1. Parenting

Don't Stop Talking to Adult Children Who Make Bad Choices

Share Your Story: Handling Conflict With Adult Children Who Are the Parents of Your Grandchildren

By tmp566

Roots of the Conflict

My issue is my son's lifestyle and his choices in life, which indirectly involve my grandson. My son is very good with his son and shows love to him, but his lack of priorities is sometimes a source of disappointment to his son. My son is 25 and does drugs in and out of jail. Yet when he is with his son, he is a very good father--patient, loving, caring--but he refuses to see how his lifestyle and his choices are hurting his son and the impact on his future it will have. When I tell my son to think about his son and realize that what he is doing is going to hurt his feelings, he does. You can tell he feels bad, but does it anyway.

What I Did and How It Turned Out

This is not really a conflict as much as an ongoing concern. I try to tell my son to think of his son, to remember how it felt when his own dad did things that hurt him, to remember that and to not want his son to be hurt like that. I try to remind him all the time to think of his son. I also try to explain how he is going to regret these choices one day, that he is just laying the groundwork for future hurt and disappointment with in himself, and to think that just because his son is thrilled when he sees him, that doesn't mean that one day he may want nothing to do with him. I tell him to think of his and his father's relationship, and although my son says it will never be that way for him and his son . . . it will be, and he just refuses to see it.

Lessons Learned

Never stop trying to reach the adult child. We love our grandchildren partly because they can be a way of remembering our children when they were still young and sweet and without fault. From our grandchildren we can regain the sense of hope and pride that our adult child has trampled all over. The disappointment by our child is wiped out with the grandchild's new developments. But we must always remind the adult child how the little one looks or acts or does something like his parent. We must never stop trying to reach them. Also, we must not let the grandchild take the place of the adult child. After all, we couldn't have that grandchild if it weren't for the child.

Susan Adcox, About.com Grandparents, says:

I had a bit of an "aha" moment when this writer said that loving our grandchildren is a way of recapturing a time when our children were young and innocent. I had never really thought of it in that way, but it seems true to me. Of all the conundrums that life can throw at grandparents, I think this one, the case of the parent who uses drugs, is one of the toughest. I could not presume to say how individual cases should be handled, but I have discussed some of the issues involved in Substance Abuse in the Family. And I thank this reader for an honest and heart-wrenching account of a common modern problem.

©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.