how to communicate why NC/LC with your parents to your kids (their grandparents)

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Elsbeth

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looking for suggestions on the process people used to explain to their own kids (teens) about no contact with grandma and grandpa and such

i am limited (very limited) contact with my parents. basically no contact with them and siblings. but my kids have contact.

how do you explain it all? how do you allow a relationship between your kids and those that you've gone NC/LC with?

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Claudia

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My kids have had lots of negative interactions with their PD grandparents so for me its was quite easy because they never really had a relationship with them anyway.  Their relationship was about as  non-existent as mine was with them so they really haven't missed anything.  We have asked them lots of times if they want to see their grandparents and if they want to we are quite happy for them to see them but they all say no and that they couldn't care less so we have left it at that.  I had no relationship with my grandparents either on either side and its not something I feel like I have missed in my life, maybe because I have no relationship with my parents either.  I think for the kids with their grandparents they are quite removed from their lives and they don't see them day to day so they can't miss what they never had in the first place.  Plus my NF was quite abusive towards them so I think they are pretty happy to not ever see him again.

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alonenow

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I guess the approach depends on how well the dysfunction was hidden. 
If it is subtle enough they might not have picked up on it. As teens they might have been able to see how you were treated.
In a way I was lucky that NM treatment of me (the SG) and my family was obvious. It was only after they saw her for what she is that I slowly explained the depth of her issue.  I feel that is  like a where's waldo thing once you spot waldo it is hard to NOT see him the next time you look.

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movingforward2

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I think it all depends.  We are NC with my in-laws and so are my DD's (they are 5 and 10).  I am LC with my sister, but my DD's see her on occasion.

Your kids are older.  Do they want to see their relatives?  They may not even have a desire to do so.

My biggest fear with fostering a r/s between a teenager and a pd relative is that, from my experience, pd's try to turn people against each other.  Teenagers are already rebellious and the last thing they need is an adult telling them not to listen to their parents...or an adult making it seem like their parents are wrong.  I could totally picture my NMIL trying to bribe my DD's with gifts (like money, designer clothes, cars, etc.) when they are teenagers to rope them in and then trash talk H and I.   Your situation may be very different, but if they are too toxic for you, they might be too toxic for your kids. 

The flip side of this is that when you try to keep a teenager from something, they want it even more.  So...if they really want to see their relatives, it might be more harmful to keep them away. 

If they were younger, I would say that going NC is probably best, but being they are older, you might want to leave that choice up to them.  I am very open and honest with my DD10.  I have told her some of the things that NMIL has done.  I don't see anything wrong with sharing some facts about why you are NC. I work with teenagers and one thing they hate is when parents treat them like little kids.  I'd ask them what they think.  You might be surprised that they know a lot more than they let on.

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all4peace

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I hope it's okay that I'm responding, even though my experience is with my ILs.

We're still trying to figure this out. Our kids are not aware of the full extent of the problems between us and their grandparents, but they do know there are problems.

I've plainly talked with my daughter about her time with uN/BPDmil and what is and is not appropriate for gma to talk to her about, and that she needs to let me know if gma is talking about inappropriate, slanderous or negative things.

Both children were asking as toddler why our family was left out of most of the family doings. When they were tiny, we told them we didn't know and changed the subject. As they got older, we suggested that they ask their grandparents this question. When they were in the double digits for age, we explained that families work differently and some are not even, fair, just. Some families have favorites and are not very nice to each other, and unfortunately our family was one of those not treated very nicely by H's family.

Weirdly, our kids still enjoy the interactions with H's family when they happen, even though they are now awkward, stilted and uncomfortable for us. They have much deeper, friendlier, kinder and fun interactions with my family, and yet they do still love H's family.

I understand the fear and terror of what  PD family could do to your relationship with your kids. Our DD was being separated out by everyone in the family as the only one they interacted with, basically. H finally set a boundary this year that DD would no longer be singled out, but that we would be a family unit. He also directly told his mother that any interactions with our kids would be positive, fun and would NOT involve her questioning our parenting or digging for information. MIL immediately invited both our kids to an outing on a day she knew son was busy (and even dumbly admitted she knew he was busy), so we said no for both kids and nothing has happened since.

I've seen two types of families on this board--those who really can't manage an involved relationship with their grandkids but MUST try when NC/LC happens to preserve their image as amazing grandparents; and those who seem obsessed with their grandkids and really, really want to spend time with them. Thankfully, we're in the first category and all it took was time before MIL got back to her normal ignoring behavior.

So, that's the long answer. My short answer would depend on the age of your kids. If they're young, I'd consider truthful excuses (too busy, schedule conflicts). If they're nearing the teen years or older, I'd consider the truth in a gentle manner.

As an adult, here's how I've experienced it: I know my gma was not a good mom to my mom. I know it has left deep wounds in my mother, which in turn have wounded all her children. Yet I still love my gma. I am loyal to my mom and I love my gma. Even as a child I was able to see my grandparents' flaws and still love them, and love my parents. I think that generational gap makes a lot of difference in how deeply our kids internalize it. But I really don't know for sure :(