Carolyn Hax: Husband died; she'd like to cut off in-laws

  • Article by: CAROLYN HAX
  • Updated: December 6, 2012 - 2:43 PM

She never really liked them.

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missmarplesDec. 6, 12 9:00 PM

Wow, I agree with Hax on BOTH accounts. Well, done!

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chilailiDec. 7, 12 1:08 PM

LW1: I don’t often agree with Carolyn on her advice but this time I’m 100% on board. You may have lost your husband and father of your children, but your in-laws have lost their son! You don’t have to pretend anything right now but to cut them off from the only link they have to their child is frankly, cruel. You can continue to disagree on things but unless they are actually abusive to you and your family, I see no reason why you would continue to punish them.

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ageepaperDec. 7, 12 1:36 PM

Yeah, that first person sounds sort of like a Gold Digger. Doesn't sound like she's placed the family into a secure position but her deceased husband or his insurance pay out has. Now, it seems like she feels entitled to taking away the only remains of her husband from his parents. It just reeks of selfishness. Why don't you BUCK UP and tell them you don't see eye to eye but they kids will be available when you want to see them. Maybe the parents understand the tension already and just want to see the kids, etc.

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loop80Dec. 7, 12 3:33 PM

There is no reason to assume his life insurance put her in a good financial situation. It does not imply she is a gold digger. If her values for continuing to raise HER children are complicated by the "values and judgments" of the grandparents, she has NO responsibility to them. It is HER prerogative as a parent to raise her children to HER values. The emotional needs of the grandparents is not her responsibility. It is time for them to "buck up" and get whatever support they need to deal with the death of their son. She should feel NO guilt about that. HER responsibility is to HER children's well-being, not the well-being of the grandparents. There is nothing she said to assume she owes the grandparents at all. She has enough on her plate now, herself and her children. The grandparents don't get a spot on her plate!

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njbed1Dec. 7, 12 5:50 PM

The financial security very possibly(more than likely) is good family planning not gold digging. I know when my children still needed provided for the life insurance policies reflected the cost to raise them in the manner they would have been raised had the family remained whole. As for cutting off the inlaws, you would be depriving your children contact with your husbands family, and your children are who you should be thinking about. While you don't think that is a bad thing. I will bet your children will when they get older, with a much bigger rift in the family dynamic. Make your children available, stay away if you must, and have talks about your values and customs that differ from their grandparents. Remember you Loved the child they raised so they must of done something right.

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kohoutekDec. 7, 12 7:15 PM

If you cut off your children from their grandparents, you are not raising them with any kind of morals. If they are good and nice people as she says, why does she hate them so? Something is wrong with this mother. And no, parents do NOT have the right to treat their children as possessions and raise them according to the mother's morals exclusively. It's her job to make sure that they grow into autonomous adults with sound judgment.

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loop80Dec. 8, 12 2:50 AM

The mother doesn't have the right to "raise them according to the mother's morals exclusively"? The heck she doesn't. They aren't possessions. She is not treating them as possessions. She disagrees with fundamental judgments and values that the in-laws espouse. Grandparents have no "rights", because they have no responsibility for the mess the children create. "Remember you Loved the child they raised so they must of done something right." What? So by the terms that if the turned out well it was because of his parents? Plenty of bad children come from "good" parents and vice-versa. If HER children get in trouble in school, SHE will be found responsible. If HER children hurt others, SHE will be responsible. If HER children make bad decisions that cause financial hardships, SHE will be responsible. Bottom line: SHE is responsible for everything that happens in HER children's lives. If she feels that the grandparents' values and judgments may have a negative effect, she can do what she dang well pleases. Nobody else has the right to tell her what to do. She is legally bound to the welfare of her children. If she died, nobody could force her parents or his parents to raise the children or be financially responsible for them. Why? Because grandparents don't have the same rights and the same obligations that parents do. She has full legal rights to raise the children as she sees fit. Don't tell her how to raise her kids unless you want someone to tell you how to do it!

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heatherjo16Dec. 8, 12 3:24 PM

My father died when I was 11, when my sister was 8 and my brother was 14. He was an only child to my grandmother. I am now 31, and the letter from your reader inspired me to write given the similarities in experience. My grandmother was not an easy woman to love, and it was not easy for my mother to maintain a relationship with her. But my mother did and fully involved my grandmother in our lives. She did this because she knew my grandmother was suffering the loss of her only child, and that we, too, would suffer to not only lose our father, but to lose our only blood connection to him, also. And so, for 20 years, a partnership of sorts evolved, one that was often fraught with difficulty and stress, but also love, joy, and connection. My 97-year old grandmother just passed away this last month, and I am so grateful to my mother for her decision to involve my grandmother in our lives after my dad died. While I lost my father, I did not also lose my grandmother. She often stood in as a second parent, for me and for my mother, supporting her in the isolation of single parenthood, and offering us love akin to a parent's. I was with my grandmother when she died, and served as her caregiver in the last 2 years as her needs changed. I never could have done this would our relationship been stymied by my mother. I am so grateful that my grandmother and I had a loving and lifelong relationship, that she never suffered the heartache of losing her only son and her only grandchildren, and that I never had to be angry at my mother for keeping us both from a natural and very important relationship. In the end, I think my mother was grateful to be able to share in the joys and tribulations of raising us with another person who loved us as closely as she did, and I am endlessly grateful to have had my grandmother right at my side all those years.

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mnmaggiemnDec. 9, 12 1:00 PM

So she says granparents are great people but they dont see eye to eye? Did anyone think that maybe not seeing eye to eye could be something as silly as giving kids ice cream too much? There is no reason to hold kids from the grandparents. Dont make them suffer, imagine if you lost your children and on top of it your only connection to them? There is no reason you cant let them visit grandparents, you dont have to go along.

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mnmaggiemnDec. 9, 12 1:03 PM

I am divorced for 5 years now. My child is 10 and my ex inlaws have done the ex inlaw thing, I have been hurt by them and I dont want a relationship with them BUT I keep an open respectful relationship (their actions at the time of divorce differ very much from now)for the sake of my daughter. There is no reason to be selfish and let petty things get in the way of HER family.

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