Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Family in Shambles; What Should Be Done?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Family in Shambles; What Should Be Done?

Article excerpt

Dear Open Mind: Two weeks ago I got a call from a social worker at the community hospital in the area where my adult son and his family live, about 300 miles from St. Louis. His newborn had been rushed to the emergency room for major respiratory complications. The social worker was trying to "rescue" the other children (ages 2 through 14) with volunteers until I could arrive the next day. The house was a disaster; I spent six days cleaning, cooking and settling fights. The children know nothing about order or obedience. Early in the marriage, my son tried to be both mother and father. I think he is idealistic about his marriage and doesn't realize how badly everything is falling apart. She is a raving, ranting mother who grew up under the same conditions. What can I do to save my grandchildren? I feel that the hour is late and serious, long-term consequences could result. I need professional advice.

It sounds as though this is a very complicated issue for you, your son and his family. Before we go on it is important to stress that if you have reason to believe that any of your grandchildren are being abused or neglected, the appropriate response is to call that area's child protective services and allow that agency to intervene. If you believe that such a call is not warranted, then perhaps the following thoughts will be a helpful guide to you.

I think that the most fundamental guideline to follow in responding to your son and his family is to demonstrate respect for the role of the parents, even though you may not agree with the style of parenting or the decisions your son and his wife are making. The individuals whom you can most impact are the children. While giving to your grandchildren in a manner that respects their parents, be sure to differentiate your role from that of a parent. Perhaps you can be a visiting resource for one or two of the children on long weekends or part of the summer. …

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