Newsweek – “Ask the Experts”
By Maria Azzurra Volpe On 6/3/23 at 6:00 AM EDT
I would appreciate any words of advice. I have a daughter who has three children and was living with her dad and stepmom sleeping on their couch for the last eight months, not trying to find a job.
She and her children have no routine, they make a mess and don’t listen. Two weeks ago, her stepmom found out she is pregnant again. Her father and stepmom asked her to leave.
I’m her mom and I live in a two-bedroom apartment where I’m raising two grandkids from my oldest daughter. I let her come stay for a few nights and it was just too much. I can’t allow her and her three children to live with us in our two-bedroom.
Plus I cannot financially afford to take care of four more people. It’s not my responsibility to take them in, but she is constantly telling me she has nowhere to go.
This is her fault for keeping on getting pregnant, not working and just being lazy. Is this my responsibility? I’m heartbroken over this. I’m heartbroken over my grandkids. Any words of advice?
I Would Prioritize My Grandchildren’s Well-Being
Andrew A. Zashin is the managing partner of Zashin & Rich where he leads the firm’s family law and international family law practice groups. He has represented parties in some of the rare family law cases heard by the Supreme Court.
I’m sorry to hear that you are going through this difficult situation. It is clear that you are torn between wanting to help and the practical challenges that come with taking your daughter and grandchildren into your already full household. Here are a few ideas that may help.
First and foremost, if I were you, I would prioritize my grandchildren’s well-being and best interests over my daughter’s when considering this complicated situation. While you may understandably feel resentful towards your daughter for her choices and lack of responsibility, try to separate your disappointment from the needs of the children. They are helpless victims in this situation.
Barbara, you did not mention a father to any of your grandchildren. Is there one in the picture? Is there a child support award for one or more of your grandchildren? Perhaps this should be a front-burner issue. Why should all of the financial burden rest on your daughter’s, and your family’s, shoulders? If there is no child support order in place, I suggest that you help your daughter find a competent family law attorney immediately.
As their grandparent, you have a special bond with your grandchildren and want what is best for them. Children require stability, routine, and a nurturing environment to thrive. Given your limited space and financial constraints, it might also be beneficial to explore alternative solutions that can provide your daughter and her children with temporary support while she works towards gaining stability. Encourage her to seek assistance from local social services, community organizations, or government programs that can help provide her with housing, job training, or educational opportunities. In doing so, you are still showing concern and support for her, while also ensuring the well-being of your grandchildren.
If your daughter is unable—or unwilling—to provide your grandchildren with these essentials, you may need to seek other options to provide them with a stable and secure living situation. This may include contacting the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Throughout this process, it is important for you to maintain open lines of communication with your daughter, if possible. Express your concerns and boundaries clearly, emphasizing that while you may not be able to provide immediate shelter, you are willing to support her in finding the resources she needs to get back on her feet. Offer to help her with her job search or connect her with relevant support networks in your community.
It is also essential to take care of your own well-being, too. This situation can be emotionally draining, so seek support from friends, family, or support groups who can offer guidance and lend an empathetic ear.
As a final thought, while it may not be your responsibility to take in your daughter and her children, your grandchildren are lucky to have a caring and supportive grandparent in their lives. By providing support, guidance, and assisting in finding resources, you can help your daughter and her children work towards a more stable and independent future.
This article originally appeared on Newsweek – “Ask the Experts.”