure you all care that much to have a complete picture. If you have been around the blog for a while, you can probably put things together with just the few posts mentioned here today.

I have tried to help those who couldn’t help themselves. I have been trying for many years and it finally came to a head this last weekend. The trouble with this is again that it is self-inflicted and someone thinks, yet again, they are the vicitim. Really, it is by choice and being unwilling to take any advice. Unfortunately, it’s the five grandchildren that will suffer the most.

When my step-son and his five kids were allowed to move in back in November there was hope that maybe there would be some changes in their lives that would lead to a postive outcome (and it might still but seeing that at this point is hard to imagine). Things that have been discussed here previously (see above as well as the following) was about wasted food, not parenting the grandchildren, and the outright disregard for sanity in parenting.

It finally all came to a head last Saturday.

The night before (Friday) by son had been up a large ortion of the night with the youngest grandchild because she was sick. As requested, he let us know he needed more sleep (he requested an hour) and we agreed to take over childcare duties so he could get some sleep. That request was abused and turned into four hours.

As a result, the five grandchildren were left in our care and we did everything we could to keep them occupied, busy, loved, dressed, fed, and entertained. We kept them from going in to wake their dad, even though he totally went beyond the time requested and agreed upon. At one point in the morning, the second oldest (age 6) got a little too rambunctious with the middle child (age 4) and repeated hit him “accidentally.” The 6-year old had been warned repeatedly and was asked at one point to stay on his bunk bed as a time out until he was released. Again, there was unusual noise and I checked on the commotion…the 6-year old was on the floor wrestling the 4-year old, having him pinned below him and him crying. I took one step into the room, delived a single swat to the backside of the 6-year old with my hand, which sent him crying back to his bunk.

He and I chatted about the incident not five minutes later and he admitted that he disobeyed, that he was playing too rough with his sibling, and that he hadn’t “accidentally” hit his sibling either. He went to far as to admit that he deserved the swat. He was back to playing and didn’t cause any other issues the rest of the day.

UNTIL. Until, he skipped into the room while his dad was making dinner and blurted out, “Grandpa hit me.”

I was there. He’s six, so his recollection of the events and why he got the swat weren’t entirely accurate. My son then proceeded to say, “Stop hitting my kids.”

Long story short, the discussion after that point corrected the events as told by the 6-year old, involved a threat of calling the police if I continued to discipline the children in a way that he didn’t agree with, and an ultimatum that said they’d move out if I (well, we, because my wife has spanked them too) didn’t bend to his parenting style, which includes the lack of discipline.

Mind you, he has virtually no place to go except one friend’s house which is not ideal for any of them.

So, I recommended finding a new place to stay since I was not going to do what he wanted me to do.

My wife and I had already had the discussion that this would likely come up again. There was a blow up about it a week prior where he basically packed up the kids with no coats, no socks, no shoes, and no food, and left the house for about 12 hours. We were clear when he left the first time that nothing on our part would change since we love the grandchildren and we are constanly having to step in to pick up the slack. We had the agonizing discussion that the threat of law enforcement would eventually be used and how we would respond to it…the conclusion was that we would ask that they move out, knowing full well that that wouldn’t be the best thing for the grandkids considering the turmoil they have endured over the last several years. But, we also knew he would refuse to leave them behind with us.

At this point, they haven’t returned. As far as we are concerned, he has burned his bridges with us. We, his mom and I, have been there and picked up the pieces enough. We love our grandkids, but for him we are done. If it really comes down to it, we will take the grandkids back to live in our house but he will not be welcome.

A tough decision, but we see no other way around it. We aren’t going have someone (even our son) threaten us and force us into living and “grandparenting” into a style we believe is wrong.

Home is more peaceful these days. It sucks considering what our grandkids are going through.

But, we couldn’t be held hostage in our own home either.

Don’t parent

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There is SO MUCH that could be unloaded here as background. If you have been following this blog for a while (or have gone back and read the archive) then you know there is a family member and his children living here at the house now. Tragedy (he is a single dad now), poor choices, crappy circumstances…yeah, the situation for this person and the family is not ideal, to say the least.

However, they are here in the my home (not living in a trailer in the yard like last time). MY home. While this place may have been his home at one time, it isn’t his and it certainly hasn’t been his kids’. For all intents and purposes, they are guests here while he/they (hopefully sooner than later) get back on their feet.

But, there is constantly tension. Aside from some state food assistance, the adult staying here temporarily provides no sort of help. I am supporting eight people. My spouse is ill and physically incapable of doing much of the daily chores inside the home. She is definitely incapable of providing childcare beyond anything longer than about an hour. She wants to be helpful but frankly just isn’t able to the level she would like. So, much over EVERYTHING is left to me.

They (my spouse and her son) were having a discussion yesterday because she noticed he was frustrated (seemingly all the time). He doesn’t want to be here and feels stuck. (Frankly, we don’t really want him to be here but also feel stuck because of the situation.) He has been here for over a month now and we, obviously, have observed and heard a lot.

He doesn’t appear to want to get a full time job because he wants to get is handyman business off the ground (not a great time to get that started!). He doesn’t have a discipline strategy (constant yelling/screaming at them and repeating himself umpteen times) that works for his kids. He doesn’t have any place for the kids to go to daycare so he can work or at least work on finding work. Honestly, his life is the definition of insanity because he is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

In the discussion with my spouse yesterday he said part of the tension in the house is because he doesn’t want us parenting his children (our grandchildren). She tried to get clarification about what that meant to him but he couldn’t really explain what that meant. We are pretty sure he is talking about discipline but he wouldn’t actually say that. We have a different philosophy than he has. But honestly, his philosophy doesn’t work and it plays out every day in our home. We are trying to respect his wishes but he got mad at his mom the other day for suggesting that maybe it was time to spank one of the children. Mind you, this was AFTER he had screamed at the child all morning for blantant disobedience, attitude, disrespect, etc. The yelling is of no consequence to these children because they have heard it all the time and still hear it all the time.

“Don’t parent my children.”

So, what are we to do? They don’t obey, respect, listen, follow directions, behave, etc., when we talke to them.

But, he accepts the parenting of his children when we provide daycare, prepare and feed them meals, bathe them, helpe them with their homework, get dressed in the morning or for bed, get up with them in the middle of the night, change diapers, make bottles, help get their teeth brushed, do all their laudry, make their beds,…you can see how this is going, right?

Where exactly would you like us to “stop parenting”?

Sorry, if you are going to live under our roof for free and use all our stuff, there is gonna be some damn discipline. You don’t get to have exceptions. I don’t care if you’re the adult parent of the kids.

There has to be a better way.

The chaos is terrible. It’s like constantly living in a tornado. The “eye of the storm”? That currently doesn’t exist in this universe.

I actually don’t even look forward to returning home after leaving. I don’t want to be in my own home. The only reason I do is for fear that my spouse is the one having to do everything. I am afraid it might actually be making her worse.

Don’t parent.

We are having to parent our adult child while parenting our grandkids at the same time. It friggin’ sucks…and there is honestly no end in sight…

Don’t parent.

Like hell, I ain’t stopping. There will be peace in my home again. If it causes him and the family to move out, so be it. That’s his choice. There will be peace, one way or another.