Grandfather unclear of role with kids in growing family

Published 9:23 am Monday, July 10, 2023

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DEAR ABBY: For more than five years, my son dated a young woman with a child. During that time, they lived with him. After they broke up, he was able to have visitation and shared parenting rights even though the little girl, “Paisley,” was not his own.
I must say it was a benefit for the child. To this day, Paisley is still a major part of his life. For the last five years she has called him Dad because her mother doesn’t want her real dad to be part of her daughter’s life, and Paisley wanted someone to call Dad.
Fast-forward three years. My son found love again and ended up marrying a fine lady and mother of two. Their father is a very important part of their lives. They also, along with Paisley, all have grandparents.
My question is, since none of these children are my son’s, what are these kids to ME? I don’t think they are my grandchildren, but my ex-wife says she accepts them as grandchildren, so I should do it and give them the same benefits that I give my three true grandchildren. Do I refer to them as grandchildren, step-grandchildren or just my son’s wife’s and ex’s children? — MIXED-UP GRANDPA IN OHIO

DEAR GRANDPA: Because these children are important to your son, follow your ex-wife’s lead and refer to them all as your grandchildren. Treat them with love and make them feel special. The more love there is, the better it will be for everyone concerned — yourself, your son and his blended family.
DEAR ABBY: I have a connection with someone very close to my heart, but I’m afraid our relationship isn’t healthy. I’M the one who pays our rent. I’M the one who pays for all the food. And I’M the one who has to drive ALL THE TIME – and, as you know, gas isn’t cheap.
It upsets me because he also never talks to me. I do like his style. What I love most about him is he is always there to support me. He gives the best hugs! He has beautiful eyes. And I just KNOW he loves me! I love him SO much! But he gets so sad when I hang out with my friends without him.
I want to include him in our activities, but all my friends say that’s “unrealistic.” How dare they! I love him with all my heart, but often he just doesn’t want to spend time with me. And I’m worried he’s been cheating on me! What should I do? – GIRL IN LOVE IN CANADA

DEAR GIRL: Your letter is full of red flags. Is this hugger with beautiful eyes employed? WHY are you paying for everything? Has he ever actually SAID he loves you? Does he have any social life of his own? You state that he gets “sad” if you want to hang out with your friends, but often doesn’t want to spend time with you. Where DOES he spend his time when he’s not with you?
If you suspect he may be cheating, listen to your intuition. You feel that way for a reason. Between you and me, you can do better than this. Start by finding a man who can pull his own weight and will talk to you – AND gives good hugs.
P.S. If your “main squeeze” is a canine, please make sure he’s chipped and neutered.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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