Raising a Child with Split Custody

Dear Sara,

My husband and I have custody of his four year old grandson. His Mom is a drug addict and totally unable to care for him. We are trying to raise him to be respectful and eat a good diet and go to school on a regular basis. The other set of grandparents gets visitation rights for three days at a time two times a month. This is a problem for us because he gets to do whatever he wants and even though they are supposed to take him to preschool when he is with them, they don’t. He comes back to us full of sugar and hard to handle. It takes us several days to calm him down. How can we deal with this?

Dear Carrie,

It sounds like you are doing the best you can at this point. You are giving your grandson a stable, loving home with plenty of structure. Even though his visits with his other grandparents aren’t an especially good influence, he will be influenced more by you and your husband because he spends the majority of his time with you.

You should certainly let your grandson know that when he is with you that you expect him to follow your rules. If he doesn’t then he should get an appropriate consequence. Give him time out or take away his TV time. Your other recourse is to go to court to try to get full custody. I’m sure that this would be very difficult for his other grandparents. Even though their standards for raising a child are different from yours your grandson needs their love as well.

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