Question: My son has been married for 7 years now. My daughter-in-law and I had a pretty good relationship all this time.She had nothing to do with her family for all these years I have known her. I would try to talk to her about it but she wanted nothing to do with her mom or brother. First baby was born and that summer I had the baby all the time. I loved it. Her mom took sick and she finally came around and started having a relationship with them. I thought it was great. The problem now is I’m the one she has shut out now. We had a falling out and she told me that I was too good and her mom was bad and she was trying to figure everything out in her own mind. She was seeking help. It has only gotten worse. We don’t hardly speak to each other. My son has distanced himself from us. We live 100 miles away and he hates his brother which they use to be close. They have everything in common. Now it is all about her family.I live in a resort area and we use to get together all year long. That has stopped. I don’t even know how to handle this. I miss my family. Lost Mom
Answer: Dear L.: The decision to stay close to and interact with extended family has to be made by everyone concerned.
You and your husband, if you are married, can decide for yourselves but you can’t decide for your son and his wife or for your other son. They are all “out there” in the adult world trying to make sense of family dynamics. Sorting through the “his mom/his brother thing” and the “her mom/her brother thing” has obviously become a big issue for them.
Young adults often are still in the process of working through who they are, individually and as a couple. Beyond that, it often gets more and more complicated when parents, siblings and then their own children are factored in.
You have your own hopes and dreams. They looked, at least for a while, like they were going to turn out well when your daughter-in-law was added to the family and your first grandchild arrived. Now, you find yourself on the outside looking in, probably through no fault of your own.
There is nothing I know of that you can do except wait and hope. That sounds pretty flimsy, I know, but the ball is in their court. You can’t force them to reverse their present position. They aren’t dependent kids any longer, (no matter how immature they act.) Under pressure, they are probably thinking more about themselves than about how life is turning out for you.
It sounds heartless, but you may need to focus elsewhere. There can be life beyond parenting. Hobbies, travel, peer friendships, church or other volunteer work can be challenging and satisfying even when they are your second choice. Blessings, Luise