‘I refuse to deprive my children of contact with their grandparents’

‘I refuse to deprive my children of contact with their grandparents’

Photo: Getty Images

There is nothing black or white in life, and parenthood always brings dilemmas. Even if the choice seems very obvious at times.

Simon (37) lives with Hen (38). Together they are the parents of Timo (8), Mike (6), and Liv (3).

“Of course I understood Heine when, after endless escalations with his parents, he wanted to break off a year ago. All his life, they had made high demands on him, blaming all their shortcomings on their son. His level of education wasn’t high enough, his job didn’t pay enough. Our house was ordinary. Too much and I had to pay for it; couldn’t he really find a girl from a better ‘class’?

Other people’s pain

I didn’t take their judgments seriously, and I saw where they were coming from. That their self-esteem was low and they felt disillusioned with life. I myself had been without parents for some time when I met Henn, who died when I was only nineteen. The years of therapy that followed confirmed that I had learned to let other people’s pain be with others, and especially not to make it my own.

“I asked for separation from his parents: our children should not suffer from it”

The sometimes impossible behavior of my only children’s grandparents had nothing to do with Hen or us, such was their pain. But you can’t expect the greatness of overseeing that from someone else. And so it allowed to happen that Teun cut ties with his parents. However, I made a request: Our children should not suffer. To them, Hein’s parents were nice, and their grandparents were involved. They were out of this conflict.

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Hein exploded when I placed my order on the table. He said they were his parents, and I had nothing to say about that. I do not think so. Now that we have kids, our families have merged, and there was no alternative, with my parents well and truly under the green lawn. I was ready to put my connection with his parents on the backburner, but this is where I drew the line.

“He exploded when I put my order on the table. It was his parents, and I had nothing to say about it.”

To this day I still hold my ground. I manage to avoid the topic when the kids and I see his parents, but things aren’t so fun at home. Hein blames me for not lining his eyes.

The joke is, I pick our kids. Not letting past family patterns rest on their shoulders, I’m giving my kids a clean slate to rebuild their family system. I can only hope that one day my friend will see this and embrace the freedom my position affords him.”

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