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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, first time poster who didn't have any luck with Search

My problem isn't a big as some, but it's been bothering me awhile

About 8 years ago, right before our son was born, my widowed father said "don't expect much from me in the grandfather department, that doesn't interest me." I let it slide because it took me off-guard. He's mostly a decent guy, and did put me through college 25 years ago. He just has the people skills of a brick. (Kind of a hypocrite too, badmouths Muhammed Ali for not serving in his country in the army while he lies on jury duty notices).
About 4 years ago, he got remarried to a lady with 5 grown up kids and 17 (yikes!) grandkids, they're both 75-80. I hinted that a little babysitting would be wonderful, but she just growled, "No one ever helped me with my kids". (They were hellraisers by all accounts).

Soon after, my dad changed his will into some kind of trust and my brother and I weren't given a copy. I don't think he would COMPLETELY shaft us, but a copy of a will is like sex or oxygen: it's a big deal when you're not getting it.

They then proceeded to party it up, with tons of traveling and camping especially with my aunts and uncles. During one phone call, he even bragged about a cruise and said "Sure glad I don't have to work every day like you". Grrr...

Meanwhile 500 miles north, my wife and I have had a rough 8 years. Two jobs that can get stressful, two kids two years apart, and both her parents passing away (dementia and cancer). They were in town, so we helped out (again, not as much as some people have). We've been dealing with exhaustion and some depression. Other people definitely have it worse, but the fact it keeps going year after year wears us down. Three days alone in Vegas would have really helped.

And my folks whole "we got ours, you get yours" attitude drives me crazy. All they're good for is a visit and bday/xmas presents for the kids. I definitely remember staying with my grandparents as a kid.

To me, family should always help each other regardless of financial independence, but they (and some other seniors I know) have a lot of the self-centeredness they accuse the young of. And considering what a pain seniors can be when they go downhill, refusing to help out while they can seems completely immoral.

On google searches, I found a whole lot of "your kids, your responsibility" posts and a lot of "squeeze generation misery" material, but nothing relating the two. One guy did post: "Grandparents who refuse to babysit or help out in any way have no right to expect any future caregiving".

I'm debating whether to tell them that bluntly, tell them gently, or just let things slide. Also sometimes tempted to blow them and the inheritance (whatever is left) off completely. He didn't do anything for his dad's last years, my aunt had to. We're passing up a Xmas visit this year, because frankly they don't seem worth the gas money.

Am I being too sensitive or are they way out of line?
 

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Not sure you're going to like my answer, but I'll give it anyway.

I can't agree with your attitude at all. I'm 55yo, have a 15yo and parents in their mid- to late-80s. I've got ALL the bases covered here.
I hinted that a little babysitting would be wonderful, but she just growled, "No one ever helped me with my kids".
I would NEVER expect my parents to babysit my kid. They already did ALL the baby-raising they wanted to (and then some, no doubt). I was brought up to believe that if you can't afford a babysitter, then you can't afford to go out. It's part of the cost of going out on the town.
Soon after, my dad changed his will into some kind of trust and my brother and I weren't given a copy. I don't think he would COMPLETELY shaft us,
In our family, we kids firmly believe that we are entitled to NOTHING when our parents die; it is THEIR money to do with as they wish. They can leave it to charity, spend it on themselves, leave it to us...whatever they wish. They busted their butts earning it, and it is THEIRS to do with as they wish. If we want money, we ought to be earning it ourselves.
two kids two years apart...Three days alone in Vegas would have really helped.
My parents had 4 kids in 4 years...and NO VACATIONS ALONE until all the children were grown and out of the house. Ditto for STBXH and me, no vacations without child; no time, no money.
And my folks whole "we got ours, you get yours" attitude drives me crazy. All they're good for is a visit and bday/xmas presents for the kids.
You just seem to have a real 'entitlement' attitude.
considering what a pain seniors can be when they go downhill, refusing to help out while they can seems completely immoral.
Won't even comment on this; your words speak volumes.
Grandparents who refuse to babysit or help out in any way have no right to expect any future caregiving".

I'm debating whether to tell them that bluntly, tell them gently, or just let things slide. Also sometimes tempted to blow them and the inheritance (whatever is left) off completely.
I vote for blowing them off completely (along with the inheritance). I think it would be a more honest 'relationship' than 'faking it' for the future inheritance.
We're passing up a Xmas visit this year, because frankly they don't seem worth the gas money.

Am I being too sensitive or are they way out of line?
I think passing up Xmas is a good idea as you seem to have nothing in common with them and a good deal of resentment. I just can't condone your attitude. It's not one I can understand.
 

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If my retired parent were to tell me that they were glad they did not have to work everyday like you do. I'd laugh. They worked for decades, they are now living the retirement they earned and planned for. Good for them.

I think that you have some legitimate gripes and you have some unreasonable expectations.

If your father is more of a grandfather to his new wife's kids than yours.. yea you have something to gripe about.

He did what he was obligated to do... he raised you and made sure that you had an education so that you can be successful in life.

Anything financial beyond that is a gift which he is not obligated to give you.

I would be very hurt if my parents did not want to spend time with my children and build a relationship with them. I think that you have every justification to be upset with your father if he is being more of a grandfather to his new wife's grandchildren then he is to your children.

It is not unusual for a man to focus on his wife and her friends/family at the expense of his own family... she's the one he's getting sex from and who is his companion. It's a shame when he cannot balance this better.

You say that your father did nothing to help his father in his last years. That pretty much tells you what he expects from you... nothing.

There is one reason that you might want to help him in the end if needed, it will teach your children to be better people... not so selfish.

Your father will not be around much longer. You need to find a way to come to peace with this. Expecting less and accepting the little this man has to give might be the way to go.

IF the burden is too much on you for this Christmas then don't go.

But I think you need to find some peace in yourself on this topic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thank you both for your honest replies, and thanks to the forum in general for the chance to vent.

I don't think my folks are closer to her grandkids, only one kid lives close. Get the impression even she's tired of some of them.

I probably am too sensitive, it just feels like I'm not getting the square deal the other people in our families got. My paternal grandparents gave my parents some alone time, and their will was common knowledge, equal shares to the three kids.

In fact a big chunk of my Dad's money was actually from his father. I was hoping to send my kids to college with it, really don't want it for myself.

My departed father-in-law had the same deal, a public will where things went to the two kids equally. Plus he asked to babysit, he adored the kids. My wife said he would have been hurt if we didn't let him. It was only three times for two hours each, but just the fact he wanted to meant something, especially since he was a grouchy ex merchant marine in constant stomach pain.

It was always a two way street with the inlaws (not always easy I admit). My wife drove her mother around every Sunday for church and shopping. Last January I gave my FIL some caregiving towards the end when he was in diapers. Didn't like it, but family is about helping each other. If he thought I had an entitlement mentality, it never got back to me.

My wife and I are already looking forward to being grandparents, we'll probably surprise the kids with 2nd honeymoon tickets once the grandkids are out of diapers. Even diapers aren't that bad. Night feedings is the only thing I'd refuse, doing them at 40 was rough enough.
 

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For me there would have to be some pretty bad circumstances to treat family the way your father does.
I do have those kind of circumstances with my two step-children. I raised them from age 10/12 on… their mother and father were minimally involved. They are now 23 and 25. I love them both dearly but cannot deal with them because of thing like drug abuse and escalating criminal behavior. I have finally mostly cut them out of my life. I cannot have that going on in my home. I cannot have them taking every spare bit of energy and money I have. This is what they do. I am profoundly saddened that this has happened and do not know how I will handle it if they ever have children.
My 24 year old son is quite different. He’s living at home and working on his degree in physics and engineering. His father pays for his school and I handle his room, board (at my home) and living expenses. He has a very sweet girlfriend who is also working on her degree. I of course don’t know if they will marry or if they will eventually marry someone else. But I can tell you that once there are grandchildren I will definitely want them over here very often. What a treat that will be.

Your father sounds selfish to be honest. He got a good inheritance and got help from his father. But he does not pass that legacy down to you. I assume you are his only child.

One class I took in college was a strategic management class. We took real companies and helped them restructure their management strategy. In one lecture the professor said that when he consulted with companies he looked at every aspect down to the family life of the owners because these things are so important to the business. He brought up inheritances. His take on it was that a person had the obligation to maintain the principle of an inheritance and to pass that down to the next generation. If they could add to it that was also important. For example if he was consulting with a business person who wanted to gamble their inheritance on a risky business venture he’d tell them to not do it. It was a very bad idea and went against the principle of inheritances. His take on it was that the inheritance belongs to the family line.. not the person.

I think your father did not take that class.

Build your own nest egg and teach your children well about how family works.

As for your father, he is who he is. Be respectful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
EleGirl,
Thanks for sharing your story, sounds like a rocky road. The Physics and Engineering classes really seem great at least. You're all going to get through this.

Writing everything down and getting feedback helped me. And looking it over, I was broadcasting too much negativity. The will is possibly fine, I just don't know what it says. And with financial stuff, part of me always assumes the worst. He did pay for my college and surprised us by paying for half our wedding. It's the fact that he gets so many things right and completely drops the balls on others that's painful.

I think the real issue is that he's old-school and insensitive more than anything else, always has been. A few years ago when he was dating my stepmom, a big wildfire swept through his area and almost got his ranch. The police wouldn't let him enter, so he grabbed a room in a motel to stay close. He didn't call her and let her know he was OK until the middle of the next day. She went from terrified to furious and told me later how confused he was when she unloaded on him for not calling sooner. His brain is just not wired that way.

I don't think he knows how much harder kids are when you both work. Every day with a fever meant me or my wife missed work, and we were both in big trouble with our bosses at times. Plus her mother's dementia hit my wife pretty hard and we had some rough years. Phone calls about cruises and trips to Europe were the last thing we needed.

Also he may have resented our health and (relative) youth while we resented his free time and financial security. Not a recipe for bringing out the best in each other.

Part of me feels sad for my folks too. Getting married in your 70s means someone is going to pass while you still feel like honeymooners.

Lots of mood swings. Again, thanks for the chance to unload.
 
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