DEAR ABBY: My daughter died in a car accident two years ago. She and her boyfriend, "Reed," had a 4-month-old daughter, "Angela." Since then, Reed has been very understanding and liberal with visitations. However, it didn't take him long to find another girlfriend, who has a 4-year-old daughter I'll call Madison.
The first time I went to pick up Angela, the new girlfriend hinted strongly that I should also take Madison. I didn't like it, but I took her. Abby, Madison is the meanest, rudest child I have ever met. She called my dad ugly, my daughter ugly and my house "stinky." I saw her push Angela down and laugh. Then she tried to smother my granddaughter by sitting on her head on the couch. The last time I brought Angela home, Madison told me that everything I bought for Angela I had to buy for her, too.
I don't want to take Madison anymore. It has been difficult losing my daughter, seeing her replaced with a new girlfriend and now being expected to include an unpleasant "step-granddaughter" in everything. But if I don't take her, I'm afraid they won't let me visit Angela. Do you have any advice? -- ANGIE'S GRAM IN MISSOURI
DEAR GRAM: If you haven't already spoken to Reed and the girl's mother about her behavior, you should. Madison may act out because she's jealous of Angela and, among other things, she needs to learn better manners before she's included in any more visits. If she had pulled the shenanigans with me that she has with you, I would have taken her home immediately.
This is not to say that Madison should be permanently excluded, but you should have time with your granddaughter one-on-one. The same is true for Madison and her grandparents. You are not a built-in baby sitter, which appears to be how you have been made to feel, but nothing will change until you broach the subject.Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death | Mental Health | Miscellaneous | Etiquette & Ethics