How would/did you react if your adult child moved far away with your beloved grandchildren?

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Posted 2/2/2013 by Nyla in NSBR Board
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PeaNut 269,155
July 2006
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Posted: 2/4/2013 10:22:02 AM
The adult children have a right to live their lives where they see fit. Saying that does not mean that I would not miss my children and grandchildren if they moved away because I would very much! However, I have a good friend whose children have opted to move away, and then when anything goes wrong in their life, the parents are expected to drop everything and travel to their home/state to "help out". That is fine if all are willing and able, but that is not always the case. In this instance, it presents a financial hardship for my friend. I think if adult kids are going to move away from family, they should have a plan in place for when,(not if)they need help that does not necessarily include family members who live out of state.


PeaNut 37,907
May 2002
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Posted: 2/4/2013 11:04:09 AM
Honestly, co-dependency isn't really something a friend can adequately change/help much. I know that sounds harsh, but those with co-dependency issues usually need a lot of independent/third-party support (preacher, therapist, etc) to work through. If her whole life is contained in her children/grandkids she is modeling this and has very real fears/anxiety over losing that "life". I would encourage your friend to reach out to someone who can help her, as well as begin to create HER independent life.

It took my mom a year to get over my moving to another state, but she was able to find her own hobbies and activities. She then went back to school (2nd Master's) for a new career and has a great job she never would've thought of before. She's much busier than I am even! Lol!
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PeaNut 200,953
April 2005
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Posted: 2/4/2013 11:17:07 AM
Here's my thoughts.

* She says she plans her entire life around her grandchildren. She openly states she will die without her grandchildren in her life.

* They spent tens of thousands of dollars on a lakehouse as some sort of incentive or some sort of hope that this will "encourage" her daughter to vacation with them.
And really, that is what it is. "Look at all the money we spent so you (as in daughter and family) can vacation there. Why do you need to go anywhere else when we have this great place we picked out? What are we going to do with this lake house if you move away?" That is the underlying message because what are they going to do with it? They bought it and now they will feel they have to use it in some way and if they now have to instead consider trips somewhere else, that's an extra expense.
Oh, there are strings attached to that purchase and it will be used as a weapon of guilt.

* She is now trying to "use" a friend to join in and convince her daughter and family to stay. Call it what you want, that is a guilt trip and that is using someone to do it.

Sorry, whether you like it or not, that's smothering.

Well Peas, I believe this thread has gone Thrusday.
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PeaNut 211,902
June 2005
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Posted: 2/4/2013 3:05:35 PM
Along with so many other responders here, I feel your "bff" is terribly inappropriate in both her reaction to the situation and in her asking YOU to get in the middle. You have received a ton of great advice here. These are a couple of comments I completely agree with. Best of luck to all of you. I know you are trying to be a good friend to your friend!

As to the OP, you shouldn't address the DD at all other than to wish her the best. You should totally just hold your friend's hand and listen now. Then encourage her to spread her wings. My children have seen my mom twice a year and talked on the phone about once a week their entire lives and they totally adore her and have a warm, close relationship. I know it would be hard if my DS and DIL moved, but I also know it would not be the end of the world and I would be the first one encouraging and supporting them in any of their life choices.

Should you talk to the dd? Only from the aspect of telling her that you will do your best to help her mom adjust to her absence. She may open up to you about the real reasons for the move, there may be nothing more to it than what they've stated. If she does tell you her mother is 'smothering' or otherwise disclose reasons they are moving that will upset her mother, do not carry the tale back to your friend, no matter how much you think she needs to have that information. You can help counsel your friend in behavior that would encourage her dd to someday return for visits or permanently, and help her not to drive them away for good.

What you should not do is encourage your friend to follow the family at this point. Because you don't know what is really happening between her and her dd's family. You don't know if the dd and sil have wanderlust and will move again every few years as their kids grow up. You don't know if encouraging your friend to follow them will put the dd in a difficult position.

And what you should not do is discuss how upset your bff is with the dd. Trust me, if your friend is talking to you this way, her dd knows quite well how upset her parents are. And don't tell her how you regret moving - your task is to help your bff cope, not throw a guilt trip on her dd.


PeaNut 514,615
July 2011
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Posted: 2/5/2013 10:38:39 AM

If this was such a devoted MUTUAL relationship, they wouldn't be moving. There's more here than meets the eye.

I don't think we can judge that - particularly as the OP isn't even the grandmother, but is relaying HER interpretation of things as well as passing on grandma's venting.

I adore my parents, and loved the fact that they have a devoted, wonderful relationship with my children. I still moved them 1,500 miles away when they were toddlers/babies.

We didn't have to do it. We chose to do it. Before kids, I lived in a variety of places, but ended up pretty close to my parents when we first had kids. I loved the fact that grandma would babysit at a drop of a hat. I have no doubt that my mom would have said her life revolved around her grandchildren and that they set the sun, moon and stars and would probably even be overly dramatic and say that without them being close the sun wouldn't possibly be able to rise - so I'm not prejudging grandma as a stifling presence that's actually driving away her children.

My husband and I ultimately decided that we wanted a different environment to raise our kids in. Maybe because I've always had a bit of wanderlust - moving doesn't and didn't scare me, and frankly I just didn't really care for the area where I grew up. Things like quality of the schools, outdoor activities, career advancement, etc. all factored in.

I will fully acknowledge, that we are very, very lucky. In all honesty, my kids still see their grandparents more often than many kids who's grandparents live an hour away. When the kids were little, we alternated. I flew the kids to the grandparents one month and the next month the grandparents came here. It does get harder as they get older with school and other activities - and more often now, I send plane tickets to them more often than actually flying TO them. But my parents have never missed a Christmas or birthday, and always catch a few of my sons games whatever sport he happens to be playing and all my daughters shows.

Now that the kids are a bit older, they go and spend time with their grandparents during the summer - one-on-one time without the us. Which they LOVE, and is something they wouldn't get a chance to do if they lived down the street.

My ILs also live almost 1000 miles from us - in the opposite direction of course! And they too have a wonderful relationship with my kids. They also enjoy international travel (my parents still don't have
passports), so we also spend time with them traveling the world and they have great memories of seeing things through the eyes of they grandchildren.

So after my long novel I'll give my advice. Tell grandma that truly it will be okay. If she can put her aside her fears, she'll find that the world is a much, much smaller place than it used to be. I still remember my daughter in preschool when they were teaching "life skills" like home numbers and addresses and she informed her teacher that she didn't need to know that stuff. When her teacher asked why, she said - "All I have to do is call granny and she'll know" - yes she knew her grandmother's telephone number before she knew her OWN home telephone number - and also knew that grandma would be there if she needed her - even if she was 1,500 miles away.

My mom also made a comment a few months after we moved that there were some unexpected perks - like the fact that when we lived close - we never spent the night - and how much she loved my daughter sneaking into her room in the morning to snuggle.


PeaNut 323,005
June 2007
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Posted: 2/5/2013 11:43:42 AM

I feel so sad for her.

Sure her daughter has every right in the world to go wherever she wants to. A couple needs to do what's best for their family.
Doesn't make it any less devastating for your friend

If it was my daughter leaving with my grandchildren I'd grieve a lot, and then I'd try to go visit as much as I possibly could and I'd make sure we could also visit through Skype. If needed, I'd buy everything my daughter needed for Skype!

I agree your friend should fill her time with hobbies and her own things. But I totally see why she's sad. It's a huge loss to have part of your family leave, when you're really tight knit. (As a kid we moved away from my extended family, as an adult I've done the same! It's difficult.)

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PeaNut 96,783
July 2003
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Posted: 2/5/2013 12:17:01 PM
How is this going, OP? Has your friend calmed down? With Skype, she can see those grandchildren every day. If she doesn't currently have Skype, tell her to get one for herself and one for her DD.

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PeaNut 114,407
November 2003
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Posted: 2/5/2013 12:17:54 PM

and also knew that grandma would be there if she needed her - even if she was 1,500 miles away.

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