Controlling grandparents

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  • #26205 Report


    I have 3 girls 9, 10 and 13. The in laws have always tried to have too much of an input into their lives, since me and their dad have split up (4 years ago) they have turned horrible, resulted in my oldest refusing to go to theirs and having to get counselling, when it all came to all it was because they were slagging me off. Dad is a waste of time, not interested in kids (had another kid from recent relationship who him and his parents refuse anything to do with). All he is interested in is his girlfriend. Will ring me (on command from his dad) tell me I should do this and that and how I am such a bad mam and all of this.


    The kids stay at their grandparents when they should be with dad (he doesn’t live there, chooses to live in a 1 bed flat with gf so can’t accommodate his kids). Yet he is dictating to me (on command from his dad) that my kids should choose where they stay. I have moved home due to residing in a house owned by his parents, i have lived their since the kids were babies. My middle child has not took to move well and has stated she wants to stay with grandparents. He has been on the phone saying it’s her choice where she can stay and he has spoke to a solicitor about it (she has also said the exact same words as him, which have come from his dad). It is obvious to me and others (as other people have commented) that my middle child is choosing to stay with them because they are buying her alsorts including a brand new iPhone, which was purchased without my permission. When I have sat her down and asked her why? She has said because I get bought this and that. I am a single parent with 3 kids, I work part time and have never received a penny from their dad. It breaks my heart that she is refusing to see me but I know it’s the impact they have on her and I know she doesn’t understand everything. I haven’t pushed getting her home coz wanted to see how mediation goes as I know involving the police etc will really upset her. But now she is starting to turn nasty with her sisters, when she sees them out she is swearing at them (which she never has done) and really upsetting them.

    Currently I am undergoing mediation to sort this situation out. I have been refused legal aid so having to pay for it, something he knows I can’t afford but have no choice coz this is my daughter. He has a solicitor (paid by his dad) who will be there in the mediation I will be on my own.


    I have no idea how mediation will go? I know they have no rights and that the right lie between me and dad but I honestly don’t know what to do for the best. Will mediation sort this out or will I have to go to court? It’s been a couple of weeks with my daughter now and it is killing me. Please help

    #26216 Report


    Gemlou, can you have a chat with the Gingerbread helpline.

    My understanding is that at 10, your daughter will be deemed by the court to be too young to make her own decisions.

    You need to get a court order that covers residency and access. During their father’s time, in theory he can leave the children with his parents. However they are not allowed to belittle you in front of your children.

    So I suggest you document everything from now on. Each visit, each bout of swearing, each gift. each negative reaction. Any school days missed. Talk to the school and ask if your daughter’s behaviour has deteriorated.

    Then go to mediation and explain what is happening. The ILs do not have the right to take your daughter away from you.

    I would collect my daughter from school and not allow her to go to her grandparents until after mediation, but you may choose to wait. You need to take back control, while keeping calm & polite.

    #26239 Report



    I absolutely agree with kathymumofone. I try to imagine myself in your position and if dad isn’t collecting direct from school and having the child staying with him at his house, I’d be taking ownership of my child and collecting from school myself. As much as grand parents have rights, they do not have parental responsibility. I’d be returning to my home with child after school and let him seek access via the mediation sessions/court (at his cost) unless he agrees in writing to return the child by a pre-arranged time/date. This is really damaging to the sibling group and at 10 years children are generally not deemed old enough to make such an important decision as to whom they will live with. Personally when my child came home at a similar age with an iPhone 6 I removed it from her and let her have it back when only she visited dad.  I don’t have time to manage social media accounts for a 9/10 year old when I don’t think they should be on that anyway. I won’t have that responsibility inflicted upon me by an absent parent. If she wants to call dad/grand parent then she could borrow your phone to make the call in my opinion. That’s not unreasonable.

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