Sarah - posted on 05/04/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )
My daughter is a mature 10yr old. She doesn't have a relationship with her biological father but does have one, although fragile, with her grandparents.
When my daughter was 3 I moved out of state and remarried. When she was 4 my husband adopted her.
Her grandparents had a relationship with her up until the adoption. They were told they could still have a relationship with her but under my terms. My terms were set in place because of their actions. My child at 4 was on anxiety medication because of the issues and the things they discussed with her. They would occasionally mail letters where they talked about all her stuff at their house that she was missing out on doing. At 5 or 6 my child spoke with them on the phone(I recorded the conversation). My child asked them to come visit with her. They told her that they would see what they could do. They choose not to because they didn't like my terms. My child was very upset and hurt by them not continuing the relationship at this point I stopped giving her letters from them and asked that the grandparents not because it only caused her stress.
When my daughter was 7 we were going back to visit and my daughter asked if she could contact her grandparents. She did and they have had a very fragile relationship since then. My daughter has been telling me for over a year that she feels like they just want to buy her stuff and see her when it is convenient for them. They have bought her whatever she has asked for for Christmas and birthdays. (Wii, Laptop, Kindle, etc..) They also give her gifts every time they see her. She refuses to speak to them about her feelings for fear of hurting their feelings.
My husband and I decided last year that she was old enough to make that choice for herself. As long as the grandparents honor our wishes and do not allow her contact with her biological father. I was not as comfortable with this at first but my husband said we had to allow the trust at some point and they hadn't done anything I had asked them not to since her relationship restarted with them when she was seven. She told me 2 Christmases ago when they asked for her to come visit for a few hours one day while we were in town that she felt like I was trying to convince her to go after she told me no. I stopped at that point and didn't ask her again. She visited them at their work for an hour or so with my husband and I there. My husband and I even tried to stay in the car because their office was all glass windows and we would be able to see her but they would still have privacy. My daughter refused to get out of the car if we didn't go in with her.
They have asked for her to come stay with them in their home for a few days this summer. She does this almost every year with both my dad and my aunt(who is my biological mom, I was adopted by a family member). She also goes away to camp for a week or so most summers.
I asked my daughter and she said no she is not she is not comfortable enough with them to stay with them. They have only seen her once or twice a year since she was seven and only for a few hours most visits. My daughter isn't a big phone talker so she doesn't talk unless they call her and then it is short conversations. I told her she had to respond to her grandparents request that I was tired of being the one who was always telling them no she couldn't go. They feel like I am saying everything and not allowing it because of the past.
My daughter emailed them on Monday to tell them no that she didn't want to hurt their feelings but that she didn't know them well enough to go spend time in their home. She also stated that she is tired of always going to the same place when they come to visit to meet them and would like to spend quality time with them not walking around the mall. Although she enjoys gifts as every child does she feels that they want to just by her love. She wants a relationship not just gifts. She wants to be in her normal environment and have them get to know her and her friends. The grandparents haven't responded at all and today is Friday. My daughter is upset and feels like she hurt their feelings and that is what she didn't want to do. I pushed her to tell them how she really feels and she did but not totally just basic stuff. My child is hurt by not getting a response yet. The only time that they have come to visit her is when they were coming to town for something else. She feels like they were trying to fit her in. The last time they came to town she brought a friend along with her, and my husband and I sat at a different table when we were eating so she could have some time semi-alone with them. We then allowed her to walk around the mall with them while we walked around on our own. She had her phone to stay in contact with us. She was very uncomfortable because she doesn't know them that well. She was fine with seeing them but not alone she wants me or my husband there with her. I know it is an uncomfortable situation with us having to be there with her. I get it, but my child just isn't comfortable alone with them.
What should I do?
My child is now hurt again by their actions.
Do I need to just stop allowing the relationship with them so my child stops getting her feelings hurt trying not to hurt their feelings. My thought is that they are the adults and she is the child. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe I should try to force her to call them or email them more often. But I feel like it is more on them to continue and build the relationship with her than on her.