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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.

My daughter’s ex won’t pay for a thing!
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Dear Grandma Maggie,

My daughter has a 6 year old disabled son. She is not married. She finished college and is now in law school. She went thru hell to get where she is. I quit work to help her even moved near to law school with my husband. I have spent any extra money we have to help her and her son (a lot). The father of the child and his family have provided little or no support, money or babysitting, nothing really. My daughter still lets them see the child any time they want and does anything she can to help the child have a relationship with his father. Father shows no respect or remorse for what my daughter and her family have given up and gone through. I want to confront the father now. My husband says we can’t get involved. I say we are just allowing this to go on if we don’t. This child will need help his entire life. I am so angry about this. I love my daughter and grandson very much and I want to help them all I can. But I am very resentful that the father and his family don’t help at all. What should we do? Thank you.

Signed, TD

Dear Friend,

Does your grandson understand who he is seeing when he visits his father and grandparents? I do agree that your daughter is correct to encourage the relationship. If they request seeing him then there must be feelings for him and every child benefits from every person who loves him and gives him time. I feel it’s unwise for you to confront your grandson’s other family or the small progress made could be lost. Plus, I don’t think it’s your business. However, having said that, I do think your daughter and her son have legal rights to financial support from his father. This could help him in many ways, with schooling and perhaps someone in the house to relieve you when it becomes overwhelming as all caretaking eventually does. It surprises me that your daughter being in law school has not pursued this step to help her and their child. They are entitled to this by all standards, legal and ethical. Please encourage her to do so, and try hard to rid yourself of the anger, because it can permeate your entire home and hurt you more than others. Blessings for the help you extend your child and grandchild. You will not regret it.

Grandma Maggie