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Ask Grandma Maggie

Parenting & Childcare Advice
Peggy Moss (1933-2014), also known as Grandma Maggie, penned a parenting column on this site for many years. Back by popular demand, we are republishing the column, sharing with you the best of Grandma Maggie’s parenting and childcare advice.
Unfortunately Grandma Maggie is no longer able to take questions.

How do I repair a relationship with my adult daughters?
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Hi Grandma,

My ex-wife left me for my army friend and got pregnant by him while we were separated. We went to court and I had visitation rights at reasonable places and time. Well, she took my daughters to Germany. 20 years later I found out she was back in the states. A few years before that I got to see my daughters but now they are grown women and I want them to know I never forgot them and never stopped loving them. It’s been 3 years now and one daughter armydadalways wants to get money from me and when I don’t have it (or do what she wants), she says I’m no good, that her mom raised them, and she hates me. My other daughter we talk often and have no problems. How do I try to fix this if their mom lied to them about the past? They have a half brother from the guy I was telling you about. She even gave him my last name and to this day my ex doesn’t like my daughters talking to me or me seeing my grandkids. I can’t even trust my one daughter. I feel she is just getting what she can from me and her mom and her are laughing about it. I can’t see how someone can be so cruel to cover their tracks at someone else’s expense.

What should I do and how?

Dear Friend,

I would treat both of the girls and their children alike no matter how they respond to you and what you do. Remember them on birthdays and holidays with a card if that is all you can afford, or a modest gift. Don’t try to win them with money or gifts.
What is over is over and you cannot go back and redo those times, so begin from now to treat your girls with whatever you want to offer, but make it equal and don’t overdue it.

Above all do NOT say anything bad about their mother. Make the relationship yours not hers. Children are smart and they figure things out. And if not, then they need to see their parent as blameless.  Be gentle and loving and don’t criticize. That’s the best I have to offer.

Grandma Maggie