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Live-In Grandchild.


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martin
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Live-In Grandchild.

Postby martin » Fri May 06, 2016 1:06 pm

Apologies - this goes on a bit.

I’m in my early 60s, never had or wanted any children of my own. I’m not particularly keen on children, as a group, although I’ve got on very well with individual children in the past. Consequently, I’ve had no real experience of raising children so don’t KNOW what’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ as far as raising children is concerned, although I have opinions.

For reasons which I won’t go into here, but which I consider to be very good reasons, my grandson’s parents – both Thai – want him to come to live with us when he’s 2 years old in August, without mum & dad. My wife is thrilled at the prospect, me not so much so.

Here are some of my problems which have the potential to cause conflict between my wife, who usually takes the parents’ view because she’s Thai too, and myself:-

Parents won’t use the car seat we bought for the boy because, when he was first put in it he cried – they’ve not used it since. If he comes to us, I’ll insist he uses a seat for even the shortest trips when he’s in our car. Am I right or wrong?

Parents won’t use the highchair we bought, for similar reasons to the car seat. They chase him around the house or outdoors with a bowl of food, trying to get spoons of food into him ‘on the run’. I hate to see that in the local park, at Tesco etc. even though it seems so commonplace and I feel he should be seated – maybe not in the highchair now he’s older – at a table for meals, which should be a family event. Am I right or wrong?

Because they chase him with food, he hasn’t yet learnt to feed himself. I feel he should be able to make at least a good effort at this at 20 months. When he visits us, I do all I can to get him to sit & eat ‘properly’ and he seems to be proud of being able to do so. However, when mum & dad return they drag him away & resume chasing him. Am I right or wrong?

If he comes to live with us, my wife wants him to sleep with us. I want him in his own room once he's used to living in a new house. Am I right or wrong? (Just to illustrate something I want to avoid - my wife's nephew has just stopped sleeping with his mum (only) at nearly 14!!)

If he makes a fuss when told ‘No’, mum & dad immediately give-in and let him do as he wants and he uses that to his advantage all the time. I feel that ‘baby shouldn’t be the boss’. Am I right or wrong?

I'm was a professional engineer in another world & my wife's a retired prathom teacher - combined, we could teach him so much more than his other farmer grandparents (who are lovely people & with whom he currently lives) - could do.

I love this little boy to bits. He’s bright and picks up words & skills so easily when he visits us, which is only for a day or two every few months since he lives 200 km away, and usually remembers until next visit. I’m really happy to have him around for a visit of a couple of days. All day, every day is an entirely different kettle of fish, though, and I don’t think I could tolerate it without distancing myself from his care & upbringing. Maybe I’m wrong and would actually enjoy it but my lack of desire for my own children in the past tells me I won’t. On the other hand, being part of a good family might change all my past notions. I really don't know which way I'll swing.

My wife & I have a great relationship and I’m afraid this could be the death of it. We’ve tried to talk it over but she appears not to understand my misgivings. I’ve even told her I came to Thailand to live with HER, not her family (that’s absolutely true – without her I’d never have come to Thailand even for a holiday) and, while I think that had some impact I’m not sure it was enough to get the message across fully.

BTW, I like both of my wife’s sons and their wives very much.

Any of you had similar feelings or experiences - or even those who had their first child rather late in life after not wanting them before and found it to be a joy - and could give me some advice? Is the reality better than the expectations I have if the little boy comes to live with us?

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Charlie
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Re: Live-In Grandchild.

Postby Charlie » Sat May 07, 2016 8:50 am

Hi Martin, some tough calls there. I can easily understand how a two year old in your bed would change everything you came to Thailand for. While I understand family and even extended family are important to Thais I think having him stay with you full time is a bit much. Are there any alternatives - why does he have to stay with you? It can be very frustrating to try to discuss this sort of thing with a Thai wife. Even if you can communicate at a basic level in Thai this sort of conversation is very difficult. My wife has a great grandchild (her niece's child) and he learnt early on that I won't accept S**t from him. He now understands that. I think YOU need to make some rules. I hope and think they will understand but without those rules they will push you to the limit. The 'family first' and you second is very common here. I wish I could give you more advice. There is always a compromise between what we as westerners are used to and what the Thais are used to but sometimes they want that compromise more there way than yours. I wish you all the best in what is a very unfortunate situation. I don't know how much you have 'invested' in the relationship, but 'walk away' should always be an option. Take care, Charlie.

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Re: Live-In Grandchild.

Postby SkyyWalker » Tue May 10, 2016 5:16 pm

Hi, Martin. Not an enviable position you're in! I have a few thoughts, but not enough time to share them at the moment. Please give me a few days.

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Re: Live-In Grandchild.

Postby SkyyWalker » Wed May 25, 2016 10:44 am

Sorry, Martin, that it's taken me a while to reply further. While I don't know what you should do, I'll share a few things that may help. Generally speaking, my son's Thai grandparents treat him exceptionally well, though he is allowed to get away with way too much! The reason Katt and I do not allow him to act like that and are more strict is largely because we want to set him up for success in America where we plan to move for Alexander's last year of primary school. Also, just because I live in Asia doesn't mean I need to abandon the values I believe in, so we would enforce our current parenting policies regardless of what our future plans are.

If your wife and you are not on the same page regarding this issue, a bad outcome is likely imminent. In adapting to this culture, I had to draw clear lines regarding what I'm willing to accept and not accept. For example, I don't believe in the dowry system and I didn't pay one. That was almost a deal breaker (nothing to do with how Katt felt about the issue) and I was willing to accept any consequence as a result of standing firm. The only thing I can recommend is that you honor any deep-seated beliefs that you have...draw the lines you need, Martin.

Any update?
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