DEAR ABBY: My 23-year-old son, "Wayne," who is single, has a 3-year-old son. We didn't learn about the child until he was more than a year old, when Wayne was asked to take a paternity test. Luckily, we have been able to form a good relationship with our grandson's mother and see him often. However, our son has shown no interest. He pays child support, but has little interaction.
Wayne is an only child. I love him, but I never wanted another one. I was never comfortable around or interested in young children except for my own son. Could he have gotten this from me?
Friends and family have commented on Wayne's lack of interest in his son, and I'm tired of making excuses or telling people to mind their own business. Wayne says he feels resentment and doesn't want to be around this child. I have tried to explain that he'll regret it in years to come, but he won't listen.
My husband is appalled that our son would act this way, but he seems to forget that I was the one who did everything with Wayne. I did the Boy Scouts, movies, horses, trips, etc. He did almost nothing with Wayne and his friends. At this point, I don't know what to do and would like some advice. -- MOM IN ILLINOIS
DEAR MOM: Your son is displacing his anger at himself onto his son. He should have used birth control and he knows it. It's not fair, but Wayne does not appear to be the most mature of 23-year-olds.
Rather than blame yourself for the fact that he wants no involvement, consider that children usually model themselves after their same-gender parent. Because your husband was so uninvolved with Wayne, it is possible that Wayne has no idea of what a father's role ought to be. A parenting class could fix this -- if your son is willing to take one.
Until then, continue to be the supportive and loving grandparents your grandson needs because, aside from his mother, it appears you're all the backup the little boy has.