Wedding Woes

Oh the layers here. It's all not good.

Dear Prudence,

My husband and I are fairly wealthy. Our son died, and his widow has mismanaged the life insurance money badly, even though it was a big payout. She will not take advice and has threatened to cut us off from our grandkids. We already have secretly made “loans” to keep them in the house, but she rejects all help. What we can do is take our grandchildren out to eat, shopping, or on vacation. It is easier to see that our grandson needs new shoes and quietly replace them than to ask his mother why his sneakers are full of holes. Everyone gets to keep their pride.

Our other son and his wife both do quite well for themselves. Their children are in private school, and they take expensive vacations. We give their children nice gifts for their birthdays and Christmas. Our daughter-in-law is very concerned about “fairness” and has brought up several times about how much time and attention (and money) we spend on our other grandkids. I tell her their father died, and we need to stay close. She just stares at me. The conversation repeats. She is the only one who sees this as a concern. Her children are teenagers and would rather spend time with their friends, not their grandparents. She rules our son and can’t keep a secret to save her life. I am tired of repeating that my son died and we want to be there for his young children. My other grandchildren have a mother and a father and everything they can possibly want. They do not need us like our grandchildren do. We are struggling here.

—Fair’s Fair

Re: Oh the layers here. It's all not good.

  • Your son's wife is saying this? 

    FFS, for starters, this is a conversation to have with BOTH your son and his wife up front.  "We need to talk to you about comments made.   You've addressed to us how we spend our money on the grandchildren.    We also understand that you feel that there is a slight.   We have no intention of ignoring your children and love them dearly and also do not want how we spend our money brought up again.   If this is not a solution that works for both of you it is truly regretful."   Don't address the son alone and don't address the DIL alone.   It's not about keeping secrets.   It's about not being bullied.  

    I'd consider things like a college fund or trust for the kids too for when they're older.   
    VarunaTTcharlotte989875Casadena
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I'm trying to decide who is not the asshole, but I'm coming up empty. Everyone sucks here, except the kids. 
    mrsconn23MesmrEwe
  • Agreed @MyNameIsNot.

    I want to feel for LW, but god she comes off as a judgmental dick.  All this secreting money and keeping score and whatnot has created this situation.  Everyone is wrong. 
    MyNameIsNot
  • mrsconn23 said:
    Agreed @MyNameIsNot.

    I want to feel for LW, but god she comes off as a judgmental dick.  All this secreting money and keeping score and whatnot has created this situation.  Everyone is wrong. 
    Also true.   And who knows - maybe the DIL isn't bad with money but her deceased son was bad with it and he's left his wife with a lot to be put back together.  

    It's easy to see the deceased as the perfect one when he's not here to tell you what the reality was/is and it's ALWAYS easy to make the DIL your enemy.  

    But LW is attempting to be nice to the grandkids.   So while she's judgmental she's trying?   There's a lot of needing to shut mouths here.
    mrsconn23MesmrEwe
  • I'm trying to decide who is not the asshole, but I'm coming up empty. Everyone sucks here, except the kids. 
    I'm right there with you on this LW and all parties involved...  
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    The LW and H can do as they wish with their money. DIL has no say in this. I was in a similar but different situation when my Dad was alive. He financially helped my brother and kids quite a bit. I understood because they kids needed it and I didn't. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but I read it as the "secret" loans were kept from son and DIL. In my mind that is fine. They don't have the right to know how the money is spent. If LW and H didn't spend it on the other grandkids, would they expect to know how the money was spent.  
    charlotte989875mrsconn23MesmrEwe
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited January 31
    I completely agree the DIL has no say in this, full stop.  LW needs to stop entertaining the question/conversation.  I also think she needs to pull her son aside and tell him he needs to tell her to stop as well.  Blood talks to blood, IMO. 

    That being said, LW comes off as judgmental in her letter.   Maybe that's got a lot to do with grief and other DIL poking at how they're spending their money.  Maybe counseling could help her with boundaries, with both DIL's.  Because I can see how other DIL views the situation as them kowtowing to widowed DIL to maintain the relationship with grandkids and her kids being 'slighted'.  She's still wrong for being rude to LW by bringing it up and trying to play 'tit-for-tat'. 

    LW being held 'hostage' emotionally by widowed DIL is wrong and creates bitterness even if she thinks she's doing the right thing.  Plus it's not LW's 'job' to protect anyone's pride.  By all means, they should continue to buy the grandkids whatever the want to or they feel they need, but I think the whole "mystery benefactor" with loans could be sowing some bad seeds.  Because when the kids are adults, what is the plan?  Is she going to leave the DIL twisting in the wind in her own mistakes because she can't hold the kids over LW?  How will that make the grandkids feel? 
    short+sassy
  • The LW and H can do as they wish with their money. DIL has no say in this. I was in a similar but different situation when my Dad was alive. He financially helped my brother and kids quite a bit. I understood because they kids needed it and I didn't. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but I read it as the "secret" loans were kept from son and DIL. In my mind that is fine. They don't have the right to know how the money is spent. If LW and H didn't spend it on the other grandkids, would they expect to know how the money was spent.  
    I agree with this! I think the LW and her husband get to decide how they spend their money, full stop. And if they want to keep it “anonymous” to help save their widowed DILs pride/feelings/whatever then other DIL needs to stay out of it. 

    I do think LW could reach out to the teenage kids, not for gifts or money, but time and attention. Take them to dinner occasionally, or bring them along with their cousins. This all sounds like it’s clearly coming from the DIL but if the other kids do feel left out, including them only has upside. 
    mrsconn23
  • The LW and H can do as they wish with their money. DIL has no say in this. I was in a similar but different situation when my Dad was alive. He financially helped my brother and kids quite a bit. I understood because they kids needed it and I didn't. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but I read it as the "secret" loans were kept from son and DIL. In my mind that is fine. They don't have the right to know how the money is spent. If LW and H didn't spend it on the other grandkids, would they expect to know how the money was spent.  
    I agree with this! I think the LW and her husband get to decide how they spend their money, full stop. And if they want to keep it “anonymous” to help save their widowed DILs pride/feelings/whatever then other DIL needs to stay out of it. 

    I do think LW could reach out to the teenage kids, not for gifts or money, but time and attention. Take them to dinner occasionally, or bring them along with their cousins. This all sounds like it’s clearly coming from the DIL but if the other kids do feel left out, including them only has upside. 
    I agree with that too.

    Rather than be defensive about the $ then what about things like saying, "Hey we'd love to do things with the kids." 

    Suggest a family vacation and maybe splitting the bill or hell, just take over it.   If you're wealthy then the vacation isn't the thing that is going to be what gets you - it's the loans for survival. 

    And if the thought is that the kids are missing TIME with the grandparents vs. the grandparents finances then offer that time. 


    charlotte989875mrsconn23
  • My only thought is that LW mentioned son and DIL have older kids, vs the DIL they're helping has younger kids.

    LW should say something. Even if it's a "Look there's a different situation, but I would love to spend with the grandkids. Could you talk to them, and we can set something up?"
    Bean dip money. Focus on time with grandkids
    mrsconn23short+sassy
  • My only thought is that LW mentioned son and DIL have older kids, vs the DIL they're helping has younger kids.

    LW should say something. Even if it's a "Look there's a different situation, but I would love to spend with the grandkids. Could you talk to them, and we can set something up?"
    Bean dip money. Focus on time with grandkids
    And I get that.   Our kids are still at the "I LOVE GOING TO GRANMA'S HOUSE!!" age and Chiquita is starting to get a social life of her own. 

    But if you carve out the time they may like it.   Make the Disney trip or go to a beach house.   Play some games with them.   But don't discount that they don't want to see ou because they're teens.  Stay involved.   Cool grandparents are awesome. 
    charlotte989875MissKittyDangershort+sassy
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    banana468 said:
    My only thought is that LW mentioned son and DIL have older kids, vs the DIL they're helping has younger kids.

    LW should say something. Even if it's a "Look there's a different situation, but I would love to spend with the grandkids. Could you talk to them, and we can set something up?"
    Bean dip money. Focus on time with grandkids
    And I get that.   Our kids are still at the "I LOVE GOING TO GRANMA'S HOUSE!!" age and Chiquita is starting to get a social life of her own. 

    But if you carve out the time they may like it.   Make the Disney trip or go to a beach house.   Play some games with them.   But don't discount that they don't want to see ou because they're teens.  Stay involved.   Cool grandparents are awesome. 
    This. When I was 16 and got my first car, the very first place that I went once I could drive all alone was to my grandma's house. I was soooo excited to be able to just drop by.  

    Not all grandmas are as fun as mine, but assuming the kids don't care about seeing you because they're teens is bunk. 
    mrsconn23charlotte989875levioosa
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    banana468 said:
    My only thought is that LW mentioned son and DIL have older kids, vs the DIL they're helping has younger kids.

    LW should say something. Even if it's a "Look there's a different situation, but I would love to spend with the grandkids. Could you talk to them, and we can set something up?"
    Bean dip money. Focus on time with grandkids
    And I get that.   Our kids are still at the "I LOVE GOING TO GRANMA'S HOUSE!!" age and Chiquita is starting to get a social life of her own. 

    But if you carve out the time they may like it.   Make the Disney trip or go to a beach house.   Play some games with them.   But don't discount that they don't want to see ou because they're teens.  Stay involved.   Cool grandparents are awesome. 
    This. When I was 16 and got my first car, the very first place that I went once I could drive all alone was to my grandma's house. I was soooo excited to be able to just drop by.  

    Not all grandmas are as fun as mine, but assuming the kids don't care about seeing you because they're teens is bunk. 
    Same. I wouldn’t say my grandma is “fun” but I love her and she’s been one of the most influential people in my life. When I started driving I went to visit her as a teen at least a few times a month (she lives about an hour away). I did that through most of college until I moved an additional hour away and it just became too hard to visit that often. 


    image
    MissKittyDanger
  • banana468 said:
    My only thought is that LW mentioned son and DIL have older kids, vs the DIL they're helping has younger kids.

    LW should say something. Even if it's a "Look there's a different situation, but I would love to spend with the grandkids. Could you talk to them, and we can set something up?"
    Bean dip money. Focus on time with grandkids
    And I get that.   Our kids are still at the "I LOVE GOING TO GRANMA'S HOUSE!!" age and Chiquita is starting to get a social life of her own. 

    But if you carve out the time they may like it.   Make the Disney trip or go to a beach house.   Play some games with them.   But don't discount that they don't want to see ou because they're teens.  Stay involved.   Cool grandparents are awesome
    I'll 100% admit I don't see either grandmother as much as I probably should, but that's probably only been in the last few years. I do often try to call them, and ensure they know I'm still alive lmao

    I can assure you also, both my grandmothers were great in different ways - neither I have large monetary memories.
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    The response to DIL needs to be that LW would love to spend as much time as possible building relationships with all her grandkids. Money has very little to do with that.

    MIL spends a lot of time on the grandkids, just not with the grandkids. She buys a whole bunch of stuff for them, but when actually with them it's "Sit with me for this picture and then let me have my adult conversations here." DD likes baking and so does MIL, but MIL has yet to find time to do it with DD, even when we've stayed at their house for several days or they've been at ours, and it's been brought up as a possible activity ahead of the trips.

    Meanwhile, my parents will, you know, play with the kids. Same with my sisters-in-laws' parents - some are more or less active, but they're all willing to at least talk with or read to the kids. They take an interest in them.

    Guess which grandparents the kids (of all ages) are excited to see?
    banana468ILoveBeachMusic
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