"My Son Doesn't Provide for His Kids Despite Earning Well": Expert Gives Solutions for Stressed Gogo

"My Son Doesn't Provide for His Kids Despite Earning Well": Expert Gives Solutions for Stressed Gogo

  • A troubled gogo wrote to Briefly News about how she has been struggling financially to care for her son's two children
  • The 65-year-old woman shared that her son does not live with or provide for his children, even though he works a good job
  • A family and relationship expert, Paula Quinsee, provided various solutions for how the grandmother could alleviate her stress
Stressed grandmother
A grandmother opened up about having financial strain when it comes to raising her son's two children. Image: FG Trade
Source: Getty Images
Anonymous wrote: "I'm a 65-year-old gogo who earns a pension. My son's two children live with me, and I care for them. My son doesn't provide for his kids or pay child maintenance despite earning a good salary at his job, and I'm at my wits' end.
"He never even asked if I mind taking care of his kids. It was just assumed that I would. I'm old and tired. I love my grandkids, but I should be enjoying my pensioner years now, not constantly worrying about where the next day's food will come from. What is the best way to approach this situation?"

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Family expert weighs in on the family matter

Paula Quinsee is the founder of Engaged Humans, where she facilitates connection between men, women and couples. She is a certified Imago Relationship Therapy Educator and Facilitator, NLP Practitioner, PDA. Paula is also the author of two self-help guides: Embracing Conflict and Embracing No.

According to Paula, grandparents play a critical role in the upbringing of their grandchildren through sharing their wisdom, passing down family history and traditions, passing on their legacies, and, most of all, being able to spoil them as grandparents do.

"However, when the responsibility of raising grandchildren is placed on a grandparent's shoulders it can cause lots of financial pressures, family conflict and ultimately resentment vs enjoying their retirement years," Paula explained.

When it comes to managing the gogo's situation, Paula advises initiating an honest and open conversation with her adult son.

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Gogo advised to communicate her concerns clearly

Paula shared that the gogo needs to express her concerns about the situation, in that while she loves her grandchildren, it's becoming increasingly challenging for her to manage the situation without her son's financial support.

"Clearly communicate your expectations and agree on boundaries going forward regarding the care of the children as to what is a fair arrangement and takes into account both your willingness to help care for the children and that ultimately it is their responsibility as the parent to provide both emotional and financial support," Paula advised.

Paula said the grandmother also needs to be clear on the type of assistance she needs by giving real examples (such as a contribution of R1 000 per week for groceries) so that her son knows exactly what the boundaries and expectations are.

According to the relationship and family expert, discussing the situation openly also allows both the gogo and her son to explore other support systems, such as aftercare, which may assist parents and grandparents in raising grandchildren.

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"This can include other forms of support such as support groups, or organisations that can offer guidance, financial aid or emotional support. Knowing that you are not alone and that there may be others in similar situations can be of great value to both parties."

Gogo's son should take responsibility for his children

Paula shared that the gogo should encourage her adult child to take responsibility for their children's well-being and the importance of their role as a hands-on parent and the impact it has on their children's lives, such as creating stability, which is critical to their emotional development.

"Contributing financially is not only a legal obligation but also a moral responsibility and something they as adults need to take ownership of.
"If communication efforts on this topic are not productive or remain challenging, then consider involving a neutral third party, such as an unbiased family member, a mediator or a family counsellor. Their expertise can help facilitate a more productive conversation to find mutually agreeable solutions."

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Gogo needs to enjoy her retirement years

Paula stressed that it is also crucial for the grandparents to take care of their well-being and cope with the stress and emotional strain of the situation, especially if the adult child is unwilling to engage.

"In which instance it may be necessary to involve other parties, such as the mother of the child and the other set of grandparents, to find a joint family solution."

Expert shares legal and communication tips

If all else fails, one can consider exploring legal options for child support by consulting with a lawyer, social services or family court to understand your rights and how to proceed. This can assist in the financial well-being of the grandchildren and relieve some of the burden on the grandparents, Paula advised.

"It is crucial to everyone’s benefit to proactively address the situation for everyone’s benefit as grandparents have earned the right to enjoy their golden years without being overwhelmed by financial and caregiving responsibilities that they have already completed by raising their own adult children," Paula shares.

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Disclaimer: Advice given in this article is general and is not the views of Briefly News. It is not intended to influence a reader's decisions. Readers are advised to seek professional help before making any decisions.

Do you have a story to tell? Want an expert's advice? Please email us at contact@briefly.co.za with 'Ask an expert' in the subject line.

"Music is my passion, not engineering": Expert shares advice

In another story, Briefly News reported that a young man sought advice on how to tell his father that he didn't want to continue studying engineering as per his father's wishes.

Instead, he wants to follow his passion for music and pursue a career in it, but doesn't know how to break the news to his father or want to disappoint him.

A parenting expert spoke to Briefly News about how the man could navigate his dilemma and consider different factors.

Source: Briefly News

Nothando Mthembu avatar

Nothando Mthembu (Senior editor) Nothando Mthembu is a senior multimedia journalist and editor. Nothando has over 5 years of work experience and has served several media houses including Caxton Local Newspapers. She has experience writing on human interest, environment, crime and social issues for community newspapers. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree and an Honours Degree in Media Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, obtained in 2016 and 2017. Nothando has also passed a set of trainings by Google News Initiative. Email: nothando.mthembu@briefly.co.za