Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Son Punishes Parents by Withholding Visits with Grandkids

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: We were so happy when our son and his wife and their triplets moved back into the area, after a nearly four-year absence. I thought I would finally get to spend some time with our grandkids without having to hop on a plane to see them a couple times a year.

It turns out that now every time our son has a tiff with his dad, which is nearly whenever they spend more than an hour or two together, our son begins to play the “keep the kids away” game. He changes already made plans, saying something has come up with the kids, but never says what it is. He tells his wife that he wants the kids home by a certain time, which happens to be just about when we were supposed to pick them up to take them to a park or for something to eat. This will go on for a week or two, and then everything is fine again, until he and my husband have another fight, and then it starts all over again.

I feel sorry for the kids and their mother, who are, like me, caught in the middle, but honestly, I also feel sorry for myself. I waited a long time to have these chances to be with my grandkids, and now I have to suffer because two grown men can’t get along.

What can I do to make them see this is immature and silly, and not fair to everyone involved? --- JUST WANT TO BE GRANDMA

DEAR JUST WANT TO BE GRANDMA: Maybe it’s time to sit all the adults down and make it clear that, just as you wrote, you find it unfair that everyone gets put on the spot because your son and his dad can’t get along. That should be an entirely separate issue from when you get to be with your grandchildren.

It also might not be a bad idea to limit the time the men are thrown together, at least until they prove they can play nice, especially your son, whose use of the children as pawns smacks of what some divorced couples do when things don’t go their way.

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