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Our children having children: some difficulties of grand parenting.

morrismmmorrismm 3390 replies182 threads Senior Member
I have been a long time member of CC. I have not been so active recently because my kids are out of college. But I have always come here for insight, suggestions and help even after they graduated.

So my son became a father in January. He is not married to the baby mama, Lina, and is not living with her. He, as a 33 yr old man, still lives with my H and I. Lina, 27, lives with her parents. Already not a great situation.

S and Lina were only dating about 6 months before she got pregnant. He wanted her to get an abortion. She did not want to but said she believed in choice. I respected that and her choice. S, however, was having a difficult time coming to grips with being a father. I didn’t have much sympathy. If you have sex, there is always a possibility. ( yes they were using birth control.)

Now comes the big issue, parenting the baby. Lina is from a very religious Christian family, was home schooled and was never vaccinated. She is also a vegetarian and has never eaten meat in her life. Her parents, and so now she, are mainly vegan. She did go to college and graduated from a state school with a religious exemption for vaccines.

My S is almost the opposite. Although we raised our children as Christian, I am not sure he is devout. He sings in our church choir non-regularly. Not sure if it is for a religious reason or a “I love to be a part of a singing group” reason. He is a meat eating smoker. He attended public school and was vaccinated. He attended a private college.

I’m sure you are beginning to see the problem. Lina does not want their D to be vaccinated. Our S does. Lina wants their D home schooled. Our S did nor have any say.

I have voiced some pro- vaccine data to Lina and was told in no uncertain terms that it was not my business and to stay out of it.

So now there is a tension between me and Lina. I have not visited, seen any pictures or heard anything about my new and only GC in weeks. I hate this.



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Replies to: Our children having children: some difficulties of grand parenting.

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24068 replies19 threads Senior Member
    Depending on your state, the child may not be able to participate in any activities without vaccinations - school, church, day care, rec centers. Some doctors will not see patients who aren't vaccinated.

    Is the child going to a doctor? Some states that allowed a personal or religious exemption no longer allow that, so while Lina was able to go to college and probably church camps and activities, that may not be possible any longer.
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  • leftrightleftleftrightleft 425 replies6 threads Member
    ^^ yes, the state I live in has some proposed legislation that would limit religious and I believe medical exemptions. Hopefully baby is under the care of a doctor.
    This is a complicated family situation and probably the first of many challenges for you as a grandparent. I would reach out to the mom in a friendly grandmotherly way at this point since you haven’t seen or heard from her but would back off on the advice for now.
    Just curious so only answer if you want to but does your son see/care for his daughter? What is his opinion?
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  • deb922deb922 6022 replies201 threads Senior Member
    Does your son see his child? Since he lives with you, I’m assuming it’s not at his house which is your house.

    I’m not a big fan of saying you need a lawyer but I think he needs a lawyer. If he hasn’t yet, he needs a paternity test and he needs to establish paternity, support and custody.

    The problem is that he needs to do all this. Both parents are well into adulthood.

    I don’t know the answer about vaccines and shared parenting but I’m sure the lawyer will.
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  • VeryHappyVeryHappy 18841 replies331 threads Senior Member
    Little children, little problems; big children, big problems. Sadly, this problem is really really big.
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  • partyof5partyof5 2587 replies125 threads Senior Member
    Your son needs to establish paternity and custody rights immediately.
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  • frazzled1frazzled1 5590 replies246 threads Senior Member
    edited February 23
    I am so sorry you’re going through this, @morrismm. What a tough place to be in.

    I agree that it would be wise for your son to talk to a lawyer to find out what his rights are. Are he and the mom still in a relationship?
    edited February 23
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  • Midwest67Midwest67 3477 replies14 threads Senior Member
    @morrismm

    If you are not seeing a therapist for yourself, I highly recommend.

    A skilled therapist can help so very much. Sanity saver. Suffer less in situations where you have little control but it is causing you so much pain.

    Hugs!
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  • TS0104TS0104 1231 replies30 threads Senior Member
    I'm sorry, this sounds very difficult! It sounds as if you would like to have a relationship with the GC, and maybe even possibly with the mom too. I think you will have to tread carefully. You've seen how your vaccination info was received, so you may have to change tactics or give up on having any effect on the child raising issues for now.

    Without a custody agreement, the access to the GC all is on the mom's terms. I would start there...that you would like to have a relationship with the baby and might have to have it all on her terms for now. Hopefully over time, you could find other ways to voice concerns (well justified IMO), but if you never see the baby or mom, that will never happen. I'm guessing you would rather have a relationship with a non vaccinated, homeschooled, vegetarian grandbaby than no relationship at all. You could reach out an olive branch and try to get a visit with GC, and maybe throw in some new mom support to the mom, like bringing her some freezer meals or something.

    I agree with the other legal related advice. I wonder if it would be advisable to kind of separate yourself from this process. Meaning, protect your relationship with GC and mom and let mom see your son as the 'bad guy' if he takes her to court for a custody agreement.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35299 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited February 23
    There are grandparent legal rights in many states (maybe all? I don't know.) But that would come later, after he had pressed for his rights.

    I think we all realize this isn't just about what the mom is doing that we don't like. There were other mistakes along the way that led to this situation. Counseling might untie a few knots, help not just OP, but also her son. He's a parent now. It's not just about custody, visitation, and decisions. He needs to fulfill his responsibilities as a father.

    In the end, children benefit from a satisfactory relationship with both parents. This potentially extends well beyond vaccinations and life style. Aside from grandparent issues, kids need to know they are loved and supported by both parents.
    edited February 23
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24068 replies19 threads Senior Member
    In my state, if the father's name is on the birth certificate, that's all the 'paternity test' needed. If the parents are not married at the time of birth, the father has to agree to put his name on there (confessing paternity). Without anything else, each parent has the rights to the child. If they can't agree, then you go to court.
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 893 replies17 threads Member
    edited February 23
    They are mature adults not underage teens, let them figure out how to to co-parent their child. Unless there are grounds to involve child protective services, you stay out of it. You raised your child the way you preferred, your job is done.

    If you want to a part of this baby’s life, be non-judge mental towards the mother and offer gifts and support. She may start seeking your advice on her own.


    Hugs for you, it’s a bummer but who knows, just the way things can go wrong, they can go right too.

    I whole heartedly agree to all of this. I don't love my MIL but she has always respected my parenting decisions and because of this she sees her grandkids all the time. If she hassled me over my choices I would make zero effort to have the kids see her. This probably won't be the last time you disagree with a choice she makes as a mom.

    I am sorry the mom isn't making choices you like but they are her choices and you cannot comment. I have plenty of friends who don't vax, it's their choice and they think it is an informed one.

    Suing for custody seems to me to be a sure way to be cut out of the baby's life if you don't win.
    edited February 23
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  • MeddyMeddy 583 replies38 threads Member
    I always try to think in terms of what is the end goal? Is it that you want to have a good relationship with your grandchild? That grandchild will hopefully one day be a grown up . That good relationship starts now and may have to come by way of biting your tongue with mom. Anything short of that could risk your end goal and since you mentioned Christian faith, remember that love covers a multitude of offenses.

    Perhaps once you have built trust with mom and grandchild by your sincere actions, they will hopefully be more accepting of your advice and although it may not be around vaccines, it could be around college advice :)

    It is a difficult situation you find yourself in, but try to think of why the mom would behave the way she does and find compassion and understanding toward her, even though none of this may align with your parenting and values. She learned how to parent from her parents and is likely thoughtfully replicating those things she believes did her no harm. Remember parenting is hard and everyone has an opinion from breastfeeding to co-sleeping, to crying it out, to cloth diapers, potty training, circumcision and the opinions are usually strong ones. I wish you the best in this new chapter.

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  • FallGirlFallGirl 8284 replies28 threads Senior Member
    edited February 23
    Suing for custody seems to me to be a sure way to be cut out of the baby's life if you don't win.

    True, And if he wins...is he really ready and willing to raise this child? And (I'm being realistic here), are you?

    I agree that he should speak to an attorney to see what his rights are. Additionally he should be contributing to the child's financial support. Not sure why a paternity test is needed, there does not seem to be any question here. Asking for one could be very insulting to the child's mother (i.e. implying she was sleeping around). Not likely to contribute to a good co-parenting situation.

    There was a similar situation in my extended family and the parents never married, lived together or had a real relationship after the child was born. The father and his family didn't agree with many of the choices made by the mother (similar conservative, Christian) but she was the custodial parent and she made the decisions. The child is now and adult and has turned out very well.
    edited February 23
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