His Middle Child is an Outcast

Question: Dear Luise: How should I handle this situation? My son has 3 children, 2 by his wife and 1 from a relationship he had when he and his wife were split up, meaning the middle child is by another woman. These children are now in their teens. I have always maintained a friendly relationship with the “Other” woman (who, by the way, is my niece’s best friend and my granddaughter is named after my niece.) My daughter-in-law has always been extremely jealous and was somewhat mean and made the child fell unwanted all these years to the point where the child refuses to go to their house anymore. A few weeks ago my granddaughter and her mother came to town, (they live 300 miles away.) I was told if I let her mother in my house that I would be disrespecting my son and daughter-in-law. After 15 years I am not supposed to talk to them. Anyway, they came and visited and now I have no contact with my son or other grandchildren. I have been informed that my son is giving up his parental rights to this child. Have I done something inappropriate or is it them? I feel like they are trying to make me choose between my grandchildren. What should I do? J.

Answer: Dear J.: I’m afraid you may have already done it. You were given orders and you disobeyed. You were definitely told that you had to choose between your grandchildren and because you we were decent to the “outcast” and her mom when they visited, you are probably now public enemy number one.

How terribly sad. No, I don’t see that you did anything inappropriate but I think your DIL may think that you being loving and mature and fair was terribly wrong. Certainly, it doesn’t sound like she has many of those qualities.

There is child here who is being punished for something she did not cause…which was a temporary relationship between her mom and her dad, your son. She’s been the odd person out all of her life and it must have been and probably still is very painful for her. Being the middle child is almost always a difficult experience but this takes it to an all-time low. So, now she is being disowned. What for? For being on the planet, right? For not wanting to go to their place and be treated like dirt? I see this as overt abuse of an innocent child and your son and his wife wanted you to pile more rejection on her when she came to your town with her mother for a visit. They may have hearts of steel but you don’t!

So, now you are being treated like an outcast, as well. I don’t see anything you can do about that. They are in control of their kids and you don’t want to go behind their backs. You’re made of better stuff. Hopefully they will let your grandkids see you…but they may not. And they may tell them a bunch of lies about you to support the separation. Who knows?

I would hold my head high and go about my business. I honestly believe that you standing tall and loving your middle grandchild and respecting her mother puts two lovely stars in your crown. Blessings, Luise

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