Ask Caroline

Caroline Manzo tackles questions on dating, friendship, and watching your children mature.

on May 23, 2011

Angie from Grandview, WA says: Caroline - My 29 year old son has a little boy who is 3 years old. He has him every weekend, and they usually come and stay at our home. It seems that when my son is here, he's on vacation while my daughter and I feed, change, bathe and spend time with my grandson. I asked him nicely if he can be more involved, and he stormed out with the baby! What do I do? We first started this when the baby was small so we could help him out. Now it seems we created a monster! Help!

Caroline says: Hmm, I hate to say it Angie, but your son sounds like a brat. I'm curious to know how his relationship is with the mother of his child. Was it a friendly separation? Do you have a relationship with your grandchild's mother? I'm only asking because I'm wondering if she can help with the process of helping your son mature. Your son doesn't sound like someone who has grasped the full scope of what being a parent entails. I understand how you're feeling from a mother's point of view. You want to help your son, and there's no greater joy than spending time with your grandchild. However it should be fun, not work!  

Quite frankly, if your son doesn't appreciate what your family does for him and continues to throw fits, I'd let him leave. As long as your grandchild's well-being isn't compromised. I'd let him throw his fit and leave. Something tells me he'll be back with his tail between his legs.  

That's why I asked what your relationship with the baby's mother is. I don't want you and your family to suffer if he uses the baby as a tool to hurt you. Maybe you can devise a schedule with the baby's mother to see your grandchild on your own terms.

Does your son get involved at all? Does he take the time to play with his son, take him for walks, anything? Can you maybe use the time you have with him as an excuse to do things as a larger family unit, whereby he interacts with him in a group rather than one on one? In doing so he may eventually warm up to wanting to spend time with him alone and start acting as a responsible father.

Sometimes you have to take people down a peg or two to make them realize the good they have in life. Your son seems to me to be a little selfish, who only cares about me, myself, and I. He needs to understand that he gave that right up three years ago when he became a father.  

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