Are you subject to a bully cycle? I feel for you, and I know, really know, how you feel. You are torn at letting this adult brat fend for himself or herself, loving the adult who was once and will always be your child, while trying to do what you can for the grandchildren.
Would you like to get out of this cycle? Really? Are you sure you don’t feed on the whole thing? There are some psychological advantages to the bully cycle. You get to play Hero when the adult kid claims to need something. You get to somehow “make it up” to him or her, for whatever you think you lacked in the past. You get to share a secret with the grandkids, which is Mom or Dad really can’t get his or her act together, but Grandma or Grandpa will always be there, checkbook and credit cards in hand, creating another generation of grabby, grubbing bullies. You can play “Ain’t It Awful?” and “Aren’t We Saints?” with your spouse. So, be sure you really, truly want to work toward the two-pronged goal of getting this adult person up off their fanny and into responsibility or that you are ready to 1.) Make good on your threat to remove the grandchildren from the custody of the adult child; and 2.) Make good on your threat not to participate in any more bully cycles.
You have to admit there’s a problem. If you cannot, then there is no point in trying to effect change. And yes, there IS a problem, a big one. It is not going to go away if you ignore it. It will simply be ignored, and you will spend possibly your entire life playing Step-N-Fetch-It to ungrateful adult babies, who will only miss your money when you’re gone.
If there is a problem, there must be a solution. Ah, there is- but one size does not fit all in this case. Your problem is unique, of course. How you approach its solution is based on your resources, skills and wherewithal.
Go read the books I recommended! Most public libraries have them. eBay, Amazon, half.com all carry them at one time or another. Get the voice versions if reading gives you angst or hurts your eyes. Then, when you have absorbed these books, develop your strategy to stop the bully cycle.
It comes back to our basic questions:
- Are you absolutely sure you want custody of your grandchildren, perhaps even adopting them, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, for court orders, for visitation schedules, for grade school, for high school, for all the stuff that child rearing involves?
- Are you ready, if necessary, to turn your back on your adult child for the sake of your grandchildren?
- Are you willing to butt your nose in where others might tell you the matter is none of your business?
- Are you willing to seek out support resources?
- Are you willing to pick your battles, collecting evidence as unobtrusively as possible, against the day you might have to use it; and then using it for the sake of the grandchildren?